List the books on Buddhism you find most beneficial

Exactly, I’ve found Bhante Sujato books first of all on publisher site, Santipada, for example History of Mindfulness is there:

As to Swift Pair of Messengers, the link is inactive right now but surely was active in the past. Anyway I’ve found it probably on the site Viveka has linked (I won’t link again to avoid double post).

You can download from there in many formats, PDF included, which I’ve attached in my post above.

So just type “Sujato” + title of the book in google and you will find it. :slight_smile: In the past I was making collection of a lot of dhamma books and I have them on hard drive right now, but I’ve found them all simply using google. They’re creative commons and dhamma dana so you can download them for personal use with clear conscience. :slight_smile:

With Metta :yellow_heart: :anjal:


Here is my personal library:

I’ll let you judge for yourself whether it’s “well-rounded” or not :sweat_smile:


For reference and refection, these days I use Suttas (from DN and a few from other collections) and Vinaya Mahākhandhaka Vagga. Also a Sri Lankan chanting classic “Safeguard Recitals - a book of protection chants”.

Many years ago writings by Venerable Narada (Buddhism in a Nutshell), Venerable Piyadassi (The Buddha, His Life and Teachings) and Bhikkhu Bodhi (e.g. The Living Message of the Dhammapada) inspired me to take up Buddhism. So if anyone asks me for introductory books, I recommend those.

Ajhan Chah’s “Still Forest Pool” and Ajahn Brahm’s “Opening the Door of your Heart” I found refreshing to read and inspiring to practice meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh’s verses and book True Love : Practice for Awakening the Heart, helped me several years ago when I felt depressed.


I find that Peter Harvey’s "An Introduction to Buddhism " has served me better than any other book for its clear and detailed outline of dependent co-arising, the major Mahayana schools, and the levels of jhana. Other books may surpass this in depth and detail, but if there is any book that serves better as a general orientation in the history and metaphysics of Buddhism, I would be glad to hear of it. (I know the word metaphysics is a bit off, but does anyone really want to hear psycho-ontology?)


Is indeed excellent. It’s in my top four books on Buddhism as a whole next to The Miracle of Mindfulness :slight_smile:


Currently I’m reading “An Investigation into Emptiness” by Yin Shun, which I’m rather enjoying.


This might not be a book of reference, but it’s one of my recent found favorites - from Ven. Yuttadhammo


Nibbana: The Mind Stilled, by Bhikkhu K. Ṅānananda.

Pure Gold for the end of the Path. It is heavy, advanced reading but when the time is right, every moment invested in reading it will pay off a thousand times :pray:

Bhikkhu Anālayo did a 3 year series of seminars on it. Below are all the links


Bhikkhu Bodhi’s In The Buddha’s Words and The Buddha’s Teaching on Social Harmony. These two books by Bhikkhu Bodhi are anthology of the Buddha’s discourses compiled from Pali Canon; the first is general Buddhist teaching anthology of Pali suttas, from family life and marriage to renunciation and the path of insight, and the latter is anthology of Pali suttas specifically for conflict resolution, interpersonal and social problem-solving, and the forging of harmonious relationships.


This will necessarily be a partial list. After the Tipitaka there are about a dozen books that have been priceless. They tend to be by the same authors/ translators because the translations use the same words for key terms. This helped to decipher some of the teachings until I could understand the importance of the nuances that led to specific translation choices. V Bhikkhu Bodhi set me on this journey with The Noble Eightfold Path and his translations are foundational, V Bhikkhu Katukarunde Ñanananda- Concept and Reality , The Nibbana Sermons and Magic of the Mind. and V Bhikkhu Ānalayo (his latest Deepening Insight, Compassion and Emptiness and a couple of his earlier EBT contributions. There are many others I read or would like to read but for now I am with one book only: the Manual of Insight by V V Mahāsi Sayadaw.


The only books that I have felt were worth re-reading, so far, are 1) Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “The Noble Eightfold Path”, it has a bit of Vissudhimagga in it, but oh well, and 2) Ajahn Sona’s “Bloom”, which was the book that told me that it was ok to let go of a lot of the things that friends and family and society were telling me were important, and to instead put my free time into sutta study and meditation practice. Bloom was the attitude adjustment that I needed, like a wise old friend nudging me in the right direction.


I agree, Authenticity is a great read. I have to admit I struggled reading it at first as it is very well referenced and sometimes the references can disrupt the flow of reading IMHO. But well-worth it once you get over that. Very insightful indeed. :anjal:


Your website is most excellent bhante :anjal:


Thank you @Invo for the link to Bhikkhu Nanananda’s Deliverance of The Heart. It’s now too my favorite book on metta. I’ve always had some reservation matching how metta appears in the suttas with the traditional metta model and using the latter I could never really get the benefit I thought I should. I love how the first thing Ven. Nanananda does in his introduction is unpack the Buddha’s way and why it works the way it does. I recall Ven. Analayo doing the same thing, but Ven. Nanananda’s presentation is quite elegant. I find it much more sensible, practical and beneficial. Truly an exciting book! Thank you again!


“In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon” is a useful selection of suttas.

“THE BUDDHIST COSMOS: A Comprehensive Survey of the Early Buddhist Worldview; according to Theravāda and Sarvsātivāda sources”, by Punnadhammo Mahāthero, is an excellent review of how traditional Buddhists understood their scriptures’ cosmology.

“A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path according to The Inquiry of Ugra (Ugraparipṛcchā)”, by Jan Nattier, is an excellent introduction to the development of Mahayana Buddhism.

  1. Anguttara Nikaya [Numerated Discourses]
  2. Samyutta Nikaya [Connected Discourses]
  3. Majjhima Nikaya [Middle-length Discourses]
  4. Digha Nikaya [Long Discourses]
  5. Kuddhaka Nikaya; [Minor Collection]
  • Itivuttaka [As it Was Said]
  • Udana [Inspired Utterances]
  • Sutta Nipata [Collection of Discourses]
  • Dhammapada [Dhammaverses]
  • Theragatha [Poems of Elder Monks]
  • Therigatha [Poems of Elder Nuns]
  1. Theravadin Abhidhamma [Overview of Dhamma];
  • Vibhanga [Classification]
  • Dhammasanghani [Compendium of Dhammas]
  1. Milinda Panha [Questions of King Milinda]

I think these are the most important and practically useful.

1 Like

These days I mostly avoid physical books except for those that I want to be able to read 5, 10, or 20 years into the future. For Buddhism, that means primarily sutras.

For EBT’s, the book I reach to most often is Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Samyutta Nikaya. Runner up would be his translation of the Majjhima Nikaya.

For later texts like Mahayana sutras, I prefer an old paperback compilation called, A Treasury of Mahayana Sutras. It’s just 500 pages of dozens of obscure and lesser-known Mahayana sutras from the Maharatnakuta collection. Quite authentic and representative of what was circulating around India and greater Gandhara in the middle period.


So many beneficial reads over the years, but the following have been most influential:

In the Buddha’s Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Five Nikayas (DN, MN, SN, AN, KN: Dhp, Ud, Snp, Iti, Thag, Thig)
Reading the Buddha’s Discourses in Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Meanings by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
Dhamma Within Reach by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero
Notes on Dhamma/Clearing the Path by Ven. Nanavira
With Right Understanding by Ven. Akincano
Beyond the Horizon of Time by Ven. Punnaji
The New Buddhism by James William Coleman
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen


I have several books on Buddhism that I have found some value in. The ones below are have provided the most value in terms of informing my current, and admittedly incomplete understanding:

The Noble Eightfold Path by Bhikku Bodhi
What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
8 Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha’s Path by Bhante Gunaratana

I would highly recommend each of these. I am currently studying 8 Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha’s Path and have found exceptional value in this book by Bhante Gunaratana. So much so, that I plan to read each of his other books with Mindfulness in Plain English and Loving-Kindness in Plain English next on my list.

I am reminded by Bhante G’s writing, “Even if you read this book a hundred times, it won’t help you unless you put what’s written here into practice. But this book surely will help you if you practice sincerely, investigate your unhappiness fearlessly, and commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to reach lasting happiness.”

Many blessings to you and all who read these words.


I’ve been reading Working With the Five Hindrances by Ajahn Thiradhammo, I believe. It’s a very practically useful and insightful book and has lots of references to EBT as well. :pray:

1 Like