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Andy Puddicombe's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Andy Puddicombe recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Andy Puddicombe's favorite book recommendations of all time.

The hermit-monk Ryokan, long beloved in Japan both for his poetry and for his character, belongs in the tradition of the great Zen eccentrics of China and Japan. His reclusive life and celebration of nature and the natural life also bring to mind his younger American contemporary, Thoreau. Ryokan's poetry is that of the mature Zen master, its deceptive simplicity revealing an art that surpasses artifice. Although Ryokan was born in eighteenth-century Japan, his extraordinary poems, capturing in a few luminous phrases both the beauty and the pathos of human life, reach far beyond time and... more
Recommended by Andy Puddicombe, and 1 others.

Andy PuddicombeMost of his poetry is about living in a home that’s up in the hills, away from everybody else, an incredibly simple life. Really it’s just a commentary on the passing experience of life; on impermanence and everything changing. (Source)

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The Bodhicaryāvatāra

Written in India in the early 8th century AD, Śāntideva's Bodhicaryāvatāra addresses the profound desire to become a Buddha and rescue all beings from suffering. The person who acts upon such a desire is a Bodhisattva. Śāntideva not only makes plain what the Bodhisattva must do and become, he also invokes the powerful feelings of aspiration that underlie such a commitment, employing language which has inspired Buddists ever since it first appeared. Indeed, his book has long been regarded as one of the most popular accounts of the Buddhist's spiritual path. Important as a manual of training... more
Recommended by Andy Puddicombe, Bryan Van Norden, and 2 others.

Andy PuddicombeThe purpose is not to read cover to cover, the purpose is to find out what is the essence you need in that moment that’s going help you live a happier, healthier life, and in turn to help others lead a healthier and happier life. And that’s enough. I still use the book in that way. (Source)

Bryan Van NordenDespite the intimidating title, it’s actually a readable introduction to a certain kind of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. (Source)

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The Life of Milarepa

The Life of Milarepa is the most beloved story of the Tibetan people amd one of the greatest source books for the contemplative life in all world literature. This biography, a true folk tale from a culture now in crisis, can be read on several levels: a personal and moving introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, it is also a profoundly detailed guidebook in the search for consciousness. It presents the quest for spiritual perfection, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. But it is also a powerful and graphic folk tale, full of magic, disaster, feuds, deceptions, and... more
Recommended by Andy Puddicombe, and 1 others.

Andy PuddicombeThis book is a rallying call for giving up life as we know it and transforming the conditioned mind. The fact that I read it, shaved all my hair off, ordained as a Buddhist monk and went into retreat at a monastery is a good indication of how it made me feel. (Source)

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Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

In this modern spiritual classic, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa highlights a common pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The universal human tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement—the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. “The problem,” Trungpa says, “is that ego can convert anything to its own use, even spirituality.” His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and... more
Recommended by Steve Jobs, Andy Puddicombe, and 2 others.

Steve JobsDuring his freshman year at Reed College, Jobs befriended Daniel Kottke, who went on to work at Apple, and together they devoured books such as Shunryu Suzuki’s “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” Chogyam Trungpa’s “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” and Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi,” a book Jobs read and re-read many times during his life. (Source)

Andy PuddicombeHe was calling out probably the biggest trap in the journey of self-discovery, that of spiritual materialism … If we meditate in order to let go of labels, to let go of identity, the last thing we want to do is take on another label: of being ‘spiritual.’ We’re looking to let go of that kind of judgment. (Source)

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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line of Shunryu Suzuki's classic. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it's all about. An instant teaching on the first page. And that's just the beginning.

In the thirty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind...

Steve Jobsoften used the methods found in this book to center himself during difficult moments in his career. He was such an avid practitioner that he considered going to Japan to continue his practice, but was advised against it. (Source)

Kevin RoseIsn’t a religious book, but more on self-realization, study on yourself, breathing exercises, relaxation and understanding human nature. Really cool book, very short read and you will really enjoy reading. (Source)

David Heinemeier HanssonZen Mind, Beginner’s Mind is an introduction to Buddhism and meditation. There are a lot of echoes between Stoicism and Buddhism, and I thought I’d dive deeper into this on recommendation from Eric Dodson (great YouTube channel for existentialist and stoic explainers and introductions). So far I’m finding that there’s longer between the nuggets of wisdom that slot into my brain than with the... (Source)

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