BCBS library, icy winter winter

Recommended Books

For each category, Mu Soeng, BCBS Scholar in Residence responsible for the BCBS library, has selected the key texts for your guidance. The first section, “New Books,” highlights recently published works of interest from all categories. Although we have a section on meditation, we focus on resources for studying Buddhist texts in particular. Many other places on the web have done an excellent job of listing general interest Dharma books and meditation resources; for example, the Insight Meditation Society offers many of these here.

Here is a downloadable pdf of the recommended books list.

Other books of interest, for free download:

Dhamma Dana Publications, a program coordinated by the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, makes the following Dhamma books available for free download. Hard copies of these and other Dhamma books are available to those who visit our campus. To save resources (both the Earth’s and those of BCBS), we are no longer mailing hard copies. You may download the pdf files below and read or print them as you wish. There are also links below for most of the books to pages on archive.org where you will find other types of free files (DjVU, which stores scans of books; flipbook, for on-screen reading) as well. May all beings find true liberation.


Pressing Out Pure Honey

Sharda Rogell

Click here to download pdf (1.1 MB).

This manual has been prepared as a study guide for practitioners to Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, or the Middle-Length Discourses of the Buddha. Sometimes, one can feel daunted by the size of this large body of work and can be deterred from even beginning to read the text. Yet, this collection of the second of the Buddha’s discourses found in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon contains some of the most profound teachings, and it covers a wide range of the Buddha’s radical insights into the nature of existence.



The Mind Like Fire Unbound

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Click here to download pdf (0.4 MB)

Click here for other file options at archive.org

Early Buddhism borrowed two of its central terms from the workings of fire. Upadana, or clinging, originally referred to the fuel that kept fire burning; nibbana, the name of the goal, to a fire’s going out. This is the first book to examine these terms from the perspective of how the early Buddhists themselves viewed fire—what they say happening as a fire burned, and what happened to the fire when it went out—to show what light this perspective throws on Buddhist doctrine in general, and the practice of meditation in particular. With extensive quotations from the Pali Canon, newly translated, this is also a useful sourcebook for anyone who wants to encounter Buddhist teachings in their earliest known context.


An Unentangled Knowing
Upasika Kee Nanayon

Click here to download pdf (0.5 MB)

Upasika Kee Nanayon, who wrote under the penname K. Khao-suan-luang, was one of the foremost woman teachers of Dhamma in modern Thailand. Born in 1901, she started a practice center for women in 1945 on a hill in the province of Rajburi, to the west of Bangkok, where she lived until her death in 1978. Known for the simplicity of her way of life, and for the direct, uncompromising style of her teaching, she had a way with words evident not only in her talks, which attracted listeners from all over Thailand, but also in her poetry, which was widely published. This volume contains the most extensive collection of her teaching yet available in English, together with an introduction that indicates her place in the history of Theravadin Buddhist practice.


The Wings to AwakeningThanissaro Bhikkhu

Click here to download pdf (1.2 MB)

Click here for other file options at archive.org

The Wings to Awakening constitute the Buddha’s own list of his most important teachings. Toward the end of his life, he stated several times that as long as the teachings in this list were remembered and put into practice, his message would endure. Thus the Wings constitute, in the Buddha’s eyes, the words and skills most worth mastering and passing along to others. This text includes copious new translations from the Pali Canon, and serves as a very useful anthology of the Buddha’s most essential teachings.


Dhammapada; A TranslationThanissaro Bhikkhu

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Click here for other file options at archive.org

The Dhammapada, an anthology of verses attributed to the Buddha, has long been recognized as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. Only more recently have scholars realized that it is also one of the early masterpieces in the Indian tradition of kavya, or belles lettres. This translation of the Dhammapada is an attempt to render the verses in English in a way that does justice to both of the traditions to which the text belongs.


Strong Roots: Liberation Teachings of Mindfulness in North AmericaJake H. Davis

Click here to download pdf (3.9 MB)

How does a human practice change, and how can it possibly stay the same in the process of transmission between very different cultures? As one Theravada Buddhist method of mindfulness meditation is imported from Burma to the United States, for instance, how is the practice reborn and how are the Americans transformed? This books aims to demonstrate both theoretically and practically the importance of operating from a coherent teaching lineage and continually returning to it to frame new interpretations.


Itivuttaka: This Was Said by the BuddhaThanissaro Bhikkhu

Click here to download pdf (0.4 MB)

Click here for other file options at archive.org

The Itivuttaka, a collection of 112 short discourses, takes its name from the statement at the beginning of each of its discourses: this (iti) was said (vuttam) by the Blessed One. It has long been one of the favorite collections in the Pali Canon, for it covers a wide range of the Buddha’s teachings—from the simplest to the most profound—in a form that is accessible, appealing, and to the point. However, although the discourses in the Itivuttaka cover many topics, they all relate to a common theme: the consequences of one’s actions, or kamma.