Books for Study and Reflection

"Books have made a tremendous impact in my spiritual life, helping me to formulate in words the incredible wordless inner experiences I've been subject to, often in unexpected ways. I emphasize that the books don't give one the experiences, but they might help one put them into words. I've compiled a fairly brief list of what I feel to be the most important texts that students of the path of awareness could study. This list barely scratches the surface, but we have to start somewhere. I'm sure these books could occupy any diligent student for years." -- Petros (6/5/03)


Petros recommends that one begin study with the "Classic Scripture" category, as every modern writer owes a primary debt to these original source materials. Most are available in a variety of translations; find one you feel comfortable with. Give yourself a solid grounding in these basic texts before moving on to the other categories, starting with "Modern Classics." All the books listed below will greatly repay multiple readings, and you will find more to learn as you grow. Most are available in online editions and eBooks, also. Classic scriptures are commonly available for free or very low cost both online and at local libraries.


Classic Scripture

I Ching
Tao Te Ching
Bhagavad Gita
Ashtavakra Gita

The Zen Teaching of Huang Po (Trans. Blofeld)
Diamond Sutra
Madymakavatara (Nagarjuna)

Words of My Perfect Teacher (Patrul Rinpoche)
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali


Modern Classics

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga (Vivekananda)
The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi
Chidakash Gita (Sky of the Heart) (Nityananda)
Play of Consciousness (Muktananda)
I Am That (Nisargadatta Maharaj)
The Truth Is (H.W.L. Poonja)
Krishnamurti's dialogues (various titles)
Osho / Rajneesh discourses (various titles)
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (Suzuki)


On the Teacher/Student Relationship

The Life of Milarepa
Autobiography of a Yogi (Yogananda)
Daughter of Fire (Irina Tweedie)
The Face Before I Was Born (Llewellen Vaughn-Lee)
Struggle of the Magicians (William Patrick Patterson)
As It Is: A Year on the Road with a Tantric Teacher (M. Young)
Do You Need a Guru? (Marianna Kaplan)


Modern Fiction

Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse)
Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein)
The Outsider (Colin Wilson)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence (Robert Pirsig)
Lila (Robert Pirsig)
Illusions (Richard Bach)
Running From Safety (Richard Bach)
“Don Juan” Series (Carlos Casteneda)


Scientific Sufism

Meetings with Remarkable Men (Gurdjieff)
Views from the Real World (Gurdjieff)
In Search of the Miraculous (Ouspensky)
The Fourth Way (Ouspensky)
Learning How to Learn (Idries Shah)
Knowing How to Know (Idries Shah)
Way of the Sufi (Idries Shah)
Practical Work on Self (E.J. Gold)
The Joy of Sacrifice (E.J. Gold)

Psychedelic Spirituality

The Doors of Perception (Aldous Huxley)
Psychedelic Prayers (Timothy Leary)
Varieties of Psychedelic Experience (Masters & Houston)
Center of the Cyclone (John C. Lilly)
Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment (Thaddeus Golas)
The Food of the Gods (Terence McKenna)


Science and Consciousness

The Tao of Physics (Fritjof Capra)
The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Gary Zukav)
Stalking the Wild Pendulum (Bentov)
The Crack in the Cosmic Egg (Joseph Chilton Pierce)


Twentieth Century Writers and Teachers

Stephen Gaskin
J. Krishnamurti
U.G. Krishnamurti
Shunryu Suzuki
Chogyam Trungpa
Alan Watts


The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)
Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)
Little Buddha (1993)
Echoes of Enlightenment (2001)
Waking Life (2001)
What the Bleep Do We Know? (2004)
Short Cut to Nirvana (2004)
The Celestine Prophecy (2006)
Peaceful Warrior (2006)