50 Best Meditation Books of All Time ( For Now )

50 Best Meditation Books of All Time ( For Now )

It is a tall order to create a “best of all time” list about meditation books. How does one decide? There are thousands of books on the subject.

That did not stop us from trying, though!

Below you will likely see some familiar titles, but you will also discover a few new ones. We have kept this list brief enough for you to scan. Included with each title are a short summary and Amazon link.

As always, feel free to add your favorite meditation books in the comment section.

5 Books that Focus on a Daily Meditation Practice

If you want to jumpstart your practice, these books are for you.

1. Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions – Lori Deschene

Created from the input of many readers of the Tiny Buddha blog, this book offers many insights to ponder.

Deschene and others explore change, happiness, fate, pain, and more. It also includes tips and exercises.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. 365 Tao: Daily Meditations – Ming-Dao Deng

The simple yet profound wisdom contained in this book is evergreen.

The backdrop of Chinese philosophy, with its centuries-old insights, is a delight to readers.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy – Sarah Ban Breathnach

The authentic self is the soul made visible.” This is a mere taste of what you can expect from this collection of essays.

While its focus is on the spiritual journey of women, men also can find truth here.

Be sure to read, “Standing knee-deep in a river and dying of thirst.”

Find the book on Amazon.

4. The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Taken from his 1000+ lectures and writings, this book of daily mediations opens your soul.

The meditations go beyond the mind’s interpretation of the world and ask us to see our inner self.

Krishnamurti explains that we are the totality of human existence. This classic book is timeless. There’s something for everyone seeking to live more fully.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. Moments of Mindfulness: Daily Inspiration – Thich Nhat Hanh

This book combines Nhat Hanh’s quotes with simple meditation instruction and blank journal pages. The messages center on peace, love, understanding, compassion, and insight. Each week you focus on one meditation.

The design of the book allows one to start on any day of the week. Here is an example of meditation you can think about this week:

“There is no distinction between the one who gives, the one who receives, and the gift itself.”

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Recommended Books to Help Beginners

Meditation is hard. How can anyone be expected to sit still for hours on end? Your mind starts racing and fights to think about anything — even that tiny piece of lint stuck to your pant leg. Oh, and your nose itches.

We have all been beginners. Some of us struggled more than others. If this describes you, then here are some of the best guides to meditation for beginners.

1. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind – Pema Chödrön

If you are having a difficult time getting your practice started, then this is a great book to set you on your path.

Chödrön’s down-to-earth manner is refreshing. The book is comprehensive touching on technique and how to manage thoughts and emotions.

Pay particular attention to the “Six points of posture” chapter. The book includes exercises.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Meditation for Beginners – Jack Kornfield

Kornfield practices vipassana (insight) meditation.

In this book, he teaches you step-by-step how to begin your practice.

He covers breath work, physical sensations, and how to use difficult emotions.

The included practices are simple to learn.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. 8 Minute Meditation Expanded: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life. – Victor Davich

This book is easy-to-read, practical, and engaging from page one.

Davich explains mindfulness as “allowing what is.”

Be here now and allow the experiences to enter into your meditation without judging.

Eight short minutes is a low-threat commitment to what can become a more extended practice.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. Practical Meditation for Beginners: 10 Days to a Happier, Calmer You – Benjamin W. Decker

Decker offers a simple, straightforward way to learn ten meditation techniques.

He begins with zazen, a practice of observing your breath.

Over ten days, you become more confident in your blossoming meditation practice.

His book is available as an audiobook and is free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness – John Yates

This is a beginner’s 10-stage guide to Theravadin Buddhist meditation.

Yates’ background in physiology and neuroscience are helpful and evident in the structure of the material.

He presents a plan for moving through the stages, including goals, pitfalls, skills to develop, and what mastery looks like.

Some might feel this is counter to the idea of meditation; however, his audience is Westerners, who tend to prefer step-by-step guides and milestones.

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Mindfulness Meditation Books

Mindfulness has several practical applications. It is effective in regulating stress, addictions, anger, weight, and grief. Following are five books to get you started on your journey into mindfulness.

1. Mindfulness in Plain English – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Jon Kabat-Zinn called this book “a masterpiece.”

It is a wonderful introduction to the topic covering everything from why do it to how to do it in everyday life.

It includes two chapters on dealing with distractions — because they always happen.

It is also available as an audiobook.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress, and Anger that Trigger Addictive Behaviors – Rebecca E. Williams and Julie S. Kraft

The authors apply mindfulness techniques to treat addictive behaviors. To do this, they use their experience with:

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT),
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

They assert that most addictive behaviors are the result of someone experiencing loss. Their goal is to help people use mindfulness and those therapies to process their grief. Replacing addictive behaviors with healthy ones is a crucial aim.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Kabat-Zinn has become a trusted expert in the field of mindfulness. His goal with this book is to make the concept of mindfulness accessible to all. You will not need to seek outside help or support to use and enjoy the exercises in his book.

One of the points of becoming more mindful is to snap us from our robotic manner of living. Through mindfulness, we learn to be alert.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment – Thich Nhat Hanh

In a brief 141 pages, Nhat Hanh distills what you need to know about practicing mindfulness.

He begins by explaining that happiness and peace are possible. It is easy to believe that this is not true when we are at war with ourselves.

In the final chapter, he brings everything together and tells us how to become truly alive. This book is available as an audiobook.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness – Jan Chozen Bays

Physician and Zen master, Chozen Bays is uniquely qualified to provide guidance. This book includes several exercises with each divided into three sections.

  • Description – This is your introduction to the exercise. It tells you what to do, how to do it, and how to remind yourself to do it.
  • Discoveries – In this section, you find out what other people learned from the exercise. Research findings show up in this part of the exercise.
  • Deeper lessons – Chozen Bays offers insights about how the exercise connects to one’s life.

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Books Dedicated to Transcendental Meditation

People throughout the world practice Transcendental Meditation. The following books will help you decide if this practice is for you.

1. Science of Being and Art of Living – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

This is where TM started. From this book, you will learn the history and philosophy behind TM and some of its benefits.

It is not intended to teach you how to practice TM.

Transcendental Meditation is best learned from a teacher, according to Maharishi Yogi.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation – Norman E. Rosenthal

Rosenthal explains how the consistent practice of TM can change your state of mind.

If you are looking for an overview of the benefits of TM, then this is a useful read.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation – Norman E. Rosenthal

Both of the above titles are not “how-to” books about TM. This is one of the criticisms from reviewers. They do offer insights about TM and primarily focus on its benefits.

The practice involves using a word or sound as a mantra. The mantra comes from the Vedic tradition, and the teacher gives it to the student. The expectation is that you will practice your mantra for twenty minutes, twice per day.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Jack Forem

Like the previous two, this book recounts the author’s experience with TM and the benefits of meditation.

It does not teach you how to do TM.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. The Transcendental Meditation TM Book: How to Enjoy the Rest of Your Life – Denise Denniston

This bestselling book approaches the topic in a playful, humorous way.

It does not teach you how to practice TM.

The technique is, according to Denniston, “simple, natural, easy, effortless, effective, and fun.”

If you are a TM practitioner, feel free to share your insights in the comment section.

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Vipassana Meditation Books

Simple, yet profound is an apt description of this form of meditation. Read the books in this section to discover why.

1. Manual of Insight – Mahasi Sayadaw

Sayadaw was one of the original proponents of the vipassana movement.

This book gives you a sound overview of insight meditation. It teaches the philosophical foundations of the practice, discusses self-discipline, and basic concentration. Sayadaw also explores the various types of insight. Chapter five contains practical instructions for practicing vipassana.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Mindfulness and Insight: The Mahasi Method – Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw

The goal of this text is to help you get past attachment and aversion so that you can reach enlightenment.

It explores in greater detail mindfulness and insight knowledge. Divided into two parts, the first teaches you how to develop mindfulness.

The second offers guidance for beginning your insight practice. It covers beginner through advanced levels.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Insight Meditation: A Step-by-step Course on How to Meditate – Sharon Salzberg

This is exactly what the title says. In twelve lessons, you learn how to develop a vipassana practice.

It is open and accessible to anyone wanting to increase their awareness and rid themselves of painful ruminations.

The course includes a workbook, two CDs, and note cards containing helpful teachings. Salzberg is a leading expert in insight meditation.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation – Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield

This is an excellent guide for beginners and more experienced practitioners.

You will discover the main ideas and practices involved in insight meditation. Alongside these are useful exercises to broaden your understanding. If you struggle with meditation, pay close attention to chapter four in the first section. It discusses common challenges, including painful knees.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. Realizing Change: Vipassana Meditation in Action – Ian Hetherington

If you are curious about what it is like to take part in a silent retreat, then this book is for you.

Hetherington’s book offers you a first-hand account of the practice.

Through stories from practitioners, you get a glimpse of what it might be like for yourself.

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Books on Zen and Buddhist Meditation

When you see the word “Zen,” what comes to mind? Years ago, it would have been images of vegetarian hippies living in a commune. Now, though, it could just as easily be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

These books provide everything you need to understand what Zen meditation is about.

1. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice – Shunryu Suzuki

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki

All things Zen begin and end with this quote. If one is to know or learn nothing more about Zen practice, this would be the key thing to remember.

An Amazon reviewer expressed it this way, “It is about the correct attitude with which to approach our practice.”

Find the book on Amazon.

2. The Three Pillars of Zen – Roshi Philip Kapleau

Kapleau, the founder of the Rochester Zen Center, shares his experience learning and teaching.

He provides the history of Zen, including its practice. Kapleau makes a point to write that knowing the history is not a prerequisite to Zen practice. Students learn Zen history from their teachers, much like children learn a language — through repeated interactions.

Considered by many to be the best introduction to Zen, this book deserves a space on your virtual and physical bookshelf.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners: Clear Answers to Burning Questions About Core Buddhist Teachings – Noah Rasheta

Rasheta employs a Q/A format to answer your burning questions about Buddhism.

He has studied various traditions, so he attempts to explain concepts with this in mind.

The book includes “Everyday Buddhism” sidebars to breakdown more abstract ideas. The text is conversational and practical. Rasheta also hosts a popular podcast called Secular Buddhism.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice – Meido Moore

There are two schools of Zen Buddhism in the West.

The first is Soto; the second is the basis for this book.

Rinzai Zen practitioners want to understand the true nature of the self and the universe. Moore offers a detailed introduction to this practice.

Rinzai focuses on discipline and koan practice. A koan is a type of paradoxical riddle. The origins of this practice date back to the Chinese Tang dynasty.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. Practical Zen: Meditation and Beyond – Julian Daizan Skinner

Another book in the Rinzai tradition, this one offers an easy-to-follow guide.

Skinner provides a precise sequence of techniques, including the use of koans.

Written in a down-to-earth style, this book keeps your attention.

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Guided Meditation Books

Guided meditations are one of the easiest ways to begin a meditation practice. Sit, breath, and listen.

1. Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings – Stephen Levine

One of the nice aspects of this book is that the author discusses and explains the use of guided meditation.

This helps to frame every topic that follows. He includes an introduction to loving-kindness meditation, then guides you through your own experience.

There are also meditations about eating, releasing, and forgiving. It is not available as an audiobook.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life – Agapi Stassinopoulos

The format of this book alternates between a brief explanation, followed by a guided meditation.

The topics range from being a people pleaser to knowing your true glamour.

It is available as an audiobook.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Magical Inner Journeys: 44 Guided Imagery Scripts to Inspire Self-Discovery with SoulCollage – Anne Marie Bennett

Bennett’s book is useful for group facilitators and individuals.

Through the scripts, you explore your inner voices and wisdom.

She offers tips for what to say before and after using the imagery scripts with groups.

Bennett also shares ideas to help individuals best use the scripts.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. The Healing Waterfall: 100 Guided Imagery Scripts for Counselors, Healers & Clergy – Max Highstein

This book covers a lot of ground. Topics include finding peace, healing, sleep, wellbeing, and insight.

The author provides several suggestions for setting the stage before beginning the scripts.

The book is not necessarily for you to use on your own though you could record the scripts.

Counselors and other people in healing professions might find this book most helpful.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. Guided Meditation: Six Essential Practices to Cultivate Love, Awareness, and Wisdom – Jack Kornfield

Kornfield has many guided meditation audiobooks.

His voice is soothing and at the same time, engaging.

There is an emphasis on sensations, particularly related to the breath.

Find the book on Amazon.

The 5 Bestsellers on Amazon

The Kindle bestseller list is long and ever-changing, but here are a few books worth a look.

1. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World – His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams

What is the nature of true joy? What are the obstacles to attaining it?

Both the Dalai Lama and Rev. Tutu share their insights through a week-long conversation.

Thought-provoking perceptions and humor permeate the text.

You might especially enjoy the Joy Practices chapter at the end.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program – Sharon Salzberg

If you are a beginner, check out this number one Kindle bestseller.

Salzberg walks you through a 28-day insight meditation program. You will learn the how and why of meditation, breathing, and about sensations.

She also discusses dealing with difficult emotions and loving-kindness meditation. It is available free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Be aware that it includes audio files that might be inaccessible.

Read the requirements for getting them before purchasing to avoid frustration.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Dear Universe: 200 Mini-Meditations for Instant Manifestations – Sarah Prout

Prout offers 200 mini meditations to help you tackle your demons whatever they are.

The flow of the book allows you to ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” and then flip to that page in the book.

For example, if you are feeling abandoned, turn to that page to read the mini-meditation. Her voice is thoughtful, insightful, and encouraging.

Find the book on Amazon.

4. You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life – Rebekah Borucki

This book is down-to-earth, approachable, and actionable.

The conversational tone invites you in like a friend asking if you would like a “tea and chat.”

Borucki covers the usual challenge of starting a meditation practice — no time. She crushes a few myths – You have to meditate for a long time, right?

Her meditations are bite-size, like a potato chip so anyone can do them. It is available as an audiobook.

Find the book on Amazon.

5. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation – Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation taught through a series of anecdotes is a good start to a budding practice.

Our minds can’t help but to engage when we hear someone begin to tell a story.

Stories help us remember key points. This book is a translation of a letter Nhat Hanh wrote to his colleagues in Vietnam. It is personal and direct in its approach. He emphasizes breath work and being present.

Find the book on Amazon.

5 Meditation Coloring Books

When you need a break, why not try coloring? Each of these books opens your mind to be more creative and relaxed.

  • The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy for Busy People
    70 intricate patterns to help you feel calm – Emma Farrarons (Amazon)
  • Modern Meditation: Coloring For Focus and Creativity
    75 patterns designed to focus your brain – Stan Rodski (Amazon)
  • Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation
    100 designs to ease your mind – Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter (Amazon)
  • Meditation Coloring Book: Wonderful images to melt your worries away
    Beautiful mandala designs to help you de-stress – Patience Coster (Amazon)
  • The Art of Mandala: Adult Coloring Book Featuring Beautiful Mandalas Designed to Soothe the Soul
    Enjoy 50 unique hand-drawn illustrations – Jason Hamilton (Amazon)

5 Meditation Audiobook Recommendations (Incl. Links)

This was a difficult list to create. There are so many worthy contenders. The hope is that you will find one or two you have not yet experienced.

1. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity – David Lynch

Lynch shares his meditation journey and how it opened him creatively. His personal accounts are relatable and at times, entertaining.

Find the audiobook on Audible.

2. The Art of Living – Thich Nhat Hanh

Experience seven meditations that can free you to live in more peace. These meditations open you to be happier, more active, and age gracefully.

Find the audiobook on Audible.

3. Why Can’t I Meditate?: How to Get Your Mindfulness Practice on Track – Nigel Wellings

Wellings learned that people have similar reasons for stopping. The primary one is that meditation brings unpleasant emotions front and center. This can be scary.

Through the experiences of experts, and people who’ve started, quit, and started again, you gain insights into how to create a lasting practice.

Find the audiobook on Amazon.

4. The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S. N. Goenka – William Hart with S.N. Goenka

This is among the best introductions for anyone interested in vipassana. This type of meditation, taught in 10-days, is simple to learn. It is not dogma driven.

Find the audiobook on Audible.

5. Teachings of the Buddha: Revised and Expanded – Jack Kornfield

This compilation of writings from Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese sources gives the listener much to consider. The passages touch on freedom, wisdom, the enlightened mind, and more. You will gain a better understanding of how to approach meditation.

Find the audiobook on Amazon.


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