Recommended Books

Here’s a link to this in PDF format:  rab-booklist-feb-2006  Note: there’s a key at the bottom.

From China

Way of Life According to Lao Tzu, Witter Bynner (Perigee Books/Putnam)

A universal classic; poetry expressing the inexpressibles of mysticism beautifully.

I Ching or Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes (PrincetonUniversity Press)

Wise ancient text with roots in divination; determine and deal with current energies.

Sun Tzu on The Art of War, Samuel B. Griffith (Oxford Paperbacks)

Life is battle; why not learn from one of the first experts?Thought-provoking.

From Tibet

Tibet’s Great Yogi, Milarepa, W.Y. Evans-Wentz (Oxford Univ. Press)

Inspiring story of the enlightenment process of most famous Tibetan yogi.

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, W.Y. Evans-Wentz (OxfordUniv. Press)

Translation of central teachings texts from various practices; hard-core and essential.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche (Harper Collins)

Modern Tibetan yogi’s take on how incorporating Tibetan concepts can help today.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, W.Y. Evans-Wentz (OxfordUniv. Press)

Tibetan Classic read as preparation and cheat-sheet for the journey between lives.

Tibetan Book of Great Liberation, W.Y. Evans-Wentz (OxfordUniv. Press)

Padma-Sambhava, radical Enlightened Teacher who brought Buddhism to Tibet.

The Great Path of Awakening, Jamgon Kongtrul (Shambhala Publications, Inc.)

Teachings on using and alleviating suffering in the development of compassion.

Masters of Enchantment: Lives & Legends of Mahasiddhas, Dowman (Inner Trad.)

Buddha’s Lions: The Lives of the 84 Siddhas, J.R. Robinson (Dharma Publishing)

Two books with translations of lives of the Siddhas: yoginis and yogi with ‘powers’.

The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane, Surya Das (HarperSanFrancisco)

Short tales about Tibetan yoginis and yogis; eccentricity meets Enlightenment!

Westerners in the East

Surfing the Himalayas, Frederick Lenz Ph.D. (St. Martin’s Press)

First book by the young pre-Enlightened Rama about “running into” his own teacher.

Snowboarding to Nirvana, Frederick Lenz Ph.D. (St. Martin’s Press)

Second book, describing further adventures in Rama’s radical Buddhist education.

A Journey in Ladakh, Andrew Harvey (Houghton Miffin Co.)

Briton travels to Himalayas to find the heart of Tibetan Buddhism in its practice.

Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind, Maura Soshin O’Halloran (Riverhead Books)

Inspiring, gritty notebook of young Irish woman who became a Zen nun in Japan.

Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel (Vintage Books/Random House)

German in Japan early in century peaks into art of using whatever we do as Zen.

Cave in the Snow – Tenzin Palmo’s Quest for Enlightenment, Vicki Mackenzie (Bloomsbury)

Englishwoman finds teacher from her male past lives and insists on engaging in deep practices.

The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion, ChinaGalland (Riverhead/Putnam)

Pilgrimage provides stark new perceptions of compassion, spirituality, and engagement.

From India

Dhammapada, the Sayings of the Buddha, Thomas Byrom (Shambala Pocket)

Poetic cheat-sheet of the heart of Buddha’s teachings; ancient classic; inspiring “bites”.

Teachings of the Buddha,Ed. Jack Kornfield (Shambala Pocket Classics)

Collection of pithy short stories and teachings from variety of Buddhist traditions.

Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God, Prabhavananda/Isherwood (Mentor)

Called Hindu Bible, actually beautiful and tight recap of multiple yogic methods.

Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda (Self-Realization Fellowship)

Young yogi meets with wise men and women in struggle to find teacher and path.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – Abridged, M (Ramakrishna-VivekanandaCenter)

The teachings of an Enlightened Teacher from last century India; very inspiring.

How to Know God: Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, Prabhavanda (Vedanta Press)

Cutting to the chase about yoga and meditation; takes several readings but short.

Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination, Prabhavanda/Isherwood (Vedanta Press)

Clear, concise version of Jnana yoga: harnessing the power of the mind.

Karma Yoga, Swami Vivekenanda (Ramakrishna-VivekanandaCenter)

Readable and inspiring book on karma the “work yoga”; Vedanta with a Tantric tone.

The Ramayana (various versions)

Story of Rama the warrior; an incarnation of Vishnu the God of Preservation.

The Mahabharata (various versions)

Epic Story of battle between light & dark, in and outside; background for the Gita.

Be As You Are: The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, D. Godman (Arkana)

Insights from another Enlightened Teacher from India in the early 20th century.

The Concise Yoga Vasistha, Swami Venkatesananda (SUNY Press)

Classical Indian scripture; Rama’s spiritual questions and his teacher’s answers.

The Americas

Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda (Pocket Books)

Introduction to the radically Buddhist-like teachings of Native American occultism.

Tales of Power, Carlos Castaneda (Pocket Books)

More teachings from Don Juan; continues developing Western vocabulary for yoga.

Power of Silence: Further Lessons of Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda (Pocket Books)

Stories about the teachings of Don Juan’s lineage of men and women of knowledge.

Walden, Henry David Thoreau (Bantam)

Classic musings on choosing and sustaining a life of simplicity.

Awakening Loving-Kindness, Pema Chodron (Shambala Pocket Classics)

Teachings from a Western nun in the Tibetan tradition; heartfelt and clear.

Start Where You Are – A Guide to Compassionate Living, Pema Chodron (Shambala)

Talks by Western nun to make The Great Path of Awakening teachings contemporary.

The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Strategies For Managing Your Business And Your Life,

Michael Roach (Doubleday) Explains “what you focus on you become” in Buddhist terms.

Women and Self-Discovery

Sky Dancer – The Secret Life and Songs of Lady Yeshe Tsogyel, Keith Dowman (Snow Lion)

The most famous Enlightened Women in Tibet; consort of PadmaSambhava. True tantra!

Women of Wisdom, Tsultrim Allione (Arkana)

Stories of four famous Tibetan yoginis, plus good foreword on modern practice.

Passionate Enlightenment : Women in Tantric Buddhism, Miranda Shaw

Explores the role of women in the development of Tibetan Vajrayana.

Daughter of Fire: Diary of Spiritual Training with Sufi Master, Irina Tweedie (Golden Sufi)

Woman studies with Sufi master, reaches first levels of attainment through giving it her all.

The Long Quiet Highway – Walking Up in America, Natalie Goldberg (Bantam)

Autobiography of American woman, and her relationship with her teacher, a Zen monk.

The First Buddhist Women, Susan Murcott (Parallax Press)

Of some historical interest. “Enlightenment verses” of first female Buddhist disciples.

Unplugging the Patriarchy, Lucia Rene.

Spiritual adventure written as combination call-to-arms, recap of mysticism as taught by Rama, and empowerment for women ready to stand in their power.

Buddhist Background Texts

Fundamentals of Mainstream Buddhism, Eric Cheetham (Charles E. Tuttle Co.)

Simple explanation of common terms and concepts; more for information than inspiration.

A Buddhist Bible, Dwight Goddard (Beacon Press)

Early Western attempt to select representative teachings; Chinese section is real deal.

The Words of My Perfect Teacher, Patrul Rinpoche (Shambala)

This is the soup to nuts of basic Tibetan teachings by one of greatest teachers of 19th century.

Luminous Mind – The Way of the Buddha, Kalu Rinpoche (Wisdom Publications)

Similar book on basic teachings by 20th century holy man.High vibe, even if difficult.


Lifetimes – True Accounts of Reincarnation, Frederick Lenz (Fawcett Crest)

Older book in which a pre-Enlightened Rama interviewed dozens on their experiences.

Reborn in the West – The Reincarnation Masters, Vicki Mackenzie (Marlowe)

Journalist writes “search for the truth” book; its highest story is about woman Tulku.

Coping with the World As It Is

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (Pocket Books)

The original self-help book – still relevant to help you develop better people skills.

The Dance of Anger – A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships

Harriet Lerner (HarperPerennial)Different angle: learn to “use” anger.Tantra anyone?

Hardball for Women – Winning at the Game of Business, Pat Heim, Ph.D. (Plume)

Explains why what men do in business can be a mystery to women.Knowledge is power!

How to Get Control of Your Time and Life, Alan Lakein (Signet Books)

Gets you started – as they say, find what you need and leave the rest.

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie (Three Rivers/Random)

Radical yet pragmatic approach of stepping out of mind’s distortions into a reality we can love.


Siddhartha, Herman Hesse (Bantam Classics)

An easily read, early “finding the self” classic on spiritual growth and enlightenment.

The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield (Warner Books)

Set as a mystery story, a mildly challenging examination of new age principles of change.


The Enlightened Heart, Stephen Mitchell (Harper Perennial)

A sampler of mystical poetry from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim traditions.

Insights – – Tantric Buddhist Reflections on Life, Frederick Lenz Ph.D. (FL Foundation)

Koan-like poetry you might not expect from a teacher of Enlightenment, which is the point.

On Meditation

How To Meditate, Frederick Lenz Ph.D. (Frederick Lenz Foundation)

Transcriptions of Dr. Lenz’s recorded talks on meditation, helpful to deepen one’s practice.


Highly recommended and/or assigned by Rama/Dr. Frederick Lenz[or one he authored]

Recommended or mentioned at some point by Rama

Recommended by other teachers and/or D.


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