Recommended Classic Buddhist E-books

Below are a number of highly recommended e-Buddhist books that give a clear introduction to the basic tenets and practices of classic Buddhism as a living philosophy of life.

The Four Noble Truths by Ajahn Sumedho
A. Sumedho

This is a fine 70-page introduction to the more in depth topics of mainstream Buddhism. While comprising only four chapters, one for each of the Noble Truths, Sumedho illuminates the core of the Buddha’s teachings. His down-to-earth and straightforward style is intended for a contemporary western audience. This is a good place to begin your journey on the Buddhist path.

The Eightfold Path for the Householder by Jack Kornfield

This text is a transcript of teachings given by Jack Kornfeld on the Eightfold Path. These teachings are aimed at the householder. Each part of the Eightfold Path is explained in a separate chapter. The tone of the teaching is contemporary and non-technical. The universality and relevance of the Buddha’s teaching are illustrated by numerous quotations from more recent luminaries. There are also some useful exercises which enable the reader to experience the truth of these teachings.

Tree of Enlightenment — Dr Peter D. Santina

This book is an elaboration of Dr Santina “Fundamentals of Buddhism”. In keeping with the original objectives of the study of basic Buddhism, this book is – as far as possible – non-technical. It is intended for the ordinary readers not having any special expertise in Buddhist studies or in Buddhist canonical languages. This book can supply a general introduction to the major traditions of Buddhism, but does not pretend to be complete or definitive. This book will serve as the beginning of its readers’ Buddhist education and not the end of it.

Dharma Mind, Worldly Mind — David Smith

The first part of the book tells us what we need to put in place for complete Dharma practice – the Eightfold Path, going for refuge, and the Bodhisattva spirit. In the second half the book shows us how to turn those requisites into a genuine living practice that embraces the whole of our life thus surely leading to the profound transformation that we all desire.

Early Buddhist Discourses – John J. Holder early-discourses-book

Twenty discourses from the Pali Canon–including those most essential to the study and teaching of early Buddhism–are provided in fresh translations, accompanied by introductions that highlight the main themes and set the ideas presented in the context of wider philosophical and religious issues. Taken together, these fascinating works give an account of Buddhist teachings directly from the earliest primary sources.

In his General Introduction, John J. Holder discusses the structure and language of the Pali Canon–its importance within the Buddhist tradition and the historical context in which it developed–and gives an overview of the basic doctrines of early Buddhism.

Buddhism as a religion  — Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda

The contents of this popular publication are a simple exposition of Buddhism as a modern way of life. This highly qualified Sri Lankan Buddhist scholar has a special gift of interpreting the Buddha’s Teachings for people from every walk of life. His whole approach to the exposition of the Dhamma is governed by his deep concern for giving the ancient teachings a contemporary relevance, and has a meaning that cuts across the boundaries of time, space, race, culture and even religious beliefs.

What Buddhist Believe? — Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda

This expanded 4th edition of “What Buddhists Believe” answers many questions which are asked about Buddhism by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. There are so many misconceptions regarding superstitions and misinterpretations which are associated with this noble religion that it has become imperative to explain the Teachings in a manner which has contemporary relevance.

Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism — Sutra Translation Committee of USA/Canada.

NOTE: This is a revised and expanded edition of The Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism. The text is a compendium of excerpts and quotations from some 350 works by monks, nuns, professors, scholars and other laypersons from nine different countries, in their own words or in translation. The editors have merely organized the material, adding a few connecting thoughts of their own for ease in reading.

Meaning of Conversion – Sangharakshita

If someone is a Buddhist in the West, the chances are they have converted to Buddhism. But what does this mean? In this book the Buddhist life is viewed as a process of conversion at deeper and deeper levels – as a perpetual revolution.

Buddha’s Victory – Sangharakshita

The author tells of five incidents from the Buddha’s life and reflects on their significance: the Buddha’s struggle for Enlightenment, his first communication of the Enlightenment to others, his reluctance to admit women into his Order, his encounter with a monk with dysentery and his final passing away into parinirvana.

Buenas Preguntas, Buenas Respuestas

Budismo en español. Este es un libro muy popular de preguntas y respuestas  sobre el  budismo escrito por el Venerable S. Dhammika. This is a very popular Spanish language book on questions and answers on basic Buddhism. Read the answers to questions that people often ask about the Buddha’s Teachings with Venerable S. Dhammika. The book covers topics such as What is Buddhism? Basic Buddhist Concepts, Buddhism and the god Idea, The Five Precepts, Rebirth, Meditation, Wisdom and Compassion, Vegetarianism, Good Luck and Fate and Becoming a Buddhist.