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Michigan State University

Buddhism: Basic Works and Popular Authors

This guide provides basic reference sources, periodical indexes, sacred texts, and suggested popular works about Buddhism.

Basic Works and Popular Authors

Here are a few works to help get started, if you know nothing about this faith. 

Buddhist Handbook, the Complete Guide to Buddhist Schools, Teaching, Practice, and History.   Main BQ 4012 .S64 1998

6 parts:  Why Buddhism?  The Buddha himself.  The basic teachings and practices.  The development of Buddhism in India.  Its spread into other parts of Asia.  It's coming to North America and connections with psychology.  Appendices:  Who's who in Buddhism from a Western perspective  (contains names of noteworthy 19th and 20th century Buddhists with short biographies).  Useful addresses in the U.S.A. and Canada of associations and retreat centers. Information about major Buddhist festivals around the world. Further reading references. 

Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism  Main BQ 4055 .O94 2017

Buddhism, the Illustrated Guide Main BQ 4022 .B83 2001

Buddhism, a Very Short Introduction Main BQ 4022 .K46 1996 also online

Buddhism, What Everyone Needs to Know  Main BQ 4022 .W75 2020

Buddhisms, an Introduction Main BQ 4034 .S87 2015

History of Buddhist Thought Main BL 1420 .T5 1951; 1933 edition is online here

Mahayana Buddhism, the Doctrinal Foundation, 2nd ed. Main BQ 7405 .W55 2009

Tibetan Buddhism, a Very Short Introduction Main BQ 7604 .K37 2013

Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife: Eternity in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam  Main BL 535 .H43 2013 v. 3 covers Buddhism

Four Testaments, Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada, Bhagavad Gita: Sacred Scriptures of Taosim, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism  Main BL 70 .F67 2016  An overview of the Eastern  Religious Traditions with one major text from each of these faiths.  See pp. 215-260 for Buddhism. 


Here's a list of contemporary Buddhist monastics.  Look for works by them in our online catalog, last name first.

Bodi, Bhikkhu
Brahm, Ajahn
Chah, Ajahn
Chodron, Pema
Chodron, Thubten
Gunaratana, Henepola
Khema, Ayya
Nhat, Hanh, Thich
Shenyan, 1930-2009
Sogyal, Rinpoche
Sumedho, Bhikshu
Suzuki, Shunrya
Thubten, Yeshe
Thubten Zopa, Rinpoche
Trungpa, Chogyam
Yongey Mingyar, Rinpoche

Here's a list of contemporary Western teachers of Buddhism.  Look for works by them in our online catalog, last name first.

Boorstein, Sylvia
Goldstein, Joseph, 1944-
Glassman, Bernard (Bernard Tetsugen)
Halifax, Joan
Kornfield, Jack
Porter, Bill
Red Pine (two words, no first name)
Shalzberg, Sharon
Tarrant, John
Thurman, Robert A.F.
Wallace, B. Alan

With thanks to local Buddhist Carolyn White for help with the authors in this section.





Michigan State University