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Essential Readings in Traditional

    and Contemporary Mystical Literature

Seasoned students of comparative mysticism will be familiar with many of the following titles. For newer spiritual aspirants, this list will serve as a basic introduction to more than sixty selected classics and recommended texts on mysticism. This list will be periodically updated. In addition, we have provided links to books that are in the Public Domain and available online (except where noted). We have enabled the print feature on this page for IE browsers to allow for easy printout of this material.


Our emphasis is on practical rather than theoretical knowledge. While books are valuable tools for the serious aspirant, it is useful to remember what Jesus declared: "The kingdom of God is found within you" (Lk. 17:21).

     - John Roger Barrie

Comparative Mysticism

  F. C. Happold, Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology

  Walter T. Stace, The Teachings of the Mystics

  Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism [emphasizes Roman Catholic saints]


Buddhism - General

  William Theodore de Bary (ed.), The Buddhist Tradition in India, China and Japan

  Christmas Humphries (ed.), The Wisdom of Buddhism


Buddhism - Theravada

  Narada Mahathera, Buddhism in a Nutshell

  Nyanaponika Thera, The Power of Mindfulness

  Nyanatiloka Mahathera, The Word of the Buddha

  Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught

  U Silananda, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness


Buddhism - Tibetan

  The 14th Dalai Lama, Kindness, Clarity, and Insight

  Dilgo Khyentse, Enlightened Courage

  Lama Yeshe, Introduction to Tantra


Buddhism - Zen

  William Barrett (ed.), Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings of D. T. Suzuki

  John Blofeld (trans.), The Zen Teaching of Huang Po on the Transmission of Mind

  Richard B. Clarke (trans.), Hsin Hsin Ming - Faith in the Ultimate Reality, by the Third Zen Patriarch

  Thomas Hoover, The Zen Experience

  Red Pine (trans.), The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

  Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind


Christianity - General

  The New International Version, The New Testament

  Gerald Heard, The Creed of Christ (not in public domain)

  Henry Koestline, What Jesus Said About It


Christianity - Orthodox

  R. M. French (trans.), The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way

  Timothy Ware (ed.), The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology


Christianity - Protestant

  Joseph D. Driskill, Protestant Spiritual Exercises

  Peter Erb (trans.), True Christianity, by Johann Arndt


Christianity - Roman Catholic

  John Beevers (trans.), Abandonment to Divine Providence, by John-Pierre de Caussade

  John J. Delaney (trans.), The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence

  William Johnston (trans.), The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling  

  Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (trans.), The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross

  E. Allison Peers (trans.), Interior Castle, by St. Teresa of Avila

  A. Reinhold (ed.), The Soul Afire: Revelations of the Mystics

  Leo Sherley-Price (trans.), The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas A' Kempis


Hinduism - Vaishnavism

  Swami Paramananda (trans.), Srimad Bhagavad Gita

  Swami Tapasyananda (trans.), Srimad Bhagavad Gita


Hinduism - Vedanta

  Swami Adishwarananda, The Vedanta Way to Peace and Happiness

  Swami Nikhilananda (trans.), Self-Knowledge, by Shankara

  Swami Nikhilananda (trans.), The Upanishads [one-volume abridged edition]

  H. P. Shastri (trans.), World Within the Mind [extracts from the Yoga-Vasishtha]


Hinduism - Yoga & Meditation

  Swami Adishwarananda, Meditation & Its Practices

  Swami Paramananda, Concentration and Meditation

  Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood (trans.), How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali


Hinduism - Modern Teachers

  David Godman (ed.), Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

  M. N. Gupta (trans.), The Condensed Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

  Sri Ramakrishna Math (ed.), Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna


Judaism - General & Hasidism

  Arthur Green and Barry W. Holtz (trans.), Your Word is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer

  Louis Jacobs (ed.), The Jewish Mystics


Judaism - Renewal

  Avram Davis, The Way of Flame: A Guide to the Forgotten Mystical Tradition of Jewish Meditation

  Aryeh Kaplan, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide


Sufism -General & Anthologies

  Nahid Angha, Principles of Sufism

  Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sufi Essays

  Reynold A. Nicholson, The Mystics of Islam

  Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam

  Margaret Smith (trans.), Readings from the Mystics of Islam

  Mir Valiuddin, Contemplative Disciplines in Sufism


Sufism -Mystics

  William C. Chittick and Peter Lamborn Wilson, Divine Flashes, by Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi

  Victor Danner (trans.), The Book of Wisdom, by Ibn ‘Ata’illah [combined with]

  Wheeler M. Thackston (trans.), Intimate Conversations, by Ansari

  Paul Jackson, S.J. (trans.), The Hundred Letters, by Sharafuddin Maneri

  K. Khosla, The Sufism of Rumi

  Barbara R. Von Schlegell (trans.), Principles of Sufism, by Qushayri



  John Blofeld, The Secret and Sublime: Taoist Mysteries and Magic

  Jane English and Gia-Fu Feng (trans.), Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu


Contemporary Mystical Literature

  Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism

  Gerald Heard, Training for the Life of the Spirit (not in public domain)

  Lee M. Hollander (trans.), Selections from the Writings of Kierkegaard


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Last Update: September 03, 2007