Friday, February 01, 2008

Faith, Stillness, Contemplation & Meditation 2007/08

A reading list on spirituality and spiritual practices around the world. A life-long project really. Why? Because I am ignorant.

Is there any titles I'm missing/should include? Recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

{24/09/07 Update} Added Viktor E. Frankl's Man Search for Meaning to this reading list. It's usually found in the Psychology section in the bookstores, but it's relevant as it's a meditation on meaning and humanity in the midst of extraordinary circumstances (trying to survive a Nazi death camp). Also added Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -- because Csikzentmihalyi's idea of the flow seems to echo the Buddhist practice of mindful engagement.

I think I'm trying a cross-disciplinary approach to my enquiry.

  1. One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage Edited by Michael Wolfe
    [05/09/2007 ~

  2. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

  3. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  4. Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

  5. New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

  6. No Man Is an Island by Thomas Merton

  7. The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong

  8. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

  9. The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron

  10. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

  11. Bhagavad Gita

  12. Paths To God: Living the Bhagavad Gita by Ram Dass

  13. Novice to Master by Soko Morinaga [Translated by Belenda Attaway Yamakawa]

  14. The Yoga of Breath: A Step-By-Step Guide to Pranayama by Richard Rosen

  15. The Bible

  16. The Qu'ran

  17. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

  18. Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa W.Y. Evans-Wentz

  19. A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor

  20. Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau

  21. Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar

  22. Light on Life by B. K. S. Iyengar

  23. Tao Te Ching attributed to Lao Tzu

  24. St Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton

  25. Confessions by St. Augustine

  26. The Upanishads

  27. Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross

  28. Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation Eknath Easwaran

  29. An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth by M. K. Gandhi

  30. The Sufis by Idries Shah

  31. Mahabharata

  32. Ramayana

  33. A Pelican In the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries and Recluses by Isabel Colegate

  34. The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker's Guide to Extraordinary Living by Stephen Cope

  35. Will Yoga & Meditation Really Change My Life? Edited by Stephen Cope

  36. The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century edited by Thomas Merton

  37. The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith by Irshad Manji

  38. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

  39. The End of Faith by Sam Harris

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

  41. Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn

  42. Yoga Vasistha

  43. Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice by Ganga White
    [06/08/2007 ~ 23/09/2007]


Doc Martian said...

41. The Book of the Subgenius.


p.s. I think I love you. If you're rich I definitely do!

Rebecca H. said...

Very useful list!

darkorpheus said...

Doc Martian Ole! That's a winner!

PS: Yes, I am richer than Paris Hilton, a natural redhead, built like an Amazon princess and totally gay! :p

Dorothy Thanks, but I'm thinking it's a little lop-sided on its emphasis. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

A most comprehensive list you've got there. I'll have to acquire some titles off yours into my inquiry. :)

There is a book that I came across at the bookstore a while ago...Travel with Tangerine (?) it's about the quest of pilgrimage through historical landscape.

darkorpheus said...

Matt Please, feel free to pick off this list. I'm still in the process of adding more titles. And trying to read them.

I think I have Travel with Tangerine on my bookshelves. Unread. As usual. (I have a fantasy about travelling through Arabia) But thanks. :)

Doc Martian said...

Welp, if you ever lose your taste for the fairer sex. Look my dumb ass up!


Doc Martian said...


Ever read The Alexiad by Anna Comnena

darkorpheus said...

Doc Martian You're a joker, you know that? :)

Alexiad of Anna Comnena -- if I ever decide to draw up a reading list for classical studies, I will be sure to add it in. Actually, maybe I should just go ahead and plan a Classical Reading List. I love making lists.

Lotus Reads said...

Wow, that is quite an impressive list you've put together (with a little help from your friends!) :)

It's nice to know this list exists, I will definitely refer to it when I need to.

"Awakening The Buddha Within" by Lama Surya Das impacted me in a huge way.

Have you read anything by Osho?

darkorpheus said...

Lotus Oh, I've enjoyed the first 3 books by Lama Surya Das too. I like the way he contextualise the important things in such lay-man terms. (Which is the only reason he's not on the list.)

I have not met anyone who has read Osho actually. Is he worth reading?

Doc Martian said...

i've read a lot of classical literature. i recommended it more as a work by a strong literate female than as a piece of classicism.

as far as osho goes? i like his tarot. its intuitive rather than symbol study. probably a lot like the tarot was to 15th century thought, minds raised on cautionary verses with images (i forget the literary term for that but there are tons of them).'s_Eye-ISBN_9780876633809.html?isrc=b-search is another good one. it describes Lawrence Durrell's meeting with Jolan Chang (of the 'Tao of the Loving Couple') good book to read on a bus, its short and won't strain yer brain.

you might also look up Sir Richard F. Burton's "Personal Narrative of a Pilgramage to Mecca and Medina" My theory is that it is a description of his hajj. Wouldn't have done to go around announcing he was Moslem back then. The book project would have made good cover.

hmm, that's all the books on spirituality that come to my mind at the moment, at least among the ones not on your list that you might want to read. I used to like Alan Watts and Loren Eiseley a bunch when I was a teen, both have interesting takes on spirituality, although neither one is traditional.
Teilhard de Chardin comes to mind as well, his Phenomenon of Man would be the one to start with.

Doc that's my book. know any literary agents? wanna BE a literary agent? 15% of the take if you represent me in getting it published!

Doc Martian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doc Martian said...
there's the tinyurl to muh book. in case the link truncates again.

Jill said...

Have you read The Accidental Buddhist by Dinty W. Moore? I love that book - great insight into different kinds of Buddhism, especially on meditation. It explores the idea of American mindset vs. Buddhist mindset - can they possibly be compatible in any way? Very interesting.

darkorpheus said...

Doc Martian Thanks for the tip on Richard Burton. It's included in the Hajj title edited by Michael Wolfe -- so I'll get to it soon. (I hope)

And I'll check out some of the other authors you recommended. But only Alan Watts is familiar to me right now.

Darla D The Accidental Buddhist actually sounds familiar. Will check it out tomorrow. I think I glanced at it on the Buddhism shelves in the bookstore before.

Doc Martian said...

Loren Eiseley is similar to Thoreau, poet/naturalist who philosophizes. The Night Country and All the Strange Hours I highly recommend. Also see if you can find his 'Lost Notebooks', Immense Journey didn't age too well in my opinion, although it is probably his most available work.