The Bhagavad Gita
Stephen Mitchell is one of the great translators of our time. He takes us deep into this sacred Hindu text that discusses life, death, and the nature of the self. It’s also one of the key texts that inspired the transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau.
The Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching translates as “The Book of the Way.” It’s a book of Lao-tzu’s short aphorisms about spiritual growth, meaning, and the art of living. I love to just flip through this book and pick a passage at random.
The Gospels of Jesus
As a Christian, I consider Jesus to be one of the great art of living philosophers. In this book, Mitchell carefully distills the gospels down to the essential spiritual teachings of Jesus. It’s a book that is meant for both “believers and unbelievers.”
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
I first came upon this book in a college course on Zen Buddhism. This is one of the classic texts of the Zen tradition. It’s full of practical reflections on meditation and on the broader art of living well.
The Enlightened Mind: An Anthology of Sacred Prose
A great collection of short passages and essays from the key spiritual thinkers throughout history. It includes everyone from Plato to Jesus to Rumi to Rilki to Albert Einstein.