The following reads are highly recommended. Many are non-dual in nature, but not all. Each was significant to me on my journey.
Thoughts, comments, additions, even subtractions accompanied by gasps of disapproval — all are welcome and can be voiced in the comments below.
The Cloud of Unknowing & The Book of Privy Counseling | William Johnston (translator). Written in the 14th century by an anonymous English monk, and likely the first Western primer on meditation from the Christian perspective.
Mere Christianity | C.S. Lewis. This classic and eminently readable text is a good point of entry into the discussion for the agnostic or atheist from the Christian perspective. It’s not non-duality, but it’s on the list anyhow. So there.
Scripture and the Life of God | David F. Watston. The author is a personal friend of mine whose influence on my thinking has been significant. The book contends that learning to converse with scripture leads one into the very heart of God.
The Power of Now | Eckhart Tolle. Oprah’s favorite spiritual guru is well-worth reading if you can put aside the Oprah, and the fact that the second chapter shouldn’t come so quickly. The bit on the Inner Body, however, is essential, as well as the overall notion of thought being a thing which enslaves us.
Wake Up Now | Stephan Bodian. An easy read for those who are frustrated on the path, or wish to understand it better.
The Leap | Steve Taylor. An interesting exploration of the psychology of spiritual awakening.
There Is Neither I… | A. Ramana. Small-press/self-published, but wow. One of the most comprehensive books on non-duality from the standpoint of experience and Self-Abidance. The writing is a bit tedious at times with 3 or 4 prepositional phrases being used when one will do, but hey. The Dude abides.
Buddhism & Christianity in the Light of Hinduism | Arthur Osborne. Suggests that Buddhism and Christianity complement each other as proselytizing religions founded for their respective audiences (Eastern & Western) by divine individuals. And featuring a thorough introduction to Advaita, to boot.
Intuition | Osho. Most of the value of this book lies in its first half, but what value that is, is…well, invaluable. Click here for a summary of the content if you want a summary, but don’t cheat yourself. Just know the book is not a “book” book, but rather an edited transcription compiled from Osho’s talks. Read more.
Classics of Indian Spirituality | Eknath Easwaran. Includes The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, and The Dhammapada. The translation and their accompanying commentary are beautifully and profoundly written.
Be As You Are | David Godman. Considered by many to be the quintessential compendium of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings, compiled by arguably the foremost expert on Indian saints and sages of the 20th century (and whose name is apropos).
I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj | Maurice Frydman (translator). A series of conversations with the unassuming shop-keeper, cigarette-smoker, and grouchy, enlightened master.
Who Am I? | Ramana Maharishi. These could be the most significant sentences you will ever read. You’ll be done in ten minutes, but will likely need many more to realize them.
The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi | Ramana Maharishi. A collection of dialogues with the Sage of Arunachala, who spontaneously re-discovered the ancient tradition of self-inquiry at the age of sixteen, then wore nothing but a loin-cloth for the next 54 years. Features a forward by Carl Jung.
Siddhartha | Herman Hesse. This fictional classic tells the story of a Buddha-like ascetic whose name is the same as the real Buddha’s and who meets the real Buddha then leaves him to become even more Buddha-like. A head-scratching plot-line, but the tale and its telling leave you transfixed by its mystical beauty.
Mindfulness in Plain English | Bhante Gunaratana. A detailed introduction to meditation. A great place to start for beginners so long as it’s understood that this is not the be all end all of meditation techniques but an entry point (and a good one) from within the Vipassana tradition.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind | Shunryu Suzuki. Thoughtful teachings and insight on meditation and non-dual understanding in the tradition of Zen Buddhism.
Why Buddhism is True | Robert Wright. Don’t let the the title mislead you. This is not an apologetic work. The author simply discusses precepts of current Western psychology and draws parallels to Buddhist teachings and practices, supplemented by his personal experience. An easy read, and the audiobook version is especially listenable.