I am interested in knowing more about Buddhism especially the pursuit of happiness. Which book would you recommend me for introducing me to Buddhism philosophy on this subject?

  • A lot of Dalai Lama's books are translated, even to Norwegian, so probably also French. If you are Frech, that is. Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 10:00
  • 1
    I was surprised to find that "Zen" has entered everyday French, for example in advertisements: 'rester zen'.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 10:21
  • Language is not a problem since I like reading in English in order to improve my language skills.
    – SwissFr
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 11:20
  • You are right, "rester zen" is part of everyday language.
    – SwissFr
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 11:21
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    Approach a serious monk personally, SwissFr, such people and teachings which are not available on demand. Simply this deed would give a big amount of good gained joy.
    – user11235
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 9:41

9 Answers 9


I higly reccomend H. H. The Dalai Lama's "How to See Yourself as You Really Are". A wonderful and easy to read introducion to Buddhist philosophy and practice. His Holiness is mahayana, but this book gives a very general introduction.

I also reccomend his "The Art of Happiness", for a book more specifically on happiness.


I would recommend:


For a classic introduction to the Buddha's teachings, I recommend the book "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula. You can find the PDF version here. There is also a very short collection of the suttas at the back of the book.

The ebook "Without and Within" by Ajahn Jayasaro, available in PDF and epub formats, is 127-pages long and is meant to be a collection of questions and answers on Buddhism for beginners.


This book can't be beat for beginners: Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path (by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana).


I would recommend "Introducing Buddhism" by Charles S. Prebish and Damien Keown. @2005 Journal of Buddhist Ethics Online Books

  • Why do you recommend that in particular? Did you select/recommend it because of the OP's writing, "especially the pursuit of happiness"?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 16:37
  • If you want to grow a flower/fruit, you don't water the flower/fruit, but you water the root.
    – hide2may
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:04
  • Fair enough. I asked because a bare link or reference isn't as informative as an answer which also explains why you recommend it (information which could help the OP to decide whether to select your recommendation among others, as the recommendation which might best suit their needs).
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:40

Books by Pema Chodron are warmly well received and recommended by teachers of many Tibetan Buddhist branches.

They adddress many practical aspects of life, yet are deeply rooted in traditional Tibetan Buddhism.


I first read 'The Way of Zen' by Alan Watts (maybe a bit technical for a beginner), then 'Zen Flesh, Zen Bones' by Paul Reps (a collection of anecdites). I'd also reccommend anything by Ajahn Chah, who talks about Buddhism in a very down-to-earth way.


Also books by Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh), specifically the "Miracle of Mindfulness" are wonderful so many different ways.


Books by Tibetan Buddhist Master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse can help raise the right questions early on, and help avoid forming mistaken views:

"What Makes You Not a Buddhist?"

"Not For Happiness"

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