Can you recommend any good autobiographies of Buddhist teachers and monks? I'm currently reading Getting Off, A Portrait of an American Buddhist Monk and I find it very interesting.


2 Answers 2


I can thoroughly recommended Dipa Ma-The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master, a short biography of Dipa Ma, She was an housewife, mother and highly developed Buddhist teacher living in Calcutta. I think it's inspirational, particularly for people interested in how to practice Buddhism in the modern world.

Also I've been personally recommended Wild Ivy which is an biography of Hakuin the 18th century Japanese Zen master. I haven't personally read this but I have attended study groups when we have been taking reading from this and it is excellent.

Finally Gautama Buddha: The Life and Teachings of The Awakened One is a well recommended recent biography of the original Buddhist teacher. I have received a fair few personal recommendations that this is a good one even if you think you are very familiar with the story of the historical Buddha.

  • These must be great books, even though OP asked about auto-biographies.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jul 27, 2014 at 3:52
  • @AndreiVolkov hahahaha missed that. I'll let the answer stand though as they are great books. Still maybe someone has the proper answer Jul 27, 2014 at 7:39

Specifically of auto-biographies, I enjoyed Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor and of course Born In Tibet by Chogyam Trungpa

Of biographies, Life of Milarepa, even if mythical, remains an inspiring life story.

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