The following list, while not comprehensive, includes a number of the world’s most beloved spiritual books.  We believe that these works will benefit those seeking to advance their spiritual knowledge and development.  For those who would like our recommendations for books to read first, we have marked certain titles with an asterisk.

Please note:  IMERE receives no compensation for the purchase of any of the books listed below.  For many of the titles, we have provided links to free, online versions (or alternate translations) of the books.


Buddhism

A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life by Santideva (author), Vesna A. Wallace (translator), and B. Alan Wallace (translator) (1997).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.

*The Dhammapada: The Path of Perfection, translated by Juan Mascaró (1973).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  The Dhammapada.

In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (The Teachings of the Buddha) by Bhikkhu Bodhi and His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2005).  Selections from the Pali Canon are available for free here:  Theravada Buddhism:  Selections from the Pali Canon.


Christianity

*The Cloud of Unknowing: and The Book of Privy Counseling, edited by William Johnston (1996).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  The Cloud of Unknowing.

*The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (author), Aloysius Croft (editor), and Harold Bolton (editor) (2003).

Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila (author) and E. Allison Peers (translator) (2017).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  Interior Castle.

Meister Eckhart: Selected Writings, translated by Oliver Davies (1995). An alternate work containing Meister Eckhart’s writings is available online for free here: The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart.



Hinduism

Autobiography of a Yogi: The Original 1946 Edition by Paramhansa Yogananda (2005).

Avadhuta Gita: the Song of the Ever-Free by Dattatreya Avadhuta (author) and Swami Chetanananda (translator) (2005).  An alternate translation is available online for free here: Avadhuta Gita.

*How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood (1953). 

*The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Juan Mascaro (2003).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  The Bhagavad Gita.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by M; translated by Swami Nikhilananda (1984).

The Upanishads: Breath from the Eternal, translated by Swami Prabhavanada and Frederick Manchester (2002).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  The 13 Principal Upanishads.

Who Am I?: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, translated by Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan (1982).


Judaism

Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment (Classics of Western Spirituality), translated by Daniel Chanan Matt (1983). An alternate version of the Zohar is available online for free here:  The Zohar.


Neoplatonism

The Essential Plotinus, 2nd Edition, translated by Elmer O’Brien S.J. (1975). The first edition of this title is available online for free here:  The Essential Plotinus.


Sufism

I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy by Hafiz (author) and Daniel Ladinsky (translator) (2006).

Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing by Jalal al-Din Rumi (author) and Coleman Barks (translator) (2002).

The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition by Jalal al-Din Rumi (author) and Coleman Barks (translator)  (2004).

The Gift by Hafiz (author) and Daniel Ladinsky (translator) (1999).

Hafiz’s poems are also available for free here:  Poems From the Divan of Hafiz.

Rumi’s poems are also available for free here:  Wisdom of the East:  The Persian Mystics—Jalalud-Din Rumi.


Taoism

Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu, translated by Brian Walker (2009).

*Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (author) and D. C. Lau (translator) (1964).  An alternate translation is available online for free here:  Tao Te Ching.

The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton (2010).  An alternate collection of Chuang Tzu’s writings is available online for free here:  The Writings of Chuang Tzu.


For additional resources on mystical experience, spirituality in general, and consciousness, please visit our Mystical Experience Resources page.