Our Top 20 Classic Enlightenment Books

Hey Folks.

This is Jim from enlightenmentdudes.com

Since we normally just review the current books dealing with Spiritual Enlightenment we get asked a lot about our favorite classics. All four of us here at Enlightenment Dudes put lists together of our favorite pre-1990 books.

So below you will find our countdown starting with #20 and taking you all the way to #1. We’d love some feedback on any titles we missed so feel free to comment. Enjoy!

The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

This literary classic is a fascinating read. In this book, we follow a young man returning from war and searching for the deeper answers in life.

#19-The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda

While this book has taken a beating over the years (and rightfully so) no one can minimize the impact it had on generations of seekers.

#18-Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

While this is another semi-fictionalized account of awakening, Millman’s classic is packed full of great lessons.

#17-A Course in Miracles

Say what you will about the channeling, manifesting, and cult following history of this book. You can’t create a list of classics without it.

#16-Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Speaking of classics, this may be the top all-time seller when it comes to trans-personal literature. This is just a great story and message.

#15-Silence of the Heart: Dialogues with Robert Adams

If you have never heard of Robert Adams, check him out. Adams was an American devotee of Ramana Maharshi, and plainly describes self-inquiry and its application in modern life in this work.

#14- The Albigen Papers by Richard Rose

This a book by the man and the myth Richard Rose. Rose spawned generations of truth seekers and teachers. This book comes with a poetic bonus. The “Three Books of the Absolute” written at the apex of Rose’s awakening.

#13- The Experience of No-Self: A Contemplative Journey by Bernadette Roberts

Roberts does an excellent job of describing her awakening and how it relates to Christian tradition.

#12- The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain

This little gem is miles from Tom Sawyer. Twain’s masterful assault on reality is a shocker if you have never read it.

#11- The Red Book by Carl Jung

This is the book Carl Jung never wanted you to read. Just recently released the “Red Book’ maps Jung’s descent into awakening. The fascinating Christian Mysticism, artwork and strange insights make this extremely rare book worth tracking down.

#10- Final Truth: A Guide to Ultimate Understanding by Ramesh Balsekar

With the recent passing of Balsekar we are reminded of this classic text. This book captures his own unique way of teaching Advaita.

#9-Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy (Shambhala Classics) by Katsuki Sekida

This is the best book ever written describing the methods of Zen meditation.

#8- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Non-Dual poetry at its best. There is a reason teachers like Adyashanti read Whitman’s classic at satsangs.

#7- Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts

Watts did a great job of formulating difficult to understand Eastern concepts to the Western reader.

#6-On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious by Douglas Harding

If you have never read any Douglas Harding this is the book you going to want to start with. The experiential nature of this book can instantly reveal who you are.

#5-Mystique of Enlightenment by UG Krisnamurti

UG was an angry anti-guru who is both loved and hated by seekers. We respect what the man said about awakening and that is why this books starts off our top 5.

#4-I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

With the exception of Ramana Maharshi, it is hard to find a more influential teacher or book. This classic can still blow your mind decades later.

#3-Ask the Awakened by Wei Wu Wei

The power of this book is very clear to its readers. The author breaks down the Heart Sutras with the goal of pointing to the absolute.

#2-Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

When it came to daily practice Suzuki has written “the book” on that subject. The patient approach he takes in this book was specifically designed from Western readers.

#1-Be as You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana

Many trace the modern search for the absolute directly back to this teacher. While you can find many talks with Ramana in print, we prefer this one in particular. The clarity and value to the reader is unsurpassed.

Thank you everyone

feel free to comment with opinions on our list!


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