This article is for people who have already established a daily meditation routine and want to reach the next level. So you will get a deeper understanding of your experience, especially about what is happening in the brain. Neuroscience can back a lot of the explored phenomena today. Here is our pick of advanced meditation books to dive deeper in intermediate meditation techniques. Like the ZaZen bamboo Breath and other secrets on your way to profund enlightenment:
1. Zen-Training by Sekida*
This book is pretty much the best I have read about stepping up my ZaZen practice. As a result I was able to reach reproducible the level of Samadhi and beyond. The author is very familiar with the western world, but is himself very experienced in meditation. He explains different breathing techniques, for example the bamboo technique. As you do this you exhale in little bursts to build tension in the lower abdomen.
Furthermore you will learn what happens in the body and brain. For example why it is important to focus on the tandem (lower abdomen). Moreover, it explains why keeping the form during meditation is important. Because this book is not necessarily suitable for beginners you need a foundation of own meditation experiences.
2. The Mind Illuminated by John Yates, Matthew Immergut, Jeremy Graves*
Perfect book for you when you already meditate for several years and have the feeling of being stuck. This book explains exactly the stages that every practitioner goes through. At the same time, it is sometimes frightening how accurate the description is! As a result you will have a guide how to evolve to the next stage and what obstacles are most common. Furthermore it is one of the few books that can explain intermediate meditation stages. This book is not specific about Zen meditation, but can be well used for it.
In a nutshell, if you work this book through it is a step by step guide to enlightenment. Always backed by up to date neuroscience publications. By this it is one of our all time favorite advanced meditation books.
There is even an own Subreddit for this book: /r/TheMindIlluminated
3. Awakened Mind Training® by Anna Wise*
Very interesting book about brain waves. How do our brain waves influence our thinking and well-being? How can we steer and control them to reach our full potential? In the book Anna Wise describes how to reach the state of the “Awakened Mind” with the help of meditation and exercises. It is a state in complete harmony with your intuition and increased mental capacity.
4. Buddhas Brain by Rick Hanson, Richard Mendius*
This book is amazing for people who have already progressed further in their meditation practice. You will find scientifically based explanations why some things are the way they are. But it is not a guide to evolve in your meditation practice. It is more a deep dive into the brain. You will learn about the neuroscience behind meditation, suffering, overthinking and mindfulness. Incredibly profound and always backed by the latest brain research.
In my opinion one of the best books about the brain in combination with meditation. You will discover a lot of wisdom you can immediately integrate to enhappy your daily life.
5. Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen by Shunryu Suzuki*
Very nice read to get into the thinking of Zen. Respectively a successful continuation of Shunryu Suzuki’s first work “Zen Mind, Beginner Mind”. These two books build up on each other, so you should read it first. Best to read only one chapter per day, because it is not easy to understand. Take your time for it, maybe during a cup of tea. By doing so you will find a very relaxing preparation for your own meditation with many food for thought.
In conclusion: A great book, but for which you should already have meditation experience. Because a lot of topics have to be experienced by yourself during meditation to be fully understood.
If we had to choose one book out of all the books, the choice would probably be The Mind Illuminated*. Because it covers the most topics.
Did we forget a book for advanced meditation? Share your suggestions in the comments!
*All marked links are affiliate links from amazon.