Buddhist books are a great way to get to know more about Buddhism before going to a center. Reading and contemplating a teacher’s advice on basic topics is also useful even for long-time students.

The books listed here are just a small selection of books that are recommended to give an insight into Diamond Way Buddhism of the Karma Kagyu tradition.


Fearless Death

Buddhist Wisdom on the Art of Dying

by Lama Ole Nydahl
Diamond Way Press (May 1, 2013), 288 pages
ISBN: 978-0975295410
Amazon: US | UK

To a Buddhist, death is the greatest opportunity in life, where one has the chance to become fully enlightened. Some pioneering scientific experiments are now confirming what the Buddha taught, that the mind is not the brain. Because this is so, one doesn’t need to fear the separation of mind, which in its essence is timeless and free, from the temporary house of the brain and body.

In Fearless Death, Lama Ole Nydahl describes the latest scientific research, the Buddhist perspective on death and dying, and gives practical methods that one can use to help oneself and others during this crucial time.


Buddha & Love

Timeless Wisdom for Modern Relationships

by Lama Ole Nydahl
Brio Books (May 15, 2012), 336 pages
ISBN: 978-1937061845
Amazon: US | UK

Love is something that touches us all, through romantic relationships, family, and friendships. In Buddha and Love, Lama Ole Nydahl shows how to use Buddhist wisdom to get the most out of our personal relationships. And just as importantly, how to use our relationships with others as part of our Buddhist path, helping us and those around us towards enlightenment.

“True love always has the taste of freedom.”
– Lama Ole Nydahl


The Way Things Are

A Living Approach to Buddhism for Today’s World

by Lama Ole Nydahl

Mantra Books Publishing (2008), 240 pages
ISBN: 978-1-84694-042-2
Amazon: US | UK

A great book to start with if one wants to understand Buddhism. The word used for the Buddha’s teachings in Sanskrit is dharma, which means simply “the way things are”. In this book, Lama Ole Nydahl explains who the Buddha was, and why his teachings have proven helpful to people’s lives up until the modern day.

The Way Things Are gives a masterful view of the different levels of Buddhist teaching and practice, removing confusions that can be caused by different Buddhist schools using similar terms for different things. The book also includes some meditations that can be used by anyone, including the meditation on the 16th Karmapa.


Entering the Diamond Way

Tibetan Buddhism Meets the West

by Lama Ole Nydahl

Blue Dolphin Publishing (1999), 251 pages
ISBN 0-931892-03-1
Amazon: US | UK

A fascinating glimpse into a world now largely vanished. Ole Nydahl and his wife Hannah decided to spend their honeymoon in Nepal in 1968. Their story brings us along to Himalayan monasteries, meeting enigmatic Buddhist masters, and into an intensive apprenticeship into Diamond Way Buddhism.

Ole and Hannah went to the East as drug-smoking, gold-smuggling hippie idealists, and returned to Europe as Buddhist teachers, translators and representatives of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. They would go on to found more than 640 Buddhist centers across the world on behalf of their teacher.


Riding the Tiger

The Risks and Joys of Bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West

by Lama Ole Nydahl

Blue Dolphin Publishing (1992), 512 pages
ISBN 0-931892-67-8
Amazon: US | UK

“We had spent three years in the Himalayas, and now H.H. Gyalwa Karmapa, the first consciously reborn lama of Tibet, had sent us home with a task large enough to fill several lifetimes: to make the deep wisdom of Tibet accessible to our part of the world and open the minds of the extroverted West to things as unfamiliar as mantras and meditation.”

From 1972, Lama Ole Nydahl and his wife Hannah did just that. This is the story of the first 20 years of their work, told in detail so that we can learn from the difficult times and mistakes, as well as from the joys and successes.


The Great Seal: Limitless Space and Joy

The Mahamudra View of Diamond Way Buddhism

by Lama Ole Nydahl

Firewheel Publishing (2004)
ISBN 0-975-2954-0-3
Amazon: US | UK

Mahamudra is the state of enlightenment, where subject, object, and action are one. In this book, Lama Ole Nydahl, a modern master of Mahamudra, gives a commentary on a classic Mahamudra text by the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje.

As Lama Ole says: “This book should leave you relaxed and confident in the meaning of things and everybody’s inherent potential – rather than burdened with additional conceptual baggage.”


Rogues in Robes

Inside Chronicle of Recent Chinese-Tibetan Intrigue in the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Diamond Way Buddhism

by Tomek Lehnert

Blue Dolphin Publishing (1998), 208 pages
ISBN 0-57733-026-9
Amazon: US | UK

When a Karmapa dies, his rebirth is recognized again by his closest students, most often by Shamarpa, the second-highest lama in the Karma Kagyu lineage.

When the 16th Karmapa passed away in 1981, centuries-old Tibetan politics, Chinese geo-political interests in the Himalayas, and old-fashioned greed conspired to make the recognition of the 17th Karmapa a little more difficult than usual…