World's Religions Books

Below is a selection of excerpts from some of our most popular world's religions books. These books draw on a diversity of faith traditions, and often illustrate spiritual themes that are shared by many paths.

Angel Kyodo Williams is an ordained Zen priest and the founder of the Urban Peace Project (an initiative associated with the international Peacemaker community). A founding board member of Third Wave, she also cofounded with Rebecca Walker the first black-owned Internet cafe. In her writing, she combines the universal wisdom of Buddhism with an inspirational call for self-acceptance and community empowerment.

Diane Dreher, Ph.D., is an English professor with bachelor's and master's degrees in English and comparative literature, and a doctoral degree in Renaissance literature. She is also a licensed holistic health practitioner and spiritual counselor and is a certified massage therapist. She conducts workshops on meditation and inner peace. Her book The Tao of Inner Peace translates the ancient Eastern philosophy into a plan for contemporary Western living.

Jack Kornfield was trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma, and India and has taught around the world since 1974. He also holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. He is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and of the Spirit Rock Center in California. In his book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, he draws on the firsthand experiences of dedicated leaders and practitioners within the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sufi traditions.

Huston Smith is one of the world's leading figures in the study of the world's religions. Many readers have commented that he writes about each religion with care and grace, as if he himself were a member of each faith. Huston Smith, who has served as a professor at several universities, is skilled at distilling the core spiritual themes from the world's various religious paths. In this excerpt, he discusses spiritual practices from around the world.

Sylvia Boorstein is a Buddhist teacher, an observant Jew, and a practicing psychotherapist. With her delightful, conversational books and lectures, she bridges gaps between East and West. In her work, she explains the synergies between Buddhist and Jewish faiths. Focusing on "mindfulness," a Buddhist-inspired meditation practice, Ms. Boorstein demonstrates that the principles of Judaism and Buddhism are not mutually exclusive.

Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. He is a recipient of the Wallenberg Award (conferred by the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Foundation), the Albert Schweitzer Award, and the Nobel Peace Prize. In this essay, he discusses the importance of practicing love, compassion, and tolerance in our lives.

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