Need to Relax? 5 Buddhist Books that Will Melt the Stress Away

Lodro Rinzler
4 min readMay 23, 2019

On a recent episode of Saturday Night Live (yes I’m one of the remaining 12 people still watching) Adam Sandler played, in commercial format, the owner of a company that runs vacation tour packages. In order to temper people’s expectations he makes it clear that leaving your home and going to Italy will not magically fix your life. “If you’re sad now,” he says, “you might still feel sad there, okay?”

I love nothing more than to lay out with a good book on vacation. More often than not, that means a good meditation book. These books remind us of the view that in any given moment we can truly relax and focus on the qualities we want to cultivate in order to live a meaningful life: love, compassion, kindness and more. They help us address the self-doubt and stress that comes with us on vacation, helping us release it and truly relax.

With that in mind, here are some books that I think would be great to throw in your carry-on that will ground you in your experience, no matter where you go.

1) Tea and Cake with Demons: A Buddhist Guide to Feeling Worthy by Adreanna Limbach

Publishers Weekly just wrote “With a keen eye and lucid prose, Limbach offers up novel understandings of key Buddhist concepts” and I lead with that because I am the very proud husband of the author. Adreanna poured her incredible wisdom into this tome and it shows.

Who it’s for: Anyone grappling with strong emotions (demons) including but not limited to self-doubt / if you’re looking to study the Four Noble Truths.
Click to purchase

2) The Relaxed Mind by Kilung Rinpoche

Kilung Rinpoche is one of those classically trained Tibetan Buddhist teachers who embody true wisdom and yet are so, so humble and kind. In this book he moves through progressive stages of meditation so that readers can deepen their experience of relaxation over time.

Who it’s for: If you have launched a basic meditation practice and are wondering, “What’s next?” then this is the book for you. There are a lot of Meditation 101 books out there but this is 202 and beyond.
Click here to purchase

3) How to Fight by Thich Nhat Hanh

Prolific as he is, it’s hard to know which book to start with when it comes to this Zen master. Peace is Every Step is a classic, to be sure, but in terms of the pith advice he is known for, and given our modern times, I think his volume How to Fight is brilliant in its confrontation of internal pain and how that can manifest in societal suffering overall.

Who it’s for: Anyone going on vacation with their family.
Click here to purchase

4) all about love: new visions by bell hooks

A book I wish I read a long time ago, I discovered this while traveling in February and couldn’t put it down. bell hooks’ beautiful prose, while not explicitly Buddhist, puts down into words the issues we have around relaxing into boundless love as people and as a society.

Who it’s for: If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of love for yourself and others, this is for you.
Click here to purchase

5) Mary Magdalene Revealed by Meggan Watterson

Now I realize a book on “the Christianity we haven’t tried yet” may seem odd on my meditation book list but trust me: Meggan points to what we Buddhists often do, the notion that if we can relax into who we are we can experience awakening. I’m all for the feminist gospel that shows us God lies within.

Who it’s for: Anyone feeling disaffected by Christianity / fans of How to Love Yourself (And Sometimes Other People)
Click here to purchase

Note: I get zero dollars when you click these links, I just want to support your summer relaxation!



Lodro Rinzler

Lodro Rinzler is author of “The Buddha Walks into a Bar,” “Love Hurts” and a handful of other fun books on meditation | Co-Founder of MNDFL.