Recommended Books & Movies - No tie can bind you when your heart is free


Recommended Books

  • Books by Adbullah Dougan - details of the Sufi/Gnostic teaching, with a clarity that is seldom found in other books.
  • In Quest of God by Swami Ramdas of Mangalore.
  • The Eternal Companion Swami Brahmananda was one of Sri Ramakrishna's pupils. The first half is a biography of the Swami, the second is questions to and answers from the Swami.
  • The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter. The very moving story of a young boy of Cherokee descent living in the Appalachian mountains in the 1930s.
  • Watch for me on the Mountain by Forrest Carter. A spiritual novel about Geronimo and the Apache nation. This is another magnificent and moving book. Both of Carter's books send a strong message that we are not just our bodies.
  • The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Aurelius was a Stoic, and Emperor of Rome. Laid out as a series of logical arguments, this is a very intense handbook for both inner and outer life.
  • THAÏS (Tie-ees) by Anatole France. The tale of an early christian aspirant.
  • Zanoni by E.G. Lytton. This allegorical Rosicrucian novel written in the early part of the 20th Century explores the contest between the soul and the desires of the body. Somewhat cryptic but interesting. Lytton's other books are also worth checking out if you like this one. Also available free for download from 
  • Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan. The story of a spiritual awakening in Australia's outback. The teaching of Australia's Aboriginal people. Morgan has been vilified by some Aboriginal groups as an interloper, but the book stands on its own merits.
  • Heart Without Measure by Ravi Ravindra. Not particularly well written in my opinion, but gives a rare insight into the Gurdjieff Work as taught by Mme de Salzmann and the focus she placed on sensing and energy.
  • On a SpaceShip with Beelzebub by David Kherdian. David's personal story of psychological Work on himself and his experience of the teachers of the Gurdjieff system.. After brushes with the Nyland and Bennett groups, he spent years first with The Gurdjieff Foundation in New York and then later with Mrs Staveley in Oregon.
  • Illuminating Silence. Master Sheng Yen speaks with warmth, clarity and authority on Buddhist Chan/Zen meditation. Highly recommended for anyone practising such meditation.
  • Crooked Cucumber by David Chadwick. A biography of Shunyru Suzuki. Valuable for it insights into the state of Zen in Japan, and the dynamics of groups of Zen students and senior pupils etc in the West.
  • Bones of the Master by George Crane. A biographical story of Ch'an master Tsung Tsai and his return visit to Mongolia after having fled the communists as a young monk in 1959.
  • Daughter of Fire The spiritual diary of Mrs Irina Tweedie.
  • Jeanne Guyon - An Autobiography Born in 1648, she suffered in her outward life, but kept her inner life strong.
  • Her-Bak: The Living Face of Ancient Egypt (also known as "Chick Pea"). A good summary of the Egyptian teaching in a very readable novel about a young boy's training. The easiest of Isha Schwaller de Lubicz's books.
  • First Pass Under Heaven by Nathan Gray
  • The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
  • Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda. Probably the best of his many books. Worth reading but I'm not sure I could recommend reading the others (they tend to be slow-moving and repetitive and mystical-power-oriented, so you have to remember to sort the wheat from the chaffe).
  • Letters from a Sufi Teacher by Shaikh Sharfuddin Maneri who lived in Northern India in the 14th century. Also available from Almiraj Sufi Centre in Tasmania, Australia.
  • Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
  • Zen at Work by Les Kaye who was a student of Shunryu Suzuki and spent 30 years working as a manager in a large US corporation while practising Zen and for much of that time also running a Zendo. An interesting book for those of us practising the way of the householder. 
  • Thank You and OK! (An American Zen Failure in Japan) by David Chadwick. A great book about brotherhood on the path. Written with insight and humour. Highly recommended.

Recommended Movies

  • Lost Horizon Frank Capra's 1937 black and white version of James Hilton's novel. Allegory of the search for inner peace. Shows really well the difference between those who look beyond materialism and those who don't.
  • The Water Babies Based on the book by Charles Kingsley. Kingsley was a 19th century English clergyman. This is a great children's story and the animated movie makes it more readily accessible for kids, and shows there is more to life than just the material world.
  • Kung Fu Classic story of Kwai Chang Cain, his training as a Buddhist monk and subsequent adventures, 1972, with David Carradine. Two of the TV episodes are also available for rental at Aro Video in NZ. 
  • Monkey! The Japanese TV series (dubbed into English) based on the Buddhist classic by Cheng-En Wu.
  • The Holy Mountain A disjointed film by Alejandro Jodorowsky about a group of people who set out to climb The Holy Mountain to find enlightenment. Not an easy movie, but interesting. Rent in NZ. 
  • El Topo (the Mole) another bizarre film by Alejandro Jodorowsky made in the style of a spaghetti western. Complex and filled with religious symbolism and allegory. Again, not an easy movie. Rent in NZ.
  • Separate Lies – an interesting movie that deals with selfishness and love in a realistic way (rather than the usual Hollywood bi-polar emotionalism). Rent in NZ.