The best way to study the dharma is with the assistance of a well-trained, highly-accomplished, respectable teacher who has dedicated time and energy to learning the texts, practices, and art of beneficial discourse.
The best way to practice the dharma is to live its simple truths in your everyday life: harmlessness, compassion, bodhicitta, joy in the joy of others, mindfulness, and balance. These truths, in spirit and action, are also congruent with the heart of many Pagan paths.
A combination of dharma study and commitment to learning from source material/qualified teachers, an actual, regular practice, and the daily choice to live in service to both the dharma and one's own Pagan path are all that is required to be a Dharma Pagan. Below, please find some resources that may be helpful. This is by no means an exhaustive library, but rather a curated collection of texts and links we find inspiring and helpful. If you have resources to add, please don't hesitate to contact us and let us know.
Dharma Pagans who are drawn to ritual, shamanism, folklore, and energy work will find beneficial teachings in Tibetan Buddhism, a mixture of the regional shamanic/indigenous practices of Tibet and classical Indian Tantric Buddhism.
Vajrayana, or "The Diamond Vehicle" is one form of Buddhism practiced widely in Tibet. It is a complex web of distinct-but-overlapping traditions and lineages. At certain points, lineages might share the same teacher or text at the root, but the practices that emerge from each line are uniquely flavored with local customs, additions, and details.
The monastic system, while the most visibly-recognizable aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, once served as a basic educational training ground for (primarily) the young men of Tibet. Before the Chinese occupation in 1959, many Tibetan families would send some or most of their children to receive monastic training before rejoining the community as famers, merchants, and parents, with usually one or two children remaining a monk or nun.
Monastic life, rich in ritual, structure, and sacred arts, offered many rural Tibetans some of the only formal education they would receive. The individuals who chose to return to secular society would frequently carry their education back to their own villages and families, bringing practice into their daily lives rather than containing it in the monastic setting. Women's self-evolved practices outside of the monasteries also provided guidance to the secular practitioners, and brought a great deal of what might be considered "witchcraft" into the mix. A strong householder movement with a wide variety of practice adaptations emerged from this organic system, including Dzogchen.
The purpose of Tibetan Buddhism is to help the individual move beyond a sense of selfishness to centeredness in union with all, and to move beyond self-serving to serving the needs of others as the primary form of repairing negative karma and generating positive karma. Meditation, mantras, sacred gestures, color systems, elemental workings, and mythic characters are employed in the ritual setting. Visualization is a key aspect as well, much like the techniques described in many modern Pagan and occult books. Practitioners of modern American Hoodoo and Neo-Paganism will likely resonate with several of the practices of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Dawn of Tantra, Herbet V. Guenther & Chogyam Trungpa
Enlightened Courage, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Dakini Power, Michaela Haas
Beyond Religion, HH IV Dalai Lama
Mother of the Buddhas, Lex Hixon
Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life, the words of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Video Teachings of His Holiness IV Dalai Lama
Wild Mind Buddhist, an excellent resource for Westerners
Jnanasukha: home of Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo
Tara Mandala, home of Lama Tsultrim Allione
Khandro.net, Dakini Land
The Heart Sutra, a major work for contemplation and practice
The Ngakpa Tradition, an interview with Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche
Ryn's text here
Passionate Enlightenment, Miranda Shaw
Asanas: 708 Yoga Postures, Dharma Mittra
The Kundalini Yoga Experience: Bringing Body, Mind & Spirit Together, Dharma Singh Kalsa & Darryl O'Keefe
Dharma, Yoga, and You, a personal narrative
Universal Peace Through Dharma and Yoga, writings from Dharma and Yoga Fest
Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, and Yoga, from the America Institute of Vedic Studies
Yoga and Ecology, from the American Institute of Vedic Studies
Patanjali Yoga Sutras
Zen literally means meditation in Japanese, from Chinese chán quietude, from Sanskrit dhyāna meditation, and it is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition. And like Tibetan Buddhism, traces lineage back to India.
Simplicity is often associated with Zen and is what people notice most unique comparatively to other schools of Buddhism. Zen practice is indeed simple, we sit in seated posture called zazen and meditate; but it is far from simple. This is becuase to "just sit" and therein lies the biggest challenge with Zen. Just sit. The purpose of Zen is to become fully present in this moment with what Zen master's call "No Mind". Mind being our greatest distraction. The older we get, the more our mind becomes the vehicle that roots us in suffering. The goal, in Zen is to free the mind of wandering thought, distraction, or concentration, and rather invite the stillness of simply present.
To do this, we approach zazen with Beginner's Mind, and the notion that as beginners we have never experienced "mind." The practice is just the practice, an engement or relearning how to be fully present, right here, right now. Perceive directly, without filtering perceptions through beliefs and preconceptions. In Zen, we dissolve into the eternal now, and realize that the Universe itself peers out through our eyes, hears through our ears, and breaths each breath. Unity beyond all conception. To quote the Zen sage Dogen, "If not now, then when?"
The Fruitful Darkness, Joan Halifax, PhD, Roshi
A Note on Dharma Transmission and the Institutions of Zen, James Myoun Ford
Zen Druids, Al Billings
Western Ceremonial & Pagan Dharma
Sam's text here
Tantric Thelema, Sam Webster, PhD
Entering the Buddhadharma, Sam Webster, PhD
Pagan Dharma 1, Sam Webster, PhD
Pagan Dharma 2, Sam Webster, PhD
Open Source Buddhism, from the retired Open Buddha site by Al Billings
Buddhists are Pagan by Al Billings
Pagandharma.org, a site by Al Billings
Top Ten Things Pagans Should Know About Buddhism by Apuleius Platonicus
Buddhist Pagan Magick Blog