Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk from New York City. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944, he obtained a BA in philosophy from Brooklyn College (1966) and a PhD in philosophy from Claremont Graduate School (1972).

Drawn to Buddhism in his early 20s, after completing his university studies he traveled to Sri Lanka, where he received novice ordination in 1972 and full ordination in 1973, both under the late Ven. Ananda Maitreya, the leading Sri Lankan scholar-monk of recent times.

He was appointed editor of the Buddhist Publication Society (in Sri Lanka) in 1984 and its president in 1988. Ven. Bodhi has many important publications to his credit, either as author, translator, or editor, including  the Majjhima Nikaya  (co-translated with Ven. Bhikkhu Nanamoli) (1995), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (2000), and In the Buddha’s Words (2005).

In May 2000 he gave the keynote address at the United Nations on its first official celebration of Vesak. He returned to the U.S. in 2002 and currently resides at Chuang Yen Monastery and teaches there and at Bodhi Monastery. He is currently the chairman of the Yin Shun Foundation and Buddhist Global Relief.

~ From Bodhi Monastery

Selected Works

Tucked away in the Samyutta Nikaya among the “connected sayings on causality” is a short formalized text entitled the Upanisa Sutta, the “Discourse on Supporting Conditions.” Though at first glance hardly conspicuous among the many interesting suttas in this collection, this little discourse turns out upon repeated examination to be of tremendous doctrinal importance.

These classic recordings give a thorough and dense overview of current, orthodox Theravada doctrine.

A lucid and compelling explanation of the Noble Eightfold Path by a renowned contemporary scholar of Pāli and Early Buddhism. Highly recommended for everyone interested in Buddhism.

The best translation in English of the most important collection of the Buddha’s discourses, with a lengthy introduction, sutta summaries, and helpful endnotes summarizing important commentarial points, this book is a must have for any student of Buddhism.

The best translation in English of the SN, with scholarly and helpful endnotes and introductions. The beautifully printed physical volume also comes with handy subject and proper name indexes which unfortunately were not properly included in the ebook version.

The contemporary anthology of the Buddha’s teachings, Bhikkhu Bodhi organizes the key content of the suttas into a logical and progressive series of ten chapters.

I would say that the Nikāyas and Āgamas give us a “historical-realistic perspective” on the Buddha, while the Mahāyāna sūtras give us a “cosmic-metaphysical perspective.”

The best English translation of the AN, with many helpful indexes, introductions, notes and appendixes to aid your study and use of this exquisite collection.

A fascinating series of open letters between Ajahn Geoff and Bhikkhu Bodhi on the subject of “just war.”

Bhikkhu Bodhi encourages us, in this age of globalization, to recognize our shared Buddhist heritage and to bridge the gaps between the Buddhist schools which time and physical distance have created.

Bhikkhu Bodhi shares with the Abhayagiri community his favorite section of the Dhammapada: verses 110–115.

A Creative Commons licensed selection of suttas from Wisdom’s celebrated translation, representing about a third of the full book.

Translations:

Is it possible, venerable sir, to point out any fruit of recluseship that is visible here and now?

What is the one thing, O Gotama, Whose killing you approve?

Just as two sheaves of reeds might stand leaning against each other, so too, with name-and-form as condition, consciousness comes to be; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form comes to be.

“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?”–“No, venerable sir.”

Now suppose that in the autumn – when it’s raining in fat, heavy drops – a water bubble were to appear & disappear on the water, and a man with sight were to see it. To him it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance could there be in a bubble? In the same way, a man with wisdom sees a feeling. To him it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance could there be in a feeling?

If a bhikkhu seeks delight in [the senses], welcomes them, and remains holding to them, he is called a bhikkhu who has swallowed Mara’s hook. He has met with calamity and disaster, and the Evil One can do with him as he wishes.

This famous simile compares physical pain and mental anguish to two arrows: the second of which is optional.

Protecting oneself, bhikkhus, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

You must carry around this bowl of oil filled to the brim between the crowd and the most beautiful girl of the land. A man with a drawn sword will be following right behind you, and wherever you spill even a little of it, right there he will fell your head.

beings are intoxicated with life and engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon [death], the intoxication with life is diminished.

although I have long waited upon the Teacher and bhikkhus worthy of esteem, never before have I heard such a talk on the Dhamma

A pithy and deep sutta on the true difference between the ordinary and the enlightened mind.

Who was the Buddha in his own words? In this story, he calls himself the “Tathagata” or “Truth-Arriver”, and he responds to a question on what will become of him after his death. The Buddha explains that he doesn’t talk in such terms, as he has overcome all such notions as “I am the body” or “I am the mind” so how could such a question ever be answered? He ends the discourse by famously saying that all he teaches is suffering and the end of suffering, thus redirecting our attention from empty philosophical musings to the things that matter most.

Protecting oneself, bhikkhus, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

The Buddha gives a sixteen-step guided meditation on the breath and then explains how this meditation fulfills the four foundations of mindfulness and the seven factors of enlightenment.

Diverse problems demand a diverse range of responses. Rather than selling a “one size fits all” solution, in this sutta the Buddha outlines seven methods for dealing with the afflictions of life and in so doing gives us a comprehensive overview of Buddhist practices.

So this holy life, bhikkhus, does not have gain, honour, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of virtue for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakeable deliverance of mind that is the goal of this holy life, its heartwood, and its end.

One of the most detailed descriptions of morality in the early canon, this discourse lists twenty kinds of actions: unwholesome and wholesome.

‘By this virtue or observance or asceticism or holy life I shall become a great god or some lesser god,’ that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal realm. So, Puṇṇa, if his dog-duty succeeds, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it fails, it will lead him to hell.

And even those disciples of his who fall out with their companions in the holy life and abandon the training to return to the low life–even they praise the Master and the Dhamma and the Sangha; they blame themselves instead of others, saying: “We were unlucky, we have little merit”

‘Others will be cruel; we shall not be cruel here’

One imagines this sutta was delivered to a group of monks frustrated with an erratic companion. The Buddha gently encourages them to develop empathy by cultivating themselves and to recognize that, in the final analysis, some people are simply best avoided.

On the eight ways that people become defensive when admonished: a useful mirror for how we handle criticism. When was the last time you were “like a wild colt?”

Edited:

Just as the sun is valued not only for its own intrinsic radiance but also for its ability to illuminate the world, so the brilliance of the Buddha is determined not only by the clarity of his Teaching but by his ability to illuminate those who came to him for refuge