Born in Germany in 1962 and ordained in Sri Lanka in 1995, Bhikkhu Anālayo arrived too late to study with his inspiration—Bhante Nyanaponika Thera—but stuck around anyway to study under a different Western monk: a certain “Bhikkhu Bodhi.”

In 2000, still studying in Sri Lanka, Bhikkhu Anālayo received a PhD in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. He became interested in the Northern parallels to the Pāli Canon and quickly picked up Sanskrit, ancient Chinese, and Tibetan, publishing Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna in 2013.

Today, Bhikkhu Anālayo is the preeminent comparative textual scholar of early Buddhism. His prolific articles can be found in most major journals of Buddhist Studies, and he is the author of several books on early Buddhism, some of which are available for free. He was a professor at the Numata Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg and co-founded the Āgama Research Group. He currently teaches and continues his research at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts.

~ Adapted from the Wikipedia article

Selected Works

Placing the Pali discourses and their counterparts in the Chinese Āgamas side by side often brings to light an impressive degree of agreement, even down to rather minor details. This close agreement testifies to the emphasis on verbatim recall in the oral transmission of the early discourses. In this respect the early Buddhist oral tradition forms a class of its own in the ambit of oral literature

a fair number of occurrences in the Buddha’s life would be difficult to explain if he had been omniscient

An encyclopedic overview of the various kinds of samādhi and their place on the path.

A concise definition of sampajāna explaining how it prepares the ground for formal meditation.

Given the fact that the praiseworthy qualities of the Buddha are the main theme of the Mahāsakuludāyi-sutta and its parallel, it is not surprising if the tendency to elevate the Buddha’s status would to some degree also have influenced the reciters responsible for transmitting the discourse. A comparison of the two versions in fact reveals several instances where this tendency is at work

I invite the reader to join me in a search for what could be found in the textual corpus of early Buddhist discourses

The way the denizens of the ancient Indian pantheon appear in early Buddhist texts exemplifies a mode of thought that scholars have called “inclusivism”.

based on what can be culled from the Madhyama-āgama discourse in comparison with the other versions, it seems possible to arrive at a coherent narrative of [the founding] of the order of nuns.

A thorough examination of each discourse in the Majjhima-nikāya in the light of its parallels.

An engaging lecture at Spirit Rock on using text critical methods and personal practice to narrow in on an understanding of early Buddhist meditation practices.

Vinaya narration like the Sudinna tale does not function in a way comparable to a record of case law precedents in modern judicial proceedings. Instead, the stories need to be understood in terms of their teaching function

The fossils found clearly show that there has been a development from reptile to bird, even though the particular animal whose remains have been discovered was of course not the first one to start jumping or gliding from one tree to the next. Comparable to the fossils of an archaeopteryx, some early discourses reflect particular stages in the development of Buddhist thought.

The tale is best understood in the light of the need of the early Buddhist tradition to demarcate its position in the ancient Indian context vis-à-vis ascetic practices and ideology.

Young Brahmins would already begin memorizing the sacred texts by rote when they were about eight years old, and some began the training still earlier. Only after having completed this task successfully, following years of memorization, would they study the meaning of what they had memorized.

Translations by Bhikkhu Anālayo: