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

After completing his university studies, he immediately came 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 at the time.

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 at 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 also the chairman of the Yin Shun Foundation and Buddhist Global Relief.

~ From the Bodhi Monastery bio

Selected Works (in chronological order)

In recognition of its pre-eminence among the Master’s epithets, the early Buddhist teachers and their successors have applied their wisdom and erudition to fathoming the multiple implications of this suggestive word.

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.

When we adopt a Buddhist perspective on the wounds that afflict our world today, we soon realize that these wounds are symptomatic: a warning signal that something is fundamentally awry with the way we lead our lives.

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.

This meaning, the author holds, might best be characterized as “lucid awareness.” He questions the common explanation of mindfulness as “bare attention,” pointing out problems that lurk behind both words in this expression.

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.

One of the toughest interviews I’ve ever had.

Edited:

The Buddha calls right view the forerunner of the path (pubbaṅgama), which gives direction and efficacy to the other seven path factors.

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

Translations by Bhikkhu Bodhi:

Kālāmas, do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of scriptures, by logic…

It is painful to dwell without reverence and deference. Now what ascetic or brahmin can I honor, respect, and dwell in dependence on?

Remember me, brahmin, as a Buddha.

But when gold is freed from these five defilements, it is malleable, wieldy, and luminous, pliant and properly fit for work.

… 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.

Bhikkhus, it is good for a bhikkhu from time to time to review his own failings. It is good for him from time to time to review the failings of others. It is good for him from time to time to review his own achievements. It is good for him from time to time to review the achievements of others.

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?”

Just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too, this Dhamma and discipline has but one taste: the taste of liberation. This is the sixth astounding and amazing quality…

… wine at minimum conduces to madness

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.

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

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.

Remote jungle-thicket resting places in the forest are hard to endure, seclusion is hard to practise, and it is hard to enjoy solitude.

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

MN 15: Measuring Up (2009)

Featured in the course, " Buddhist Ethics"

Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth

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.

Surely, venerable sir, we are living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.

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.

Indeed, I have long been tricked, cheated, and defrauded by this mind.

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.

One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, should cultivate relinquishment, and should train for peace.

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

Rāhula, what do you think? Is the eye permanent or impermanent?

By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood.

Where name-and-form ceases,
Stops without remainder,
And also impingement and perception of form:
It is here this tangle is cut.

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

Mara the Evil One manifested himself in the form of an ox and approached those almsbowls.

The eye is yours, Evil One, forms are yours, eye-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no eye, no forms, no eye-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there

They had come to him glittering with beauty—
Taṇha, Arati, and Raga—
But the Teacher swept them away right there
As the wind, a fallen cotton tuft.

… for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.

… with liberation as proximate cause, the knowledge of destruction.

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

Bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can be clung to, craving increases.

Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a great tree. Then a man would come along bringing a shovel and a basket. He would cut down the tree at its foot, dig it up, and pull out the roots…

But that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘sentience’ and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night.

… by eating their son’s flesh they would cross the rest of the desert.

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.

Just as, Kassapa, gold does not disappear so long as counterfeit gold has not arisen in the world, but when counterfeit gold arises then true gold disappears, so the true Dhamma does not disappear so long as a counterfeit of the true Dhamma has not arisen in the world, but when a counterfeit of the true Dhamma arises in the world, then the true Dhamma disappears.

“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.”

That perplexity, doubtfulness, indecisiveness in regard to the true Dhamma is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced?

Now on that occasion the following pernicious view had arisen in a bhikkhu named Yamaka: “As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed is annihilated and perishes with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death.”

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.

I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me.

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?

When, bhikkhus, a carpenter or a carpenter’s apprentice looks at the handle of his adze, he sees the impressions of his fingers and his thumb, but he does not know: ‘So much of the adze handle has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier.’ But when it has worn away, the knowledge occurs to him: it has worn away.

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.

SN 45.8: Analysis (2000)

Featured in the course, " Buddhism 101"

The Buddha compares the five hindrances to a bowl of water in various conditions.

… how is the liberation of the mind by lovingkindness developed? What does it have as its destination, its culmination, its fruit, its final goal?

Move in your own resort, bhikkhus, in your own ancestral domain. Mara will not gain access to those who move in their own resort.

Thinking, ‘I will free both hands,’ he seizes it with his foot; he gets caught there.

I have taught the Dhamma, Ānanda, without making a distinction between inside and outside. The Tathagata has no closed fist of a teacher in regard to the teachings.

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

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.

Bhikkhus, I will teach you the origination and the passing away of the four establishments of mindfulness. Listen…

Bhikkhus, do not engage in disputatious talk

What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more numerous: these few siṁsapa leaves that I have taken up in my hand or those in the siṁsapa grove overhead?

Bhikkhus, if one’s clothes or head were ablaze, what should be done about it?