Saturday, May 28, 2011

Buddha, Buddha, who is "the Buddha"?

American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, As It Is audio book, Segment 1, "The Buddha"


Bhikkhu Bodhi was born in New York in 1944. He received a B.A. from Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. in philosophy after moving to California to attend the Claremont Graduate School as he prepared to become a Theravada monk. He moved to the Washington Buddhist Vihara, a Sri Lankan temple. Eventually he moved to the island of Sri Lanka where he studied under an eminent and accomplished monk Ven. Ananda Maitreya.

Bhikkhu Bodhi learned Pali and continued his scholarship under the guidance of the German monks who had arrived a generation earlier. Ven. Nyanatiloka, who created the Buddhist Dictionary: Manual of terms and Doctrines, was the teacher of the German monk Ven. Nyanaponika. Ven. Nyanaponika founded and was editor of the prolific Buddhist Publication Society, before transferring that honor to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the greatest living translator of Buddhist texts.

While living in Washington, Bhikkhu Bodhi was often asked to teach, which impacted his practice. So he created a solution -- a mail order way to learn Buddhism. This was a ten tape series of lectures and accompanying material called The Buddha's Teaching: As It Is. "The Buddha" was the first tape in the series. More in the series may be found here ( After 25 years in Sri Lanka, he returned to the US and currently lives in Upstate New York, at a Buddhist temple called Chaung Yen Monastery, where he teaches and is able to continue his scholarship and English translations.