Selected Writings and Resources Available Online
(Note: The resources on this page were originally compiled as part of the Ganges Sangha website. That site was discontinued and the resources were transferred to this site by the original webmaster, Michael Potter.)
Maha Satipatthana Sutta (Annotated) - The Great Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana) is important for those who practice insight meditation (vipassana) because all instructions for skillful practice are directly or indirectly based on the teachings contained in this Sutta. It is presented with notes from a 14-tape series of talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary - by Soma Thera. A translation of the Satipatthana Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya; its Commentary, the Satipatthana Sutta Vannana of the Papa³casudani of Buddhaghosa Thera; and excerpts from the Linatthapakasana Tika, Marginal Notes, of Dhammapala Thera on the Commentary.
The Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing - by Ven. Ledi Sayadaw (The Wheel Publication No. 431/432). Also see A Manual of Respiration, an online publication of a different translation of this work.
The Power of Mindfulness - An Inquiry into the Scope of Bare Attention and the Principal Sources of its Strength by Nyanaponika Thera (The Wheel Publication No. 121/122).
The Nine Cemetery Contemplations - This meditation from the Satipatthana Sutta aids in breaking one's attachment to one's body and to the bodies of others. As long as there is any attachment, there will be suffering. Pictures of a corpse in various stages of decomposition are provided to assist in this meditation. Warning: these pictures are not for the faint of heart.
Buddhist Reflections On Death - by V.F. Gunaratna (The Wheel Publication: No.102/103). To most of us, at some moment or another, the spectacle of death must have given rise to the deepest of thoughts and profoundest of questions. What is life worth, if able bodies that once performed great deeds now lie flat and cold, senseless and lifeless? What is life worth, if eyes that once sparkled with joy, eyes that once beamed with love are now closed forever, bereft of movement, bereft of life? Thoughts such as these are not to be repressed. It is just these inquiring thoughts, if wisely pursued, that will ultimately unfold the potentialities inherent in the human mind to receive the highest truths.
Dukkha - a picture for contemplation of the many characteristics of Dukkha, the First Noble Truth.
The Benefits of Walking Meditation - by Sayadaw U Silananda. This is an illuminating essay on the benefits of walking meditation with detailed instructions concerning how to apply the Modes of Deportment, as described in the Satipatthana Sutta.
The Progress of Insight - A Modern Treatise on Buddhist Satipatthana Meditation by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw. For an outline of the stages of purification and the insight knowledges to be gained in sequence, see The Seven Stages of Purification & Insight Knowledges. See also, The Development of Insight by Patrick Kearney (The Path to Freedom, The Seven Purifications, and The Insight Knowledges), which is presented in clear terms and provides a good summary of the topics covered in depth by The Progress of Insight.
The Four Noble Truths - The Four Noble Truths are the central Teaching of the Buddha. This booklet was compiled and edited from talks given by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering - by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Leading Virtuous Lives As Laymen - a dharma talk by Sayagyi U Chit Tin discussing the role of Sila (virtue) as part of the Path of Purification.
The Simile of the Cloth and The Discourse on Effacement - Two Discourses of the Buddha from the Majjhima Nikaya, edited with Introduction and Notes by Nyanaponika Thera (The Wheel Publication No. 61/62). The Simile of the Cloth speaks of sixteen defilements of social conduct as impeding the progress on higher stages of the path to deliverance. The Discourse on Effacement widens the range to forty-four detrimental qualities of mind which must effaced, including very practical advice concerning how such defilements can be removed.
Right View: The Sammaditthi Sutta and its Commentary - Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Nanamoli; Edited and Revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The Discourse on Right View is intended to elucidate the principles that are to be comprehended by conceptual right view and penetrated by experiential right view. The Venerable Sariputta expounds these principles under sixteen headings: the wholesome and the unwholesome, the four nutriments of life, the Four Noble Truths, the twelve factors of dependent arising, and the taints as the condition for ignorance. See also, Right View in The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering- by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Right Effort - A collection of resources that may be grouped under the heading "Right Effort" (the sixth factor of The Noble Eightfold Path), including how to skillfully deal with the five hindrances (sense desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, and doubt) and how to skillfully cultivate and apply the seven enlightenment factors (mindfulness, keen investigation of the Dhamma, energy, rapture or happiness, calm, concentration, and equanimity), the five spiritual faculties (faith, wisdom, mindfulness, energy and concentration), and the four bases of power (desire, persistence, intent, and discrimination).
Kamma, Rebirth, Samsara - by Ashin Ottama (The Wheel Publication No. 425/427). "A penetrative and thought-provoking investigation of the three principles that figure so centrally in the Buddha's original teaching, yet which often arouse so much doubt and perplexity. This is an intelligent and stimulating essay which will merit several readings." (Buddhist Publication Society). See also, Rebirth - A recent essay by Bhikkhu Pesala of Wembley Vihîra that presents this difficult topic with clarity, along with a brief summary of the law of kamma and its role in rebirth. It is short, non-technical and may clarify some the subtle aspects of this deep teaching for you. See also, Study Guide: Kamma - one in a series of anthologies of sutta passages designed for individual or group study, prepared by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
The Four Sublime States - by Nyanaponika Thera. A series of short but illuminating reflections on the development of the four brahmavihara ("sublime states" or "divine abidings": love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity) and the role they play in meditative practice. See also Metta;Karuna; Mudita; Upekkha. See also, Metta Meditations - a collection of Metta meditations by Ven. Ayya Khema. See also, Lovingkindness Meditation and Body Metta - practice resources by Ginny Morgan.
The Ten Paramis (The Ten Perfections) - a set of ten qualities in which one has to perfect oneself in order to be able to attain Nibbana. Study resources are provided, including A Treatise on the Paramis by Acariya Dhammapala, with introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Abhidhamma Study Resources - a collection of resources, both online and offline, to assist in Abhidhamma studies.
The Law of Dependent Origination - an excellent summary of this very deep teaching.
Transcendental Dependent Arising - a translation and exposition of the Upanisa Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
The Emergence of Feeling and Craving - a graphic rendering of the effect of the "Wedge of Mindfulness" on the emergence of Feeling and Craving in the Dependent Origination process.
The Real Facts of Life - Practical Reflections on the Three Marks of Existence by Sumano Tong (The Wheel Publication No. 435). "The Buddha taught that all conditioned things - ourselves included - have three characteristics: impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and selflessness or nonsubstantiality (anatta). When we fail to recognize these three characteristics of existence, we regard that which is impermanent as permanent, that which is unsatisfactory as pleasure, and the selfless as possessing an unchanging self." (Tong) Written with clarity and in non-technical terms, this essay systematically explores these characteristics through many examples that can easily be found in everyday life.
The Roots of Good and Evil -- An Anthology - by Nyanaponika Thera (The Wheel Publication No. 251/253). In this anthology of the Pali Canon, Nyanaponika Thera offers penetrating insight into the six mental states that are the root from which everything harmful and beneficial sprouts. This essay is highly recommended for those who aspire to deepen their understanding of Right View and Right Intention of The Noble Eightfold Path.
The Venerable Phra Acharn Mun Bhuridatta Thera, Meditation Master – Phra Acharn Mun was the best-known meditation-master of his time, being genuinely revered by all his close disciples, including Venerable Phra Acharn Maha Boowa, who compiled this account of the life and teachings of this great monk.- “So flawless was his life that a diamond or any other gem cannot compare with its matchless rarity and purity.” (Ven. Boowa).
Straight from the Heart - Thirteen Talks on the Practice of Meditation by Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa ãanasampanno. Originally given to a follower who was dying of cancer, their style of presentation is personal and impromptu. Particular emphasis is on the development of discernment. By his own example, he gives instructions on a teacher's responsibility to students.
Insight Meditation: Questions and Answers on Practice and Benefits by Dr. Nay Dee (London,12th May 2000). Clear responses to questions often asked by beginning meditators about the practice of insight meditation, including "Why do we practice insight meditation?", "What is the benefit of mindfulness?", and "What is the benefit of realising impermanent nature (anicca), unsatisfactory nature/suffering (dukkha) and non-self nature (anatta) of mind and matter?".
The Practice of Impermanence: An Interview with Joseph Goldstein (Inquiring Mind, Fall 2000).
Using Non-Self to Let Go - Edited from a recorded talk given by Ajahn Brahmavamso during a 9-day meditation retreat in 1997, Perth, Western Australia.
The Ending of Things -- A Discourse on Non-Self - by Ajahn Brahmavamso (Bodhi Leaves No. 153). Ajahn Brahmavamso is the abbot of the Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery in Western Australia. This publication is an edited version of the last talk he gave at the 1999 Rains Retreat at Bodhinyana Monastery.
Questions of Skill, an essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. "The Buddha wasn't the sort of teacher who simply answered questions. He also taught which questions to ask." So begins the author, who explains here how the essence of Buddhist practice consists in learning how to ask skillful questions.
Reading the Mind - by Upasika Kee Nanayon. Nine short excerpts from talks concerning the development of skillfulness in reading and training one's own mind. These talks are presented with great clarity.
A Discourse on Malukyaputta Sutta - by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. In this sutta, the instructions are the same as those given to Bahiya (Ud. 1.10), i.e., to note with mindfulness every time the phenomena of sight, sound, odor, taste, touch and consciousness occur, but this time they are given to an old monk who had not striven for the dhamma while young. Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw guides us through this sutta with great skill and a depth of understanding.
The Great Discourse on Not-Self (Anattalakkhana Sutta) - Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. In this book of sermons, Venerable Sayadaw, with his deep compassion, elaborates fully on the brief account of the Anattalakkhana Sutta given by the Lord Buddha. The Sutta describes the nature and characteristics of not-self, but does not describe the meditation methods or techniques for contemplation and noting. This book, however, contains a full exposition of the methods of contemplation and explains in detail how not-self is reflected on, leading to the attainment of Nibbana. Grounded in the scriptural texts and his own personal experience in practical vipassana meditation, Venerable Sayadaw gives penetrating and helpful guidance in skillfully contemplating this characteristic of existence. Click here for additional teachings by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw (scroll down to Discourses in English).
The Craft of the Heart - by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo. "This book, Ajaan Lee's first, is like a catalog: In it, he gives the full range of his teachings on the practice of the Buddha's craft, from the observance of the five precepts to the attainment of total liberation. Thus the different parts are written for different people at different stages in the practice, and the reader is advised to read, not judgmentally, but judiciously -- taking whatever is useful for his or her own practice, and leaving the rest for others." [Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)]
Non-violence - a study guide prepared by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. In the Kama Sutta (Sutta Nipata IV.1), the Buddha describes his sense of dismay at the violence in the world, together with his important discovery: that the only escape from violence is to remove the causes of violence from one's own heart. To remove these causes, one must first refrain from violence on the external level so as to create the proper karmic context -- more peaceful and honest -- for extracting the causes of violence on the internal level. These two levels of the practice are illustrated in the passages from the Pail Canon compiled in this study guide prepared by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
The Ballad of Liberation from the Khandhas, by Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera, translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. This poem, composed sometime in the 1930's, is one of the few known written teachings left to us by Ajaan Mun, who was described by those who knew him as one who had attained full and final Deliverance, an Arahant.
In the Presence of Nibbana - Developing Faith in the Buddhist Path to Enlightenment, by Ajahn Bhramavamso (Bodhi Leaves Publication No. 149). An online version is available here.
The Arahat - an Arahat's outlook on life (excerpts from a discourse on The Doctrine of Dependent Origination (paticcasamuppada) by The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw).
Shedding Tears in Amazement with Dhamma and How Can An Arahant Shed Tears? by Ajahn Maha Boowa. A Lion's Roar by Ajahn Maha Boowa and an explanation of the difference between Ultimate Reality and the Conventional Reality that produces tears.
Cultivating Choiceless Awareness - by Matthew Flickstein.
Small Boat, Great Mountain by Ajahn Amaro. This book is a based on a series of talks that provide a Theravada Buddhist perspective on The Natural Great Perfection more typically addressed in Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen teachings.
Broad View, Boundless Heart by Ajahn Passano and Ajahn Amaro. This booklet, currently available in pdf only, includes the article "Ajahn Chah's View of "The View", a reflection by Ajahn Amaro on the similarities between the Theravada Buddhist teachings of Ajahn Chah and the Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen teachings.
Buddhist Rituals and Observances by Ajahn Succito and Ajahn Candasiri. This booklet, currently available in pdf only, provides a short introduction into Theravada Buddhist rituals and ceremonies. A nice resource for sangha leaders.
Course Materials for Teachers: This new page contains links to several courses that have been developed by members of the Ganges Sangha.
The Zen Page - a collection of Zen resources, including the Ten Oxherding Pictures; Hsin Hsin Ming; and Free and Easy.
The Tipitaka - An online source for English translations of much of the Tipitaka, or Pali Canon, which is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. Many suttas not found on Access to Insight's website can be found here.
Index of Similes and Metaphors - Have you ever wondered where in the many suttas a particular simile or metaphor can be found? This link will take you to a partial index of the similes and metaphors that appear in the suttas available at Access to Insight. Only the similes that illustrate points of Dhamma are included there; those serving only a literary or narrative function (e.g., Ambapali's detailed description of her long-lost youthful beauty, in Thig XIII.1) are omitted.
Study Guide to the Suttas of the Pali Cannon - Leigh Brasington has prepared a short study guide to the Buddha's Discourses to help people get started reading the Suttas. It includes suggested readings from the Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, and Samutta Nikaya, as well as a collection of ancient and modern commentaries to many of the Suttas.
Buddhist Dictionary - Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, by Nyanatiloka Mahathera.