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Great Disciples of the Buddha


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About the Author

Nyanaponika Thera, a German-born Buddhist monk, was a scholar, translator, and founder of The Buddhist Publication Society in Sri Lanka. Thera died in 1994 at the age of 93.

Hellmuth Hecker is a leading German writer on Buddhism and a translator from the Pali Canon. His books include a german translation of the Samyutta Nikaya (parts 4 and 5) a two-volume chronicle on Buddhism in Germany, and a biography of Ven. Nyanatiloka Mahathera, the first German Buddhist monk.

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk from New York City, born in 1944. He obtained a BA in philosophy from Brooklyn College and a PhD in philosophy from Claremont Graduate School. 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 leading Sri Lankan scholar-monk, Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya (1896-1998). From 1984 to 2002 he was the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy, where he lived for ten years with the senior German monk, Ven. Nyanaponika Thera (1901-1994), at the Forest Hermitage. He returned to the U.S. in 2002. He currently lives and teaches at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York. Ven. Bodhi has many important publications to his credit, either as author, translator, or editor. These include The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya, 1995), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya, 2000), and The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya, 2012). In 2008, together with several of his students, Ven. Bodhi founded Buddhist Global Relief, a nonprofit supporting hunger relief, sustainable agriculture, and education in countries suffering from chronic poverty and malnutrition.


"A truly unique and excellent addition to the literature from the Pali texts. Great Disciples is a rich sourcebook, offering lucid stories and translations and brilliant scholarship, all visibly crafted with a love of the Dhamma."--Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

"I am grateful for the publication of this book. With great admiration for and trust in the authors, I recommend The Great Disciples of the Buddha to friends and students alike."--Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Living Buddha, Living Christ

"When three highly accomplished dharma practitioners collaborate to bring their encyclopedic knowledge to bear on a particular topic, the result will be a landmark work like Great Disciples of the Buddha. It is edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi with his own contributions together with an extremely useful introduction. The authors reveal their ability to see the great spiritual truths behind these stories. They skillfully show how each of the Buddha's great disciples is an individual in his own right with characteristics that distinguish them from the rest: Ananda's gentleness and loyalty, Mahakassapa's seriousness and love of solitude, Sariputta's concern for the well-being of the Sangha, for example. Great Disciples of the Buddha is not just a collection of biographies. While it can be read by the casual reader, the serious seeker will receive a great deal of Dharma instruction because the writers aspects of the Teachings in a manner appropriate for a modern audience. Monumental."-- "Eastern Horizon"

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