My books at Santipada

The final versions of all six of my books* are finished and available through

These books have been a labour of love for me, and are the fruits of countless hours of perspiration and inspiration. I’ve done everything I can to ensure that they are as well written, researched, and presented as possible, and I make them available as widely as I can. You can read them on the web, download them, get an ebook, and even, for the traditionalists among you, order a paperback version. Here’s the blurb for each of these books.

I don’t have any way of publicizing these apart from this blog, so I’d really appreciate it if you’d spread these around on whatever network or social media you use. On the Santipada site I encourage donations to Buddhist Global Relief, and the (minimal) proceeds from book sales go to Santi FM.**

White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes

Enchant­ing, power­ful, hor­rific, beau­ti­ful, wise, deadly, com­pas­sion­ate, seduct­ive. Women in Buddhist story and image are all these things and more. She takes the signs of the ancient god­dess – the lotus, the sac­red grove, the ser­pent, the sac­ri­fice – and uses them in aston­ish­ing new ways. Her story is one of suf­fer­ing and great tri­als, and through it all an unquench­able long­ing to be free. This beau­ti­fully illus­trated work is as layered and sub­vers­ive as myth­o­logy itself. Based dir­ectly on authen­tic Buddhist texts, and informed with insights from psy­cho­logy and com­par­at­ive myth­o­logy, it takes a fresh look at how Buddhist women have been depic­ted by men and how they have depic­ted themselves.

Dreams of Bhadda

Bhaddā was a true ori­ginal. An ascetic, a philo­sopher, and a mur­derer, who became one of the best-loved of all the bhikkhunis. Here is a vivid re-imagining of her story: a Buddhist nun like you’ve never seen before.



A History of Mindfulness

The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is the most influ­en­tial scrip­ture in Buddhist med­it­a­tion. It is the found­a­tion text for the mod­ern schools of ‘vipas­sanā’ or ‘insight’ med­it­a­tion. The well-known Pali dis­course is, how­ever, only one of many early Buddhist texts that deal with mind­ful­ness. This is the first full-scale study to encom­pass all extant ver­sions of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, tak­ing into account the dynamic evol­u­tion of the Buddhist scrip­tures and the broader Indian med­it­at­ive cul­ture. A new vis­ion emerges from this ground­break­ing study: mind­ful­ness is not a sys­tem of ‘dry insight’ but is the ‘way to con­ver­gence’ lead­ing the mind to deep states of peace.

Sects & Sectarianism

Why are there so many schools of Buddhism? Are the dif­fer­ences just cul­tural, or do they have fun­da­ment­ally dif­fer­ent vis­ions of Dhamma? This work assesses the claims of the tra­di­tions, and takes into account to find­ings of mod­ern schol­ar­ship. It pays spe­cial atten­tion to the ori­gins of the mon­astic orders. If we are to under­stand the dif­fer­ences, and some­times ten­sions, between the schools of Buddhism today, we must exam­ine more closely the forces that spurred their formation.

A Swift Pair of Messengers

Serenity and insight are the two great wings of Buddhist med­it­a­tion. They each have a spe­cial role to play in the path to Awaken­ing. While some mod­ern approaches seek to mar­gin­al­ize serenity in favor of ‘dry’ insight, the Buddha’s own dis­courses place serenity right at the cen­ter of the path. This book col­lects vir­tu­ally all the sig­ni­fic­ant pas­sages on this topic that are found in the early dis­courses, care­fully elu­cid­ated for the mod­ern reader.

Bhikkhuni Vinaya Studies

Although his­tor­ic­ally mar­gin­al­ized, Buddhist nuns are tak­ing their place in mod­ern Buddhism. Like the monks, Buddhist nuns live by an ancient sys­tem of mon­astic law, the Vinaya. This work invest­ig­ates vari­ous areas of uncer­tainty and con­tro­versy in how the Vinaya is to be under­stood and applied today.



In addition to these books, I have updated and improved two old websites on bhikkhuni ordination: Sikkhamana and Bhikkhuni Patimokkha. These consist mainly of translations and comparative tables for those interested in a serious study of issues relating to bhikkhuni ordination.



* Not counting the illustrated book Beginnings, which was previously available at Budaedu, but appears to have run out.

** For those who might be curious about my policy re selling books, basically I would prefer for everything to be given away free. Most people who read them will get them via a free distribution publisher or from a free download. You can also buy them through the print on demand publisher In this case the price just covers the printing and postage, as Lulu does not require that the author takes any royalties. However, Lulu also makes available distribution through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc. And to enable this one must accept a certain minimum of author royalties. I don’t want this for myself, so it is a donation for Santi.

29 thoughts on “My books at Santipada

    • Hi Alex,

      Glad to hear from you, I hope Tas is agreeable!

      I have emailed Helene so hopefully will be up again soon. All the others are fine.

  1. Thank you Bhante, for taking time and putting in effort to deliver these beautifully written books, offering glimpse into the life of women in Buddhism.

  2. I’m re-downloading your CLASSIC “A History of Mindfulness” again, to see what are the changes. Sadhu again, Bhante, and wish you well!


    • Thanks for the appreciation! There’s no changes in substance, I’ve tightened up the language somewhat, made corrections, and improved the presentation. Over the years I have gained confidence in what I have done, as I haven’t seen any good reasons to doubt my methods or conclusions. With A History of Mindfulness in particular, I would like to do a more detailed and technical study of the first part, the GIST. This is essentially a statistical argument, and I believe it can be firmly proven – or disproven – with a broader statistical analysis. Alas, I lack any skills in statistics, so this remains untested for now…

    • Congrats on the writing and stuff – if its okay, i won’t do any interviews for the time being. I’m keeping my eye on this blog for a few days – waiting for to come back online, actually – but apart from that I’ll still be out of circulation for the next period.

    • My articles represent the more orthodox voice in that buddhist newspaper by the way. I have written about: the buddhist concept of hell, the difference between the animal and the human realm and a critique on Stephen Bachelor’s secular buddhism. I solely use the suttas and my own ideas about them for my articles.

    • Ven Sujato, just reading your interesting and well argued ‘vegetarianism and Buddhism’ post, which I agree with wholeheartedly — what did you make of my mention of Paranibbana Sutta and the ‘pork or mushroom’ controversy? Do you know if the debates about the translation have ever been resolved one way or the other? (I am not a scholar — I just remember following the argument some years ago and wonder if it is still ongoing.)

    • Hi Joe,

      I read the Waley article you posted earlier. It was, as you said, excellent, and I don’t know that anything substantial has been added. The fact, as Waley points out, that there are several medicines attested that use a compound form similar to sukkara-maddava certainly shows that the phrase cannot be unequivocally said to be pork. As I have mentioned previously, I think that such an ambiguous phrase should not be used as the centerpiece of an argument about vegetarianism, when there are plenty of more reliable sources.

    • Hi venerable Sujato,

      I think you are right on being more individualistic about your practice. I feel when i’m writing for that magazine i’m turning to something i don’t really want to do in buddhism. I have had my problems in the (recent) past but i’m slowly turning in a more even minded person. Reading the suttas and interpreting them into a solid message constructive towards my own life is he best thing i can do for now. Everyone is responsible for their own liberation. My uncle urged me to write for the magazine but i never really felt like i was at home doing so. Anyway, i wish you the best in your quest and i personally hope to ordain soon as well.

      with metta,

  3. Ven Sujato; I love your blog and thought you’d like the following meditation on mortality —

    By Francisco de Quevedo
    Translated by A.Z. Foreman

    My yesterday was dream. My morrow, dirt!
    A while past, nothing; a while later, smoke.
    All pitiful ambition I exert
    to strike at what destroys me with one stroke.
    I, skirmish of a war I cannot win,
    am the true weakness of my strategy.
    As I let my own cannons me in,
    my body does not bear but buries me.
    Yesterday’s out, tomorrow yet unplayed.
    Today runs by and is and was and flings
    me headfirst into death without delay.
    The moment and the hour are each a spade
    salaried by my fears and sufferings
    to dig my monument in living clay.

    It comes from the wonderful Poems in Translation blog.

  4. Gotamist, I just saw your magazine, and I am sorry, I do not read Dutch, and I couldn’t access an online translator, but may I ask, do you have an English version of the following article on the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims by the Burmese Buddhist community?

    Well done for addressing the slaughter /ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar — I respect that, and I respect the monks for calling for an investigation — disappointingly, the much celebrated leader of ‘democracy’,Aung San Suu Kyi has been totally silent on the Buddhist communities’ slaughter, persecution and expulsion of the Rohinga Muslims.

    Professor Asad Abu Khalil, from California State and UC Berkeley has documented it all admirably well here —

  5. Hi Joe,

    It is not my magazine by the way. I just write articles for them from time to time. Maybe you can use google translate? I don’t think there is an english version.

  6. Thanks Gotamist — I will try to do that. I was very pleased to see your magazine address the issue of Burmese Buddhists involved in ethnically cleansing a community they do not like — with some monks’ approval and support, sadly ( See “The Independent” article on monks support for attacks on Muslims). It is especially shameful that Aung San Suu Kyi — after all she has endured — is silent on Buddhist persecution of others.

    • Hi Joe,

      Buddhism, the dhamma can only be tainted or destroyed by buddhists themselves. Buddhists persecuting people for believing other things or being diffent is in my opinion the decay of the dhamma. So called buddhists become their own enemy in that sense. Buddhism only makes sense when it is directed towards an inner transformation. When monks or lay-buddhists cause harm towards other groups or even protect themselves physically solely for their own sake, the dhamma is lost completely.

      See the: Kakacupama Sutta: The Simile of the Saw

      with metta,


  7. “Monks who played a vital role in Burma’s recent struggle for democracy have been accused of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country by calling on people to shun a Muslim community that has suffered decades of abuse.

    In a move that has shocked many observers, some monks’ organisations have issued pamphlets telling people not to associate with the Rohingya community, and have blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching them. One leaflet described the Rohingya as “cruel by nature” and claimed it had “plans to exterminate” other ethnic groups.

    The outburst against the Rohingya, often described as one of the world’s most oppressed groups, comes after weeks of ethnic violence in the Rakhine state in the west of Burma that has left more than 80 dead and up to 100,000 people living in a situation described as “desperate” by humanitarian organisations. As state-sanctioned abuses against the Muslim community continue, Burma’s president Thein Sein – credited by the international community for ushering in a series of democratic reforms in the country and releasing political prisoners such as Aung San Suu Kyi – has urged neighbouring Bangladesh to take in the Rohingya.

    “In recent days, monks have emerged in a leading role to enforce denial of humanitarian assistance to Muslims, in support of policy statements by politicians,” said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan project, a regional NGO. “A member of a humanitarian agency in Sittwe told me that some monks were posted near Muslim displacement camps, checking on and turning away people they suspected would visit for assistance.”

  8. Ven Sujato, thanks for your reply — as I said, I am no scholar, and by no means an expert on these things; these are just some ideas I followed in others’ work some years ago. Thanks for your advice on these topics, and it is pleasant to see that you keep a controversial edge to your blog, and deal with topics that many other Buddhists leave alone.

    I always enjoy dropping by your page. I look forward to reading your books too.

  9. Dear Bhante,
    I’d love to see some of (all) your books included in Buddhist Studies programmes. Have you ever submitted your books for peer review/ academic review? I am sensing that this may not have been on your agenda for sensible reasons- at the same time – your books would really enrich what is available and a review might help bridge the divide between the work of academics and monastics. I was recently at a Buddhist Studies programme which shall remain unnamed (I visited 4 this summer) and the Director said (in a completely different context) he could not imagine anyone wanting to publish under Lulu – and I thought to myself, you are head of this department but there is nothing Buddhist about what you just said! Alas – the academic world has its pressures, doesn’t it and we want Buddhist scholarship to be taken seriously outside of Monasteries and the realm of Buddhist studies alone. Just thoughts for now from someone who knows nothing but sees a great need for teachers like you, for igniting inspiration in more students, for generating more love of this study area … A deep bow _/\_

    • Hi Lisa,

      It’s an interesting area. One of my hobby-horses has been the way that academic publishing serves to lock up information for ultimately commercial purposes, rather than for bringing understanding to people who might benefit. This is why I have never considered using traditional academic publishers for my books.

      Take, say, a typical Buddhist studies book from Routledge, which many of us were invited to contribute to a few years ago: Buddhism in Australia: Traditions in Change. The book includes contributions from several Buddhists, scholars, etc. It costs $135, which is nearly a dollar per page! Now, the printing costs would be a few dollars; promotion is marginal; contributors get nothing; and editors maybe get a little if anything. Who gets the money? Well, in 2011 the company that owns Routledge made a profit of 336 million pounds. That’s half a billion dollars. It is a corporate climate where the boss can receive millions as a bonus, and those producing the intellectual property get zip.

      More than that, the book just isn’t that impressive. It’s just a collection of essays solicited from whoever would write something. There’s no systematic study or effort gone into it.

      I have, when invited, submitted a few essays for publishing in academic journals, which I did to learn about the experience. My article in the Buddhist Studies Journal was peer reviewed; the reviewer just corrected a couple of minor issues in phrasing, so it made no difference to the substance of what I was saying. In fact the essay was a summary of information in Sects & Sectarianism, and contained nothing that wasn’t freely available in that book, with more details and references. But the essay was made available for download as a pdf for 20 pounds!

      I could go on for some time, and I should acknowledge that there are many great academic projects that are not subject to such constraints. But for the most part academic publishing is basically to get prestige and jobs, and the information is obsessively corralled in the academic culture, to keep students dependent. In the sciences there have been some great innovations recently to break this open – most famously the fabulous – but too little too late.

      I should make it clear I am not blaming the academics for this, although I think they should be more active to change things. The fault lies with the commercialization of education, govt. policies, and most of all, with the monopolizers of academic publishing.

      And as for using Lulu, I am not surprised at all that an academic would scorn it. After all, it’s merely cheap, good, fast, and open, and fails at the thing that really matters: prestige. Still, there are quite a number of “serious” academic journals and books there, so it seems not all academics have the same view. In fact, Print-on-Demand is the perfect thing for academic publishing, which deals in low volumes.

  10. Dear Bhante,
    I often feel so deeply eased by your feisty words, including those above about the corporatisation of everything, even intellectual discourse. I look forward to reading more of your well researched writing from the list above.
    Last month I finally made the decision to spend some extended time at Santi,. This feels like a big thing for me and has been a long time coming. Thank you for making it possible for me to explore the possibility of this path here in Australia.
    Warmest regards,

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