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Bodhi, Bhikkhu (1944-   )

Bhikkhu Bodhi (Jeffrey Block), Ph.D., is an American Buddhist monk and Pali scholar. After completing his university studies in philosophy at the Claremont Graduate School, he traveled to Sri Lanka, where he received full ordination in 1973 under the late Ven. Ananda Maitreya. He served as editor of the Buddhist Publication Society (Sri Lanka) from 1984-1988 and as its president from 1988-2000. His translations "The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha" (Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 1995) and "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha" (Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 2000) are highly regarded by Buddhist scholars and practitioners around the world. He is currently the president of the Sangha Council of Bodhi Monastery (USA) and the chairman of the Yin Shun Foundation. [Source: Bodhi Monastery website and other sources.]

Jhanananda's Critique-

Bhikkhu Bodhi, the current translator of the largest portion of the Discourses of the Buddha in print, is thus responsible for how jhana is portrayed in translation. The community that is jhana sensitive is dependent upon skillful translations of the Discourse of the Buddha in support of their venture.  By reading his translations and his copious commentary one clearly understands this monk has the dry insight bias.  The irony is he was quoted in "Climbing to the Top of the Mountain, An interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi" in which he admitted to not engaging in the practice of meditation, because, as he said, meditation gave him a headache.

Well, if he has been studying Buddhism for 32 years and he still has not figured out enough about meditation to engage in the practice so that he does not get a headache, then what does he, a scholar who does not meditate, know about the Noble Eightfold Path, the practice of meditation and the attainments of the Buddha? While it is very nice to have scholars take an interest in translating the Buddha's Discourses, why should we contemplatives, who do meditate, look to one who does not meditate for our translations and commentaries?  One who does not meditate does not follow the Noble Eightfold Path.  One who does not follow the Noble Eightfold Path can never understand the way to enlightenment (dhamma).

Updated 09-06-05


Bodhi Monastery website

"Climbing to the Top of the Mountain: An interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi" http://www.dharma.org/ij/archives/2002b/bhikkhu_bodhi.htm

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