Books & Essays
- Many of the listed books are available in .epub and .mobi formats. The .epubs work on all e-readers save the Kindle, and .mobis work on Kindles. All of the listed books are available as .pdfs as well. More information on e-book formats is available on the faq page.
These books are also available free of charge as paperbacks by requesting them from Metta Forest Monastery.
- Pali Canon
- Thai Forest Ajaans
- Dhamma Talks
- Study Guides
- Audio Books
- Printed Book Requests
Discernment: The Buddha’s Strategies for Happiness II. This study guide is an introduction to the Buddha’s teachings on how to use discernment to find an unending happiness. The book consists of passages from the Pali Canon and a substantial introduction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu providing context. This book is a companion to Merit.
Merit: The Buddha’s Strategies for Happiness I. This study guide is an introduction to the Buddha’s teachings on merit. The practice of merit (puñña) is often discounted by western Buddhists, yet the Buddha warns that higher levels cannot be practiced safely without merit as the foundation. This book is a companion to Discernment.
Recognizing the Dhamma: A Study Guide. The Buddha taught eight principles for recognizing what qualifies as Dhamma and Vinaya, and what does not. They form the standards against which the validity of any interpretation of the Dhamma or Vinaya must be judged. They are an indispensible guide in solitary practice and illustrate the application of his teachings in the well-known Kālāma Sutta.
Still Flowing Water: Eight Dhamma Talks, by . A collection of eight new or significantly revised translations of Ajahn Chah’s Dhamma talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Two of them have never been translated before into English, and four of them are based on entirely new Thai transcriptions of the best and most complete source recordings available.
It’s Like This: 108 Dhamma Similes, by . Ajahn Chah was a master at using the apt and unusual simile to explain points of Dhamma. He was especially talented at exploiting the open-ended nature of the simile - using a particular image to make one point in one context, and a very different point in another. This book is a companion to In Simple Terms.
In Simple Terms: 108 Dhamma Similes, by . Ajahn Chah was a master at using the apt and unusual simile to explain points of Dhamma. The translations of these similes have been polished as little as possible, for their unpolished nature is precisely what reveals unexpected layers of meaning. This book is a companion to It’s Like This.
Itivuttaka: This was said by the Buddha. The Itivuttaka is a newly updated translation of a collection of 112 short Suttas, each one a prose passage followed by a verse. This collection is shaped less by literary considerations than the Dhammapada or Udana and is more straightforwardly didactic. The itivuttakas cover the full range of Buddhist practice. On the basic levels, they focus on skillful and unskillful behavior, and on the advanced, they cover some topics found nowhere else in the Canon.
Udana: Exclamations. A complete translation of the book of the Udana from the Khuddaka Nikaya collection of the Pali Canon. The role of the Udana within the context of the Pali Canon is to focus on the values and principles“meaning” in the larger sense of the termthat underlie the Buddha’s teachings.
Dhammapada: A Translation. An anthology of verses attributed to the Buddha long recognized as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. This edition has the full Introduction, Historical Notes, and extensive Endnotes, which are hyper-linked in the epub & mobi versions.
The Buddhist Monastic Code I. This is the first of a two-volume set that attempts to give an organized, detailed account of the Vinaya training rules and the traditions that have grown up around them. The Patimokkha training rules as explained in the Sutta Vibhanga are the topic of the first volume; the rules found in the Khandhakas, the topic of the second. The book as a whole is aimed primarily at those whose lives are affected by the rules—bhikkhus who live by them, and other people who have dealings with the bhikkhus — so that they will be able to find gathered in one location as much essential information as possible on just what the rules do and do not entail. Students of Early Buddhism, Theravadin history, or contemporary Theravadin issues should also find this book interesting, as should anyone who is serious about the practice of the Dhamma and wants to see how the Buddha worked out the ramifications of Dhamma practice in daily life.
The Buddhist Monastic Code II: The Khandhaka Rules. This is the second of the two-volume set described immediately above. Please note that that this volume consists of two .pdf files in a .zip archive. The second .pdf file is an errata page noting post-publication changes to the original volume.
The Autobiography of Phra Ajaan Lee. Phra Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo was one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest ascetic tradition of meditation founded at the turn of the twentieth century by Phra Ajaan Sao Kantasilo and Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto. His life was short but eventful. Known for his skill as a teacher and his mastery of supranatural powers, he was the first to bring the ascetic tradition out of the forests of the Mekhong basin and into the mainstream of Thai society in central Thailand.
The Skill of Release: Teachings of Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo. A selection of Ajaan Lee’s teachings, including a few full talks, some short passages, and sometimes even half-thoughts, if they seemed provocative enough. Although the passages presented here have been arranged so that the book will stand on its own, they are also meant to fill in some of the gaps left by Ajaan Lee’s other writings.
Basic Themes: Four Treatises on Buddhist Practice, by . Uniquely among the ajaans in the Thai Wilderness tradition Ajaan Lee composed systematic treatises on the practice. These are valuable documents, giving a wilderness perspective on basic Dhamma topics.
Fistful of Sand & The Light of Discernment: Teachings of Phra Ajaan Suwat Suvaco. In 1989 Ajaan Suwat, the founder of Metta Forest Monastery, guided a meditation retreat for Westerners at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Fistful of Sand contains the translations of the Dhamma talks and question and answer sessions from that retreat. The Light of Discernment is a collection of translations of Dhamma talks by Luang Pu Suwat given at Metta Forest Monastery.
Keeping the Breath in Mind & Lessons in Samadhi, by . A fundamental guidebook for breath meditation and practicing the jhanas.
Food for Thought: Eighteen Talks on the Training of the Heart, by . The title of this collection reflects how it invites the reader to fill in the spaces suggested by the talks to reflect on how the images and teachings they contain relate to one another and to one’s own situation in life.
Inner Strength & Parting Gifts: Talks by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo. A collection of 20 Dhamma Talks by , from the basics of breath meditation to longer talks with extended metaphors on consciousnesses, knowledge and the defilements.
Frames of Reference, by . A practical explanation for meditators of the four frames of reference from the Satipatthana Sutta.
Awareness Itself, by . A collection of teachings spanning the whole range of practice by Ajaan Lee’s principal student and Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s teacher.
Meditations 5. Dhamma talks on breath meditation and various aspects of the Buddhist Path given during the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery from 2006-2009.
Meditations 4. Dhamma talks on breath meditation and various aspects of the Buddhist Path given during the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery from 2004-2008.
Meditations 3. Dhamma talks on breath meditation and various aspects of the Buddhist Path given during the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery from 2001-2005.
Meditations 2. Dhamma talks on breath meditation and various aspects of the Buddhist Path given during the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery from 2000-2005.
Meditations 1. Dhamma talks on breath meditation and various aspects of the Buddhist Path given during the evening meditation sessions at Metta Forest Monastery from 1996-2003.
epublished Dhamma Talks, vol. III. Dhamma talks from 2003-2011 similar to those in the Meditations series, but which were never published as a book.
epublished Dhamma Talks, vol. II. Dhamma talks from 2002-2008 similar to those in the Meditations series, but which were never published as a book.
epublished Dhamma Talks, vol. I. Dhamma talks from 1995-2004 similar to those in the Meditations series, but which were never published as a book.
Individual Talk Transcriptions. Dhamma talk transcriptions are alternately available from the .mp3 audio download page where pdf icons are associated with individual audio files.
Head & Heart Together. The fourth collection of essays. Includes: The Lessons of Gratitude, No Strings Attached, The Power of Judgment, Think like a Thief, Strength Training for the Mind, Mindfulness Defined, The Joy of Effort, Head & Heart Together, The Wisdom of the Ego, Ignorance, Food for Awakening, The Buddha via the Bible, and Freedom from Buddha Nature.
Purity of Heart. The third collection of essays. Includes: Purity of Heart, Faith in Awakening, Untangling the Present, Pushing the Limits, All About Change, The Roots of Buddhist Romanticism, Right & Wrong Reconciliation, Getting the Message, Educating Compassion, Jhana Not by the Numbers, The Integrity of Emptiness, A Verb for Nirvana, The Practice in a Word.
The Karma of Questions. The second collection of essays. Includes: Life Isn't Just Suffering, Opening the Door to the Dhamma, Questions of Skill, Freedom from Fear, Samsara, Samsara Divided by Zero, The Agendas of Mindfulness, De-perception, The Weight of Mountains, Five Piles of Bricks, Perennial Issues, and When You Know for Yourselves.
Noble Strategy. This first collection of essays is recommended for new practitioners. Includes: Affirming the Truths of the Heart, Karma, The Road to Nirvana Is Paved with Skillful Intentions, The Healing Power of the Precepts, Right Speech, Trading Candy for Gold, A Guided Meditation, The Path of Concentration & Mindfulness, One Tool Among Many, What Is Emptiness?, No-self or Not-self?, and The Image of Nirvana.
Other Essays. Essays that have appeared in various Buddhist publications, but which have not yet been included in a collection.
Mindful of the Body: A Study Guide. This study guide focuses on the primary sutta in the Pali Canon dealing with the contemplation of the body: The Discourse on Mindfulness Immersed in the Body (MN 119). Early Buddhism teaches that the body can be used to develop mindfulness and concentration, which in turn can be used to free the mind of its attachments to the body. Then the mind and body can live in peace.
Beyond Coping: A Study Guide on Aging, Illness, Death, & Separation. Passages from the Pali Canon arranged in five sections: the Buddha as physician; diagnoses of the conditions of aging, etc.; the conditions as motivations for heedfulness and diligence; specific remedies; and examples set by the Buddha and his disciples.
Into the Stream: A Study Guide on the First Stage of Awakening. For your practice to lead to Awakening, you must develop reliable standards for judging — which practices lead to stream entry, what indicates a true experience of it, and what its necessary results are.
The Ten Perfections. For people in the modern world facing the issue of how to practice the Dhamma in daily life, the ten perfections provide a useful framework for how to do it.
A Meditator’s Tools: A Study Guide on the Ten Recollections. The ten recollections are a set of meditation themes that highlight the positive role that memory and thought play in training the mind.
A Burden Off the Mind: A Study Guide on the Five Aggregates. An explanation of the Buddha's teaching of the five khandhas and its proper place on the path of practice.
With Each & Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation. A new breath meditation manual by Thanissaro Bhikkhu drawing on two sources: the Buddha’s own set of instructions on how to use the breath in training the mind, and Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo’s method of breath meditation which builds on the Buddha’s instructions, explaining in detail many of the points that the Buddha left in condensed form. A page has been added to this site with download links to all of the .mp3 dhammatalks referenced in this manual: With Each & Every Breath audio files.
Right Mindfulness: Memory & Ardency on the Buddhist Path. For the past several decades, a growing flood of books, articles, and teachings has advanced theories about the practice of mindfulness which are highly questionable and—for anyone hoping to realize the end of suffering—seriously misleading. The main aim of this book is to show that the practice of mindfulness is most fruitful when informed by the Buddha’s own definition of right mindfulness and his explanations of its role on the path.
The Truth of Rebirth: And Why It Matters for Buddhist Practice. A short treatise explaining that the Buddha did not teach the doctrine of rebirth because he was blindly following the cultural norms of his time. Instead, our resistance to this teaching is pointing to cultural biases of our own that impede progress on the Path.
Selves & Not-self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta. A series of eight talks on anatta, or not-self, given at a ten-day retreat in Provence, France. Also there are relevant selections from the Pali Canon at end of the book.
Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught. This is a book about discernment in action, centered on the Buddha's strategic use of discernment in framing and responding to questions.
The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-arising. An explanation of dependent co-arising through the analogy of feeding and pulling from the vocabulary of complex, non-linear systems.
The Paradox of Becoming. Although “becoming” is one of the most important concepts in the Buddha’s teachings, there is no full-scale treatment of it in English. This book attempts to fill that lack.
The Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon. The 37 Wings to Awakening were the Buddha’s own summary of his teachings. This book contains Sutta translations organized by topic and with relevant discussion by the author. The internal cross-references are hyper-linked in the epub & mobi versions.
The Mind Like Fire Unbound: An Image in the Early Buddhist Discourses. Western Buddhists have usually understood the Buddha’s metaphor of nibbana (Sanskrit, nirvana) as “extinguishing” or “extinction”. This book, which includes an essay and readings from the Pali Canon, examines ancient Indian theories on the mechanics of fire in order to understand the Buddha’s metaphor in its original context.
Refuge: An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha. A short introduction to the basic principles of Buddhism. Included are readings drawn from the earliest Buddhist texts and essays explaining aspects of the Triple Refuge that often provoke questions in those who are new to the Buddha’s teachings.
A Chanting Gude: Pali Passages with English Translations, by . This guide also includes a pronunciation guide. Audio (.mp3) tracks of many of the chants are available on the chanting page of this site.
Frames of Reference, by . A practical explanation for meditators of the four frames of reference from the Satipatthana Sutta. This is a 66 MB .zip archive containing eight .mp3 audio files.The ebook and pdf versions are available above.
An Unentangled Knowing, by . Dhamma talks from the foremost woman Dhamma teacher in modern Thailand. This is a 336 MB .zip archive containing twenty-nine .mp3 audio files. Transcriptions are available from accesstoinsight.org.
Printed Book Requests. This link leads to instructions for requesting printed copies of Dhamma books. It also shows an updated list of the titles Metta Forest Monastery currently has in stock. The available titles include most of the above-listed books as well as others not appearing above.