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Great Disciples of the Buddha

Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy

Edited by Bodhi
Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

A perennial favorite, Great Disciples of the Buddha is now relaunched in our best-selling Teachings of the Buddha series.

Twenty-four of the Buddha's most distinguished disciples are brought to life in ten chapters of rich narration. Drawn from a wide range of authentic Pali sources, the material in these stories has never before been assembled in a single volume. Through these engaging tales, we meet all manner of human beings - rich, poor, male, female, young, old - whose unique stories are told with an eye to the details of ordinary human concerns. When read with careful attention, these stories can sharpen our understanding of the Buddhist path by allowing us to contemplate the living portraits of the people who fulfilled the early Buddhist ideals of human perfection. The characters detailed include:
  • Sariputta
  • Nanda
  • Mahamoggallana
  • Mahakassapa
  • Ananda
  • Isidasi
  • Anuruddha
  • Mahakaccana
  • Angulimala
  • Visakha
  • and many more.

Conveniently annotated with the same system of sutta references used in each of the other series volumes, Great Disciples of the Buddha allows the reader to easily place each student in the larger picture of Buddha's life. It is a volume that no serious student of Buddhism should miss.

About The Authors

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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (June 15, 2003)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861713813

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Raves and Reviews

"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

"The living tradition of Buddhism is the linkage of spiritual friendships that bring us all the way back to the Buddha. Here are the stories of his early disciples, the men and women who studied with him directly, and who can inspire us all to the power and depth of spiritual friendship."

– Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith and Lovingkindness

"This is one of the most inspiring books a serious Buddhist practitioner can read. It provides many examples of the humanity of the Buddha and his followers and relieves our fears that enlightenment erases individuality. It shows us how our individual human talents and aspirations can be purified by deep and continuous practice to produce extraordinary benefit for ourselves and others."

– Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi, Great Vow Zen Monastery

"An enlightening look at the Buddha's sangha as archetypal model..."

– Inquiring Mind

"This book is a wonderful addition to our understanding of the culture of awakening. In a way that is both scholarly and inspiring, it brings to life the struggles, practice, and realization of the great disciples of the Buddha. Through the book's many stories and teachings, we begin to connect their spiritual journeys with our own."

– Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and co-founder, Insight Meditation Society

"A fascinating glimpse of life in ancient India at the time of the Buddha. The disciples came from diverse backgrounds, with different talents for us to emulate as well as weaknesses to overcome. I found reassurance from learning that their struggles were not that different from my own."

– Larry Rosenberg, director, Cambridge Insight Meditation Center

"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

"Fascinating and valuable, inspirational and encouraging, these are stories to read again and again..."

– Booknews

"Delivers an inspiring confirmation of the human potential for awakening and spiritual transformation."

– Wisconsin Bookwatch

"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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More books from this author: Nyanaponika Thera

More books in this series: The Teachings of the Buddha