Bhikkhu Dr. Analayo

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Bhikkhu Dr. Analayo was born in Germany in 1962 and ordained in Sri Lanka in 1995. In the year 2000 he completed a Ph.D. thesis on the Satipatthana-sutta at the University of Peradeniya (published by Windhorse in the UK). He is best known for his comparative studies of Early Buddhist Texts as preserved by the various early Buddhist traditions.

Monastic life

Bhikkhu Anālayo temporarily ordained in 1990 in Thailand, after a meditation retreat at Wat Suan Mokkh, the monastery established by the influential 20th-century Thai monk Ajahn Buddhadasa. In 1994 he went to Sri Lanka, where in 1995 he took pabbajja again under Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero. He received his upasampada in 2007 in the Sri Lankan Shwegyin Nikaya (belonging to the main Amarapura Nikaya), with Pemasiri Thera of Sumathipala Aranya as his ordination acariya. Bhikkhu Bodhi has been Bhikkhu Anālayo's main teacher.

Scholarly career and activity

Bhikkhu Anālayo completed a Ph.D. thesis on the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta at the University of Peradeniya in 2000, which was later published as Satipaṭṭhāna, the Direct Path to Realization.[3] During the course of that study, he had come to notice the interesting differences between the Pāli and Chinese Buddhist canon versions of this early Buddhist discourse. This led to his undertaking a habilitation research at the University of Marburg, completed in 2007, in which he compared the Majjhima Nikāya discourses with their Chinese, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist canon counterparts.[4] In 2013 Anālayo then published Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna, where he builds on his earlier work by comparing the parallel versions of the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta and exploring the meditative perspective that emerges when emphasis is given to those instructions that are common ground among the extant canonical versions and thus can reasonably well be expected to be early.

Bhikkhu Anālayo has published extensively on early Buddhism.[6] The textual study of early Buddhist discourses in comparative perspective is the basis of his ongoing interests and academic research.[7] At present he is the chief editor and one of the translators of the first English translation of the Chinese Madhyama-āgama (Taishō 26), and has undertaken an integral English translation of the Chinese Saṃyukta-āgama (Taishō 99), parallel to the Pali Saṃyutta Nikāya collection.

Central to Anālayo’s academic activity remain theoretical and practical aspects of meditation. He has published several articles on insight and absorption meditation and related contemporary meditation traditions to their textual sources.

His comparative studies of early Buddhist texts have also led Anālayo to focus on historical developments of Buddhist thought, and to research the early roots and genesis of the bodhisattva ideal [11] and the beginning of Abhidharma thought.

Bhikkhu Anālayo was a presenter at the International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha. Exploring attitudes towards bhikkhunis (female monastics) in early Buddhist texts and the story of the foundation of the bhikkhuni order has allowed him to be a supporter of bhikkhuni ordination, which is a matter of controversy in the Theravada and Tibetan traditions.

Bhikkhu Anālayo is a Professor of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg, co-founder of the Āgama Research Group, and a core faculty member at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Bhikkhuni ordination

Bhikkhu Dr. Analayo has been a strong advocate for bhikkhuni ordination and in his research feels that the Buddha was misrepresented in the texts about being reluctant to ordain women. Ven. Dr. Analayo pointed out an obvious timeline discrepancy that amazingly has gone undetected until now. It involves the deeply held belief that Ananda played an instrumental role in the founding of the bhikkhuni sangha. He was credited, and later chastised by the First Council, for advocating for the ordination of the Buddha's maternal aunt and stepmother, Mahapajapati. In a paper presented at the University of Marburg, Germany, Ven. Dr. Analayo writes, "There are many problems chronologically, however, in the traditional account of Mahaprajapati (from the Commentaries). She first requested ordination five years after Buddha's enlightenment; but Ananda, who requested Buddha on her behalf, first ordained only twenty years after Buddha's enlightenment. Considering that Mahaprajapati, as Buddha's maternal aunt, raised him after his mother's death, she would have been about eighty years old when Ananda was senior enough to make the request."

Buddhist publications

  • Satipaṭṭhāna, the Direct Path to Realization. Windhorse Publications. 2003. ISBN 978-1899579549.
  • From Craving to Liberation (PDF). Excursions into the Thought-world of the Pali Discourses. 1. Buddhist Association of the United States. 2009.
  • From Grasping to Emptiness (PDF). Excursions into the Thought-world of the Pali Discourses. 2. Buddhist Association of the United States. 2010.
  • The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal (PDF). Hamburg University Press. 2010.
  • A Comparative Study of the Majjhima-nikāya (Dharma Drum Buddhist College Research Series 3). Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation. 2011.
  • "The Legality of Bhikkhunī Ordination" (PDF). 20. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Special 20th Anniversary Issue, D. Keown and C. Prebish (ed.),. 2013: 310–333. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2014. (reprinted as a booklet together with translations into Sinhala, Thai and Burmese: West Malaysia: Selangor Buddhist Vipassanā Meditation Society, 2013; and New York: Buddhist Association of the United States, 2014). PDF
  • Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications. 2014. ISBN 978-1909314030.
  • Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications. 2015. ISBN 978-1909314559.
  • The Foundation History of the Nuns’ Order. Bochum/Freiburg: Projektverlag. 2016. ISBN 978-3-89733-387-1.
  • Early Buddhist Meditation Studies (Volume 1). Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. 2017. ISBN 978-1540410504.
  • Mindfully Facing Disease and Death: Compassionate Advice from Early Buddhist Texts. Windhorse Publications. 2017. ISBN 978-1909314726.
  • Satipatthana Meditation: A Practice Guide. Windhorse Publications. 2018. ISBN 978-1911407102.
  • President's Letter, Alliance for Bhikkhunis, Spring 2008 issue, Present by Susan Pembroke.
  • Rebirth and the Gandhabba