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Here are some selections from the Buddhist Publication Society's series of Bodhi Leaves booklets. These were originally published by the BPS as small hand-size booklets ranging between 16 and 40 pages in length -- around 10 pages on standard size paper. Bodhi Leaves are less expository and more conversational in tone than The Wheel, and offer personal reflections on the Buddha's teachings, close-up focus on specific social and human problems, and practical guidelines on living by the light of the Dhamma. Newcomers to Buddhism and meditation will generally find these booklets quite accessible.
The books listed below are all available for you to read online right now, by clicking on the title. The information in parentheses following the title includes: the publication date of the printed edition upon which the transcription is based, the size of the file in kBytes, and an estimated page count for the text when printed with a typical web browser (e.g., Netscape with a 12-point Palatino font). The actual number of printed pages you get may vary considerably from this figure.
- Anapana Sati: Meditation on Breathing, by Ariyadhamma Mahathera (BL 115; 1988; 29k/10pp.)
An outline of the steps of breath meditation, from first beginnings to the full realization of Nibbana.
- Beginning Insight Meditation, and Other Essays, by Dorothy Figen (BL 85; 1988; 38k/13pp.)
Four brief essays offering advice and encouragement to newcomers to meditation.
- The Benefits of Walking Meditation, by Sayadaw U Silananda (BL 137; 1995; 23k/8pp.)
A concise outline of the practice of walking meditation as it is taught in the contemporary Burmese satipatthana ("noting") tradition.
- Buddhism: A Method of Mind Training, by Leonard Bullen (BL 42; 1991; 21k/7pp.)
A very basic beginner's outline of the Four Noble Truths.
- Buddhist Meditation, by Francis Story (BL 15; 1986; 30k/10pp.)
An outline of the various forms of meditation found in Theravada Buddhism, and of their role in Buddhist practice.
- To the Cemetery and Back, by Leonard Price (BL 96; 1983; 25k/8pp.)
Two short essays: the first describes an imagined stroll through the cemetery, calling on us to reflect deeply on the nature of our lives, and on the urgency of Dhamma practice; the second reminds us that there is no point in waiting for an "ideal" time to start Dhamma practice, for aging, illness, and death are upon us now.
- Discourses of the Ancient Nuns, translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BL 143; 1997; 41k/14pp.)
A translation of the Bhikkhuni Samyutta (Chapter 5 of the Samyutta Nikaya), consisting of ten suttas that describe Mara's failed attempts to upset the equanimity and resolve of meditating forest nuns. With Introduction and detailed notes.
- The Elimination of Anger, by Piyatissa Thera (BL 68; 1975; 22k/7pp.)
An overview of some of the methods the Buddha taught to overcome anger.
- Jataka Tales of the Buddha, Part I, retold by Ken & Visakha Kawasaki (BL 135; 1995; 32k/11pp.)
Four Jataka Tales: Apannaka Jataka (Crossing the Wilderness, Jat 1); Serivavanija Jataka (The Traders of Seriva, Jat 3); Matakabhatta Jataka (The Goat that Laughed and Wept, Jat 18); Kuhaka Jataka (The Straw Worth More Than Gold, Jat 89).
- Jataka Tales of the Buddha, Part II, retold by Ken & Visakha Kawasaki (BL 138; 1996; 33k/11pp.)
Three Jataka tales: Illisa Jataka (The Miserly Treasurer, Jat 78); Kalakanni Jataka (What's in a name?, Jat 83); Mahasara Jataka (The Queen's Necklace, Jat 92).
- Jataka Tales of the Buddha, Part III, retold by Ken & Visakha Kawasaki (BL 142; 1997; 32k/11pp.)
Four Jataka tales: Kumbha Jataka (The Fifth Precept, Jat 512); Silanisamsa Jataka (A Good Friend, Jat 190); Duddubha Jataka (The Sound the Hare Heard, Jat 322); Mahakapi Jataka (The Great Monkey King, Jat 407).
- To Light a Fire: A Dhamma Discourse, by Ven. Webu Sayadaw (BL 122; 1990; 33k/11pp.)
An inspiring dialogue on the subject of how to keep the fire of Dhamma practice burning brightly in one's life.
- The Living Message of the Dhammapada, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BL 129; 1993; 33k/11pp.)
An invitation to the Dhammapada, Buddhism's most important collection of short inspirational verses.
- Meditating on No-self, by Sister Khema (BL 95; 1984; 25k/8pp.)
An exploration of the Buddhist notion of anatta -- "not-self."
- Ministering to the Sick and Terminally Ill, by Lily de Silva (BL 132; 1993; 34k/11pp.)
An introduction to the Buddha's teachings on illness and death, drawn from the Pali Canon.
- Our Real Home, by Ajaan Chah (BL 111; 1987; 30k/10pp.)
A powerful and stirring talk given to a lay disciple on the verge of her death. This is among Ajaan Chah's best talks on the topics of illness, death, and relinquishment.
- Protection Through Satipatthana, by Nyanaponika Thera (BL 34; 1990; 17k/5pp.)
How mindfulness practice can serve as a powerful means of protecting oneself and others from harm.
- Radical Buddhism, by Leonard Price (BL 92; 1982; 29k/10pp.)
Four brief but penetrating reflections on Buddhist practice, by one particularly lively writer. A taste: "The fundamental teachings must not be neglected, lest we take to wearing our religion like warm slippers and doze into mediocrity."
- Renunciation, by T. Prince (BL 36; 1986; 40k/13pp.)
On the vital role renunciation plays in Dhamma practice, for lay people and monastics, alike.
- The Taste of Freedom, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BL 71; 1976; 19k/6pp.)
What is true freedom, and where can it be found? These questions have haunted humanity since the beginning of time, and are still with us today. The Buddha's teachings offer us a practical solution to this all-important riddle.
- Words Leading to Disenchantment & Samsara: Two Essays, by Soma Thera (BL 79; 1978; 24k/8pp.)
These two short essays invite us to reflect constantly on the certainty of our own death and on the urgency of putting the Buddha's teachings into practice today, while we can still enjoy this precious human birth. For, "truly it will be not long before this body lies in the earth, bereft of consciousness, like a useless piece of wood, which is thrown away."
Revised: 10 November 1999