Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Great Disciples of the Buddha - Praise

Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy

“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

“This deeply-moving, inspirational book would be of interest to all students of the spiritual path.”—The Beacon

“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

Great Disciples of the Buddha ranks as one of my favorites among the books we carry. Bhikkhu Bodhi, who edited the book, introduces the compilation of stories with a brief yet rich introduction to the four assemblies of disciples: the laywomen, laymen, nuns and monks. Disciples here are defined as those who accept the Buddha as teacher and try to follow his path. The disciples’ legacies are woven together with recognizable human foibles, acts of courage, steps and missteps to understanding, career choices and changes, early disciple developments and their realizations of the Buddha’s truth. Reading these stories inspires in me a deep sense of reverence for the Buddha’s teachings, through a work that manages to be both scholarly and incredibly fun to read.”—Pariyatti.com

“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