Wings to Awakening-An Anthology from the Pali Canon

For the student who wants to dig deeply into the Buddha’s teachings, “Wings to Awakening” is one of the best anthologies available because of its very specific focus on the “how” and “what” of the Buddha’s Awakening.

As its author, Thanissaro Bhikkhu writes in the Preface:

Many anthologies of the Buddha’s teachings have appeared in English, but this is the first to be organized around the set of teachings that the Buddha himself said formed the heart of his message: the Wings to Awakening (bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma).

The material is arranged in three parts, preceded by a long Introduction. The Introduction tries to define the concept of Awakening so as to give a clear sense of where the Wings to Awakening are headed. It does this by discussing the Buddha’s accounts of his own Awakening, with special focus on the way in which the principle of skillful kamma (in Sanskrit, karma) formed both the “how” and the “what” of that Awakening: The Buddha was able to reach Awakening only by developing skillful kamma—this is the “how”; his understanding of the process of developing skillful kamma is what sparked the insights that constituted Awakening—this is the “what.”

For your personal study, here it the complete “Wings to Awakening” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu in PDF form, offered freely and with the aspiration that it be a resource and refuge in your dharma practice.

[The Buddha:] So this is what you think of me: “The Blessed One, sympathetic, seeking our well-being, teaches the Dhamma out of sympathy.” Then you should train yourselves —harmoniously, cordially, and without dispute—in the qualities I have pointed out, having known them directly: the four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors of Awakening, the noble eightfold path.

(click to download)

The Wings to Awakening


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

5 Responses to “Wings to Awakening-An Anthology from the Pali Canon”

  1. Gonna copy this along with several others at the VA building in Philly. Free copy service for veterans. God Bless America!

    Buddha too!

    michael j

    • Cool! “Wings to Awakening” is probably the anthology that I turn to most often, because it’s so practice oriented.

      Yes, God Bless America, and Buddha too! LOL!

      Always great to hear from you, my friend.


  2. My gratitude to you Steve for making this available. I’ve begun noticing Thanissaro Bhikku cropping up in many places on the internet. Translations, youtubes, interviews. He’s very prolific. And rightly so.

    I really dig his writing style. It’s sparse, lacking theatrics and emotional ploys. It conveys an ethos that’s not fused to the message so as to be indistinguishable from his viewpoint. Yet at the same time that ethos comprises the foundation for that message to be constructed. I believe him. I don’t feel worried about testing the truths he teaches in my own laboratory of life.

    Today I was struck dumb by how lucky we are to be living in this age where the teachings are literally at our fingertips. Spoiled even.

    • Hello tokenbearcub — please pardon my delay in responding. My three blogs and e-mails sometimes overwhelm me!

      What a wonderful description of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s writings — I have the very same response to him, which is why I feature him so much. I really think you nailed it in your comment about the how the ethos works in his teachings, and so make you feel confident, and free, to just try this out in one’s own life.

      I too am often overwhelmed, sometimes almost moved to tears, by the wealth of good, solid dharma that is available now. It really is amazing. Now, all we have to do is practice! LOL!

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind, insightful comments.



  1. The Paradox of Becoming-A Deep Study of the Buddha’s Teaching « Metta Refuge - 2010/05/07

    […] (see: Wings to Awakening-An Anthology from the Pali Canon) […]

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