Contemporary Scholars of Early Buddhism


To meaningfully discuss early Buddhism requires valid sources of information. The primary sources in Pali, Chinese, Sanskrit, and Gandhari and their translations are indispensable. The sheer amount of material and the complexity of accessing these languages require overviews, systematizations and interpretations of scholars who are intimately familiar with the sources. Among the established scholars of the past decades are Bhikkhu Bodhi, Johannes Bronkhorst, Roderick Bucknell, Steven Collins, Lance Selwyn Cousins, Harry Falk, Rupert Gethin, Richard Gombrich, Oskar von Hinüber, Hajime Nakamura, Kenneth Roy Norman, Nyanatiloka Thera, Lambert Schmithausen, Gregory Schopen, Tillmann Vetter, and David Williams.

The last 20 years have seen the valuable contribution of a new generation of scholars briefly presented in the following list, along with their fields of research and selected works.

##Mark Allon
[university website]


Transmission of early Buddhist material, Gandhari texts

###Selected Publications

  • Style and Function: A Study of the Dominant Stylistic Features of the Prose Portions of Pali Canonical Sutta Texts and their Mnemonic Function, 1997
  • Three Gandhari Ekottarikagama-Type Sutras, 2001
  • Recent Discoveries of Buddhist Manuscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2007

##Bhikkhu Analayo

[, university website]


i.a. Comparative Pali-Chinese Studies, Mindfulness Meditation

###Selected Publications

  • A Comparative Study of the Majjhima-nikāya, 2011
  • A Translation of Saṃyukta-āgama, 2012-2016
  • Satipatthāna. The Direct Path to Realization, 2003

##Marcus Bingenheimer

[, personal website]


i.a. Chinese Āgama Studies, Mindfulness Meditation

###Selected Publications

  • Studies in Āgama Literature, 2011
  • Two Sūtras in the Chinese Saṃyuktāgama without Direct Pāli Parallel, 2013
  • The Madhyama Āgama, 2013

##Linda Blanchard



Dependent Origination

###Selected Publications

  • Burning Yourself: Paṭicca Samuppāda as a Description of the Arising of a False Sense of Self Modeled on Vedic Rituals, 2012
  • Anatomy of “Quarrels and Disputes”, probably the oldest sutta on dependent arising, 2013
  • “The City”, in which the Buddha Shows that His Teachings Evolved, 2013

##Bhikkhu Brahmali


Early Buddhist texts Suttas and Vinaya

###Selected Publications

  • The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts (with Bhikkhu Sujato), 2014
  • A new translation of the Pali Vinaya-Piṭaka (ongoing)

##Alice Collett



Buddhism and Gender

###Selected Publications

  • Buddhism and Gender: Reframing and Refocusing the Debate, 2006
  • Women as Teachers and Disciples in Early Buddhist Communities: The Evidence of Epigraphy, 2015
  • List-based Formulae in the Avadānaśataka, 2006

##Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna



i.a. Chinese Buddhism, Buddhism and Gender

###Selected Publications

  • Research on the Ekottarika-āgama, 2013
  • Research on the Dīrgha-āgama, 2014
  • Women’s Aspirations and Soteriological Agency in Sarvāstivāda and Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Narratives, 2016

##Andrew Glass

[personal website]


Gandhari Buddhism

###Selected Publications

  • Kharoṣṭhī manuscripts: a window on Gandhāran Buddhism, 2004
  • Connected Discourses in Gandhāra, 2006
  • Four Gāndhārī Saṃyuktāgama Sūtras, 2007

##Anne Carolyn Klein



Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist Epistemology

###Selected Publications

  • The Four Boundless States, 2014
  • Knowledge & Liberation, 1999
  • Seeing Mind, Being Body: Contemplative Practice & Buddhist Epistemology, 2014

##Tse-fu Kuan



Chinese Buddhism, Mindfulness Meditation

###Selected Publications

  • Mahāyāna Elements and Mahāsāṃghika Traces in the Ekottarika-āgama, 2013
  • Mindfulness in Early Buddhism, 2008
  • Mindfulness in Similes in Early Buddhist Literature, 2015

##Richard Salomon

[university website]


i.a. Gandhari Buddhism

###Selected Publications

  • Two Gandhari Manuscripts of the “Songs of Lake Anavatapta”, 2008
  • The Senior Manuscripts: Another Collection of Gandhāran Buddhist Scrolls, 2003
  • Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhara: The British Library Kharoṣṭhi Fragments, 1998

##Eviatar Shulman



Transmission in early Buddhism, Buddhist Epistemology

###Selected Publications

  • Rethinking the Buddha, 2014
  • Orality in Early Buddhist Discourses, 2015
  • Early Buddhist Imagination: The Aṭṭhakavagga as Buddhist Poetry, 2012

##Brett Shults

[no official website]


Buddhism and Brahmanism

###Selected Publications

  • Brahmanical Terminology and The Straight Way in the Tevijja Sutta, 2013
  • On the Buddha’s Use of Some Brahmanical Motifs in Pali Texts, 2014

##Jonathan Silk

[university website]


i.a. Geographical spread of Buddhism

###Selected Publications

  • Managing Monks: Administrators and Administrative Roles in Indian Buddhist Monasticism, 2008
  • The Fruits of Paradox: On the Religious Architecture of the Buddha’s Life Story, 2003
  • Good and Evil in Indian Buddhism: The Five Sins of Immediate Retribution, 2007

##Bhikkhu Sujato



Authenticity in early Buddhist teaching

###Selected Publications

  • The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts (with Bhikkhu Brahmali), 2014
  • White Bones Red Rot Black Snakes, 2012
  • A History of Mindfulness, 2012

##Alexander Wynne



i.a. Transmission in early Buddhism

###Selected Publications

  • The critical edition of the Pali canon being prepared at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, 2013
  • On the Sarvastivadins and Mulasarvastivadins, 2008
  • The atman and its negation, 2010

Contemporary Buddhist Scholars & Researchers
Categorized Bibliographies

Greg Bailey []

Selected Publications

  • The Sociology of early Buddhism

Sue Hamilton []

Selected Publications

  • Identity and experience : the constitution of the human being according to early Buddhism

Kulatissa Nanda Jayatilleke []

Selected Publications

  • Early Buddhist theory of knowledge

Jason Emmanuel Neelis []

Selected Publications

  • Early Buddhist transmission and trade networks: mobility and exchange within and beyond the northwestern borderlands of South Asia

Noa Ronkin []

Selected Publications

  • Early Buddhist Metaphysics: The Making of a Philosophical Tradition

Martin Gerald Wiltshire []

Selected Publications

  • Ascetic Figures Before and in Early Buddhism : The Emergence of Gautama As the Buddha


Thanks David for the additions. I hope Bh. Sujato will improve the format of the wiki. Would you mind to afterwards add your entries in the same format inside the wiki, with a website and maybe also three references? (I hope the improvement of the visuals will be obvious, maybe in the next days). I spent a lot of time on this and would like to delegate new additions to you contributors. Thanks!

Btw Collett is already in the list. A complete publication list will make this wiki too unhandy. The idea is for people to get a first idea and to then research further publications on their own. Therefore some website is important…


[quote=“Gabriel, post:3, topic:3509”]
Would you mind to afterwards add your entries in the same format inside the wiki, with a website and maybe also three references?[/quote]

Some authors don’t have three works; you didn’t mention a wiki; I’m not sure why websites help here, when Google & a library catalog can suffice.

The book I had suggested was one she edited; it had many contributions from different authors. But I removed it, to trim the list.

Otherwise, I guess my contribution is rather anemic. I’ll let others flesh it out a bit; I’m despirited.




I’ve made the entries into structured markdown (i.e. using proper heading levels), so if we could follow this in future that would be great. Apart from that, I made one or two edits. But it’s a great start. :clap:

I added a small entry for @brahmali, I’m sure more should be there! Much of his contribution is in the form of A/V material on Youtube rather than written publications, so probebly we should find a place for that.

It’s a recommendation.

The main article is a wiki. Anyone can edit it.

It’s just an aid to send people to the source.

Many small contributions make a great wiki!


Via Bodhi College, here is a substantial .pdf bibliography for Early Buddhism.

I haven’t got the stamina to enter this into the wiki, but hopefully it helps with comprehensive coverage, eventually.


Suttacentral itself has a fuller bibliography, in fact:

…though, perhaps it’s not as focused on Early Buddhism so much as textual issues.


What I personally had in mind was not to develop a bibliography of early Buddhism - for which we could take the appendix of a solid 2016 book. I wanted rather to develop a list of contemporary researchers that have developed ‘good’ papers (inspiring, new, on a high scholarly level…). Not everything written on early Buddhism is of a high caliber, and I would love it if we could present readers first-choice-scholars.
So my hopes are that contributors have read and admired works from a scholar before putting her/him on the list - quality rather than quantity. For example I find the scholarly level of Shulman’s or Wynne’s work outstanding - even if I don’t agree with all their tenets or conclusions.


How shall we assess this?


Well, Gabriel said scholar who you’ve read and admired, and that seems like a good start.

My tip is to ignore fripperies like affiliation, where it’s published, footnotes, citations, and bibliographies; this is all an elaborate sleight of hand. What matters is if someone has something to say, and presents a solid argument to support it.


Well, here’s a list of books that fit the bill, in my case:

Next, I’ll trawl through ahandfulofleaves for ones I’ve missed.


Not an Early Buddhism scholar perse, but perhaps relevant. Dr. James Mallinson is planning a paper on the topic of the earliest references to tapasyā or asceticism, primarily relying on the Pāḷi Canon.

Mallinson’s primary focus is on textual study of haṭhayoga. I know @llt has an interest in the other ancient samaṇa traditions and particularly in yoga, and @Gabriel might also be interested. He’s one of my favorite scholars, not just writing about an area of study that has been neglected by good scholarship but has actually practiced doing ethnographic work in India.


I think if he’s using the Pali texts, that counts, by all means add him. I find it just weird how often the Pali texts are ignored by scholars in all sorts of fields.


Grzegorz Polak


Fields of research:

Early Buddhism, Pāli Buddhism and jhāna meditation in particular.

Buddhism and naturalized sciences


How Was Liberating Insight Related to the Development of the Four Jhānas in Early Buddhism? A New Perspective through an Interdisciplinary Approach, Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol 10, 2016 (5): 85-112:

Reexamining Jhāna: Towards a Critical Reconstruction of Early Buddhist Soteriology, Wydawnictwo UMCS, Lublin 2011.


##Bryan Levman


Pre-Pali Buddhism

###Selected Publications

  • The language of early Buddhism, 2016
  • Linguistic Ambiguities, the Transmissional Process, and the Earliest Recoverable Language of Buddhism, 2014
  • Cultural remnants of the indigenous peoples in the Buddhist scriptures, 2014


Thanks, there’s some interesting and useful essays there, I’ve changed a couple of renderings already!


G.A. Somaratne



EBT concepts, especially re. liberation

Selected Publications

Bhava And Vibhava In Early Buddhism. Journal Of Buddhist Studies. 2017
Middle Way Eclecticism: The Text-critical Method Of The Dhammachai Tipitaka Project. 2015
The Soteriology Stock Unit Of The Sāmaññaphala Sutta: How Was It Formed? How Has It Influenced? 2016


Lars Fogelin



Anthropology and Archeology of Early Buddhism

Selected Publications

An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism. 2015
The Place of Veneration in Early South Asian Buddhism. 2013
Material Practice and the Metamorphosis of a Sign. 2012