Legacy of Venerable Dr. Bhante Punnaji

Bhante Punnaji used to stay with me when he was in the New York area. He was an important teacher for me. I’d love to find print copies of his Ariyamagga Bhavana books for my son, if anyone knows where they might be available.


Mudita for meeting and being taught directly by the venerable :anjal:

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Thats lovely :smiley:

The books in print form were distributed in Buddhist Maha Vihara Malaysia.

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thank you

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Yes agree, I also feel the same way after reading and watching his videos thats why he is definitely ariya but cannot say definitely an arahant.

Though cessation can happen when one understand what he said also but that would be the nibbana without residue, as B. Punnaji said in his book.

Some one his meanings after translation also seems a little bit stretched.

Avijja means not knowing , can also means unconscious of, so does insentience practically the same and this word also used in hindu tradition for very long time.

I read sayadaw mogok also, he only and talked only 4 noble truths and DO in all his sermons.

Maybe you already in ariya paths , thats why you felt the urge to find cessation teaching.
The cessation does not necessarily mean to sit in one spot for 7 days, though there are very few people in world nowadays could still do these.

But cessation should be in a way that before cessation you know and after cessation you also know. This will make a tremendous different in one’s life. You should try to sit and experience this

This is when the link of avijja and sankhara broken.
The way of sitting is really as explained by B. Punnaji in his 3rd book of 8noble paths also, by satipatthana, sattha bohjanga , and enter the samadhi.
By practicing jhanas can also though it need some luck and environment and concentration on arupas then switch to cessation
Many people in dhammaoverground.org seems to be able to do this but they do not practicing the right 4 noble truth and 8 noble path though, so it is just like the hindus times before Buddha.


I would tend to agree but, since I have not yet attained cessation, I cannot say for sure.

Can you explain more? when or where in the suttas does avijja mean unconscious? exactly how was it “used in the hindu tradition”?

Explain more please.

Funnily enough, I just got an e-mail today from the Venerable’s mailing list; there were a few links to his books. For anyone interested:


Download link: http://tiny.cc/threshholdofhope


Download link: http://tiny.cc/radicalshrink


Download link: http://tiny.cc/ariyamaggabhavana-level1


Download link: http://tiny.cc/ariyamaggabhavana-level2


Download link: http://tiny.cc/ariyamaggabhavana-level3


Download link: http://tiny.cc/returntotranquility


Download link: http://tiny.cc/beyondthehorizonoftime


Download link: http://tiny.cc/philosophyofwesak


Download link: http://tiny.cc/becomingbuddhist


Download link: http://tiny.cc/fourstagesreligion


Download link: http://tiny.cc/psychologyofmetta


Download link: http://tiny.cc/whyreligion

Bhante Punnaji’s Morning Yoga Exercise (YOUTUBE)

Video demonstration: http://tiny.cc/punnajiyogaexercise

Bhante Punnaji’s Morning Yoga Exercise (MP3 AUDIO)

Audio recording: http://tiny.cc/punnajiyogamp3


Everywhere its mentioned it means the same thing.

‘Ignorance’ is only an attempt to translate it. So is ‘unconsciousness’ or ‘insentience’. Just reading the translation or even just reading perfectly translated text for that matter(!) does not elucidate one on what is the actual meaning of avijja, arriving at the actual meaning is another thing. The translation can be more or less helpful in understanding the actual reality behind the word.

Yes cessation is actually a natural thing in a sense if all human live according to the 8fold way
It happened to be a kind of pursuit once we get lost in tanha upadana bhava

And to remember also this forum not allow people to talk his attainment/cessation. But some people get hit deep enough in their cessation. Through concentrarion jhanas one may get in cessation but with these vipassana retranslate by B. Punnaji, it is really a direct way and can experience a long cessation if you really get what the Buddha meant on sutta, without the mistranslate.

Its everywhere in suttas actually. For example in sn 22

  1. a dhamma speaker

113. Ignorance

At Sāvatthī.
Then a mendicant went up to the Buddha and said to him:
“Sir, they speak of this thing called ‘ignorance’. What is ignorance? And how is an ignorant person defined?”
“Mendicant, it’s when an uneducated ordinary person doesn’t understand form, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation. They don’t understand feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation.
This is called ignorance. And this is how an ignorant person is defined.”

See, if you replace the ignorance with **unconscious **
How does it resonate?

So when we say avijja it is not knowing of the things thats already there, why he called moha stupidity also. Because we unconscious of these proccesses that leads us to dukkha. Different with intelectually knowing things.

When we practice accordingly, bring down the activity of body, feeling and mind . We are left with one pointed subject (you) and the object, and with sharp one pointed mind you can see the arising and passing of object.

In long vipassana hours, the cessation actually happened gradually but we are unconscious of it. When we focused on the arrising and passing , followed by disliking, disenchanted, dispassion of any object, normally cessation happened.

But the moment we conscious of the cessation is that after the new object come which in slow momentum because of tranquil mind and we reflected on what happened, then we know “aha!”. You may check watch and it already passed a long stretch of time which in your experience was not so.

That is the moment of realization. Some understandings followed may take months though.


Yes, it is a bit more “experiential,” rather than “existential,” which is what the Ven. emphasizes. However, it is still not the same as the psycho-physical state of “insentience” as part of the cessation of perception and feeling.

I just got another e-mail from Bro. Billy Tan’s mailing list (Whew! Things are hot over there!) Here’s what he says (Bhante says) about phassa:

The Pali term “Phassa” translated as “contact” gives a misleading understanding of what exactly the Buddha was referring to. In the MN148 Chachakka Sutta, for instance, it was translated "The six classes of contact should be understood." So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? "Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact."

When we perceive an object through our eyes, is there any “contact” between the eyes and the physical object? If there was contact with the physical object, did the object enter our eyeball? There is no contact. What is perceived with the eye sense organ is simply light reflected from the object, entering the eyeball, striking the retina at the back of the eyeball, stimulating the millions of light sensitive nerve endings in the retina, which sends impulses to the brain via the optic nerves. These millions of impulses sent to the brain from moment to moment are processed by the brain, which constructs a mental image in our mind of the perceived object - we call this the experience of “seeing”. There is no “contact” of any kind.

The construction process in the brain is " Saṅkhāra “, which produces the perception (” Viññāṇa “) of the object in the form of a mental image (” Rūpa “) that we identify by calling it a name (” Nāma ").

Here Bhante Punnaji explains with reference to Paticca Samuppada, that, in experiencing the the environment, we donot rely on only one sense but on all the five physical senses plus the mind (6th sense), so we really make use of all the six sensual fields to produce the Objective Experience. “Phassa” therefore means becoming aware of the Objective Experience by application of the six sense fields leading to the awareness of the “world out there”. Phassa is the cognition of objects to produce the Objective Experience. Bhante calls this “forming an object” , in reference to the formation of the Objective Experience. With this Objective Experience, we become aware of a “world out there”.

[T]here is no “contact”, … Phassa is in fact “cognition” of external objects (objective experience) that leads to the awareness of a “world out there”.

Now this is all great stuff, and very helpful (to me, anyway) for understanding, once again, the experience of phassa, but it is not a translation, and especially not one which negates the translation as “touch” or “contact.” Maybe because I’m studying Pali at the moment I am more (too?) focused on translations.

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Well… things doesn’t change much for those who already on the path actually, but for those who hasn’t these way of translating would be easier to get in samma ditthi

Those on paths, realise that when in samadhi it’s all about experience, we cannot pay too much attention on words. And there is also so many distortions in our mind, way we seen would eventually matched up if we do it right.

Like the word contact could be a contact and could be objective experience cognised. It wouldn’t make much difference when we in samadhi and seeing these all along, for us it’s just mean “this”.

I can also translate tanha as thirst, upadana as belonging, and bhava as identity. But for those who experience samadhi it always be “this”
And bhante translation also help not to stray far from these meanings if it’s too far then we’re heading wrong way

So for what I see, Bhante work can make big change for converting faith believers to path seekers. :pray:t2:


Even the dictionaries by which one can learn Pali are not infallible. I heard that the PTS dictionary was made mostly with meeting of three persons - a monk who does not know English but knows some Pali, a translator and the man who was making the dictionary. So the monk had some ideas what he Pali words mean, he told what he thinks they mean to the translator in hes native language, the translator translated that to English and the man making the dictionary considered it and made a dictionary out of it. Many of the terms really dont have analogue in English or any other language because they were coined by the Buddha for the sake of explaining.

I hope you consider and reflect on Bhantes explanations and make much of it :smiley:


Yes I really make much of his translations. It does change the whole perception about buddhism.
Now Buddha teaching become more real than it was for me, though for my experience in samadhi already bring me to some poin

And seems in line with physics, to quote einstein

“Now he has departed this strange world a little ahead of me,” Einstein wrote of his friend’s passing. “That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Einstein’s statement was not merely an attempt at consolation.

Physics also state time only exists in people’s mind. Nature itself always in present, though it can be observed the pattern how it come to such and such, but for rocks and plants time does not exist. Thats why they have no self, and no suffering. While in animals, memory exist , time also and so they suffers. But can we human with intelligence , though have time, but can live in tune with nature? No suffering.

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What do you think of this sutta , it is saying that all does not exist is extreme too, how the translation supposed to be fit in b.Punnaji’s?

Sn 12.15 SuttaCentral

‘Sabbamatthī’ti kho, kaccāna, ayameko anto.

‘Sabbaṃ natthī’ti ayaṃ dutiyo anto.

Bhante Punnaji does not simply say ‘all does not exist’ but talks extensively about paticca samuppada which is also what that sutta mentions there. When you understand it correctly you abandon both the notion of non-existence and existence.

Thank you very much for creating this site for us to share and discuss about the late Bhante Punnaji’s lessons on the Buddha’s teachings which I have found to be extremely useful and applicable. I would like to share my positive experience learning from Bhante’s legacies (only had the good fortune to attend his last retreat and his dhamma talks just a year or two before he passed on). I have attended Dhamma lessons, retreats, etc that were conducted by numerous teachers, both monastics and lay practitioners and found the Dhamma to be very profound but I could not easily apply it to my life. It was also not sustainable.
‘We have to change the way we think…Existence is a static concept in a dynamic reality…We are unconscious most of the time, we have to learn to be conscious…We have to cultivate good habits to replace the bad ones…Bad thoughts are thoughts that arouse emotions…The mind is the activity of the body…Relax the body and calm the mind…When you see, hear, …something check what is happening inside (introspect)…Happiness is a state of peace and calm, it is not excitement…’ - such phrases/ sentences have become very meaningful to my practice. I learnt that the tensions in the body had to be relaxed in order for the mind to be more peaceful with less emotion provoking thoughts. The yoga relaxation exercise introduced by Bhante has been my starting point and one of the practical foundations of my journey. I realized that consistent daily yoga practice helped relax the body and calm the mind, the experience of the tension and relaxation (from gross to the subtlest experienced over many practice sessions) helps very much in my daily activities too. There is this occasional ability to ‘recognise’ the subtle tension whenever it arises and automatically relaxes it, and over time as a habit is formed. This I understand is a sort of transformation. The consistent yoga practice is also supported with simultaneously going through more than 300 over of Bhante’s talks and learning, reflecting and experimenting with what he introduces. On a number of occasion I was surprised that the realisation from the experiments do correspond with what he says in his talks which then gave more confidence to go on with his lessons. This ‘hunger’ for more and more of Bhante’s lessons went on for some time which gave a clearer understanding of the teachings of the Buddha. As some say, the happiness is here and now – to me is when one is in that moment of peace and calm. These 4 over years of learning the Dhamma, gradually applying what I can from Bhante’s lessons has helped to alleviate much dukkha in life (though there’s still much, much more to learn and cultivate). Over time, I realized that it is possible to change the way we think, our attitude towards some circumstances to reduce dukkha. This is possible only when one is conscious. This is a long and very gradual journey.
I hope this sharing would inspire everyone to explore the yoga exercise (the audio and video instructions of the exercise has been shared in this site, thank you lovegood) to kick start the practice. It is extremely beneficial to listen attentively and follow Bhante’s instructions as you do the yoga exercise. Of course, going through as much of Bhante’s books and talks are necessary to be able to practice. Thank you for reading this.

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Existence is a fallacy, a delusion, likewise non-existence is saying that something is not there. Instead of existence and non-existence, I understand from Bhante Punnaji, it is experieince - ‘experiential’ where the process of perception unveils - it’s seeing how you see and not what you see. This is the little understanding I have from late Bhante. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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Keep going and practice. :+1:

Please correct me if I am wrong

Don’t worry about right or wrong. Just understand what is good and not good for you and others.

True knowledge will arise over time, dukkha will become less & finally come to stop. One will become happy in daily life (24 hours).

Good luck.

I noticed there are a couple of new Bhante Punnaji books available on Amazon

Life Examined: Lessons in Buddhist Philosophy

Letting Go of ‘Self’: Lessons in Buddhist Psychology

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