The Wings to Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Paper copies of this book are free from the publisher, upon request.

How does this book compare to another anthology of the Pali canon, In the Buddha’s Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi?


To speak personally, I adore this book.

My first sustained introduction to Buddhism was through Dwight Goddard’s A Buddhist Bible. In retrospect I can see that it was fragmentary, badly translated, partial to the Mahayana, and woefully lacking in anything like the kind of exposition that would make the texts accessible to modern readers.

But, I thought, the sections from the Pali Canon seemed really quite good.

After that I moved on from Buddhism for a few years, until a friend introduced me to The Wings to Awakening and Sutta Central. Together they are the reason why last year I finally got serious about living a more Buddhist life.


I’ve found it to be a useful resource, but quite dry, and not that easy to read.
I would say it’s worth getting a copy if you haven’t read it.
I haven’t read “In the Buddha’s words”, but I do have Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translations of MN and SN. They are an excellent resource, with all the suttas and lots of detailed notes. Obviously these suttas are here on SC, but it’s nice to have them in book form. I think of them as my “Buddhist Bible”. :yum:


It depends what your needs are. If the interest is particularly in meditation, “Satipatthana” by Analayo would be a better choice. That way the practitioner is starting from the center and moving out. Both the books mentioned give an overview. My recommendation is to take the former course, that way the practitioner only takes the knowledge they need. Anyone coming from Mahayana should be informed that the suttas are not complete on their own, they need direct experience to be intelligible.

“In the Buddha’s Words” is very broad, covering the needs of the householder right up to those interested in enlightenment, and is not oriented towards meditation. It is easy reading if there is basic knowledge of Theravada.

“Wings to Awakening” is focused on the needs of meditation, and defines the groupings and qualities relevant. Thanissaro is not easy to read.

The contents can be read:


My opinion is similar to paul1’s, but I would interpret it slightly differently. In the Buddha’s Words is a general survey of the entire Sutta Pitaka and the Path. Reading it allowed me to put all of the Buddha’s teachings into perceptive, and made reading the other suttas much easier. Ven Thanissaro’s book is much more specialised, oriented towards meditation (in his rather dense style). So they have completely different aims. I would definitely read Bhikkhu Bodhi’s book first.

You can read essentially the whole book online :
In the Buddha's Words - Open Source Version - Dhamma Wheel or
In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon Linked to : Reading the Buddhist Scriptures of the Theravada Tradition


I just got back to Buddhism about six years ago after reading Buddha and his teaching by Narada.
The next book I read was Wings of Awakenting by Ven. Thannissaro.
I love his writing style and could not lay the book down till mid morning. I thought to myself that I found an Arahant at last until I came accross few of contraversial teachings.
I love venerable T for his translation work even though I have my resevation of his personal ideas.

I bought Buddha’s word by BB, but I tried many times to read it but it is still collecting dust in my drawers. May be one day.
My recomendation is please read Sutta. You will never be dissapointed. You have some prior knowledge to read Sutta I suppose.

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Can I have the Pdf of this incredible book?

Wings to Awakening and other books by Thanissaro Bhikku:
Most of Analayo Bhikkhu’s books (apart from most recent ones):


Thx :pray: