Explore Books by Bhante G

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is a beloved teacher and author. His works include the now-classic meditation manual Mindfulness In Plain Englishhis autobiography, Journey to Mindfulness, and the beloved Buddhist Suttas for RecitationLearn more about Bhante G and his books below. 



Impermanence in Plain English

The bestselling author of Mindfulness in Plain English guides the reader toward a direct and personal realization of one of the foundational tenets of Buddhism: all things that arise must pass away.

Once-youthful bodies grow old and weary. New thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise and fade every second. Impermanence is not some abstract metaphysical idea. This is the Dhamma, and you can see it for yourself.

Drawing from Pali scriptures and writing with fresh, direct language, Bhante Gunaratana and his student Julia Harris highlight the Buddha’s exhortation that we must directly realize for ourselves the liberating insights that free us from suffering and cyclic existence, without relying only on the word of religious authorities or academic or philosophical musings.

Bhante G’s In Plain English Volumes


Mindfulness in Plain English

Since Mindfulness in Plain English was first published in 1994, it has become one of the bestselling — and most influential — books in the field of mindfulness. It’s easy to see why.

Author Bhante Gunaratana, a renowned meditation master, takes us step by step through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. The book showcases Bhante G’s trademark clarity and wit, as he explores the tool of meditation, what it does, and how to make it work.

This expanded edition includes the complete text of its predecessor along with a new chapter on cultivating loving kindness, an especially important topic in today’s world. For anyone who is new to meditation, this is a great resource for learning how to live a more productive and peaceful life.

Praise for Mindfulness in Plain English

“A masterpiece.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn

“A classic—one of the very best English sources for authoritative explanations of mindfulness.”—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence



The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English

In simple and straightforward language, Bhante Gunaratana shares the Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness and how we can use these principles to improve our daily lives, deepen our mindfulness, and move closer to our spiritual goals.

Based on the classic Satipatthana Sutta, one of the most succinct yet rich explanations of meditation, Bhante’s presentation is nonetheless thoroughly modern. The Satipatthana Sutta has become the basis of all mindfulness meditation, and Bhante unveils it to the reader in his trademark “plain English” style.

Contemplating the Four Foundations of Mindfulness—mindfulness of the body, of feelings, of the mind, and of phenomena themselves—is recommended for all practitioners. Newcomers will find The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English lays a strong groundwork for mindfulness practice and gives them all they need to get started right away, and old hands will find rich subtleties and insights to help consolidate and clarify what they may have begun to see for themselves. People at every state of the spiritual path will benefit from reading this book.

Praise for The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English

“The Four Foundations come to life. Drink long, drink deeply.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn



Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English:
An Introductory Guide to Deeper States of Meditation

Countless people worldwide have made Mindfulness in Plain English a beloved and bestselling classic in almost a dozen languages. Now after nearly two decades, Bhante helps meditators of every stripe take their mindfulness practice to the next level—helping them go, in a word, beyond mindfulness. In the same warm, clear, and friendly voice, Bhante introduces the reader to what have been known for centuries as the “jhanas”—deeply calm, joyous, and powerful states of meditation that, when explored with the clearly presented tools in this book, can lead to a life of insight and unshakeable peace.

Praise for Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English

“Bhante Gunaratana has done it again! There is practical logic and an almost startling common sense to the explanations that lead the reader smoothly through the various stages of meditative concentration.”
—Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery



The Mindfulness in Plain English Journal

“People ask me how to practice mindfulness in daily life—this journal answers that question.”—Bhante Gunaratana

Discover the transformative power of mindfulness—in your own words. Based on the classic bestseller Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana offers compassionate guidance and the space to explore meditation in your own life.

Explore your insights and keep track of your emotional life without judgment, and begin to change the stories you tell about yourself. Includes a brief introduction to meditation so anyone can get started right away, as well as mindfulness tips and inspiring quotes.



The Mindfulness in Plain English Collection

The Mindfulness in Plain English Collection offers the rich, full context for tapping into the true power of mindfulness, all with the signature warmth of Bhante Gunaratana. It is a beautiful and comprehensive resource for anyone who is ready to take their mindfulness practice to the next level.

Readers will learn about:

– Structuring your meditation
– Dealing with distractions
– Mindfulness versus concentration
– Mindfulness in everyday life
– Practicing mindfulness of mind, emotions, and body
– Going beyond mindfulness to discover the jhanas: deeply calm, joyous, and powerful states of concentration meditation that can lead to a life of insight and unshakeable peace
– And much more.

In a voice both masterful and relaxed, these teachings reveal what it is to befriend the mind, taking the reader all the way from basic mindfulness meditation to profound states of freedom.

The Collection brings together in a beautiful silver-embossed binding three bestselling books by Bhante Gunaratana: Mindfulness in Plain English, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English, and Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English.



Loving-Kindness in Plain English:
The Practice of Meta

With his signature clarity and warmth, Bhante Gunaratana shares with us how we can cultivate loving-kindness to live a life of joyful harmony with others. Through personal anecdotes, step-by-step meditations, conversational renderings of the Buddha’s words in the suttas, and transformative insights into how we live in and relate to the world, we learn that peace here and now is possible—within ourselves and in all our relationships. Bhante G speaks directly to how we can cultivate loving-kindness to find emotional clarity, overcome anger, and become more peaceful—both on and off the meditation cushion.

Loving-Kindness in Plain English was chosen for the Spirituality & Practice Book Award as one of the 50 Best Spiritual Books of 2017 by the website Spirituality & Practice.

Praise for Loving-Kindness in Plain English

“This beautiful book not only expertly guides us in cultivating loving-kindness, it is the transmission of an awakened heart.  Bhante G, as he is affectionately called, is a true master, and his deep wisdom and love flow through his words into our hearts. Written with great lucidity, and filled with accessible, powerful teachings and practices, Loving-Kindness in Plain English is a book that will bring more love into your life.”—Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

“In Loving-Kindness in Plain English Bhante Gunaratana provides a clear and thoughtful elucidation of the Karaniya Metta Sutta, as well as other discourses that give guidance on practicing metta (lovingkindness). All of this will delight the reader who is interested in better understanding the traditional texts. Bhante Gunaratana also offers beautiful stories from his own life that illustrates the power and benefits of metta practice. There’s something here for everyone.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

“A clear and excellent introduction [that] should be considered a standard manual for metta practice.”—Publishers Weekly Starred Review



Impermanence in Plain English

The bestselling author of Mindfulness in Plain English guides the reader toward a direct and personal realization of one of the foundational tenets of Buddhism: all things that arise must pass away.

Once-youthful bodies grow old and weary. New thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise and fade every second. Impermanence is not some abstract metaphysical idea. This is the Dhamma, and you can see it for yourself.

Drawing from Pali scriptures and writing with fresh, direct language, Bhante Gunaratana and his student Julia Harris highlight the Buddha’s exhortation that we must directly realize for ourselves the liberating insights that free us from suffering and cyclic existence, without relying only on the word of religious authorities or academic or philosophical musings.

Praise for Impermanence in Plain English

“In this rich distillation of a lifetime of profound Dharma practice, Bhante Gunaratana invites us to ‘come and see’ for ourselves the liberating truth of impermanence. With great warmth and clarity, he shows how the awakened heart can find security even in the midst of constant change, not by ignoring or resisting impermanence but by fully embracing it. Impermanence in Plain English is a major teaching.”—John Brehm, author of The Dharma of Poetry

“This book is an inspired contemplation of the key to liberating insight—the perception of impermanence. Beautifully written in short, easy-to-digest chapters, Impermanence in Plain English combines profound teachings from Buddhist discourses with practical reflections on the myriad ways that impermanence manifests in ordinary lives. This simple yet deep guide points newcomers to insight meditation right to the heart of insight knowledge, and it encourages seasoned meditators to trust the joyful unfolding of this path of peace.”—Shaila Catherine, author of Beyond Distraction: Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind

“Impermanence can be scary to contemplate, but it is also utterly freeing. Learn more from one of the world’s greatest living meditation masters.”—Dan Harris, Ten Percent Happier podcast and author, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works

Other Books


Journey to Mindfulness:
The Autobiography of Bhante G.

Bhante Gunaratana—Bhante G., as he is affectionately called—is one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West.

This expanded anniversary edition of Journey to Mindfulness includes five new chapters in which Bhante G. reflects on the impact of the tsunami that struck his homeland in 2004 and his subsequent appearance on the Larry King Show, his brief experiment in ordaining nuns at his monastery, as well as intimate reflections on the loss of family members, and his own aging and infirmity. He provides an inspiring example of what it means to live a life in alignment with the Buddhadharma.

Praise for Journey to Mindfulness

“Like the stories of the wisest and kindest of grandfathers. A joy to read.”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake

“Tremendously inspiring. It both breaks down illusions and over-idealism about Buddhism and gives a vision of how to attain the highest in our lifetimes. An old, humble monk reflecting on his arrogant youth has invaluable lessons for all of us.”—Sumi Loundon, author of  Sitting Together

Inspirational, charming, and delightfully accessible—we are left with the image of a good man who has lived an extraordinary life, and that this kind of life is within reach of all of us.”—Branches of Light

“This plain-English look back at years of an a mixture of adversity, humility, and hard-won wisdom tells an engaging story that non-Buddhists can appreciate as well as Buddhists.”Publishers Weekly



8 Mindful Steps to Happiness:
Walking the Buddha’s Path

In the same engaging style that has endeared him to readers of Mindfulness In Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana delves deeply into each step of the Buddha’s most profound teaching on bringing an end to suffering: the noble eightfold path. With generous and specific advice, Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness offers skillful ways to handle anger, to find right livelihood, and to cultivate loving-friendliness in relationships with parents, children, and partners, as well as tools to overcome all the mental hindrances that prevent happiness. Whether you are an experienced meditator or someone who’s only just beginning, this gentle and down-to-earth guide will help you bring the heart of the Buddha’s teachings into every aspect of your life.

Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards finalist (Spirituality/Inspirational).

Praise for 8 Mindful Steps to Happiness

“An astoundingly clear and joyful guide to living life at the deepest level.”Inquiring Mind



Meditation On Perception:
Ten Healing Practices to Cultivate Mindfulness

Use the unique Buddhist practice of meditation on perception, as taught by the best-selling author of Mindfulness in Plain English, to learn how shifting your perspective can transform mental and physical health.

Perception—one of the basic constituents of the body and mind—can be both a source of suffering and pain, as well as a source of happiness and health. The Buddhist tradition teaches that perception can be trained and ultimately purified through the practice of meditation. When we understand how perception impacts our lives, we can use it, just as we do any other object of meditation, to overcome harmful ways of thinking and acting and to develop healthy states of mind instead. In Meditation on Perception Bhante G brings us, for the first time in English, an illuminating introduction to the unique Buddhist practice of meditation on perception as taught in the popular Girimananda Sutta.

The ten healing practices that comprise meditation on perception make up a comprehensive system of meditation, combining aspects of both tranquility and insight meditation. Tranquility meditation is used to calm and center the mind, and insight meditation is used to understand more clearly how we ordinarily perceive ourselves and the world around us. Alternating between these two practices, meditators cultivate purified perception as explained by the Buddha. As a result of these efforts, we progress on the path that leads to freedom, once and for all, from illness, confusion, and other forms of physical and mental suffering.

Meditation on Perception gives us the keys to move beyond ordinary, superficial perception into an enlightened perspective, freed from confusion and unhappiness.

Praise for Meditation on Perception

“Clear and concise, this book is invaluable.”—Toni Bernhard, author of How to Wake Up



Buddhist Suttas for Recitation:
A Companion for Walking the Buddha’s Path

Bring the Buddha’s teachings more deeply into your life. 

Buddhist Suttas for Recitation provides everything you need to begin and maintain a practice of contemplative recitation and reflection. These practices will deepen your connection to the Buddha, strengthen your faith in the Path, and nurture your intellectual understanding of the Dhamma.

This unique volume includes carefully chosen discourses of the Buddha from the Pali Canon—presented in inspiring and accessible English with accompanying Pali—that convey the essence of the Dhamma. The introductory material explains the relationship between meditation and devotional practice, offers instructions on setting up a home altar, and gives advice on how to use these texts to enhance your spiritual development.



What, Why, How:
Answers to Your Questions about Buddhism, Meditation, and Living Mindfully

Everything you ever wanted to know but never had a chance to ask about meditation and Buddhist spiritual practice, from one of the greatest mindfulness teachers of our time.

How can I fit meditation into my busy life?
How should I understand karma and rebirth?
Is enlightenment even possible for me?

Sound familiar? If you’ve ever meditated or studied Buddhism, you may have found yourself asking these questions—and many more! Here’s the good news: there are answers, and you’ll find them all in this book. Imagine that you could sit down with one of Buddhism’s most accomplished and plainspoken teachers—and imagine that he patiently agreed to answer any question you had about meditation, living mindfully, and key Buddhist concepts—even the myriad brilliant questions you’ve never thought to ask! What, Why, How condenses into one volume a half-century of Bhante G’s wise answers to common questions about the Buddha’s core teachings on meditation and spiritual practice. With his kind and clear guidance, you’ll gain simple yet powerful insights and practices to end unhealthy patterns and habits so that you can transform your experience of the world—from your own mind to your relationships, your job, and beyond.

Praise for What, Why, How

“This book can be of help to anyone’s spiritual journey and meditation practice.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness



Start Here, Start Now:
A Short Guide to Mindfulness Meditation

A master of mindfulness, who has taught thousands to meditate, Bhante G will show you exactly how to start your own practice and make it a part of your daily life. The book includes practical advice on

– what to do with the body and mind in meditation;
– how to work with distraction;
– how to deal with physical discomfort in meditation;
– how to overcome drowsiness, boredom, and inability to concentrate;
– how to work with fear and agitation, judgments, and self-criticism;
– how to avoid trying too hard, expecting too much, or getting discouraged;
– 11 common misconceptions and 10 tips for effective practice; and
– how to get the most out of your practice.

You can start meditating today and, with Bhante G’s guidance, discover more peace, presence, and joy in everyday life.

Praise for Start Here, Start Now

“A timeless, clear, and beautiful introduction.” —Tamara Levitt, Head of Mindfulness at Calm

“Beginners will find [Start Here, Start Now] a highly accessible and insightful guide to mindfulness meditation, and even experienced practitioners may find this text useful for revisiting the basics.”—Publishers Weekly

Meet Bhante G

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, affectionately called Bhante G by his students, is an internationally recognized author, meditation teacher, and beloved monk in the Theravadan tradition, and is the founding abbot of the Bhavana Society. Born in rural Sri Lanka, he has been a monk since age 12 and took full ordination at age 20 in 1947, before coming to the United States in 1968.

Prior to coming to the United States, he spent five years doing missionary work with the Harijanas (Untouchables) of India and ten years in Malaysia. He has taught in a number of settings, including the Buddhist Vihara of Washington D.C. where he served as president, the American University in Washington D.C. where he served as Buddhist chaplain and also earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, and at meditation centers worldwide. Bhante G has a strong scholarly background and lifelong commitment to dhamma. As such, he has written a number of books, including the now-classic meditation manual Mindfulness In Plain English and its companion Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness. Bhante G regularly leads retreats on vipassana, mindfulness, metta (loving-friendliness), concentration, and other topics at the Bhavana Society which he co-founded in 1985 out of a desire to teach meditation in an environment allowing for longer retreats and intense practice free from the trappings of a city vihara. He continues to teach in the direct, compassionate style that characterizes his books and articles. As a teacher, he is known for his emphasis both on samadhi and on metta as part of spiritual training.

In 1996, Bhante G received the title of Chief Sangha Nayaka Thera for North America. This acknowledged his status as highest-ranking monk of his sect in the United States and Canada. Originally published in 2003, his autobiography, Journey to Mindfulness, was updated in 2017 with an “Expanded Anniversary Edition” adding five new chapters.

Bhante G continues to write books and articles, lead retreats, and teach at the Bhavana Society; however, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, December 7th, 2017, he decided that he would no longer accept invitations that require long-distance travel.