Bhante Gunaratana's Talks and Books

Wisdom in Stillness: The Life of Bhante Gunaratana

Bhante Gunaratana, a venerable Buddhist monk, meditation teacher, and author, is a beacon of wisdom, compassion, and mindfulness in the modern world. His life's journey has been one of seeking truth, inner peace, and sharing the transformative power of meditation with countless individuals around the globe. From his humble beginnings in Sri Lanka to becoming an internationally acclaimed monastic, Bhante G's story is one of spiritual awakening, dedication, and service.


Born in rural Sri Lanka in 1927, Henepola Gunaratana entered a world rich in spiritual traditions. Raised in a devout Buddhist family, young Gunaratana was exposed to the teachings of the Buddha from an early age. As a child, Bhante G enjoyed hearing stories from the Jakata, spending time with the monks at the local village temple, and dreamed of being a monk who could teach in English. This initial connection laid the foundation for his lifelong commitment to exploring the depths of Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice.

The Call of the Monastic Path

Early into his life, Bhante G embarked on the monastic journey, seeking to deepen his understanding of the Dhamma (Buddhist teachings) and immerse himself in a life of simplicity and self-discovery. He was ordained as a novice monk at age 12 and he recieved higher ordination at age 20 in Kandy. His monastic training provided the structure and discipline necessary for his spiritual growth.

Pursuit of Knowledge

As a very curious person who has had a lifeling desire to learn, Bhante G decided pursued higher education. He enrolled in the Vidyalankara Pirivena, a monastic college, where he studied Pali (the language of Theravada Buddhist scriptures) and Buddhist scriptures (the Suttas). Later on after he had moved to America he would continue his studies at American University and go on to a Bachelors, Masters and Phd.

The United States and the Dawn of Teaching

In 1968, Bhante G's path took an unexpected turn when he was invited to the United States on the invitation of the Sasana Sevaka Society and he then became the Honorary General Secretary of the Buddhist Vihara Society in Washington DC. Later, he established the Bhavana Society, a meditation retreat center in West Virginia, where he shares the teachings of mindfulness, loving-kindness, and meditation with eager students. His approach, grounded in traditional Buddhist practices, resonates with people from diverse backgrounds seeking inner peace amidst the challenges of modern life.

Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Bhante G's most famous work, "Mindfulness in Plain English," published in 1992, became a cornerstone of contemporary mindfulness literature. This book, written in accessible language, introduced readers to the profound yet practical aspects of meditation. It offered a roadmap to cultivate mindfulness, concentration, and insight, guiding individuals towards self-awareness and personal transformation.

Global Impact and Legacy

Bhante G's teachings spread far beyond the borders of the United States. His workshops, retreats, and lectures have touched the lives of countless individuals worldwide, inspiring them to embrace mindfulness and compassion. He has been recognized for his unwavering commitment to fostering peace within and without, receiving awards for his contributions to promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding.

Continuation of the Journey

As Bhante G's journey continues into his later years, he remains a guiding light for those seeking spiritual growth. His compassionate presence and profound teachings serve as a reminder that wisdom and serenity are attainable through diligent practice and an open heart. He continues to offer guidance and support to students, exemplifying the transformative power of a life dedicated to mindfulness, meditation, and compassionate living.


Bhante G's biography is a testament to the enduring power of mindfulness and the profound impact one individual can have on the lives of many. His life's work embodies the essence of Buddhist teachings, offering a roadmap to inner peace, wisdom, and liberation. Through his teachings and example, Bhante G has left an indelible mark on the world, reminding us that the path to enlightenment is both ancient and ever-relevant.