A Theravada Buddhist monk, scholar, and meditation teacher. He was born in Germany in 1962 and is best known for his comparative studies of Early Buddhist texts as preserved by the various early Buddhist traditions. In 1994 he went to Sri Lanka, looking to meet Nyanaponika Thera
after having read his book The Heart of Buddhist Meditation.
Sadly, Nyanaponika passed away just days before Analayo's arrival, but the latter stayed on and studied with Bhikkhu Bodhi. In 1995 he entered monastic life, and received hisupasampada
(full ordination) in 2007 in the Sri Lankan Shwegyin Nikaya. Bhikkhu Bodhi
has been Bhikkhu Anālayo's main teacher. Bhikkhu Anālayo completed a Ph.D. thesis on the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta
at the University of Peradeniya in 2000, which was later published as Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization.
During the course of that study, he had come to notice the interesting differences between the Pāli and Chinese Buddhist canon versions of this early Buddhist discourse. This led to his undertaking habilitation research at the University of Marburg, completed in 2007, in which he compared the Majjhima Nikāya discourses with their Chinese, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist canon counterparts. In 2013 Anālayo then published Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna,
where he builds on his earlier work by comparing the parallel versions of the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta
and exploring the meditative perspective that emerges when emphasis is given to those instructions that are common ground among the extant canonical versions and thus arguably represent their earliest root. The textual study of early Buddhist discourses in comparative perspective forms the basis of his ongoing research. At present he is the chief editor and one of the translators of the first English translation of the Chinese Madhyama-āgama,
and has undertaken an integral English translation of the Chinese Saṃyukta-āgama
, parallel to the Pali Saṃyutta Nikāya
collection. The theoretical and practical aspects of meditation remain central to Anālayo’s academic activity. He has published several articles on insight and absorption meditation and related contemporary meditation traditions to their textual sources. Having researched attitudes towards bhikkhunis
(female monastics) in early Buddhist texts as well as the history of the foundation of the bhikkhuni
order has allowed him to be a supporter of bhikkhuni
ordination, which is a matter of controversy in several traditions.