- Access to Insight
Access to Insight is a popular
Theravada Buddhist websiteproviding access to a huge collection of translated texts from the Tipitaka, as well as contemporary materials published by the Buddhist Publication Societyand many teachers from the Thai Forest Tradition.
Access to Insight began in 1993 as a
bulletin board systemrun by John Bullitt with support from the Barre Insight Meditation Center. Originally, Access to Insight was one of several publishers of the results of the DharmaNet Dharma Book Transcription Project. As the internet grew in popularity compared to bulletin board services, ATI began to transition to a web-based format. In March 1995 the website became ATI's primary electronic presence; the BBS service was discontinued before the end of the year. In 1998, Access to Insight published a CD version of the website entitled "A Handful of Leaves".
All of the materials available on the ATI website are provided for free distribution. They remain protected by copyright, but can be copied and distributed provided that the user does not modify the text or charge a fee.
ATI offers a wide-ranging selection of texts from the
Tipitaka, with an emphasis on conveying the fundamental ideas of the Buddha's teaching, and teachings which have direct applicability to daily lay life. The majority of the canonical texts are drawn from the Sutta Pitaka, with a smaller selection of works dealing with the Vinaya Pitaka, and little or nothing from the Abhidhamma Pitakaand the commentaries. In addition to texts from the Pali Canon, ATI includes a large collection of published works from the Buddhist Publication Society, as well as a variety of teachings that were translated from Thai by the Western-born Thanissaro Bhikkhu, abbot of the Metta Forest Monasterynear San Diego, California.
The collection at Access to Insight continues to grow, with additional translations and books being contributed by a number of monks and lay scholars. Currently, the materials available at Access to Insight include over 900 sutta texts and several hundred books and articles. Most texts are available as both
HTMLand plain text. You can download the whole site in a zip file.
In the spring of 2005, John Bullitt began The Dhamma Transcription Project, which formalizes transcription procedures that he had been following over the past few years. The basic aim of the project is to transcribe into digital form high-quality free Dhamma books that have been previously published, but which are out of print or otherwise hard to find, and to distribute those transcriptions freely via the Internet. Volunteers transcribe these works, chosen from a list posted on the web site.
In February 2006 a sister website SuttaReadings.net was born. This website offers a library of free audio recordings of English translations of Pali suttas, selected and read aloud by respected Dhamma teachers within the Theravada Buddhist tradition. The suttas in this library were hand-picked by the teachers themselves, which means that, although the collection may be small, it contains some of the most important suttas in the entire Pali Canon.
Use in Buddhist community
Access to Insight is well known to Buddhist converts in the United States [Charles S. Prebish, "Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America". University of California Press, 1999. p. 226.] and around the world. For example,
Thanissaro Bhikkhu, although he does not have Internet access, encourages Buddhists to use it, [ Thanissaro Bhikkhu. [http://www.tricycle.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=19C19B640B174C628BDA3A151EF18A43&nm=Web+Exclusives&type=news&mod=News&mid=9A02E3B96F2A415ABC72CB5F516B4C10&tier=3&nid=1A3498B8BA444D8481270912E2F7011D "Thai forest monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu answers questions from Tricycle readers."] ""] and Bhikku Bodhi's acclaimed translation of the Pali Canon recommends it as a resource. [Bhikkhu Bodhi. "In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon". Wisdom Publications, 2005. p. 495.] It has been cited in the "Journal of Buddhist Ethics" [http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-AN/an147029.pdf Avoiding Unintended Harm to the Environment and the Buddhist Ethic of Intention] . "Journal of Buddhist Ethics"] , "Multi-Ethnic Children's Literature" [Jarasa Kanok. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/view/3250604?seq=21 "Translations and Transformations: Thai Texts for Children in the USA"] . "Multi-Ethnic Children's Literature" 27.2.] and "Cross-Cultural Research". [ Michael Minkov. "Self-Enhancement and Self-Stability Predict School Achievement at the National Level." "Cross-Cultural Research" 42. May 2008. pp. 172 - 196.]
It is also cited in several standard textbooks used in teaching Buddhism. [Sonam Thakchoe. "The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way". Wisdom Publications, 2007. p. xv.] [John J. Holder, "Early Buddhist Discourses". Hackett Publishing, 2006. p. 214.] [Kevin Trainor. "Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide". Oxford University Press US, 2004. p. 244.] [Wendy Cadge. "Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America". University of Chicago Press, 2004. p. 227.] [Richard H. Seager. "Buddhism in America". Columbia University Press, 2000. p. 264.] [Christopher W. Gowans, "Philosophy of the Buddha". Routledge, 2003. p. 201.]
* [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ Access to Insight]
* [http://www.suttareadings.net/ Sutta Readings]
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