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Buddhadharma : Summer 2010
87 summer 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly pump water up from the storage tank, but the petrol pump does not work, and also the pipe into the well is broken. Despite all these difficulties, things are better now than in the past. It’s amazing that Ven. Nyanaponika and Ven. Bodhi worked hard for years in such austere conditions.” By 1960, it was clear that the BPS needed a more suitable office, and a Buddhist dentist in Kandy offered half of the bungalow he used for his business. In time, he donated the whole building, and it was replaced with a larger structure when BPS outgrew it. This growth surprised the founders, who had defined the society’s editorial mission as publishing about twenty-five booklets. However, the society’s formation coincided with the growing interest in Buddhism in the West, and the first booklets were so well received that the founders decided to continue publishing. The Buddhist Publication Society came to be best known for two series of book- lets: Bodhi Leaves and the Wheel. Bodhi Leaves is a series of compact, informal essays expressing personal insights into Buddhism. The Wheel, in contrast, consists of substantial tracts on topics such as meditation, comparative studies, and Bud- dhist history, as well as translations from the Pali canon. In his day, Nyanaponika himself wrote many of the Wheel booklets. In 1984, when glaucoma limited his ability to read, Nyanaponika retired from his position as editor and his longtime American student Bhikkhu Bodhi took over. Bhikkhu Bodhi laughs when he recalls Nyanaponika saying that he intended to recommend him to the board. “I replied: ‘Bhante, I agreed to be the editor when you pass away, but at this point I don’t think I’m ready.’ He said, ‘I’m now eighty- two and it’s time I retire. I’m going to recommend you.’ That night, as I lay in bed, I considered fleeing through the forest, but I couldn’t leave this old monk alone in the hermitage.” Bhikkhu Bodhi became the editor, and under his direction the society flourished. He started a newsletter, for which he wrote extensively, and in the late 1990s he arranged for Pariyatti, a Theravada publishing company, to distribute the society’s works in North America. Luke Matthews, executive director of Pariyatti, explains that before it started distributing BPS books, Americans had difficulty getting them. “You would have to write to Sri Lanka,” he says, “and when I say ‘write,’ I liter- ally mean ‘write,’ because this was before email and online shopping. Sometimes it took months.” Bhikkhu Bodhi resigned as editor in 2002 but stayed on as president of the society. Now, Bhikkhu Nyanatusita from Holland is the English editor and a Sri Lankan scholar is at the helm of the society’s Sinhalese publications. Though the original purpose of BPS was to publish material in English, in recent years it also has been publishing more extensively in Sinhalese because many Sri Lankans can’t read English and need teachings in their native language. Another change for the society is that it no longer publishes Bodhi Leaves booklets and only occasionally publishes Wheel, which are available through the society’s online library. Now it’s focusing on publishing books, with many substantially spon- sored by its three thousand members, including seven hundred outside Sri Lanka. “The BPS has geared up its publishing,” Matthews says. “The covers are more artistic. The paper quality is better and the binding has improved greatly. Now it sells online.” The society still strives to keep its prices low. It has a fund called the Nyanaponika Dhamma Dana Project, which enables it to disseminate BPS titles free to about a hundred monasteries, universities, and institutes around the globe. Recently it issued Similes of the Buddha by Hellmuth Hecker. “There are individual authors who publish books about the Theravada,” Mat- thews says. “But as for a nonprofit dedicated to providing high-quality translations and interpretation of the traditional approach to the dharma in English, there is nothing like the Buddhist Publication Society. Its reach is very broad.” ©ForestHermitagearcHives 3 Ways You Can Help Buddhadharma You can help sustain the only practice-oriented journal bringing together committed Buddhists of all traditions Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly serves your practice and community with teachings, reviews, and news bringing you the best of Buddhism today. Here are three ways we can work together to fulfill this important mission. DONATE Your donation will help us continue our valuable work in these difficult times. Donate online: www.thebuddhadharma.com/donate; Call toll-free: 1-877-422-8404 ext. 36; or Mail a donation: US: Buddhadharma, 1345 Spruce St., Boulder CO 80302-4886. Canada: 1660 Hollis St., #701, Halifax, NS B3J 1V7 SHOP Support Buddhadharma with your purchase at our Online Gallery. Go to www.shambhalasun.com/gallery to purchase beautiful archival quality art prints from the pages of Buddhadharma and the Shambhala Sun. SHARE Give a gift subscription and share the dharma with friends and family. SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.