Bhante Sujato

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Bhante Sujato

Bhante Sujato, a.k.a. Ajahn Sujato or Bhikkhu Sujato, is an Australian Buddhist teacher and monk in the Theravada tradition.[1] His main influences are the Thai forest tradition, the study of the early Buddhist sutras, and the practice of loving kindness at transmitted by his teacher Ajahn Maha Chatchai.

Bhante Sujato was born on November 4, 1966 in Perth, Australia, with the given name of Anthony Best.

In 2003, Bhante Sujato established Santi Forest Monastery in New South Wales and served as Abbot from 2003-2012.[2]

In 2005, Bhante Sujato co-founded SuttaCentral, an online digital library of early Buddhist texts that includes translations from the Pali, Chinese and Tibetan languages. Since 2012, Bhante Sujato has focused on translation of the Pali suttas into English; these translations are freely available at SuttaCentral.[3]

In his studies of the early sutras he was struck by the parallel texts preserved in the Sansrkit, Chinese, and Tibetan texts, which he has presented as evidence that much of the original teachings of the Buddha were accurately preserved in these sutras.

He is also an advocate for the revival of Bhikkhuni ordination in the Theravada tradition.[4]


Early life

Bhante Sujato was raised in a liberal Catholic family. But as a teenager, inspired by the scientific vision of the world, and especially the theory of relativity, he rejected Christianity. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Western Australia. After two years he give up his studies and co-founded the indie-rock band Martha's Vineyard. The band had some success in the late 1980s.

Ordination, study and practice

In 1992, Bhante Sujato travelled to Thailand, and although he had no previous association with Buddhist practice, he joined an intensive Buddhist meditation retreat in the Chieng Mai Buddhist temple. After a year he went to Wat Pa Nanachat, the International Forest Monastery run by and for English-speaking monks, in the tradition of Ajahn Chah. He was ordained a novice monk (śrāmaṇera), and in the following year (May 5, 1994) he was ordained as bhikkhu.

In 1996 he returned to Perth, and spent three years at Bodhinyana Monastery practising under Ajahn Brahm, who he considers his primary teacher. He left Bodhinyana in 1999 and spent three years in isolated hermitages in Malaysia and Thailand.[5]


In 2003, Bhante Sujato established Santi Forest Monastery in New South Wales and served as Abbot from 2003-2012.

SuttaCentral translation project

In 2005, Bhante Sujato's was one of three founders of SuttaCentral, an online digital library of early Buddhist texts that includes translations from the Pali, Chinese and Tibetan languages. Since 2012, Bhante Sujato has focused on translation of the sutras into English; these translations are freely available at SuttaCentral.[6]


Research on Early Buddhist Texts

His research concerns the earliest Buddhist scriptures. Thanks to comparative and historical analysis, Sujato tries to highlight the process of emerging Buddhist ideology and identity.

Research paper on authenticity of the Pāli Canon

In a research paper, Bhikkhu Sujato and Bhikkhu Brahmali argue that it is likely that much of the Pali Canon dates back to the time period of the Buddha. They base this on many lines of evidence, including the technology described in the canon (apart from the obviously later texts), which matches the technology of his day which was in rapid development, that it doesn't include back written prophecies of the great Buddhist ruler King Ashoka (which Mahayana texts often do) suggesting that it predates his time, that in its descriptions of the political geography it presents India at the time of Buddha, which changed soon after his death, that it has no mention of places in South India, which would have been well known to Indians not long after Buddha's death and various other lines of evidence dating the material back to his time.[7]

Advocate for the ordination of nuns (bhikkhuni)

Bhante Sujato is an advocate for the renewal of the bhikkhuni ordination lineage within the Theravada tradition. In this regard, he has helped to establish a community of nuns (bhikkhuni) at the Santi Forest Monastery in New South Wales, Australia.

Although he supports the ordination of Bhikkhunis by importing it from the Asian Mahayana traditions, he also has also stated that there is sutra support within the Therevadhan traditions for Bhikkhus to carry out the ordination of nuns even when the tradition has been broken.[8] He states:

There is a clear and explicit allowance in the Mahāvihāravāsin Vinaya for bhikkhunis to be ordained by bhikkhus only, without requiring the presence of a community of bhikkhunis. This allowance is granted immediately after Mahāpajāpatī’s ordination, when she asks the Buddha what to do about the 500 Sakyan ladies who have followed her in seeking the going forth.[8]


For a list of Bhante Sujato's books, see:


  1. The terms bhante, ajahn, and bhikkhu are terms of respect for Buddhist teachers and/or monks.
  2. An announcement
  3. Sutta Central - About
  4. Bhante Sujato, Buddha Channel
  5. Bhante Sujato (profile; Wisdom and Wonders)
  6. Sutta Central - About
  7. Bhikkhu Sujato and Bhikkhu Brahmali. "The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts" (PDF). Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ordination of Nuns by Monks, Bhikkhu Sujato, Santipada


Search for videos:

Selected videos:

  • Translating Pali Suttas - Ajahn Sujato - 23 March 2018
    Description: For the past 2 years Ajahn Sujato has been translating Pali Suttas into English. Ajahn shares with us his knowledge and enthusiasm about the Suttas. His translations are published on SuttaCentral
  • Ajahn Sujato - Buddhist Mythology: The Sacred and the Profane - Part 1
    Description: Part 1 - May 21st, 2019 - The Buddhist tradition has created and passed down the world’s oldest and largest body of mythological literature, yet its value is rarely appreciated. Mythology creates meaning by situating a people in the story of the world. Buddhist mythology teaches us how Buddhist people over the years have struggled to reconcile the pure and exalted teachings of the Buddha with their messy and imperfect lives. These are the stories that don’t make it into the “proper” doctrines: stories of women, of loss, of the dispossessed, of redemption in the most unlikely places. This course draws on multiple modern interpretations of myth to illuminate Buddhist stories, arguing that mythology deserves a central place in our understanding of how we, as people inspired by the Buddha’s teachings, can learn from those who have come before. Bhante Sujato, the respected teacher and scholar of early Buddhism, will lead the course, which runs for four two-hour evening sessions over four weeks.
  • Practising Renunciation in Lay Life
    Description: Practising Renunciation in Lay Life

External links

This article uses material from Bhikkhu Sujato on Polish Wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (view authors). Wikimedia-logo black 35px.png