Best Biographies of Buddhism in 2022

Biographies of Buddhism

Biographies of Buddhism span the genre's wide range of subject matter. In addition to the life of Buddha, biographies of Buddhist saints, monks, and lay people also provide rich material for understanding Buddhism and its various cosmologies. These biographies also serve as a way to map the vastness of reality, as local cosmologies are integrated into the universal, and pristine Buddhist ideals are recreated in the lives of contemporary people.


In her book, Strong marshals the results of her previous research and writing to create a coherent biography of the Buddha. In it, Strong describes the Buddha's previous lives, including his incarnations as King Dasaratha in a reworking of the Ramayana, the perceptive boy Somanassa, and the Brahmin Sumedha. She also discusses his acts as a prince and princess before his birth as Prince Siddhartha.

One of Strong's strengths is her ability to incorporate alternate versions of the Buddhist sagas. Her narrative flow is not constrained by the canonical account, and her use of alternate versions adds depth and flavor to the stories. In contrast, canonical accounts are often a little linear. Strong's nonlinear narrative, which does not explicitly cite its sources, creates a refreshing effect. For instance, she includes a story about Yasodhara paralleling the Buddha's ascetic progress.

Buddhist writers often include biographical fragments, and some of these were incorporated into Buddhist canon or commentaries on canonical texts. These fragments often are extensive, but not exhaustive. Some of them stop at the early conversions of the Buddha, while others continue to narrate his life until he reached enlightenment. Thus, a strong biography of the Buddha should have a good balance of detail and comprehensiveness.


The Biographies of Kangyur Buddhism were first published around the 7th century CE, and the first known use of the term is unknown. The Kangyur is a Tibetan term that refers to a collection of canonical Buddhist texts written by the sixth king of Tibet, Trisong Detsen. This monk is regarded as the father of Tibetan Buddhism. The earliest extant Kangyur texts date from around 755 CE.

There are also numerous accounts of his biography. In his fourth year, he was recognized as the reincarnation of Drakkar Changchub Gyaltsen. His studies included the translation of the Tengyur, as well as the study of Buddhism. His study of the teachings led him to compose his own Dzogchen treatise, and he passed on his transmission for many of the major collections in the Middle Way. He was also one of the first Tibetan Buddhist scholars to translate the teachings of the Buddha, and his biography is the most comprehensive of all the sources.

In the seventh century, Mingyur Rinpoche began a series of retreats with the help of several Tibetan masters. He received the Cholking Tersar from Tulku Uryen Rinpoche and Dam-nGak Dzod from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Mingyur Rinpoche was also the first Tibetan Master to be assigned to oversee the building of the Tergar Rigzin Khacho Targye Ling Monastery in Bodhgaya. He also established the Tergar Institute and Meditation Centers.


A study of Tibetan Buddhist history shows that the Tengyur and Kangyur schools of Buddhism were brought from India to Tibet around the seventh and eighth centuries. Translation of these texts took place over an extended period of time. The "early period" of translation lasted from the seventh century through the eighth century and ended around the late tenth century. Despite the fact that some texts were later lost, many of these texts have survived.

The texts themselves are considered sacred and canonical. The most sacred are the abhidharma texts and sutras. Many of the other texts are considered sacred, including some of the most famous works of Tibetan Buddhism. Various Tibetan Buddhist scholars consider the texts canonical and authoritative, and therefore highly valued. Biographies of the Tengyur can be found in numerous monasteries and libraries worldwide.

In this study, Robert A.F. Thurman, a Harvard-trained scholar and former Geluk monk, explores the early history of Tibetan Buddhism and the biographical tradition of Tsongkhapa and Khedrup. The first in English on Tibetan Buddhism, Ary considers the influence of the biographical tradition on established lineages. He traces the lineage of Tsongkhapa to the thirteenth century, and the Gelukpas revere Tsongkhapa with the Gyaltsap.

Koliyan princess

A Koliyan princess is a historical figure in Buddhism. She was a member of the royal family of the Solar Dynasty. The royal family consisted of Mahamaya and Shakyamuni, who were brothers. The princess of the Koliya royal house was named Yashodhara. Although the Koliyan royalty had no other status equals in the area, they were very proud of their royal blood and practiced inter-marriage.

She was the foster mother of the Buddha, his maternal aunt, and his sister. Mahapajapati Gotami was also the first woman to receive ordination from the Buddha, the founder of the Mahayana school of Buddhism. Her name means 'big raft' in Sanskrit. She was ordained as a bhikkhuni (sadhana), and was the first woman to receive ordination from the Buddha.

Mahapadana Sutta

The Mahapadana Sutta is the first of the Great Division suttas. While most of these suttas end with the word "maha," there are three exceptions. While these three suttas are found only in the Digha Nikaya and Majjhima, this suggests the inconsistency of the Sutta Pitaka's division. In other words, the Mahapadana Sutta biography is actually a biography of the Buddha, who was a buddha.

According to the Mahapadana Sutta biography, Gotama Buddha spent his eighth week in the city of Nidanakatha. The Buddha's age is also indicated as a few centuries old. In fact, the Buddha was born six years before his life. The earlier sutta implies that Buddha was prehistoric or non-terrestrial. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, some researchers believe that Gotama Buddha's birth dates were a bit off.

In Mahapadana Sutta biography, we can learn that the Buddha addressed the threefold nature of consciousness as the source of all suffering and the origin of the universe. These three balas are a direct manifestation of the Buddha's teachings on the nature of the universe and the origin of suffering. This means that enlightenment is possible. By focusing on the threefold nature of our consciousness, we can attain peace of mind and achieve happiness.

Achariyabhuta Sutta

The Achariyabhuta Suttat is a valuable source for those interested in Buddha's life. It provides an overview of Buddha's early life and search for enlightenment. Later biographical materials are more detailed, and focus on Buddha's forty-five year career as a teacher. But if you are not interested in Buddhism's history, then consider reading the Jataka tales.

The translation is a product of collaboration between a team of scholars. While the majority of the sutta is straight forward, it contains references to profound aspects of the Dhamma. This understanding is crucial for fully interpreting the Buddha's final exhortations. While translating Pali is a challenging task, the translators' efforts are well worth the effort, and readers will forgive any lack of literary grace.

The most widely used biography of Buddha is the Buddha's biography. The Buddha was born in a cave and had several previous lives before he became a bodhisattva. It tells of Gautama's birth and many miracles surrounding his birth. The Nidanakatha, a work of ancient Sri Lankan Buddhism, was written by Buddhaghosa.

The Aycana Sutta: The Aycana Suttsa is a part of the Pali canon. It describes a life of Buddha, his teachings, and his life. Biographies of Buddhism should highlight this and other aspects of Buddhism. When reading, make sure to include the context in which Buddhism is practiced, and what makes it so unique.

David Fielder

I am a Director and joint owner of 2toTango Ltd and Tango Books Ltd. Currently most of my time is concentrated on 2toTango. This company publishes high-end pop-up greeting cards which are distributed widely in the UK and internationally. Tango Books was founded over 30 years ago and publishes quality children's novelty books in many languages.

📧Email | 📘 LinkedIn | 🐦 Twitter