Access to Insight is a popular Theravada Buddhist website providing access to a huge collection of translated texts from the Tipitaka, as well as contemporary materials published by the Buddhist Publication Society and many teachers from the Thai Forest Tradition.
Access to Insight began in 1993 as a bulletin board system run 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 of 1995 the Access to Insight 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 Pitaka and 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 Monastery near 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 HTML and plain text.