Walpola Rahula

Walpola RahulaThe Rev. Dr. Walpola Rahula is a scholar monk who trained and educated in the Theravadan tradition in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). His succinct, clear overview of Buddhist concepts is held in high regard and has become a standard.

He held eminent positions in one of the leading monastic institutes (Pirivena) in Ceylon, where the Law of the Buddha florishes from the time of Asoka and has preserved all its vitality up to this day.

He entered the Ceylon University, obtained the B.A. Honours degree (London), and then won the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the Ceylon University on a higherly learned thesis on the History of Buddhism in Ceylon.

He is best known for his book What The Buddha Taught, which is one of the best introductory books on Buddhism.

Walpola Rahula Quotes

  • According to the Buddha’s teaching the beginning of the life-stream of living beings is unthinkable. THe believer in the creation of life by God may be astonished at this reply. But if you were to ask him ‘What is the beginning of God?’ he would answer without hesitation ‘God has no beginning’, and he is not astonished at his own reply.
  • As long as you are conscious of yourself, you can never concentrate on anything.
  • Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent. For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal Soul or Atman, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically.
  • All great work artistic, poetic, intellectual or spiritual is produced at those moments when creators forget themselves altogether and are free from self-consciousness.
  • There is no unmoving mover behind the movement. It is only movement. It is not correct to say that life is moving, but life is movement itself. Life and movement are not two different things. In other words, there is no thinker behind the thought. Thought itself is the thinker. If you remove the thought, there is no thinker to be found.


  • What The Buddha Taught (1959, ISBN 0802130313)
  • History of Buddhism in Ceylon: The Anuradhapura period, 3rd Centrury BC–10th Century AD (1966)
  • Humour in Pali Literature and Other Essays (1997, ISBN 9556500006)
  • The Heritage of the Bhikkhu: A Short History of the Bhikkhu in Educational, Cultural, Social, and Political Life (1974, ISBN 0394492609)
  • Heritage of Bhikkhu (1974, ISBN 0394178238)
  • Zen and the Taming of the Bull: Towards the Definition of Buddhist Thought: Essays (1978, ISBN 0900406690)
  • The Heritage of the Bhikkhu: The Buddhist Tradition of Service (2003, ISBN 0802140238) Walpola Rahula
buddha monk

buddha monk