Mrs Willett’s Mediumship by Balfour

Posted: February 21, 2015 by pathpress in News

A Study of the Psychological Aspects of Mrs Willett’s Mediumship, and of the Statement of the Communicators Concerning Process
(Proceedings, Vol 43., 1935)
by Gerald William, Earl of Balfour


Path Press is sharing this digital version of the original copy with the permission of the Society for Psychical Research since this book has been recommended by Ven. Ñāṇavīra Thera in his letters, described it as “a fascinating book”, but it could not be obtained in bookshops or on any online library.

Ven. Ñāṇavīra’s recommendation:

“[T]his book seems to me to be quite exceptionally good evidence for [rebirth]; and the various philosophical problems discussed (between the living and the dead) are themselves of no little interest.” (CtP, p.307)

“The book contains an account of some extremely high quality ‘communications’ purporting to come from the deceased members of the Society for Psychical Research (Henry Sidgwick, F.W.H. Myers, E. Gurney, S. H. Butcher, A. W. Verrall, William James) and addressed to Oliver Lodge and Gerald Balfour (the author). The book does not discuss the question of survival at all but accepts for the nonce the ‘communications’ at their face value—i.e. as actually coming from the (late) individuals that they claim to come from—and then, with this assumption, proceeds to discuss how the messages were transmitted and the actual contents of the messages—but the contents of the messages are themselves actually a discussion of how they were transmitted. Anyway, I found the book of remarkable interest from several points of view; and I thought that you might like to see it. I know that some people find such books (i.e. on mediumistic communications) extremely distasteful, and I shall not press it upon you. In any case it is not to be regarded as an attempt to ‘prove re-birth’ to you (re-birth, anyway, cannot be proved as one ‘proves Pythagoras’; whether one accepts—or rejects, as the case may be—the account of some event as ‘evidence’ for re-birth depends upon one’s temperament and one’s presuppositions): I merely remark that since, as you know, I accept re-birth as a matter of course, I found no antecedent obstacle opposing my taking part (by way of marginal comments) in the Myers-Gurney-Balfour controversy about the divisibility of the self. But, whether you read the book or not, would it be too much if I were to ask you if you could possibly get the book bound for me? I think it is worth preserving, and it will not last long with only paper cover.” (CtP, p.475)

Dr. M. John Stella passes away.

Posted: November 30, 2014 by pathpress in News

John StellaWe regret to inform that our friend and member of Path Press, Dr John Stella, passed away on 28th November 2014 in Gainesville, Florida USA, after suffering a massive stroke.

John Stella received an M.A. in English language and literature from Oxford University, a Diploma della Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana from Universita per Stranieri in Perugia, Italy and a Ph.D. from the University of Western Australia. He was an Editorial Advisor for Mots Pluriels, an international journal of contemporary cultural, political, and ethical issues. He has also written extensively on the Dhamma and Western literature, contributing articles to diverse publications such as the Washington Buddhist, Forum Italicum, Rivista di Studi Italiani and the Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities.

His essay, “One, no one and One Hundred Thousand” was published as the final chapter of Reflections of the Dharma, edited by Dr. Sunthorn Plamitr (Chicago, 1990). Dr Stella’s book Self and Self-Compromise in the Narratives of Pirandello and Moravia (Peter Lang, 2000) incorporates Ven. Ñāṇavira’s approach to the Suttas to offer, additionally, a revolutionary interpretation of Pirandello & Moravia – two of the most significant authors of the twentieth century. John was also Research Associate of the School of European Languages, University of Western Australia, and a lecturer in Western Classics in the USA.

John contributed a Foreword & Introduction to two volumes of the Buddhist Cultural Centre’s edition of Ven. Ñāṇavira’s Clearing the Path, an Introduction “Scratching the Itch” for Ven. Bodhesako’s Beginnings, Collected Essays (BPS, 2008), and an essay “The Mind in Progress” as a chapter for Ven. Hiriko Ñāṇasuci’s book The Hermit of Bundala (PPP, 2014). He was an Editorial Advisor for Path Press and an editor of Ven. Bodhesako’s books.

On 30th September John suffered a massive stroke from which he never recovered. Our thoughts are with his brother Fred and his family, and John’s girlfriend.

John will be greatly missed by many friends and all of us who worked with him at Path Press. He will be remembered as someone who had a great interest in Dhamma and developing the right-view, which he shared in his very interesting and engaging writings. We are very grateful for all that he has done.

May the merit of John’s life and work bring him good fortune in his new abiding.

Path Press Committee

Some of John Stella’s essays:

Scratching the Itch – text
Review of ‘Notes on Dhamma’ – text
Review of Ven. Ñānavīra’ Letters after 1960 – text
More essays can also be found here.


Image  —  Posted: October 6, 2014 by pathpress in News

Notes on Meditation

Posted: July 30, 2014 by pathpress in Bhikkhu's Notebook, Dhamma Article

pdf-downloadby Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli


1. Mindfulness of breathing, bhikkhus, developed and repeatedly practised, is of great fruit, of great benefit; mindfulness of breathing, bhikkhus, developed and repeatedly practised, perfects the four foundations of mindfulness; the four foundations of mindfulness, developed and repeatedly practised, perfect the seven enlightenment factors; the seven enlightenment factors, developed and repeatedly practised, perfect knowledge and freedom…

2. Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

3. Breathing in long, he knows, ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, he knows, ‘I breathe out long.’

4. Breathing in short, he knows, ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, he knows, ‘I breathe out short.’

5. ‘Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,’ he trains himself thus; ‘experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,’ he trains himself thus.

6. ‘Calming the bodily determination, I shall breathe in,’ he trains himself thus; ‘calming the bodily determination, I shall breathe out,’ he trains himself thus…

Ānāpānasati Sutta, MN 118.

1. The practice of ānāpānasati or mindfulness of breathing represents a phenomenological exercise in developing the principle of simultaneity (akālikā dhamma). This is accomplished by the sufficient establishing of mindfulness and knowledge of what one is supposed to do and discern.1 It is an exercise because it requires one actively engaging in and being aware of the act of breathing, and it develops the principle of simultaneity because while one is actively breathing, one is aware of one’s actions (body, feelings, and thoughts). These are two different, simultaneously present things: the physical or bodily act of breathing, and the mental reflexive thoughts of one doing that very act. One is not supposed to be favoured on account of the other; a person should not be overdoing the breathing (i.e. turning it into a forceful breathing exercise) nor should he be underdoing it (i.e. forgetting about the act of breathing that is being performed, and letting it happen unawares). In the same sense one should not overthink one’s thinking (i.e. get lost in thought). The point is to mindfully breathe while remain fully aware of oneself-mindfully-breathing, or – to put it simply – to remain aware of the present phenomenon of “I am breathing.Read the rest of this entry »


Essays and Letters on Dhamma

Limited Edition in hardback


Order a book (only on Path Press Publications website)

Read the book

Download the book (PDF)


Doubt always remains present and it continuously needs fixing. But how to realize the ideal meaning, if not by following what others have done and by fulfilling commonly-accepted techniques and views? What is the real meaning of existence and suffering?

Meanings is not a book to give direct answers to such questions. There is nothing here that you can take up as a belief, an empty speculation or a theory. The author, Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli, refrains from explaining Dhamma, an act which he regards as mere psychological investigation and linearly-connected facts. Here is no intent to set up a fixed theory. What the author does do is describe the nature of experience as it is: not about this or that problem or fact in the world, but the experience as such—Dhamma, which has to be investigated with proper attention e.g. seeing the present simultaneous relationship of an arisen thing and its determination. With proper attention, the being of things is gradually revealed—and not understanding the nature of this being, the author says, is the fundamental ignorance. He then describes nothing but the nature, the dhamma, of things—not by looking for the meaning, but understanding meanings.NyanaPPP

Essays’, the first part of the book, contains just that: descriptions of the experience. This is no doubt difficult material to digest: it demands that the reader recognize those described things in his own experience. Without developed mindfulness and right attention, these writings will be impossible to grasp.

The second part of the book, the ‘Correspondence with Mathias’, provides useful support in understanding the essays. This private correspondence has been taking place with a German friend, Mathias, since 2009.

The third part, ‘Additional Texts’, contains questions posted on by people who wanted to understand the essays and sought clarification, with answers by Ven. Ñāṇamoli. (From the Preface)

A review of “The Hermit of Bundala”

Posted: June 11, 2014 by pathpress in Review

From: The Island, May 10, 2014, 6:14 pm

by Thusitha Jayawardena

“Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching.”

HoBfinalOne day in 1948, almost a decade before the flower children’s exodus to the East, two Englishmen—one, twenty eight, in the prime of life, and the other, fifteen years his senior—arrived in Ceylon. They proceeded to Vajirarama, a Buddhist temple in the capital, Colombo, where they received the novice ordination and, eventually, the full ordination as Buddhist monks. The Hermit of Bundala (THB) by Bhikkhu Hiriko Nanasuci is the story of one of them—Harold Edward Musson. The book traces Musson’s unusual life through numerous interviews and Musson’s and the other Englishman, Osbert Moor’s, correspondence with their relatives, friends and fellow seekers of the Path. It is an engaging narrative of Musson’s extraordinary life: A childhood spent in an upper class English family, Cambridge days followed by a stint in an army intelligence unit during the Second World War, a decadent post-war interlude, a Herculean effort to understand and follow the Buddha’s teaching, and his last days in a secluded kuti in the remote village of Bundala in the jungles of southern Ceylon. Had that stark contrast of Musson’s beginning and end been the main story, The Hermit of Bundala would remain a book about an eccentric Englishman. It is much more. THB is the story of Nanavira Thera—as Musson was known post-ordination—and his single-minded quest to follow the Buddha’s teaching. Read the rest of this entry »

Books for Free Distribution… An Invitation

Posted: February 26, 2014 by pathpress in News

In order to make available books published by Path Press Publications to people who, though interested in their contents, do not have the opportunity to access them, Path Press Publications has begun a project of free distribution of its titles to a small number of monasteries, libraries and individuals (monastics who, of necessity, haven’t the means to purchase them). The expectation is that in doing so these books are likely to find readers who will both appreciate their value, and benefit, perhaps profoundly, from an encounter with them.

Funds, however, in support of this project are limited. As those familiar with them are aware, these books are not intended for the casual reader, and cannot really be considered ‘commercially viable’ in the conventional sense. Hence their sales do not generate significant revenue—all of which is used entirely for the printing of more books as well as in the preparation of new titles. (Path Press Publications is a strictly nonprofit enterprise, administered through the efforts of volunteers, with no financial compensation paid to any of its officers or associates.)

Because of these financial constraints funding of this important project must rely on the support of interested donors, and Path Press invites those who appreciate the usefulness of these books, and are inclined to do so, to contribute at whatever level is comfortable. Simply add a note when offering a donation requesting that the sum be used to sponsor the free distribution of books. Your help will be gratefully received, and every effort will be made to ensure that books are sent where they are most likely to be put to good use.

If you would like to make donation, please click here:

Path Press Committee

Appearance and Existence

Posted: February 24, 2014 by pathpress in Bhikkhu's Notebook, Dhamma Article

by Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli

pdf-downloadFor a puthujjana the world exists. He can perceive things in that world, see them appear and disappear, he can see them changing. A puthujjana can also affect his surroundings and modify things according to own preferences, pursue the desirable experiences and avoid the undesirable ones—the puthujjana is involved. This ‘involvement’ with things represents the very core of the puthujjana‘s ‘experience as a whole’. Most people spend the majority of their lives obliviously absorbed in it, taking the course of ‘involvement’ for granted.[1]

Read the rest of this entry »