A Collection of Resources Primarily Based on Research by the Late Venerable Mahathera Madawela Punnaji [the Late Venerable Mahathera Madawela Punnaji], a World-renowned Interpreter of Original Buddhism for the Western World.


This wonderful book has been transcribed from five lectures on Buddhist philosophy by the late Venerable Mahathera Madawela Punnaji. It follows on the heels of his successful book, Letting Go of ‘Self’: Lessons in Buddhist Psychology (June 2021, Amazon). Life Examined: Lessons in Buddhist Philosophy reveals the pitfalls of an unexamined life and shows how a change in our philosophy of life can free us from suffering by:

•Exploring how human thinking evolved up to the present.

•Discovering how the Buddha’s thinking surpassed all human thinking with an extraordinary view of life.

•Learning stepwise the meaning of truth, goodness, happiness, existence, and non-existence.

•Integrating and experiencing the above philosophical analyses into your life and verifying them in your own experience.

•Living an authentic life guided by the Buddha’s philosophy with confidence.


Bhante Punnaji’s intensive, scientific research into original Buddhism produced many books, including Return to Tranquility; Ascending the Supernormal Eightfold Way; Buddha the Radical Shrink: Buddhist Psychotherapy; and Beyond the Horizon of Time – Is Reincarnation Buddhist?

In Letting Go of ‘Self,’ he teaches that the ‘self’- identity or ‘notion of self’ is indeed a tragedy because it carries with it all the miseries of life. The Buddha and his Awakened disciples let go of the ‘self’- identity, which all Buddhists attempt to do in their practice. It involves sacrificing what one cherishes most, the feeling of ‘being.’ Bhante Punnaji explains how we can turn our lives into a joyful existences by gaining freedom from the ‘notion of self.’ Those who feel their ‘self’-identity crushed or rejected struggle the most with letting go; they can be defensive and anchored to their ‘notion of self.’ Yet freedom lies only in letting go of one’s false ‘self.’

Students and seekers of all backgrounds will find this simple, logical presentation indispensable.


This book explains the “why” and “how” of Satipatthāna meditation within the framework of the Eightfold Way for anyone seeking stepwise instructions to begin practicing Satipatthāna.

Teachings and practices unique to this book:

Satipatthāna is introspection and not mindfulness. It is the result of introversion of attention (sammā sati) followed by constant observation (sampajañña) of the inner unconscious reactions to external events, memories, and imaginations.

• The two essential yet often overlooked techniques to purify the mind before beginning satipatthāna meditation.

• Breathing meditation (Ānāpānasati) is an exercise in relaxation rather than concentration; and risk of a hypnotic state by concentrating rather than relaxing the body and calming the mind.

• Emphasize relaxing the body, purifying the mind, and achieving happiness through constant awareness of inner unconscious emotional reactions.

• Daily Q & A sessions and an exclusive 30-year collection of Qs & As on Buddhism and meditation with the author.

• The Seven Steps to Awakening (satta bojjhanga) is Insight Meditation (Vipassana).


Venerable Mahathera Madawela Punnaji

The late Venerable Mahathera Madawela Punnaji was an exemplary Buddhist scholar and meditation teacher. He devoted a lifetime of research to discover the Buddha’s original teachings. He also studied western science, medicine, philosophy, psychology, and comparative religion, which enabled him to understand the Buddha’s profoundly deep wisdom. 

Dr. Mahendra Wijayasinghe

Mahendra Wijayasinghe, PhD, retired, is the publisher of the late Venerable Madawela Punnaji’s books under the Buddhism Demystified banner. Mahendra received his BSc from the University of Sri Lanka and his PhD from the University of California, Davis. He has associated closely with Bhante Punnaji for over 30 years and was the chief editor of his books from 2000. Since Bhante passed away in 2018, Mahendra has made his mission to preserve and share with the world Bhante Punnaji’s teachings through book publishing and a new website: https://www.buddhismdemystified.org/