Bodhi Tree Returns

Welcome! We’re delighted to share with you the good news that the Bodhi Tree bookstore is returning.

Bodhi Tree Returns

Welcome! We’re delighted to share with you the good news that the Bodhi Tree bookstore is returning.

Bodhi Tree leaf

Here on this page you’ll find discoveries about what the future holds for all of us.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1970, the Bodhi Tree is a beloved metaphysical bookstore for spiritual seekers worldwide. Since our original Melrose location closed, we’re delighted to inform you that new and exciting chapter is beginning.

In just a few months, we will open a beautiful online store with all the informative and inspiring book titles you love—new and antiquarian, plus a hand-selected, consciously-created artisan line of sacred home & ceremonial products.

Also, we’ve had many requests about a new storefront, and we’re happy to announce that a new store will open in Los Angeles once a new location has been found, as well as possible other locations internationally.

The truth is... we’re not only returning, we’re expanding to include:

  • Books 30,000 titles to expand your consciousness from classics to new discoveries in all the categories that made us your favorite bookstore for over 40 years including e-books, rare and perennial titles).
  • Artisan Goods Ceremony, sanctuary and sensuality meet and blend in our exquisite hand-selected bouquet of products in natural materials from some of the world’s most inspired artists. Find jewelry, home décor, apothecary, stationery, textiles, one-of-a kind & vintage products, exclusives, and much more.
  • Oracles Your life holds a wealth of opportunity and possibility. Receive guidance from a large selection of acclaimed readers and therapists in every category from astrology, tarot, palmistry, intuitive arts, past life regression, aromatherapy, animal totems, medical intuitives, and in depth healing modalities.
  • Bodhi Tree Online Education Take courses from top thought leaders in a multitude of topics including conscious parenting, finding your purpose, meditation, yoga, relationships, green living, emotional intelligence, spiritual business, leadership and so much more.
  • Bodhi Tree Journal Consider this your wellspring to fill yourself up with articles and videos of inspiration, love, wonder, beauty, and the practical tools that will support your spiritual journey in a very real way.
  • Archives & Bodhi Talks Many of the world’s best-known authors, musicians, artists, visionaries, and wisdom teachers spoke at our iconic, original store and Annex on Melrose Avenue (Perhaps you were there?) Over the years, we recorded hundreds of these unique events and those talks, are being digitally mastered and transcribed to share with you. We also have thousands of books reviews, interviews and articles originally published in the Bodhi Tree Book Review Journal. These gems will be made available in our journal, magazine and archive offerings.
  • Bodhi Tree TV & Radio Bodhi Tree will be live-streaming events and producing video and audio programs on a regular basis. Watch your inbox for more specific news to come on our YouTube channel and across the web.

About You, Our Community

Community in joy
Photo courtesy of wanderlust.com

We are proud to be an open brand, dedicated to conscious sourcing and sustainable e-commerce.

What that means is we’re everything we are because of our relationship with you.

We plan to bring you the very best goods and services in the world, hand-curated for your interests in personal development, spirituality, sanctuary, ceremony, sensuality and metaphysics.

What that means is we openly invite you to share with us what you love about us, what you want more of, and if you have any suggestions... Our team is standing by, eager to hear from you.

Would you like to share with us how you discovered the Bodhi Tree? Do you have a suggestion of a book or product we should carry? How about a story from a time you came to the old store? Use the hashtag #BodhiTreeLove to share your story with us.

A Page from Our History

Original Bodhi Tree bookstore 1970sIn July 1970 the Bodhi Tree Bookstore began life in a quiet neighborhood on Melrose Avenue offering a wide range of metaphysical and religious titles.

Our name comes from the "tree of enlightenment" where the Buddha sat in meditation until he achieved the state of grace that awakened him.

Buddha under TreeThis was at a time of sweeping challenges to society brought about by the Beat Generation, the Vietnam war, political assassinations, psychedelics, an innovative dynamic West-coast folk-rock music, flower children, hippies, and the Beatles.

Along with these happenings, a spiritual community emerged which talked about a new, wonderful, fresh way to live infused by the “Wisdom of the Ages” or the “Perennial Philosophy” and one that could transform everything into beauty, light and love.

This clarion call spoke to something within the minds of the founders Stan Madson and Phil Thompson so they dropped out of the Aerospace Engineering community and inaugurated the Bodhi Tree Bookstore. In those days, spiritual books were not readily available and their destiny was to gather them together and make them accessible to all.

Old Bodhi Tree bookstore interiorIt was the right time and place and the Bodhi Tree Bookstore became a Mecca for all things spiritual. There was the sense that the wisdom contained in the books stocked by the store could transform not only oneself and the community but the entire society as well. Governments would mature and the entire cosmos would be different.

The Bodhi Tree Bookstore grew into a flourishing landmark with its roots strongly grounded in the spiritual community. It is a way station for eclectic spirits -- for people interested in bridging the insights drawn from Eastern and Western religious and mystical literature.

Bodhi Tree bookstore interior 1970sInside, the store was a series of small, intimate rooms with wooden bookcases, and chairs for relaxed browsing. Lining the walls were pictures of authors, seers, sages, senseis, prophets, gurus, imams and rabbis benignly blessing all who pass within. Among the soothing sounds one could hears are the tinkling of chimes, the subtle strains of classical and world music mixed with the buzz of seeker’s conversations.

There were pots of free herbal teas on a table in the center of the store and a container of free “mystery” incense on the front counter. Many people have commented that the nature of the material found at The Bodhi Tree Bookstore and the sense of the physical space had helped them open into consciousness and find their place in the cosmos. For many, it was a restful sanctuary from the outside world.

Our Speakers & Teachers

Bodhi Tree Annex 1970s
The Bodhi Tree Annex in the 1970s

The Bodhi Tree Bookstore offered almost daily events or workshops in the Annex building. It was a large, comfortable room that seated approximately 65 people.

Some of the notable authors who have made presentations at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore are Robert Aiken, Lynn Andrews, Peter Bogdanovich, Gregg Braden, Joan Borysenko, Sylvia Browne, Julia Cameron, Frijof Capra, Deepak Chopra, Sonia Choquette, Andrew Cohen, David Deida, Dr. Masaru Emoto, Georg Feurstein, Shakti Gawain, Amit Goswami PhD, Graham Hancock, Dr. Jean Houston, Laura Huxley, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Stephen Levine, Bruce Lipton, Terence McKenna, Drunvalo Melchizedek, Franz Metcalf, Deena Metzger, Dan Millman, Thomas Moore, Caroline Myss, Thich Nhat Hanh, Christiane Northrup, Judith Orloff, Gary Quinn, James Redfield, Rachel Remen MD, Don Miguel Ruiz, Sharon Salzberg, Leonard Shlain, Huston Smith, Lama Surya Das, Starhawk, Robert A. F. Thurman, Linda Noble Topf, Eckhart Tolle, James Van Praag, Alberto Villoldo PhD, Doreen Virtue PhD, Brian Weiss MD, Hank Wesselman, Marianne Williamson.

Be sure to watch for our archival Bodhi Talks that bring back the best of these lectures for your enjoyment.

On the Map!

On a lazy Sunday afternoon in 1983, actress Shirley MacLaine wandered into the Bodhi Tree Bookstore and embarked on a journey that changed her life, the life of the bookstore and the spiritual life of mainstream America.

Out on a Limb by Shirley Maclaine book coverShe described her first and subsequent visits to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in her book "Out on a Limb", in which she revealed her study and exploration of reincarnation, trance channeling and other metaphysical matters. From the publication of that book, and the television series that followed, spirituality went mainstream and the Bodhi Tree Bookstore became widely known.

Starting in the mid 1980s, new books on spirituality were pouring off the presses as every publisher strove to address the emerging interest in consciousness. The Bodhi Tree Bookstore by 2009 had a vast inventory of some 30,000 titles and a wide assortment of spiritual paraphernalia including everything and anything that could possibly be useful to a person who had embarked – or was about to embark—on the gestalt path to self-knowledge.

Part of the special flavor of the Bodhi Tree Bookstore was its thoughtful and helpful staff. In these times of a rapidly changing book selling environment with its ever expanding superstores and online commerce, the Bodhi Tree Bookstore remained committed to helping individuals and the community come to an understanding of themselves and their relationship to all that is outside of themselves, and to participate in the process of self and social development.

The End of an Era is a New Beginning

The Bodhi Tree Bookstore was successful in informing and spreading the word about the personal value of spiritual transformation. The popularity of the movement opened many avenues of access.

No longer was the spiritual material only available in local specialty bookstores. Internet stores like Amazon and large bookstore chains such as Barnes and Noble began to carry spiritual books.

When the city of Los Angeles decided to make parking on the streets around the Bodhi Tree off now-popular Melrose Avenue by permit only, it became challenging for customers to visit the little bookshop everyone loved. With all this in consideration, and after some 40 years in business, co-owners Phil Thompson and Stan Madson decided to retire.

Hands crossed in prayerOver 2000 people came the last day our doors were open on Melrose Avenue to express how much the store had helped them, transformed their lives, and perhaps even saved their lives. One woman told how she met her husband at the store when they found themselves both reaching for the same book. Several people talked about being brought to the store by their parents when they were children.

Our beautiful new beginning began when a visionary new owner for the business emerged with the experience, energy and resources to continue the Bodhi Tree brand with the intent to open new doors to the world online, as well as bring back the beautiful spiritual store front sanctuary the Bodhi Tree has been to so many for so long.

What Happened to Phil and Stan?

Stan and Phil of The Bodhi Tree
Photo by Jennie Warren for laweekly.com

We know this question has been on everyone’s minds, and in the hearts of all our Bodhi Tree customers. We’re delighted to share with you that the Bodhi Tree founders, Phil and Stan, have stayed on board with us as advisors. We realize the bliss of their retirement wouldn’t be the same without one foot in the Bodhi Tree, so we regularly consult with them.

Stan Madson’s popular Bodhi Tree Reader and book reviews will again be made available to the public, and he is currently curating the best of his reviews for a new book. We will share it with you as soon as it’s available.

You may also see them at some of our local Los Angeles events in the coming year. Be sure to show them some love, and say hello if you do.

Do you have comments, suggestions, or stories to share? Please email Hello@BodhiTree.com.

Use the hashtag #BodhiTreeLove to share your love for the Bodhi Tree.

To celebrate our return, we have gifts for you!

Learn More