Your Sutta Practice Begins

Every one of us can develop a deep and personal relationship with the teachings of the Supremely Enlightened Buddha as found in the suttas of the Pali Canon, taught in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. On this site you will find a method for developing a daily practice with the suttas themselves, strengthened by  various techniques of deep engagement such as creating a personal anthology.

The instructions here will be more like basic meditation instructions, not telling you what you are going to discover, but instead give you the nuts and bolts of setting up a daily practice. Then you do your own work.

First you will need to select a book of sutta to read. This can be one of the traditional collections of suttas or an anthology of suttas around a particular topic. You can decide on a book based on how much you already know about the teachings of the Buddha as well as how much time you have to read each day. Then you select a time to do your reading practice.

Our time with the suttas each day is personal and reflective. We focus our attention on whatever we understand and try to put that into practice, illuminating our lives with the Blessed One’s teaching. In this way it is more engaged than traditional, academic oriented sutta study. The idea is to study our own defilements in the light of the Dhamma. We take each sutta alone as it is receiving it as a personal gift from our fully enlightened teacher.

When we complete our first book of suttas, we can repeat the process with the very same book. In this way we will be able to deepen our understanding and memory of the teachings as well as check to see how well we have applied them to our lives. After reading our first book a second time, we can choose a different book to work through day by day. In this slow but deliberate way we will become intimately aware of the teachings of the Buddha as they have been so well preserved in the Pali suttas.

Think of this as developing a habit, not starting a project. Our direct relationship with the teachings of the Buddha needs to be perpetually nurtured on a daily basis.

The home page has links to all of the major articles and reading them one by one is a good way to get familiar with the method. You may want to start with Sutta Practice Basics.

To get e-mail updates of new articles on this site, sign up in the box on the right. There usually aren’t more than two e-mails per month.

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