In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Bhikkhu Bodhi, published by Wisdom Publications, 2005.
Why you should read it:
- It covers all the important Buddhist concepts
- You can see exactly what the Buddha taught, not other people’s ideas of what he taught
- These scriptures are important to all major schools of Buddhism
Many people have an interest in learning more about Buddhism. This is a book that gives the most direct path to finding out what the Buddha actually taught in his own words. This book contains 287 pages of translations of the most ancient teachings of the Buddha, preserved in the Pali language. Each individual scripture is known as a sutta.
The suttas are organized into ten chapters:
1. The Human Condition
2. The Bringer of Light
3. Approaching the Dhamma
4. The Happiness Visible in This Present Life
5. The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth
6. Deepening One’s Perspective on the World
7. The Path to Liberation
8. Mastering the Mind
9. Shining the Light of Wisdom
10. The Planes of Realization
Each one has an introduction to explain any concepts that might be unfamiliar to the reader. The organization quickly reveals that the Buddha’s teachings span a wide range of topics ranging from ordinary happiness in this life to complete liberation from all suffering.
Here are some samples from the original book. You can also see the detailed table of contents linked to freely available translations on line here.
Other Benefits of this book
- Each of the suttas has a standard citation so it is easy to find them in other translations. In fact, this book is part of a series that includes translations of the first four canonical collections of suttas.
- It contains three comprehensive indexes: subjects, people and places, and similes.
Using this book for a daily reading practice
If you want to get the deepest benifit of reading this book, it is best to read just a few of the suttas each day. This allows time for the meaning to seep into your day to day life.
About the translator
Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Theravada Buddhist monk, ordained in 1972. In addition to this book, he has published a complete translation of two of the canonical collections of suttas and edited a third. His deep Buddhist faith comes through in the precision and beauty of his translation work. He is also a popular teacher of the Buddhist suttas.
How to buy
You can buy the print edition as well as electronic edition directly from the publisher at WisdomPubs.org. If you are planning to buy the electronic edition, buy it from them because it contains all three formats (Epub, Kindle and PDF) without any DRM restrictions. The print edition is available from on-line shop and your local bookseller can order it in if they don’t carry it.
- In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon Linked to SuttaCentral.net
- Canonical Collections For Practice
- How To: Using an Anthology for Daily Practice
- The core principles of sutta reading practice