Dip into the Vinaya Pitaka with Buddhist Stories from the Khandhakas

Cover: Buddhist Stories from the KhandhakasThis week we are happy to announce the publication of a new e-book:  Buddhist Stories from the Khandhakas, Translated by I. B. Horner

By now you are familiar with the Sutta Pitaka. The other section of teachings that date back to the Buddha are found in the Vinaya Pitaka. The Pali word vinaya means dicipline. The Vinaya Pitaka has two main parts. The first is a rule-by-rule explanation of the training for monastics. They give background on how the rules were formed as well as details about how to follow them.

The second part of the Vinaya Pitaka is called the Khandhakas. This section contains not only rules but also Dhamma teachings and stories about the lives of monastics and lay people. Because some of the rules are quite long and complex, it can be hard to navigate if you are just looking for the teachings and stories. This book includes only the Dhamma teachings and the other stories.  The complete translation was done by I. B. Horner and has be released by the Pali Text Society for free distribution making this edition possible.

You may like to use this text as a dail reading. But you may find that the stories keep you reading longer than you planned. 🙂

Here are some highlights:

Chapter One: The story of the creation of the monastic order starting with the moments right after the Buddha’s enlightenment, including the first three discourses.
Chapter Four: The Buddha criticizes vows of silence.
Chapter Eight: The story of the physician Jivaka’s medical training.
Chapter Fourteen and Fifteen: The scandalous accusations against Dabba the Mallian
Chapter Sixteen: The story of Anathapindaka’s conversion
Chapter Seventeen: The going forth of the six Sakyans and Devadatta’s exploits.
Chapter Twenty-One: The story of the First Council
Chapter Twenty-Two: The scandal of the Second Council

So get your free ebook now as epub, Kindle, or PDF:  Buddhist Stories from the Khandhakas

Also this week: Realms of Rebirth

 

Causes of Rebirth

Check out the three new refrence charts explaining the different realms we can be reborn into including the causes to be reborn there as well as the average lifespans.

 

Realms of Rebirth PDF’s 

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Realms of Rebirth Taught by the Buddha

Although the Buddha never used charts as visual aids when preaching, we can sometimes benefit from seeing the teachings laid out in a table. These three charts give a perspective on the Buddha’s teachings on the realms of rebirth.

  • Basic Realms of Rebirth
  • Causes of Rebirth in the different realms
  • Lifespan in different realms of rebirth

Download A4 size PDF  Download Letter size PDF

 

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Living in the Land of the Buddha

As we read the suttas, it is important that they happened in specific places, many of which we can visit today. Below is a simple map that shows the major kingdoms and cities we learn about in the suttas. Download the pdf with two on each page and place a copy in whatever book you are working with. If you use it as a bookmark, it will encourage you to pay attention to the palaces you read about. You can make a determination to check each time you read about a place and try and find it on the map. Not every city or kingdom is listed, by you will find most of them.

Jambudipa is the name in the suttas that the Buddha used for India. It can be translated as Rose Apple (jambu) Island (dipa).

Feel free to use this map as a handout in classes. This map was originally based on one found on BuddhaNet.net. If you put this on a website, please link back to this page.

Cities and places

Click the links below to go the the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names entries

And here is a link to the Index of the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names.

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Simple Chart of the Sutta Pitaka

Learn to find your way around the Sutta Pitaka with this simple chart.

Simple chart of the Sutta Pitaka including Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, Khuddaka Nikaya

Below are some resources for helping you become familiar and more comfortable with the books of the Pali Sutta Pitaka.

Simple Chart

Download the PDF, Simple Chart of the Sutta Pitaka

This chart (as shown in the image above) lists the five main Nikayas and the first ten books of the Khuddaka Nikaya. It also includes the common translation of the title if there is one as well as the number of suttas or verses each contains. The exact numbers sometimes varies according the the original manuscript. These numbers are based on the Sri Lankan Buddha Jayanti Edition.

Simple Chart, Four to a Page

Download the PDF, Simple Chart of the Sutta Pitaka 4 Up

This is the same chart with four copies on each page. This is useful to cut up and use as a bookmark so:

  • You will see it frequently
  • You can be in the habit of checking what the abbreviations stand for
  • As you learn you will have a visual sense of where each book falls in the Canon.

It is also good to carry with you so you can memorize the names and the order.

Audio Recording of the Titles

Download the MP3 of the Sutta Pitaka titles

We need to not only be comfortable knowing what the books are and where to find them, but we should feel confident in pronouncing them as well. This is an MP3 recording of all the titles twice with a pause between each one so you can practice.

Puzzle

Download the Sutta Pitaka Puzzle

Test your knowledge by using this puzzle. See how quickly you can assemble the canon. The pieces can also be folded in half and used as small flash cards, or cut appart the Pali and English names for an extra challenge.

Have you memorized the list of the books in the Sutta Pitaka by heart? How has it helped you to feel comfortable and confident when approaching the teachings? Leave you comments below.

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Building a Sutta Library

Because there is no single vloume that contains all of the ancient Pali scriptures,  it can be a little confusing trying to complete your collection. It can also be difficult to decide which translations are best and whether or not the book is a complete translation or just an an thology.

Below is a link to a two-page PDF that gives book recommendations and sources for building a near complete library of the teachings of the Buddha found in the suttas. It is intended to be a resource for people beginning to explore the suttas as well as people who are tasked with creating an actual sutta library for an organization. It is also very useful for Buddhist families where the parents want their children to grow up in a home that has all of the Blessed One’s teaching.

Building A Sutta Library PDF

The following is the main text of the PDF above:

Use this list to build a basic collection of the discourses of Gotama Buddha that is very accurate and written in clear English. The following is a good foundation for a sutta library; other translations may be obtained later as interest grows. For other reliable translations, visit the Canonical Collections for Practice page at ReadingFaithfully.org. Paperback editions are listed when available. See the second page for useful anthologies and book sources. Those books marked with a * can be given priority for people just starting to read the suttas.

Canonical Collections

These are books of suttas grouped in the ancient categories. Unless otherwise indicated, they are complete translations.

  • The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya, by Maurice Walsh (Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 978-0861711031)
  • * The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 978-0861710720)
  • The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Saṁyutta Nikāya, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 978-0861713318)The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Anguttara Nikaya, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 978-1614290407)
  • * The Dhammapada: The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom, by Acharya Buddharakkhita (BPS, BP203S)
  • * The Udāna and the Itivuttaka: Two Classics from the Pali Canon, by John D. Ireland (BPS, BP214S)
  • The Suttanipāta: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries, by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 9781614294290)
  • Stories of Heavenly Mansions (Vimānavatthu) and Stories of Ghosts (Petavatthu), by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thera. Complete translations in simple, modern language. (Mahamegha Publications, available on Amazon.com)
  • The Voice of Enlightened Monks (Theragāthā), by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda (Mahamegha Publications, available on Amazon.com). For a more literal translation, try Poems of Early Buddhist Monks (Theragāthā), by K. R. Norman (PTS, paperback ISBN 0 86013 339 7)
  • The Voice of Enlightened Nuns (Therīgāthā), by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda (Mahamegha Publications, available on Amazon.com) Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns (Therīgāthā), by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids and K. R. Norman (PTS, paperback ISBN 0 86013 289 7)
  • Jataka Tales of the Buddha: An Anthology (three volume set) by Ken and Visakha Kawasaki (BPS, BP 622S / BP 623S / BP 624S) This is a collection of the commentarial stories with the verses included in the prose narration. It is a selection of the most important stories.

Sutta Anthologies

These are book that contain selections of suttas based on a particular topic. Anthologies are an excellent way to begin reading suttas.

  • * In the Buddhas Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon, Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 978-0861714919) This is the single best starting place for beginning to read the teachings of the Buddha.
  • Handful of Leaves Volumes 1–4 (an anthology of the suttas), Dhammapada, Itivuttaka, Merit, Into the Stream, A Mediators Tools, Beyond Coping, A Burden Off the Mind, Mindful of the Body, Recognizing the Dhamma. All translated by Ajahn Ṭhanissaro (Metta Forest Monastery, free)
  • The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon, by Nyanamoli Thera (BPS, BP 101S)
  • Buddha, My Refuge: Contemplation of the Buddha, by Bhikkhu Khantipalo (BPS, BP 409S)

 Reference

  • Every sutta library must have a good English dictionary readily available for looking up unfamiliar words. It should be as large as possible.
  • Concise Pali-English Dictionary, by A.P. Buddhadata Mahathera. Provides simple definitions for thousands of Pali words. Available from Pariyatti.org. (Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN: 978-81-208-0605-4, Paperback)

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How To: Tips for Writing in a Small Book

It’s great to use a small blank book for your personal anthology. They are easy to carry around and keep near by for when you need to read the teachings. It can be tricky, though, to write neatly on such a small surface. Here are some tips to make things easier.

Pencil or Pen

If you are not a professional scribe, you may make mistakes when you are copying texts into your personal anthology. To make it a more pleasant experience, consider using a soft pencil. This will give you dark letters that are easy to erase. Although the pages touch, they don’t tend to rub back and forth so the pencil won’t smudge much.

When you are writing on the left hand page, it may cause marks to transfer between the touching sides of the previous two pages, especially if you are writing in pencil. Just place a blank piece of paper between the two pages. This will keep the writing from transferring.

Big Hands, Small Book

You may find it awkward to be writing on such a small space. There are two problems. First, with a new book the left hand side is higher than the right hand side. Second, your hand and arm won’t always rest on the page you are writing because the book is small. This can be awkward. Solve this problem by placing another small book under the left hand side to even the height, and rest your hand or arm on yet another book to raise it to the page level. CD cases also work well for this, and you can change the height easily by adding or subtracting one.

This will make the process more pleasant and let you focus on the words of the Blessed One and his enlightened disciples.

Do you have tips on writing in a small book? Share them in the comments below.

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