The complete PDF version of Bhikkhu Nanamoli’s anthology Life of the Buddha According to the Pali Canon is now available as a free download from Pariyatti.org.
This anthology pieces together the biographical information about the Buddha into a continuous narrative from throughout the Pali canon. Several features make this book uniquely valuable:
- Many books about the Buddha do not make clear where the material is coming from. In this book it gives clear references to the original texts or makes clear that material comes from the ancient commentaries. If you need help lookin up the references, check out the Citation Helper.
- Texts from the Vinaya: This is one of the only easily available English sources of text from the Vinaya in print form. Most of the Vinaya is rules for the monks and nuns but there are many important parts of the Buddha’s life explained. If you are especially interested in these, you may enjoy the ebook Buddhist Stories from the Khandhakas: Selections from The Book of the Discipline.
- There are also texts that explain basic doctrinal information. In many cases repetitions are removed to make it easier for people new to reading suttas.
Be sure to read and understand the explanation of the “cast” of voices that the author uses to present the text, found on the page immediately before the first reading.
You may also want to print out a copy of the simple chart of the Sutta Pitaka to refer to until you are familiar with all of the citations.
Download from the Pariyatti.org website. Scroll down and look for the free download link. Pariyatti is an official publisher of this book (along with the Buddhist Publication Society) so this is a legitimate offer. Now, if you buy the print edition you get a free copy of an epub and mobi. Or you can buy the epub and mobi alone.
Have you read this book? Leave a comment below.