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Make a Sutta Reading Practice Plan

Sutta Reading PlanBy writing down our intentions to engage daily with the words of the Buddha, we increase our chances of success. And when we anticipate what obstacles we might face and strategize ways to overcome them, we can move forward with confidence.

Here are some things to consider when completing your form. Some of them may seem rather mundane and even against the spirit of sutta reading. Remember, If you are able to consistently engage with the teachings on a long-term basis without using any of these tips and tricks, wonderful! But most of us have difficulties along the way. Only apply the techniques that seem helpful after you try them out.

* verses; ** chapters
Pages Suttas
DN 435 34
MN (1029) 152
SN 1512
AN 1439
Khp 9
Dhp 26 **
Ud (98) 80
Itv (76) 112
Snp (127) 71
Vv 134 85
Pv 77 51
Thag 121 1288 *
Thig 64 524 *

Expected End date: Knowing that there is a specific date that we will be finished with the plan if we stay on track can keep us motivated to continue. If you are choosing to read a chapter a day or a certian number of pages per day or a chapter a day, then figuring out when you might finish is easy.

If your plan is to read a certian number of pages per day, simply use the table to the right and  dividede the total number of pages by  how many you will read each day. Then you can use the calculator on TimeAndDate.com to figure out when you will finish. For example, if you are going to read 10 pages of the Samyutta Nikaya each day, take 1512/10=151.2. Then use the calculator to figure out that if you start on June 25th you will finish around November 23rd. If you want to make a more complex calculation, say skipping weekends, use their business day calculator. If you are planning on reading for a fixed amount of time, keep track of how many pages you read for the first 10 days to figure out an approximate reading rate. Then work through the calculations.

Remember, these are just estimates. But here’s how it helps… A book like the Samyutta Nikaya can seem overwhelming. But the fact is, if you just read 10 pages per day, you will finish it in 151 days.

In the chart, numbers that are in brackets are less suitable for a reading plan. For example,  it is preferable to read the Udana and the Itivuttaka sutta by sutta because they are so short. Where a number is missing, it really doesn’t make sense to plan that way.

1.–2. Book, amount to read: Use the various articles on this site to choose a text—

3.–4. When to read and what to connect it to. If you can’t be 100% sure when you will do your reading, write down when you hope to read and when you will read if you miss that time. It’s also good if you can conect your reading to something else you are sure to do every day.

5. Choose a backup text. Deciding in advance what book to read if you are not able to work with your main text will ensure you always read at least some words of the Buddha

6. Expected problems. Think about all the things that may stand in the way of your reading. They could be practical things like an erratic schedule or purely internal things like doubt. You can also add to this list as you work with your text.

7. Ideas to overcome problems. Think up at least one way to deal with each problem. Some of these solutions may directly influence your plan. For example if you have a very erratic schedule, you may decide to do your reading before you get dressed each day to make sure that it always happens. Or you may decide to use the Don’t Break the Chain method, posting your calendar in a very visible place. If doubt is an issue, you could make a list of all the ways the Buddha’s teachings have helped you in the past and read through that list each day before reading. You should add to this section as problems occur. Write in the format “If X happens I will do Y.”

8. When you finish the text. It may seem like putting the horse before the cart, but knowing what you will do when you finish your book can improve your reading attitude and make sure that when you are done you don’t stop practicing.

After you complete the form, you will want to keep it visible. Post it on your wall or sit it next to where you plan on doing your reading each day. And don’t be afraid to re-evaluate it if things go off track. it is important to actually print out the form and complete it by hand in pencil so you can make adjustments. For example, if you aren’t able to read as many pages a day as you thought, then definitely recalculate! You may want to read the articles about the five P’s of sutta reading practice. Remember, Perfection is not one of them.

So, get started by clicking the download button at the top of this article.

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Bring the suttas alive by reading aloud

Buddhist scripture have been recited out loud since the time of the Buddha. In fact, without this recitation, usually as a group, we wouldn’t have the suttas with us today.

Eventhough we don’t need to recite out loud to preserve the teachings for future generations, it is still a great practice.

Reading out loud has many benifits:

  • If we are tired, reading out loud can help us wake up
  • If the mind is really distracted, it can help calm and focus the mind.

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 

And join us on Facebook…

Check us out now on Facebook: facebook.com/readingfaithfully/

And a Facebook Group: Faithful Readers

 

 

 

 

 

New Facebook Page and an Effective Technique to Keep Your Reading Daily

Stay connected to ReadingFaithfully.org through Facebook. And stay connected to your reading with the Don’t Break the Chain technique.

New Facebook Page:

Happy to announce that ReadingFaithfully.org now has its own Facebook page. This will be a place to get the latest information about new material on Readingfaithfully.org as well as Real Buddha Quotes.

There is also a Facebook group called Faithful Readers. This is a place where you can discuss your sutta reading practice and get and give encouragement.

If you aren’t already on Facebook, then by all means don’t start!. But if you are, why don’t you consider unfollowing people and groups and pages you don’t care about to cut down on distractions. If you want to be sure to always see the latest on our page, then under the follow button, be sure to select the option to “see posts from this page first.”

Keeping your daily practice daily

In 2011 we shared a technique called Don’t Break the Chain to help us keep our determination to read at least a few words of the Buddha’s Dhamma teachings each day. It is so easy to get distracted with life and put off our reading. And if we are doing our reading on a digital device, then we don’t even have the reminder of a physical book to bring us back to our practice. So check out this article to learn a simple technique to keep us on track.

Read the Article: Motivate with Links of Dhamma

 

 

A Personal Anthology Could Take your Sutta Reading Practice to the Next Level

If you’ve been reading suttas on a regular basis, then you know how they can speak to you personally. But we may not always be able to find the passages that speak to us directly when we really need to work with them. That’s why we should create a Personal Anthology. Then we know right where to go. It’s easy and you can start experiencing the benefits right away.

Have you already started making a Personal Anthology but it doesn’t seem to be helpful? Or making it seems stressful? Well check out these tips for overcoming common problems.

Don’t have a regular sutta reading practice yet? Well it’s time to begin!

Have you been using a Personal Anthology? Share your experience in the comments. Never commented on a blog before? Now’s your chance. Your comment could help inspire someone. You can leave your comment anonymously.

  Articles:

 

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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Start thinking about your summer Sutta reading practice

Think about taking your reading practice outside for a change.

For those in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to start thinking about your summer plans for sutta reading practice. To kick things off:

There are some exciting new e-books available from ReadingFaithfully.org:

And be sure to check out the new version of SuttaCentral.net. It now has the complete translation of the first four nikayas by Bhante Sujato.

Overview of Translators of Pali Buddhist Scriptures

We are very fortunate to be living in a time when the entire Sutta Pitaka has been translated into clear modern English. As a beginner, one should not be overly hung up on choosing the “best” translation. All of the translators on this page have created texts that you can read with confidence. They are all slightly different, as you will read in the comments below. And as you read and learn, you may develop preferences of one over another. You may even be motivated one day to learn the Pali language. But in the mean time, you can start by choosing any of these translations and not worrying that you are going to be misinformed.

Honestly, the best translation to start with is the one you have. You may want to look at the article on choosing a text by your experience level or by the time you have available to practice.

With a few exceptions, this list is restricted to complete translations that are available in print or as a pdf that can be printed.

Bhikkhu Bodhi

Translations by Bhante Bodhi are very faithful to the original Pali and are usually in line with what have come to be standard  translations of technical terms. His English is fluent if a bit formal. The new reader can benefit from copious footnotes and introductions. (Note: Bhikkhu Bodhi is the editor of The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha found under Nyanamoli Bhikkhu) (available from Wisdom Publications)

  • The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Saṁyutta Nikāya
  • The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Aṅguttara Nikāya
  • The Suttanipata: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries
  • In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
  • The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon

Ajahn Thanissaro

The majority of Ajahn Thanissaro’s translations are of the first four nikayas, but none of the nikayas are complete. His anthologies are found in a (now) four volume set titled Handful of Leaves. Although incomplete, for a beginner they contain more than enough to get a solid grounding. He is well known for novel translations of key technical terms, most famously “stress” as a translation of dukkha. If you are a big fan of his voluminous writings and translations of modern Thai teachers, then his sutta translations will be a good fit. He also has five complete translations from the Khuddaka Nikaya. As well, he has many anthologies based on important topics. (Available in print from Metta Forest Monastery and download online.)

  • Handful of Leaves, anthology from Digha, Majjhima, Samyutta, and Anguttara Nikayas
  • Khuddakapatha: Short Passages
  • The Dhammapada
  • Udana: Exclamations
  • Itivuttaka: This was said by the Buddha
  • Sutta Nipata: The Discourse Group
  • Numerous anthologies on important Dhamma concepts

Bhikkhu Sujato

Published in 2018, this is the first time that the first four nikayas have been translated and published simultaneously by a single author. From the translator: “My goal was to make a translation that was freely available, accurate, and consistent. In doing so, I wanted to make it more readable and approachable than former translations.” There was also an attempt to use gender neutral language whenever possible. When read on-line it is possible to see the original Pali along with the English. (Available for download from SuttaCentral.net. Print publication of the nikayas is pending. Unofficial ebook of the Dīgha Nikāya and Majjhima Nikāya available here. More are coming soon. Theragatha available in paperback and hardback from lulu and as an ebook here.)

  • Long Discourses (Dīgha Nikāya)
  • Middle Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya)
  • Linked Discourses (Saṁyutta Nikāya)
  • Numbered Discourses (Aṅguttara Nikāya)
  • Verses of the Senior Monks (Theragāthā)

Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli

The translation Majjhima Nikaya shares many of the qualities of the later works written by the editor, Bhikkhu Bodhi. The language is lucid and slightly formal. The Life of the Buddha translation is distinctive in its drastic reduction of repetitions which may be useful temporarily for beginners. (The Majjhima Nikaya is available from Wisdom Publications; Life of the Buddha is available from the Buddhist Publication Society.)

  • The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: a Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya
  • The Life of the Buddha, According to the Pali Canon

Maurice O’C. Walshe

This is currently the only complete translation of the Digha Nikaya easily available to purchase in print. It is one of the older modern translations. The only shortcoming is found in the footnotes where the author shares more of his own ideas and biases than necessary. But this does not really affect the translation. (available from Wisdom Publications)

  • The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya

Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero

The translations published by Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery attempt to use as simple and modern language as possible. As such they are well suited to non-native English speakers and those without a background in Buddhism. (Available at their monasteries or Amazon.com)

  • Dhammapada: What Does the Buddha Really Teach
  • This Was Said by the Buddha: The Itivuttaka
  • Stories of Heavenly Mansions from the Vimanavatthu
  • Stories of Ghosts from the Petavatthu
  • The Voice of Enlightened Monks: The Thera Gatha
  • The Voice Of Enlightened Nuns

KR Norman

KR Norman is the only translator in this list who works professionally as a Pali scholar. While his translations are not completely literal, they are as close as possible while still being very readable. He refrains from any innovation in terminology. For these reasons, his translations are great especially for Pali students. (Available from the Pali Text Society)

  • Word of the Doctrine (Dhammapada)
  • The Rhinoceros Horn and Other Early Buddhist Poems (Sutta Nipāta)
  • Poems of Early Buddhist Monks (Theragāthā)
  • Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns (Therīgāthā)

John D. Ireland

These two translations, published as a single volume, benefited greatly by the editorial work of Bhante Bodhi. They are lucid and faithful to the original Pali. (Available from the Buddhist Publication Society. This website has a free download of the Itivuttaka.)

  • The Udāna and the Itivuttaka, Two Classics from the Pali Canon

Anandajoti Bhikkhu

The translations below are just a fraction of the work done by Bhante Anandajoti, but they are the only complete works from the Sutta Pitaka. All of his translations are available in line by line Pali and English as well as English only. They are available in many digital formats including audio recording. (Available from ancient-buddhist-texts.net)

  • The Short Readings (Khuddakapāṭha, Khuddakanikāya 1)
  • Dhammapada (Dhamma Verses, KN 2)
  • Exalted Utterances – Udāna (KN 3)

Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita

Although this is Bhante Buddharakkhita’s only complete translation from the sutta pitaka, he was a prolific author of books on the suttas. This translation of the Dhammapada is both fluent, accurate, and poetic—a rare accomplishment. The newest edition is available in print from the Buddhist Publication Society. An older edition is available free on line, including here.

  • The Dhammapada

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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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Life of the Buddha According to the Pali Canon – Free PDF

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.
  • 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
  • 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:
https://store.pariyatti.org/Life-of-the-Buddha–According-to-the-Pali-Canon–PDF-eBook_p_1412.html

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.

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