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In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon Linked to SuttaCentral.net

This is the detailed table of contents of  In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Bhikkhu Bodhi, published by Wisdom Publications, but linked to the free translations available on SuttaCentral.net. Most of the translations are by Bhikkhu Sujato. Translations from the Udana are by Ven. Anandajoti and those from the Itivuttaka are by John D. Ireland.

We highly recomment that you purchase the print copy of the original book from the publisher, Wisdom Publications. You can read a book review of why this book is so important.

You can also download a printable checklist of these suttas:

The introductions below are linked to the publisher’s website.

General Introduction

I. The Human Condition

Introduction

1. Old Age, Illness, and Death

(1) Aging and Death (SN 3.3)

(2) The Simile of the Mountain (SN 3.25)

(3) The Divine Messengers (from AN 3.35)

2. The Tribulations of Unreflective Living

(1) The Dart of Painful Feeling (SN 36.6)

(2) The Vicissitudes of Life (AN 8.6)

(3) Anxiety Due to Change (SN 22.7)

3. A World in Turmoil

(1) The Origin of Conflict (AN2. iv, 6, abridged) [AN 2.37]

(2) Why Do Beings Live in Hate? (from DN 21)

(3) The Dark Chain of Causation (from DN 15)

(4) The Roots of Violence and Oppression (from AN 3.69)

4. Without Discoverable Beginning

(1) Grass and Sticks (SN 15.1)

(2) Balls of Clay (SN 15.2)

(3) The Mountain (SN 15.5)

(4) The River Ganges (SN 15.8)

(5) Dog on a Leash (SN 22.99)

II. The Bringer of Light

Introduction

1. One Person (AN 1. xiii, 1, 5, 6) [AN1.170-186]

2. The Buddha’s Conception and Birth (MN 123, abridged)

3. The Quest for Enlightenment

(1) Seeking the Supreme State of Sublime Peace (from MN 26)

(2) The Realization of the Three True Knowledges (from MN 36)

(3) The Ancient City (SN 12.65)

4. The Decision to Teach (from MN 26)

5. The First Discourse (SN 56.11)

III. Approaching the Dhamma

Introduction

1. Not a Secret Doctrine (AN 3.129)

2. No Dogmas or Blind Belief (AN 3.65)

3. The Visible Origin and Passing Away of Suffering (SN 42.11)

4. Investigate the Teacher Himself (MN 47)

5. Steps toward the Realization of Truth (from MN 95)

IV. The Happiness Visible in This Present Life

Introduction

1. Upholding the Dhamma in Society

(1) The King of the Dhamma (AN 3.14)

(2) Worshipping the Six Directions (from DN 31 Part 1 Part 2)

2. The Family

(1) Parents and Children

(a) Respect for Parents (AN 4.63)

(b) Repaying One’s Parents (AN2. iv, 2) [AN2.33]

(2) Husbands and Wives

(a) Different Kinds of Marriages (AN 4.53)

(b) How to Be United in Future Lives (AN 4.55)

(c) Seven Kinds of Wives [AN 7.63] (AN 7.59)

3. Present Welfare, Future Welfare (AN 8.54)

4. Right Livelihood

(1) Avoiding Wrong Livelihood (AN 5.177)

(2) The Proper Use of Wealth (AN 4.61)

(3) A Family Man’s Happiness (AN 4.62)

5. The Woman of the Home (AN 8.49)

6. The Community

(1) Six Roots of Dispute (from MN 104)

(2) Six Principles of Cordiality (from MN 104)

(3) Purification Is for All Four Castes (MN 93, abridged)

(4) Seven Principles of Social Stability (from DN 16)

(5) The Wheel-Turning Monarch (from DN 26)

(6) Bringing Tranquillity to the Land (from DN 5)

V. The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth

Introduction

1. The Law of Kamma

(1) Four Kinds of Kamma (AN 4.232)

(2) Why Beings Fare as They Do after Death (MN 41)

(3) Kamma and Its Fruits (MN 135)

2. Merit. The Key to Good Fortune

(1) Meritorious Deeds (It 22)

(2) Three Bases of Merit (AN 8.36)

(3) The Best Kinds of Confidence (AN 4.34)

3. Giving

(1) If People Knew the Result of Giving (It 26)

(2) Reasons for Giving (AN 8.33)

(3) The Gift of Food (AN 4.57)

(4) A Superior Person’s Gifts (AN 5.148)

(5) Mutual Support (It 107)

(6) Rebirth on Account of Giving (AN 8.35)

4.Moral Discipline

(1) The Five Precepts (AN 8.39)

(2) The Uposatha Observance (AN 8.41)

5. Meditation

(1) The Development of Loving-Kindness (It 27)

(2) The Four Divine Abodes (from MN 99)

(3) Insight Surpasses All (AN 9.20, abridged)

VI. Deepening One’s Perspective on the World

Introduction

1. Four Wonderful Things (AN 4.128)

2. Gratification, Danger, and Escape

(1) Before My Enlightenment (AN 3.101 §§1–2) [3.103]

(2) I Set Out Seeking (AN 3.101 §3) [3.104]

(3) If There Were No Gratification (AN 3.105)

3. Properly Appraising Objects of Attachment (MN 13)

4. The Pitfalls in Sensual Pleasures

(1) Cutting Off All Affairs (from MN 54)

(2) The Fever of Sensual Pleasures (from MN 75)

5. Life Is Short and Fleeting (AN 7.70) [AN 7.74]

6. Four Summaries of the Dhamma (from MN 82)

7.The Danger in Views

(1) A Miscellany on Wrong View (AN 1. xvii, 1, 3, 7, 9) [AN1.306-308]

(2) The Blind Men and the Elephant (Ud 6.4)

(3) Held by Two Kinds of Views (It 49)

8. From the Divine Realms to the Infernal (AN 4.125)

9. The Perils of Saṃsāra

(1) The Stream of Tears (SN 15.3)

(2) The Stream of Blood (SN 15.13)

VII. The Path to Liberation

Introduction

1. Why Does One Enter the Path?

(1) The Arrow of Birth, Aging, and Death (MN 63)

(2) The Heartwood of the Spiritual Life (MN 29)

(3) The Fading Away of Lust (SN 45.41–48, combined Part 1 Part 2 Part3)

2. Analysis of the Eightfold Path (SN 45.8)

3. Good Friendship (SN 45.2)

4. The Graduated Training (MN 27)

5. The Higher Stages of Training with Similes (from MN 39)

VIII. Mastering the Mind

Introduction

1. The Mind Is the Key (AN 1. iii, 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10) [AN1.21-30]

2. Developing a Pair of Skills

(1) Serenity and Insight (AN2. iii, 10) [AN2.31]

(2) Four Ways to Arahantship (AN 4.170)

(3) Four Kinds of Persons (AN 4.94)

3. The Hindrances to Mental Development (SN 46.55, abridged)

4. The Refinement of the Mind (AN 3.100 §§1–10) [AN 3.101]

5. The Removal of Distracting Thoughts (MN 20)

6. The Mind of Loving-Kindness (from MN 21)

7. The Six Recollections (AN 6.10) [Related: AN11.12 ]

8. The Four Establishments of Mindfulness (MN 10)

9. Mindfulness of Breathing (SN 54.13)

10. The Achievement of Mastery (SN 28.1–9,combined)

IX. Shining the Light of Wisdom

Introduction

1.Images of Wisdom

(1) Wisdom as a Light (AN 4.143)

(2) Wisdom as a Knife (from MN 146)

2. The Conditions for Wisdom (AN 8.2, abridged)

3. A Discourse on Right View (MN 9)

4. The Domain of Wisdom

(1) By Way of the Five Aggregates

(a) Phases of the Aggregates (SN 22.56)

(b) A Catechism on the Aggregates (SN 22.82 = MN 109, abridged)

(c) The Characteristic of Nonself (SN 22.59)

(d) Impermanent, Suffering, Nonself (SN 22.45)

(e) A Lump of Foam (SN 22.95)

(2) By Way of the Six Sense Bases

(a) Full Understanding (SN 35.26)

(b) Burning (SN 35.28)

(c) Suitable for Attaining Nibbāna (SN 35.147, SN 35.148, SN 35.149, combined)

(d) Empty Is the World (SN 35.85)

(e) Conscious Too Is Nonself (SN 35.234)

(3) By Way of the Elements

(a) The Eighteen Elements (SN 14.1)

(b) The Four Elements (SN 14.37, SN 14.38, SN 14.39, combined)

(c) The Six Elements (from MN 140)

(4) By Way of Dependent Origination

(a) What Is Dependent Origination? (SN 12.1)

(b) The Stableness of the Dhamma (SN 12.20)

(c) Forty-Four Cases of Knowledge (SN 12.33)

(d) A Teaching by the Middle (SN 12.15)

(e) The Continuance of Consciousness (SN 12.38)

(f) The Origin and Passing of the World (SN 12.44)

(5) By Way of the Four Noble Truths

(a) The Truths of All Buddhas (SN 56.24)

(b) These Four Truths Are Actual (SN 56.20)

(c) A Handful of Leaves (SN 56.31)

(d) Because of Not Understanding (SN 56.21)

(e) The Precipice (SN 56.42)

(f) Making the Breakthrough (SN 56.32)

(g) The Destruction of the Taints (SN 56.25)

5. The Goal of Wisdom

(a) What is Nibbāna? (SN 38.1)

(b) Thirty-Three Synonyms for Nibbāna (SN 43.1– 44, combined)

(c) There Is That Base (Ud 8.1)

(d) The Unborn (Ud 8.3)

(e) The Two Nibbāna Elements (It 44)

(f) The Fire and the Ocean (from MN 72)

X. The Planes of Realization

Introduction

1. The Field of Merit for the World

(1) Eight Persons Worthy of Gifts (AN 8.59)

(2) Differentiation by Faculties (SN 48.18) [Related: SN 48.10 ]

(3) In the Dhamma Well Expounded (from MN 22)

(4) The Completeness of the Teaching (from MN 73)

(5) Seven Kinds of Noble Persons (from MN 70)

2. Stream-Entry

(1) The Four Factors Leading to Stream-Entry (SN 55.5)

(2) Entering the Fixed Course of Rightness (SN 25.1)

(3) The Breakthrough to the Dhamma (SN 13.1)

(4) The Four Factors of a Stream-Enterer (SN 55.2) [Related: (SN 55.1) ]

(5) Better than Sovereignty over the Earth (SN 55.1)

3. Nonreturning

(1) Abandoning the Five Lower Fetters (from MN 64)

(2) Four Kinds of Persons (AN 4.169)

(3) Six Things that Partake of True Knowledge (SN 55.3)

(4) Five Kinds of Nonreturners (SN 46.3)

4. The Arahant

(1) Removing the Residual Conceit “I Am” (SN 22.89)

(2) The Trainee and the Arahant (SN 48.53)

(3) A Monk Whose Crossbar Has Been Lifted (from MN 22)

(4) Nine Things an Arahant Cannot Do (from AN 9.7)

(5) A Mind Unshaken (from AN 9.26)

(6) The Ten Powers of an Arahant Monk (AN 10.90)

(7) The Sage at Peace (from MN 140)

(8) Happy Indeed Are the Arahants (from SN 22.76)

5. The Tathāgata

(1) The Buddha and the Arahant (SN 22.58)

(2) For the Welfare of Many (It 84)

(3) Sāriputta’s Lofty Utterance (SN 47.12)

(4) The Powers and Grounds of Self-Confidence (from MN 12)

(5) The Manifestation of Great Light (SN 56.38)

(6) The Man Desiring Our Good (from MN 19)

(7) The Lion (SN 22.78)

(8) Why Is He Called the Tathāgata? (AN 4.23 = It 112)

 

If you find this information useful, we highly recomment that you purchase the print copy of the original book from the publisher, Wisdom Publications.

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Book Review—In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Bhikkhu Bodhi

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.

Samples

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.

Chapter 1: The Dart
“Bhikkhus (monks), the uninstructed worldling feels a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling, and a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. The instructed noble disciple too feels a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling, and a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. Therein, bhikkhus, what is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between the instructed noble disciple and the uninstructed worldling?”

“Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, take recourse in the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would clear up the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”

“Then listen and attend closely, bhikkhus, I will speak.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, when the uninstructed worldling is being contacted by a painful feeling, he sorrows, grieves, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught. He feels two feelings—a bodily one and a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, and then they would strike him immediately afterwards with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by two darts. So too, when the uninstructed worldling is being contacted by a painful feeling … he feels two feelings—a bodily one and a mental one.

“Being contacted by that same painful feeling, he harbours aversion towards it. When he harbours aversion towards painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion towards painful feeling lies behind this. Being contacted by painful feeling, he seeks delight in sensual pleasure. For what reason? Because the uninstructed worldling does not know of any escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. When he seeks delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling lies behind this. He does not understand as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. When he does not understand these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling lies behind this.

“If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it attached. If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it attached. If he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it attached. This, bhikkhus, is called an uninstructed worldling who is attached to birth, aging, and death; who is attached to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; who is attached to suffering, I say.

“Bhikkhus, when the instructed noble disciple is contacted by a painful feeling, he does not sorrow, grieve, or lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become distraught. He feels one feeling—a bodily one, not a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, but they would not strike him immediately afterwards with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by one dart only. So too, when the instructed noble disciple is contacted by a painful feeling … he feels one feeling—a bodily one, not a mental one.

“Being contacted by that same painful feeling, he harbours no aversion towards it. Since he harbours no aversion towards painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion towards painful feeling does not lie behind this. Being contacted by painful feeling, he does not seek delight in sensual pleasure. For what reason? Because the instructed noble disciple knows of an escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. Since he does not seek delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling does not lie behind this. He understands as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. Since he understands these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling does not lie behind this.

“If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it detached. If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it detached. If he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it detached. This, bhikkhus, is called a noble disciple who is detached from birth, aging, and death; who is detached from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; who is detached from suffering, I say.

“This, bhikkhus, is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between the instructed noble disciple and the uninstructed worldling.”

The wise one, learned, does not feel
The pleasant and painful mental feeling.
This is the great difference between
The wise one and the worldling.

For the learned one who has comprehended Dhamma,
Who clearly sees this world and the next,
Desirable things do not provoke his mind,
Towards the undesired he has no aversion.

For him attraction and repulsion no more exist;
Both have been extinguished, brought to an end.
Having known the dust-free, sorrowless state,
The transcender of existence rightly understands.

The Dart—SN 36:6

© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000) This excerpt from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Chapter 1: The Vicissitudes of Life
“Bhikkhus (monks), these eight worldly conditions revolve around the world, and the world revolves around these eight worldly conditions. What eight? Gain and loss, disrepute and fame, blame and praise, and pleasure and pain. These eight worldly conditions revolve around the world, and the world revolves around these eight worldly conditions.

“Bhikkhus, an uninstructed worldling meets gain and loss, disrepute and fame, blame and praise, and pleasure and pain. An instructed noble disciple also meets gain and loss, disrepute and fame, blame and praise, and pleasure and pain. What is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between an instructed noble disciple and an uninstructed worldling with regard to this?”

“Bhante, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, take recourse in the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would clear up the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will retain it in mind.”

“Then listen, bhikkhus, and attend closely. I will speak.”

“Yes, Bhante,” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“(1) Bhikkhus, when an uninstructed worldling meets with gain, he does not reflect thus: ‘This gain that I have met is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change.’ He does not understand it as it really is. (2) When he meets with loss … (3) … fame … (4) … disrepute … (5) … blame … (6) … praise … (7) … pleasure … (8) … pain, he does not reflect thus: ‘This pain that I have met is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change.’ He does not understand it as it really is.

“Gain obsesses his mind, and loss obsesses his mind. Fame obsesses his mind, and disrepute obsesses his mind. Blame obsesses his mind, and praise obsesses his mind. Pleasure obsesses his mind, and pain obsesses his mind. He is attracted to gain and repelled by loss. He is attracted to fame and repelled by disrepute. He is attracted to praise and repelled by blame. He is attracted to pleasure and repelled by pain. Thus involved with attraction and repulsion, he is not freed from birth, from old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish; he is not freed from suffering, I say.

“But, bhikkhus, (1) when an instructed noble disciple meets with gain, he reflects thus: ‘This gain that I have met is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change.’ He thus understands it as it really is. (2) When he meets with loss … (3) … fame … (4) … disrepute … (5) … blame … (6) … praise … (7) … pleasure … (8) … pain, he reflects thus: ‘This pain that I have met is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change.’ He thus understands it as it really is.

“Gain does not obsess his mind, and loss does not obsess his mind. Fame does not obsess his mind, and disrepute does not obsess his mind. Blame does not obsess his mind, and praise does not obsess his mind. Pleasure does not obsess his mind, and pain does not obsess his mind. He is not attracted to gain or repelled by loss. He is not attracted to fame or repelled by disrepute. He is not attracted to praise or repelled by blame. He is not attracted to pleasure or repelled by pain. Having thus discarded attraction and repulsion, he is freed from birth, from old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish; he is freed from suffering, I say.

“This, bhikkhus, is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between an instructed noble disciple and an uninstructed worldling.”

Gain and loss, disrepute and fame,
blame and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions that people meet
are impermanent, transient, and subject to change.

A wise and mindful person knows them
and sees that they are subject to change.
Desirable conditions don’t excite his mind
nor is he repelled by undesirable conditions.

He has dispelled attraction and repulsion;
they are gone and no longer present.
Having known the dustless, sorrowless state,
he understands rightly and has transcended existence.

The World—AN 8:5

© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012) This excerpt from The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Chapter 4: Freedom From Debt
Then the householder Anāthapiṇḍika approached the Blessed One…. The Blessed One said to him:

“Householder, there are these four kinds of happiness that may be achieved by a layperson who enjoys sensual pleasures, depending on time and occasion. What four? The happiness of ownership, the happiness of enjoyment, the happiness of freedom from debt, and the happiness of blamelessness.

(1) “And what, householder, is the happiness of ownership? Here, a clansman has acquired wealth by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained. When he thinks, ‘I have acquired wealth by energetic striving … righteously gained,’ he experiences happiness and joy. This is called the happiness of ownership.

(2) “And what is the happiness of enjoyment? Here, with wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, a clansman enjoys his wealth and does meritorious deeds. When he thinks, ‘With wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, I enjoy my wealth and do meritorious deeds,’ he experiences happiness and joy. This is called the happiness of enjoyment.

(3) “And what is the happiness of freedom from debt? Here, a clansman has no debts to anyone, whether large or small. When he thinks, ‘I have no debts to anyone, whether large or small,’ he experiences happiness and joy. This is called the happiness of freedom from debt.

(4) “And what is the happiness of blamelessness? Here, householder, a noble disciple is endowed with blameless bodily, verbal, and mental action. When he thinks, ‘I am endowed with blameless bodily, verbal, and mental action,’ he experiences happiness and joy. This is called the happiness of blamelessness.

“These are the four kinds of happiness that a layperson who enjoys sensual pleasures may achieve, depending on time and occasion.”

Having known the happiness of freedom from debt,
one should recall the happiness of ownership.
Enjoying the happiness of enjoyment,
a mortal then sees things clearly with wisdom.

While seeing things clearly, the wise one
knows both kinds of happiness.
The other is not worth a sixteenth part
of the bliss of blamelessness.

Freedom From Debt—AN 4:62

© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012) This excerpt from The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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

Translator Bhikkhu Bodhi
Photo credit: Ivan Boden

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

Photo credit: Ourit Ben- Haim

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.

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Highlights of the Nikayas Handouts

The following hadouts are perfect to use in classes or workshops on the Sutta Pitaka. They show the structures of the Nikayas and give some highlights of topics covered.

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Selections from In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon

Cover of Selections from In the Buddha’s Words An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali CanonIn the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon has long been the best way to begin reading the suttas.

This e-book contains the main introduction as  well as the introduction to each of the ten chapters. While no substitute for reading the book with the actual suttas, this can give you a good idea of the book’s contents as well as Bhikkhu Bodhi’s writing style.

You can buy the complete book from Wisdom Publications as a print or electronic edition.  It is also available from on-line and regular bookshops.

These selections have been made available for non-commercial distribution by Wisdom Publications.

Related

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.

Download the worksheet PDF

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.

What Suttas to Read

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

* 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 certain 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 certain number of pages per day, simply use the table to the right and divide 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.

When to do your sutta reading

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 connect your reading to something else you are sure to do every day.

Anticipate Problems

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.

Get started!

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 Download the worksheet PDF.

Related:

Bring the suttas alive by reading aloud

Buddhist scripture have been recited aloud since the time of the Buddha. In fact, without this recitation, usually as a group, we wouldn’t have the suttas with us today. You can continue this tradition by reading the suttas aloud.

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

Reading suttas aloud

Reading suttas aloud has many benefits:

  • 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.
  • By reading aloud, we can process them through hearing as well as seeing.

Don’t worry about pronouncing all of the Pali words correctly. Sound them out the best you can, but don’t let incorrect pronunciation hold you back.

You don’t need to read the whole sutta out loud. If there is part of the sutta that doesn’t make sense, try reading that part aloud till you can track what is being said.

Sometimes repetitions start to blend together. By reading them out loud, the differences will pop out.

Related…

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

 

 

 

 

 

Buddhist Stories from the Khandhakas: Selections from The Book of the Discipline—Epub, Kindle, PDF

Have you ever thought about reading the Vinaya but aren’t sure where to start? This new edition of the section called the Khandhakas was made for you.

The Vinaya is mostly guidelines for the monastic community. It also contains countless stories about both monastics and lay people. It begins with the moment after the Buddha’s enlightenment and tells the story of the founding of the Bhikkhu Sangha until the joining of Vens. Sariputta and Maha Moggallana. It then tells stories of the ways the community was guided by the Buddha. It ends with the stories of the first two great councils.

From the Preface:

The Vinaya is a source of not only valuable spiritual teachings, but a rich collection of humanizing stories. There are stories of great virtue and great vice, great wisdom and great foolishness. Because the Vinaya Pitaka also contains an impressive amount of intricate training rules for monastics, it is often skipped over by people who might otherwise benefit. The current edition of the Khandhakas is an attempt to make it easier for people to discover their next spiritual inspiration.

Although the title of this edition specifically calls out stories, many of the passages that are also found in the Sutta Pitaka are included. As well, a rather long section, chapter 18, contains detailed instructions on how to go about the daily chores of living in a monastery. Because they are the story of every day life, they have also been included.

Within chapters an ellipsis is included where material has been removed. As well, the footnotes have been removed as they rarely related to the narrative drive of the stories. All the titles remain as they are in the original edition so if you want to learn more you can. The original publication can be found on the download page of SuttaCentral.net.

This edition is only possible through the Pali Text Society’s generous release of I. B. Horner’s complete tranlsation of the Vinaya Pitaka under a Creative Commons Licence as well as the hard work of many individuals at SuttaCentral to bring it into digital form, particularly Bhante Brahmali and Bhante Sujato.

Related:

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.

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