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Jataka Full Translation by E. B. Cowell: Epub, Kindle, Mobi

This is a six volume text of the Pali stories of the Buddha’s former births. It was originally issued in print by Cambridge University Press and by Luzac and Co. between 1895 and 1907. You can find various print editions on line, but the text itself in now in the public domain.

Download Directory with E. B Cowell’s Jataka Translation

Direct download links:

The six books are available as EPUB and AZW3 files. The AZW3 is good for all but the oldest of Amazon Kindle. If they don’t work for your Kindle, use a converter to create MOBIs from the EPUB.

The original EPUB books were created by Ven. Yuttadhammo. These files were reformatted to improve the reading experience. You can find links to the original HTML files as well as PDF Scans here.

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Selections from the Connected Discourses: Free Kindle, Epub, Mobi

This is an ebook version of the over 800 suttas from Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Connected Discourses of the Buddha,  found on the Wisdom Publication website. These translations have been released for free distribution.

 

Three versions of the ebook are available here: EPUB, AZW3, PDF, .docx, .xhtml.

If your Kindle can’t read the AZW3 file, convert the epub file to MOBI.

These selections have been made available for non-commercial use only.

If you plan on buying the ebook version of the complete book, be sure to buy it from wisdompubs.org directly instead of from Amazon.

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Please report any errors in these books using the Contact Page or the comments below.

Reflections for Sutta Reading Practice

As we develop a daily habit of reading the suttas it is important that we always remember the reason we are reading the suttas: To develop our faith in the enlightenment of the Supreme Buddha and to put an end to the round of samsara. If we lose track of this purpose, we may not be successful. Below you will find passages that can help us remember the proper attitude to have while reading and listening to the Dhamma. They have been taken either directly from the suttas or modified to turn them into declarations.

You can read them below and download a version that you can use as a part of your daily reading.

Reflecting on the reason we read the suttas.

Downloads of the reading reflections


The Blessed One Is the Teacher, I Am a Disciple: Reflections for Sutta Reading Practice

Before your sutta reading

Recite one or more of the following passages aloud or silently before your daily sutta reading practice. In doing so make the sincere wish to read the Dhamma with complete attention, to reflect on it wisely, and to put the teachings into practice.

Then imagine that you are sitting at the feet of the Blessed One. Read your text as if you were actually listening to him preach.

 After your sutta reading

Make a very brief summary of what you read and insert it for X.

  •  Because of not knowing X I have been reborn again and again in this long round of saṁsāra, creating suffering for myself and countless other beings.
  • May my understanding of X grow. May I always keep this teaching of X in mind and live accordingly, using it to help me realize the Blessed One’s Four Noble Truths in this very life.
  • May all beings have the opportunity to learn about X and realize the Four Noble Truths in this very life.

Translations are from The Word of the Buddha series by Wisdom Publications. Links with a * take you to Bhikkhu Sujato’s translaton.

 The Reflections

“Bhikkhus, for a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, it is proper that he conduct himself thus: ‘The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple; the Blessed One knows, I do not know.’ For a faithful disciple who is intent on fathoming the Teacher’s Dispensation, the Teacher’s Dispensation is nourishing and refreshing.”

From MN 70.27

“Bhikkhus, there are these five things that lead to the continuation, non-decline, and non-disappearance of the good Dhamma. What five? (1) Here, the bhikkhus respectfully listen to the Dhamma; (2) they respectfully learn the Dhamma; (3) they respectfully retain the Dhamma in mind; (4) they respectfully examine the meaning of the teachings they have retained in mind; (5) they respectfully understand the meaning and the Dhamma and then practice in accordance with the Dhamma.

From AN 5:154*

May I gain inspiration in the meaning! May I gain inspiration in the Dhamma! May I gain gladness connected with the Dhamma!

Based on MN 33*

I have this rare chance to get to see the Tathāgata. I have this rare chance to read the Dhamma and Discipline expounded by the Tathāgata. May I retain it in mind! May I examine the meaning of what I have retained in mind! May I understand the meaning and practice in accordance with the Dhamma!

Based on AN 1:338–342*

May I not read this Dhamma as a denigrator, obsessed with denigration! May I read this Dhamma as one without any intention of criticizing it, not as one who seeks faults! May I not be ill disposed to the teacher and intent on attacking him! May I be wise, intelligent and astute! May I not imagine that I have understood what I have not understood. Possessing these five qualities, may I be capable of entering into the fixed course [consisting in] rightness in wholesome qualities!

Based on AN 5.153*

May I hear what I have not heard before! May what I have heard before be clarified! May I emerge from perplexity! May my views be made straight! May my mind become placid! May I have these five rewards of listening to the Dhamma!

Based on AN 5.202*

While I am reading this Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata, may I heed it! May I give my attention to it! May I engage it with all my mind! May I hear the Dhamma with eager ears!

Based on MN 48*

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Pali Language Ebooks, Kindle and Epub

The Following are e-books of the Pali Nikayas in the Pali language. The original code comes from the Vipassana Research Institute CST4.0 software which is based on the Burmese Sixth Council edition. They are intended for personal use only and may not be sold under any circumstances.

[Note: some e-pub devices will not break long words to fit on the page. You may need to temporarily change the display size. This is not a problem on the Kindle]

Digha Nikaya

DN1: MOBI EPUB
DN2: MOBI EPUB
DN3: MOBI EPUB
DN Complete (1–3): MOBI EPUB

Majjima Nikaya

MN 1: First Fifty MOBI EPUB
MN 2: Second Fifty MOBI EPUB
MN 3: Third Fifty MOBI EPUB

Samyutta Nikaya

SN 1: Sagatha Vagga MOBI EPUB
SN 2: Nidana Vagga MOBI EPUB
SN 3: Khanda Vagga MOBI EPUB
SN 4: Salayatana Vagga MOBI EPUB
SN 5: Maha Vagga MOBI EPUB

Anguttara Nikaya

AN Complete (1–11) MOBI EPUB

Khuddaka Nikaya

Dhammapada MOBI EPUB
Udana MOBI EPUB
Itivuttaka MOBI EPUB
Sutta Nipata MOBI EPUB
Petavatthu MOBI EPUB


Please report any errors or feedback in the comments below or use the Contact Page.

 

Buddhist Legends: Dhammapada Origin Stories, translated by E. W. Burlingame, Kindle ebook

This is a e-book edition of Buddhist Legends: Books 1–26 by Eugene Watson Burlingame. It was originally published as part of the Harvard Oriental Series and is now available in print from the Pali Text Society. The translation is in the public domain, although this e-book edition is strictly for free distribution.

This e-book edition contains the complete set of origin stories to the verses of the Dhammapada as found in the Pali commentaries. The original print publication contained summaries of each story along with an introduction and index.

The language style is very readable despite being close to one hundred years old. A few Dhamma terms are somewhat incorrectly translated, such as “returning thanks” instead of “rejoicing in merit” for anumodana. As with any old translation the reader should be cautious.

There are still many typos left over from the scanning process, although it is quite readable. The footnotes are especially error prone. Check back to this page for future updates.

Download:

Kindle/MOBI: Buddhist Legends: Books 1–26 by Eugene Watson Burlingame

Epub: Buddhist Legends: Books 1–26 by Eugene Watson Burlingame

Complete PDF scans of the original book can be found on archive.org:

http://archive.org/details/buddhistlegends01burluoft
http://archive.org/details/buddhistlegends02burluoft
http://archive.org/details/buddhistlegends03burluoft

You can find another free e-book edition of this text with improved footnotes, as well as an on-line edition,  at Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net.

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Troubleshooting Your Personal Anthology

Creating a Personal Anthology is extremely simple, but there are still some places we can go wrong. If this happens our Anthology may be less effective. Below are some common problems and suggestions for solving them.

As a reminder, this is the basic method:

  1. Read the suttas on a regular basis taking them to heart as personal advice.
  2. When you find a passage that speaks directly to your defilements or is personally very inspiring, copy it into your Personal Anthology.
  3. In daily life, when the defilements are strong, read the suttas in your Personal Anthology as an antidote.

If you haven’t read the full article in a while, you might want to start there.

Problem: Feeling obligated to fill the book

No where in the instructions is there anything about needing to add a certain number of passages per week or fill all the pages. One passage of Dhamma can be enough to wake us up. Of course it’s unlikely that you will only have one passage, but keeping this in mind will prevent the Personal Anthology from becoming a chore or an obligation. It only matters that we capture passage when we find them.

Problem: Putting passages in that you consider important in a general sense

Truly, all the suttas are important. If the goal was to collect important suttas, then we could simply buy a complete canon and be done. You may very well want to keep a Dhamma notebook where you copy passages of doctrinal importance. No question, that is beneficial. But the principle behind the personal anthology is that there are some passages that take our breath away, touching us deeply. Passages that describe our defilements very intimately. Those are the ones we collect in the Personal Anthology. Then when our defilements are strong, we can read teachings that describes them perfectly and tells us how to remove them—this is the way we can not only overcome them but at the same time develop confidence in the Blessed One’s teachings.

Problem: Not keeping these passages in their own small book

Related to the above issue, if you are collecting these personal passages along with other Dhamma notes, it will be that much harder to find them when the need arises. And if you are traveling or on a retreat, it is less likely that you will take them with you if they are integrated into your main study notebook.

If you are resistant to putting them in their own book, or you haven’t started a book at all yet, you might want to give the quick start method a try.

Problem: Too many less powerful suttas

If you are falling into the attitude of feeling obligated to fill your Anthology, there is a chance that you may start to include too many suttas that you may simply like or find somewhat interesting. It’s good to capture them somewhere, but the idea behind the Personal Anthology is to have a ready collection of suttas that you connect with most deeply.

Problem: Thinking of your Personal Anthology as a project instead of a resource

Some people think of the Personal Anthology as a journal or a project that is going to take up time on a regular basis. This is not the case. It’s possible that you will only add a passage every few months, if that. Remember, it’s not the number of passages that matters, but that we choose them wisely and read them when the need arises.

Problem: Not reading the suttas with an eye for passages to include

If we are not habitually reading the suttas as personal advice from our fully enlightened teacher, it is unlikely that we will find the correct kinds of passages to include in our Anthology. By doing self-examination practices, such as those in the Sallekha Sutta (MN 8) we can gain a greater awareness of our main defilements. Then when the Buddha talks about those particular issues as we read the suttas we are more likely to take them to heart and want to contact them again and again.

Problem: Not using it

The last and most important step of maintaining a Personal Anthology is actually reading it when the need arises. This requires that we actually have the awareness of the arising of defilements and remember that we have the Buddha’s instructions available to overcome them.

Have you had problems creating your personal anthology? Have you overcome any of those listed here? Share your experience in the comments below. Feel free to do so anonymously.

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What is a sutta?

Suttas are the Buddhist scriptures that contain the teachings of the fully enlightened Buddha, Sidhatta Gotama. Theses suttas have been faithfully passed down to us over 2,500 years and are now available translated into very clear, modern English. There are many different styles of suttas, such as sermons, verses (poems), sermons mixed with verses, detailed analyses, inspired utterances, sayings, birth stories, questions and answers, and marvels. The suttas are grouped into books called nikayas. The entire collection of these scriptures is called the Sutta Pitaka.

If you want to learn what the Buddha taught, the suttas are the place to start. You can make the beauty and wisdom of these ancient scriptures a part of your every day life through a daily sutta reading practice. The truth of these teachings can be applied directly to our lives and help to remove suffering in this life as well as put an end to this long cycle of birth and death.

Sadly, many of the sayings attributed to the Buddha that we find on the internet are either completely fake or inaccurate. A true quote from the Buddha will usually have a citation with a book abbreviation and a sutta or verse number, such as SN 56:11 or Dhp 20. When we see a citation like this we know where we can find the original and check to see that it is accurate.

Very rarely in this world a fully enlightened teacher appears for the welfare of all beings. We are very fortunate to be living in a time when the words of a fully enlightened Buddha are available to us in the Sutta Pitaka.

To Learn More:

Make a wish: Closing our Sutta Practice Session

As we read the suttas, we are always trying to see the truth of the teachings in our own lives. When we finish our practice, we can do a quick reflection to help solidify this intention.

Begin by making a quick summary in your head of the teaching you just read. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive. As you will see, it works best if it is brief and heartfelt. It can even be just one point that you found most helpful. In the text below, this summary will fill in for [X]. If you aren’t able to summarize, just use “this teaching of the Blessed One.”

  • Because of not knowing [X] I have been reborn again and again in this long round of samsara, creating suffering for myself and countless other beings
  • May my understanding of [X] grow. May I always keep this teaching of [X] in mind and live accordingly, using it to help me realize the Blessed One’s four noble truths in this very life.
  • May all beings have the opportunity to learn about [X] and realize the four noble truths in this very life.

Of course you can use whatever language you feel comfortable with, but the main point is to make a quick recollection of what you just read and have a sincere aspiration that you will try to put the teachings into practice. Remember, the recollection does not need to be comprehensive. Don’t get hung up on making a perfect summary. That’s not what this is about. As different things come to mind you could even change what [X] is as you go through the recollection. Focus on what you understood and found meaningful.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the language, come up with something that works for you, keeping these basics in mind:

  • Summarize the main points that you found valuable.
  • Make the aspiration to understand and live by these teachings.
  • Make the wish for liberation.
  • Cultivate thoughts of good will for all beings.

If you understand the practice of sharing merit, you may also wish to share the merit you have made through reading and reflecting on the Dhamma with all beings or specific people like your teachers and spiritual friends.

Having done this reflection it will be easy to keep in mind the purpose of reading the suttas, namely, liberation from samsara. It will also make it easier to bring the teachings to mind throughout the day.

Do you have a habit you find helpful to close your reading of the suttas? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Benefits of Having a Backup Text

Be prepared for times when reading your regular book of suttas is difficult.

The core of a daily sutta practice is working methodically through a single book of suttas from beginning to end. Sometimes, though, obstacles may arise that can be overcome by having a backup or alternate text.

A backup text is a second book of suttas, either a canonical collection or anthology, that we have chosen in advance. By choosing this text in advance, we already have a plan in place when we are at risk of missing our daily practice. Of course missing a day or two now and then is not such a big deal, but often external obstacles come many days in a row and internal obstacles remain unless we remove them.

Here are a few cases when a backup text may be helpful:

Time is scarce: If we have committed to reading a substantial amount of text each day, such as a sutta from the Majjhima Nikaya, there may be days when time is scarce. Rather than abandoning reading completely, or just reading part of a sutta, we can read a short passage from our backup text.

Schedule change: From time to time the irregularities of life may necessitate shifting the time of day that we do our sutta practice. If we usually practice in the morning, but have to get out of the house early on a particular day, we can use our backup text at the regular time to guarantee that we get some sutta practice in if plans don’t work out to reschedule the regular practice for later.

Travel: It is certainly possible to stick with our regular text when we travel, but if our schedule will be particularly busy, it may be more reasonable to switch to a text with shorter passages that are easier to digest. Travel presents us with all sorts of interesting experiences and gives the opportunity to find new ways to apply the Dhamma to our lives. There is no need to take a vacation from the suttas when you go on vacation.

Mood: Although we should not let our mood dictate whether we do our sutta practice, we may not have the skill or discipline in that moment to overcome our resistance. In cases like this, we may be able to trick ourselves into reading with the lure of something new and different, a.k.a. our backup text. Using our personal anthology is also a good option for situations like this. After having read a bit, we may even be able to arouse the energy to do our regular reading.

Aversion: Sometimes the hindrance of aversion may arise towards our main text. Ideally, we should work directly to overcome this hindrance through recollecting the benefits we have received from learning the Dhamma, what a rare opportunity we have to hear the Blessed One’s teaching, etc., etc. But if that is not successful, having a backup text to turn to in those situations will keep our practice on track. Again, this is a great time to use our personal anthology. When the aversion has passed, we can return to out main text with new eyes.

What makes a good backup text?

  • A canonical text with short and inspirational suttas is ideal, such as the Dhammapada or Itivuttaka. The Theragatha and Therigatha are also good because in these verses arahant monks and nuns often speak of their own difficulties in the training.
  • Chanting/pirit books that include translations of popular suttas also work well for several reasons: the texts are usually uplifting and we may have positive memories of using them when doing puja with others.
  • Any anthology that includes relatively short passages

Whatever you choose, it should be a book of suttas, not a regular book. It may be tempting to think that you need a “break” from suttas, but there is such a variety of material in the canon, it’s much more beneficial to try a different genre within the Sutta Pitaka.

Consider having a copy of your backup text on a mobile device. Often the situations when the backup text is necessary is when we are away from home, so if we have a text on a device we always have with us, we can be sure to have a text available when time does present itself.

Advantages/benefits of having a backup text:

  • Helps maintain continuity of practice
  • Removes the burden of decision-making when we are already presented with an unusual or stressful situation
  • Gives an opportunity for variety
  • There may be unexpected connections between the main text and the backup text. This often has an energizing effect.
  • If we are doing a practice with a big time commitment like a daily sutta from the Middle Length Discourses, we can maintain continuity of practice on days when time is scarce.

It’s still a good idea to move methodically from beginning to end of our backup text, just like we work through our main text. Then we can start again at the beginning when we finish.

Have you used a book of suttas as a backup text? How was it helpful? What did you use? You can leave your thoughts in the comments below. (anonymously if you prefer) Your feed back can help all of us in our practice.

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