Think about the minimum amount of time that you believe you can commit to reading and reflecting on suttas each day. Don’t be afraid to start small! It’s better to start with something very short and let the words and the meaning draw you in to deeper practice. Once you decide, make a real plan and try to stick to it every day.
Minimal time commitment
10-60 seconds (including reflection time)
Medium time commitment
1-10 minutes (including reflection time) One Sutta Per Day or a fixed time length
- Short topical anthologies by Ajahn Ṭhanissaro (Merit, Into the Stream, A Mediator’s Tools, Beyond Coping, A Burden Off the Mind, Mindful of the Body, Recognizing the Dhamma)
- Comprehensive anthology such as In the Buddha’s Words, by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Some selections will be longer and can be spread over several days as needed.
- Single nikāya such as the Aṅguttara and Saṁyutta Nikayas. Most of these suttas are just a few pages so it is easy to complete in 10 minutes or less.
- Single Khuddaka Nikāya book such as the Dhammapada (a complete chapter per day), Udāna, Itivuttaka, Sutta Nipāta, Theragātha, or Therīgāthā. Choose one text and work through completely.
Greater time commitment
15-30 minutes (including reflection time)
- Majjhima Nikaya, One sutta per day, no more. You may want to first read suttas 21-30, then 11-20, then 1-10. You may want to consider repeating this cycle of the first 30 one or two times before continuing with the rest of the book. This will give you an excellent foundation for all other practice with the suttas. Consider using one of the shorter anthologies above as a backup plan for days when you have limited time for practice.