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.

Related

 

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

Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Thematic Guide to the Aṅguttara Nikāya Linked to Bhikkhu Sujato’s Translations

When Bhikkhu Bodhi published his complete translation of the Anguttara Nikaya in 2012 he created a guide for new readers to follow that would take them through most of the suttas in a way connected by topic. At this time not all of his translations are available on the internet, so below is the same guide linked to translations done by Bhikkhu Sjuato on SuttaCentral.net. If you would like a sample of Bhante Bodhi’s translation, you can get a free sample ebook here.

View this guide on the WisdomPubs.org website.

Print Checklist

You can use this print checklist to keep track of what you have read.

On-Line Linked to SuttaCentral.net

I. The Buddha

  1. Biographical AN3.39; AN4.21, AN4.118, AN4.127, AN5.196, AN8.11, AN8.64, AN8.69, AN8.70, AN9.41
  2. Qualities and attainments AN1.277, AN2.37, AN3.35, AN3.63, AN3.64, AN4.1, AN4.24, AN4.35, AN4.36, AN4.87, AN5.100, AN5.104, AN6.43, AN8.12, AN10.30
  3. The Tathāgata AN1.170AN1.186, AN2.22, AN2.23, AN2.24, AN2.25, AN2.52, AN2.53, AN2.54, AN2.55, AN2.56, AN3.14, AN3.80; AN4.8, AN4.15, AN4.23, AN4.33, AN5.11, AN5.99, AN5.131, AN5.133, AN6.64, AN7.58, AN8.85, AN10.21, AN10.22, AN10.81

II. The Dhamma and Discipline

  1. The Dhamma in brief AN4.25, AN4.29, AN4.30, AN4.188, AN7.83, AN8.19, AN8.20, AN8.30, AN8.53
  2. The rejection of views AN3.61, AN3.137, AN4.77, AN4.173, AN4.174, AN6.38, AN6.95, AN7.54, AN9.38, AN10.20, AN10.93, AN10.95, AN10.96
  3. A directly visible Dhamma AN3.53, AN3.54, AN3.65, AN3.66, AN4.193, AN4.195, AN6.47, AN6.48, AN9.46
  4. The ninefold textual Dhamma, AN4.102, AN4.107, AN5.73, AN5.74, AN5.155, AN6.51, AN7.68
  5. Preserving the Dhamma AN1.130AN1.169, AN2.20, AN2.41, AN4.160, AN4.180, AN5.79, AN5.80, AN5.154, AN5.155, AN5.156, AN5.201, AN6.40, AN7.59

III. The Shifting Kaleidoscope of Experience

  1. Cosmological background AN3.70, AN3.80, AN4.45, AN4.46, AN4.156, AN7.44, AN7.66, AN8.42, AN8.70, AN9.24, AN10.29, AN10.89
  2. Happiness and sorrow AN1.29, AN1.30, AN1.324, AN1.325, AN1.326, AN1.327, AN2.19, AN2.37, AN2.64AN2.76, AN2.250AN2.269, AN3.65, AN3.66, AN4.51, AN4.52, AN4.62, AN4.193, AN5.3, AN5.45, AN5.48, AN5.49, AN5.50, AN5.128, AN5.170, AN6.45, AN6.75, AN6.78, AN7.19, AN7.62, AN8.6, AN8.38, AN8.39, AN8.42, AN8.44, AN8.54, AN8.61, AN9.34, AN10.46, AN10.65, AN10.66
  3. Mind is the key AN1.21AN1.52, AN1.56, AN1.57, AN3.109, AN3.110, AN4.186
  4. Kamma and its results AN3.23, AN3.34, AN3.36, AN3.74, AN3.100, AN3.111, AN3.112, AN4.85, AN4.134, AN4.171, AN4.195, AN4.232, AN4.233, AN4.234, AN4.235, AN4.236, AN4.237, AN4.238, AN6.39, AN6.57, AN6.63, AN8.40, AN9.13, AN10.47, AN10.167AN10.233
  5. The round of rebirths AN1.348AN1.377, AN10.177, AN10.216, AN10.217, AN10.218
  6. Heaven and hell AN1.290AN1.295, AN2.16, AN2.17, AN2.18, AN2.26,AN2.27, AN2.28, AN2.29, AN2.210AN2.229, AN3.10, AN3.36, AN3.113, AN3.117, AN3.118, AN3.119, AN3.129, AN3.146, AN3.347, AN3.148, AN3.149, AN3.163AN3.182, AN4.64, AN4.81, AN4.82, AN4.83, AN4.84, AN4.212AN4.220, AN4.239, AN4.240, AN4.264AN4.273, AN5.4, AN5.115, AN5.116, AN5.117, AN5.118, AN5.119, AN5.120, AN5.129, AN5.130, AN5.145, AN5.236, AN5.237, AN5.238, AN5.239, AN5.240, AN5.286AN5.302, AN6.62, AN6.81, AN6.82, AN7.72, AN10.211, AN10.212, AN10.213, AN10.214, AN10.220, AN10.221, AN10.222, AN10.223, AN10.224, AN10.229, AN10.230, AN10.231, AN10.232

IV. Maintaining a Harmonious Household

  1. The family
    1. General AN3.48, AN4.258, AN5.42
    2. Parents and children AN2.33, AN3.31, AN4.63, AN5.39,
    3. Husbands and wives AN4.53, AN4.54, AN4.55, AN4.56; AN5.33, AN7.63, AN8.46, AN8.49
  2. Present welfare, future welfare AN4.61, AN4.62, AN5.58, AN8.49, AN8.54, AN8.76, AN10.73
  3. Wrong and right livelihood AN4.79, AN5.177, AN6.18, AN8.54, AN10.91
  4. Wealth AN4.61, AN4.62, AN5.41, AN5.47, AN5.58, AN5.227, AN6.45, AN7.5, AN7.6, AN7.7
  5. Sustaining wholesome relationships AN4.32, AN4.256, AN8.24, AN9.5
  6. The state and the community AN4.70, AN7.21, AN7.22
  7. The wheel–turning monarch AN1.278, AN1.280, AN2.52, AN2.53, AN2.54, AN2.55, AN3.14, AN4.130, AN5.131, AN5.132, AN5.133, AN7.62, AN7.66

V. The Way Leading Upwards

  1. Faith, confidence, and reverence AN3.42, AN3.48, AN3.75; AN4.21, AN4.34, AN4.52, AN4.65, AN4.118, AN5.21, AN5.22, AN5.32, AN5.38, AN5.40, AN5.179, AN5.250, AN6.30, AN6.32, AN6.33, AN6.69, AN7.32, AN7.33, AN7.34, AN7.35, AN7.57, AN7.70, AN9.27, AN11.14
  2. Spiritual friendship AN1.70, AN1.71, AN1.110, AN1.111, AN1.126, AN1.127, AN3.24, AN3.26, AN3.27, AN3.135, AN4.242, AN5.146, AN6.67, AN7.36, AN7.37, AN8.54, AN9.1, AN9.3, AN9.6, AN10.61, AN10.62, AN10.155, AN10.166, AN10.199AN10.210
  3. Merit AN3.41, AN3.45, AN3.46, AN3.51, AN3.52, AN4.34, AN4.51, AN4.52, AN5.43, AN5.45, AN5.199, AN6.37, AN7.62, AN8.36, AN8.39, AN9.20
  4. Giving and generosity AN2.35, AN2.141AN2.152, AN3.41, AN3.42, AN3.57, AN4.39, AN4.40, AN4.51, AN4.57, AN4.58, AN4.59, AN4.60, AN4.78, AN4.79, AN4.197, AN5.31, AN5.34, AN5.35, AN5.36, AN5.37, AN5.44, AN5.45, AN5.141, AN5.147, AN5.148, AN6.37, AN6.59, AN7.52, AN7.57, AN8.31, AN8.32, AN8.33, AN8.34, AN8.35, AN8.37, AN9.20, AN10.177
  5. Moral discipline
    1. Moral shame and dread AN2.9, AN10.76
    2. Bad conduct and good conduct AN1.284AN1.295, AN2.1, AN2.3, AN2.4, AN2.11, AN2.12, AN2.17, AN2.18, AN2.19, AN2.34, AN3.2, AN3.6, AN3.7, AN3.8, AN3.14, AN3.15, AN3.17, AN3.18, AN3.28, AN3.120, AN3.121, AN3.122, AN3.146AN3.155, AN4.111, AN4.121, AN5.213, AN5.241AN5.248, AN6.57, AN10.23
    3. The five training rules AN4.99, AN4.201, AN5.145, AN5.171, AN5.172, AN5.173, AN5.174, AN5.178, AN5.179, AN5.286AN5.302, AN8.39, AN9.27, AN9.63, AN10.92
    4. Wrong speech and right speech AN3.28, AN4.4, AN4.22, AN4.73, AN4.82, AN4.83, AN4.100, AN4.149, AN4.183, AN4.221, AN4.250, AN4.251, AN4.252, AN4.253, AN5.116, AN5.117, AN5.118, AN5.119, AN5.120, AN5.198, AN5.214, AN5.236, AN5.237, AN5.238, AN8.67, AN8.68, AN10.69, AN10.70
    5. The uposatha observance AN3.70, AN8.41, AN8.42, AN8.43, AN8.44, AN8.45, AN9.18, AN10.46
  6. Decline and progress [of lay followers] AN7.29, AN7.30, AN7.31

VI. Dispelling the World’s Enchantment

  1. Acquiring a sense of urgency AN1.328AN1.347, AN4.113, AN5.77, AN5.78, AN8.29
  2. Old age, illness, and death AN3.36, AN3.39, AN3.51, AN3.52, AN3.62, AN4.113, AN4.119, AN4.182, AN4.184, AN5.48, AN5.49, AN5.50, AN5.57, AN6.14, AN6.15, AN6.16, AN7.74
  3. Gratification, danger, and escape AN3.103, AN3.104, AN3.105, AN3.106, AN10.91
  4. The pitfalls in sensual pleasures AN3.108, AN4.122, AN5.7, AN5.139, AN6.23, AN6.63 §1, AN6.45, AN7.72, AN8.56, AN9.65
  5. Disenchantment with the body AN9.15, AN10.49
  6. Universal impermanence AN3.47, AN4.33, AN7.66, AN7.74, AN10.29

VII. The Defilements of the Mind

  1. The springs of bad conduct
    1. Greed, hate, delusion AN2.123, AN2.124, AN3.34, AN3.35, AN3.53, AN3.55, AN3.65, AN3.66, AN3.68, AN3.69, AN3.71, AN3.72, AN3.111, AN4.117, AN4.158, AN4.193, AN6.47, AN6.48, AN6.107, AN10.174
    2. Wrong courses (four) AN4.17, AN4.18, AN4.19, AN4.20
    3. Sexuality AN1.1AN1.10, AN3.108, AN4.159, AN5.55, AN5.75, AN5.76, AN5.225, AN5.26, AN7.50, AN7.51, AN8.17, AN8.18
    4. Affection and hatred AN4.200
    5. Anger and resentment AN3.25, AN3.27, AN3.132, AN4.43, AN4.44, AN4.84, AN4.108, AN4.110, AN4.122, AN4.197, AN5.161, AN5.162, AN5.215, AN5.216, AN7.64, AN7.73, AN9.11, AN9.29, AN9.30, AN10.79, AN10.80
    6. Miserliness (fivefold) AN5.115, AN5.224, AN5.239, AN5.240, AN5.254AN5.271, AN9.69
    7. Roots of dispute (six) AN6.36
    8. Defilements of ascetics (four) AN4.50
  2. Obstacles to meditation
    1. Laziness AN6.17, AN8.80
    2. Unwholesome thoughts and their removal AN3.68, AN3.69, AN3.100, AN3.71, AN3.72, AN3.101, AN4.11, AN4.12, AN5.200, AN6.13, AN10.51
    3. Hindrances (five) AN1.11, AN1.20, AN4.61, AN5.23, AN5.51, AN5.52, AN5.193, AN6.27, AN6.28
    4. Mental barrenness (five) AN5.205, AN9.71, AN10.14
    5. Bondages of the mind (five) AN5.206, AN9.72, AN10.14
    6. Drowsiness AN7.61
  3. Bondage to saṃsāra
    1. Craving and ignorance AN3.76, AN3.77, AN4.9, AN4.199, AN4.257, AN6.61, AN6.106, AN9.23, AN10.61, AN10.62
    2. Taints AN2.108AN2.117, AN4.36, AN4.195, AN6.58, AN6.63
    3. Inversions (four) AN4.49
    4. Bonds (four) AN4.10
    5. Fetters (four) AN4.131; (five) AN9.67, AN9.70; (seven) AN7.8, AN7.10; (ten) AN10.13
    6. Underlying tendencies (seven) AN7.11, AN7.12

VIII. The Path of Renunciation

  1. Going forth into homelessness AN2.2, AN3.12, AN3.60, AN4.122, AN5.59, AN5.60, AN5.75, AN5.76, AN7.69, AN10.48, AN10.59
  2. Wrong practice and right practice AN1.58AN1.75, AN3.156AN3.162, AN3.78, AN3.156, AN4.196, AN4.198, AN5.181AN5.190, AN10.103AN10.166
  3. The training of the monk (general) AN3.16, AN3.19, AN3.20, AN3.40, AN3.49, AN3.91, AN3.128, AN3.130, AN4.27, AN4.28, AN4.37, AN4.71, AN4.72, AN4.157, AN4.245, AN5.56, AN5.114, AN7.20, AN7.42, AN7.43, AN7.67, AN7.71, AN8.30, AN9.1, AN9.3, AN10.17, AN10.18, AN10.48, AN10.101
  4. Monastic discipline AN1.15, AN2.127, AN2.128, AN2.129, AN2.280AN2.309, AN4.12, AN4.244, AN5.251, AN5.252, AN5.253, AN5.272AN5.285, AN7.75AN7.82, AN10.31, AN10.32, AN10.33, AN10.44, AN10.35, AN10.36, AN10.44, AN10.71
  5. Reproving others AN5.167, AN10.44
  6. Aids to the training
    1. Heedfulness AN1.58, AN1.59, AN1.98, AN1.99, AN1.114, AN1.115, AN4.116, AN4.117, AN6.53, AN10.15
    2. Careful attention AN1.20, AN1.66, AN1.67, AN1.74, AN1.75, AN1.106, AN1.107, AN1.122, AN1.123
    3. Seclusion AN2.30, AN4.138, AN4.262, AN5.110, AN5.127, AN5.176, AN6.42, AN8.86
    4. Health AN5.29, AN5.123, AN5.124, AN5.125, AN5.126, AN5.207, AN5.208
    5. Trainee’s powers AN5.1AN5.12, AN7.15
    6. Factors of striving (five) AN5.53, AN5.54, AN5.135, AN5.136, AN10.11
    7. Aids to self–confidence (five) AN5.101
  7. The sequential course of practice
    1. Virtue, concentration, wisdom AN3.73, AN3.81AN3.90, AN3.92, AN4.2, AN4.136, AN4.137, AN6.105, AN9.12
    2. Proximate causes AN5.24, AN6.50, AN7.65, AN8.81, AN10.1, AN10.2, AN10.3, AN11.1, AN11.2, AN11.3
    3. Modes of practice AN4.161AN4.170
    4. Four purifications AN4.194
    5. From faith to liberation AN4.198, AN10.99
    6. From right association to liberation AN10.61, AN10.62
    7. Ending birth and death AN10.76
  8. Decline and progress [of monks] AN2.200AN2.209, AN4.158, AN5.8, AN5.9, AN5.10, AN5.89, AN5.90, AN5.149, AN5.150, AN6.21, AN6.22, AN6.31, AN6.33, AN6.62, AN6.68, AN6.69, AN7.23, AN7.24, AN7.25, AN7.26, AN7.27, AN7.28, AN7.32, AN7.33, AN7.34, AN7.35, AN8.79, AN9.6, AN10.53, AN10.54, AN10.55, AN10.67, AN10.68, AN10.82, AN10.84, AN10.85, AN10.86, AN11.17
  9. Giving up the training AN3.39, AN4.122, AN5.5, AN5.75, AN5.76, AN6.60, AN8.14

IX. Meditation

    1. Serenity and insight AN2.31, AN4.92, AN4.93, AN4.94, AN4.170, AN5.73, AN5.74, AN9.4, AN10.54
    2. Aids to meditation
      1. Establishments of mindfulness (four) AN3.156, AN6.117, AN6.118, AN9.63AN9.72
      2. Right striving (four) and right effort AN2.5, AN3.157, AN4.13, AN4.14, AN4.69, AN6.55, AN8.80, AN9.73AN9.82
      3. Bases of psychic potency (four) AN5.67, AN5.68, AN9.83AN9.92
      4. Faculties (four) AN4.151; (five) AN6.3
      5. Powers (two) AN2.11, AN2.12, AN2.13; (four) AN4.152, AN4.153, AN4.154, AN4.155, AN4.261, AN9.5; (five) AN5.13, AN5.14, AN5.15, AN5.16, AN6.4; (seven) AN7.3, AN7.4
      6. Factors of enlightenment (seven) AN1.74, AN1.75, AN4.14, AN4.238, AN10.102
    3. Subjects of meditation
      1. Overview AN1.394AN1.574
      2. Mindfulness of the body AN1.575AN1.627, AN9.11,
      3. Mindfulness of breathing AN5.96, AN5.97, AN5.98, AN10.60
      4. Walking meditation AN5.29
      5. Perceptions and contemplations AN5.30, AN5.57, AN5.61, AN5.62, AN5.69, AN5.70, AN5.71, AN5.72, AN5.121, AN5.122, AN5.144, AN6.35, AN6.102, AN6.103, AN6.104, AN7.16, AN7.17, AN7.18, AN7.19, AN7.48, AN7.49, AN7.55, AN9.1, AN9.3, AN9.16, AN10.56, AN10.57, AN10.59, AN10.60, AN10.101
      6. Mindfulness of death AN6.19, AN6.20, AN8.73, AN8.74
      7. Recollections AN1.296AN1.305, AN3.70, AN6.9, AN6.10, AN6.25, AN6.26, AN11.11, AN11.12, AN11.13
      8. Loving kindness and the four immeasurables AN1.53, AN1.54, AN1.55, AN3.63, AN3.65, AN3.70, AN4.67, AN4.125, AN4.126, AN4.190, AN6.13, AN7.62, AN8.1, AN8.63, AN9.18, AN10.219, AN1.15, AN1.16
      9. Kasiṇas (ten) AN10.25, AN10.26, AN10.29
    4. Concentration AN3.32, AN3.101, AN3.102, AN4.41, AN5.27, AN5.28, AN5.113, AN6.24, AN6.70, AN6.72, AN6.73, AN6.74, AN7.40, AN7.41, AN7.45, AN7.67, AN8.63, AN9.37, AN10.6, AN10.7, AN11.7AN11.9, AN11.16
    5. The stages of meditative development AN5.28
      1. Jhānas AN3.58, AN3.63, AN4.123, AN4.124, AN4.190, AN5.28, AN6.60, AN6.73, AN6.74, AN11.16
      2. Eight bases of overcoming AN8.65, AN10.29
      3. Eight emancipations AN8.66
      4. Nine progressive attainments AN9.31AN9.61
    6. Meditative attainments and rebirth AN3.116, AN4.123, AN4.124, AN4.125, AN4.126
    7. Three true knowledges AN3.58, AN3.59
    8. Six direct knowledges AN3.101, AN3.102, AN5.23, AN5.28, AN5.67, AN5.68, AN6.2, AN6.70, AN9.35

X. Wisdom

  1. Praise of wisdom AN4.141, AN4.142, AN4.143, AN4.144, AN4.145
  2. Aids to the growth of wisdom AN4.248, AN8.2,
  3. Right view (and wrong view) AN1.268AN1.276, AN1.306AN1.318, AN2.125, AN2.126, AN5.25, AN6.98, AN6.101, AN10.93
  4. Learning the Dhamma AN3.20, AN3.30, AN3.67, AN3.127, AN4.6, AN4.102, AN4.107, AN4.191, AN5.26, AN5.65, AN5.66, AN5.73, AN5.74, AN5.151, AN5.152, AN5.153, AN5.165, AN5.169, AN5.194, AN5.202, AN6.51, AN6.56, AN6.86, AN6.87, AN6.88, AN8.82, AN9.4
  5. Teaching the Dhamma AN1.320AN1.327, AN2.14, AN3.14, AN3.22, AN3.43, AN3.44, AN3.125, AN3.131, AN4.42, AN4.48, AN4.111, AN4.128, AN4.139, AN4.140, AN5.26, AN5.99, AN5.131, AN5.133, AN5.157, AN5.159, AN9.4, AN10.83
  6. The domain of wisdom
    1. Dependent origination AN3.61, AN10.92
    2. The five aggregates AN4.41, AN4.90, AN9.66
    3. The three characteristics (collectively) AN3.136, AN4.49, AN6.98, AN6.99, AN6.100, AN6.102, AN6.103, AN6.104, AN7.16, AN7.17, AN7.18, AN10.93
    4. Non–self AN3.32, AN3.33, AN4.177
    5. Four noble truths AN3.58, AN3.61, AN4.186, AN4.190, AN9.13
    6. Questions and answers AN6.63, AN8.83, AN9.14, AN10.27, AN10.28, AN10.58
  7. The fruits of wisdom
    1. The fixed course of rightness AN3.22, AN5.151, AN5.152, AN5.153, AN6.86, AN6.87, AN6.88, AN6.98, AN6.99, AN6.100, AN6.101
    2. Analytical knowledges AN4.172, AN5.86, AN5.95, AN7.38, AN7.39
    3. Liberation AN2.31, AN2.87, AN3.101, AN3.102, AN4.178, AN5.25, AN5.26, AN5.71, AN5.72, AN5.134, AN5.170, AN7.55, AN9.36, AN10.95, AN11.16
  8. Nibbāna AN3.32, AN3.55, AN4.169, AN4.179, AN7.19, AN9.34, AN9.36, AN9.47, AN9.48, AN9.49, AN9.50, AN9.51, AN10.6, AN10.7, AN10.29, AN11.7, AN11.8

XI. The Institutional Saṅgha

  1. Good and bad assemblies AN2.42AN2.51, AN2.62, AN3.95, AN4.7, AN4.190, AN4.211
  2. Disputes, schism, and harmony AN2.15, AN2.63, AN3.95, AN3.124, AN4.243, AN5.54, AN5.78, AN6.11, AN6.12, AN6.36, AN6.46, AN6.54, AN7.23, AN10.37AN10.43, AN10.50, AN10.87
  3. Saṅgha and laity AN5.111, AN5.225, AN5.226, AN7.13, AN8.87, AN8.88, AN8.89, AN9.17, AN9.19

XII. The Community of Noble Ones

  1. Types of noble ones AN2.36, AN3.21, AN3.25, AN3.86, AN3.87, AN3.88, AN4.5, AN4.87, AN4.88, AN4.89, AN4.90, AN4.131, AN4.241, AN7.14, AN7.15, AN7.16, AN7.55, AN7.56, AN8.59, AN8.60, AN9.9, AN9.10, AN9.12, AN9.43, AN9.44, AN9.45, AN10.16, AN10.63, AN10.64
  2. The stream-enterer AN1.268AN1.276, AN5.179, AN6.10, AN6.34, AN6.89AN6.95, AN6.97, AN9.27, AN10.92
  3. The non-returner AN2.36, AN3.94, AN4.124, AN4.126, AN6.65, AN10.219
  4. The arahant AN3.25, AN3.58, AN3.59, AN3.93, AN3.143, AN3.144, AN3.145, AN4.38, AN4.87, AN4.195, AN5.71, AN5.107, AN5.108, AN6.2, AN6.3, AN6.4, AN6.49, AN6.55, AN6.66, AN6.76, AN6.83, AN8.28, AN9.7, AN9.8, AN9.25, AN9.26, AN10.12, AN10.19, AN10.20, AN10.90, AN10.100, AN10.111, AN10.112, AN11.10

XIII. Types of Persons

  1. Assessing people AN4.192, AN6.44, AN6.52, AN6.57, AN6.62, AN7.68, AN10.75
  2. The fool and the wise person AN2.21, AN2.38, AN2.98AN2.107, AN3.1AN3.8, AN4.115, AN10.233, AN10.234,AN10.235, AN10.236
  3. The bad person and the good person AN2.32, AN2.134, AN2.135,AN2.136, AN2.137, AN3.9, AN3.150, AN3.151, AN3.152, AN3.153, AN4.3, AN4.4, AN4.43, AN4.73, AN4.91, AN4.109, AN4.135, AN4.187, AN4.201AN4.210, AN4.222AN4.230, AN4.263
  4. The blameworthy monk and the esteemed monk AN3.11, AN3.13, AN3.50, AN3.91, AN3.99, AN3.123; AN4.26, AN4.200, AN5.81, AN5.82, AN5.83, AN5.84, AN5.85, AN5.88, AN5.111, AN5.112, AN5.138, AN5.139, AN5.231, AN6.59, AN7.1, AN7.2, AN8.3, AN8.4, AN10.23, AN10.24, AN10.87, AN11.17
  5. The bad monk AN2.39, AN3.27, AN3.50, AN4.68, AN4.243, AN5.102, AN5.103, AN5.211, AN5.212, AN6.45, AN7.72, AN8.10, AN8.14, AN8.20, AN8.90, AN10.77, AN10.84, AN10.85, AN10.86, AN10.88, AN10.89, AN11.6
  6. The exemplary monk AN1.394AN1.574, AN2.130, AN2.131, AN3.49, AN3.96, AN3.97, AN3.98, AN3.133, AN3.140, AN3.141, AN3.142; AN4.22, AN4.38, AN4.112, AN4.114, AN4.176, AN4.181, AN4.259, AN4.260, AN5.86, AN5.87, AN5.104, AN5.107, AN5.108, AN5.109, AN5.140, AN5.232, AN5.233, AN5.234, AN5.235, AN6.1AN6.7, AN7.68, AN8.13, AN8.57, AN8.58, AN8.71, AN8.72, AN9.22, AN10.8, AN10.9, AN10.10, AN10.70, AN10.97, AN11.14
  7. One’s own welfare and others’ welfare AN4.95, AN4.96, AN4.97, AN4.98, AN4.99, AN4.186, AN5.17, AN5.18, AN5.19, AN5.20, AN7.68, AN8.25, AN8.62
  8. Laypersons, good and bad AN2.132, AN2.133, AN3.79, AN4.60, AN4.176, AN5.42, AN5.47, AN5.58, AN5.63, AN5.64, AN5.171, AN5.172, AN5.173, AN5.174, AN5.175, AN6.16, AN7.53, AN8.21, AN8.22, AN8.23, AN8.24, AN8.25, AN8.38, AN10.74. AN11.11, AN11.12, AN11.13
  9. Bhikkhunīs AN4.159, AN5.115, AN5.116, AN5.117, AN5.118, AN5.119, AN5.120, AN7.56, AN8.51, AN8.52, AN10.28
  10. Women AN1.279, AN1.280, AN1.281, AN1.282, AN1.283, AN2.61, AN3.129, AN4.80, AN4.197, AN5.55, AN5.229, AN5.230, AN7.63, AN8.46, AN8.49, AN8.51, AN10.213, AN10.214, AN10.215

© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012)

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Selections from the Numerical Discourses: Free Kindle, Epub, Mobi, PDF, docx, html

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Selections from the Middle Length Discourses: Free Kindle, Epub, Mobi, PDF, .docx, .xhtml

This is an ebook version of the selections found on the Wisdom Publications website, translated by Bhikkhu Nyanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi:

This collection contains almost one third of the complete book.

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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.

 

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

Sutta Pitaka e-books: epub, mobi, Kindle

The following are links to Sutta texts available for e-book platforms such as the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. Not all texts are available on all platforms.  If you know of Sutta e-books (.mobi or .epub) that are not listed, please share them in the comments below. Never loaded books directly onto your device? It’s easy.

Wisdom Publication Editions: Kindle, EPUB,  PDF, paid

The Wisdom of the Buddha Series is now available as a three-file download directly from the Wisdom Publications website, wisdompubs.org. By purchasing through the Wisdom website instead of Amazon, you will get an epub and pdf format as well as kindle. And the files will not have the DRM (restrictive copy protection) so you are free to use them on any device. To find them, simply do a title search.

Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net

These ebooks are from the translations on SuttaCentral.net

From ReadingFaithfully.org: Epub and Mobi, Free

All of the books available for download from ReadingFaithfully.org are allowed by their copyright to be used and shared freely. For specific requirements check the rights information in each book.

First Four Nikayas
Khuddhaka Nikaya
Vinaya
Commentaries

Original Texts in Pali: Epub, free

From this website, Mobi and Epub books in the Pali language. Includes proper font support.

Ancient Buddhist Texts: Mobi and Epub, free

All of the English language translations on ancient-buddhist-texts.net are currently available in Mobi and Epub format from the the Ancient Buddhist Texts Ebook Page. There are dozens of documents in the zipped download, including

  • The Great Emancipation (DN 16, Mahaparinibbana Sutta)
  • Exalted Utterances (The complete Udana)
  • The Discourse about the Ways of Attending to Mindfulness (MN. 10, Satipatthana Sutta)
  • The Discourse about Mindfulness while Breathing (MN. 118, Anapanasati Sutta)
  • The Short Readings (KN 1, the complete Khuddakapatha)
  • The Way to the Beyond (Sn V, the fifth chapter of the Sutta Nipata)

Ajahn Thanissaro, Metta Forest Monastery: Epub and Mobi, free

There is a growing collection at dhammatalks.org, including the complete Dhammapada and Udana, Itivuttaka, and Sutta Nipata, as well as the anthologies Into the Stream, Beyond Coping, and Mindful of the Body. Expect more to come in the near future. Now The Handful of Leaves Anthology is available as epubs.

Mahamevnawa—Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thera, Kindle, paid

All of the English Sutta translations by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gananananda are now available as Kindle Books from Amazon. Visit the Mahamevnawa Publications page to see all the books and all the purchase options.

Other Items

  • Venerable Pesala has an edited version of Venerable Narada’s Dhammapada translation along with summaries of the commentary stories. It can be found as an free epub  here. Click on the book icon.

Are you aware of other Mobi or Epub Sutta books available? Post them in the comments. Note: this page is exclusively for Sutta books.

Related Articles:

Anthologies for Practice

An anthology is a collection of ancient scriptures organized around a topic. This is a great way for people new to reading the suttas as well as more experienced readers to delve deeply into a single concept. We recommend all of the anthologies below. You may want to print out the simple chart of the Sutta Pitaka so you understand where the scriptures you read fit in to the canonical collections.

Check out How To: Using an Anthology for Daily Practice

In the Buddha’s Words

downloadd01d40af_2fimages-sd_2fImages-miscWeb_2fIn_20The_20Buddha_27s_20WordsIn the Buddha’s Words, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications. This is a comprehensive anthology of suttas, covering the whole range of the Buddha’s teachings. An excellent text for anyone regardless of experience level. This book will serve well as a foundation for your practice with the suttas as well as provide a lifetime of teachings. This is certainly a text to be read repeatedly. You can down load an e-book with all of the chapter introductions  here. This book is available in print form as well as on the Kindle. (If you are going to get the electronic version, be sure to do it from the Wisdom website because you get a Kindle, epub, and pdf all for one price)

Short topical anthologies by Ajahn Thanissaro

AT-ThumbMontage.jpgFree print copies are usually available from Metta Forest Monastery. All of his anthologies begin with basic concepts as a foundation for the main topic. Suitable for newcomers. They are anthologies in the sense that they contain suttas from throughout the canon, and sometimes only excerpts. Several of these books have counterparts in the Study Guide section of Access to Insight so you could check them out there before requesting them. They are now all available from the dhammatalks.org  website in multiple formats.

  • Merit, suttas that explain the three types of merit created through giving, being virtuous and cultivating the mind.
  • Into the Stream, suttas that explain the first stage of enlightenment and the path.
  • A Meditator’s Tools, suttas that explain the ten subjects for meditation. (Previously titled Recollections)
  • Beyond Coping: A Study Guide on Old Age, Illness and Death.
  • A Burden Off the Mind, suttas that explain the five aggregates.
  • Mindful of the Body
  • Recognizing the Dhamma, suttas based on the practice advice the Blessed One gave to his step mother, Mahā Pajāpatī.
  • The Sublime Attitudes: A Study Guide on the Brahmaviharas

Other anthologies

The Life of the Buddha, According to the Pali Canon, by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, Buddhist Publication Society and Pariyatti. Suttas and passages from the Vinaya placed in an approximately chronological order. The repetitions have mostly been removed. Ad excellent way to experience the Canon. There is a free PDF download available from Pariyatti, although it is not printable.

Buddha, My Refuge, by Bhikkhu Khantipalo, Buddhist Publication Society. Suttas that teach the qualities of the Buddha. Very useful if you would like to develop a Recollection of the Buddha meditation practice.

Related Articles

Have you used an anthology of suttas for daily practice? Share your experience in the comments below. Feel free to comment anonymously.

Canonical Collections For Sutta Reading Practice

This is a quick guide to the Sutta Pitaka as it relates to daily sutta reading practice. You may also want to consult the articles on choosing a text based on your current experience level and time commitment. The list below follows the traditional organization of the canon. See the sources page for information on how to obtain these books, as well as the page Building a Sutta Library. Because it is recommended that we use a printed book for sutta practice, only print books, downloadable PDFs, and some Kindle documents are mentioned. This is not meant to be a comprehensive bibliography. You may want to consult the glossary for unfamiliar terms.

All of the books below contain introductions and/or notes that will allow you to approach the text directly even without much knowledge of Buddhism.

Dīgha Nikāya, Long Discourses (D or DN): Contains 34 suttas that range in length from 5 to 47 pages. Many suttas are readily accessible to a newcomer and many are quite deep and detailed. In terms of a daily sutta practice, this text may be best suited to someone who is already familiar with one of the other nikāyas. Published books:

  • The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya by Maurice Walsh, Wisdom Publications. Complete text.
  • Found in Handful of Leaves Volume 1, translated by Ajahn Thanissaro. This anthology contains complete translations of eight suttas, and partial translations of two. Print copies from Metta Forest Monastery. Download E-books from DhammaTalks.org.


Majjhima Nikāya, Middle Length Discourses(M or MN): Contains 152 suttas, most from 5 to 10 pages. This is an excellent text for a newcomer or an experienced practitioner. It is perfectly suited for a one-sutta-per-day practice, about 15-25 minutes each day. For more details, see Majjhima Nikaya as a Daily Practice. Published books:

  • The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: a Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, translated by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications. Complete text.
  • Found in Handful of Leaves Volume 2, translated by Ajahn Ṭhanissaro. Contains 76 suttas from the Majjhima Nikāya. Print copies from Metta Forest Monastery. Download E-books from DhammaTalks.org.

Saṁyutta Nikaya, Connected Discourses(S or SN): Contains thousands of short suttas grouped by topic. There is a wide variety of genres in this collection: verse, prose, questions and answers, stories, doctrinal analysis, similes, etc. Because most of the suttas are short, if one reads one sutta a day, it may require several years to complete this collection. Instead, a fixed reading time may be more appropriate, say from 10-30 minutes per day. If you have the patience and background to move through long series of analytical suttas, this text would work for a beginner, but it may be better suited to someone already familiar with one of the other nikāyas. If you are using this as your first text for practice, you may want to consider using the Handful of Leaves edition. Published books:

  • The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Saṁyutta Nikāya, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications. Complete text.
  • Handful of Leaves Volume 3, translated by Ajahn Ṭhanissaro. Contains 370 suttas from the Saṁyutta Nikāya. Print copies from Metta Forest Monastery. Download E-books from DhammaTalks.org.

Aṅguttara Nikāya, Numerical Discourses(A or AN): Contains thousands of suttas mostly one or two pages long. The suttas are grouped by the number of items around which the exposition revolves. For instance, suttas that cover three items are grouped in the Book of Threes; suttas that cover four items are grouped in the Book of Fours, etc. This collection contains lots of rich advice for practice in daily life. The suttas are generally well suited for a newcomer, especially if you use an anthology. If your time to read is limited, this collection would be well suited for a one-sutta-per-day practice. Otherwise you can read from it for a set amount of time each day. Published books:

  • The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications. Complete text. Download an index of the English titles here.
  • Handful of Leaves Volume 3, translated by Ajahn Ṭhanissaro. Contains a collection of 333 suttas from the Aṅguttara Nikāya. Print copies from Metta Forest Monastery. Download E-books from DhammaTalks.org.


Khudhaka Nikāya, Short Books: This nikāya is a group of smaller autonomous books, explained individually below. These texts are all good to use for daily practice. You may want to choose one to use as a backup text if you are doing a more involved practice with one of the Nikayas listed above.

Khuddakapāṭha (Khp): This is a collection of 10 suttas. Important to read but perhaps not long enough on which to base a daily practice. Published books:

  • The Short Readings (Khuddakapāṭha, Khuddakanikāya 1), Translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu. Download from ancient-buddhist-texts.net in English (65kb) or Pāḷi and English (146kb). Look for the download link. Complete text. Complete audio recording available.
  • Khuddakapatha: Short Passages, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Complete Collection. Available from the Metta Forest Monastery as part of the Sutta Nipata publication. Download e-book from DhammaTalks.org.

Dhammapada (Dhp): This is a collection of 423 short verses, grouped into 26 chapters. This is an excellent text for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike. It takes about 4 minutes to read one chapter so it is well suited to someone with a short amount of time available. Even just reading a single verse each day will instill your life with the Blessed One’s wisdom. It is also a good secondary/backup practice text. Be sure to find a translation that is made in line with the tradition that you are practicing. Recommendations for Theravada practitioners are found below. All are complete texts.

Udana (Ud): This collection contains 80 suttas composed of (usually) a story in prose form followed by an inspired verse. Good for a short one-sutta-per-day practice. Published books:

Itivuttaka (Itv): This collection contains 112 suttas of prose followed by verse. Most suttas are two pages or less. This is an excellent text for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike. Good for a short one-sutta-per-day practice. It is also a good secondary practice text. If you are new to the sutta, you may want to start with chapter two, read to the end, and then read chapter one. Published Books

  • The Udāna and the Itivuttaka, Two Classics from the Pali Canon, translated by John D. Ireland, Buddhist Publication Society (BPS) Complete text.
  • Itivuttaka: This was said by the Buddha, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. (revised Jan. 17, 2017) Complete text. Print copies from Metta Forest Monastery. Download E-books from DhammaTalks.org.

Sutta Nipāta (Sn or Snp): Seventy one sets of verses, sometimes preceded by a prose story. Many of these suttas will be easily accessible to the newcomer; many of them are deep and profound. To use as a daily practice this collection may be better suited to someone with a background in the concepts of Theravada Buddhism. Good for a one-sutta-per-day practice. With this text especially, expect to spend some time in contemplation. Published Books:

  • The Suttanipata: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications. Complete text. This edition also contains a translation of the ancient commentary. (This actually take up the majority of the book.)
  • The Rhinoceros Horn and Other Early Buddhist Poems (Sutta Nipāta), translated by K. R. Norman, with alternative translations by I. B. Horner and Ven. Walapola Rahula, Pali Text Society. Paperback edition available. Complete text.
  • Sutta Nipata: The Discourse Group, translated by Ajahn Thanissaro. Print version vailable from Metta Forest Monastery. E-book from Dhammatalks.org.

Vimanavatthu Stories of Heavenly Mansions Book Cover

Vimānavatthu (Vv) and Petavatthu (Pv): Stories of devata mansions and ghosts. Would be a good text for practice by someone with knowledge of Theravada concepts. Published Books:

  • Stories of Heavenly Mansions from the Vimanavatthu. Mahamegha. This is a new translation in very simple modern language.  Available in print and Kindle. Complete Translation.
  • Stories of Ghosts from the Petavatthu. Mahamegha. This is a new translation in very simple modern language. Available  in print and Kindle. Complete Translation.
  • Minor Anthologies Vol. IV : Vimānavatthu (Stories of the Mansions) and Petavatthu (Stories of the Departed). This is a single volume of both books. ISBN 13: 978-086013073-4 Published by the Pali Text Society. The translation is quite readable. Complete translation including excerpts from the commentary. This translation is closer to the Pali than the two listed above.

Theragāthā (Thag) and Therīgāthā (Thīg): Verses of Arahant Bhikkhus and Bhikkhuṇis. Two excellent collections for practice. The ultimate source for inspiration and reminder of the goal of the practice. Just reading a few verses a day can be beneficial. Consider reading a few verses each day as a supplement to any practice. Published Books:

  • Verses of the Senior Monks: Theragatha Ebook by Bhikkhu Sujato EPUB, Kindle, PDF
  • The Voice of Enlightened Monks: The Thera Gatha. Mahamegha. This is a new translation in very simple modern language.  Available from Mahamevnawa in print and Kindle. Complete Translation.
  • The Voice Of Enlightened Nuns. Mahamegha. This is a new translation in very simple modern language.  Available from Mahamevnaw in print and Kindle. Complete Translation.
  • Poems of Early Buddhist Monks (Theragāthā), translated by K. R. Norman, Pali Text Society. Paperback edition available. Complete text.
  • Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns (Therīgāthā), Translated by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids and K. R. Norman (two different complete translations bound in the same volume), Pali Text Society. Paperback edition available. Complete text. You can read an on-line version of Mrs. Rhys Davids, translation here.
  • Poems of the Elders: An Anthology from the Theragatha & Therigatha, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. (revised Jan. 17, 2017) Anthology. Print version vailable from Metta Forest Monastery. E-book from Dhammatalks.org.

Jataka (J): The canonical part of this collection are only verses. What are commonly known as the Jataka stories are actually the commentary stories behind them.

  • The Jataka or Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births, edited by E. W. Cowell. This is the only complete translation into English. You can download e-book versions here.
  • Jataka Tales of the Buddha: An Anthology, by Ken & Visakha Kawasaki. Although this is just an anthology, it contains all of the major stories and most of the others.

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