Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: An Anthology of Suttas from the Anguttara Nikaya / Edition 1

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"Western scholarship has often depicted early Buddhism as originally a movement of renunciants which relegated the lay followers to the sidelines as mere devotees and supporters of the Order. A careful study of the Pali Cannon, however, would uncover a rich variety of teachings given to the laity aimed at both their temporal welfare and their spiritual uplift. While the Buddha's Teaching points to the utter transcendence of conditioned existence, he did not disdain to advise his lay followers on the most mundane aspects of their daily lives."—From the introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi Drawn from the Anguttara Nikaya, Numerical Discourses of the Buddha brings together teachings of the Buddha ranging from basic ethical observances recommended to the busy man or woman of the world, to the more rigorous instructions on mental training prescribed for the monks and nuns. The Anguttara Nikaya is a part of the Pali Canon, the authorized recension of the Buddha's Word for followers of Theravada Buddhism, the form of Buddhism prevailing in the Buddhist countries of southern Asia. These discourses are called numerical for they retain the structure of the original Anguttara Nikaya. Sayings are organized, not by topic, but by numbers mentioned in the texts. So the first chapter, The Chapter of the Ones contains sayings including the number "one"; The Chapter of the Twos contain sayings including the number "two" and so on, up to The Chapter of Elevens. This organizational scheme, common in ancient Indian literature, can give the reader a haphazard view of the Buddha's teachings. To balance this tendency, Bhikkhu Bodhi provides a systematic introduction to the Buddha's Teaching in the Anguttara Nikaya. The translators also provide notes, a glossary, and another introduction placing the Anguttara Nikaya in the context of the larger Theravada Buddhist Canon. This readable but precise translation will be welcomed by both students of Theravada Buddhsim as well as anyone wishing to learn from the Buddha

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Editorial Reviews

Religious Studies Review
This translation of sections of the Anguttara Nikaya is a welcome addition to Pali canonical studies. The anthology, drawn from all sections of this voluminous work, represents approximately a fifth of the entire text. The translation is readable and literary, intended explicity for a nonspecialist audience. Nyanoponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi successfully aid their readers in navigating this opaque work, which is organized not by theme but by the numerical schema presented in each discourse. Introductory essays, which provide a historical overview of the Pali canon and survey fundamental Buddhist doctrines, set a useful context for the translation. The translations themselves are well annotated with careful and informative endnotes. This work—appropriate for students at varying levels of expertise—is a valuable and approachable resource for investigating the wide variety of teachings and diverse formats of the Pali canon.
— Karen Derris, (Harvard University)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742504059
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Series: Sacred Literature Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Nyanaponika Thera (1901-94) was one of the foremost interpreters of Theravada Buddhism in our time. His books include The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, The Vision of Dhamma and Abhidhamma Studies. Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk from New York City, ordained in Sri Lanka in 1972. He is currently the president and editor of the Buddhist Publication Society. His books include The All-embracing Net of Views, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, and (as editor and reviser) The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.

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