The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (Teachings of the Buddha)
Bhikkhu Nanamoli, Bhikkhu Bodhi
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This book offers a complete translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, or Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, one of the major collections of texts in the Pali Canon, the authorized scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. This collection--among the oldest records of the historical Buddha's original teachings--consists of 152 suttas or discourses of middle length, distinguished as such from the longer and shorter suttas of the other collections. The Majjhima Nikaya might be concisely described as the Buddhist scripture that combines the richest variety of contextual settings with the deepest and most comprehensive assortment of teachings. These teachings, which range from basic ethics to instructions in meditation and liberating insight, unfold in a fascinating procession of scenarios that show the Buddha in living dialogue with people from many different strata of ancient Indian society: with kings and princes, priests and ascetics, simple villagers and erudite philosophers. Replete with drama, reasoned argument, and illuminating parable and simile, these discourses exhibit the Buddha in the full glory of his resplendent wisdom, majestic sublimity, and compassionate humanity.
The translation is based on an original draft translation left by the English scholar-monk Bhikkhu Nanamoli, which has been edited and revised by the American monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, who provides a long introduction and helpful explanatory notes. Combining lucidity of expression with accuracy, this translation enables the Buddha to speak across twenty-five centuries in language that addresses the most pressing concerns of the contemporary reader seeking clarification of the timeless issues of truth, value, and the proper conduct of life.
Winner of the 1995 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book Award, and the Tricycle Prize for Excellence in Buddhist Publishing for Dharma Discourse.
Tevijjavacchagotta Sutta To Vacchagotta on the Threefold True Knowledge 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Vesālī in the Great Wood in the Hall with the Peaked Roof. 2. Now on that occasion the wanderer Vacchagotta was staying in the Wanderers’ Park of the Single White-lotus Mango Tree.712 3. Then, when it was morning, the Blessed One dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, went into Vesālī for alms. Then the Blessed One thought: “It is still too
Monarch. 36. “Again, the elephant-treasure appears to the Wheel-turning Monarch, all white, with sevenfold stance, with supernormal power, flying through the air, the king of elephants named ‘Uposatha.’ On seeing him, the Wheel-turning Monarch’s mind has confidence in him thus: ‘It would be wonderful to ride the elephant, if he would undergo taming!’ Then the elephant-treasure  undergoes taming just like a fine thoroughbred elephant well tamed for a long time. And it so happens that the
King Yama says: ‘Good man, did it never occur to you—an intelligent and mature man—“I too am subject to death, I am not exempt from death: surely I had better do good by body, speech, and mind”?’ He says: ‘I was unable, venerable sir, I was negligent.’ Then King Yama says: ‘Good man, through negligence you have failed to do good by body, speech, and mind. Certainly they will deal with you according to your negligence. But this evil action of yours was not done by your mother…or by gods: this evil
form thirty-two parts. The details of this meditation practice are explained at Vsm VIII, 42–144. 149 These four elements are explained by Buddhist tradition as the primary attributes of matter—solidity, cohesion, heat, and distension. The detailed explanation is found at Vsm XI, 27–117. 150 The phrase “as though” (seyyathāpi) suggests that this meditation, and those to follow, need not be based upon an actual encounter with a corpse in the state of decay described, but can be performed as an
means “the Unrivalled.” 520 One who has attained to cessation, it seems, is not subject to injury or death within the attainment itself. At Vsm XXIII, 37 it is said that the attainment protects even his belongings such as his robes and seat from destruction. 521 The name means “the Survivor.” 522 That is, by causing defilements to arise in their minds, he will prevent them from escaping from saṁsāra. 523 MA takes pains to point out that Māra did not exercise control over their actions, in