The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Complete Translation of the Anguttara Nikaya (Teachings of the Buddha)

Language: English

Pages: 1944

ISBN: 1614290407

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Like the River Ganges flowing down from the Himalayas, the entire Buddhist tradition flows down to us from the teachings and deeds of the historical Buddha, who lived and taught in India during the fifth century B.C.E. To ensure that his legacy would survive the ravages of time, his direct disciples compiled records of the Buddha's teachings soon after his passing. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, which prevails in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, these records are regarded as the definitive "word of the Buddha." Preserved in Pali, an ancient Indian language closely related to the language that the Buddha spoke, this full compilation of texts is known as the Pali Canon.

At the heart of the Buddha's teaching were the suttas (Sanskrit sutras), his discourses and dialogues. If we want to find out what the Buddha himself actually said, these are the most ancient sources available to us. The suttas were compiled into collections called "Nikayas," of which there are four, each organized according to a different principle. The Digha Nikaya consists of longer discourses; the Majjhima Nikaya of middle-length discourses; the Samyutta Nikaya of thematically connected discourses; and the Anguttara Nikaya of numerically patterned discourses.

The present volume, which continues Wisdom's famous Teachings of the Buddha series, contains a full translation of the Anguttara Nikaya. The Anguttara arranges the Buddha's discourses in accordance with a numerical scheme intended to promote retention and easy comprehension. In an age when writing was still in its infancy, this proved to be the most effective way to ensure that the disciples could grasp and replicate the structure of a teaching.

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concentration, the foremost kind of wisdom, and the foremost kind of liberation. These are the four things that are foremost.” 75 (5) Foremost (2) “Bhikkhus, there are these four things that are foremost. What four? The foremost of forms, the foremost of feelings, the foremost of perceptions, and the foremost among states of existence. These are the four things that are foremost.”769 76 (6) Kusinārā On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kusinārā between the twin sal trees in the

they lend an ear and set their minds on understanding it. This is the second astounding and amazing thing that becomes manifest with the manifestation of a Tathāgata, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One. (3) “People delight in excitement,823 take delight in excitement, rejoice in excitement. But when a Tathāgata is teaching the Dhamma that leads to peace, people wish to listen, and they lend an ear and set their minds on understanding it. This is the third astounding and amazing thing that

prone to delusion and often experiences pain and dejection born of delusion. These five faculties arise in him feebly: the faculty of faith, the faculty of energy, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, and the faculty of wisdom. Because these five faculties are feeble in him, he sluggishly attains the immediacy condition for the destruction of the taints.851 This is called practice that is painful with sluggish direct knowledge. (2) “And what is practice that is painful with

Doṇa, is a brahmin one who remains within the boundary? Here, a brahmin is well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. He lives the spiritual life of virginal celibacy for forty-eight years…. [all as above down to] … Because his brahmin wife does not serve for sensual pleasure, amusement, or sensual delight, but only for procreation. When he has engaged in sexual activity, out

not incline to ardor … and striving, this is the fifth bondage of the mind. “These, bhikkhus, are the five bondages of the mind …. These four establishments of mindfulness are to be developed for abandoning these five bondages of the mind.” [462] III. RIGHT STRIVINGS 73 (1) The Training “Bhikkhus, there are these five setbacks in the training. What five? (1) The destruction of life, (2) taking what is not given, (3) sexual misconduct, (4) false speech, and (5) [indulging in] liquor, wine,

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