Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Connected Discourses of the Buddha (sutras)

Bhikkhu Bodhi (librarum.org); Amber Larson, Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, CC Liu, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterlyedited book description
The golden Buddha, a forest-tradition itinerant teacher and wandering ascetic from India and Afghanistan shown here in modern Theravada Thailand (Nippon_Newfie/flickr.com)

FREE: Read the sutras (full text)
This volume offers a complete translation of The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya), the third of the four great collections in the Sutra Collection (Sutta Pitaka) of the Pali Canon.

It consists of 56 short chapters, each governed by a unifying theme that binds together the Buddha's discourses into sets. The chapters are organized into five major parts.

The first, "The Book with Verses," is a compilation of sutras composed largely in verse. This book ranks as one of the most inspiring compilations in the Buddhist canon, showing the Buddha as the peerless "teacher of devas and humans."

Bringing Buddhism out of the clouds (HK)
The other four books deal in depth with the principles and meditative structures of early Buddhism. They are compiled in orderly chapters of important short sutras of the Buddha on such major topics as:
  • Dependent Origination (how all things other than nirvana arise only in dependence on causes and conditions), 
  • the Five Aggregates of Clinging (the four groups of physical phenomena lumped as one, "form," and the four psychological groups of phenomena -- "feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness" -- that give rise to the illusory ego, repeated rebirth, and all forms of disappointment/suffering),
  • the Six Sense Bases (the five ordinary physical senses in addition to the mind),
  • the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (the constituents developed immediately preceding awakening),
  • the Noble Eightfold Path (a summary list of the limbs of the Middle Way pointed out by the Buddha), and
  • the Four Noble Truths (the shortest possible summary of all Buddhist teachings as a path to liberation and complete freedom from all suffering).
Buddha, Sukhothai, Thailand
Among the four large divisions (nikayas) belonging to the Pali Canon, the Samyutta Nikaya ("Collection of Connected Discourses") serves as the repository for the many shorter sutras of the Buddha, where he discloses radical insights into the nature of reality and this unique Buddhist path to spiritual emancipation.

This collection was directed at all disciples but is of particular interest to intensive monastic practitioners capable of dedicating the effort to grasp the deepest dimensions of wisdom and compassion and of clarifying them for others.

Bhikkhu Bodhi (bodhimonastery.org)
Moreover, it provides guidance to meditators intent on consummating their efforts with the direct realization of the ultimate truth.

The present translation begins with an insightful general introduction to the collection a whole. Each of the five parts is provided with an introduction intended to guide readers through this vast collection of short Buddhist sutras.

To further assist readers the translator -- the eminent American scholar-monk, Bhikkhu Bodhi, the principal teacher of Wisdom Quarterly writers and translators -- has provided an extensive body of notes clarifying various problems concerning both the language and the meaning of these sacred texts.

Wheel of the Dharma above (NN)
Distinguished by its lucidity and technical precision, this new translation makes this ancient collection of the Buddha's discourses comprehensible to thoughtful readers today. Like its two predecessors in this series, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha is sure to merit a place of honor in the library of every serious student of Buddhism. The Connected Discourses

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