Saturday, April 5, 2014

Oldest sutras in the Pali Canon (audio)

The Buddha with sporty headphones (

The Sutta-Nipata (Saddhatissa)
The Sutta Nipāta contains some of the oldest sutras in the Pali Canon. It is a rich source of texts offering guidance to lay Buddhists and also abounds in discourses that extol the contemplative ideals of early Buddhism. 
Though as a formal "collection" it exists only in the Theravada tradition, some of the individual sutras are found in other traditions. One entire chapter, the Aṭṭhakavagga, is also found in the Chinese Tripiṭaka (canon, lit. "Threefold Basket").

In a series of lectures given at Bodhi Monastery in New Jersey beginning in October 2004, Bhikkhu Bodhi explains sutras from the first three chapters.
Monastic with headphones (
The first three studied -- the Ratana Sutta, Mahā Maṅgala Sutta, and Mettā Sutta -- are among the most popular texts in ancient Theravada Buddhism, the "Teaching of the Elders."
They provide the backbone of understanding, practice, and attitude in the Theravada Buddhist world and are often taught to lay people, who grow up imbibing the values and ideals of early Buddhism. 
They also serve as “Protective Discourses” (paritta suttas), recited to provide blessings and protection in times of difficulty and danger. The first discourse on the Jewel or Gem (Ratana) also gives a good introduction to the Sutta Nipāta in general and its place and history in the larger Discourse Collection comprised of many sections. LISTEN (with read along PDF handouts)
The Buddha’s Teaching As It Is
Bhikkhu Bodhi, former BPS editor, is the foremost American Theravada scholar-monk

The Buddha with a Sangha of noble disciples (Thai-on/
The Buddha

The Four Noble Truths

The True Nature of Existence

Dependent Origination

Rebirth and Karma


The Noble Eightfold Path


Social Teachings of the Buddha

The Community (Sangha)

In the fall of 1979, while living at the Washington Buddhist Vihara, in D.C., Bhikkhu Bodhi recorded a series of ten lectures in English on the most fundamental teachings of early Buddhism. Ven. Gunaratana, at the time the president of the Buddhist Vihara Society, in B.C., suggested the venerable American scholar-monk record the lectures so that the monastery could distribute them as a set of cassettes. LISTEN (with PDF handouts)

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