Buddhism: Theravada: Primary Texts
Theravāda Buddhism: Primary Texts
The Therīgāthā, composed more than two millennia ago, is an anthology of poems in the Pali language by and about the first Buddhist women. These women were therīs, the senior ones, among ordained Buddhist women, and they bore that epithet because of their religious achievements. The poems they left behind are arguably among the most ancient examples of women’s writing in the world and they are unmatched for their quality of personal expression and the extraordinary insight they offer into the lives of women in the ancient Indian past―and indeed, into the lives of women as such. This new version of the Therīgāthā, based on a careful reassessment of the major editions of the work and printed in the Roman script common for modern editions of Pali texts, offers the most powerful and the most readable translation ever achieved in English.
Twenty discourses from the Pali Canon--including those most essential to the study and teaching of early Buddhism--are provided in fresh translations, accompanied by introductions that highlight the main themes and set the ideas presented in the context of wider philosophical and religious issues. Taken together, these fascinating works give an account of Buddhist teachings directly from the earliest primary sources. In his general introduction, Holder discusses the structure and language of the Pali Canon--its importance within the Buddhist tradition and the historical context in which it developed--and gives an overview of the basic doctrines of early Buddhism.
On the stirring final journey of the Buddha, covering three months, he instructs his disciples on the elements needed to keep the Dhamma strong and stresses the importance of putting his teaching into practice.This translation of the Maha Parinibbana Sutta was originally done by Sister Vajira, a nun from Germany, in 1964, and was revised and refined by Francis Story. Notes were added at the time of revision (1988) by Ven. Nyanaponika Thera. Finally, this 2nd revised edition (1998) has been updated with stylistic changes that make the translation more modern.This is a small classic. This lucid translation of the story of the Buddha's final days and final instructions to his disciples should be in everyone's library.
This is a classic text on the essence of Buddhist meditation. It is an excellent, in-depth description of mindfulness practice and its benefits. It includes a concise explanation of clear comprehension, which is the kind of mindfulness you use in the course of your daily life. It also presents an easily understandable explanation of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This new edition also includes an introduction from noted author and teacher Sylvia Boorstein. Although the Buddha lived over 2500 years ago, his teachings on meditation are among the most effective methods for healing the pain of grief, finding inner peace, and overcoming the sense of dislocation caused by living in the 21st century. Mindfulness is a method not only for committed Buddhists. It is for everyone interested in mastering the mind.
The renowned Sri Lankan scholar Y. Karunadasa examines the Abhidhamma perspective on the nature of phenomenal existence. He begins with a discussion of dhamma theory, which provides the ontological foundation for Abhidhamma philosophy. He then explains the category of "the conceptual" as the Abhidhamma's answer to the objects of common-sense realism. Among the other topics discussed are the theory of double truth, the analysis of mind, the theory of cognition, the analysis of matter, the nature of time and space, the theory of momentary being, and conditional relations. Not limiting himself to abstract analysis, Karunadasa draws out the Abhidhamma's underlying premises and purposes. The Abhidhamma provides a detailed description of reality in order to identify all sources of suffering and thereby point to a complete cure for the problem of suffering.
This modern translation of the Abhidhammattha Sangaha (Manual of Abhidhamma) offers an introduction to Buddhism's fundamental philosophical psychology. Originally written in the 11th or 12th century, the Sangaha has served as the key to wisdom held in the Abhidhamma. Concisely surveyed are Abhidhamma's central themes, including states of consciousness and mental factors, the functions and processes of the mind, the material world, dependent arising, and the methods and stages of meditation. This presents an exact translation of the Sangaha alongside the original Pali text. A detailed, explanatory guide with more than 40 charts and tables lead readers through the complexities of Adhidhamma.
The Abhidhamma, the third great division of early Buddhist teaching, expounds a revolutionary system of philosophical psychology rooted in the twin Buddhist insights of selflessness and dependent origination. In keeping with the liberative thrust of early Buddhism, this system organizes the entire spectrum of human consciousness around the two poles of Buddhist doctrine - bondage and liberation, Samsara and Nirvana - the starting point and the final goal. It thereby maps out, with remarkable rigour and precision, the inner landscape of the mind to be crossed through the practical work of Buddhist meditation. In this book of groundbreaking essays, Venerable Nyanaponika Thera, one of our age's foremost exponents of Theravada Buddhism, attempts to penetrate the formidable surface of the Abhidhamma and make its principles intelligible to the thoughtful reader of today. Basing his interpretation on the detailed list of mental factors that the Abhidhamma uses as a guide to psychological analysis, he launches into bold explorations in the multiple dimensions of conditionality, the nature of consciousness, the temporality of experience, and the psychological springs of spiritual transformation. Innovative and rich in insights, this book demonstrates the continuing relevance of Buddhist thought to our most astute contemporary efforts to understand the nature of the mind.
This volume offers an English translation of Frauwallner’s Abhidharmastudien. It analyzes the literary traditions, doctrinal tendencies, and structural methods of the Buddhist Abhidharma canon in order to expose the beginnings of systematic philosophical thought in Buddhism. Frauwallner’s insights illuminate the path of meditation toward liberation, the development of Buddhist psychology, and the evolution of the Buddhist view of causality and the problem of time. He provides a clear explanation of the gradual development of Buddhist thought from its early doctrinal beginning to some of the most complex and remarkable philosophical edifices in history.
Jataka stories (stories about the previous births of the Buddha) are very popular in Theravada Buddhist countries, where they are found in both canonical texts and later compositions and collections, and are commonly used in sermons, children's books, plays, poetry, temple illustrations, rituals and festivals. Whilst at first glance many of the stories look like common fables or folktales, Buddhist tradition tells us that the stories illustrate the gradual path to perfection exemplified by the Buddha in his previous births, when he was a bodhisatta (buddha-to-be). Jataka stories have had a long and colourful history, closely intertwined with the development of doctrines about the Buddha, the path to buddhahood, and how Buddhists should behave now that the Buddha is no more. This book explores the shifting role of the stories in Buddhist doctrine, practice, and creative expression, finally placing this integral Buddhist genre back in the center of scholarly understandings of the religion.
The Vessantara Jataka tells the story of Prince Vessantara, who attained the Perfection of Generosity by giving away his fortune, his children, and his wife. Vessantara was the penultimate rebirth of the future Gotama Buddha, and his extreme charity has been represented and reinterpreted in texts, sermons, rituals, and art throughout South and Southeast Asia and beyond. This anthology features well-respected anthropologists, textual scholars in religious and Buddhist studies, and art historians, who engage in sophisticated readings of the text and its ethics of giving, understanding of attachment and nonattachment, depiction of the trickster, and unique performative qualities. They reveal the story to be as brilliantly layered as a Homeric epic or Shakespearean play, with aspects of tragedy, comedy, melodrama, and utopian fantasy intertwined to problematize and scrutinize Theravada Buddhism's cherished virtues.
Here is one of the most entertaining masterpieces of Sanskrit literature rendered in an English translation that fully captures the original's artistry and charm. Written most probably in the fourth century CE, the Jatakamala is generally considered the masterpiece of Buddhist literature in Sanskrit. In elegant, courtly style, Arya Sura retells thirty-four traditional stories about the Buddha in his previous incarnations, human and animal. Whether as a king, a brahmin, a monkey, or a hare, the Great One is shown in assiduous pursuit of virtue and compassion. Though primarily intended as exemplary tales illustrating the Buddhist virtues, these stories also provide a vivid picture of life at a high point in ancient Indian culture—city life in ordinary households or at the royal court, and country life against a backdrop of mountain, desert, and jungle. Fresh study of the Sanskrit manuscripts, now scattered in libraries all over the world, has enabled Peter Khoroche to make this new translation faithful to the original in both style and content. His explanatory notes will assist student and general reader alike in appreciating this classic from a rich ancient civilization.
In India, recollection of previous lives is a common feature in the histories of the saints and heroes of sacred tradition. Jataka stories, or birth-legends, were widely known in the third century B.C. Each story in the Pali Jataka, narrated by the Buddha, opens with a preface relating the particular circumstances in the Buddha's life, revealing some events in the long series of his previous existences as a bodhisattva. At the end of each tale, the Buddha identifies the different characters in the story in terms of their present identities, often individuals among his closest disciples. These stories magnify the glory of the Buddha and illustrate Buddhist doctrines and precepts by appropriate examples.
This is the inaugural volume in a landmark translation series devoted to making the wealth of classical Indian Buddhism accessible to modern readers. The stories here, among the first texts to be inscribed by Buddhists, highlight the moral economy of karma, illustrating how gestures of faith, especially offerings, can bring the reward of future happiness and ultimate liberation. Originally contained in the Divyavadana, an enormous compendium of Sanskrit Buddhist narratives from the early Common Era, the stories in this collection express the moral and ethical impulses of Indian Buddhist thought and are a testament to the historical and social power of narrative. Long believed by followers to be the actual words of the Buddha himself, these divine stories are without a doubt some of the most influential stories in the history of Buddhism.
This selection of religious biographies from the early centuries C.E. offers a delightful introduction to a literary genre that has played an essential part in Buddhist self-understanding for over two thousand years. The Heavenly Exploits are Buddhist biographies drawn from the vast Sanskrit compendium of the Divyavadana. The worldly face of religious literature, these lively morality tales have inspired audiences across Asia for more than two millennia. This volume contains four of the thirty-eight Buddhist biographical stories in the Dívyávadana. Where religion meets the world, these tales present something for everyone.
This selection of essays demonstrates that, in the study of Buddhism, a concern with philological accuracy can be combined with wider philosophical and sociological issues. The essays are divided into three parts: Pali Literature, The Theory and Practice of Not-Self, and Buddhism and Society. The last part builds on but goes beyond the work of Dumont and Max Weber in considering “world-renunciation” as a phenomenon of society and culture.
A detailed exploration of the quest for liberation on the part of the early bhikkunis (Buddhist nuns), this book treats the Therigatha, the only text in the Buddhist tradition of known female authorship. This work is Important to anyone investigating women's own perspectives on their religious beliefs and practices. Blackstone's book also provides a clear statement about how renunciants understand nibbana.
The first part of this work offers a comprehensive overview of the contents of the works that make up the Tipitaka, the Theravada Canon, as well as an index of the suttas and sections of the Tipitaka and an extensive bibliography of the translations of canonical works and secondary literature. The second part of the book is an extensive list of all the works composed in the Indic language known as Pali. It lists all the works of the Tipitaka, the commentaries and subcommentaries, historical chronicles, works on medicine, cosmology, grammar, law, etc. It also gives data on the authors, time of composition, country of origin and includes references to secondary literature that provide more information on the works listed.
This work presents an English translation of one important section in the Chinese version of the Sarvastivadin Canon - the Madhyama Agama - almost in its entirety. The Agama is dealt with very extensively, starting with the composition of the whole work as well as its division into vargas, or fascicles, corresponding to specific days for the recital of sutras. It also explains some differences in modern Buddhist practice on the basis of divergences between the Sarvastivadin and Theravadin textual canons.