Main CategoriesBuddha and BuddhismTheravada Suttas Buddha's Words, In the

Buddha's Words, In the

Product no.: 0-86171-491-1
The American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi presents selected discourses of the Buddha from the Pali Canon, the earliest record of what the Buddha taught.

Product is in stock

Additional product information

Publisher's Synopsis
Divided into ten thematic chapters, In the Buddha's Words reveals the full scope of the Buddha's discourses, from family life and marriage to renunciation and the path of insight. A concise, informative introduction precedes each chapter, guiding the reader toward a deeper understanding of the texts that follow.

In the Buddha's Words allows even readers unacquainted with Buddhism to grasp the significance of the Buddha's contributions to our world heritage. Taken as a whole, these texts bear eloquent testimony to the breadth and intelligence of the Buddha's teachings, and point the way to an ancient yet ever-vital path. Students and seekers alike will find this systematic presentation indispensable.

"Since the discourses in the Pali Canon are not arranged either in any chronological or subject-based sequence, and there is no single discourse in which the Buddha draws together all the elements of his teaching and assigns them a place within an comprehensive scheme, one cannot obtain a overall view of the structure of the Buddha's teachings just by reading and studying a few discourses.

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi mentions that his scheme may be original, but it is not sheer innovation as it is based upon a threefold distinction that the Pali Commentaries make, indicating the types of benefits to which the practice of Dhamma leads.

These benefits are:

  1. welfare and happiness visible in this present life
  2. welfare and happiness pertaining to future lives and
  3. the ultimate good, Nibbana (Skt. Nirvana)

Three preliminary chapters - the first one on the basic human condition of suffering in samsara, the second on the Buddha's appearance into this world, and the third on the special pragmatic and non esoteric features of the Buddha's teaching - lead up to the seven chapters embodying the three benefits scheme.

These start with a chapter revealing the Buddha's ample teachings on social harmony and peace - the welfare and happiness visible in the present life - that comes from living in accordance with ethical norms in one's relationships, livelihood, and communal activities.

The fifth chapter is on how one can attain happiness in the next life through the accumulation of merit based on generosity (dana), virtue (sila), and meditation (bhavana). The next chapter is showing that, though the Dhamma leads to happiness in this life and the next, even a pleasant life is dependent on impermanent conditions and will finally end in death. The Buddha's teaching is therefore concerned with leading one beyond conditioned and impermanent mundane happiness to the supreme happiness of the Unconditioned, Nibbana - the ultimate type of benefit.

The final four chapters give a general overview of the Path to the Unconditioned, the gradual mastering of the mind through calm and insight meditation, the development of higher wisdom with the aim of attaining the Unconditioned, and the stages of realization transforming the individual from an ignorant worldling into a Liberated One who has fully realized the Unconditioned.

The anthology aptly concludes with a few suttas on the supreme qualities of the Buddha and his great power of illuminating the dark world of ignorance. The value of his anthology is greatly enhanced by the general introduction and by the introductions at the beginning of each chapter."        ~N.T.S.A. SENADEERA, Daily News (Sri Lanka)

"For such a long time, disciples, you have experienced suffering, anguish, and disaster, and swelled up the cemeteries. It is enough to become disenchanted with all formations, enough to become dispassionate toward them, enough to be liberated from them."

Editor Bodhi, Bhikkhu
Author Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama
Commentary Bodhi, Bhikkhu
Translator Bodhi, Bhikkhu
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 485 pp.
Publisher Wisdom Publications 2005
Series Teachings of the Buddha
Gold Medal

Gold Medal


  Gold Medal Essential Reading

Browse these categories as well: Theravada Suttas, Southern Buddhism, Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Noteworthy Releases 2005, Gold Medal Essential Reading

We also recommend