This volume makes an excellent introduction into reading the suttas. More compact than the four volumes so far published of the Nikāyas, this anthology also features a helpful introductory essay and a thematic organization: I. The Human Condition II. The Bringer of Light III. Approaching the Dhamma IV. The Happiness Visible in this Present Life … Continue reading In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology, by Bhikkhu Bodhi→
The Udāna is the third book of the Khuddaka Nikaya. Each of its eighty short suttas ends in a short verse uttered by the Buddha. The suttas are arranged into eight chapters or vaggas. The Itivuttaka is composed of 112 short discourses, each beginning and ending with a statement that the words are those of … Continue reading The Udana and the Itivuttaka, translated by John D. Ireland→
Practical advice for meditators, including treatment of the Korean practice of sitting with questions. The Way of Korean Zen includes an extensive introduction by a student of Kusan’s, Stephen Batchelor.
The Saṃyutta Nikāya organizes teachings of the Buddha mostly by topic. After a first section of discourses containing verses, the remaining four sections take on philosophical principles and meditative applications. Causation, practicing with the aggregates, the senses, the factors of enlightenment, the jhanas, and stream entry are included.
One of the early Pāli sutta collections, the Aṅguttara Nikāya presents the Buddha’s teachings (arranged numerically) on a wide array of topics including family life, livelihood, friendship, getting along in community, growth in wisdom, training the mind, and techniques of meditation.
Richard Shankman’s valuable book The Experience of Samadhi lays out the main concepts surrounding the samadhi and the jhanas, then presents eight interviews on this subject with well known contemporary teachers. An excellent orientation.
In Japanese Buddhism: A Cultural History, Yoshirō Tamura presents a rich and complex interweaving of themes touching on nearly every aspect of life—so pervasively have Buddhism and Japanese culture shaped each other.
Part of Oxford University Press’ “Very Short Introductions” to just about everything, Michael Carrithers’ book The Buddha is clear and easy to read—and, as promised—short:120 pages). Considering context and source materials, it is much more than a biography.
Karen Armstrong’s lively and appreciative biography The Buddha was a New York Times best seller. Scholar, writer, and sometime journalist, Armstrong has also written fluently and sympathetically about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, focusing on ethical commitments and interpreting unfamiliar lifeways. In this book she offers a blend of early records and later legends as a biography of the founder of Buddhism.
Trevor Ling’s The Buddha deals with the Buddha’s context and the spread of his message in India and Sri Lanka. Reissued with a provocative new sub-title and an introduction by Paul R. Fleischman, it continues to be relevant.
Subtitled “How Insight Worsted Tranquility in the Satipatthana Sutta,” this book can be downloaded for free in several electronic formats, including PDF, EPUB, and Kindle, at https://archive.org/details/AHistoryOfMindfulness .
Early Buddhism flourished amid buoyant economic conditions and cultural changes in north-eastern India from the fifth century BCE onwards. This book begins with the apparent inconsistency of Buddhism, a renunciant movement, surviving within a strong urban environment, and draws out some implications. In spite of the Buddhist ascetic imperative, the Buddha and his monks moved … Continue reading The Sociology of Early Buddhism by Greg Bailey and Ian Mabbett→