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Posts: 4
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Last post: Jul 30, 2022, 08:15 PM
Re: Hello from White Light by White Light

English Translations of Buddhist Texts

Started by Tony Bristow-Stagg, May 02, 2022, 05:09 PM

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Tony Bristow-Stagg

This link is to a project that is supplying translations of the Buddhist Texts.

"A global nonprofit initiative to translate the Buddha's words from the Tibetan Buddhist Canon into modern languages, and to make them available to everyone".

Regards Tony
One Planet One People Please.


So many canons of Buddhist texts, with different emphasizes. There is Mahayana and Theravada as well as Tibetan. I have various Buddhist texts in Ocean 2.0, which anyone can get free. My favorite is the Dhammapada. So many Baha'i correspondences in that. That was the principle text presented in the Wilmette Institute course on Buddhism. That course was more about the concepts of Buddhism and history of Buddhism than texts, though.
My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.
(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)


Here are two more sites with translations of Theravada Buddhist texts:

Suttas from the Pāli Canon - Modern translations of some of the most important Suttas in the Pali Canon.

Sutta Central - Features multiple translations for many of the most important Suttas in the Pali Canon.

My personal recommendation to anyone wishing to get into these ancient texts is to start with with the "Middle-Length Discourses" or Majjhima Nikaya. This is a collection of sermons given by the Buddha, giving a very good cross-section of what the Buddha would have taught. The topics covered in the Dhammapada are given a deeper treatment in these texts.

The Majjhima Nikaya also contains the most detailed meditation instructions found in the entire Pali Canon.

While this collection can be read cover-to-cover, in the numbering order of the suttas, there is no advantage to such an approach as far as I can tell, as the Suttas are more or less self-contained and do not form a chronological sequence.

Interesting entry points might be
  • Majjhima Nikaya 26 "The Noble Search" which contains a brief spiritual autobiography of the Buddha;
  • Majjhima Nikaya 44 "The Shorter Set of Questions and Answers", where the speaker is a Nun rather than the Buddha;
  • Majjhima Nikaya 49 "The Brahmā Invitation", which to a reader accustomed to the Abrahamic faith traditions reads a bit like a battle of wits between God, the Devil, and the Buddha;
  • MN 101, which gets into the details of the Buddhist doctrine of Kamma (Karma), and how it differs from the Jain conception of Kamma (and modern western new-age conceptions too, incidentally);
  • and MN 118, the most detailed instructions on breath meditation found in the Pali Canon.

What interesting things did you take from the Dhammapada, Truthseeker?

The Earth is but One Country and Mankind its Citizens