Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

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Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:22 pm

I am just interested in how many members of our Mahayana forum have read the Pali Theravada scriptures. For myself, at the moment I don't have so much time but during vacation periods from translating I often find I turn to Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Majjima Nikaya for spiritual nourishment. I find the style and presentation of the Pali Suttas beautiful,and developed a real appreciation for them during my time in Thailand.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Caz » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:48 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I am just interested in how many members of our Mahayana forum have read the Pali Theravada scriptures. For myself, at the moment I don't have so much time but during vacation periods from translating I often find I turn to Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Majjima Nikaya for spiritual nourishment. I find the style and presentation of the Pali Suttas beautiful,and developed a real appreciation for them during my time in Thailand.



I find them to be a great supplement to Lamrim teachings knowing which section to apply them to always yields more inspiration for practice. Ive got several of Bhikkhu Bodhi's Books they prove very helpful in exploring the base teachings of Buddha. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby plwk » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:08 pm

i am addicted to it alongside with translations of its near cousin, the Agamas.
I have some of Bhikkhu Bodhi's works on the Nikayas and am still waiting for the Khuddaka Nikaya... worth investing in his Nikaya series
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Jikan » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:18 pm

Yes, I've read selections, but not a systematic study. I particularly enjoyed Buddhaghosa's Path of Purification and the Milindapanha among Pali-language texts.
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:25 pm

I love the Pali Canon teachings! They are clear, simple and to the point.

I have translated the Access to Insight Sutta on Kamma and Sunnatta into Greek and the BPS concise Milindapanha too. I have also translated other Sutta into Greek at the request of my lamas.

So I guess I have read (and continue to read) portions of the Pali Canon.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Anders » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:09 pm

I've read the digha, majhima and samyutta nikayas from beginning to end. And a scattered assortment of the other baskets. I don't look at them much these days but I am very grateful for the education I have got from studying them and would recommend spending time on them to pretty much anyone.

The range of topics addressed and the clarity and consistency of the early teachings is something quite special to my mind.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Ayu » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:54 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I am just interested in how many members of our Mahayana forum have read the Pali Theravada scriptures...

I would like to admit that I had strong inner hindrances to read it. The language and the many repititions were like a mountain to climb for my mind - and so i always had something "more important" to do than reading.
But on the other hand i was very interested, what is comprised in the Palicanon. So luckily i found somebody who read and understood it well. He liked to explain and discuss many things - for him much work, but for me good luck.

I just read MN1, MN 4 and MN 121 in the translation of Kay Zumwinkel. For me it's better understandable when meditated and not read like a book.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby randomseb » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:31 pm

I have in front of me the book "In the Buddha's Words, An anthology of Discourses from the Pali Cannon", which is very interesting, except that the.. flow.. of the texts doesn't really work in english if you ask me.. I don't know if that's a feature of the Pali language or just how it was used at the time, but there is a lot of recursive repetition within a text (often in this book they just cut out the part and say "repeated as above" "..." or some such..

Here's a little example:

Impermanent, Suffering, Nonself
"Monks, form is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self'. When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, the mind becomes dispassionate and is liberated from the taints by nonclinging.

"Feeling is impermanent ..."
"Perception is impermanent ... "
"Volitional formations are impermanent ... "

"Consciousness is impermanent. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self'. When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, the mind becomes dispassionate and is liberated from the taints by nonclinging."

"If monks, a monk's mind has become dispassionate towards the form element, it is liberate from the taints by nonclinging. If his mind has become dispassionate toward the feeling element ... toward the perception element ... toward the volutional formations element ... toward the consciousness element, it is liberated from the taints by nonclinging.

"By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally enters Nibbana. He understands: "Destroyed is birth, the spiritual life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming back to any state of being."

(SN 22:45; III 44-45 is the text's reference #)


The original text repeats the entire paragraphs for each ... section, which makes it kind of strange to read.


Fully appreciate the emptiness
of all dharmas.
Then all minds are free
and all dusts evaporate
in the original brilliance
shining everywhere...
Clear and desireless,
the wind in the pines
and the moon in the water
are content in their elements.
- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157)
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:00 pm

The Pali texts have this constant cycle of repitions because they would have been transcribed as they were being orated. Those that orated them would have learnt and memorised them as oral teachings. Oral teachings are learnt and memorised via repitition. So, reading them together with the repitions, instead of the "repeated as above" means that you too will memorise them instead of just giving them a cursory read and forgetting them. ;)
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:18 pm

I actually started with it, it was my only exposure for a number of years before going out and testing the waters. Turning the Wheel of Dharma was actually the first bit of Buddhism I ever read in my life outside of some kind of "Lite Zen" stuff...

Of course I have not read anywhere near what many here have of any scripture.

The Mahayana scriptures are much more Aesthetically pleasing, the austerity and repetitiveness of Pali stuff can be difficult at times.

I am kind of glad it was my intro though, maybe it's just confirmation bias but I feel like looking into Mahayana and Vajrayana subsequently having the Pali Canon stuff as a base was very..anchoring I guess.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Yudron » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:08 pm

About ten years ago, Thannisaro Bhikkhu published out four volumes of Sutras called Handful of leaves, and his people would mail them to anyone for free! They are really beautiful and soothing. I was in retreat while I was reading them, and when I read about Buddha's cremation, I heard the crackling sound of a fire. I was in a house, and when I looked out front, the bushes in front of the house were on fire. For real!
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Astus » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:57 pm

The Digha, Majjhima and Samyutta Nikaya were among my first Buddhist books in English, and I'm working on obtaining the Anguttara. I haven't read them from beginning to end as I usually read suttas by topic. The Satipatthana Sutta (in "Heart of Buddhist Meditation" by Nyanaponika) was a teaching that helped me in the beginning decide on to further investigate Buddhism. ATI and metta.lk are sites I regularly use for references. Like Greg, I've also made some translations, only in my case to Hungarian.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:33 pm

It is great to see that the texts are such an inspiration to so many! Yudron your story from that retreat is wild!
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby PorkChop » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:44 pm

I like the Pali Suttas very much.
I've read a lot of Access to Insight.
I ordered 5 of Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations, still waiting on 2 of them (I think Mahjima and Samyutta) - haven't started any of them yet.
Would like to have translations of the the Agamas.
My goal is to contextualize it by splitting it up into which disciple (or type of disciple) gets taught what, when.
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:03 pm

I studied Pali for one semester (which is not a great amount of time, I will admit) as part of the Buddhist Studies course undertaken during 2011-2012. I also read quite a few of Bikkhu Bodhi's and Thanissaro's translations during that time in preparation for a thesis topic. I also discovered the Dhammapada many years ago. I admire the Pali teachings especially for their qualities of civility - the way in which the characters address each other - and philosophical depth, as well as the lucidity of the prose. The other thing that strikes me about them, is the real human depth in many of the stories and anecdotes. Even after the great lapse of time since they were composed, the sense of people struggling with problems in their lives, and going to the Buddha for help in understanding them, is still very real in those scriptures. So I regard them as a major part of the world's wisdom traditions.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Parasamgate » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:11 pm

The first book I read when I began to take Buddhism seriously was, 'In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon' by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby Nighthawk » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:49 pm

I'm also a Bhikku Bodhi fan and try to read his material as much as I can.
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby randomseb » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:45 am

Well then, the text sample I posted above comes from page 342 of the Anthology :reading:
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:57 am

JKhedrup wrote:I often find I turn to Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Majjima Nikaya for spiritual nourishment.


I have read a fair number of the Pali suttas, including the book you mention. For the record, Bodhi didn't translate that, he edited and revised a translation by Nanamoli.
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
If we have to have a soul, it might as well be vidya, it is after all, permanent, unconditioned, a knower, stainless, and free from the three realms. But If we don't have to have one, vidya still has these characteristics. It is our essenceless essence. - A certain Gemini
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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Re: Have you read portions of the Pali canon?

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:01 am

Yudron wrote:About ten years ago, Thannisaro Bhikkhu published out four volumes of Sutras called Handful of leaves, and his people would mail them to anyone for free! They are really beautiful and soothing. I was in retreat while I was reading them, and when I read about Buddha's cremation, I heard the crackling sound of a fire. I was in a house, and when I looked out front, the bushes in front of the house were on fire. For real!


Neat story. Actually, there are now 5 volumes, and they are still available for free, although shipping outside the US is not free:
http://www.sati.org/books/
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
If we have to have a soul, it might as well be vidya, it is after all, permanent, unconditioned, a knower, stainless, and free from the three realms. But If we don't have to have one, vidya still has these characteristics. It is our essenceless essence. - A certain Gemini
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
སརྦ་དྷརྨ་དྷཱ་ཏུ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔
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