Is there a general method of analysing suttas?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
User avatar
wornoutskin
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:37 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Is there a general method of analysing suttas?

Postby wornoutskin » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:37 pm

Hello all,
I'm very new to Buddhism, and I am attempting to understand as much as I can. I am a person who learns the best from written analysis of any material I want to absorb, and I was wondering if there are established methods of tackling suttas, like a series of questions one should ask to get further insight that could be applicable to any sutta...
I've gleaned some information from "Befriending the Suttas: Tips on Reading the Pali Discourses" (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/befriending.html). Some questions they suggest include:
  • What is the setting?
  • What is the story?
  • Who initiates the teaching?
  • Who is teaching?
  • To whom are the teachings directed?
  • What is the method of presentation?
  • What is the essential teaching?
  • How does it end?
  • What does this sutta have to offer me?
Are there any more questions I could add that you may have found beneficial, or you think would be helpful?

With metta,
wornoutskin
He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
greedless he knows: "This is all unreal,"
--such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn-out skin.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 13477
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is there a general method of analysing suttas?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:42 pm

Hi wornoutskin,

I highly recommend Bhikkhu Bodhi's collection of Suttas, In the Buddha's Words, which lays out a framework for understanding the different flavours of suttas, from those dealing with household life to renunciation and nibbana.

See this thread: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14640 for a preview by way of freely available material. However, the book itself is inexpensive, and well worth having.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
wornoutskin
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:37 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Re: Is there a general method of analysing suttas?

Postby wornoutskin » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:52 pm

Thanks for this!
It looks like an excellent and detailed resource. I'll find a copy as soon as I can.
He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
greedless he knows: "This is all unreal,"
--such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn-out skin.

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 5476
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm

Re: Is there a general method of analysing suttas?

Postby Mkoll » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:02 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi wornoutskin,

I highly recommend Bhikkhu Bodhi's collection of Suttas, In the Buddha's Words, which lays out a framework for understanding the different flavours of suttas, from those dealing with household life to renunciation and nibbana.

See this thread: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14640 for a preview by way of freely available material. However, the book itself is inexpensive, and well worth having.

:anjali:
Mike

Seconded! It's the best introduction a beginner can get, IMO.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
Dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi
Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi


Katamañca, bhikkhave, nāmarūpaṃ? Vedanā, saññā, cetanā, phasso, manasikāro: idaṃ vuccati nāmaṃ. Cattāro ca mahābhūtā, catunnañca mahābhūtānaṃ upādāyarūpaṃ: Idaṃ vuccati rūpaṃ. Iti idañca nāmaṃ, idañca rūpaṃ: idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, nāma-rūpaṃ.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 13477
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is there a general method of analysing suttas?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:05 pm

That shouldn't be difficult. Meanwhile I've given links to Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes on that thread, which should keep you going for a while.

From the Introduction (PDF) link, P28:
I will briefly supply background information about the Nikayas later
in this introduction. First, however, I want to outline the scheme that I
have devised to organize the suttas. Although my particular use of this
scheme may be original, it is not sheer innovation but is based upon a
threefold distinction that the Pali commentaries make among the types
of benefits to which the practice of the Dhamma leads: (1) welfare and
happiness visible in this present life; (2) welfare and happiness per-
taining to future lives; and (3) the ultimate good, Nibbana (Skt: nirvana).
...

:anjali:
Mike


Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 39 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine