Classic commentaries - where to start?

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Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby Agent » Wed May 12, 2010 8:54 pm

So far in my studies I've basically stuck to the Sutta Pitaka and modern commentaries/teachings (Bhikkhu Bodhi, Thanassaro Bhikkhu, Ajahn Chah, etc). I'm interested in taking a look at classic commentaries but have no idea where to start or even really what's available out there. The only one I'm aware of is the Visuddhimagga. Any advice?
If you have links to any online resources that would be very helpful too.

Thank you,
Jason
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.
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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby Ben » Wed May 12, 2010 10:19 pm

Hi Agent

I recommend the Vism. Its a bit of a tome and difficult to read but it is iconic. It is often cited by latter-day scholars, the material in it is foundational for many meditation teachers. And as it is more widely available than many other commentaries, it is probably the most popular commentarial work, especially on a discussion forum like DW.
kind regards

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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu May 13, 2010 3:18 am

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby Kare » Thu May 13, 2010 10:32 am

Find a sutta you wish to study. Then get the commentary to that sutta, and read the commentary along with the sutta. And, beside the sutta and the commentary, you also will need you own critcal sense! :-)
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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 13, 2010 11:01 am

The Visuddhimagga summarises a lot of commentarial literature, but it is interesting to read the actual commentaries to specific Suttas. Unfortunately, there are not a lot available. Of course you can read them all yourself if your Pali is up to it...

However, there are a few translations of commentaries to important Suttas available online:

Satipatthana Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html
The Removal of Distracting Thoughts: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el021.html

As JCS says, there as several translations available at BPS:
http://www.bps.lk/book_index.asp
Several can be read on Google Books.
All-Embracing of Net Views Bhikkhu Bodhi (The Brahmajala Sutta and its Commentaries)
online here: http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=6ym- ... &q&f=false
Fruits of Recluseship Bhikkhu Bodhi (The Samannaphala Sutta and its Commentaries)
Great Discourse on Causation Bhikkhu Bodhi (Mahānidāna Sutta and its commentaries)
online here: http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=kMDd ... &q&f=false
Root of Existence Bhikkhu Bodhi (the Mūlapariyāya Sutta and its commentaries)
Online here: http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=Mia6 ... &q&f=false

Mike
Last edited by mikenz66 on Thu May 13, 2010 11:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 13, 2010 11:06 am

Greetings,

Another is...

Mind Overcoming its Cankers by Buddharakkhita Thera
http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=13961

Which is MN 2 (Sabbasava Sutta), its original commentary, plus a modern commentary from Buddharakkhita Thera

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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby Agent » Thu May 13, 2010 1:09 pm

This is wonderful; thank you all so much for your suggestions and links.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.
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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby mirco » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:24 am

Also try the Vimuttimagga The Path of Freedom by the Venerable Upatossa (Arahat).

It was compiled a little before the Visuddhimagga and is the foundation for the Visuddhimagga.
It is less analytical and more practical.

Get a Vimuttimagga copy at Buddhist Publication Society or read Vimuttimagga online or download Vimuttimagga as pdf.


BUT - if you need real, modern commentary that sticks close to the Suttas intodays language,
try Most Venerable Vimalaramsi Mahathera. Hundreds of Audio and Video-Talks sorted by Sutta.
He reads the Sutta and explaines it line by line in todays plain english. And above that: you can
ask any question you want in his Yahoo-Group. Pure Dhamma luxury. Site: http://www.dhammasukha.org
Videos: http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/recent.htm Yahoo-Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammasukha/


Metta, always,
:) Mirco


Some of you might like this:
P.V. Bapat : Vimuttimagga and Visuddhimagga - A Comparative Study
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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby Virgo » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:33 am

The best thing one can do in my opinion is read the Visuddhimagga. It details the whole path. When one gets to the wisdom section one can supplement some of ones learning by learning some of the Abhidhamma. That is the best thing one can do in my opinion as far as study is concerned.

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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby Virgo » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:13 pm

Virgo wrote:The best thing one can do in my opinion is read the Visuddhimagga. It details the whole path. When one gets to the wisdom section one can supplement some of ones learning by learning some of the Abhidhamma. That is the best thing one can do in my opinion as far as study is concerned.

Kevin

There is so much great information in the Commentaries. It is very valuable. But you could spend many years of a lifetime studying it. Study directly connected with the path is the best; that is why I recommend Visuddhimagga. It details just about everything one needs to know about the three aggregates of the path: sila, samadhi, and wisdom. Abhidhamma can help with the wisdom aspect, as much of the information in the text draws from it and teaches it. This is the most practical way to approach the path. If one is a monk, study of Vinaya is also very important. It is helpful even for a layman. Practical study is the most useful. Of course, it is important that some people study all the points and help preserve them so the legacy continuous on into the future. There is a sutta where the monks debate about what helps preserve the path-- whether it is practice of study. Both sides quote points that show their side is correct. Eventually it is decided that study helps preserve the path most because without proper study, there won't be proper practice, so the practice will be lost too.

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Re: Classic commentaries - where to start?

Postby vishy89 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:25 am

A big question!
I suggest go thro' the videos of Sayalay Susila to start with.
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