Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

User avatar
Sumano
Posts: 1171
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Manchester, UK

Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Sumano » Wed May 30, 2012 3:02 pm

So I just finished the Digha Nikaya and am about to start the Majjhima Nikaya. I came across Bhikkhu Bodhi's lectures on the MN ( http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html ) but the suttas there are arranged thematically and not in their proper order.

My question is: should I read the suttas in their true order or should I follow BB's thematic order?

Thanks!
I am on the path, however not yet advanced. Any opinions or insights I share are meant entirely for discussion purposes and in cases where people might find them beneficial in whatever way. Since I am not advanced on the Path, I cannot guarantee that what I say will always necessarily be 100% true or in line with the Dhamma. However, having had an extremely interesting life with a wide variety of different (many of them deep) experiences, I hope that anything I share will be of use, provide food for thought, and inspire interesting and beneficial discussions.

Mettā to all! :anjali:

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed May 30, 2012 3:11 pm

I may be wrong but I don't think they are arranged in a particularly essential order. It's better to group them thematically.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

User avatar
Hickersonia
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:40 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Contact:

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Hickersonia » Wed May 30, 2012 3:24 pm

I'm simply reading it through in the way it is presented. :) I'll end up having to read the whole thing more than once for it to sink in, anyway. Your results may vary, of course.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

BKh
Posts: 196
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 12:43 am

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby BKh » Wed May 30, 2012 4:03 pm

If you are already familiar with the Dhamma and suttas (as you must be if you have finished the DN) it doesn't matter so much what order you read them in. I don't think Bhante's order includes every single sutta, so you would want to make sure you picked up any that you had missed at the end.

On this page
http://readingfaithfully.org/majjhima-n ... -practice/
There is a slightly modified beginning-to-end order that starts you in the section with similies and puts off reading MN 1 till you have a few under your belt. But this is only necessary if you have never read suttas before.

As Hickersonia said, reading more than once is necessary. For simplicity sake, reading one to 152 is easiest. The traditional order is not completely random so you will see some affinity between suttas that are located together.

But if your plan is to listen to all of Bhante's lectures, then you would want to take them in order.

Because I believe there are few problems that can't be solved by forms, I created a simple checklist a while ago for each of the suttas in the MN. I guess I was thinking it would be useful if someone was reading them out of order. But it could be a case of a solution in search of a problem. :smile: Any way, I have attached it. Let me know if it is helpful.
Attachments
MajjhimaNikayaChecklist.pdf
(23.25 KiB) Downloaded 95 times
ReadingFaithfully.org Daily Practice with the Suttas | becomeabuddhist.org
audtip. org Audio Sutta Recordings

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6407
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Cittasanto » Wed May 30, 2012 7:40 pm

Hi,
I havn't listened to the lectures, but may I sugest you read the Nikaya before listening to it, it may help you understand what is being said in the wider context of the both the texts and the talks?

I usually find reading cover to cover then by subject is better than the other way round as you have a grasp of the wider scope and pieces can be linked together on occasion for a finer and finer understanding.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 13989
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2012 7:51 pm

Stefan wrote:My question is: should I read the suttas in their true order or should I follow BB's thematic order?

By all means read through the suttas in collection order (or random order, I don't see much significance in the ordering of the MN...)
But to really study them, listen to Bhikkhu Bodhi's lectures. They are brilliant.

You can also find a variety of talks on the MN at the BSWA site:
http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/component/ ... study.html
and here:
http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/recent.htm
When I was working through Bhikkhu Bodhi's talks I also listened to talks from those sites on each sutta, which gave some good perspectives.
I also tried to listen to a reading of the sutta, if available:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/outsourc ... tml#suttas
since suttas are an oral, not written medium...

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
Sumano
Posts: 1171
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Sumano » Thu May 31, 2012 6:46 am

Thank you all! I will be reading it in its proper order then. :anjali:
I am on the path, however not yet advanced. Any opinions or insights I share are meant entirely for discussion purposes and in cases where people might find them beneficial in whatever way. Since I am not advanced on the Path, I cannot guarantee that what I say will always necessarily be 100% true or in line with the Dhamma. However, having had an extremely interesting life with a wide variety of different (many of them deep) experiences, I hope that anything I share will be of use, provide food for thought, and inspire interesting and beneficial discussions.

Mettā to all! :anjali:

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6407
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Cittasanto » Thu May 31, 2012 6:56 am

Stefan wrote:Thank you all! I will be reading it in its proper order then. :anjali:

I will join you in reading the Majjhima :)
maybe we could exchange notes on each sutta, when relevant.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6407
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Cittasanto » Thu May 31, 2012 6:59 am

P.s. I will read MN1 today :)

EDIT - one on its own and a second time including foot notes
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
Sumano
Posts: 1171
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Sumano » Thu May 31, 2012 8:21 am

Cool. I was thinking of starting tomorrow (MN 1 - June 1), but if you're starting today then I am too. 1 sutta per day, right? :smile:
I am on the path, however not yet advanced. Any opinions or insights I share are meant entirely for discussion purposes and in cases where people might find them beneficial in whatever way. Since I am not advanced on the Path, I cannot guarantee that what I say will always necessarily be 100% true or in line with the Dhamma. However, having had an extremely interesting life with a wide variety of different (many of them deep) experiences, I hope that anything I share will be of use, provide food for thought, and inspire interesting and beneficial discussions.

Mettā to all! :anjali:

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 16761
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 31, 2012 9:53 am

Greetings,

Pleased to hear you're starting with MN 1... it's a very important sutta.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Ben » Thu May 31, 2012 9:57 am

they're all good!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6407
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Cittasanto » Thu May 31, 2012 2:14 pm

Stefan wrote:Cool. I was thinking of starting tomorrow (MN 1 - June 1), but if you're starting today then I am too. 1 sutta per day, right? :smile:


After reading the sutta then notes individually, I thought every few days, give time to write something about each text and reflect a little on it. and get input from eachother and the group (if that is what you would like to do, as I wouldn't mind that)
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
Kare
Posts: 736
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby Kare » Thu May 31, 2012 7:53 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Pleased to hear you're starting with MN 1... it's a very important sutta.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I agree. I remember talking to a Western monk in Bangkok many years ago. He said that in his opinion the two most important suttas in the Tipitaka were the Mahasatipatthanasutta and MN 1. The first describes the way, and the second describes the result. I tend to agree with him.

MN 1 is not among the easiest text to read and to understand, however. Some background from other suttas may be of use. But the most important factor for understanding MN 1 is meditative experience.
Mettāya,
Kåre

pulga
Posts: 953
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby pulga » Thu May 31, 2012 10:18 pm

Path Press has a link to Ven. Ñanamoli's draft translantion of the Mulapariyayasutta.

http://pathpress.wordpress.com/2012/05/ ... sutta-111/

While I think Ven. Bodhi has done an admirable job in revising Ñanamoli's work to make it accessible to those with a more conventional approach to the Dhamma, I suspect a lot of the phenomenological nuance was lost.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23012
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Beginning study of Majjhima Nikaya

Postby tiltbillings » Thu May 31, 2012 11:11 pm

Kare wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Pleased to hear you're starting with MN 1... it's a very important sutta.

Metta,
Retro. :)


I agree. I remember talking to a Western monk in Bangkok many years ago. He said that in his opinion the two most important suttas in the Tipitaka were the Mahasatipatthanasutta and MN 1. The first describes the way, and the second describes the result. I tend to agree with him.

MN 1 is not among the easiest text to read and to understand, however. Some background from other suttas may be of use. But the most important factor for understanding MN 1 is meditative experience.
And for those who are not afraid of commentaries:

http://store.pariyatti.org/Discourse-on ... _1472.html
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12


Return to “Classical Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Fluke and 6 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine