What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

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What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby uniformsquare » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:58 pm

When reading all of the Sutta Pitaka which Nikaya should you start with?

Slightly unrelated to the first question, what is the most accurately translated print version of the Khuddaka Nikaya and where might I obtain it?
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:05 pm

The Majjhima Nikaya to start with IMO


As to the 2nd question im not really sure, someone else here might have more information


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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:08 pm

I recommend starting with the inexpensive and excellent collection:
In the Buddha's Words, By Bhikkhu Bodhi
First chapter can be dowloaded here:
http://wisdompubs.org/Pages/display.lasso?-KeyValue=104
That gives an overview of all the Nikayas and an idea of the range and scope.

Then, as clw_uk says, the Majjhima Nikaya
http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display ... eyValue=54
with the help of talks from Bhikkhu Bodhi:
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about- ... ikaya.html
and the Buddhist Society of Western Australia:
http://www.bswa.org/modules/mydownloads ... php?cid=28

As far as the Khuddaka Nikaya is concerned there are some good (and awful, particulary for the Dhammapada) translations of the various parts. The advice here is quite good:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/index.html

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:42 pm

I'm partial to the Anguttara Nikaya, but they are all good. The Digha Nikaya, I think is a good place to start.

There is no right or wrong way to start, but my preference is for DN, MN, SN, AN, KN

The best translation in English for the KN is still http://www.palitext.com/
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:11 pm

Greetings,

My preference is SN, AN, MN, DN/KN

The reason is that generally speaking the suttas in the SN are the oldest, followed by AN, then MN. That's a very rough guide because obviously suttas were compiled at different times throughout all the nikayas but I think this is a good way to start if you plan to read them all.

However, it must be acknowledged that reading them all does take a while, so either reading suttas online or a compilation such as Bhikkhu Bodhi's "In The Buddha's Words" might well be a better introduction.

Unlike TheDhamma, I think the Digha Nikaya is a terrible place to start! It's quite verbose, comparatively speaking.

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Unlike TheDhamma, I think the Digha Nikaya is a terrible place to start! It's quite verbose, comparatively speaking.


True :jumping: but technically it is considered the 'first' collection of the Sutta Pitaka and it contains the Maha-parinibbana Sutta and the important teachings there and other important events from the life of Buddha. Perhaps it is the similarity to seeing the ending as in some movies and then you get the 'flashbacks' of the life after that. :thinking: :tongue:
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby Individual » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:01 am

uniformsquare wrote:When reading all of the Sutta Pitaka which Nikaya should you start with?

Slightly unrelated to the first question, what is the most accurately translated print version of the Khuddaka Nikaya and where might I obtain it?

Although many would disagree with me, I think the Digha Nikaya is the best to start with. Because of its date, the earlier Nikayas -- the ones towards the end -- are more reliable, whereas the Digha Nikaya is basically a summary of these teachings, presented in a way meant to be persuasive and interesting. I think that's basically the reason why it was put in the beginning in the first place.

Furthermore, the suttas of the Digha Nikaya, as the name suggests, are very long, so it can actually be a bit more enjoyable to read. For a person first starting out in Buddhism, the Brahmajala Sutta is the most important sutta there is, followed by the Samaññaphala Sutta -- which happen to be at the beginning of the Digha Nikaya. These suttas are the most important because the Brahmajala Sutta comprehensively describes what Buddhism is not, while the Samaññaphala Sutta describes the basics of the Buddhist life and the benefits.

If you're going to start elsewhere, at least read these suttas first and a few other important ones too in the DN, like the Sigalovada sutta -- a basic guide to a layperson's discipline.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:19 am

Majjhima Nikaya and as for the second question I don't think there is a single volume of that grouping as it is quite expansive.
I did ask this question some time ago,
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby Rhino » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:11 am

I would recommend the Majjhima Nikaya, it includes all core teachings of the Buddha. The suttas in Digha Nikaya are very long and can be exhausting for beginners. Anguttara Nikaya contents also much suttas for layman and can be a good starting point too.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:44 am

One of my major reasons for recommending the Majjhima NIkaya is that there are a lot of study resources available for it. There are the talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi and the BSWA monks and nuns I linked to above, and quite a few talks by other teachers around the Internet...

There are also various study guides such as:
Pressing out Pure Honey, by Sharda Rogell
PDF here: http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/publications.html
Study guide for the last 50 by Shaila Catherine
http://www.imsb.org/programs/MajjhimaNi ... labus.html

It is also notable that the Wisdom/PTS translation and notes have been gone over in great detail, originally by Ven Nanamoli, then by Bhikhu Bodhi, and there are some significant revisions in the various editions.

I am currently (slowly) reading Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, which is also excellent, and benefits from the work that he did on the Majjhima Nikaya. But the sheer volume makes it much more difficult to come to grips with and I am not aware of a good general guide. However, I note that "In the Buddha's Words" does make a lot of use of the SN, and if you've read that collection then you'll find many familiar things in the SN...

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby adeh » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:38 pm

Of the books the Khuddaka Nikaya The Itivutakka and the Udana in particular are both wonderful books and there is a good translation of the two by John Ireland. The Sutta Nipata is also a great book, but I personally don't like either of the translations available in English. The Norman translation is accurate but very dry [IMO] and the Saddhatissa translation is just O.K.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby PaulC » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:43 am

In purely literary terms, I'd go for the Khuddaka Nikaya.

Buddharakkita's bilingual Dhammapada is excellent for getting a sense of the poetry of the Pali (the eight-syllable lines, etc.). Though Ananda Maitreya's English is perhaps a tad more authoritative.

I kind of like H. Saddhatiss'a Sutta Nipata.

Then Thanissaro's superb translations of the Theragatha/Therigatha (and also his Itivuttaka) are at Access to Insight:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:33 am

PaulC wrote:In purely literary terms, I'd go for the Khuddaka Nikaya.
...
I kind of like H. Saddhatiss'a Sutta Nipata.

Bhikkhu Bodhi's talks about the Sutta Nipata are very interesting:
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/courses/Sn/Sn_course.html
He uses Ven Saddhatissa's text as a basis, but he often gives his own translation...

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