Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
JC938
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:17 pm

Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by JC938 »

Hi,

For example, Bhagavad gita is the main book for hinduism. Even though other scriptures are great for knowledge, but 1 main holy book is maybe enough in my understanding.

For Buddhism, which book is it, or are they many books (how many books?), I want to buy them so I can start reading, I want to learn knowledge and not read alot of stories.

Thanks
SteRo
Posts: 3319
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am
Location: अ धीः

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by SteRo »

Save your money. Use online resources:
E.g.
https://suttacentral.net/
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
SarathW
Posts: 14555
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by SarathW »

SteRo wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:35 am Save your money. Use online resources:
E.g.
https://suttacentral.net/
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/
Good, advice.
I started my journey with Accessto insight.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 9219
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by Ceisiwr »

I wouldn’t say a holy book as such, but the Visuddhimagga lays out the essentials of the path. It’s the summa theologica of the Dhamma.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... on2011.pdf
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
User avatar
SDC
Posts: 6321
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by SDC »

There isn't just one book.

The scriptures deal in themes, and those themes are found throughout the entire Pali Canon. There are three parts to it: the Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma. Everything that has ever been said about the Buddha and the Dhamma has this Canon at the foundation. Both the Theravada and Mahayana schools have built upon and away from it in various ways, some even far enough away to claim supremacy over their own roots.

You say you want to learn knowledge and not read a lot of stories...those stories were about the people who interacted directly with the Buddha. The suttas are very layered and apply differently at different times depending on how closely you are reading.

The key is to approach the suttas with the right attitude and with the entirety of your experience as the ground to be affected. I would advise exploring different interpretations of the teaching taken as a whole; and the best way to carry that out is to study the commentarial work of different Theravadin monastics.
justindesilva
Posts: 1330
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by justindesilva »

JC938 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:24 am Hi,

For example, Bhagavad gita is the main book for hinduism. Even though other scriptures are great for knowledge, but 1 main holy book is maybe enough in my understanding.

For Buddhism, which book is it, or are they many books (how many books?), I want to buy them so I can start reading, I want to learn knowledge and not read alot of stories.

Thanks
Dammapada explains damma fully starting with citta or mind.
The Damma is explained in 26 sections and is well categorized. One can down load Dhammapadha from internet.
Explained is only damma without stories yet only to explain the origin of relevance of damma.
User avatar
confusedlayman
Posts: 3363
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:16 am
Location: Human Realm (as of now)

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by confusedlayman »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:46 am
SteRo wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:35 am Save your money. Use online resources:
E.g.
https://suttacentral.net/
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/
Good, advice.
I started my journey with Accessto insight.
same before 3 years
dont think
User avatar
confusedlayman
Posts: 3363
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:16 am
Location: Human Realm (as of now)

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by confusedlayman »

buddhism means not one book but tripitika (vinaya and suttas, abdhidhamma also included)

however ajhan brahm says only divipitika (sutta and vinaya alone)
dont think
User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 8799
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by DooDoot »

JC938 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:24 am For example, Bhagavad gita is the main book for hinduism. Even though other scriptures are great for knowledge, but 1 main holy book is maybe enough in my understanding.
The brief Buddhist equivalent to the Bhagavad Gita is generally regarded to be the Dhammapada. This said, the Dhammapada is probably not adequate enough to understand the Dhamma completely. Whilst very large, probably the most complete single book is the Samyutta Nikaya. Only the Samyutta Nikaya contains every teaching required for full understanding. This said, one might get lost in it. Kind regards :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati
JC938
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:17 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by JC938 »

Thanks everyone.
User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2558
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by samseva »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:48 am I wouldn’t say a holy book as such, but the Visuddhimagga lays out the essentials of the path. It’s the summa theologica of the Dhamma.
I'm for the Visuddhimagga, but it's still a non-canonical work.
justindesilva wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:16 pm Dammapada explains damma fully starting with citta or mind.
If you've read through one or two complete Nikāyas, I'd say "yes," but if not, the teachings won't be that discernable, since:

- The Dhammapāda is highly stylized and poetic.
- For the English version, a significant amount will have been "lost in translation" (especially due to the above).
User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2558
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by samseva »

I'd say:

Majjhima Nikāya ("middle-length discourses")
- Good introduction to many of the teachings.
- Has context—from describing events with the Buddha, monks and lay people, and teachings/sayings of the Buddha.

Saṃyutta Nikāya ("connected discourses," after having read MN)
- Very precise/concise version of the teachings.
Inedible
Posts: 189
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:55 am
Location: Iowa City
Contact:

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by Inedible »

I've never really liked the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna just seems overrated to me. He only shows up because he wants something from Arjuna and he doesn't really seem to care about anyone other than himself. If I weren't so new here to this forum I'd have a better sense of how far I could push it with calling him names.

On the other hand, the Ashtavakra Gita is a different story. It is a fine example of practicing nonduality in daily life.

Just to be sure of being on topic, I will say that I really prefer the Anapanasati Sutta as a Theravada Buddhist text. It is one of the Middle Length Suttas and the 16 stages involved are supposed to go the whole stretch from just starting out to Nibbana. The books I have read about it were much longer and more detailed.
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 23204
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
DooDoot wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:23 pm
JC938 wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:24 am For example, Bhagavad gita is the main book for hinduism. Even though other scriptures are great for knowledge, but 1 main holy book is maybe enough in my understanding.
The brief Buddhist equivalent to the Bhagavad Gita is generally regarded to be the Dhammapada. This said, the Dhammapada is probably not adequate enough to understand the Dhamma completely. Whilst very large, probably the most complete single book is the Samyutta Nikaya. Only the Samyutta Nikaya contains every teaching required for full understanding. This said, one might get lost in it. Kind regards :smile:
:goodpost:

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
User avatar
pitakele
Posts: 213
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 11:27 pm

Re: Are there any 1 main holy book in Buddhism?

Post by pitakele »

There are many anthologies of the Buddha's teachings. 'In the Buddha's Words' by Ven. Bodhi is a more recent publication in this genre. It contains a broad overview of the teachings and reliable translations of important suttas. The digital version is inexpensive - can be purchased or a sample downloaded at

https://www.amazon.com/Buddhas-Words-An ... C535&sr=8-
now here = nowhere
Post Reply