Reading the Buddha's Discourses in Pali

A Practical Guide to the Language of the Ancient Buddhist Canon

Renowned scholar-monk and bestselling translator Bhikkhu Bodhi’s definitive, practical guide on how to read ancient Buddhist texts in the original language.

Bhikkhu Bodhi’s sophisticated and practical instructions on how to read the Pali of the Buddha’s discourses will provide students of early Buddhism and the Pali language an intimate acquaintance with the language and idiom of these sacred texts. Here the renowned English translator of the Pali Canon opens a window onto key suttas from the Samyutta Nikaya, as he takes a sutta and gives a literal translation of each sentence followed by a more natural English rendering, after which he explains the meaning of each word and the grammatical forms involved. Doing so helps students determine the meaning of each word and phrase and gain familiarity with the distinctive idioms and style of expression in the Pali suttas—and thus gain an intimacy with the words, and world, of the earliest Buddhist writings. 

Ven. Bodhi’s meticulously selected anthology of suttas provides a systematic overview of the Buddha’s teachings, mirroring the four noble truths, which is generally regarded as the most concise formulation of the Buddha’s guide of liberation. Reading the Buddha’s Discourses in Pali shares with readers not only exceptional instruction in language acquisition and translation theory and practice but also a systematically nuanced study of the substance, style, and method of the major early Buddhist discourses.

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