The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha

A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya

Translated by Nanamoli and Bodhi

About The Book

This book offers a complete translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, or Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, one of the major collections of texts in the Pali Canon, the authorized scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. This collection--among the oldest records of the historical Buddha's original teachings--consists of 152 suttas or discourses of middle length, distinguished as such from the longer and shorter suttas of the other collections. The Majjhima Nikaya might be concisely described as the Buddhist scripture that combines the richest variety of contextual settings with the deepest and most comprehensive assortment of teachings. These teachings, which range from basic ethics to instructions in meditation and liberating insight, unfold in a fascinating procession of scenarios that show the Buddha in living dialogue with people from many different strata of ancient Indian society: with kings and princes, priests and ascetics, simple villagers and erudite philosophers. Replete with drama, reasoned argument, and illuminating parable and simile, these discourses exhibit the Buddha in the full glory of his resplendent wisdom, majestic sublimity, and compassionate humanity.

The translation is based on an original draft translation left by the English scholar-monk Bhikkhu Nanamoli, which has been edited and revised by the American monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, who provides a long introduction and helpful explanatory notes. Combining lucidity of expression with accuracy, this translation enables the Buddha to speak across twenty-five centuries in language that addresses the most pressing concerns of the contemporary reader seeking clarification of the timeless issues of truth, value, and the proper conduct of life.

Winner of the 1995 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book Award, and the Tricycle Prize for Excellence in Buddhist Publishing for Dharma Discourse.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (June 10, 2005)
  • Length: 1424 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861719822

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Raves and Reviews

"A triumph."

– The Middle Way

"Everyone who reads The Middle Length Discourses must be struck by the richness of its contents."

– Buddhist Studies Review

"A book to be kept close at hand for a lifetime--like the teacher and beneficial friend it will surely become for those with a deep interest in the dhamma...a book for our generation that will, I think, long endure as a classic of scholarship and render the teachings of the historical Buddha accessible to any who have eyes to see and the interest to look."

– Inquiring Mind

"This new translation of the Majjhima Nikaya...is considered by scholars to be the most reliable source for the original teachings of the historical Buddha."

– Library Journal

"...remarkable both in its scope and in its contemporary rendering of the Buddha's words."

– Tricycle

"Most welcome..."

– Mountain Record

"A book to be kept close at hand for a lifetime--like the teacher and beneficial friend it will surely become for those with a deep interest in the dhamma...a book for our generation that will, I think, long endure as a classic of scholarship and render the teachings of the historical Buddha accessible to any who have eyes to see and the interest to look."

– Inquiring Mind

"It can be difficult for Westerners to penetrate the 'official' Buddhist canon, but one English-language translation stands above the rest: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, published by Wisdom Publications."

– Mark Schneider, religion reporter, Canadian Television News

More books in this series: Teachings of the Buddha