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Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: a complete translation of the Anguttara Nikaya
Like the River Ganges flowing down from the Himalayas, the entire Buddhist tradition flows down to us from the teachings and deeds of the historical Buddha, who lived and taught in India during the fifth century B.C. To ensure that his legacy would survive the ravages of time, his direct disciples compiled records of the Buddha’s teachings soon after his passing. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, which prevails in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, these records are regarded as the definitive “word of the Buddha.” Preserved in Pali, an ancient Indian language closely related to the language that the Buddha spoke, this full compilation of texts is known as the Pali Canon.
At the heart of the Buddha’s teaching were the suttas (Sanskrit sutras), his discourses and dialogues. If we want to find out what the Buddha himself actually said, these are the most ancient sources available to us. The suttas were compiled into collections called “Nikayas,” of which there are four, each organized according to a different principle. The Digha Nikaya consists of longer discourses; the Majjhima Nikaya of middle-length discourses; the Samyutta Nikaya of thematically connected discourses; and the Anguttara Nikaya of numerically patterned discourses.
The present volume, which continues Wisdom’s famous “Teachings of the Buddha” series, contains a full translation of the Anguttara Nikaya. The Anguttara arranges the Buddha’s discourses in accordance with a numerical scheme intended to promote retention and easy comprehension. In an age when writing was still in its infancy, this proved to be the most effective way to ensure that the disciples could grasp and replicate the structure of a teaching.
Praise for The Teachings of the Buddha Series
—The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society
“As close as we’ll get to the original teachings and account of the life of the Buddha.”
“A book to be kept close at hand for a lifetime—it will 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.”
“An amazing work that speaks to us across 2500 years [to] open up new and precious insights into the depths of Buddhist history and thought."
“A priceless gift."
—Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma
“Bhikkhu Bodhi is a brilliant translator.”
—Jack Kornfield, author of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
Key to the Pronunciation of Pali 11
A Themat ic Guide to the A?guttara Nikaya
1. The Book of the Ones 85
2. The Book of the Twos 135
3. The Book of the Threes 195
4. The Book of the Fours 379
5. The Book of the Fives 621
6. The Book of the Sixes 851
7. The Book of the Sevens 993
8. The Book of the Eights 1107
9. The Book of the Nines 1241
10. The Book of the Tens 1333
11. The Book of the Elevens 1549
1. Expanded Parallels in the A?guttara Nikaya 1861
2. Composite Numerical Suttas in the A?guttara Nikaya 1863
Pali-English Glossary 1865