Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
An Anthology of Suttas from the Anguttara Nikaya
'Western scholarship has often depicted early Buddhism as originally a movement of renunciants which relegated the lay followers to the sidelines as mere devotees and supporters of the Order. A careful study of the Pali Cannon, however, would uncover a rich variety of teachings given to the laity... read more aimed at both their temporal welfare and their spiritual uplift. While the Buddha's Teaching points to the utter transcendence of conditioned existence, he did not disdain to advise his lay followers on the most mundane aspects of their daily lives.' From the introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi Drawn from the Anguttara Nikaya, Numerical Discourses of the Buddha brings together teachings of the Buddha ranging from basic ethical observances recommended to the busy man or woman of the world, to the more rigorous instructions on mental training prescribed for the monks and nuns. The Anguttara Nikaya is a part of the Pali Canon, the authorized recension of the Buddha's Word for followers of Theravada Buddhism, the form of Buddhism prevailing in the Buddhist countries of southern Asia. These discourses are called numerical for they retain the structure of the original Anguttara Nikaya. Sayings are organized, not by topic, but by numbers mentioned in the texts. So the first chapter, The Chapter of the Ones contains sayings including the number 'one'; The Chapter of the Twos contain sayings including the number 'two' and so on, up to The Chapter of Elevens. This organizational scheme, common in ancient Indian literature, can give the reader a haphazard view of the Buddha's teachings. To balance this tendency, Bhikkhu Bodhi provides a systematic introduction to the Buddha's Teaching in the Anguttara Nikaya. The translators also provide notes, a glossary, and another introduction placing the Anguttara Nikaya in the context of the larger Theravada Buddhist Canon. This readable but precise translation will be welcomed by both students of Theravada Buddhsim as well as anyone wishing to learn from the Buddha's teachings.