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In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha) Paperback – July 28, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Teachings of the Buddha
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; First Edition edition (July 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861714911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861714919
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I am sure that many people will benefit from In the Buddha's Words." (Thich Nhat Hanh)

"A remarkable book. In the Buddha's Words is an anthology drawing primarily of the first four [widely available translations of collections of the Buddha's spoken teachings], and manages quite successfully to both summarize them and extract their essence. [ . . . ] Although this material has been available for some time now, one of the things that has remained a difficulty for many readers is its complexity and scope. In the Buddha's Words provides a framework with which to see the teachings' overall structure, and it does so in a skillful way. Bhikkhu Bodhi's introductions alone, strung together, would themselves serve as a beautiful and accessible overview of the dhamma. [ . . . ] I think this anthology will rapidly become the sourcebook of choice for both neophyte and serious student alike. In the Buddha's Words reveals the mature understanding of someone who has not only a complete mastery of his material, but also of someone who has deeply understood the nature and intention of the dhamma and who shares it with us as an expression of his own caring. This publication will be very much welcomed by Western meditators and students of the dhamma. [ . . . ] Any amount of study or practice that helps to deepen wisdom and assist us to emerge from layers of delusion is precious. This book could contribute to this enterprise more than almost anything else in print. It gives us access to the very texture of the dhamma, the specific words and phrases, which guided and inspired the Buddha's original students. Bhikkhu Bodhi has created a framework upon which he has placed the key elements of the dhamma for all to plainly see and investigate for themselves. With a map of such clarity in hand, one may tread the landscape with confidence. Those for whom the Buddha's teaching is a living tradition will find this book to be a dear friend and spiritual companion. My overall response to the work is one of gratitude--to the author, the translator and editor, the publisher, and all the other helpers and benefactors who have contributed to making this gift to the world." (Andrew Olendzki, Executive Director of the Barre Center of Buddhist Studies -- excerpted from a three-page review in Buddhadharma)

"As close as we'll get to the original teachings and account of the life of the Buddha." (Tricycle)

"Congratulations and gratitude to Wisdom for the new publication In the Buddha's Words--if someone relatively new to Buddhism were to buy only one book, this should be it!" (Jean Smith, author of NOW! and editor of 365 Zen)

"In the Buddha's Words has ten chapters, each with an insightful introduction and a handful of sutras, many newly translated, edited and condensed to make them more manageable for the non-scholar. The book begins with a rich explanatory General Introduction that alone would be worth the purchase of the book." (Right View magazine, from the Mid-America Buddhist Association)

From the Back Cover

This landmark collection is the definitive introduction to the Buddha’s teachings—in his own words. The American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, whose voluminous translations have won widespread acclaim, here presents selected discourses of the Buddha from the P›li Canon, the earliest record of what the Buddha taught. Divided into ten thematic chapters, In the Buddha’s Words reveals the full scope of the Buddha’s discourses, from family life and marriage to renunciation and the path of insight. A concise, informative introduction precedes each chapter, guiding the reader toward a deeper understanding of the texts that follow.

In the Buddha’s Words allows even readers unacquainted with Buddhism to grasp the significance of the Buddha’s contributions to our world heritage. Taken as a whole, these texts bear eloquent testimony to the breadth and intelligence of the Buddha’s teachings, and point the way to an ancient yet ever-vital path. Students and seekers alike will find this systematic presentation indispensable.


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Customer Reviews

This book is written in clear and understandable English.
Steve Burns
Bhikkhu Bodhi has created a very well translated, and perhaps even more importantly, a very well organized collection of the Buddha's teachings.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend this book to those who already have some understanding of Theravada Buddhism.
T. Sharp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

222 of 227 people found the following review helpful By desiree on August 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
Thank you to Bhikku Bodhi for his tremendous effort. If you are a serious practitioner, especially a lone practitioner as I am, this book is invaluable for making available the undiluted teachings of the Buddha himself. Most of the books in my Buddhist library have been helpful to some extent or other but most are explanations of the teachings, i.e. the Buddha's words once-removed. I rank very highly What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula. This book is much more extensive. It is also more accessible than The Middle Length Discourses (trans. Bhiddhu Nanamoli and Bhiddhu Bodhi) because it is organized into general topics, such as "The Human Condition" and "Mastering the Mind." Highly recommended as a life reference.
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117 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is written in clear and understandable English. It gives very understandable explanations of all major Buddhist Dhamma teachings while avoiding all the mythology that entered Buddhism in the later centuries. This summary of the Pali Canon is very close to the original Buddha of history. You will find how to over come greed, hatred, and delusion by over coming clinging and the false view of self. It has the greatest explanation of the Noble Eightfold path I have ever read. The Four Noble truths are the main theme of these scriptures. If you have already read the Dhammapada and have some understanding of Buddhism then buy this for the advanced learning. However this book is not for beginners and non-Buddhists may not be able to grasp it. Bhikkhu Boddhi has written wonderful introductions to each section that really prepare you to receive the teachings. 5 Stars, thank you Bhikkhu.
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83 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Griff-Man on August 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
It seems there are many books telling us how the Budda would date, eat, work...etc. These books may be helpful, but why not get as close to the original sources as possible? Unfortunately the Suttas (or sutras...the collected rememberances of the Buddas talks) can be overwhelming for many of us because of their vast number, the repetitive language, the obscure references, and they are not anthologized in a helpful way. In this book you have exerpts of the most foundational suttas. They are presented in chapters related by topic and each chapter has a wonderful introduction. The structure is oriented towards practice - ethical training, meditation, and wisdom. If you are looking for a book that is beyond a basic introduction and can be a touchstone for your own development - this could be a book you could work with for years to come. I can't recommend it highly enough
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bailey on January 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I own many of the longer and complete translations of the Pali Canon available now and have spent years studying and teaching, to the best of my ability, the contents and character of each. What I find most useful about Bhikkhu Bohdi's anthology is it's concise and focused selection of Suttas and the logic of the overall outline, making it an extremely useful learning tool of the heart of Buddhism. Also, I took an extended trip recently and this was the only book of scripture I took along. It's physical size combined with the translations themselves and Bhikkhu Bodhi's erudite and clear commentary made this a wonderful traveling companion. If your Buddhist library can hold only one book, I highly recommend this volume.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Juhász Attila on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
After having read a few books on buddhism, which caused some confusion around what Buddhist (would) say, what they believe and what Buddha actually said, I found this book fundamental. I was alway afraid of the long long sutras - and I almost gave up reading the original words of Buddha. Now I think there is no better introduction to Buddhism than the real source. After this, explanations and summaries of buddhism are easier to grasp and judge. But I needed a good introduction to it. It was this book.

I particularly liked the sensible 'shortenings', i.e. when repetitions are omitted. It might be strange for the first time, but you soon get used to it and it makes sense. It is a thick book anyway with many essential areas of what Buddha said to the lay people and to monks and to this own disciples. A wonderful compilation.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Phil Renteria on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will come right out and say it: the vast majority of what is called Buddhism today was created by people other than Shakyamuni Buddha.

All of Mahayana and Vajrayana doctrine was created by elite monks after Gotama's death.

If you want to know the teachings of the Buddha, it is here. It is in this little book.

There is no Pureland, no Zen, no Tantra, no Yoga, no mudra, no medicine wheels, no ritual, no esoteric transmission, no gurus, no deity yoga, no bardo, no Dalai Lama, no phowa, no koans, etc.

There are the 4 noble truths, the 3 facts of existence, the 8 noble path. Now go meditate.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Baern on March 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Anybody interested in pursuing an understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist teachings can tell you how overwhelming it can be to try to sift through the religious texts. First of all, the Pali canon is quite huge, such that it would take a lifetime to read and absorb it all, and the printed versions of it (in Pali, there is still no complete English translation) are anywhere from 35 to 58 volumes. From this vast ocean of scripture Bhikkhu Bodhi effectively organizes it into chapters based on major points of doctrine. Each chapter has a few pages of Bhikkhu Bodhi's own interpretation and explanation, but the bulk of the book is devoted to the scripture. I highly recommend it to anybody who wants to better understand Buddhism (including Mahayana Buddhism). As for those who are as intensely interested in Theravada Buddhism as I am, I would say that this book, along with a good translation of the Dhammapada, is essential.
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