- File Size: 5653 KB
- Print Length: 648 pages
- Publisher: Wisdom Publications; 2nd edition (June 10, 2005)
- Publication Date: June 10, 2005
- Sold by: Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004124JKK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,832 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya (The Teachings of the Buddha) Kindle Edition
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Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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I recommend to start with that collection before moving to this collection of the Long Discourses. Since all of this came from an oral tradition and was not written down for hundreds of years after the passing of the Buddha, it stands to reason that the shorter more simplistic discourses might be more accurate with less embellishment and closer to the reality of the Buddha.
Top international reviews
Indeed, there's material here which feels as if it was inserted during transmission, e.g. in a pious attempt to make the Buddha appear superhuman. Sometimes there are statements which conflict with the general tenor of the teachings, while some suttas are like fairy tales (I liked the Buddha's response when a celestial minstrel gently roused him from meditation with, of all things, a mildly erotic love song!).
The translation is enjoyable to read, modern, without being too colloquial. The removal of many repetitions, though inevitably breaking the flow in places, has the compensation of making a single volume possible (and the occasional inferior sutta less time-consuming!).
I am fascinated with Buddhism, it intrigues me, however the beginning part of this book, the Introduction did frustrate me. I did not find it accessible or written in a format that I could readily comprehend. If it were not for my persistence I would have not continued reading it.
"Don't make that same mistake!"
This book is admirable and a wonderful example of the authors dedication to a task of trying to 'translate' from a language so very different in construct and meaning to English.
The beginning of the book is written in what I would describe as an academic style. There are lots of (brackets), bullet points and references in italics to dates and page numbers. Its extremely distracting and I found the use of phrases such as: "the former and the latter" being used occasionally to create even more confusion for a topic already somewhat difficult to explain - this didn't help my 'flow of comprehension' or my will to continue reading it.
Now, once you move past the Technical and Introduction sections' and onto the teachings; the style changes to a relaxed and conversely more comfortable form of writing. My advice if you do not want to experience the same frustrations as me is to move directly onto page 67: Division One - The Moralities
Then, take a breath and read through the stories and teachings to your heart's content.
I would say that the hardback copy is arguably priced too high and I suspect out of financial reach for many, perhaps there's an ironic metaphor hidden within its subtext about materialism and status there?
In fairness there is a cheaper ebook version if you can live without the touch of paper although still quite expensive for an ebook in my opinion.
In conclusion, it's a nice read. Just skip the introduction and technical chapters 😊
However someone has done an extremely poor job of converting this to Ebook format. There are many typos. More seriously, the title of the Sutta is missing from each chapter leaving the reader to guess the same. I request Wisdom Publications to redo the conversion of this book and upload to the site so that readers get full benefit of the same.
If Buddhism for you has become too complicated, reading the Digha-Nikaya really clips back all the extraneous stuff and gets (rather quickly) to the root of things - you've got to renounce stuff, you've got to meditate through the jhanas, and you've got to follow certain rules/practices/techniques in order to do it. It's pretty much as simple as that.
The Buddha comes across as friendly, approachable, and human. For example, at one point, he appears to lose his temper! - not something perhaps that you would have expected. You really get the sense that embedded into these stories is some real wisdom, and that maybe there genuinely was this man going around ancient India, followed by packs of monks, teaching this stuff, which the monks have then tried their best to remember.
Repetitions have been cut to a minimum, perhaps sometimes a little too much, because the act of repetition gives you some sense of the scale of the task of preserving so much knowledge purely by recitation from memory. Plus, the repetitions have a trance-like quality that helps greatly with your own recall.
If you've never read the Digha-Nikaya and you like Buddhism, you should read it.