Word Vol 1
Ven. Nyanamoli Thera
The selection of 90 Suttas from the Majjhima-Nikaya was made on the
1. The majority of readers of this book are likely to be Buddhist
lay people, therefore most of the Suttas on lay practice have been included in
the first section- “Lay people”
2. But to complement this, the next section is on “Bhikkhu Life” and while not quite so long as the preceeding section, is still nearly 20 Suttas. Some Suttas only of bhikkhus (such as the Anumana Sutta) have been omitted.
3. Most of the Suttas dealing with various aspects of Training in Dhamma fall in this section. At the end of it come three Suttas which illustrate the step-by-step training of a bhikkhu.
4. Suttas which are on the various views held by non-Buddhists at that time, and conversations between non-Buddhists and Buddhist practisers find a place in this section.
5. Among the numerous Suttas in the Majjhima on ‘wisdom’ (panna) which are phrased in terms of dhammas rather than persons, some have been omitted, like the Mulapariyaya Sutta, because of their complexity and the need of many explanations. This section is still nevertheless one of the biggest.
6. This group of Suttas illustrates the attainment of Arahantship and so follows follows logically uoon the last section, as well as section three.
7. The few Suttas which give biographical details of the Bodhisatta’s practices before Enlightenment and continue in some cases to speak of later events, such as the teaching of the first five bhikkhus, could hardly be omitted as they are so important. Four Suttas make up this short section.
8. The last section shows the Buddha speaking about himself as the Tathagata and from the four Suttas have we gain an impression of the Buddha’s majesty.
This note summarizes the contents of the various sections of this anthology. The guiding principle in making it was to bring out all the major features of the Buddha’s teaching.
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