This book offers a complete translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, or Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, one of the major collections of texts in the Pali Canon, the authorized scriptures of Theravāda Buddhism. This collection—among the oldest records of the historical Buddha's original teachings—consists of 152 suttas or discourses of middle length, distinguished as such from the longer and shorter suttas of the other collections. The Majjhima Nikāya might be concisely described as the Buddhist scripture that combines the richest variety of contextual settings with the deepest and most comprehensive assortment of teachings. These teachings, which range from basic ethics to instructions in meditation and liberating insight, unfold in a fascinating procession of scenarios that show the Buddha in living dialogue with people from many different strata of ancient Indian society: with kings and princes, priests and ascetics, simple villagers and erudite philosophers. Replete with drama, reasoned argument, and illuminating parable and simile, these discourses exhibit the Buddha in the full glory of his resplendent wisdom, majestic sublimity, and compassionate humanity.
The translation is based on an original draft translation left by the English scholar-monk Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, which has been edited and revised by the American monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, who provides a long introduction and helpful explanatory notes.