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Study Guide

If you'd like a structured guide for studying the teachings of the Buddha, this section systematically covers the whole range of the Buddha's teachings. It is based on In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon by Bhikkhu Bodhi published by Wisdom Publications.

The list below shows the scope of the Buddha's teachings which have been broken down into ten separate sections, each with a comprehensive introduction from Bhikkhu Bodhi. So as to orient yourself, it is recommended that you read the introduction to a section before following the links below each introduction.

Each link opens in a new tab.

We highly recommend that you purchase the print copy of the original book from the publisher Wisdom Publications.

Read the GENERAL INTRODUCTION here (or below).

 

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 

1. THE HUMAN CONDITION

1. Old Age, Illness, and Death

(1) Aging and Death (SN 3.3)

(2) The Simile of the Mountain (SN 3.25)

(3) The Divine Messengers (from AN 3.36)

2. The Tribulations of Unreflective Living

(1) The Dart of Painful Feeling (SN 36.6)

(2) The Vicissitudes of Life (AN 8.6)

(3) Anxiety Due to Change (SN 22.7)

3. A World in Turmoil

(1) The Origin of Conflict (AN 2.37)

(2) Why Do Beings Live in Hate? (from DN 21)

(3) The Dark Chain of Causation (from DN 15)

(4) The Roots of Violence and Oppression (from AN 3.69)

4. Without Discoverable Beginning

(1) Grass and Sticks (SN 15.1)

(2) Balls of Clay (SN 15.2)

(3) The Mountain (SN 15.5)

(4) The River Ganges (SN 15.8)

(5) Dog on a Leash (SN 22.99)

 

2. THE BRINGER OF LIGHT

1. One Person (AN1.170), (AN1.171–174), (AN1.175–186), (AN1.187).

2. The Buddha’s Conception and Birth (MN 123)

3. The Quest for Enlightenment

(1) Seeking the Supreme State of Sublime Peace (MN 26)

(2) The Realization of the Three True Knowledges (MN 36)

(3) The Ancient City (SN 12.65)

4. The Decision to Teach (MN 26)

5. The First Discourse (SN 56.11)

 

3. APPROACHING THE DHAMMA

1. Not a Secret Doctrine (AN 3.131)

2. No Dogmas or Blind Belief (AN 3.65)

3. The Visible Origin and Passing Away of Suffering (SN 42.11)

4. Investigate the Teacher Himself (MN 47)

5. Steps toward the Realization of Truth (MN 95)

 

4. THE HAPPINESS VISIBLE IN THIS PRESENT LIFE

1. Upholding the Dhamma in Society

(1) The King of the Dhamma (AN 3.14)

(2) Worshipping the Six Directions (DN 31)

2. The Family

(1) Parents and Children

(a) Respect for Parents (AN 4.63)

(b) Repaying One’s Parents (AN2.33)

(2) Husbands and Wives

(a) Different Kinds of Marriages (AN 4.53)

(b) How to Be United in Future Lives (AN 4.55)

(c) Seven Kinds of Wives (AN 7.63)

3. Present Welfare, Future Welfare (AN 8.54)

4. Right Livelihood

(1) Avoiding Wrong Livelihood (AN 5.177)

(2) The Proper Use of Wealth (AN 4.61)

(3) A Family Man’s Happiness (AN 4.62)

5. The Woman of the Home (AN 8.49)

6. The Community

(1) Six Roots of Dispute, (2) Six Principles of Cordiality (MN 104)

(3) Purification Is for All Four Castes (MN 93)

(4) Seven Principles of Social Stability (DN 16)

(5) The Wheel-Turning Monarch (DN 26)

(6) Bringing Tranquillity to the Land (DN 5)

 

5. THE WAY TO A FORTUNATE REBIRTH

1. The Law of Kamma

(1) Four Kinds of Kamma (AN 4.232)

(2) Why Beings Fare as They Do after Death (MN 41)

(3) Kamma and Its Fruits (MN 135)

2. Merit. The Key to Good Fortune

(1) Meritorious Deeds (It 22)

(2) Three Bases of Merit (AN 8.36)

(3) The Best Kinds of Confidence (AN 4.34)

3. Giving

(1) If People Knew the Result of Giving (It 26)

(2) Reasons for Giving (AN 8.33)

(3) The Gift of Food (AN 4.57)

(4) A Superior Person’s Gifts (AN 5.148)

(5) Mutual Support (It 107)

(6) Rebirth on Account of Giving (AN 8.35)

4.Moral Discipline

(1) The Five Precepts (AN 8.39)

(2) The Uposatha Observance (AN 8.41)

5. Meditation

(1) The Development of Loving-Kindness (It 27)

(2) The Four Divine Abodes (MN 99)

(3) Insight Surpasses All (AN 9.20)

 

6. DEEPENING ONE’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE WORLD

1. Four Wonderful Things (AN 4.128)

2. Gratification, Danger, and Escape

(1) Before My Enlightenment (AN3.103)

(2) I Set Out Seeking (AN3.104)

(3) If There Were No Gratification (AN 3.105)

3. Properly Appraising Objects of Attachment (MN 13)

4. The Pitfalls in Sensual Pleasures

(1) Cutting Off All Affairs (MN 54)

(2) The Fever of Sensual Pleasures (MN 75)

5. Life Is Short and Fleeting (AN 7.74)

6. Four Summaries of the Dhamma (MN 82)

7.The Danger in Views

(1) A Miscellany on Wrong View (AN 1.306), (AN 1.307), (AN 1.308).

(2) The Blind Men and the Elephant (Ud 6.4)

(3) Held by Two Kinds of Views (It 49)

8. From the Divine Realms to the Infernal (AN 4.125)

9. The Perils of Saṁsāra

(1) The Stream of Tears (SN 15.3)

(2) The Stream of Blood (SN 15.13)

 

7. THE PATH TO LIBERATION

1. Why Does One Enter the Path?

(1) The Arrow of Birth, Aging, and Death (MN 63)

(2) The Heartwood of the Spiritual Life (MN 29)

(3) The Fading Away of Lust (SN 45.41), (SN 45.42–48).

2. Analysis of the Eightfold Path (SN 45.8)

3. Good Friendship (SN 45.2)

4. The Graduated Training (MN 27)

5. The Higher Stages of Training with Similes (MN 39)

 

8. MASTERING THE MIND

1. The Mind Is the Key, (AN 1.21–130).

2. Developing a Pair of Skills

(1) Serenity and Insight (AN 2.31)

(2) Four Ways to Arahantship (AN 4.170)

(3) Four Kinds of Persons (AN 4.94)

3. The Hindrances to Mental Development (SN 46.55)

4. The Refinement of the Mind (AN 3.101)

5. The Removal of Distracting Thoughts (MN 20)

6. The Mind of Loving-Kindness (MN 21)

7. The Six Recollections (AN 6.10)

8. The Four Establishments of Mindfulness (MN 10)

9. Mindfulness of Breathing (SN 54.13)

10. The Achievement of Mastery (SN 28.1)-9

 

9. SHINING THE LIGHT OF WISDOM

1.Images of Wisdom

(1) Wisdom as a Light (AN 4.143)

(2) Wisdom as a Knife (MN 146)

2. The Conditions for Wisdom (AN 8.2)

3. A Discourse on Right View (MN 9)

4. The Domain of Wisdom

(1) By Way of the Five Aggregates

(a) Phases of the Aggregates (SN 22.56)

(b) A Catechism on the Aggregates (SN 22.82 or MN 109)

(c) The Characteristic of Nonself (SN 22.59)

(d) Impermanent, Suffering, Nonself (SN 22.45)

(e) A Lump of Foam (SN 22.95)

(2) By Way of the Six Sense Bases

(a) Full Understanding (SN 35.26)

(b) Burning (SN 35.28)

(c) Suitable for Attaining Nibbāna (SN 35.147, SN 35.148–149)

(d) Empty Is the World (SN 35.85)

(e) Conscious Too Is Nonself (SN 35.234)

(3) By Way of the Elements

(a) The Eighteen Elements (SN 14.1)

(b) The Four Elements (SN 14.37, SN 14.38, SN 14.39)

(c) The Six Elements (MN 140)

(4) By Way of Dependent Origination

(a) What Is Dependent Origination? (SN 12.1)

(b) The Stableness of the Dhamma (SN 12.20)

(c) Forty-Four Cases of Knowledge (SN 12.33)

(d) A Teaching by the Middle (SN 12.15)

(e) The Continuance of Consciousness (SN 12.38)

(f) The Origin and Passing of the World (SN 12.44)

(5) By Way of the Four Noble Truths

(a) The Truths of All Buddhas (SN 56.24)

(b) These Four Truths Are Actual (SN 56.20)

(c) A Handful of Leaves (SN 56.31)

(d) Because of Not Understanding (SN 56.21)

(e) The Precipice (SN 56.42)

(f) Making the Breakthrough (SN 56.32)

(g) The Destruction of the Taints (SN 56.25)

5. The Goal of Wisdom

(a) What is Nibbāna? (SN 38.1)

(b) Thirty-Three Synonyms for Nibbāna (SN 43.1– 44)

(c) There Is That Base (Ud 8.1)

(d) The Unborn (Ud 8.3)

(e) The Two Nibbāna Elements (It 44)

(f) The Fire and the Ocean (MN 72)

 

10. THE PLANES OF REALIZATION

1. The Field of Merit for the World

(1) Eight Persons Worthy of Gifts (AN 8.59)

(2) Differentiation by Faculties (SN 48.18)

(3) In the Dhamma Well Expounded (MN 22)

(4) The Completeness of the Teaching (MN 73)

(5) Seven Kinds of Noble Persons (MN 70)

2. Stream-Entry

(1) The Four Factors Leading to Stream-Entry (SN 55.5)

(2) Entering the Fixed Course of Rightness (SN 25.1)

(3) The Breakthrough to the Dhamma (SN 13.1)

(4) The Four Factors of a Stream-Enterer (SN 55.2)

(5) Better than Sovereignty over the Earth (SN 55.1)

3. Nonreturning

(1) Abandoning the Five Lower Fetters (MN 64)

(2) Four Kinds of Persons (AN 4.169)

(3) Six Things that Partake of True Knowledge (SN 55.3)

(4) Five Kinds of Nonreturners (SN 46.3)

4. The Arahant

(1) Removing the Residual Conceit “I Am” (SN 22.89)

(2) The Trainee and the Arahant (SN 48.53)

(3) A Monk Whose Crossbar Has Been Lifted (MN 22)

(4) Nine Things an Arahant Cannot Do (AN 9.7)

(5) A Mind Unshaken (AN 9.26)

(6) The Ten Powers of an Arahant Monk (AN 10.90)

(7) The Sage at Peace (MN 140)

(8) Happy Indeed Are the Arahants (SN 22.76)

5. The Tathāgata

(1) The Buddha and the Arahant (SN 22.58)

(2) For the Welfare of Many (It 84)

(3) Sāriputta’s Lofty Utterance (SN 47.12)

(4) The Powers and Grounds of Self-Confidence (MN 12)

(5) The Manifestation of Great Light (SN 56.38)

(6) The Man Desiring Our Good (MN 19)

(7) The Lion (SN 22.78)

(8) Why Is He Called the Tathāgata? (AN 4.23 or It 112)