Passages from the Early Discourses
The wisdom found in the early discourses laid the foundation for all of the schools of Buddhism that we find in our world today. This page is a place to come for samples of some of these core teachings. We hope that you will be informed and inspired by the words that you find here.
“One sees this: a spiritual path endowed with all good qualities, complete in all good qualities, neither too little nor too much, well explained, whole, full, and well propounded. One does not see this: anything that, were it to be removed, would make it purer. One does not see this: anything that, were it to be added, would make it more complete.”
- Digha Nikāya 29.5; Bhikkhu Sujato, trans., The Long Discourses of the Buddha (DN 29.5)
“What should be done for his disciples out of compassion by a teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them, that I have done for you, bhikkhus. There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not delay or else you will regret it later. This is our instruction to you.”
- Majjima Nikāya 19; Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, trans., and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. and ed., The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, 4th ed., Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2009, via SuttaCentral
“Even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, one who gave rise to a mind of hate towards them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with them, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train.”
- Majjima Nikāya 21.20; modified from Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, trans., and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. and ed., The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, 4th ed., Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2009, via SuttaCentral
My little hut is roofed and pleasant,
Sheltered from the wind:
So rain, sky, as you please!
My mind is serene and freed,
I practice whole-heartedly: so rain, sky!
- Bhikkhu Sujato & Jessica Walton, trans., Verses of the Senior Monks: A new translation of the Theragāthā, SuttaCentral, 2014.