Studying the Words of the Buddha:
A 10-part Exploration of the Middle Length Discourses
The 2,500 year-old Buddhist tradition has its origin in the realization and teachings of the Buddha. To this day the Buddha’s teachings remain relevant as a guide for anyone engaged in Buddhist practice and for anyone who wants to understand the foundation from which all forms of Buddhism have grown.
We are fortunate that a large body of texts survive from the earliest times of Buddhism. Among these, the Pali Canon of the Theravada School preserves the most complete collection of these early texts. To discover what the Buddha himself taught, one must study these texts.
The surviving discourses of the Buddha contain a wealth of teachings on all aspects of Buddhist practice. However, the literary style in which these are presented often makes it difficult for new readers. In order to gain an appreciation of the discourses it is often helpful to be guided by someone who has spent much time investigating them.
We offer a self-directed course here, with materials and audio recordings by Gil Fronsdal from 2008-2009. It provides a systematic study in ten parts of the Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikaya), one of the most important collections of the Buddha’s teachings. Gil is an experienced Buddhist practitioner, teacher and scholar. As such, his discourse on this text is both scholarly and practical. The course is designed for people who have already been introduced to the basics of Buddhist teachings and practice and who have the time and motivation to carefully study the assigned readings from this collection. Materials and audio recordings from the 2008-2009 program form the basis of this ten-part self-directed study:
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Autobiography, biography and hagiography
- Part 3 – Faith & the Path
- Part 4 – Action and its Consequences
- Part 5 – Right Effort
- Part 6 – Happiness, Sensuality, & Renunciation
- Part 7 – Meditation: Mindfulness – Sati
- Part 8 – Meditation: Concentration and Wisdom
- Part 9 – Wisdom and the Four Noble Truths
- Part 10 – Non-Clinging, Nibbana, and The Deathless