Venerable Ñāṇamoli (1905–60) was born in England and became a monk in Sri Lanka in 1949. During the eleven years he spent as a monk, he translated from Pali into lucid English some of the most difficult texts of Theravada Buddhism, including Buddhaghosa’s Path of Purification.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha
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. Combining lucidity of expression with accuracy, this translation enables the Buddha to speak across twenty-five centuries in language that addresses the most pressing concerns of the contemporary reader seeking clarification of the timeless issues of truth, value, and the proper conduct of life.
Winner of the 1995 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book Award, and the Tricycle Prize for Excellence in Buddhist Publishing for Dharma Discourse.