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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The material here will keep you going forever!, 16 Nov. 2006
By 
Sarakani (Harrow United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Long Discourses of the Buddha: Translation of the "Digha-Nikaya" (Teachings of the Buddha) (Hardcover)
The Digha Nikaya was apparently the first portion of the Pali Canon to be recited after the Buddha's passing and contains some of his most important discourses. This book compresses all 30 odd discourses (suttas) into a relatively slim volume compared to the original with its repetitions which would run into tens of volumes.

The only alternative to this edition which is reputable is still probably Rhys David's translation for the PTS in 3 volumes which is actually good but archaic, harder and pricier to get hold of.

Walshe's translation reads easily and his notes are quite chatty but a few of his comments could have been avoided. The Buddha comes across as quite human is his speech and earnest in conveying something to his listeners (the English is highly readable and fairly simple as opposed to older and archaic rendering), commanding as usual but cool and detached with a tremendous sense of compassion.

More abstruse passages within certain suttas will not be understood by most readers without meditation practice or guidance from teachers and the book itself lacks sufficient explanation, in fact some elements of the translation may be wrong or mis-interpretted.

This book is a boon companion for anyone who feels s/he needs the highest security.

Most of the suttas here are applicable to lay people as well as monks (the usual audience the Buddha addressed) and this volume contains seminal discourses such as 1. The Great Discourse on the foundations of mindfulness, 2. The discourse of the Great decease of the Buddha and 3. Fruits of the homeless life. There are many others such as one specifically as to how lay-people should live and guard their worldly affairs and at least two dealing with gods or conversations with celestial beings.

I think this book represents an excellent reference for the price and can be read aloud when you are alone. Profound, mysterious, to the heart and yet sometimes extreme or humourous. As Nyanaponika says (the late) "Mr Walshe has done an excellent job".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Digha Nikaya, 14 Nov. 2011
By 
Robin Friedman (Washington, D.C. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Long Discourses of the Buddha: Translation of the "Digha-Nikaya" (Teachings of the Buddha) (Hardcover)
This book is a modern translation of the Long Length Discourses of the Buddha, a seminal collection of early Buddhist texts. The Digha is part of the scripture of the Theravada school of Buddhism. The Theravada school is is the oldest surviving form of Buddhism and is still practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, and elsewhere. Together with other forms of Buddhism, Theravada has attracted a great deal of interest in the West, and this book will be invaluable in making its teachings accessible. This collection of discourses is considered canonical by all other schools of Buddhism. Subsequent understanding of the Buddha's teachings built upon it, even when they seemed to depart from it.
The Digha is a collection of 34 discourses (suttas), originally written in Pali. The form of the teaching differs from that of later Buddhist teachings in that in the Digha, the Buddha is presented as a person wandering through India and teaching his disciples, followers of other sects, kings, princes, gods, and anyone who is open to listen. The teachings are difficult but the emphasis in this collection is on psychology more than metaphysics. The Buddha described his dhamma as designed to end suffering and to teach people how to be happy. That is the core of this volume.

Many scholars believe that the Digha was written specifically to introduce the Buddha's teaching to lay followers. Most (but not all) the suttas in the collection involve discussions between the Buddha and various lay people or followers of other sects. The suttas in the collection include a great deal of mythology and story-telling. These factors, together with the content of the discourses, tend to show it was designed for a large audience, rather than only for close followers of the Buddha's teachings. They remain an outstanding source for those wanting to make a serious effort to study the Buddha.

Many of the Suttas in the collection present important expositions of the Buddha's dhamma (teaching). The first sutta in the collection, translated here as "What the Teaching is Not" is basic but difficult. The reader coming to the Digha might want to begin with the second sutta, "The Fruits of the Homeless Life". This sutta is widely studied and is a beautiful exposition of the Buddha's teaching and its value.

Sutta 15 of the collection, the "Great Discourse on the Origination" is the most detailed single discussion in the Pali Canon of the Buddha's fundamental and uncompromisingly difficult teaching on dependent origination -- impermanence, selflessness, and interconnectedness. Sutta 22, "The Greater Discourse on the Foundation of Mindfulness" is the basic meditation sutta which should be studied by those wishing to develop a meditation practice. Sutta 16, the longest sutta in the Pali Canon, tells the story of the Buddha's last days and of his passing. In it the Buddha exhorts his followers to "strive on with diligence" to achieve their goal of enlightenment. Sutta 31, the Sigala Sutta, differs markedly from the remaining suttas in the collection in that it consists of the Buddha's rather worldy advice to a worldly young man.

I have the good fortune to belong to a Sutta Study group led by an able teacher where we explored this collection in depth. We generally have one person assigned to lead the discussion of a Sutta (our group averages about ten) and we all read and discuss it over a two-hour session. (The longer, more difficult suttas require several sessions.) This is an ideal way to study the text. If such a group is unavailable to you, the best way to proceed, I think, is to read the collection slowly -- do not try to rush or to do it at once -- concentrate on the sections that seem to speak to you and go back to them. This is a text that is not meant to convey history or dogma but to encourage reflection, meditation and study.

The translation of the text is by Maurice Walshe, a scholar and a distinguished Buddhist lay practioner who also translated the works of the Christian mystic, Meister Eckhardt. Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart Walshe wrote a useful introduction covering key Buddhist concepts, a summary of each sutta, and brief notes. His translation is homespun, colloquial, and accessible. It serves its function of allowing the reader to approach the text and the Dhamma.

Walshe and Wisdom Publications have done great service in making this volume available to interested readers in the West. (Wisdom has also published companion volumes of the Middle-Length Discourses and the Connected Discourses.) This is a difficult book but will repay the effort many times. May this book help the interested reader to understand the teachings of the Buddha.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discourses of the Buddha, 12 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Long Discourses of the Buddha: Translation of the "Digha-Nikaya" (Teachings of the Buddha) (Hardcover)
Reading the Digha-Nikaya, it makes me think mainly of two things: 1) Of the historical Buddha (Gautama) as a real person, and 2) The oral tradition by which these discourses were preserved.

If Buddhism for you has become too complicated, reading the Digha-Nikaya really clips back all the extraneous stuff and gets (rather quickly) to the root of things - you've got to renounce stuff, you've got to meditate through the jhanas, and you've got to follow certain rules/practices/techniques in order to do it. It's pretty much as simple as that.

The Buddha comes across as friendly, approachable, and human. For example, at one point, he appears to lose his temper! - not something perhaps that you would have expected. You really get the sense that embedded into these stories is some real wisdom, and that maybe there genuinely was this man going around ancient India, followed by packs of monks, teaching this stuff, which the monks have then tried their best to remember.

Repetitions have been cut to a minimum, perhaps sometimes a little too much, because the act of repetition gives you some sense of the scale of the task of preserving so much knowledge purely by recitation from memory. Plus, the repetitions have a trance-like quality that helps greatly with your own recall.

If you've never read the Digha-Nikaya and you like Buddhism, you should read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Long Discourses of the Buddha: Translation of the "Digha-Nikaya" (Teachings of the Buddha) (Hardcover)
a very good product. prompt delivery
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Long Discourses of the Buddha: Translation of the "Digha-Nikaya" (Teachings of the Buddha) (Hardcover)
Great quality book :-)
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8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding acchievement, 27 Oct. 1999
This review is from: Long Discourses of the Buddha: Translation of the "Digha-Nikaya" (Teachings of the Buddha) (Hardcover)
This superbly prepared translation will set a new standard in new publications of the Dhamma. Forget boring translations of the PTS and inspire yourself this crisp edition of the Majjhima-Nikaya.
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