This much having been said about the Pali Suttas, it remains to say a few words concerning accessibility.[x]
The texts have been published in many scripts. A very inexpensive edition is available in Devanagari script — only the script need be learned, not the language — from Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110 007, India. In a roman-script edition the texts are available from the Pali Text Society, Broadway House, Newton Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EN, England. Both publishers offer free catalogs.
The P.T.S. also publishes a grammar, dictionary and other aids to learning this not very difficult language. Less costly (but less available) grammars have been produced in Sri Lanka by Ven. A. P. Buddhadatta, Ven. Nārada Mahāthera, and others. Ven. Buddhadatta has also compiled a concise dictionary.
The P.T.S. offers the only complete English translation of the five Nikāyas (of which the most reliable renderings are K. R. Norman’s translation of Thera-Therī-gāthā as Elders’ Verses I, II, and I. B. Horner’s Majjhima Nikāya translation as Middle Length Sayings I, II, III) and the Vinaya. An inexpensive edition of 90 of the Majjhima Nikāya Suttas, translated by Ven. Ñānamoli Thera, has been published by Mahamakut Rajavidyalaya Press, Bangkok (available from Wat Buddha-Dhamma, Wisemans Ferry, NSW 2255, Australia). Ven. Ñānamoli’s Life of the Buddha (Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka) is a well-selected and well-translated anthology. The Buddhist Publication Society also publishes reliable translations of selected texts, available in the Wheel series. For a fuller listing of texts, translations, anthologies and linguistic aids, see Russell Webb’s An Analysis of the Pali Canon (B.P.S., the Wheel No. 217-220).
1. On the other hand, one must beware of a few mass-marketed “translations” (particularly of the Dhammapada) which grossly misrepresent the Teaching, either by gratuitously mistranslating certain key terminology, or by acting so free and loose with the text in general as not to deserve to be called a translation. [Back to text]
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