Here we publish for the first time the complete manuscript of Ven. Ñāṇamoli’s translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, one of the major collections in the Sutta Piṭaka.
“During his eleven years’ life in the Buddhist Order, passed entirely at the Island Hermitage in south Sri Lanka, Ven. Ñāṇamoli had rendered into English some of the most difficult and intricate texts of Pali Buddhism, among them the encyclopaedic Visuddhimagga. Following his premature death at the age of fifty-five, three thick, hand-bound notebooks containing a handwritten translation of the entire Majjhima Nikāya were found among his effects. However, although all 152 suttas of the Majjhima had been translated, the work was obviously still in an ongoing process of revision, with numerous crossouts and overwritings and a fair number of unresolved inconsistencies. The translation also employed an experimental scheme of highly original renderings for Pali doctrinal terms that Ven. Ñāṇamoli had come to prefer to his earlier scheme and had overwritten into the notebooks. He had used this new set of renderings in several of his final publications, offering an explanation for his choices in an appendix to The Minor Readings and The Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning, his translation of the Khuddakapāṭha and its commentary.” (Bhikkhu Bodhi, ‘Preface’, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Wisdom Publications, 1995.)