Any work that is considered canonical by a Buddhist tradition.

You should train like this: ‘We will fear the fault apparent in the present life, and we will fear the fault to do with lives to come.’

Good man, didn’t you see the third divine messenger that appeared among human beings?

Kālāmas, do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of scriptures, by logic…

… over a hundred and fifty training rules come up for recitation, in which gentlemen who love themselves train.

… the appearance of three people is rare in the world…

… he sank and melted down and wasn’t able to stay still. It’s like when ghee or oil is poured onto sand: it sinks and melts down, and can’t remain

A mendicant is like a king’s star archer if they are a long-distance shooter, a marksman, and one who shatters large objects.

Monks, whether Tathāgatas arise or not, this aspect of the world remains the same…

It is painful to dwell without reverence and deference. Now what ascetic or brahmin can I honor, respect, and dwell in dependence on?

Remember me, brahmin, as a Buddha.

There is a way of developing immersion further

… these four things are unthinkable. They should not be thought about

You should neither approve nor dismiss that mendicant’s statement. Instead, having carefully memorized those words and phrases, you should …

Judging by this fish’s approach, by the ripples it makes, and by its force, it’s a big fish, not a little one.

But when gold is freed from these five defilements, it is malleable, wieldy, and luminous, pliant and properly fit for work.

Mendicants, there are these five opportunities for freedom.

The five benefits of walking meditation.

Times that are unconducive to meditation practice, and those that are conducive.

… beings are intoxicated with life and engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon [death], the intoxication with life is diminished.

These five things, when developed and cultivated, have freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom as their fruit and benefit.

It’s inappropriate to talk to an unfaithful person about faith…

… you should ignore that person’s impure behavior

AN 5.172: Assured (2018)

Featured in the course, " Buddhist Ethics"

‘I’ve developed the heart’s release by love… Yet somehow ill will still occupies my mind.’

O, that I might live for the interval that it takes to swallow having chewed up one morsel of food!

… he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, relentlessness, mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or hair is on fire

There are six proper occasions for going to see an esteemed mendicant…

Mendicants, there are these three sources that give rise to deeds. What three? Greed, hate, and delusion are sources that give rise to deeds.

Let them enjoy the filthy, lazy pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity.

When your harp’s strings were tuned too tight, was it resonant and playable?

A group of monks tries to figure out the meaning of a difficult poem uttered by the Buddha. After offering several interpretations, the Buddha gives his answer.

The meditative perceptions which act as antidotes for greed, hate, and delusion.

Mendicants, these seven perceptions, when developed and cultivated, are very fruitful and beneficial. They culminate in the deathless and end with the deathless. What seven? The perceptions of ugliness, death, repulsiveness of food, dissatisfaction with the whole world, impermanence, suffering in impermanence, and not-self in suffering.

… near Kallavāḷamutta Village, Venerable Mahāmoggallāna was nodding off while meditating…

… an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person sleep badly!’

When a mendicant is committed to development, they might not wish: ‘If only my mind was freed from the defilements by not grasping!’ Even so, their mind is freed…

… life as a human is short, brief, and fleeting, full of suffering and distress. Be thoughtful and wake up! Do what’s good and lead the spiritual life, for no-one born can escape death.

Bhikkhus, it is good for a bhikkhu from time to time to review his own failings. It is good for him from time to time to review the failings of others. It is good for him from time to time to review his own achievements. It is good for him from time to time to review the achievements of others.

On the eight ways that people become defensive when admonished: a useful mirror for how we handle criticism. When was the last time you were “like a wild colt?”

Just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too, this Dhamma and discipline has but one taste: the taste of liberation. This is the sixth astounding and amazing quality…

… wine at minimum conduces to madness

It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief

This is called accomplishment in balanced finances.

Oh if I’d only live as long as it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out, I’d focus on the Buddha’s instructions and I could really achieve a lot.

Suppose your clothes or head were on fire. In order to extinguish it, you’d apply intense enthusiasm, effort, zeal, vigor, perseverance, mindfulness, and situational awareness. In the same way, in order to give up those bad, unskillful qualities, that mendicant should apply intense enthusiasm …

Once upon a time, householder, there was a brahmin named Velāma…

They contemplate the phenomena there—included in form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness—as impermanent, as suffering, as diseased, as a boil, as a dart, as misery, as an affliction, as alien, as falling apart, as empty, as not-self. They turn their mind away from those things, and apply it to the deathless

… what is confinement, and what is the opening amid confinement that the Buddha spoke of?

Bhante, on how many grounds has the Tathāgata prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha?

… a mendicant who wants to accuse another should first check five things in themselves and establish five things in themselves

‘I must now behave in a different manner.’ This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

One imagines this sutta was delivered to a group of monks frustrated with an erratic companion. The Buddha gently encourages them to develop empathy by cultivating themselves and to recognize that, in the final analysis, some people are simply best avoided.

… having heard these ten perceptions, venerable Girimānanda’s afliction immediately abated

There are, mendicants, these ten topics of discussion…

‘When Master Gotama teaches in this way, is the whole world saved, or half, or a third?’ But when he said this, the Buddha kept silent.

The faithful succeed, not the faithless. The ethical succeed, not the unethical. The energetic succeed, not the lazy. The mindful succeed, while the unmindful do not.

In accordance with the scriptures, I shall now in brief describe
The way to adopt the discipline of all the buddhas’ heirs.

This epic poem on grasping firmly the intention to awaken has inspired many generations of Buddhists to live a more ethical and spiritual life and it captures beautifully the aesthetic of Buddhist ethics. Well worth reading again and again and again.

A beautiful reading of some of the most famous verses in Buddhism.

Is it possible, venerable sir, to point out any fruit of recluseship that is visible here and now?

Let the king provide funding for those who work in trade. Let the king guarantee food and wages for those in government service. Then the people, occupied with their own work, will not harass the realm. The king’s revenues will be great.

A long and entertaining debate with a skeptic who went to extravagant lengths to prove that there is no such thing as an afterlife.

But the single mass of water at that time was utterly dark. The moon and sun were not found, nor were stars and constellations, day and night, months and fortnights, years and seasons, or male and female. Beings were simply known as ‘beings’. After a very long period had passed, the earth’s substance curdled in the water. It appeared just like the curd on top of hot milk-rice as it cools. It was beautiful …

A magisterial compendium of good advice for lay people.

Mendicants, don’t fear good deeds. For ‘good deeds’ is a term for happiness…

… if sentient beings only knew, as I do, the fruit of giving and sharing, they would not eat without first giving

The Nibbāna element with residue remaining (Sōpādisesa Nibbāna) and the Nibbāna element with no residue remaining (Anupādisesa Nibbāna).

You are my children, my sons, born from my mouth, born of the Dhamma…

A recipe for the good life, from having good friends to the realization of Nibbāna, this chant is a favorite of Theravada Buddhists the world over, myself included.

Venerable Shariputra explains five ways to quell anger through wise attention, giving five memorable similes on being determined to find the good in everyone.

Diverse problems demand a diverse range of responses. Rather than selling a “one size fits all” solution, in this sutta the Buddha outlines seven methods for dealing with the afflictions of life and in so doing gives us a comprehensive overview of Buddhist practices.

Remote jungle-thicket resting places in the forest are hard to endure, seclusion is hard to practise, and it is hard to enjoy solitude.

MN 5: Unblemished (2018)

Featured in the course, " Buddhist Ethics"

‘Others will be cruel; we shall not be cruel here’

Here the Buddha details the seventh factor of the noble eightfold path—right mindfulness. This collects many of the meditation teachings found throughout the canon, especially the practices focusing on the body, and is regarded as one of the most important discourses in the contemporary Theravada tradition.

MN 15: Measuring Up (2009)

Featured in the course, " Buddhist Ethics"

Monks, after consideration, that monk is to leave that wilderness grove; he is not to live there.

In a practical meditation teaching, the Buddha describes five progressive approaches to arresting unwanted thoughts.

I have taught the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas.

Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth

So this holy life, bhikkhus, does not have gain, honour, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of virtue for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakeable deliverance of mind that is the goal of this holy life, its heartwood, and its end.

Surely, venerable sir, we are living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.

And how is a mendicant not skilled in characteristics? It’s when a mendicant doesn’t understand that a fool is characterized by their deeds

If there is rebirth, then what gets reborn?

One of the most detailed descriptions of morality in the early canon, this discourse lists twenty kinds of actions: unwholesome and wholesome.

Wisdom and consciousness–these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely dissect them

A deep discussion between the Bhikkhuni Dhammadinnā and her student, the layman Visākha, on many profound topics, including the very highest meditative attainments.

What kind of person does not torment himself, not being interested in self-torture, and does not torment others, not being interested in torturing others?

‘By this virtue or observance or asceticism or holy life I shall become a great god or some lesser god,’ that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal realm. So, Puṇṇa, if his dog-duty succeeds, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it fails, it will lead him to hell.

I’d hold his head with my left hand, and take [the stone] out using a hooked finger of my right hand, even if it drew blood.

… when people put clean things, unclean things, excrement, urine, saliva, pus, or blood on the earth, the earth is not bothered, humiliated, or disgusted, in the same way, Rāhula, practice ‘peacefulness of earth’ meditation.

A ‘position,’ Vaccha, is something that a Tathāgata has done away with.

… even this view of yours, Aggivessana—‘All is not pleasing to me’—is even that not pleasing to you?

Indeed, I have long been tricked, cheated, and defrauded by this mind.

It’s incredible, sir, it’s amazing! How the Buddha tames those who are wild

I did not delight in the contemplative Gotama’s speech; I condemned it, rose from my seat, and left!

MN 91: With Brahmāyu (2018)

Featured in the course, " The Buddha"

… why did you get up from your seat and leave while there was still more left to do?

is one a brahmin due to birth,
or else because of actions?

He doesn’t assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

Take a mendicant who declares enlightenment: ‘I understand: “Rebirth is ended, the spiritual journey has been completed, what had to be done has been done, there is no return to any state of existence.”’ You should neither approve nor dismiss that mendicant’s statement. Rather, you should question them…

You should not cultivate the kind of person who causes unskillful qualities to grow while skillful qualities decline. And you should cultivate the kind of person who causes unskillful qualities to decline while skillful qualities grow.

The Buddha gives a sixteen-step guided meditation on the breath and then explains how this meditation fulfills the four foundations of mindfulness and the seven factors of enlightenment.

The Buddha explains how mindfulness of the body should be cultivated and to what benefits it leads.

The Buddha describes his own meditation on emptiness and tells Ānanda how a meditator can descend into emptiness herself through seclusion and wise attention.

One should know what it is to extol and what it is to disparage, and knowing both, one should neither extol nor disparage but should teach only the Dhamma. One should know how to define pleasure, and knowing that; one should pursue pleasure within oneself.

One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, should cultivate relinquishment, and should train for peace.

… although I have long waited upon the Teacher and bhikkhus worthy of esteem, never before have I heard such a talk on the Dhamma

… if the people of Sunāparanta abuse and threaten me, then I shall think: These people of Sunāparanta are admirable, truly admirable, in that they did not give me a blow with the fist.

Rāhula, what do you think? Is the eye permanent or impermanent?

The monastic rules for Theravada Bhikkhunis, prepared in a bilingual English-Pali edition for study and recitation.

“It would not be appropriate for me to give the Buddha a powerful laxative.”

It is wrong perception that leads to the concepts of being and nonbeing.

By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood.

Where name-and-form ceases,
Stops without remainder,
And also impingement and perception of form:
It is here this tangle is cut.

What is the one thing, O Gotama, Whose killing you approve?

SN 1.78: Desire (2018)

Featured in the course, " Buddhist Ethics"

What is the one thing whose killing you approve?

Once upon a time, I was a seer called Rohitassa of the Bhoja people. I was a sky-walker with psychic powers. I was as fast as a light arrow easily shot across the shadow of a palm tree…

A prince or princess in the royal family, a snake, a fire, and a monk. These four things should not be looked down on or belittled because they are young.

Suppose a trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the east. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the east. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures.’

Mara the Evil One manifested himself in the form of an ox and approached those almsbowls.

The eye is yours, Evil One, forms are yours, eye-contact and its base of consciousness are yours; but, Evil One, where there is no eye, no forms, no eye-contact and its base of consciousness—there is no place for you there

Take a golden mountain,
made entirely of gold, and double it—
it’s still not enough for one!

They had come to him glittering with beauty—
Taṇha, Arati, and Raga—
But the Teacher swept them away right there
As the wind, a fallen cotton tuft.

Open are the doors to the deathless!
Let those with ears show their faith

What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring & respecting it?

The Buddha is confronted by an angry and rude Brahmin.

… who can untangle this tangle?

Once upon a time, mendicants, a battle was fought between the gods and the demons…

Then, dear sirs, he must be an anger-eating yakkha.

… for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.

… with liberation as proximate cause, the knowledge of destruction.

A pithy and deep sutta on the true difference between the ordinary and the enlightened mind.

Bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can be clung to, craving increases.

Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a great tree. Then a man would come along bringing a shovel and a basket. He would cut down the tree at its foot, dig it up, and pull out the roots…

But that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘sentience’ and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night.

… by eating their son’s flesh they would cross the rest of the desert.

Just as two sheaves of reeds might stand leaning against each other, so too, with name-and-form as condition, consciousness comes to be; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form comes to be.

… the suffering that’s over and done with is more, what’s left is tiny.

The grass, sticks, branches, and leaves of India would run out before that person’s mothers and grandmothers.

Just as, Kassapa, gold does not disappear so long as counterfeit gold has not arisen in the world, but when counterfeit gold arises then true gold disappears, so the true Dhamma does not disappear so long as a counterfeit of the true Dhamma has not arisen in the world, but when a counterfeit of the true Dhamma arises in the world, then the true Dhamma disappears.

… in a future time there will be mendicants who won’t want to listen when discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited.

“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?”–“No, venerable sir.”

That perplexity, doubtfulness, indecisiveness in regard to the true Dhamma is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced?

Now on that occasion the following pernicious view had arisen in a bhikkhu named Yamaka: “As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed is annihilated and perishes with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death.”

Who was the Buddha in his own words? In this story, he calls himself the “Tathagata” or “Truth-Arriver”, and he responds to a question on what will become of him after his death. The Buddha explains that he doesn’t talk in such terms, as he has overcome all such notions as “I am the body” or “I am the mind” so how could such a question ever be answered? He ends the discourse by famously saying that all he teaches is suffering and the end of suffering, thus redirecting our attention from empty philosophical musings to the things that matter most.

I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me.

Now suppose that in the autumn—when it’s raining in fat, heavy drops—a water bubble were to appear & disappear on the water, and a man with sight were to see it. To him it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance could there be in a bubble? In the same way, a man with wisdom sees a feeling. To him it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance could there be in a feeling?

When, bhikkhus, a carpenter or a carpenter’s apprentice looks at the handle of his adze, he sees the impressions of his fingers and his thumb, but he does not know: ‘So much of the adze handle has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier.’ But when it has worn away, the knowledge occurs to him: it has worn away.

How is a sentient being defined?

Monks! All is aflame!

Insofar as it disintegrates, it is called the ‘world.’

If a bhikkhu seeks delight in [the senses], welcomes them, and remains holding to them, he is called a bhikkhu who has swallowed Mara’s hook. He has met with calamity and disaster, and the Evil One can do with him as he wishes.

Suppose a person was to catch six animals, with diverse territories and feeding grounds, and tie them up with a strong rope.

One should rein in the mind thus

Suppose a person was to catch six animals, with diverse territories and feeding grounds, and tie them up with a strong rope…

This famous simile compares physical pain and mental anguish to two arrows: the second of which is optional.

In this controversial sutta, the Buddha declares that everything an individual experiences is not necessarily the result of past karma.

“Why, exactly, do you teach some people thoroughly and others less thoroughly?”

I recollect ninety eons back but I’m not aware of any family that’s been ruined merely by offering some cooked almsfood.

Formerly, Anurādha, and also now, I teach just suffering and the cessation of suffering.

Good, spiritual friendship is the whole of the holy life.

SN 45.8: Analysis (2000)

Featured in the course, " Buddhism 101"

The Buddha compares the five hindrances to a bowl of water in various conditions.

… how is the liberation of the mind by lovingkindness developed? What does it have as its destination, its culmination, its fruit, its final goal?

Move in your own resort, bhikkhus, in your own ancestral domain. Mara will not gain access to those who move in their own resort.

Thinking, ‘I will free both hands,’ he seizes it with his foot; he gets caught there.

I have taught the Dhamma, Ānanda, without making a distinction between inside and outside. The Tathagata has no closed fist of a teacher in regard to the teachings.

… mendicants, live as your own island, your own refuge, with no other refuge. Let the teaching be your island and your refuge

Protecting oneself, bhikkhus, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

Protecting oneself, bhikkhus, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

You must carry around this bowl of oil filled to the brim between the crowd and the most beautiful girl of the land. A man with a drawn sword will be following right behind you, and wherever you spill even a little of it, right there he will fell your head.

Bhikkhus, I will teach you the origination and the passing away of the four establishments of mindfulness. Listen…

A fascinating description of the four jhānas and nirodha as the cessation of pain, sadness, pleasure, happiness, and equanimity respectively.

The Buddha taught the meditation on the ugliness of the body, then left to go on retreat. However, many monks, misconstruing the teachings, ended up killing themselves. The Buddha taught breath meditation as a peaceful and pleasant alternative.

… mendicants, gaining these four continents is not worth a sixteenth part of gaining these four things.

This is how a disciple of the noble ones dwells

Bhikkhus, do not engage in disputatious talk

Mendicants, don’t engage in all kinds of low talk, such as…

Of these Four Noble Truths, there is one to be completely understood, one to be abandoned, one to be realized, and one to be developed.

What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more numerous: these few siṁsapa leaves that I have taken up in my hand or those in the siṁsapa grove overhead?

Bhikkhus, if one’s clothes or head were ablaze, what should be done about it?

In this famous simile, the Buddha explains how rare it is to receive a human rebirth in the time of a Buddha and encourages us to use the opportunity well.

What do you think, mendicants? Which is more: the little bit of dirt under my fingernail, or this great earth?

such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn-out skin

Whoso has boys, has sorrow of his boys,
Whoso has kine, by kine come his annoys.
Man’s assets, these of all his woes are chief.
Who has no more, no more has grief.

… seeing this danger in association,
fare singly as the rhino’s horn.

One should sustain this recollection

Linked together by bones and sinews,
plastered over with flesh and hide,
and covered by the skin …

Snp 3.1: Going Forth (2018)

Featured in the course, " The Buddha"

We ask Gotama, the Eye that has arisen in the world:
Is one a brahmin by birth, or by action?
Explain to us what we do not understand –
how to know a brahmin.

Knowledge of Silence I’ll convey,
hard to do, to master difficult,
so be both firm and resolute
and I’ll speak upon this thing.

The person who’s to their body-cave
Clouded by many moods…

a perilous flood has arisen,
for those oppressed by old age and death,
let me declare an island to you.
Owning nothing, taking nothing:
this is the island with nothing further.
I call this [island] ‘nibbāna,’
the extinction of old age and death.

I shall keep reciting the Way to the Beyond

A wise person would not be too sure of themselves,
Until they have attained the end…

Coming out from my day’s abiding
on Vulture Peak Mountain…

I am not lazy nor conceited,
so why have I not attained Nirvana?

Subha Bhikkhuni finds a creative solution to sexual harassment.

All his doubts then vanish since he understands
Each thing along with its cause.

… indeed there is no thing there

This not being, that is not;
from the cessation of this, that ceases.

May the Buddha not be hot or cold, nor be bothered by flies …

Oh, what bliss! Oh, what bliss!

But Mahākassapa refused those deities…

Meghiya, when the heart’s release is not ripe, five things help it ripen. What five? Firstly, a mendicant has good friends…

Then the Venerable Mahamoggllana took that person by the arm, pulled him outside the gate, and bolted it.

The essential meditation manual of the Theravada Tradition and the book that, legend has it, convinced the Sri Lankan elders to allow Acariya Buddhaghosa to write the (now quasi-canonical) Pāli Commentaries.

You seek something that cannot be obtained. I am sure that you will die from sadness: it is impossible to get the sun and moon

In this desert, there are no fruits, roots or any food or drink. There is no way to make a fire. There is only dust and scorching sand.