Any work that is considered canonical by a Buddhist tradition.

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

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

Remember me, brahmin, as a Buddha.

There is a way of developing immersion further

Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos.

Mendicants, there are these five opportunities for freedom.

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

Don’t fear good deeds. For ‘good deeds’ is a term for happiness.

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.

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?”

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

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

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

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

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 percpetions, venerable Girimānanda’s afliction immediately abated

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.

A magisterial compendium of good advice for lay people.

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

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.

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"

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.

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.

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

‘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.

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.

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"

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.

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

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.

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

SN 1.78: Desire (2018)

Featured in the course, " Buddhist Ethics"

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.’

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…

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.

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

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.

that is how the discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—will disappear.

“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.”

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.

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.’

I say it’s not possible to know, see or reach the end of the world by traveling. But I also say there’s no making an end of suffering without reaching the end of 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.

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

SN 45.8: Analysis (2000)

Featured in the course, " Buddhism 101"

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

One should sustain this recollection

Snp 3.1: Going Forth (2018)

Featured in the course, " The Buddha"

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

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.

indeed there is no thing there

But Mahākasspa refused those deities…

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.