View of the Majjhima Nikaya



Namaste All,

This is my first post here. Thank you for having me. I have started to delve into the Majjhima Nikaya and wondered what people thought of it. I understand that it is a text used mainly by Theravadans but I wanted to know if it is generally accepted among other Buddhist traditions. I have to admit, that I have been studying Buddhism for about 3 years but still hesitate to call myself Buddhist as I haven't really found a home within a particular tradition. Thank you in advance for any insight.

With Metta.

Welcome to the forum!

As you say, The Majjhima Nikaya is a Theravadan text, part of the Pali Canon. My first love was Theravada, mainly via the writings of Nyanaponika Thera. When first practicing I delved into various anthologies of Buddhist texts and found, quite often, that the texts quoted that "snared" me and attracted my attention were from the Majjhima Nikaya. Initially I bought myself a copy of an abridged version by David Evans. This claims to give "95% of the content in 10% of the words" - cutting out the various repetitions etc found in the complete text. This is an extremely good version.............I find it uncovers the heartwood of each sutta.........the main points not being lost in a forest of too many words! However, I do now have Bhikkhu Bodhi's version, which I studied and read for a number of years.

To my mind, this text - and Theravada itself - is in a sense foundational to the understanding of matter what "path with heart" finally becomes our own. It contains the famous "raft" parable - that the dharma (teaching) is for "passing over", not for grasping......................and the famous "arrow" simile - that the idea is to pull the arrow of suffering out rather than to speculate just how it got there! These two ideas and suggestions need to sink into us and be enbodied in our lives and understanding.............thus cutting away a lot of deadwood and unnecessary detours! (well, at least in my opinion.......each to their own of course!)

The Majjhima Nikaya contains a lot else besides and I would recommend the text to any serious student of the dharma.