A collection of suttas for a newbie?

Hello friends! Sorry if such a question has been, so far, arisen, but the point is I have just finished reading a set of suttas by Rupert Gethin “Sayings of the Buddha”. Since I am very new to that and the Sutta-pitaka is really big, I am afraid it is easy to get lost there. Could anybody advise me, perhaps, some other set of suttas to read, because I am not confident to navigate in Sutta Pitaka?
Thank you!!

P.S. Sorry, a tiny follow-up. I am going to read Gethin’s book “The foundations of Buddhism” in order to get a concise, general understanding of Theravada Buddhism. Is this book good?

i think the Nikayas can just be read start to finish back to back in sequential order

if you’re interested in going by topics you may find useful the ATI subjects index
Majjhima Nikaya index of subjects
Samyutta Nikaya index of subjects
Anguttara Nikaya index of subjects

and also the following list (it’s a little bit messy, sorry, but only a little bit)



Dear skfir

I recommend to read this book.

The Dhamma to close the door to apāya (lower worlds) by Sayar U Myint Lwin

There are other books as well,

Mahāsi Abroad by Mahasi Sayardaw

What Buddhism Is by Sayargyi U Ba Khin

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Wow that is all great! Thank you people so much for everything! LXNDR, your list is priceless I am saving it and will go right along with it. Thank you friends, you really helped me out extremely.
Many thanks again!

Sorry, LXNDR, just a tiny question about the list, why some of the entries are in bold font? Apparently you wanted to emphasise their importance for some reason?

Bhikkhu Bohi has a wonderful anthology of discourses from the Pali Canon called In the Buddha’s Words It’s a great way to start reading the suttas. It offers a systemic introduction to the vast amount of material in the Nikayas and also shows how it all fits together.

His introductions to each chapter are also excellent. Highly recommended! Then I would do what @LYNDR suggests and go to the individula sutta collections (though personally I don’t read them in sequential order). Another great thing about Bhikhu Bodhi’s anthology is it can help one discover which suttas & collections one wants to explore further and/or what might be of particular interest to one at any given time. I wish it had been available when I first started reading the suttas :slightly_smiling:


i just thought that those particular suttas included important and topical ideas, tenets an instructions


Here’s more about In the Buddha’s Words, by Bhikkhu Bodhi:

You can read most of the introductory material and suttas online from that post, but the book is inexpensive, and very good.


Thant is great! Thank you again everybody, I will get that book and will also read myself, according to the LXNDR’s list.

Hi Skfir,

You may find this thread useful.

Much metta

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Thank you Shivam!

Greetings Skifr!

I too read Rupert Gethin’s “sayings of the Buddha” and gleaned much from it. As you said that you are a “newbie” I would like to offer you two items.

First, I would highly recommend Bhikkhu Analayo’s book “Perspectives on Satipatthana” to help you develop your foundational structure for meditation practice. Bhikkhu Analayo’s earlier book “Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization” is nothing short of brilliant and contains a lifetime of practice material from the suttas. Yet after publication of that book he learned Chinese, Sanskrit and Tibetan and began a systematic comparison of all available versions of the Satipatthana sutta (and the entire canon) from the different Buddhist traditions. The result is that by comparing all the versions of the Satipatthana sutta rather than strictly the Pali version, we can get a more accurate view of what the Buddha’s teaching probably was.

Towards awakening, what I have found to be the backbone of my practice is a comprehensive application of the material that I read. As I learn an aspect of the Buddha’s teaching, I immediately integrate it as the focal point of my formal daily sitting practice and keep it in the forefront of my daily thought and activity life until I feel I’m ready to continue on and add more. It takes me much longer to make it through publications, but the Buddha’s teachings were given for practical application and not merely for my intellectual use. I could gobble up lots of books about the path, but I am more interested in actually taking steps on the path. I think that is what the Buddha would instruct me to do if he were sitting next to me!


Many thanks Zenqi and I do agree with you in terms of practice.

Exactly !even bhikkhu Analayo spends more time on meditation than spending his time among suttas which is a good example for everyone of us.

Hi =)
Tan Jeff also has a number of books at http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html#study_guides which are either translations of the suttas, or books about various teachings that include excerts from the suttas. He really brings the texts to life. I especially recommend “The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-arising, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
An explanation of dependent co-arising through the analogy of feeding
and pulling from the vocabulary of complex, non-linear systems.”

Thanks everybody for the recommended books!

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