The renowned translator Bhikkhu Bodhi has crafted this anthology of suttas from the Samyutta Nikaya to enable students of Early Buddhism to penetrate into the heart of the Buddha’s teachings on the four noble truths and the eightfold path as directly and clearly as possible. The aim is to attain direct insight into foundational Buddhist teachings on liberation.
This anthology is, more or less, made up of the passages Bhante used in his book on reading Pali, but with new introductions for each section. They are all from the Samyutta Nikaya, so this will probably be a good recommendation for people to read before they jump in to the whole SN.
For an existing, free selection from the SN, I’m fond of this one by John Ireland:
And speaking of existing texts, almost 800 suttas from the SN by Bhante Bodhi are available on Sutta Central. They are all collected in this ebook:
Bhikkhu Bodhi’s new book is listed at $45 USD for 200 pages of text. yikes. I hope it’s actually much longer than that for that price. Bhikkhu Analayo’s new book, Early Buddhist Oral Tradition is listed at $35 USD for 170 pages of text. I don’t know if I can afford my only hobby anymore. Publishers are making big bucks these days.
I hear you, David. I just bought Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Reading the Buddha’s Discourses in Pali for $50 (though the material inside is worth far more than that – highly recommended).
Just a note, though, that Early Buddhist Oral Tradition is 302 pages.
Usually Bhikkhu Analayo will publish his book freely as PDF after several years in his publication page here:
So just be patient
Publishers are charging big bucks, but I can assure you they are not making big bucks off of these books. Wisdom Publications is a not-for-profit org. To put out high quality books costs money.
Is $45 for 200 pieces of paper necessary to break even on a book?
No disrespect meant.
Obviously, to “break even” depends on many things- how many books sold, cost of production, etc.
In NYC, many ask how many $5 cups of coffee are required to sell for a coffee shop to break even. Based on the number of shops that fail, it seems quite a lot.
Thanks, Bhante, I hope everyone sees your post.
I recall some discussion a few years back about why a another publisher of Dhamma books wasn’t just printing books and giving them away - the truth: these days, publishing is expensive, and those who want a physical copy, and want it to last, have to support this costly process.
When you are selling small numbers of books it is. I know that many books even have sponsors. If you look in the front of some of Bhante Gunaratana’s books, you will see that the Hershey Family Foundation has sponsored the upfront costs of the printing. And I know that years ago the Middle Length Discourses would go out of print for months at a time because they didn’t have the money to cover printing. And that’s for a book that had already been in print for a decade.
I think there is already a thread here discussing the difficulties of printing and distributing books. We should probably move that question there.
Some of Bhikkhu Analayo’s books have been published by Windhorse publications (a Triratna-associated UK publisher, which has charity status and needs donations to keep going). They often follow a book sponsorship model (first raise the costs for publishing from sponsors). If I recall correctly, to give an idea on costs, the sponsorship target for the book Satipatthāna Meditation: A Practice Guide was £4,000 (about $4,700 when converted to US dollars).
Useful to see an introductory anthology to the SN. I have Bhikkhu Bodhi’s full SN translation, and it’s a very thick book.