Prayudh Payutto?

Been digging around in the Buddhadhamma books by Prayudh Payutto. Good stuff. But does anyone have any idea if he gets his interpretation of Dhamma from the suttas alone or coupled with the commentaries?

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My impression is Prayudh Payutto used most sources, such as Commentary, Visuddhimagga, etc, but also Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. Most non-Thai (due to constant sectarian propaganda) are probably not aware of the great significance of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa in Thailand as a scholar & translator.

I was afraid of that because I like his approach but with what I feel is a good solid and growing practice based on sutta study alone, getting into teachers that go outside that may throw me off. I was also wondering the same question about Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “in the Buddhas words” popular work. Is that based on commentaries as well ?

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Ven. Bodhi’s book is anthology of sutta excerpts arranged by theme.
An excellent volume.


Of course you can read Buddhadhamma…it is a very high-quality work. I understand that for the author, presenting so many sources had been an act of academic humility, as per the post-script. PA Payutto himself appears to be aware of the problem of so many sources:

In the original edition of Buddhadhamma, the source material or scriptural references were selected almost entirely from the Pali Canon, i.e. the Tipiṭaka. There are only very few references from later texts, e.g. the commentaries.

In this revised and expanded edition of Buddhadhamma, the scriptural references from the Tipiṭaka are still considered the foundation and guideline. But here many scriptural references to later texts have also been included, so that students of Buddhism become aware of them and can use them as food for thought. If one is not careful, however, mixing in these opinions and interpretations contained in later scriptures, e.g. the commentaries, can have detrimental effects. The true and genuine teachings by the Buddha we consider to be the Buddha’s words recorded in the Pali Canon – the Tipiṭaka. Later interpretations are seen simply as supplementary teachings providing greater clarity, and only those teachings consistent with the Pali Canon are approved and endorsed. {1146}

Many general books on Buddhism do not provide scriptural references and thus potentially create confusion or misunderstanding for the readers. Readers may assume that the accounts from later scriptures or the commentarial interpretations are the original and authentic teachings by the Buddha. Sometimes even the authors of these books harbour misunderstandings. This matter of providing source material in order to avoid confusion thus requires care.

I don’t have access to the original edition of Buddhadhamma, which had fewer references to later texts. It might be an area of interest if someone could find the simpler, original version for our English-speaking audience.

Some of PA Payutto’s other “scholarly work” during the 2000s against bhikkhunis was quite disappointing. Life goes on in any case.