Why we read: tell us why you read suttas

So, this is the next in a series of articles where I get you, our beloved Discoursers, to help make SC better. :pray:

I’m wanting to include on our Home page some testimonials or nice words by people as to why they read the suttas. The idea is simply to communicate in a simple and friendly way what the suttas mean to you. It can be as trivial or profound, as personal or as general as you like. It’s not meant for people who already read suttas, but to make a connection with those who might be about to start. Maybe think about what you’d say if someone asked you at work about why you read suttas.

My plan is to make a selection of contributions and display them in some form on the Home page. What we include on the Home page will probably be just a shortish snippet, maybe two or three sentences. But feel free to write more if you like. I’ll extract a short passage, and we’ll link back to this whole thread.

Note that the Home page design is not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that we’ll end up using these. But still, I think it’s a nice thing to do anyway, right? Also please note, I may edit your contributions for clarity and spelling and suchlike.

At the moment, I’m thinking we’ll just use the statements, without names. I’m not sure if this is the right approach though, does anyone have thoughts on this?


Bhante, you could make it an opt-in option to use a first name and country of residence. It gives it a personal touch, and it’s nice to see the different countries represented on SuttaCentral.


Good point.

Okay, well, let’s suggest to people that if you want, you can leave your real name and country.

Maybe we could even include “occupation” as a possibility?

Bhante Sujato, monk, Australia.


I read the suttas for inspiration and advice.


Why I read sutta?

Well, after each meditation session in each day, when I look back and analyse what I did, more often than not, I am left with a very acute need to verify what I have been experiencing.

Well, somebody can say it is simply anicca, dukkha, and anatta, and nibbida, virago, and nirodho. But, a sutta like ‘dvayatanupassana sutta - SuttaNipata’, or uppaṭipāṭika sutta - SN, Mahāvagga, take me to a different level of understanding the expiences.

By coming to SC, I get the opportunity to refer not only to suttas, but also to different analyses, different opinions, and different understandings.

So this is a wonderful platform to any Vipassana yogi to get a thorough understanding of What Buddha Taught, that is True Dhamma.

May you, Bhante, and all who are involved in this project, realize nibbana soon. (Khippābhiññā😃)


reading suttas , free from routine hassle of the day , there is a kind of calmness and clarity .


Sutta is the closest record of Buddha’s teaching available to us which was pass down to us b by Arahants and close associates to Buddha.
If we cant get it straight from the horse’s mouth the best thing we can do is to get it from the horses attendant.
SarathW1, Dhamma follower,Samsara


Initially I just found the suttas very neat to read in a purely conceptual or academically philosophical sense. But over time I began to read them in a more deeply philosophical way, for the love and pursuit of wisdom, as something to be internalized and embodied. And eventually I went for refuge to the triple gem as a result.

Ursus Maritimus, Seal-Hunter, Arctic Ocean


No teacher or book has been as helpful to me as exploring the suttas. The more I read the suttas the clearer the path becomes. They give me inspiration, motivation and joy. Much gratitude to the Sangha over time for preserving them and to the modern translators to make them accessible to us. :pray: (just another lay follower somewhere on dear planet Earth)


Reading the suttas allowed me to get to know the Buddha and appreciate the universal and timeless quality of his teachings. Before reading the suttas I only understood the power of the Dhamma and the Sangha. With the suttas I feel fully connected with the triple-gem.
Pasanna, anagarika, Australian


When I first became interested in Buddhism, I read a lot of meditation and dhamma books. I knew I should go to the source and read from the suttas but I thought “Ugh, this is going to be boring!”

I picked up the Majjhima Nikaya on retreat and started reading and I couldn’t believe it - I was immediately laughing and tearing up, nodding my head and smiling with recognition - something about these words struck right to the heart. I ended up finishing the whole book in a month. Since then, the suttas have continued to be an invaluable source of wisdom, inspiration and guidance, a true companion on this path.
Cara, Australia


Because they’re the roadmap to awakening.
James, United States


The fact that they are the primary sources for early Buddhist history makes them indispensable. Ongoing familiarity with the Suttas helps people engage critical thinking about Buddhism in general while they continue studying related secondary sources & developing their practices.


In the west we throw the word “dharma” around as if it has a casual or ambiguous meaning. I read the Suttas for the Dhamma, the words and the teachings of the historical Buddha and his monks and nuns. Reading these ancient and sometimes complex Suttas is like mining for gold; with a bit of effort, we can extract all of the wisdom and beauty of the Buddha’s pragmatic and elegant teachings, all designed to lead us away from suffering and onto a path of awakening.

Michael, Anagarika and Attorney, Wisconsin, USA and Chiang Mai, Thailand.


I had meditated but wanted to get a better understanding of the core teachings and psychology of the Buddha- reading the suttas were immensely helpful for me in this. Matheesha, psychiatrist, UK


Reading Suttas is the only way to understand the teaching of the Buddha and it is the only way someone serious about reaching Nibbana in this very life, can do so.

Nimal, Vancouver, Canada.


When I first began to investigate Buddhist practice, it was through sitting with groups which were locally available to me…the NKT, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (Soto Zen), Samatha Trust and Amida Pureland. Quite a mixed bag! At the same time, I would haunt ESangha looking for voices (contributions), which seemed resonant with my nascent ideas about what a Lay Buddhist practice might be, and how it might be nurtured.
Most former interests and practices, fell away as a consequence. Not this…not this. :slight_smile:
I began to find an increasing sustenance in the sutta references which were thrown up serendipitously on ESanga, by people I learned to see as sincere and ardent practitioners. As a consequence, I printed the suttas and filed away these hard copies for later reference. I’m not sure how representative this miscellany of suttas are of the Dhamma, but I kept them because they moved and inspired me when I read them.
They still do. Marie U.K.


I initially started reading the suttas after listening to some Dhamma talks online. I had no interest in becoming a Buddhist, but was certainly willing to listen to anything that made sense. However, such is my orientation that I couldn’t go all that far with the talks without knowing what they were based on.

I found the Sati­paṭṭhā­na Sutta, wasn’t especially taken and thought “oh my, well that’s a whole lot of charnel ground; what’s a charnel ground?” Somehow, between that and perhaps the next ten suttas I read, an incredible, joyful love for them arose and I’ve no idea how it happened. I can at least say it is connected to the fact that the suttas offer the most accurate and elegant description of my experience of life and the mechanisms that appear to underpin it that I’ve come across. This, in turn, inspires a gleeful hope that the prescription they contain is worth taking. Also, some of them are excellently funny.


I’ve been thinking about this, and can’t come up with a single, compact answer. But I would say my interest in the suttas has evolved. Originally, by main focus was probably on doctrine. But once my grasp of doctrine matured, my aims in reading the suttas moved more and more toward inspiration.

I also am interested in the suttas a pure history, and see the suttas as clues in a mystery story - the mystery story of ancient, pre-literate India and its complex spiritual, social and philosophical culture. I feel a strong attraction to the figure of the Buddha, but also find that figure enigmatic. I don’t think I really know who he was, and what he was attempting to do. On the one hand, the suttas seem to tell us a lot about the Buddha. But on the other hand, what they tell us is filtered through many layers of transmission that are obscure to us, an the Buddha is seen through a glass darkly.


Because no one other than the Buddha has said that to come to be is misery and then taught a way to bring it to an end. I can’t remember what joy or happiness feels like, but the suttas give me solace.

Sujith, India.