Why we read: tell us why you read suttas


Reading Sutta gives me mental peace. It is wonderful to read the teachings of Lord Buddha.


“Sure, there are loads of books out there about Buddhism, but you simply cannot hope to out-Buddha the Buddha himself.”

(Edit: I came up with a nicer way to put it…) :smiley:


David Tan, Malaysia, Doctor

I was introduced to Buddhism by my grandmother, but it was a very folk-religionish version of it, until I started reading Chinese sutras when I was 13. I liked the richness of both words and ideas found in Chinese sutras, until I encountered the Pali suttas while studying in university. Since then, I was constantly awed by the simplicity yet profoundness of the Buddha’s teachings, it was an awakening, such simple messages can be so moving and powerful.

I find peace and wisdom in the suttas, it’s like meeting face to face with the Buddha every time I read them, his messages were consistent, but his approach many. This, is why I read suttas.



How could I possibly begin to understand what the Buddha Taught if I don’t read his discourses?

The Pāli Nikāyas are our direct link to the Buddha and the early sangha. They are the closest thing we have to the Buddha’s actual words.

We are fortunate to live in an age when we can study these texts without having to reconstruct an ancient language or travel to far flung corners of the world. It would be negligent on my part to pass up this precious opportunity.

I have the four major Nikāyas in my library but it is helpful to compare translations and to learn a bit of Pāli too. Thanks to the team behind Sutta Central we have an excellent resource for both.


I started reading the Suttas as confirmation of my meditation practice, not to confirm any bias but because the teachings of the Buddha corroborated my meditation experiences. I like to read the Suttas randomly and when I do I find that they give me a sense of upliftment, a sense that I can do this, that I can practice what the Buddha taught and become forever freed and Enlightened. The instructions are more clear than any teaching I’ve ever come across and they cut to the heart of the spiritual search leaving me feeling open, refreshed and inspired to meditate to further my progress on the path to Peace.

Amitabha Metta Love - Ontario, Canada (Musician/Factory Worker)


Buddhism today can seem very complicated, requiring intellectual feats which I find intimidating. But the Buddha in the suttas is a compassionate teacher, speaking to all of us. In MN19 the entire effort to awakening boils down to two kinds of thought! It is beautiful and encouraging.


Two kinds of thoughts- wholesome (by which I mean kusala) and unwholesome (akusala). Thought arising from craving, aversion or delusion is unwholesome and those thoughts not arising from those are wholesome. Lessening the unwholesome and maximising the wholesome is the way to make progress.

With metta


Why I read Suttas?

After tasting Vipassana meditation myself, I got very curious to read more about Buddha, about what all he said. It was pretty much like I just bought a new gadget and was eager to see what all it can do. :slight_smile:

So Suttas for me was like a journey into the laws of this existence, answers about the situations I face in my life, about the direction which is considered right to be followed, and about what to experience ahead on this meditative path.

Name/fame not needed to be mentioned,
Country: India
Occupation: Currently pursuing MBA in human resource.


Why I read Suttas?

For guidance, both practical and ‘theoretical’, in following the Buddhist path. I have yet to find a human teacher that I am comfortable with, so for now I rely on the Suttas as my teacher.

Tara, USA, (nearly retired) mathematician


Why I read suttas?

Going as close to the source as I can get is a no-brainer. Plus it saves me worrying my head about different interpretations of the path offered by modern teachers.

Gillian, artist and retired academic.


I also read the suttas for guidance, to be closer to the source of the teachings, and self-study as I don’t have easy access to teachers. I prefer as complete and faithful picture of the dhamma as possible. In the West, many teachings are overlooked, understated, or secularized, which is understandable given the audience, but it’s not the approach that I personally want to take.


It makes me feel fine


Dear Dhamma Friends,

Reading Suttas brings me closer & closer to the Buddha & to his great disciples!

That makes my Saddha to grow, helps dispel doubts, Dhamma becomes clearer, meditation becomes easier & hopefully, I would be out of here, soon!

That is why I read Suttas, to end all readings!

Before starting to read Suttas, I have been meditating for some time but, the meditation was going nowhere, it was everywhere! Being a traditional Buddhist from Sri Lanka, I thought I knew the Dhamma, well & what a fallacy it was ! Then, about 10 or so years ago, answering a question from me, during a meditation retreat, Ven Bhante Sujato said “Start reading Suttas. It will get you closer to the Buddha”! How true that advice has been! Thanks Bhante Sujato.

Attending Ven Ajahn Brahm’s & Ven Ajahn Brahmali’s Sutta Classes & their retreats helped, immensely. Thank you Ven Ajahn Brahm & Ven Ajahn Brahmali !

Thank you very much Ven Bhante Sujato, for this great service to the humanity. SuttaCentral, what a Great Gift to the Dhamma!

With Metta to all beings,
Upasako (Pen Name) , Perth, Australia


Working as a litigation lawyer, each work day is usually full of stressors, including deadlines and “adversaries”. Starting the day with reading the suttas followed by meditation transforms me and my attitude for the whole day. I can do my job much better and with a much kinder and friendly attitude after reading the suttas.

I’ve noticed when I skip reading the suttas, I’m much more prone to agitation and anger the rest of the day. Reading the suttas followed by meditation is a wellspring of joy for me. That said, for those just starting to read the suttas, my experience is when I first started reading the suttas, they seemed dry and not as inspiring as they are now for me.

However, I persisted in reading them, and at some point, they become much easier to read. I have also learned to discern which suttas are geared more toward monastics and which ones are geared more toward lay people. For me, this has been critical in studying the suttas and applying them to my everyday lay life.

Thus, I tend to focus on suttas that were taught to or for lay people. For example, if I need to get myself motivated to work and support my family on a given day, studying about corpse meditation might not be as helpful as a sutta about prosperity or the five precepts.

The suttas also have helped clear up many questions I had about meditation, the eightfold path, and how to live as a lay person in accordance with the path.

Thank you Venerable Sujato for your translations. Thank you sutta central and its community. True gems.

metta to all,


Hi Brooks. You and I are in the same line of work and I really appreciated what you wrote today. Everything you said resonated with me. Metta


Thank you, Michael, for your warm and encouraging words.
best wishes for you,


I find that reading a little bit of sutta each day helps me to stay in touch with the Dhamma.


Some of them are remarkably easy to understand while some are more challenging. I like that. And it’s the only way i can see to study the Buddha’s original teachings.


When I started to get in touch with the spiritual world, I came - besides of some practice of meditation in the Osho Neo-tantric-style - across an ever widening ocean of scriptures, discussions and such. From experiences in my younger years I already felt that this was likely to become too much, all this Osho, Zen, Krishnamurti etc and that that plethora of (often tending to academic) discussions of spiritual texts and thoughts would distract me from my initial inspiration and faith and connection to the cultural stream firstly felt in the Tao-Te-King, which I’d read in some initial situation in an evening far away from home doing days-after-days of our software installations and getting more-and-more determined to change way-of-life.
Some day, triggered by a buddhistic newsgroup-discussion in internet I found the palicanon online in german language, and at the same moment I felt befriended with that speaker, with that practioner, with that person behind the transmission of discourses. A friend if he were not dead already! Amongst many aspects: someone who has a meaningful focus, has foundation in own experience, has no arrogance, has a style, shows wideheartedness, no “pamphletism”, can talk with people by working through their minds, is absolutely fearless - in short: a grandezza which I didn’t sense anywhere before. So for me, by that verbal transmission, the buddha became for me not only a teacher, but really a friend like any good friend in my current life - only that he lived already so-many years ago.
What a new vision, by the way: by cultural transmission we humans can really make friendship across the times - what a wonderful and un-stressing/most-basically-relaxing experience!
So the discourses as transmitted in the pali-canon sutras are the backbone of my emotion of friendship with the Buddha. I read them often and especially when I’ve read too much other religious and spiritual matters I like to come back to the company of one who puts things in a perspective and a style which I simply like. Now ten years are gone, but in 2008, when this all was relatively new for me I gave some small “nano-index” into the palicanon with some of my then-favorite sutras (in german, KEN-translation). See what I mean, here
First name: Gottfried, my location: Kassel, Germany with a much homely feeling to some villages in east-africa…


Reading Early Buddhist Texts, one acquires the discernment of a connoisseur for the genuine article. Like a person growing up eating fine Chinese cooking being served a plate of American delicacy called Chop Suey, after reading the Nikayas and the Agamas one would find many late period Buddhist suttas very odd tasting. They are definitely not from the same source.