Majjhima Nikaya

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Majjhima Nikaya

The Majjhima Nikaya (-nikāya; "Collection of Middle-length Discourses") is a Buddhist scripture, the second of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the "three baskets" that compose the Pali Tipitaka of Theravada Buddhism. Composed between 3rd century BCE - 2nd century CE.[1] This nikaya consists of 152 discourses attributed to the Buddha and his chief disciples.[2]

The Majjhima Nikaya corresponds to the Madhyama Āgama found in the Sutra Pitikas of various Sanskritic early Buddhist schools, fragments of which survive in Sanskrit and in Tibetan translation. A complete Chinese translation from the Sarvāstivādin recension appears in the Chinese Buddhist canon, where it is known as the Zhōng Ahánjīng (中阿含經). The Madhyama Āgama of the Sarvāstivāda school contains 222 sūtras, in contrast to the 152 suttas in the Pāli Majjhima Nikāya.[3]

Structure and Contents[edit]

Bhikkhu Bodhi in the introduction to his translation describes the collection as follows:

If the Majjhima Nikāya were to be characterised by a single phrase to distinguish it from among the other books of the Pali Canon, this might be done by describing it as the collection that combines the richest variety of contextual settings with the deepest and most comprehensive assortment of teachings.[4]

The 152 discourses come in three parts each with five divisions. All divisions save the penultimate contain 10 discourses.

Name English Name[4] # of 1st

discourse

Mūlapaṇṇāsapāḷi The Root Fifty Discourses
Mūlapariyāya Vagga The Division of the Discourse on the Root 1
Sīhanāda Vagga The Division of the Lion's Roar 11
Opamma Vagga The Division of Similes 21
Mahāyamaka Vagga The Great Division of Pairs 31
Cūḷayamaka Vagga The Shorter Division of Pairs 41
Majjhimapaṇṇāsapāḷi The Middle Fifty Discourses
Gahapati Vagga The Division on Householders 51
Bhikkhu Vagga The Division on Bhikkhus 61
Paribbājaka Vagga The Division on Wanderers 71
Rāja Vagga The Division on Kings 81
Brāhmaṇa Vagga The Division on Brahmins 91
Uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi The Final Fifty Discourses
Devadaha Vagga The Division at Devadaha 101
Anupada Vagga The Division of One by One 111
Suññata Vagga The Division of Voidness 121
Vibhaṅga Vagga The Division of Expositions 131
Saḷāyatana Vagga The Division of the Sixfold Base 143

Translations[edit]

  • Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi (trans.), The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, 1995, Somerville: Wisdom Publications ISBN 0-86171-072-X.
  • Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan had translated Majjhima Nikaya from Prakrit to Hindi.[5]
  • Lord Chalmers, trans. (1898-1926), Further Dialogues of the Buddha, 1926–7, vol.1, vol. 2, London: Pali Text Society. Reprint: Ann Arbor: Books on Demand, University of Michigan.
  • I.B. Horner (trans.), The Book of Middle Length Sayings, 1954–9, 3 volumes, Bristol: Pali Text Society.
  • David W. Evans (trans.), Discourses of Gotama Buddha: Middle Collection, 1991, Janus Pubns. "Translation in an abridged form ... just about one third the size of Horner's translation, but with well over 90% of the significant content"

Selections[edit]

  • A Treasury of the Buddha's Words, tr Nanamoli, revised Khantipalo, Bangkok; later revised & expanded to give MLDB above
  • Twenty-Five Suttas from Mula-Pannasa, Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, 1986?; reprinted Sri Satguru, Delhi
  • Twenty-Five Suttas from Majjhima-Pannasa, Myanmar Pitaka Association, Rangoon, 1987; reprinted Sri Satguru, Delhi
  • Twenty-Five Suttas from Upari-Pannasa, Myanmar Pitaka Association, Rangoon, 1988?; reprinted Sri Satguru, Delhi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Upinder Singh. A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson. p. 25. 
  2. ^ A version of the Pali original is available in Gotama, Buddha (2012). Majjhima Nikaya: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1478369622.  ISBN 1478369620
  3. ^ A Dictionary of Buddhism, by Damien Keown, Oxford University Press: 2004
  4. ^ a b Bodhi, Bhikkhu (1995). The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, first published by Wisdom Publications. pp. 5–11, 20. ISBN 0-86171-072-X. 
  5. ^ Sharma, R.S. (2009). Rethinking India's Past. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-569787-2. 

External links[edit]