Numerical Discourses of the Buddha Bhikkhu Nyanatusita


The long awaited new translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi of the complete Anguttara Nikaya, called Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, is now available in Sri Lanka. It is distributed by the Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, as an inexpensive Sri Lanka only edition in cooperation with Wisdom Publications, USA.

The Anguttara Nikaya or Collection of Numerical Discourses is the fourth of the major collections (nikaya) of discourses (suttas) of the Buddha, the first part of the Pali Buddhist Canon, the Tipitaka. In this Numerical Discourses, the discourses are systematically arranged according to the number of topics they contain, which run from one to eleven, that is, the first book, the book of ones, only contains discourses with one topic, while the discourses in the book of elevens contain eleven topics.

The topics are wide-ranging, from basic morality and family life, to the different stages of enlightenment, and the highest attainments of concentration and insight meditation. The Anguttara Nikaya is distinctive in that many of the discourses deal with the different kinds of persons—good and bad, wise and unwise—and in that many discourses are addressed to laypeople. An example of both is the remarkable discourse on the seven different kinds of wives, by which the Buddha disciplined Sujata, Anathapindika’s rowdy daughter-in-law. The Anguttara Nikaya discourses also contain many wonderful similes that elucidate the teachings, such as the simile of the goldsmith, in which the purification of mind is likened to gold smith purifying gold so that it become malleable and bright.

As the Anguttara Nikaya contains more than 2300 discourses, which are not thematically arranged, it can be difficult to find one’s way in the collection. Fortunately, accessibility is made easy by the detailed thematic outline, extensive introduction, notes, and indices that Bhikkhu Bodhi meticulously prepared.

The translator, Bhikkhu Bodhi, is an American Buddhist monk. He was editor and president of the Buddhist Publication Society for many years and has many publications to his credit, either as translator, editor or contributor. He is the founder and chairperson of Buddhist Global Relief.

The BPS also makes available inexpensive, Sri Lanka only editions of other landmark translations of the Buddha’s Discourses published in Teachings of the Buddha series: Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya) translated by Bhikkhu Nyanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya) translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi, and Long Discourses of the Buddha (Digha Nikaya), translated by Maurice Walshe.

These books contain the most authentic, trustworthy, and essential teachings of the Buddha and they therefore should be part of every Buddhist library.

The books can be obtained from the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy ( or from the Buddhist Cultural Centre in Colombo.

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