The long discourses of the Buddha
This book contains a comprehensive translation of the Digha-Nikaya (DN) in Dutch, ‘the long discourses’ of the Buddha. Traditionally the Digha-Nikaya is the first of the five collections (nikaya’s) of discourses in the Sutta-Pitaka: the ‘basket’ (pitaka) of the discourses (sutta’s) atributed to the historical Buddha and his main disciples.
The Sutta-Pitaka is part of the Pali-Canon together with the Vinaya-Pitaka (the ‘basket’ of the monastic rules) and the Abhidhamma-Pitaka (the ‘basket’ with detailed scholastic presentations of doctrinal material). Together they form the body of sacred texts of Theravada Buddhism. The Pali-Canon or Tipitaka (‘three baskets’) contain the oldest extant scriptures of the Buddhist tradition.
The Digha-Nikaya consists of 34 ‘long’ discourses of the Buddha. The first of these, the Brahmajala-Sutta, reveal e.g. the psychological roots of 62 metafysical theories. The next 12 discourses are grouped around the core-text called the Tathagata-sermon or fire-sermon, an extensive explication of the Buddhist soteriological path. The subjects of the other discourses are very diverse. The Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta (DN 16) is an impressive recount of the last weeks of the life of the Buddha, the Maha-Satipatthana-Sutta (DN 22) is the source of the famous instructions for cultivating mindfulness. The Digha-Nikaya is rich in colourful stories, parables and mythical descriptions and is generally aimed at inspiring people who are not yet Buddhists to follow the teachings of the Buddha.
The translation is preceded by a general introduction to early Buddhism, which familiarizes the reader with the life story of the Buddha and the main elements of his Teaching, including the ancient forms of meditation, and is provided with explanatory notes. Each discourse is also provided with a summary.