The middle-length discourses of the Buddha
This book contains an integral translation of the middle part of the Majjhima-Nikaya (MN). The Majjhima-Nikaya is traditionally seen as the second set (nikaya) in the Sutta-Pitaka, after the Digha-NIkaya. The Sutta-Pitaka is the ‘basket’ of 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 Majjhima-Nikaya contains 152 “middle-length discourses” of the Buddha and is primarily aimed at the community of Buddhists and particularly introduces new converts to the fundamentals of the Teaching and Buddhist practice.
This volume (Majjhimapannasa) contains the middle fifty teachings (suttas 51-100), which are divided into five chapters (vaggas) of ten. In these, representatives of other ascetic groups often enter into debate with the Buddha. For example, the futility of strict asceticism as propagated by certain sects is denounced in the Kandaraka-Sutta (MN 51) and the Apannaka-Sutta (MN 60). The Angulimala-Sutta (MN 86) tells the famous story of the robber Angulimala who tried to kill the Buddha, but converted to the Teaching.