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Majjhima Nikaya: The Middle-length Discourses

Majjhima Nikaya


Majjhima Nikaya

The Middle-length Discourses

The Majjhima Nikaya, or “Middle-length Discourses” of the Buddha, is the second of the five nikayas (collections) of the Sutta Pitaka.

This nikaya consists of 152 discourses by the Buddha and his chief disciples, which together constitute a comprehensive body of teaching concerning all aspects of the Buddha's teachings.

An excellent modern translation of the complete Majjhima Nikaya is The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, translated by Bhikkhu Ñanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995).(1) The Introduction to that book contains an extraordinary synopsis of the Buddha's teachings in general, and of their expression in the Majjhima in particular. A fine anthology of selected suttas is Handful of Leaves (Vol. 1), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (distributed by the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies).

The translator appears in the square brackets []. The braces {} contain the volume and starting page number in the Pali Text Society's romanized Pali edition.

The sutta summaries appearing below that are marked “ [BB]” were adapted from Bhikkhu Bodhi's summaries (in The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha) and are used with permission. Those marked “ [TB]” were provided by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. The rest were written by the ATI editor.




Owners of this book will find this printable table of contents majjhima_index.pdf (??pages/64KB)“> very helpful. It is designed to be cut in half and stuck inside the cover. It was prepared by Bhikkhu Kumara & Tahn Varado.


  • MN 1: Mulapariyaya Sutta — The Root Sequence {M i 1} [ Thanissaro ].

    In this difficult but important sutta the Buddha reviews in depth one of the most fundamental principles of Buddhist thought and practice: namely, that there is no thing — not even Nibbana itself — that can rightly be regarded as the source from which all phenomena and experience emerge.

  • MN 2: Sabbasava Sutta — Discourse on All Āsavas/All the Fermentations There is more than one translation! Click on the author-link below for the specific one of your choice. {M i 6} [ Burma Piṭaka Assn. | Thanissaro ].

    The Buddha teaches seven methods for eliminating from the mind the deeply rooted defilements (sensuality, becoming, views, and ignorance) that obstruct the realization of Awakening.

  • MN 9: Sammaditthi Sutta — The Discourse on Right View/Right View There is more than one translation! Click on the author-link below for the specific one of your choice. {M i 46} [ Ñanamoli/Bodhi | Thanissaro ].

    How the four noble truths, dependent co-arising, and the knowledge that ends mental fermentation all build upon the basic dichotomy between skillful and unskillful action.

  • MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta — The Foundations of Mindfulness/The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness/ MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta — The Foundations of Mindfulness/The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness/Frames of Reference {M i 55} [ Ven. Nyanasatta | Soma | Ven. Thanissaro (Edition 2018) | Ven. Thanissaro (old ATI-Edition) ].

    The Buddha's comprehensive practical instructions on the development of mindfulness as the basis for insight. [The text of this sutta is identical to that of the Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22), but without its detailed (except Ven. Thanissaro's translation from the Thai edition) exposition of the Four Noble Truths (sections 5a,b,c and d in part D of that version).]

  • MN 14: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta — The Lesser Mass of Stress {M i 91} [ Thanissaro ].

    What mental qualities must be abandoned in order to free oneself of greed, aversion, and delusion? Can painful austerities be used to purify oneself and burn away the karmic fruit of past misdeeds? Through question-and-answer dialogues with the lay follower Mahanama and with a group of Jain ascetics, the Buddha lays these questions to rest.

  • MN 18: Madhupindika Sutta — The Ball of Honey {M i 108} [ Thanissaro ].

    A man looking to pick a fight asks the Buddha to explain his doctrine. The Buddha's answer mystifies not only the man, but also a number of monks. Ven. Maha Kaccana finally provides an explanation, and in the course of doing so explains what is needed to bring the psychological sources of conflict to an end.

  • MN 19: Dvedhavitakka Sutta — Two Sorts of Thinking {M i 114} [ Thanissaro ].

    The Buddha recounts the events leading up to his Awakening, and describes his discovery that thoughts connected with sensuality, ill-will, and harmfulness do not lead one to Awakening, while those connected with their opposites (renunciation, non ill-will, and harmlessness) do.

  • MN 20: Vitakkasanthana Sutta — The Removal of Distracting Thoughts/The Relaxation of Thoughts There is more than one translation! Click on the author-link below for the specific one of your choice. {M i 118} [ Soma | Thanissaro ].

    The Buddha offers five practical methods of responding wisely to unskillful thoughts (thoughts connected with desire, aversion, or delusion).

en/tipitaka/sut/mn/index.txt · Last modified: 2019/10/30 13:27 by Johann