Book by Bhikkhu Bodhi: Reading the Buddha's Discourses in Pali: A Practical Guide to the Language of the Ancient Buddhist Canon

I recently bought this on kindle.
This is the first Pali book that I actually enjoy working through.
The layout - with short extracts of suttas interspersed with direct corresponding word translations, and followed up with the way Bodhi translates the same passage - is exactly what the grammatically challenged like me most need.
The next section of each sutta has his explanation of words and grammar- which do lead to a touch of eye glazing but are still extremely educational


We are a small group of Intermediate Pali student in the US. We created a Pali Study group and use this book for our study. We’re half way through chapter 5 and will finish this book soon. The suttas used in the book are well selected with a good introduction at the beginning of each chapter.


It is quite amazing that the kindle version is more expensive than the paper book.!

Welcome to the forum!
I hope to learn much about Pali from your participation here.


Thanks Robert. I’ll share the little I know about Pāli with the members under Textual Scholarship category. There, I’ll post my study notes hoping to help others and to get corrected by learned people so I could continue to learn.



Actually it might be better to post the threads under the Pali forum.

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It is good to see Pali being discussed.
I just got the ebook. It is good to see the publishing industry using unicode. :grinning:
It is good, but it is a book that needs to be read slowly and careful attention needs to be paid attention to specific grammar and vocabulary words not known already. It is good to read the sections again and again without the pali, and then go back again later and see if you remember.

The book needs to be studied if you want to learn the language. If you just want to read pali with English crutches nearby, TPP line by line pali/english books for the 4 Nikayas might be a better and cheaper solution. It is very useful, but any pali/english readings (including ven Bodhi’s book) can give you false confidence level for one’s abilities.

After you have learned a sutta, it is always good to go back and read the original suttas again and again without any visible english again and again until you don’t need a dictionary.

It might be good to make an Anki page. You can find the quotes from the book with TPP and then generate an anki file for importing into anki. It can then be placed in a shared deck… You can even make a free version of the same book if you want.

I’m not sure why ven Bodhi insists on charging large amounts of money for his books and charging nearly the same for eBooks and eating donated food at the same time. People assume ven Bodhi follows vinaya because he translated so many works into Englihs. It must be so because he translated 4 nikayas, right? I wish this was the case.

51. Like a beautiful flower full of color but without fragrance, even so, fruitless are the fair words of one who does not practice them.

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I don’t think ven. Bodhi receives any money from his books- it goes to the publisher.
I think he uses large publishers because people want the convenience that their distribution methods allow.

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This distribution model (excuse) has been dead since about 1999

Our small Pali Study group in North America just finished this book. We met every Sunday for one hour with each participant going through a section of the sutta. We plan to go back from the beginning and go through the whole sutta with no help from existing English translation as a goal. We also plan to read its commentaries if at all possible.

(continuation from previous post. Making a new line is different for different apps :slight_smile: )

Please drop me a note if you’re interested and I’ll invite you to our Zoom meeting. We also could use your help if you could read the commentaries.

Many thanks.
Son Tu

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If the times work out. Maybe I can join.
TPR has pali english now and it is searchable in english.