Studies in Early Buddhism

Jay N. Forrest

Suttavadin Buddhism
Sutta Studies

The Five Aggregates Reconsidered

The Buddha said:

And what, bhikkhus, are the five aggregates? Whatever kind of form there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the form aggregate. Whatever kind of feeling there is … this is called the feeling aggregate. Whatever kind of perception there is … this is called the perception aggregate. Whatever kind of volitional formations there are … these are called the volitional formations aggregate.

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Early Buddhism

Introducing the Chinese Āgamas

Someone might wonder why a scholar of early Buddhism would even bother studying the Chinese Āgamas. The Pali canon contains the only complete canon for any early Buddhist school. But the Chinese Āgamas do contain Early Buddhist Texts and therefore deserve to be studied.

I think Mun-keat Choong said it best, “If one only considers and emphasizes Pali sources, without comparing them with the Chinese versions, then one is studying Pali Buddhism, not early Buddhism.… Read the rest

Sutta Translations

Truthfinder and the World (Iti 112 PMT)

This was said by the Fortunate One, the Arahant: that is what I heard.

“Practitioners, the world has been understood by the Truthfinder; and he is detached from the world. The origin of the world has been understood by the Truthfinder; and he has given up the origin of the world. The cessation of the world has been understood by the Truthfinder; and he has realized the cessation of the world.… Read the rest

Pali Word Studies

Word Study: Jhāna and Samādhi

I have written a whole series on the jhānas. In that series, I translated jhana as “meditation.” The Pali Text Society’s Pali English Dictionary defines jhāna as “literally meditation.” The New Concise Pali English Dictionary defines jhāna as “a meditative state.” So the first jhana was translated as “the first [stage of] meditation.”

I have been translating samādhi by the standard translation of “concentration.” This is so widespread that it seemed natural to follow the consensus.… Read the rest

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