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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby unspoken » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Unspoken,
unspoken wrote:How long is the duration of all the dhamma talks posted there? So I listen to ALL the mp3 of the provided link and it will be same as reading a book except that I do not need to read?

It might be possible to just listen, but I would recommend having the book, since the talks often assume you've looked at the passage under discussion. It's a relatively cheap paperback (less than $20).

:anjali:
Mike


Actually I'm just a teenager living in Malaysia. If its in dolar, convert to malaysian ringgit, it will be rm60 which I could not afford it. I think I'll be fine just download the mp3 :smile:
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:11 pm

I can relate to that.

I first got interested in Buddhism in the 90s when I was a student. I was living off about $500 a month. Wisdom's "Middle Length Discourses", I think, was even more expensive back then. There were no Amazon or used book discounts. It wasn't in the library system as it is now. Buying a copy would have been like sacrificing a week and half's worth of grocery money.

Luckily, the sutta class I went to didn't mind sharing books at classes or providing photocopies. John Bullit of Access To Insight was also working with the Buddhist Publication Society to put a lot of their pamphlets on the web ( I still read a few of them as text files and converted a few to HTML myself ) and about the same time Thanisarro Bhikkhu started putting his translations on Access To Insight. My Buddhist education would have been shut down back then if not for these things.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby danieLion » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:55 pm

Thanks for this original poster. What a great resource! I just started reading In the Buddha's Words and just finished Wings to Awakening. I have been listening to these talks while I do stuff around the house. I also like Thanissaro's Handful of Leaves I, but am still in the introduction of that. Wings was much easier to read at a faster pace compared to In the Buddha's Words which I like just as much but something about it makes me want to read more reflectively and and hence slower. Also, so far, Wings seems more thesis driven (to support his opinion of the importance of the bodhipakkiyadhamma?) whereas IBW more expository.

What are your experiences with these anthologies?

Thanks,

Dan
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:08 am

Hi Dan,

Of course, I agree. Ven Thanissaro's books seem to me to be written to make particular points (nothing wrong with that, of course, same goes for many authors!). Bhikkhu Bodhi's anthology does attempt to be a broad cross-section of suttas giving a reasonably balanced view of the breadth of advice that is in the Canon. I have found his classification system very useful and it's seldom that I read a sutta that contains material that is not hinted at in that volume, though of course I can point to suttas that go into the various aspects in more detail.

The criticism that some have is that he deliberately downplayed verse, but verse (such as the Dhammapada, the Sutta Nipata, and the first book of the Samyutta Nikaya) is difficult to render both accurately and poetically. Yes, it would be nice to include the Ratana, Mahāmaṅgala Sutta, and Metta Suttas, but it would require a lot of explanation (which he gives here: http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about-buddhism/audio/84-sutta-nipata.html).

:anjali:
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Gibraltariana » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:09 pm

I am going to order this book today. Thanks!
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby past is dead » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:05 pm

I have started to read this book few days ago and it's really good so far. Can you guys recommend me other books by Bhikkhu Bodhi or other Theravada related books?
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:08 pm

Greetings Past Is Dead,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

Check out this topic...

Introductory resources
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby past is dead » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:25 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Past Is Dead,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

Check out this topic...

Introductory resources
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148

Metta,
Retro. :)


Thanks you Retrofuturist for the help, I am new here so I will need some time to learn my way around :)

Which are your favorite introductory, intermediate and advanced books on Theravada?
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:29 pm

Greetings,

past is dead wrote:Which are your favorite introductory, intermediate and advanced books on Theravada?

In a nutshell...

Introductory: anything from the topic I referenced, or anything by Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Chah, Bhikkhu Bodhi, or Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Intermediate: anything from the Sutta Pitaka
Advanced: anything by Bhikkhu Nanananda, Nanavira Thera, Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero... then going back to the Sutta Pitaka and reading it, taking what these people have said into account

:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby past is dead » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

past is dead wrote:Which are your favorite introductory, intermediate and advanced books on Theravada?

In a nutshell...

Introductory: anything from the topic I referenced, or anything by Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Chah, Bhikkhu Bodhi, or Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Intermediate: anything from the Sutta Pitaka
Advanced: anything by Bhikkhu Nanananda, Nanavira Thera, Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero... then going back to the Sutta Pitaka and reading it, taking what these people have said into account

:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)
Thanks a lot again
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:49 pm

In Bhikkhu Bodhi's first lecture (MN002_SamyojanaAnusayaAsava.pdf) he has an extensive discussion regarding Asava (taints). Found the following which I found quite helpful in this regard: http://wisdomthroughmindfulness.blogspo ... -work.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby UrbanContemplative » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:31 pm

Wow...thanks for posting this link!! I'm ALREADY glad I joined this forum today! This is fantastic. In the Buddha's Words was my first introduction to the Pali Canon; and I've since been reading all his other translations. I love that book, it is one of my favorites!!
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby cookiemonster » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:17 am

I've read through his book, and it's an awesome intro to Theravada ...

I wish it was printed on thinner "Bible-type" paper so it would be more portable as a constant companion!
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Kalama » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:42 pm

Dear All,

Bhikkhu Bodhi is one of the most respected Buddhist scholars in the West nowadays. His most favorite teacher, Nyanaponika Thera ( whose teacher was Nyanatiloka Maha Thera b.t.w. ) , would certainly be pleased about his development. .

I haven't read the book yet only the free available introduction . Noting the very favorable response of members I like to share my first impression and would appreciate comments especially from those who have read the whole book .


The Venerable writes in his introdution:

quote
The Buddha asks us to stop drifting thoughtlessly through our lives and instead to pay careful attention to simple truths that are everywhere available to us, clamoring for the sustained consideration they deserve.
One of the most obvious and inescapable of these truths is also among the most difficult for us to fully acknowledge, namely, that we are bound to grow old, fall ill, and die. It is commonly assumed that the Buddha beckons us to recognize the reality of old age and death in order to motivate us to enter the path of renunciation leading to Nibbāna, complete liberation from the round of birth and death.
unquote
I recall that the Buddha stated without old age, sickness and death there would be no teaching.The 3 messengers come into mind .. Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote in a respective essay ( ' Meeting The Divine Messengers' see http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_32.html :
extract , quote
„If in this process of awakening we must meet old age, sickness, and death face to face, that is because the place of safety can be reached only by honest confrontation with the stark truths about human existence. We cannot reach safety by pretending that the flames that engulf our home are nothing but bouquets of flowers: we must see them as they are, as real flames. When, however, we do look at the divine messengers squarely, without embarrassment or fear, we will find that their faces undergo an unexpected metamorphosis. Before our eyes, by subtle degrees, they change into another face — the face of the Buddha, with its serene smile of triumph over the army of Mara, over the demons of Desire and Death. The divine messengers point to what lies beyond the transient, to a dimension of reality where there is no more aging, no more sickness, and no more death. This is the goal and final destination of the Buddhist path — Nibbana, the Unaging, the Unailing, the Deathless. It is to direct us there that the divine messengers have appeared in our midst, and the good news of deliverance is their message“.
unquote


I wonder whether the Ven. repeats lateron his emphasis on the deathless dated from 1998 , as the point of freedom from the round of rebirth isn't necessarily a priority for those knowing it only by hearsay or even doubt it.


quote
However, while this may be his ultimate intention, it is not the first response he seeks to evoke in us when we turn to him for guidance. The initial response the Buddha intends to arouse in us is an ethical one. By calling our attention to our bondage to old age and death, he seeks to inspire in us a firm resolution to turn away from unwholesome ways of living and to embrace instead wholesome alternatives.

unquote


The point of ethics is supposed to explain the why of moral which I think is by the Law of Kamma plausible presented having the background in mind that without moral the Noble Path training is without substance . Hence moral is a mean for liberation not really the intial response , isn't it ?


quote:
„Rather, as we saw above, the first lesson he draws from the fact that our lives end in old age and death is an ethical one interwoven with the twin principles of kamma and rebirth. The law of kamma stipulates that our unwholesome and wholesome actions have consequences extending far beyond this present life: unwholesome actions lead to rebirth in states of misery and bring future pain and suffering; wholesome actions lead to a pleasant rebirth and bring future well-being and happiness. Since we have to grow old and die, we should be constantly aware that any present prosperity we might enjoy is merely temporary. We can enjoy it only as long as we are young and healthy; and when we die, our newly acquired kamma will gain the opportunity to ripen and bring forth its own results. We must then reap the due fruits of our deeds. With an eye to our long-term future welfare, we should scrupulously avoid evil deeds that result in suffering and diligently engage in wholesome deeds that generate happiness here and in future lives“.

unquote

Again strong emphasis on rebirth which -I.M.H.O. - would be better treated in a later chapter of the book ...at least for the Western reader.


quote
In the second section, we explore three aspects of human life that I have collected under the heading “The Tribulations of Unreflective Living.” These types of suffering differ from those connected with old age and death in an important respect. Old age and death are bound up with bodily existence and are thus unavoidable, common to both ordinary people and liberated arahants—a point made in the first text of this chapter. In contrast, the three texts included in this section all distinguish between the ordinary person, called “the uninstructed worldling” (assutavā puthujjana), and the wise follower of the Buddha, called the “instructed noble disciple” (sutavā ariyasāvaka).
The first of these distinctions, drawn in Text I,2(1), revolves around the response to painful feelings. Both the worldling and the noble disciple experience painful bodily feelings, but they respond to these feelings differently. The worldling reacts to them with aversion and therefore, on top of the painful bodily feeling, also experiences a painful mental feeling: sorrow, resentment, or distress. The noble disciple, when afflicted with bodily pain, endures such feeling patiently, without sorrow, resentment, or distress. It is commonly assumed that physical and mental pain are inseparably linked, but the Buddha makes a clear demarcation between the two. He holds that while bodily existence is inevitably bound up with physical pain, such pain need not trigger the emotional reactions of misery, fear, resentment, and distress with which we habitually respond to it. Through mental training we can develop the mindfulness and clear comprehension necessary to endure physical pain courageously, with patience and equanimity. Through insight we can develop sufficient wisdom to overcome our dread of painful feelings and our need to seek relief in distracting binges of sensual selfindulgence.
unquote

A reader may question the credibility of the dogma , as the third Noble Truths promise the cessation of what has been specified within the first Noble Truth.
It is not stated that bodily pain is excluded and must be endured though with a different reaction by the instructed (noble) disciple . I don't think that reference to the second dart is satisfying. (Please compare with General Theravada Discussion , topic 'First and Third Noble Truth , where a lucid explanation is sought. )

quote
„Many, fearful of annihilation at death, construct belief systems that ascribe to their individual selves, their souls, the prospect of eternal life. A few yearn for a path to liberation but do not know where to find one. It was precisely to offer such a path that the Buddha has appeared in our midst.“

unquote

Am I alone to miss what has been quoted before as an extract of Bhikkhu Bodhi 's earlier essay: 'Meeting the Divine Messengers ' or is it only an issue of the introduction ...?


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:16 pm

Hi Kalama,

Just to clarify, you are quoting from the Introduction to Chapter 1: “The Human Condition”
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/buddhas-words/selections/buddhas-words-introduction-part-i--human-condition.
This text is intended as an introduction to the particular suttas chosen for that chapter (freely-available versions may be found linked to here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14640). Those suttas set the background of humans without knowledge of the Dhamma, suffering and wandering in samsara.

Later chapters contain suttas that introduce and develop the Dhamma in more and more detail. That's the point of this organisation of the suttas.

:anjali:
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Kalama » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:35 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Kalama,

Just to clarify, you are quoting from the Introduction to Chapter 1: “The Human Condition”
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/buddhas-words/selections/buddhas-words-introduction-part-i--human-condition.
This text is intended as an introduction to the particular suttas chosen for that chapter (freely-available versions may be found linked to here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14640). Those suttas set the background of humans without knowledge of the Dhamma, suffering and wandering in samsara.

Later chapters contain suttas that introduce and develop the Dhamma in more and more detail. That's the point of this organisation of the suttas.

:anjali:
Mike


Hi Mike ,

thanks for clarification. Actually I would appreciate to learn that this introduction is not the tenor of the book but find that in the spirit the Venerable expressed in his essay.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:38 pm

Yeah, I don't have my book with me right now but I seem to remember a general introduction to the whole book, itself.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:31 pm

Kalama wrote:thanks for clarification. Actually I would appreciate to learn that this introduction is not the tenor of the book but find that in the spirit the Venerable expressed in his essay.

I'm not clear about your issues with the introduction to Chapter 1. Clearly it is not a complete exposition of the Dhamma, since that comes later in the book. But I don't see any problem with what is stated there. Perhaps you feel that it is incomplete. For example, Bhikkhu Bodhi writes:
Bodhi wrote:The first of these distinctions, drawn in Text I,2(1) SN 36.6, revolves around the response to painful feelings. Both the worldling and the noble disciple experience painful bodily feelings, but they respond to these feelings differently. The worldling reacts to them with aversion and therefore, on top of the painful bodily feeling, also experiences a painful mental feeling: sorrow, resentment, or distress. The noble disciple, when afflicted with bodily pain, endures such feeling patiently, without sorrow, resentment, or distress. It is commonly assumed that physical and mental pain are inseparably linked, but the Buddha makes a clear demarcation between the two. He holds that while bodily existence is inevitably bound up with physical pain, such pain need not trigger the emotional reactions of misery, fear, resentment, and distress with which we habitually respond to it. Through mental training we can develop the mindfulness and clear comprehension necessary to endure physical pain courageously, with patience and equanimity. Through insight we can develop sufficient wisdom to overcome our dread of painful feelings and our need to seek relief in distracting binges of sensual selfindulgence.

This comment seems to be a good summary of SN 36.6, which states:
SN 36.6 wrote:Being contacted by that same painful feeling, he harbours aversion towards it. When he harbours aversion towards painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion towards painful feeling lies behind this. Being contacted by painful feeling, he seeks delight in sensual pleasure. For what reason? Because the uninstructed worldling does not know of any escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. When he seeks delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling lies behind this. He does not understand as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. When he does not understand these things, the underlying tendency to ignorance in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling lies behind this..

You say:
kalama wrote:A reader may question the credibility of the dogma , as the third Noble Truths promise the cessation of what has been specified within the first Noble Truth.
It is not stated that bodily pain is excluded and must be endured though with a different reaction by the instructed (noble) disciple . I don't think that reference to the second dart is satisfying. (Please compare with General Theravada Discussion , topic 'First and Third Noble Truth , where a lucid explanation is sought. )

You are correct that simply enduring pain is not liberation. However, the Noble Truths have not yet been introduced. A discussion of these issues occurs later in the book.

Keep in mind that this book is a carefully organised exposition of the Dhamma, designed so that people unfamiliar with the details of the Buddha's teaching can follow it. Having said that, I find it a very useful reference, since the suttas in the collection do cover all of the important areas of the Dhamma.

:anjali:
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby Kalama » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:35 pm

Hi Mike,

you wrote:

'I'm not clear about your issues with the introduction to Chapter 1. Clearly it is not a complete exposition of the Dhamma, since that comes later in the book. But I don't see any problem with what is stated there. Perhaps you feel that it is incomplete. For example, Bhikkhu Bodhi writes:
Bodhi wrote:The first of these distinctions, drawn in Text I,2(1) SN 36.6 ....snip
This comment seems to be a good summary of SN 36.6, which states:
SN 36.6 wrote:Being contacted by that same painful feeling, he harbours aversion towards it. snip
You say:
( kalama wrote:A reader may question the credibility of the dogma , as the third Noble Truths promise the cessation of what has been specified within the first Noble Truth. It is not stated that bodily pain is excluded and must be endured though with a different reaction by the instructed (noble) disciple . I don't think that reference to the second dart is satisfying. (Please compare with General Theravada Discussion , topic 'First and Third Noble Truth , where a lucid explanation is sought. )

You are correct that simply enduring pain is not liberation. However, the Noble Truths have not yet been introduced. A discussion of these issues occurs later in the book." snip
Keep in mind that this book is a carefully organised exposition of the Dhamma, designed so that people unfamiliar with the details of the Buddha's teaching can follow it. Having said that, I find it a very useful reference, since the suttas in the collection do cover all of the important areas of the Dhamma."

unquote


I do not doubt the detailed discussion and assume particular references to the suttas stating that the approach of Jhana is the mean to cease bodily pain. (?)
But that doesn't change the Ven.'s proposition " Both the worldling and the noble disciple experience painful bodily feelings, but they respond to these feelings differently." which means only the cessation of mental pain is addressed by the 3rd Noble Truth.

So is bodily pain inevitable indeed ? Let aside the temporary ceasing due to samma samadhi approach , it seems to be commonly accepted that the first dart is excluded (for the remaining life time) . But a statement from this well respected Dhamma scholar has another weight than e.g. from Silvia Borstein. It is therefore that I refered to his introduction , not to carp what I do not doubt about the book : a very useful collection of suttas showing how they 'fit together into an intelligible whole'.

My issue as I mentioned before is the search for a lucid explanation without limiting afterwards the core statement of the 3rd N.T.
The realization of PariNibbana on the event of full awakening could be an option , especially when one considers the breakdown of the D.O. links .

But I am still pondering..


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Lectures: In the Buddha's Words

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:59 pm

Hi Kalama,
Kalama wrote:But that doesn't change the Ven.'s proposition " Both the worldling and the noble disciple experience painful bodily feelings, but they respond to these feelings differently." which means only the cessation of mental pain is addressed by the 3rd Noble Truth.

Thank you for clarifying. If I understand correctly, you disagree with the statement that the noble disciple (and/or the Buddha) still feels physical pain?

You have already been discussing that on the thread First and Third Noble Truth. I suggest you continue discussion there.

It seems to me that Bhikkhu Bodhi's statement is consistent with the interpretation of most ancient and modern commentators, and, therefore, is the appropriate statement for an introductory text on Buddhism.

In his books Bhikkhu Bodhi is very careful to explain the widely-accepted interpretations, and he is always careful to explain where his personal interpretation differs. In his talks based on this book http://www.noblepath.org/audio.html, or on the Majjhima Nikaya, etc: http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic-study-of-the-majjhima-nikaya.html, he sometimes expresses his personal opinions more forcefully, and of course considers some issues in much greater detail. You might enjoy some of the discussions in those lectures.

:anjali:
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