Readings in the Madhyama-āgama

An e-learning online course by Bhikkhu Anālayo

Numata Center for Buddhist Studies

University of Hamburg


“Readings in the Madhyama-āgama” is on online course held during the summer semesters 2011 to 2013 by Bhikkhu Anālayo at the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies of the University of Hamburg, in collaboration with the
Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy. The main purpose of the course was to introduce central themes of early Buddhist thought from an historical-critical perspective through the medium of a comparative study of the early discourses. Extracts from the Madhyama-āgama preserved in Chinese were presented in English translation and compared with their Pāli counterparts. The course intended to give the participants an opportunity for a first-hand impression of this collection, so far not available in translation in any European language.

 

The lectures aimed at providing those who are relatively new to the early discourses with a first-hand understanding of early Buddhism through textual study of the primary sources. At the same time, the course would also be of interest to those who, being already well familiar with the Pāli canon, are interested in the differences and similarities between the Pāli discourses and parallel versions transmitted by other Buddhist traditions. In the present case, the parallels taken into consideration are from the Madhyama-āgama translated into Chinese towards the end of the 4th century, a collection that with considerable probability stems from a Sarvāstivāda line of transmission.

 

Participation was free of any charge. While following the lectures requires a basic acquaintance with central ideas of Buddhism, there were no language requirements apart from a reasonable degree of fluency in English. During the course, participants regularly needed to consult the following translations:

 

Bhikkhu Bodhi (ed.) Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trsl.) 1995: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, Boston: Wisdom.

Bhikkhu Bodhi (trsl.) 2000: The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, A New Translation of the Saṃyutta Nikāya, Boston: Wisdom.

Bhikkhu Bodhi (trsl.) 2012: The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, A Translation of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, Boston: Wisdom.

 

 

Past Course 2013:

Tranquility and Insight

in Early Buddhist Discourse

 

The lectures held during the summer semester of 2013 covered chapter 7 of the Madhyama-āgama. Audio files of the lectures can be audited or downloaded as mp3 files, together with the respective lectures notes as pdfs, by following this link.

 

 

 Past Course 2012:

The Arahant and the Four Truths

 in Early Buddhist Discourse

 

The lectures held during the summer semester of 2012 covered chapters 3 and 4 of the Madhyama-āgama. Audio files of the lectures can be audited or downloaded as mp3 files, together with the respective lectures notes as pdfs, by following this link.

 

 

Past Course 2011:

Purification, Ethics and Karma

 in Early Buddhist Discourse

The lectures held during the summer semester of 2011 covered chapters 1 and 2 of the Madhyama-āgama. Audio files of the lectures can be audited or downloaded as mp3 files, together with the respective lectures notes as pdfs, by following this link.

 

 

 

Next Course 2014:

 

For the summer semester of 2014 a different type of course is planned, which will focus on the topic of bhikkhunī ordination in different Buddhist traditions. For further information please follow this link.