Cover of The Canonical Book of the Buddha's Lengthy Discourses Vol. I
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Publish Date: 
Shohei Ichimura


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This is Volume I of The Canonical Book of the Buddha's Lengthy Discourses, a collection of 30 longer sutras of historical importance in the development of Buddhism. In three volumes. Volume II is now available; Volume III is forthcoming.

Important lengthy discourses of the Buddha


This text presents important early teachings of the Buddha, namely the fourfold Āgamas that constitute the Sutra-piṭaka of traditional Buddhism—as preserved throughout the medieval period as part of the Mahayana Tripiṭaka corpus through the Chinese versions since the fifth century C.E. (paraphrased from the Translator's Introduction).

This is the first in a series of volumes translating The Canonical Book of the Buddha’s Lengthy Discourses. Volume I contains sutras 1–10 (of 30). Volume II contains ten more (sutras 11-20). Volume III concludes with the remaining sutras 21-30. 

Taishō 1

Volume 1

The Canonical Book of the Buddha’s Lengthy Discourses

The text was translated into Chinese from the Sanskrit Dīrgha Āgama in the fifth century by the monks Buddhayaśas and Zhu Fonian. One of the four Āgamas upheld by the orthodox Dharmaguptaka school, the Dīrgha Āgama has many parallels with the Pāli Dīgha Nikāya preserved in the Theravāda tradition, but it is unique in two ways. First, the Āgama editors organized the sutras in four major sections, reflecting their major concerns: (1) the centrality of Śākyamuni Buddha as the primary subject, (2) the importance of the Dharma and doctrine, (3) the resultant practice, discipline, and advanced spiritual states, and (4) a record of the cosmological origins of the world. Second, the “Sutra of Cosmology,” which is not found in the Pāli Dīgha Nikāya, was added as the last text in the collection in order to present the Buddha’s teaching more effectively and attractively to a non-Buddhist audience. Some scholars suggest that the underlying principle of the Chang ahan jing reflects a conciliatory impulse intended to bridge the early Buddhist teachings with Mahayana Buddhist teaching and scriptures.


Skt. Dīrgha Āgama, translated by Buddhayaśas and Zhu Fonian into the Chinese as Chan ahan jing (中阿含經). 22 fascicles. 

Table of Contents

A Message on the Publication of the English Tripiṭaka    NUMATA Yehan    v
Editorial Foreword MAYEDA Sengaku    vii
Publisher’s Foreword A. Charles Muller    ix
Translator’s Introduction Shohei Ichimura    xiii

The Canonical Book of the Buddha’s Lengthy Discourses, Volume I 

Preface    3
Sutra 1. The Great Origin    7
Sutra 2. Last Journey and Sojourns    63

  • First Episode    63
  • Second Episode    94
  • Third Episode    133

Sutra 3. A Great Treasury Councilor    173
Sutra 4. Janavasabha’s Exhortation    197
Sutra 5. Lesser Causality    211
Sutra 6. The Universal Ruler’s Practice    225
Sutra 7. Pāyāsi’s Dialogue    245
Sutra 8. Sandhāna    269
Sutra 9. Numerically Assembled Doctrines    283
Sutra 10. Ten Progressively Classified Doctrines    307

Notes    341
Bibliography    345
Index    349
A List of the Volumes of the BDK English Tripiṭaka (First Series) 365