The Long Discourses of the Buddha - Foreword
It is with much pleasure that I write this brief foreword to Mr. Walshe’s translation of the Dīgha Nikāya. The translator is a devout Buddhist whose Pali scholarship is backed up by per sonal practice of meditation. His translation work is therefore a most important contribution to the study of Buddhism.
Mr. Walshe has been active in the Buddhist world of Great Britain for many years. Long before I came to Britain, his name was known to me through his essays in ‘The Wheel’ series of the Buddhist Publication Society of Sri Lanka. In 1977 my venerable teacher, Tan Ajahn Chah Subhatto and I arrived in London at the invitation of the English Sangha Trust of which Mr. Walshe was one of the Trustees. This Trust had been established in 1956 in order to bring about a Western Sangha in Britain, and towards this end, Mr. Walshe has consistently worked for nearly thirty years. At one time he combined this with the post of Vice-President of the Buddhist Society of Great Britain, his career at the Institute of Germanic Studies in London University (of which his translations of the sermons of Meister Eckhart are a testimonial), as well as studying Pali in his spare time.
Even though Pali scholars have produced quite accurate literal translations of the Pali Canon , one of ten feels the lack of profound insight into these remarkable scriptures. The Suttas need to be studied, reflected on, and practised in order to realise their true meaning. They are ‘Dhamma discourses’, or contemplations on the ‘way things are’. They are not meant to be ‘sacred scriptures’ which tell us what to believe. One should read them, listen to them, think about them, contemplate them, and investigate the present reality, the present experience with them. Then, and only then, can one insightfully know the Truth beyond words.
In this new translation of the long discourses Mr. Walshe has kindly offered us another opportunity to read and reflect on the Buddha’s teachings.
May all those who read them, benefit and develop in their practice of the Dhamma.
May all beings be freed from all suffering.
May all beings be enlightened.
Venerable Sumedho Thera
How to cite this document:
© Maurice Walshe, authors. The Long Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 1987, 1995, 2012)
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