Theravadan Texts & Suttas

The Pali Canon

The Tipitaka (Pali ti, "three," + pitaka, "baskets"), or Pali canon, is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. The Tipitaka and the paracanonical Pali texts (commentaries, chronicles, etc.) together constitute the complete body of classical Theravada texts.

The three divisions of the Tipitaka are:

  • Sutta Pitaka
    The collection of suttas, or discourses, attributed to the Buddha and a few of his closest disciples, containing all the central teachings of Theravada Buddhism. (More than nine hundred sutta translations are available on this web site.) The suttas are divided among five nikayas (collections):
    • Digha Nikaya — the "long collection"
    • Majjhima Nikaya — the "middle-length collection"
    • Samyutta Nikaya — the "grouped collection"
    • Anguttara Nikaya — the "further-factored collection"
    • Khuddaka Nikaya — the "collection of little texts" which includes among them:
      • Dhammapada
      • Sutta Nipata
      • Jatakas
  • Vinaya Pitaka
    The collection of texts concerning the rules of conduct governing the daily affairs within the Sangha — the community of bhikkhus (ordained monks) and bhikkhunis (ordained nuns). Far more than merely a list of rules, the Vinaya Pitaka also includes the stories behind the origin of each rule, providing a detailed account of the Buddha's solution to the question of how to maintain communal harmony within a large and diverse spiritual community.
  • Abhidhamma Pitaka
    The collection of texts in which the underlying doctrinal principles presented in the Sutta Pitaka are reworked and reorganized into a systematic framework that can be applied to an investigation into the nature of mind and matter.

The Pali canon

The Pali canon is a vast body of literature: in English translation the texts add up to thousands of printed pages. While much of the Canon has been published in English over the years, only a small fraction of these texts are available on the web at the following sites:

Tipitaka: The Pali Canon
Access to Insight

The Sutta Pitaka

The Pali Tipitaka
Tipitaka Network


The Tipitaka
Mettanet - Lanka

Pali Canon Online Database
DCD Digital Documents

The Tipitaka


Two selections of suttas: Suttas I and Suttas II
A Buddhist Library

Gemstones of the Good Dhamma An Anthology of Verses from the Pali Scriptures
Ven. S. Dhammika

The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest
Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries
Nyanaponika Thera

Association with the Wise
Bhikkhu Bodhi

A Look at the Kalama Sutta
Bhikkhu Bodhi

Overview of Tipitaka Scriptures
Narada Maha Thera

A Systematic Study of the Majjhima Nikaya
Taught by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Right View: The Sammaditthi Sutta and its Commentary
Bhikkhu Nanamoli (translation), Bhikkhu Bodhi (editor)

The Dhammapada

The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom
Acharya Buddharakkhita (translation), Bhikkhu Bodhi (introduction)

The Dhammapada
Thanissaro Bhikkhu (translation)

The Dhammapada
F. Max Müller (translation- 1881)

The Living Message of the Dhammapada
Bhikkhu Bodhi

The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations
Gil Fronsdal (translator) (Shambhala)

For a broader selection of translations see the following publications:

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
Bhikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications)
A new concise single-volume collection of the Buddha's discourses, making this the definitive introduction to the Buddha's teachings. Divided into ten thematic chapters, In the Buddha's Words reveals the full scope of the Buddha's discourses, from family life and marriage to renunciation and the path of insight. A concise, informative introduction precedes each chapter, guiding the reader toward a deeper understanding of the texts that follow.

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya
Bhikkhu Nanamoli (Wisdom Publications)

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya
Bikkhu Bodhi (Wisdom Publications)

Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
Bhikkhu Bodhi, Nyanaponika Thera (Alta Mira Press)

Discourse on Right View: Sammaditthi Sutta & Commentary
Nanamoli Bhikkhu and Bhikkhu Bodhi

The Jatakas: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta
Sarah Shaw (Penguin Global)

Sallekha Sutta
Mahasi Sayadaw