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DHARMA AUDIOBOOKS is an audiobook label founded by Nicolas Soames with a clear brief: to present Buddhist recordings of all kinds – biographies, histories, talks, suttas and sutras from all traditions, commentaries and classic literature by Western Buddhists – in informed and professional productions. The recordings draw on all the main traditions – Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese – as well as the rapidly increasing Western Buddhist tradition and feature some of the leading teachers and writers.

The titles include popular introductions such as Buddhism Plain and Simple and What The Buddha Taught and classic talks such as The Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha to recordings from the Pali Canon, biographies such as Cave In The Snow and The Life of Milarepa. All titles can be downloaded from Audible.

New Dharma Audiobooks Programme

Now under the ownership of W.F. Howes, Dharma Audiobooks presents its first release: An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D. T. Suzuki.  This is one of the classic books on Buddhism which appeared in the first half of the 20th century, and played an important role in explaining the mysteries of Zen to a Western audience. In fact, it could be said that this book was itself a key step along the pathway to practice for interested, even aspiring Western Buddhists.

Yet, significantly, it also wears its age well. For although nearly a century has passed since it first appeared, it came from the pen of a scholar who nevertheless wrote from personal experience. Though Zen has now its settled place in Western Buddhist practice with Zen monasteries and centres spread widely in many countries, this book still has much to offer.

It is the first of a number of new Dharma releases being planned, covering the wide spectrum of the Buddhist traditions.

New Owners at Dharma Audiobooks

The world of audiobooks is changing as more and more people turn to listening to their books, for entertainment, for enrichment and for study. This is equally true of the specialist range offered by Dharma Audiobooks which, since it began in 2015, has seen titles, sales and regular listeners grow considerably.

It is to further this expansion that Dharma Audiobooks, and its sister label Ukemi Audiobooks have been acquired by RBmedia, the largest audiobook publisher in the world. Ukemi Audiobooks will continue as an imprint under the UK-based W. F. Howes, an RBmedia international publishing brand and Dharma Audiobooks will be a sub-imprint under Ukemi Audiobooks. The change took effect on 1 January 2023.

Nicolas Soames comments: ‘It was clear to me that both labels would really benefit from the greater resources that W. F. Howes and RBmedia can provide. I was encouraged and pleased to find that such a large organization was genuinely interested

in these specialist corners of the audiobook community and know that these two labels are in capable hands.”

Miles Stevens-Hoare, Managing Director for RBmedia International, said, “Ukemi Audiobooks and Dharma Audiobooks titles have generated worldwide interest since their inception in 2015. We look forward to developing this field of publishing as we work alongside Nicolas.”

Nicolas Soames is continuing to fulfil a consulting role with both labels.

Principal Texts of The Khuddaka Nikāya – Volume 3

The final volume in this overview of fifth section of the Nikāyas is now available, presenting, from the first time on audio, three texts from the Pali Canon: Milinda’s Questions, the Buddhavaṃsa and the Cariyāpitaka. They are all translated by I. B. Horner, one of the major 20th century figures of the Pali Text Society.

Particularly fascinating is Milinda’s Questions. It is a bit of an anomaly because whereas the Nikāyas generally purport to be Buddhavacana (the voice of the Buddha), this is clearly not because scholars date if from between 100 BCE and 200 CE. It presents an extraordinary conversation between King Milinda (a Greek Bactrian king of some historical provenance known as Menander) and Nāgasena, a monk. Milinda has been looking for a Buddhist monk who can answer his questions regarding the Buddha’s teachings…finds Nāgasena, and tests him to the full. It is read by Ratnadhya.

The other two texts are more traditional in manner: The Buddhavaṃsa (the Chronicle of Buddhas) sees the Buddha Gotama relate the circumstances and histories of the previous 24 Buddhas; The Cariyāpitaka (Basket of Conduct) is a collection of 35 stories tracing the steps of a Bodhisattva from the earliest moments to omniscience. They are read by Taradasa.

The first title under the new programme will be released in March.

Principal Texts of The Khuddaka Nikāya – A Dharma Books initiative

The Khuddaka Nikāya is different in character from the other four Nikāyas of the Sutta Pitaka in the Theravada Pāli Canon in that rather than being a single work it is, as its customary translation ‘Minor Anthologies’ suggests, a collection of independent works. A true anthology! It contains some of the most important and well-known works in the Pāli Canon, including the Dhammapada, the Udāna, the Sutta Nipāta and the Jātaka Tales; and, in some recensions, Milinda’s Questions. There are also other works less-known to many Buddhists and students of Buddhism, such as the Vimānavatthu, the Therīgāthā and the Theragāthā. These offer a wider perspective on the Dhamma as it has been lived through the centuries. Yet, perhaps because of its ‘anthology’ character and wide range, the Khuddaka Nikāya is less familiar in its entirety than the Dīgha Nikāyā, Majjhima Nikāya, the Saṁyutta Nikāya, and the Aṅguttara Nikāya which are more self-contained. Now, for the first time on audio, Dharma Audiobooks has brought together a compilation of the Principal Texts, spread over three volumes. Listening to all three will, it is hoped, give the interested listener a clear and satisfying overview of the Anthology.

Volume 1 contains the Khuddaka Patha, Itivuttaka, Vimānavatthu and Petavatthu which are all new recordings. And the Dhammapada, Udāna, Sutta Nipāta which were recorded by Dharma Audiobooks and released individually in 2015 and 2016.

Volume 2 contains A 10-hour selection from The Jātakas, in a new lively recording by Elizabeth English. And the Therigāthā and Theragāthā recorded by Dharma Audiobooks in 2015 and 2016.

Volume 3 contains Milinda’s Questions, the Buddhavaṃsa and the Cariyāpitaka, translated by I B Horner


Dharma Audiobooks continues with its intention to record the principal Buddhist texts from across the world with the release of Shōbōgenzō, the seminal Sōtō Zen Japanese collection of teachings by the founder of the tradition, Eihei Dōgen. Having spent a considerable time recently on the Pāli Canon, including the Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya) and the Connected Discourses Samyutta Nikāya), it should not be so surprising that, 1500 years and more onwards, the Shōbōgenzō feels remarkably different!

Though remaining central Dharma in so many ways, it displays the wonderful versatility of the Buddha’s teachings in the way it has adapted to later times and a very different cultural environment from ancient India!

The Shōbōgenzō, subtitled ‘The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching’, is a collection of 96 Discourses delivered by Dōgen (1200-1253) to his disciples over an extended period of 22 year. They were recorded by his amanuensis, the Second Japanese Sōtō Zen Ancestor, Kōun Ejō. The Discourses cover a wide range of topics including ethics and meditation practice.

Perhaps unexpectedly, considering the apparent formality of Japanese style, the Discourses carry a strong flavour of the conversational and the personal, as the teachings are presented with colourful Chinese and Zen phrases and stories, as well as with medieval Chinese and Japanese colloquialisms.

Brian Nishii

Brian Nishii

This recording of the Shōbōgenzō features the fine translation by the Rev. Nearman of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives of the Sōtō Zen tradition, who, based at Shasta Abbey in Northern California, was responsible for a number of key Japanese Zen texts. Rev. Nearman provides not only useful, concise introductions to each of the Discourses, but also copious footnotes clarifying the text, which have been incorporated into the main narrative. This classic Zen text receives an engaged reading from the Los Angeles-based reader Brian Nishii, whose presentation is deepened by his fluency in Japanese and Mandarin. An accompanying PDF is included with the download from Audible, providing a comprehensive glossary of Buddhist terms used in this Dharma Audiobooks recording.

Nicolas Soames co-founded and ran the award-winning spoken word label Naxos AudioBooks. Over a period of 20 years he built a list of 800 recordings of classics of world literature – from Homer and Dante to Austen, Dickens, James Joyce and Proust.

Dharma Audiobooks was started in 2015, recording Buddhist texts from all traditions and all ages, both ancient and modern. In 2016 he launched Ukemi Audiobooks with the purpose of recording neglected classics mainly from Western traditions – both fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Greek and Latin texts to philosophy (Nietzsche and Schopenhauer), psychology and psychoanalysis (Freud and Jung); and 20th century classics, including Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks and the early novels of Samuel Beckett.