Seated Buddha with teaching mudra. Sarnath Museum. Gupta period. 5th CE


Ever since the recording of The Middle Length Discourses, in the translation by Bhikkhus Ñanamoli and Bodhi, was released in August 2019, Dharma Audiobooks has had numerous, regular requests for more of the complete Pāli translations of the Nikāyas.

Now, Taradasa’s recording of The Connected Discourses have been published on Audible – and quite a sizeable release it is, running to nearly 60 hours!!!

Bhikkhu Bodhi approached his task – started and finished by himself this time –initially in his normal meticulous, academic manner, balancing a very approachable translation of the text – and the Buddha was clearly concerned with communicating clearly without undue complexities and obfuscations!! – with an immense amount of introductory material.

In this, Bhikkhu Bodhi wanted to present the suttas in the best way possible for a 21st century audience, providing a context of physical, historical, philosophical and doctrinal matters to support the original Pāli text. His considerable erudition is a great service to the original texts.

However, his approach was book-based: it was designed to work as notes, footnotes, extended classification etc. This doesn’t really work in the linear format in which audiobooks live! So we at Dharma Audiobooks went to some considerable trouble to re-work the supplementary material, for example – placing the general introductions, the background and the specific introductions before each section rather than in introductory blocs.

Therefore, this recording does not follow the book version at all times. But the heart and purpose of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s concept has been maintained, we hope!

The Connected Discourses were clearly collected in the manner which has come down to us in order to preserve the Buddha’s teaching for an oral environment. There are many repetitions, many suttas with tiny variations as, so tradition and the Nikāyas suggest, the Buddha often repeated a teaching; and his followers felt it was important to record in their prodigious memories, every instance. Therefore the listening experience of the Samyutta Nikāya has to take this on board. To repeat, repetition is frequent!

Nevertheless, this recording offers a very strong connection with many key teachings, including ‘dependent origination’, ‘the five aggregates’, ‘the six sense bases’, ‘the seven factors of enlightenment’, ‘the Noble Eightfold Path’, ‘the Four Noble Truths’ and many more.

In addition to the recording, you will receive a sizeable downloadable pdf containing information which makes the navigation of the audio very user-friendly. It not only lists the five Parts, every vagga and the sutta, but also where to find the key teachings.

We hope this new recording will be of value to you in the further understanding and enjoyment of the Dhamma. Taradasa and I spent weeks in a small but private recording studio in the heart of Cambridge – at a time when Covid-19 was creating its own challenges for everyone. We would go in at 9am and, with a break for lunch and the occasional 10 minutes ‘time out’, record, discuss when necessary and make the occasional adjustments…and then emerge at 5pm. It was a challenging time, but we generally ended each day with a feeling of enrichment rather than fatigue. For us, it meant that we could appreciate, even more, the message of the Buddha, and his temperate but uncompromising expression of that message. And, of course, it brings us closer to the world when the Dhamma made its first extraordinary impact 2,500 years ago.

Nicolas Soames