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The second book of the Digha Nikāya, the Collection of the Buddha's Long Discourses. Due to their length, they are not speeches as such, but rather extensive written texts aimed at an audience outside the Teaching, which indicates that they were created to support Buddhist missionaries. The Book of the Greats includes 10 suttas that include the four great discourses: the Mahapadana, the Mahanidana, the Mahaparinibbana and the Mahasatipatthana. The rest are false suttas, not even falsified. They tell uninteresting stories of unlikely characters who end up, in the end, being ancient rebirths of the Buddha, and thus justify their existence. They are stories to entertain, in contrast to the debate stories of the first book. They do not try to imitate the regular structure of the suttas or their wording and, what is worse, their content, which demonstrates a poor knowledge on the part of their authors of the rest of the Nikayas. They are marked with a double asterisk (**). Although misogyny is a fairly common motivation in false suttas, here we find a novel element: how one must renounce femininity in order to be reborn as a man: "I lost my grasp on femininity and developed masculinity."

But look how I have transformed!
I was a woman and lived a worldly life.
But now I am born again as a man
and I live in heavenly glory among the devas!

But the stain of falsehood also spreads through two of the great discourses: the Mahapadana, or The Great Chronicle of the Buddhas, which is a pamphlet of an exaggerated baroqueness excessive even for Eastern taste, and the extensive Mahaparinibbana that does not spare itself. of falsehoods distributed among its extensive writing. On the contrary, the Mahanidana or Great Discourse on Causes, is an exhaustive compilation of the theory of Dependent Origination in a single text, and the Mahasatipatthana, or Great Discourse on Practice Instructions, does the same with different practices. They are not all of them, but the ones he covers do so in depth. Just for these two suttas and part of the Mahaparinibbana is this book worth it.

The Book of the Greats - Digha Nikāya

  • Digha Nikāya

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