About Pali Audio
The Pali audio site offers a selection of suttas from the Pali canon in English translation which have been professionally read and recorded.
The site follows the arrangement of the Sutta-piṭaka, which consists of four primary collections (nikāyas): the Dīgha-nikāya or “collection of long sayings” comprises thirty-four suttas; the Majjhima-nikāya or “collection of middle length sayings” comprises of 152 suttas; the Saṃyutta-nikāya or “collection of grouped sayings” is arranged in fifty-six groups of suttas according to topic, the Aṅguttara-nikāya or “collection of numbered sayings” is arranged in eleven sections according to the number of items that form the main subject-matter.
The suttas of the Pali canon were originally composed orally and then transmitted orally for several centuries. Listening to the suttas is thus a particularly appropriate way to gain familiarity with their teachings.
As Rupert Gethin observes in his introduction to Sayings of the Buddha the suttas are characterized by a certain repetitiveness: events that have just been narrated are immediately related in full to another person, stock formulas are used to describe events, people, ideas. This repetitiveness is in part a reflection of their oral composition and transmission: repetition is a useful mnemonic device. But repetition is also used by the suttas to affect both the reciter and the listener, and is integral to the suttas as literary works that are to be performed. The use of repetition gives the suttas a particular literary rhythm: there is no hurry to get information across; ideas and similes that are repeated have a meditative and poetic effect; they evoke images in our minds and stir our emotions as slowly we contemplate them again and again.
The site has been established by practitioners of the Buddha’s path. We are grateful for the support and guidance of Rupert Gethin of the University of Bristol, although all errors and omissions remain ours.