The ascetic samaṇa Gotama lived in approximately the 5th century BCE. He is considered to be the Buddha of this present age. The earliest, most complete and accurate record of his life and teachings is preserved in the Pāḷi Nikāyas. This site is dedicated to everyone who draws inspiration from these discourses and who is motivated to practice the Buddhadhamma and live their lives in accord with these teachings.
The Pāḷi suttas are primarily prescriptive and descriptive. They designate a path to develop in order to realize the cessation of unsatisfactoriness. Approached from this soteriological perspective, the value of these teachings can be fully appreciated and engaged without lapsing into theoretical abstractions separated from lived experience.
Accordingly, the only view which concerns a practitioner of the Pāḷi dhamma is the view which is both “right” and “integral” to the development of the path: the understanding of unsatisfactoriness, the origin of unsatisfactoriness, the cessation of unsatisfactoriness, and the noble way of practice leading to the cessation of unsatisfactoriness. These four noble truths set the parameters for what is necessary and useful for awakening. The entire noble eightfold path has been fabricated to specifically orient and steer the practitioner towards a deeper and more integral understanding of this “right” view, eventually culminating in direct gnosis of the four noble truths. Anything else is quite irrelevant. Any other view has no soteriological value because it does not lead to the elimination of craving, and therefore does not result in liberation.
The topical outline of this website has been arranged according to the four groupings of teaching (cattāro dhammakkhandhā) mentioned in DN 33 Saṅgīti Sutta. These four are the aggregate of ethical conduct (sīlakkhandha), the aggregate of meditation (samādhikkhandha), the aggregate of discernment (paññākkhandha), and the aggregate of liberation (vimuttikkhandha). This is also the basic topical outline found in the Vimuttimagga and the Visuddhimagga. But whereas these two latter texts contain a great deal of novel commentarial interpretation which is not found in the ancient Pāḷi suttas, I have endeavored to rely exclusively on the suttas themselves to instruct and explain the various aspects of view and practice. Therefore, Measureless Mind is essentially a systematic compendium of important sutta instructions and explanations.
The interpretive methodology that I have used here on Measureless Mind involves relying on the most ancient primary Pāḷi sources. These consist of the four main Nikāyas of the Suttapiṭaka and the oldest parts of the Khuddakanikāya. These sutta collections display a remarkably high degree of internal consistency and integrated harmony. A thorough survey of these suttas is generally sufficient to further elucidate and clarify the meaning of any particular sutta passage.
When there have been instances where Pāḷi terms haven’t been clearly defined in the suttas I have also referred to the Pāḷi Vibhaṅga, the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, the Peṭakopadesa, and occasionally the Nettipakaraṇa and the Paṭisambhidāmagga. These works represent the oldest strata of Indian Pāḷi exegesis. They are widely considered to have been composed in India by Indian Buddhists during the first few centuries of the Buddha’s dispensation. The advantage of referring to these texts is that the authors of these works were much closer historically, geographically, linguistically, and culturally to the earliest Buddhist community than any later commentaries and treatises.
If the definitions and interpretations found therein are consistent with the main teachings in the suttas, I have used them as sources. On a few occasions I have also referred to the early Pāḷi Aṭṭhakathā commentaries, again weighing the consistency of what they have to add against the sutta collections as a whole, as well as the context of the specific sutta passage in question. Also, for the sake of thoroughness, I have, at times, surveyed the existing Sarvāstivāda sūtra and commentarial sources to see how they have handled various terms, pericopes, and so on.
This sensitivity to the historical development of ancient commentary is, I believe, a coherent and pragmatic method of interpretation.
The translations of Pāḷi sources offered on Measureless Mind are based on the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana CD (CSCD) published by the Vipassanā Research Institute, with reference also to the Sri Lanka Tripiṭaka Project Pāḷi Canon (Based on the Sinhalese Buddha Jayanti Tipiṭaka Series) and the Pali Text Society edition of the canon. Regarding previous English translations, I have generally referred to the excellent translation work of Ven. Ñāṇamoli and Ven. Bodhi.