Nandaka’s Advice to 500 Nuns

Nandaka's Advice

I have just published a text and translation of a discourse from Majjhimanikāya (MN 146), together with two complete commentaries related to the discourse. Those who just want to read the works can go to the text and translation or the English only version (together with a reading of the text).

Although I have been translating sections of the commentaries in nearly all my works, this is the first time I have translated the commentary in full, and in this case two commentaries: the first for the discourse itself, comes from the Majjhima Commentary; the second is from the Anguttara Commentary where Nandaka’s story is told in conjunction with his being given the title of Foremost Disciple in Teaching the Nuns on account of this discourse.

There were a couple of interesting finds while making this translation: the first is that the story in the Anguttara Commentary doesn’t agree with the discourse itself, or the direct commentary on the discourse. This is very unexpected as normally these matters appear to have been harmonised in the commentaries, and MA was certainly aware of AA as it quotes from it.

The second was the interesting confirmation that when it says bhikkhu in the discourses it must be taken to refer, not just to the monks, but to the monks and nuns together, unless we know that the nuns are absent for some reason (having been dismissed, etc.). Please read the Introduction for details on this.

This is quite important because it is often argued that the nuns do not appear to be present in the discourses, except in the ones that specifically refer to them, and that they had an insignificant part to play in the early Sāsana. Once this finding is taken into consideration, then it is clear that they cannot be presumed to be absent any longer, and a more appropriate translation for bhikkhu than monk, would be monastic.

I have also recorded the English translations of the discourse and the Anguttara Commentary, which are available from the English Only page, or can be downloaded from the Audio page; and the files are available in html, pdf, epub, mobi and flipbook.


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