The discourses of the Buddha offer a vast range of practices, from ethical guidelines for wise daily life and relationships, instructions for meditation and inner cultivation, all the way to descriptions of the deepest truths of reality.
This page offers a selection of core Buddhist texts from primarily Early (Pāli Canon/Theravāda) Buddhist sources, focusing on the foundations of Buddhist practice and the integration of this ancient wisdom into our complex modern lives. Adapted from a syllabus I use in a 4-month sutta study class, it is in four sections:
1: Turning the wheel: Foundations of Buddhist doctrine
2: Living a good life: Instructions for lay people, and social action
3: Embodied inquiry: Meditation and investigation
4: Vast view: Love, emptiness, and liberation
Most of the texts will be found in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s beautiful anthology: In the Buddha’s Words. Handouts are given here, but the book is wonderful for deeper study. The links that follow here are for further study on your own if you choose, mostly from the website Sutta Central, which has Pāli and Sanskrit Early Buddhist texts in authoritative translations into many languages, and Access to Insight.
Because there are countless good Dharma books out there by contemporary teachers, for these study guides I’m emphasizing the Pāli texts themselves and fairly traditional (and free) commentary by Theravāda monastics. For an accessible contemporary introduction to Buddhist practice by an American lay teacher, I recommend my mentor Jack Kornfield’s book The Wise Heart.
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, you’ll find hundreds of talks on all these subjects on dharmaseed.org (talks by Insight Meditation teachers worldwide), and audiodharma.org (talks from Insight Mediation Center/Gil Fronsdal).