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Other Dharma Text Resources

Many rich helpful websites and other materials already exist for those interested in studying Dharma texts. We have compiled a list of the best ones we know, just in case you might have missed some of them. We focus on resources for studying Buddhist texts in particular, especially those in the Theravāda/Nikāya tradition. Many other places on the web have done an excellent job of listing general-interest Dharma sites; for example, the Insight Meditation Society offers many of these here.

Please note that while we have visited these sites to determine their relevance to our mission, they are vast and detailed, and point at the even more vast and detailed texts themselves, about which there are many views and unsettled disputes. We point to them as resources you may find useful, but we cannot vouch for the accuracy or authenticity of everything you might find there.


Pali Study Books

Buddhadatta, A. P. (1962) The New Pali Course, Colombo: The Colombo Apothecaries Co.
A good basic introduction to the language that starts at an easy level and progresses in gradual stages. Weaknesses include many typographical errors and material created from scratch rather than taken from the Suttas. Can be hard to locate in the U.S.
Collins, Steven (2005) A Pali Grammar for Students. Silkworm Books, Chiang Mae
Clear and authoritative, but assumes a good knowledge of grammar.
de Silva, L. (1994) Pali Primer. Vipassana Research Institute
A basic introduction to Pali language. Clear and well organized. Can be ordered from and is also available from several sites as a free pdf download (search “de Silva Pali”).
Gair, James W. & Karunatillake, W.S. (1998) A New Course in Reading Pali: Entering the Word of the Buddha. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
A good new textbook for self-study, has the virtue of using dhamma quotes from the Nikāyas for all its lessons. It is clear and well organized, but can still seem a little heavy. Better than Warder in this regard, but perhaps not as user-friendly as Buddhadatta or de Silva.
Johansson, R. E. A. (1981) Pali Buddhist Texts: Explained to the Beginner. Great Britain, Curzon Press.
This text has a very useful short introduction to the fundamentals of Pali grammar in an appendix. It selects a number of short passages of Pali, often of great intrinsic Dharma interest, and parses them word by word before offering a general translation.
Schmidt, Kurt (2009) Pali—Buddha’s Language: A complete teach yourself course for beginners in 10 simple lessons. Theravada Tipitaka Press.
Wallis, Glenn (2010) Buddhavacana: A Pali Reader, Pariyatti
A brief introduction to Pali grammar followed by translation exercises that are supported by specific vocabulary lists and notes
Warder, A. K. (1984) Introduction to Pali. London: The Pali Text Society
A comprehensive and definitive work on gradually learning the Pali language, this is great to use as a basic reference text. It pre-supposes a rather sophisticated understanding of English grammar, and many neophytes will find it daunting. Perhaps it is best used in conjunction with Buddhadatta and/or de Silva unless one is already proficient at language study in general. A strength is that all the passages are from the Digha Nikāya. Wisdom Publications is the U.S. agent for PTS publications.


Internet resources for study of Buddhist texts

Access to Insight
Bodhgaya News, Pali Canon Online Database
Buddhist Dictionary by Nyanatiloka
Buddhist Publication Society (Kandy, Sri Lanka)
Digital Sanskrit Buddhist Cannon
Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies
Pali Text Society
Pali Class MP3 Audio Online: From Bhikkhu Bodhi, well-known translator of the Pali Canon, audio files of lessons he gave in 2003, quite comprehensive. Reference materials on verb conjugations, noun declensions, etc., that can be used separately from the course.
Pali dictionaries: on Leigh Brasington’s site, Pali dictionaries in text/data format, for use with Leigh’s own database program. Download the program & dictionary data (instructions on the site). NB: For Windows computers only.
Pali Language, A Guide to Learning the…: Access to Insight’s recommendations & tools for those wishing to learn Pali: how to cope with diacritical marks, suggested textbooks, primers & references.
Pali Language, A Practical Grammar of the…, pdf file of book by Charles Duroiselle.
Pali language tools: word lists, fonts, (experimental) online translation tools, Tipitaka search engine
Pali, Resources for Learning…: Focuses on learning non-Roman alphabets (Brahmi, Thai, Burmese) to get even more directly in touch with the original language (versus Romanized versions).
Pali resource collection: “Learn Pali Today”
Pali Text Society’s Pali-English Dictionary: look up Pali words (no download required)
Pali Tipitaka, All parts of the...
Pali Tutor: From the Arrow River center in Canada, some flash-card like drills on nouns and verbs in Pali.
Pariyatti Publishing
Teachers read Suttas from the Pali Canon
Tool for comparing other Buddhist texts to Pali Nikāyas
Sri Lanka Tripitaka Project: Output from a new initiative to make the Pali Canon widely available in Pali. A work in progress, but an interesting source of soft-copy Pali for eager translators.
Suttas of the Pali Cannon, Resources for Learning…: on Leigh Brasington’s site, a collection of study guides & related resources. If you’re not sure which of the many Pali suttas to start with, try these.
Sutta translations: on Leigh Brasington’s site, a collection of sutta translations from Access to Insight in text/data format, for use with Leigh’s own program (see Pali dictionaries entry, about Leigh’s site). While the same texts are available on Access to Insight, Leigh’s database program provides tools for searching in the texts that are not available on the Access site itself.
The Factors of the Gradual Training As Found in Various Suttas: An extensive chart on Leigh Brasington’s site that shows the many suttas which describe the parts of the Gradual Training, that is, the order in which the teachings of the Buddha might best be undertaken. There is a list of the steps in the training (at the bottom of the page), and also a chart showing which steps appear most frequently in the suttas.
Sutta Pitaka; most from Access to Insight
Wisdom Publications (Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translations e.g.)
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