The creation of the Common Buddhist Text anthology was the result of a major international project that stretched over a number of years. It involved scholars and practitioners from the major stands of the Buddhist tradition coming together to select and translate a representative selection of extracts from Buddhism’s voluminous collections of sacred texts, and organise them thematically for publication in a single volume.
It had long been felt by many in the Buddhist world that there was a need for a comprehensive anthology of Buddhist scriptures that was not limited to one Buddhist school or tradition, and that could be used in hospitals, prisons and other institutions, as well as being a useful resource for university courses on Buddhism. The Common Buddhist Text includes scriptures from the Theravāda tradition (translated from Pāli), from the Mahāyāna tradition (translated from Sanskrit and Chinese), and from the Vajrayāna tradition (translated from Tibetan).
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to be involved with this project from 2014 as a translator, working on the texts taken from Mahāyāna sources. A little over half of these were translated from Sanskrit, with the remainder (where no Sanskrit text was available) being translated from Chinese. Most of the translations from Chinese were done in collaboration with Ven. Prof. Thich Tue Sy of Van Hanh University in Vietnam.
The Mahāyāna sections of the Common Buddhist Text include extracts from many of the most well-known and popular Mahāyāna sutras such as the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa, the Diamond Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, the Nirvāṇa Sūtra and more. They also include extracts from texts which are much less well-known, at least amongst Western Buddhists, such as the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections, the Sutra on Filial Piety, and the Sutra on Upāsaka Precepts.
A limited number of copies of the completed text were printed when the book was launched at the official UN Day of Vesak celebrations in Bangkok in May 2560 (2017), but it is not yet available for wider distribution or purchase. I will update this page with details of how to order a copy when it does become available. In the meantime, a PDF of the full text can be downloaded here:
COMMON BUDDHIST TEXT:
GUIDANCE AND INSIGHT
FROM THE BUDDHA
1. Introduction to the Sangha, or community of disciples
2. Introduction on the life of the historical Buddha
3. Introduction to the Sangha, or community of disciples
4. Introduction to the selections from Theravāda Buddhism
5. Introduction to the selections from Mahāyāna Buddhism
6. Introduction to the selections from Vajrayāna Buddhism