The Pali Canon with Sarah Shaw
Play • 41 min

In this episode I speak with Sarah Shaw. Sarah received her PhD in English from Manchester University. After studying Pali and Sanskrit at Oxford, she began teaching and writing on Buddhist subjects. She has written several books on meditation theory and practice, and Jātaka literature. She is the author of several books including Introduction to Buddhist Meditation, The Jātakas: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta and her most recent book, The Spirit of Buddhist Meditation. She is a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, and Wolfson College. She is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. You can hear her two most recent audio courses The Early Teachings of the Buddha and Lives of the Buddha at

In this discussion Sarah gives us a brief introduction to the Pali Canon, the collected teachings of the Buddha:

  • Learning Sanskrit and Pali
  • Synthesis between scholarship and practice
  • Lay practice and tradition
  • Background to the composition of the Pali Canon
  • Oral and textual traditions
  • The three baskets
  • Historical authorship of the Pali Canon
  • Historical accuracy of The Buddha's life
  • Chanting the Pali Canon
  • The Vinaya
  • The Suttas
  • The Abhidhamma
  • How to read the texts
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