Nanavira Thera was born in England, and lived a monk’s life in Ceylon toward the end of his life. In the mid-1900s, he wrote about his increasing understanding of what the Buddha taught. His Notes on Dhamma is quite dense going — you’ll need to be familiar with Pali or willing to look up the words (see “Tools for Translations” below) but it is really worth the effort for deeper insight.
Find many of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s books in PDF format at his page at archive.org.
There are PDF copies available now of many volumes of the Journal of the Pali Text Society. I particularly recommend the volume for the year 2000 which has many very useful pieces in it that come up often in discussion, including Joanna Jurewicz’s “Playing With Fire”. If you are wondering what is in each volume, or looking for past scholarship devoted to particular topics to do with the Pali language, you’ll find the table of contents for all volumes here.
accesstoinsight.org has excellent translations of many suttas. The link here is to the front door for the Tipitaka “the three baskets” of the Pali canon.
The Sutta Central site is doing a wonderful job of putting together all the Theravadan suttas along with translations in various languages, and even including correlating them to their equivalents in the Chinese Agamas, Sanksrit versions, Tibetan, Prakrit, Gandhari, and others. Altogether an amazingly useful project that is continuing to grow.
Tools for Translations
BPS tools: Pali Lookup is wonderful for its ability to inflect words from their root word, so that you can see it in its many forms; also has the ability to save a vocabulary list for you, and export it, plus provides a count of occurrences in the canon. The Pali-English/English-Pali program is another helpful dictionary especially useful in letting you put an English word in and find its varieties in Pali. The page for Pali Lookup says that the installation process will install the necessary font, but in my recent experience that hasn’t happened. The font needed is Times_CSX+ which is a Unicode font for Classical Sanskrit Extended (that’s what the CSX stands for). Since the font is getting harder and harder to locate reliably through links, I’ve put a copy right here: tim-csxp — just pay attention to where you unzip it to (you can delete the files after you install them, which you do by:) On my Windows 10 system all I needed to do to get it to work was attempt to drag all the files that begin with “tcp” into the Windows/Fonts file. What Windows didn’t want I let it ignore, what it was willing to take, I let it take, and then reloading Pali Lookup worked fine.
digital pali reader (DPR) is a free download and brings a phenomenal interface for digging around in the original language. It’s not going to offer instantaneous and beautiful translations but is the easiest and best resource I’ve found to pick up a sense of what’s in a sutta in just one stop. You can usually find the most recent version, and notes on what’s going on in its development here. You may need the Velthius Devanagari font to make the texts in here readable. If you do you can use the Gentium Unicode font and there are some helpful instructions about getting them enabled here.
tipitaka search allows you to use plain English characters (no diacritical marks) in searches for particular words, then offers you a string with the word in it for each occurrence it finds.
UChicago’s PTS Dictionary is good but less user friendly due to the need to deal with diacritical marks.
Of Interest to Agnostic Buddhists
Skeptical Buddhist Group on Facebook offers discussion, links, and whatever I’m finding interesting in the world of Buddhism at the mment..
Dhammawheel is a primarily Theravadan-oriented bulletin board system but it is one of the largest communities of Buddhists on the internet, and the participants are generally tolerant and friendly towards those who are reasonable themselves.
The Secular Buddhist Association has a new discussion forum as well as a blog, plus a lot of other good information like pointers to Ted Meissner’s podcasts, and helpful hints on starting up a Secular Buddhist group in your neighborhood, plus much more. The podcast also has a fan page on Facebook that has an active following and interesting links provided just about daily.
You may be able to locate some other sites on Secular Buddhism across the world by looking here.
Another website (Canadian) focusing on Secular Buddhism has lots of informative links and insightful information on incorporating this practice into secular life. It’s opening statement that “Secular Buddhism is a non-religious form of Buddhism unique to the West. Tradition, robes and ritual are absent as are non-English terms…” pretty much lets me out, though, since although I eschew robes and most ritual, I do light incense when I sit (ritual!) and, while admittedly broadening the definition of “religion” to beyond the west’s God-centered, faith-requiring limitations on its use, find that I do put this practice in the place where religion sits in other people — and you *know* I use Pali terms.