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Questions & Answers about Pariyatti


What does the name Pariyatti mean?



The word pariyatti is a Pāli word, it means the theoretical teachings of the Buddha. It is also the correlate of the word paṭipatti, which means the applied practice of the Buddha's teaching. Learn more about our name, and why we chose it in our history.


Why does Pariyatti need donations?



Pariyatti is a charitable, nonprofit, educational support system for the Dhamma community. Our services go beyond publishing, selling, and distributing books. Even if we just sold books, the economic and technological conditions of the world today would likely prevent continuation of Pariyatti's vision. Small independent book sellers rank high among businesses closing in recent times. In every community, local independent bookstores have found it difficult to survive price competition from the giant online stores.


One of Pariyatti's commitments to the Dhamma community is to ensure that the more than 1,000 pertinent titles in stock, including those we import, remain available. We can do this because general costs of overall operations are kept low and are supplemented with charitable donations.  Learn more about our finances.


Why don't book sales cover your costs?



Book sales revenues cover a part of a broader range of services Pariyatti offers. Because of the large number of specialized, hard-to-find, low-volume titles maintained by Pariyatti, and the general economics of the publishing industry today,we would need to at least double book prices to break even financially. This would defeat one of our purposes: to support the Dhamma community as broadly as possible. In addition, there are costs for providing the free services and publications. Learn more about our finances


What is Pariyatti’s relationship to the organization that offers courses in Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin?



Pariyatti is a valuable resource for those practicing Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka, but it is not officially affiliated with the Vipassana organization of that tradition; it is independent with a different mandate related to the broader aspects of the Buddha’s teachings within the Theravāda tradition. While Pariyatti’s primary endeavor is to serve these Vipassana meditators, it also seeks both to preserve and protect the traditional texts in the Theravāda tradition which are of value to meditators and scholars and to make available contemporary commentaries and discussions of those texts.


The Vipassana organization’s primary mandate is to preserve and distribute paṭipatti, i.e. the practical aspect of the Buddha’s teachings within the Sayagyi U Ba Khin tradition, and it is therefore bound by the strict concerns regarding maintaining the purity of the technique so as to preserve the technique in its original form for generations to come.


By contrast, Pariyatti, because of its broader mandate, endeavors to preserve and make accessible authentic Theravāda teachings to inspire, support and deepen understanding of Dhamma for Vipassana students, scholars, and seekers. Thus Pariyatti is not necessarily limited to texts that are directly related to Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka, but also distributes texts that are part of the broader Theravāda tradition. Indeed, there would be little reason for Pariyatti to exist if it focused its attention exclusively on texts directly related to Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka, since there are relatively few such texts available.


By exploring the wider world of the Theravāda texts, which include the Buddha’s discourses, commentaries, and scholarly articles and treatises, meditators have an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Dhamma and thereby enrich their daily practice. This kind of intellectual exploration also helps a meditator to gain an understanding of the evolution and historical context of our tradition. This understanding in turn deepens their practice and understanding of the Dhamma.


Why do you carry Mahayana titles in your catalog?



We are not aware of any such titles in our collection. Perhaps this question is due to judging the following book by its title: The Bodhisattva Ideal: Essays on the Emergence of Mahayana. This book addresses some very important topics as it puts the emergence of Mahayana in context with Theravāda.  

From the description:

This book brings together six essays on the origin and history of the bodhisattva ideal and the emergence of the Mahāyana. The essays approach the subject from different perspectives—from scholarly examinations of the terms in the Nikayas and Agamas to the relationship of the bodhisattva ideal and the arahant ideal within the broader context of the social environment in which Mahayana formed and further developments that lead to the formulation of the fully fledged bodhisattva path. As such, the collection provides a good overview for a wider Buddhist readership of the history of changes that eventually led to the emergence of the Mahayana.

  • “Arahants, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas”, by Bhikkhu Bodhi

  • “The Bodhisattva Ideal in Theravāda Theory and Practice”, by Jeffrey Samuels

  • “Bodhi and Arahattaphala From Early Buddhism to Early Mahāyāna”, by Karel Werner

  • “Vaidalya, Mahāyāna, and Bodhisatva in India: An Essay Towards Historical Understanding”, by Peter Skilling

  • “The Evolution of the Bodhisattva concept in Early Buddhist Canonical Literature”, by Bhikkhu Anālayo

  • “Orality, writing and authority in South Asian Buddhism: Visionary Literature and the Struggle for Legitimacy in the Mahāyāna”, by David McMahan