of a book this is, and thus more than a book.
Thus it is beyond any attempt at a "review," as such.
This along with the other "companion" volumes (The Long, The Middle-length, The Numerical)deserve to eventually find themselves on the bookshelves of most people who have more than a passing interest in Buddhism.
When someone has done this kind of work that spans over 2,000 pages, it would be ungracious to whine about the quality of the translation. I myself am simply awed by the quality that comes through in this edition.
What the Buddha said is one thing, what one (usually Ananda) has heard him say is another. And the wobbly wedding cake of an edifice that has come to be known as Buddhism is yet another.
This collection is as close to an English reading person is going to get to what THE MAN really said. And much of what he said is rational, straight-forward, and free of jargon. (What a surprise!)
But naturally, as the Suttas were recorded much later after B's death, the text bears all the traits of the mnemonic techniques that were necessary for committing them memory. In other words, there is a lot of repetition in a way that is not unlike the meters used in Homer's Illiad, for example.
While the format and size makes this appear as if one ought to be familiar with Buddhism first, I would argue the other way around. It's a mountain of a book: ain't no sense in trying to climb it in a day. Or even in a month.
Even a short hike here and there will always be rewarding for those who have a taste and sensibility for ancient poetry, and imagination that will transport them to a time and place when these teachings were given.
In a culture, at a time, when mythical thinking and conception of phenomena were as binding as gravity, Siddhartha's feat of rationality is nothing less than astounding.
This translation reads swift and is free of pointless archaisms. Yet it retains the aroma of the Monsoons and the sylvan majesty of the Groves.
Go to the mountain or let it come to you:
Stand up next to it and chop it down with the edge of your hand.
This book is a translation of one of the major collections of the Pali Canon, what is usually considered to be the oldest Buddhist literature. While this should probably not be the first thing you should read about Buddhism, if you begin to make a serious study, this collection will be invaluable.
This is the real thing, a voice from 2500 years ago. We are lucky to live in an age with a scholar like Bhikkhu Bodhi, who will go through the amazing effort that a translation like this entails.