5

Are there any sutras or parables where Buddha applies the middle way, not to the self or to abstract metaphysical principles, but to concrete conflicts in practical life?

9

There is a large body of texts of discourses of the Buddha touching on lay life issues. Below, I paste a (probably not exhaustive) list of suttas compiled by a user from dhammalwheel forum. There's also an upcoming book from Bhikkhu Bodhi presenting a collection of suttas of discourses of the Buddha dealing with lay life themes: The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon.


DN 31: Sigalovada Sutta — To Sigala/The Layperson's Code of Discipline
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn31

MN 14: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta — The Lesser Mass of Stress
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.014.than.html

MN 41: Saleyyaka Sutta — The Brahmans of Sala
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn41

MN 52: Atthakanagara Sutta — To the Man from Atthakanagara
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn52

MN 53: Sekha-patipada Sutta — The Practice for One in Training
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.053.than.html

MN 54: Potaliya Sutta — To Potaliya
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn54

MN 56. Upāli, the Householder
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn56

MN 57: Kukkuravatika Sutta — The Dog-duty Ascetic
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn57

MN 58: Abhaya Sutta — To Prince Abhaya (On Right Speech)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

MN 59: Bahuvedaniya Sutta — Many Things to be Experienced/The Many Kinds of Feeling
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.059.nypo.html

MN 60: Apannaka Sutta — A Safe Bet
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn60

MN 97: Dhanañjani Sutta — To Dhanañjani
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.097.than.html

MN 99: To the Brahmin Subha
http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima2/099-subha-e1.html

MN 143: Anathapindikovada Sutta — Instructions to Anathapindika
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.143.than.html

SN 3.19: Aputtaka Sutta — Heirless (1)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn03/sn03.019.than.html

SN 3.20: Aputtaka Sutta — Heirless (2)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn03/sn03.020.than.html

SN 22.1: Nakulapita Sutta — To Nakulapita
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.1

SN 22.3: Haliddakani Sutta — To Haliddakani
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.3

SN 22.80: Pindolya Sutta — Almsgoers
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.80

SN 41.3: Isidatta Sutta — About Isidatta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.003.than.html

SN 41.4: Mahaka Sutta — About Mahaka
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.004.than.html

SN 41.6: Kamabhu Sutta — With Kamabhu (On the Cessation of Perception & Feeling)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.006.than.html

SN 41.7: Godatta Sutta — To Godatta (On Awareness-release)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.007.than.html

SN 41.10: Gilana Sutta — Sick (Citta the Householder's Last Hours)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.010.than.html

SN 47.29: Sirivaddha
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn47.29

SN 47.30: Manadinna
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn47.30

SN 55.30: Licchavi Sutta — To the Licchavi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn55/sn55.030.than.html

  1. Discourse to a Householder
    https://suttacentral.net/en/sa107

AN 3.65: Kalama Sutta — To the Kalamas/The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry
https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.65

AN 3.66: Salha Sutta — To Salha
https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.66

AN 3.70: Muluposatha Sutta — The Roots of the Uposatha
https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.70

AN 3.92: Urgent
https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.92

AN 4.32: Sangaha Sutta — The Bonds of Fellowship
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.32

AN 4.55: Samajivina Sutta — Living in Tune
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.55

AN 4.60: The Layperson’s Proper Practice
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.60

AN 4.62: Anana Sutta — Debtless
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.62

AN 4.258: Kula Sutta — On Families
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.258

AN 5.38: Saddha Sutta — Conviction
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.38

AN 5.41: Adiya Sutta — Benefits to be Obtained (from Wealth)
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.41

AN 5.43: Wished for
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.43

AN 5.57: Upajjhatthana Sutta — Subjects for Contemplation
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.57

AN 5.175: Candala Sutta — The Outcaste
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.175

AN 5.176: Piti Sutta — Rapture
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.176

AN 5.177: Vanijja Sutta — Business (Wrong Livelihood)
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.177

AN 5.179: Gihi Sutta — The Householder
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.179

AN 5.180: Gavesin Sutta — About Gavesin
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.180

AN 6.16: Nakula’s Parents
https://suttacentral.net/en/an6.16

AN 8.25: Mahanama Sutta — Being a Lay Buddhist
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.25

AN 8.26: Jivaka Sutta — To Jivaka (On Being a Lay Follower)
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.26

AN 8.43: Visakhuposatha Sutta — The Discourse to Visakha on the Uposatha with the Eight Practices
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.43

AN 8.54: Vyagghapajja (Dighajanu) Sutta — Conditions of Welfare/ To Dighajanu
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.54

AN 10.92: Vera Sutta — Animosity
https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.92

AN 10.93: Ditthi Sutta — Views
https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.93

AN 10.94: Vajjiya Sutta — About Vajjiya
https://suttacentral.net/en/an10.94

AN 11.11: Mahanama Sutta — To Mahanama (1)
https://suttacentral.net/en/an11.11

AN 11.12: Mahanama Sutta — To Mahanama (2)
https://suttacentral.net/en/an11.12

Dhammapada — The Path of Dhamma
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/index.html

Ud 8.8: Visakha Sutta — To Visakha
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.08.than.html

Ud 2.5: Upasaka Sutta — The Lay Follower
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.2.05.than.html

Ud 2.6: Gabbhini Sutta — The Pregnant Woman
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.2.06.than.html

Ud 2.7: Ekaputta Sutta — The Only Son
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.2.07.than.html

Ud 2.9: Visakha Sutta — To Visakha
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.2.09.than.html

Ud 5.6: Sona Sutta — About Sona
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.5.06.than.html

Sn 1.2: Dhaniya Sutta — Dhaniya the Cattleman
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.02.than.html

Sn 2.1: Ratana Sutta — Treasures
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.01.piya.html

Sn 2.4: Maha-mangala Sutta — Protection
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.04.nara.html

Sn 2.14: Dhammika Sutta — Dhammika
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.14.irel.html

  • Wow. Maybe somewhat fewer references would be more in keeping with the spirit of the question? :) – user2341 Dec 1 '16 at 19:50
5

This web book called Constitution for Living summarises the Buddha's teachings for laypeople.

My selection for the list in the other post is:

AN 3.65: Kalama Sutta — To the Kalamas/The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry
https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.65

Sn 2.4: Maha-mangala Sutta — Protection
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.04.piya.html

SN 55.7 Veludvareyya Sutta - Discourse to the People of Bamboo Gate

AN 4.55: Samajivina Sutta — Living in Tune
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.55

AN 4.62: Anana Sutta — Debtless
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.62

AN 5.177: Vanijja Sutta — Business (Wrong Livelihood)
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.177

AN 4.258: Kula Sutta — On Families
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.258

DN 31: Sigalovada Sutta — To Sigala/The Layperson's Code of Discipline
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html

AN 5.57: Upajjhatthana Sutta — Subjects for Contemplation
https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.57

AN 8.25: Mahanama Sutta — Being a Lay Buddhist
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.25

  • Thank you for taking a more moderate approach to answering! – user2341 Dec 1 '16 at 19:52
0

The Middle Way is applied in the Buddha's early life story (told especially in Majjhima Nikaya 26 & 36) in a way that is directly demonstrated rather than abstracted from its context as doctrine. The Buddha leaves the Palace because the environment there is one that assumes the ultimate value of its relative social and political values (also associated with hedonism), and the 'Three Considerations' of Old Age, Sickness and Death make him aware of the inadequacy of those values. He then seeks out two teachers in the forest - Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta - both of whom claim to have final answers in the meditative states they have reached - but he is not satisfied by either of these, nor by the asceticism he then engages in. He discovers the Middle Way as a result of recalling the earlier more embodied awareness of a jhana experience under a rose-apple tree in his childhood, showing that the Middle Way is rooted in acceptance of the body. The Palace and the Forest each represent absolute but opposing beliefs, each of which the Buddha learns the limitations of. He learns from both contexts, but also maintains a critical sense of their limitations. The key features of this story are also central to the practice of the Middle Way: expecting to find meaningful information from every new view but also maintaining a critical perspective on it, trying to limit our dualistic oscillations, and gradually developing a more adequate, mature, and integrated response to experience.

0

The eightfold path. It is the path that describes the middle way ie not taking extremes. Taking baby steps to enlightenment.

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