Can listening to Buddhist texts be a form of meditation? 

For hundreds of years, the early Buddhist teachings were passed down orally from generation to generation. The suttas were never written down—instead, they were disseminated by being spoken, chanted, and listened to. 

Buddhist scholar Sarah Shaw has spent years studying, hearing, and chanting the Dīghanikāya, or Long Discourses of the Buddha, a collection of 34 suttas that forms one of the four major collections of teachings from the early period of Buddhism. Taking both a literary and a personal approach, her work explores listening to Buddhist texts as a meditative practice.

On June 28 at 3 p.m. ET, Shaw sits down with Tricycle’s editor-in-chief James Shaheen for a virtual conversation on the art of listening to Buddhist texts. In this hour-long event, she will offer an introduction to the Dīghanikāya and demonstrate the unique spiritual and historic insights that emerge when we engage with Buddhist suttas as oral literature. 

This event is free for Tricycle Premium subscribers and $10 for general admission. Subscribe to Premium or upgrade your existing subscription for free access.

Sign up now.


Sarah Shaw

Sarah Shaw is the author of The Art of Listening: A Guide to the Early Teachings of the Buddha (Shambhala 2021), an exploration of the awakening and meditative effects of listening to Buddhist texts. She is a longstanding practitioner and teacher with the Samatha Trust, UK and the Samatha Foundation, USA. She has written many books on Buddhist meditation and Buddhist stories, including Mindfulness (Shambhala 2020). She is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and teaches Buddhism at Oxford University. She lives in Oxford, UK.

James Shaheen

James Shaheen, Tricycle’s Editor-in-Chief, began his Buddhist practice in the mid-1990s, studying with teachers from a number of Buddhist traditions. He is particularly interested in Buddhism’s growth in the West and its applicability to Western politics, culture, and everyday life. He has been with Tricycle for nearly 25 years.


  • Date: June 28, 2022
  • Time: 3:00PM EST
  • Format: Live virtual webinar on Zoom
  • Price: $10 General Admission | Free for Premium Subscribers