Friday, April 1, 2011

Sutta Pitaka - Basket of Discourses

Sutta Pitaka / Sutra Pitaka - Basket of Discourses

The Sutta Pitaka ( Pali ) / Sutra Pitaka ( Sanskrit ), the second division of the Tipitaka ( Pali ) / Tripitaka ( Sanskrit ), consists of more than
10,000 suttas (discourses) delivered by the Buddha and his close disciples
during and shortly after the Buddha's forty-five year teaching career, as well
as many additional verses by other members of the Sangha.
The suttas are grouped into five nikayas, or collections:

1. Digha Nikaya

The "Long" Discourses (Pali digha = "long") consists of 34 suttas, including
the longest ones in the Canon. The subject matter of these suttas ranges
widely, from colorful folkloric accounts of the beings inhabiting the deva
worlds (DN 20) to down-to-earth practical meditation instructions (DN 22), and
everything in between. Recent scholarship suggests that a distinguishing trait
of the Digha Nikaya may be that it was "intended for the purpose of
propaganda, to attract converts to the new religion." 1

2. Majjhima Nikaya

The "Middle-length" Discourses (Pali majjhima = "middle") consists of 152
suttas of varying length. These range from some of the most profound and
difficult suttas in the Canon (e.g., MN 1) to engaging stories full of human
pathos and drama that illustrate important principles of the law of kamma
(e.g., MN 57, MN 86).

3. Samyutta Nikaya

The "Grouped" Discourses (Pali samyutta = "group" or "collection") consists of
2,889 relatively short suttas grouped together by theme into 56 samyuttas.

4. Anguttara Nikaya

The "Further-factored" Discourses (Pali anga = "factor" + uttara = "beyond,"
"further") consists of several thousand short suttas, grouped together into
eleven nipatas according to the number of items of Dhamma covered in each
sutta. For example, the Eka-nipata ("Book of the Ones") contains suttas about
a single item of Dhamma; the Duka-nipata ("Book of the Twos") contains suttas
dealing with two items of Dhamma, and so on.

5. Khuddaka Nikaya

The "Division of Short Books" (Pali khudda = "smaller," "lesser"), consisting
of fifteen books (eighteen in the Burmese edition):
Khuddakapatha — a collection of ' Little Readings/ Shorter Texts ' for
Dhammapada — 423 verses on Dhamma/ the Way of Truth
Udana — 80 short Paeans of Joy
Itivuttaka — 112 short " Thus said" Discourses
Sutta Nipata — a collection of 71 verse on Collected Discourses
Vimanavatthu — stories on heavenly rebirths/ Celestial Mansions
Petavatthu — stories of Petas/ the departed on rebirths
Theragatha — verses about early monks attaining enlightment/ Psalms of
the Brethren
Therigatha — verses about early nuns attaining enlightment/ Psalms of
the Sisters
Jataka — a collection of 547 (550) stories of previous lives of the
Niddesa — an ' Exposition ' on part of Sutta-nipata
Patisambhidamagga — Book on Analytical Knowledge
Apadana — stories on past lives of early monks and nuns/ Lives of
Buddhavamsa — 'Chronicle' of 24 previous Buddhas
Cariyapitaka — building up the ' Perfections ' of a Bodhisatta in
previous lives
Nettippakarana (Burmese Tipitaka only)
Petakopadesa (Burmese Tipitaka only)
Milindapañha — Questions of Milinda (Burmese Tipitaka only)

See also: Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, Khuddaka Nikaya


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