Moderator: Mahavihara moderator
retrofuturist wrote:Unlike TheDhamma, I think the Digha Nikaya is a terrible place to start! It's quite verbose, comparatively speaking.
uniformsquare wrote:When reading all of the Sutta Pitaka which Nikaya should you start with?
Slightly unrelated to the first question, what is the most accurately translated print version of the Khuddaka Nikaya and where might I obtain it?
PaulC wrote:In purely literary terms, I'd go for the Khuddaka Nikaya.
I kind of like H. Saddhatiss'a Sutta Nipata.
My preference is SN, AN, MN, DN/KN
The reason is that generally speaking the suttas in the SN are the oldest, followed by AN, then MN. That's a very rough guide because obviously suttas were compiled at different times throughout all the nikayas but I think this is a good way to start if you plan to read them all.
However, it must be acknowledged that reading them all does take a while, so either reading suttas online or a compilation such as Bhikkhu Bodhi's "In The Buddha's Words" might well be a better introduction.
Unlike TheDhamma, I think the Digha Nikaya is a terrible place to start! It's quite verbose, comparatively speaking.
The Sutta Piṭaka, which contains the records of the Buddha’s discourses and discussions, consists of five collections called Nikāyas. In the age of the commentators they were also known as ﬁgamas, like their counterparts in northern Buddhism. The four major Nikāyas are:
1.The Dīgha Nikāya: the Collection of Long Discourses, thirty-four suttas arranged into three vaggas, or books.
2.The Majjhima Nikāya: the Collection of Middle Length Discourses, 152 suttas arranged into three vaggas.
3.The Saṃyutta Nikāya: the Collection of Connected Discourses, close to three thousand short suttas grouped into fifty-six chapters, called saṃyuttas, which are in turn collected into five vaggas.
4.The Aṅguttara Nikāya: the Collection of Numerical Discourses (or, perhaps, “Incremental Discourses”), approximately 2,400 short suttas arranged into eleven chapters, called nipātas.
The Dīgha Nikāya and Majjhima Nikāya, at first glance, seem to be established principally on the basis of length: the longer discourses go into the Dīgha, the middle-length discourses into the Majjhima. Careful tabulations of their contents, however, suggest that another factor might underlie the distinction between these two collections. The suttas of the Dīgha Nikāya are largely aimed at a popular audience and seem intended to attract potential converts to the teaching by demonstrating the superiority of the Buddha and his doctrine. The suttas of the Majjhima Nikāya are largely directed inward toward the Buddhist community and seem designed to acquaint newly ordained monks with the doctrines and practices of Buddhism.9 It remains an open question whether these pragmatic purposes are the determining criteria behind these two Nikāyas or whether the primary criterion is length, with these pragmatic purposes following as incidental consequences of their respective differences in length.
The Saṃyutta Nikāya is organized by way of subject matter. Each subject is the “yoke” (saṃyoga) that connects the discourses into a saṃyutta or chapter. Hence the title of the collection, the “connected (saṃyutta) discourses.” The first book, the Book with Verses, is unique in being compiled on the basis of literary genre. It contains suttas in mixed prose and verse, arranged in eleven chapters by way of subject. The other four books each contain long chapters dealing with the principal doctrines of Early Buddhism. Books II, III, and IV each open with a long chapter devoted to a theme of major importance, respectively, dependent origination (chapter 12: Nidānasaṃyutta); the five aggregates (chapter 22: Khandhasaṃyutta); and the six internal and external sense bases (chapter 35: Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta). Part V deals with the principal groups of training factors that, in the post-canonical period, come to be called the thirty-seven aids to enlightenment (bodhipakkhiyā dhammā). These include the Noble Eightfold Path (chapter 45: Maggasaṃyutta), the seven factors of enlightenment (chapter 46: Bojjhaṅgasaṃyutta), and the four establishments of mindfulness (chapter 47: Satipaṭṭhānasaṃyutta). From its contents, we might infer that the Saṃyutta Nikāya was intended to serve the needs of two groups within the monastic order. One consisted of the doctrinal specialists, those monks and nuns who sought to explore the deep implications of the Dhamma and to elucidate them for their companions in the religious life. The other consisted of those devoted to the meditative development of insight.
The Aṅguttara Nikāya is arranged according to a numerical scheme derived from a peculiar feature of the Buddha’s pedagogic method. To facilitate easy comprehension and memorization, the Buddha often formulated his discourses by way of numerical sets, a format that helped to ensure that the ideas he conveyed would be easily retained in mind. The Aṅguttara Nikāya assembles these numerical discourses into a single massive work of eleven nipātas or chapters, each representing the number of terms upon which the constituent suttas have been framed. Thus there is the Chapter of the Ones (ekakanipāta), the Chapter of the Twos (dukanipāta), the Chapter of the Threes (tikanipāta), and so forth, up to and ending with the Chapter of the Elevens (ekādasanipāta). Since the various groups of path factors have been included in the Saṃyutta, the Aṅguttara can focus on those aspects of the training that have not been incorporated in the repetitive sets. The Aṅguttara includes a notable proportion of suttas addressed to lay followers dealing with the ethical and spiritual concerns of life within the world, including family relationships (husbands and wives, children and parents) and the proper ways to acquire, save, and utilize wealth. Other suttas deal with the practical training of monks. The numerical arrangement of this collection makes it particularly convenient for formal instruction, and thus it could easily be drawn upon by elder monks when teaching their pupils and by preachers when giving sermons to the laity.
Besides the four major Nikāyas, the Pāli Sutta Piṭaka includes a fifth Nikāya, called the Khuddaka Nikāya. This name means the Minor Collection. Perhaps it originally consisted merely of a number of minor works that could not be included in the four major Nikāyas. But as more and more works were composed over the centuries and added to it, its dimensions swelled until it became the most voluminous of the five Nikāyas. At the heart of the Khuddaka, however, is a small constellation of short works composed either entirely in verse (namely, the Dhammapada, the Theragāthā, and the Therīgāthā) or in mixed prose and verse (the Suttanipāta, the Udāna, and the Itivuttaka) whose style and contents suggest that they are of great antiquity. Other texts of the Khuddaka Nikāya—such as the Paṭisambhidāmagga and the two Niddesas—represent the standpoint of the Theravāda school and thus must have been composed during the period of Sectarian Buddhism, when the early schools had taken their separate paths of doctrinal development.
The four Nikāyas of the Pāli Canon have counterparts in the ﬁgamas of the Chinese Tripiṭaka, though these are from different early schools. Corresponding to each respectively there is a Dirghāgama, probably stemming from the Dharmaguptaka school, originally translated from a Prakrit; a Madhyamāgama and Samyuktāgama, both stemming from the Sarvāstivāda school and translated from Sanskrit; and an Ekottarāgama, corresponding to the Aṅguttara Nikāya, generally thought to have belonged to a branch of the Mahāsāṅghika school and to have been translated from a dialect of Middle Indo-Aryan or a mixed dialect of Prakrit with Sanskrit elements. The Chinese Tripiṭaka also contains translations of individual sūtras from the four collections, perhaps from still other unidentified schools, and translations of individual books from the Minor Collection, including two translations of a Dhammapada (one said to be very close to the Pāli version) and parts of the Suttanipāta, which, as a unified work, does not exist in Chinese translation.
ToVincent wrote:Go to here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/kmgzaqkth6vxf ... tTexts.zip
Then go here:
And read these suttas starting with SN 12, SN 22, SN 35 and SN 45
These are the core doctrine of Buddhism.
Why this selection?
Because they have parallels in the Agamas; the Samyukta Agamas. Which mean that they are not sectarians. IOW, they are common to different schools.
And Samyutta (Pali Nikayas)/Samyukta (Chinese Agamas) are more oriented towards the doctrine. Moreover, they are considered by serious scholars has being earlier than the rest of the Suttas (DN,MN, AN).
Also Thig & Thag are nice to see how monks and nuns were applying the Teaching. Lots to learn about practical stuff here.
Therigatha - Verses of the Elder Nuns
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html
Theragatha - Verses of the Elder Monks
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html
Also, I believe you should start with the Parayanavagga — The Chapter on the Way to the Far Shore.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#vagga-5
This is definitely a short invaluable read.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 17 guests