What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

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uniformsquare
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What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by uniformsquare » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:58 pm

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?

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by clw_uk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:05 pm

The Majjhima Nikaya to start with IMO


As to the 2nd question im not really sure, someone else here might have more information


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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:08 pm

I recommend starting with the inexpensive and excellent collection:
In the Buddha's Words, By Bhikkhu Bodhi
First chapter can be dowloaded here:
http://wisdompubs.org/Pages/display.lasso?-KeyValue=104" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That gives an overview of all the Nikayas and an idea of the range and scope.

Then, as clw_uk says, the Majjhima Nikaya
http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display ... eyValue=54" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
with the help of talks from Bhikkhu Bodhi:
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about- ... ikaya.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and the Buddhist Society of Western Australia:
http://www.bswa.org/modules/mydownloads ... php?cid=28" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As far as the Khuddaka Nikaya is concerned there are some good (and awful, particulary for the Dhammapada) translations of the various parts. The advice here is quite good:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by DNS » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:42 pm

I'm partial to the Anguttara Nikaya, but they are all good. The Digha Nikaya, I think is a good place to start.

There is no right or wrong way to start, but my preference is for DN, MN, SN, AN, KN

The best translation in English for the KN is still http://www.palitext.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:11 pm

Greetings,

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.

Metta,
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by DNS » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote: Unlike TheDhamma, I think the Digha Nikaya is a terrible place to start! It's quite verbose, comparatively speaking.
True :jumping: but technically it is considered the 'first' collection of the Sutta Pitaka and it contains the Maha-parinibbana Sutta and the important teachings there and other important events from the life of Buddha. Perhaps it is the similarity to seeing the ending as in some movies and then you get the 'flashbacks' of the life after that. :thinking: :tongue:

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by Individual » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:01 am

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?
Although many would disagree with me, I think the Digha Nikaya is the best to start with. Because of its date, the earlier Nikayas -- the ones towards the end -- are more reliable, whereas the Digha Nikaya is basically a summary of these teachings, presented in a way meant to be persuasive and interesting. I think that's basically the reason why it was put in the beginning in the first place.

Furthermore, the suttas of the Digha Nikaya, as the name suggests, are very long, so it can actually be a bit more enjoyable to read. For a person first starting out in Buddhism, the Brahmajala Sutta is the most important sutta there is, followed by the Samaññaphala Sutta -- which happen to be at the beginning of the Digha Nikaya. These suttas are the most important because the Brahmajala Sutta comprehensively describes what Buddhism is not, while the Samaññaphala Sutta describes the basics of the Buddhist life and the benefits.

If you're going to start elsewhere, at least read these suttas first and a few other important ones too in the DN, like the Sigalovada sutta -- a basic guide to a layperson's discipline.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:19 am

Majjhima Nikaya and as for the second question I don't think there is a single volume of that grouping as it is quite expansive.
I did ask this question some time ago,
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by Rhino » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:11 am

I would recommend the Majjhima Nikaya, it includes all core teachings of the Buddha. The suttas in Digha Nikaya are very long and can be exhausting for beginners. Anguttara Nikaya contents also much suttas for layman and can be a good starting point too.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:44 am

One of my major reasons for recommending the Majjhima NIkaya is that there are a lot of study resources available for it. There are the talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi and the BSWA monks and nuns I linked to above, and quite a few talks by other teachers around the Internet...

There are also various study guides such as:
Pressing out Pure Honey, by Sharda Rogell
PDF here: http://www.dharma.org/bcbs/Pages/publications.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Study guide for the last 50 by Shaila Catherine
http://www.imsb.org/programs/MajjhimaNi ... labus.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It is also notable that the Wisdom/PTS translation and notes have been gone over in great detail, originally by Ven Nanamoli, then by Bhikhu Bodhi, and there are some significant revisions in the various editions.

I am currently (slowly) reading Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, which is also excellent, and benefits from the work that he did on the Majjhima Nikaya. But the sheer volume makes it much more difficult to come to grips with and I am not aware of a good general guide. However, I note that "In the Buddha's Words" does make a lot of use of the SN, and if you've read that collection then you'll find many familiar things in the SN...

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by adeh » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:38 pm

Of the books the Khuddaka Nikaya The Itivutakka and the Udana in particular are both wonderful books and there is a good translation of the two by John Ireland. The Sutta Nipata is also a great book, but I personally don't like either of the translations available in English. The Norman translation is accurate but very dry [IMO] and the Saddhatissa translation is just O.K.

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by PaulC » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:43 am

In purely literary terms, I'd go for the Khuddaka Nikaya.

Buddharakkita's bilingual Dhammapada is excellent for getting a sense of the poetry of the Pali (the eight-syllable lines, etc.). Though Ananda Maitreya's English is perhaps a tad more authoritative.

I kind of like H. Saddhatiss'a Sutta Nipata.

Then Thanissaro's superb translations of the Theragatha/Therigatha (and also his Itivuttaka) are at Access to Insight:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:33 am

PaulC wrote:In purely literary terms, I'd go for the Khuddaka Nikaya.
...
I kind of like H. Saddhatiss'a Sutta Nipata.
Bhikkhu Bodhi's talks about the Sutta Nipata are very interesting:
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/courses/Sn/Sn_course.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
He uses Ven Saddhatissa's text as a basis, but he often gives his own translation...

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by form » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:09 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

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.

Metta,
Retro. :)
My choice is same as yours. Till today I have not read DN much.

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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by JohnK » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:28 pm

This quote is from Bhikkhu Bodhi's Intro to In the Buddha's Words -- he characterizes the Nikayas -- could be helpful in deciding "where to start."
Clipped from full Intro here: http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/buddha%E ... troduction
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.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by ToVincent » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:05 pm

Go to here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/kmgzaqkth6vxf ... tTexts.zip
download (safe - only html and the basic short javascript is harmless) - and install (very good translation).

Then go here:
https://justpaste.it/11ovc
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.

Metta.
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
Just as a chunk of salt, cast in water, loses its form and keeps only its taste; so does one who deals with the deathless loses himself in that reality.
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Re: What Nikaya to start with when reading the Sutta Pitaka?

Post by form » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:49 am

ToVincent wrote:Go to here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/kmgzaqkth6vxf ... tTexts.zip
download (safe - only html and the basic short javascript is harmless) - and install (very good translation).

Then go here:
https://justpaste.it/11ovc
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.

Metta.
Can you point me to the supporting argument of SN is the earliest by the scholars?

So in the order of earlier SN, AN, MN, DN? What about KN? Dhammapada is older than SN? I also heard that Jataka is a collection of Buddhism incorporated into folk stories.

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