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Context of the Anguttara Nikaya
The Anguttara Nikaya
The "Further-factored" Discourses
The Anguttara Nikaya, the fourth division of the Sutta Pitaka, consists of suttas arranged in eleven sections (nipatas) according to numerical content. For example, the first nipata -- the "Book of the Ones" -- contains suttas concerning a single topic; the second nipata -- the "Book of the Twos" -- contains suttas concerning pairs of things (e.g., a sutta about tranquillity and insight; another about the two people one can never adequately repay (one's parents); another about two kinds of happiness; etc.); the third nipata contains suttas concerning three things (e.g., a sutta on the three kinds of praiseworthy acts; another about three kinds of offense), and so on.
At first this may seem to be a rather pedantic and fussy classification scheme, but in fact it often proves quite useful. For example, if you dimly recall having once heard someone say something about the five subjects worthy of daily contemplation, and you'd like to track down the original passage in the Canon, you might begin your search in the "Book of the Fives" in the Anguttara. (The Index by Number can be helpful, too, in tracking down passages from the Anguttara Nikaya.)
Selected suttas from the Anguttara Nikaya
Search for a sutta by name.
Read about the various sutta numbering schemes.
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, these suttas were translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. An anthology of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's sutta translations is also available in Microsoft Word 6 (Macintosh/Windows) format. See the Theravada Text Archives page for more information.
I. Book of the Ones
II. Book of the Twos
III. Book of the Threes
IV. Book of the Fours
V. Book of the Fives
VI. Book of the Sixes
VII. Book of the Sevens
VIII. Book of the Eights
IX. Book of the Nines
X. Book of the Tens
XI. Book of the Elevens
I - Book of the Ones
II - Book of the Twos
III - Book of the Threes
- Lakkhana Sutta (AN III.2) -- Characterized (by Action). How to recognize a wise person and a fool.
- Rathakara (Pacetana) Sutta (AN III.15) -- The Chariot Maker. The Buddha recalls a previous lifetime during which he was a chariot-maker "skilled in dealing with the crookedness of wood." Now, as the Buddha, he is skilled in dealing with the crookedness of thought, word, and deed.
- Gilana Sutta (AN III.22) -- Sick People. The Buddha compares Dhamma teaching to medical treatment.
- Hatthaka Sutta (AN III.35) -- To Hatthaka (on Sleeping Well in the Cold Forest). Is a comfortable home the best guarantee for a good night's sleep?
- Sukhamala Sutta (AN III.39) -- Refinement. The Buddha describes the insights that led him as a young man to go forth, and how those insights apply to the conduct of our own lives.
- Adhipateyya Sutta (AN III.40) -- Governing Principles. The Buddha describes three governing principles that keep one's Dhamma practice on-track. Beware: there's no place to hide from your unskillful actions!
- Dvejana Sutta (AN III.51) -- Two People (1).
Dvejana Sutta (AN III.52) -- Two People (2). The Buddha offers advice to two aging brahmins who are facing the end of life.
- Vaccha Sutta (AN III.58) -- To Vaccha (on Generosity). Every act of generosity is meritorious, but some are more so than others.
- Tittha Sutta (AN III.61) -- Sectarians. The Buddha explains how three common views about pain and pleasure can, if followed to their logical conclusion, lead to a life of inaction. He then shows how pain and pleasure actually do come about and how they can be transcended.
- Kalama Sutta (AN III.65) -- To the Kalamas [two translations: Thanissaro Bhikkhu, tr. | Soma Thera, tr.]. The Buddha explains to a group of skeptics the proper criteria for accepting a spiritual teaching.
- Salha Sutta (AN III.66) -- To Salha [Ñanamoli Thera, tr.]. Ven. Nandaka, an arahant, engages the layman Salha in a dialogue that begins with elementary principles and leads all the way up to a discussion of the nature of arahantship.
- Muluposatha Sutta (AN III.70) -- The Roots of the Uposatha. The Buddha describes to Visakha, the laywoman, right and wrong ways of observing the Uposatha days. Those who observe the Uposatha correctly are destined to reap heavenly rewards.
- Channa Sutta (AN III.72) -- To Channa the Wanderer. Ven. Ananda instructs Channa on how to abandon the mental defilements of passion, aversion, and delusion.
- Ajivaka Sutta (AN III.73) -- To the Fatalists' Student. Ven. Ananda gives a skillful answer to the questions, "Whose teaching is right? Whose practice is right?"
- Sakka Sutta (AN III.74) -- To the Sakyan. Mahanama the Sakyan asks the Buddha, "Which comes first: concentration or wdisom?" Ven. Ananda answers on behalf of the Buddha, who is recovering from an illness.
- Sikkha Sutta (AN III.90) -- Trainings (1).
Sikkha Sutta (AN III.91) -- Trainings (2). The Buddha summarizes the three aspects of Dhamma practice that are to be developed.
- Accayika Sutta (AN III.93) -- Urgent. Just as a farmer can't predict when the fruit will ripen, so we can't predict when Awakening will arise. So just keep your practice strong; the rest will take care of itself.
- Lonaphala Sutta (AN III.101) -- The Salt Crystal. Using several memorable similes, the Buddha explains why the consequences of unskillful deeds may appear to be severe for one person and mild for another. Moral: strengthen your virtue!
- Pansadhovaka Sutta (AN III.102) -- The Dirt-washer.
Nimitta Sutta (AN III.103) -- Themes. In these two suttas the Buddha calls on us to train the mind with skill, purifying it as a goldsmith purifies gold ore.
- Kuta Sutta (AN III.110) -- The Peak of the Roof. When the mind is protected, all one's actions -- and their results -- are protected as well. When it's not, they get soggy & rot.
- Moneyya Sutta (AN III.123) -- Sagacity. The Buddha describes the three forms of wisdom: bodily, verbal, and mental. (This is one of the suttas selected by King Asoka (r. 270-232 BC) to be studied and reflected upon frequently by all Buddhists, whether ordained or not.)
- Gotamaka-cetiya Sutta (AN III.126) -- At Gotamaka Shrine. What more do you want from the Buddha's teachings?
- Katuviya Sutta (AN III.129) -- Putrid. The Buddha chastises a heedless monk: "Monk, monk, don't let yourself putrefy! On one who lets himself putrefy & stink with the stench of carrion, there's no way that flies won't swarm & attack!"
- Lekha Sutta (AN III.133) -- Inscriptions. How tightly do you hold on to anger? Do you let it get carved deeply into your psyche, like an inscription in solid rock?
- Dhamma-niyama Sutta (AN III.137) -- The Orderliness of the Dhamma. The Buddha explains that, whether or not there is a Buddha in the world, the three characteristics of existence -- impermanence, stress, and not-self -- always remain.
IV - Book of the Fours
- Anubuddha Sutta (AN IV.1) -- Understanding. Why do we continue to wander aimlessly in samsara? It's because we haven't yet realized four noble qualities of the heart.
- Anusota Sutta (AN IV.5) -- With the Flow. A reminder that the popular advice to "just go with the flow" finds no support in the Buddha's teachings.
- Yoga Sutta (AN IV.10) -- Yokes. In many discourses, the Buddha speaks of "the unexcelled rest from the yoke." In this discourse he describes what yokes he is referring to, and how that rest comes about. [TB]
- Agati Sutta (AN IV.19) -- Off Course. The Buddha explains the difference between staying "on course" and straying "off course" in one's Dhamma practice.
- Ariya-vamsa Sutta (AN IV.28) -- The Discourse on the Traditions of the Noble Ones. The Buddha describes four good qualities in a monk: contentment with regard to robes, almsfood, and lodging, and finding pleasure in cultivating wholesome mental states. (This is one of the suttas selected by King Asoka (r. 270-232 BC) to be studied and reflected upon frequently by all Buddhists, whether ordained or not.)
- Sangaha Sutta (AN IV.32) -- The Bonds of Fellowship. The qualities that help hold a family -- or any community -- together.
- Aparihani Sutta (AN IV.37) -- No Falling Away. If one is sincere in one's aspirations to realize Awakening, these four aspects of Dhamma practice should be constantly developed.
- Samadhi Sutta (AN IV.41) -- Concentration. The Buddha explains how concentration, when fully developed, can bring about any one of four different desirable results.
- Pañha Sutta (AN IV.42) -- Questions. Here, the Buddha's teachings on skillfulness and speech extend to mastering the art of answering questions.
- Rohitassa Sutta (AN IV.45) -- To Rohitassa. The Buddha explains to a well-traveled deva that we don't have to travel to the ends of the world to find an end to suffering. We need look no further than within this very body.
- Vipallasa Sutta (AN IV.49) -- Perversions. Four kinds of misperceptions that keep us bound to the cycle of rebirths.
- Samjivina Sutta (AN IV.55) -- Living in Tune. Would you like to live with your spouse in future lives, too? Here's how.
- Anana Sutta (AN IV.62) -- Debtless. The Buddha tells the wealthy lay-follower Anathapindika about the four kinds of bliss that a householder may enjoy. Some require wealth, but the greatest bliss is free of charge.
- Ahina Sutta (AN IV.67) -- By a Snake. How the practice of metta (loving-kindness) can serve as a protection against harm.
- Sappurisa Sutta (AN IV.73) -- A Person of Integrity. Are you a person of integrity? The ways in which you speak about yourself and about others reveal much about your personal integrity.
- Acintita Sutta (AN IV.77) -- Unconjecturable. The Buddha warns that if you spend too much time pondering these four things you will surely drive yourself crazy.
- Vanijja Sutta (AN IV.79) -- Trade. One reason why some people succeed and others fail in their trades.
- Tamonata Sutta (AN IV.85) -- Darkness. The Buddha explains how a person's goodness is measured not by his or her wealth, beauty, status, etc., but by the goodness of his or her actions.
- Samadhi Sutta (AN IV.94) -- Concentration (Tranquillity and Insight). The Buddha explains how correct meditation practice consists of the development of both insight (vipassana) and tranquillity (samatha).
- Chavalata Sutta (AN IV.95) -- The Firebrand. Which is better: to practice Dhamma for one's own benefit or for another's? The answer may surprise you.
- Raga-vinaya Sutta (AN IV.96) -- The Subduing of Passion. What does it mean, exactly, to practice Dhamma for one's own -- or for another's -- benefit?
- Valahaka Sutta (AN IV.102) -- Thunderheads. People who only sit around reading suttas all day without actually putting the teachings into practice are like thunderheads that are barren of rain. Go meditate!
- Kesi Sutta (AN IV.111) -- To Kesi the Horsetrainer. The Buddha explains to Kesi, a horsetrainer, how he teaches Dhamma. Kesi is so moved by the Buddha's explanation that he pledges to follow the Buddha for life. This brilliant exposition warrants careful study by all teachers -- not only of Dhamma -- as it reveals the multiple levels in which effective teaching operates: the Buddha speaks in terms that the listener understands (horsetraining), he uses similes to great effect, and he deftly answers the real question that lies behind the student's query ("Please, can you train me?").
- Patoda Sutta (AN IV.113) -- The Goad-stick. How much dukkha do you need before you're moved to practice the Dhamma in earnest? What would it take to get you really motivated? To drive home his point, the Buddha uses a beautiful simile of a thoroughbred horse stirred to action by its rider. Giddyap!
- Thana Sutta (AN IV.115) -- Courses of Action. When faced with a choice, how does one decide which course of action to follow? The Buddha here offers some helpful advice.
- Puggala Sutta (AN IV.125) -- Persons [Ñanamoli Thera, tr.]. The Buddha explains the course of rebirths that can be expected by those who cultivate a heart of loving-kindness.
- Bhikkhuni Sutta (AN IV.159) -- The Nun. Ven. Ananda teaches a nun that, although craving can be used to overcome craving, and conceit to overcome conceit, the same principle does not hold for sexual intercourse.
- Yuganaddha Sutta (AN IV.170) -- In Tandem. Ven. Ananda describes the paths to arahantship by which tranquillity and insight work hand-in-hand.
- Jambali Sutta (AN IV.178) -- The Waste-water Pool. The Buddha uses some memorable similes to describe the overcoming of self-identification and ignorance.
- Yodhajiva Sutta (AN IV.181) -- The Warrior. An accomplished meditator -- like a great warrior -- develops these four qualities.
- Suta Sutta (AN IV.183) -- On What is Heard. Why the principle of truthfulness does not imply total frankness or openness.
- Abhaya Sutta (AN IV.184) -- Fearless. The Buddha explains to Janussoni four ways to overcome the fear of death.
- Thana Sutta (AN IV.192) -- Traits. How can you recognize someone as a good and wise person? The Buddha explains what qualities to look for and how to spot them.
- Pariyesana Sutta (AN IV.252) -- Searches. What are you searching for? Are you looking for happiness in all the wrong places, or are you truly looking for a lasting, noble happiness?
- Kula Sutta (AN IV.255) -- On Families. How a family loses or preserves its wealth.
V - Book of the Fives
- Vitthara Sutta (AN V.2) -- (Strengths) in Detail. A summary of the five "strengths" (bala) to be developed in Dhamma practice.
- Hita Sutta (AN V.20) -- Benefit. How to practice Dhamma for the benefit of both oneself and others.
- Samadhi Sutta (AN V.27) -- (Immeasurable) Concentration. The Buddha encourages the practice of the Brahma viharas (metta, karuna, mudita, and upekkha) as a basis for concentration practice, as it leads to five important realizations.
- Samadhanga Sutta (AN V.28) -- The Factors of Concentration. The Buddha outlines the "five-factored noble right concentration," to explain how the progressive development of the four mundane stages of jhana (absorption) leads to the development of the supranormal powers and Awakening.
- Siha Sutta (AN V.34) -- To General Siha (On Generosity). General Siha, known for his generosity, asks the Buddha about the fruits of generosity that one can experience in this life. The Buddha describes four such fruits; a fifth fruit (a happy rebirth) Siha can only take on faith.
- Kaladana Sutta (AN V.36) -- Seasonable Gifts. Gifts given at the proper time bear the greatest fruit. Here the Buddha describes five such occasions. [Often chanted by monks as blessings at meals or other offerings.]
- Bhojana Sutta (AN V.37) -- A Meal. Whenever one gives the gift of food, five wonderful things are also given, automatically, to both giver and recipient alike. [Often chanted by monks as blessings at meals or other offerings.]
- Saddha Sutta (AN V.38) -- Conviction. The five rewards that a layperson can expect for having conviction (faith) in the Triple Gem.
- Adiya Sutta (AN V.41) -- Benefits to be Obtained (from Wealth). The Buddha describes for the wealthy householder Anathapindika five skillful ways of using one's money that bring immense benefits to the giver -- benefits that can last long after all the wealth is gone. [Often chanted by monks as blessings at meals or other offerings.]
- Ittha Sutta (AN V.43) -- What is Welcome. The Buddha explains to Anathapindika how true happiness can't ever be achieved by merely wishing for it; one must instead endeavor to make merit and follow the path of practice.
- Kosala Sutta (AN V.49) -- The Kosalan. When Queen Mallika dies, her husband, King Pasenadi, is overcome with grief. The Buddha advises the king on how to free himself of obsessive grieving.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta (AN V.57) -- Subjects for Contemplation. The Buddha describes the "five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained."
- Yodhajiva Sutta (AN V.75) -- The Warrior (1)
Yodhajiva Sutta (AN V.76) -- The Warrior (2). Two suttas on how a monk must steadfastly guard his celibacy in the face of all temptation, if he is to reach the goal.
- Anagata-bhayani Suttas (AN V.77-80) -- The Discourses on Future Dangers. The Buddha reminds the monks that the practice of Dhamma should not be put off for a later date, for there are no guarantees that the future will provide any opportunites for practice. (These suttas are among those selected by King Asoka (r. 270-232 BC) to be studied and reflected upon frequently by all Buddhists, whether ordained or not.)
- Andhakavinda Sutta (AN V.114) -- At Andhakavinda. Five things that the Buddha exhorted his newly-ordained monks to do. Laypeople should take heed, too!
- Gilana Sutta (AN V.121) -- To a Sick Man. The Buddha reminds a sick monk that by keeping five particular themes of meditation well established, even a sick person can realize Awakening.
- Parikuppa Sutta (AN V.129) -- In Agony. Five grave deeds that are said to prevent one from realising any of the noble attainments in this lifetime. Don't do these things, OK?
- Akkhama Sutta (AN V.139) -- Not Resilient. The Buddha uses powerful imagery from the battlefield to underscore the importance of developing mastery over the senses.
- Sotar Sutta (AN V.140) -- The Listener. Five qualities one should develop in order to gain mastery of the senses and become a truly worthy person.
- Udayi Sutta (AN V.159) -- About Udayin. The Buddha explains to Ven. Ananda the five prerequisites for teaching Dhamma to others.
- Aghatapativinaya Sutta (AN V.161) -- Removing Annoyance [Ñanamoli Thera, tr.]. Five skillful ways of dealing with annoying people. [For a translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, see The Wings to Awakening, §143.]
- Candala Sutta (AN V.175) -- The Outcaste. The Buddha describes five qualities that determine the degree of one's commitment to being a lay Buddhist follower. How do you measure up?
- Dhammassavana Sutta (AN V.202) -- Listening to the Dhamma. The five rewards in listening to the Dhamma.
VI - Book of the Sixes
VII - Book of the Sevens
- Dhana Sutta (AN VII.6) -- Treasure. If one possesses these seven treasures in the heart, one's life will not have been lived in vain.
- Ugga Sutta (AN VII.7) -- To Ugga. The Buddha explains to Ugga that there are seven treasures in the heart that, unlike worldly treasures, are always safe from "fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs."
- Bhikkhu-aparihaniya Sutta (AN VII.21) -- Conditions for No Decline Among the Monks. The seven conditions that lead to the long-term welfare of the Sangha.
- Saññoga Sutta (AN VII.48) -- Bondage. The Buddha explains how dwelling on one's sexual identity only leads to greater suffering.
- Dana Sutta (AN VII.49) -- Giving. The Buddha describes some of the motivations that one might have for being generous. The karmic fruits one reaps as a result of giving depends heavily on one's motives.
- Kimila Sutta (AN VII.56) -- To Kimila. So, you say you want Buddhism to thrive in the West? In this sutta the Buddha explains to Ven. Kimila what is required of those who wish to see the Dhamma last a long, long time.
- Capala Sutta (AN VII.58) -- Nodding. Do you sometimes nod off during meditation? Here the Buddha catches Ven. Maha Moggallana nodding off, and offers him a graduated prescription for overcoming drowsiness.
- Kodhana Sutta (AN VII.60) -- An Angry Person. The Buddha describes seven dangers of giving in to anger. Be careful!
- Dhammaññu Sutta (AN VII.64) -- One With a Sense of the Dhamma. Do you want to be worthy of other people's respect? Here the Buddha describes seven qualities that make up a respectable and honorable individual.
VIII - Book of the Eights
- Pañña Sutta (AN VIII.2) -- Discernment. The Buddha outlines the skills that one must develop in order for wisdom to unfold.
- Lokavipatti Sutta (AN VIII.6) -- The Failings of the World. The Eight Worldly Conditions. The Buddha explains the difference between an ordinary person and an Awakened one, in terms of their response to the inevitable ups and downs of life.
- Jivaka Sutta (AN VIII.26) -- To Jivaka (On Being a Lay Follower). The Buddha explains how a lay follower can best work for the welfare of others.
- Anuruddha Sutta (AN VIII.30) -- To Anuruddha. The Buddha tells of eight good qualities in the heart that, if actively cultivated, help lead us towards the goal.
- Abhisanda Sutta (AN VIII.39) -- Rewards. The Buddha tells of eight rewards that can be expected from skillful conduct.
- Vipaka Sutta (AN VIII.40) -- Results. The Buddha describes the unpleasant consequences of not sticking to the precepts.
- Uposatha Sutta (AN VIII.41) -- The Uposatha Observance [Ñanavara Thera, tr.]. The Buddha summarizes the eight Uposatha day observances.
- Visakhuposatha Sutta (AN VIII.43) -- The Discourse to Visakha on the Uposatha with the Eight Practices [Bhikkhu Khantipalo, tr.]. The Buddha explains to Visakha, a devout laywoman, how the eight uposatha (observance day) practices are to be practiced, and how splendid is the fruit of that practice. The Buddha tells us here that even a tree -- were it conscious -- would benefit immensely from this practice; how much more beneficial the practice is to those humans who practice it!
- Gotami Sutta (AN VIII.53) -- To Gotami. The Buddha explains to Mahapajapati Gotami (his aunt) how to recognize the difference between teachings that conform to the Dhamma and those that do not. These eight criteria are just as relevant today!
- Vyagghapajja (Dighajanu) Sutta (AN VIII.54) -- Conditions of Welfare (To Dighajanu). [Two versions: translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and translated by Narada Thera] The Buddha instructs wealthy householders how to preserve and increase their wealth and happiness, in both the mundane and spiritual planes.
- Sankhitta Sutta (AN VIII.63) -- In Brief (Good Will, Mindfulness, and Concentration). The Buddha describes the practices of the four Brahma-viharas and of the four frames of reference (foundations of mindfulness) as forms of concentration practice.
- Kusita-Arabbhavatthu Sutta (AN VIII.80) -- The Grounds for Laziness and the Arousal of Energy. Do these excuses for putting off your meditation sound familiar: "I'm too hungry!"; "I'm too full!"; "I'm too tired!"; "I'm too sick!" ? Here the Buddha offers sound advice for overcoming this kind of laziness.
IX - Book of the Nines
X - Book of the Tens
- Sacitta Sutta (AN X.51) -- One's Own Mind. The Buddha offers instructions on how to read your own mind.
- Girimananda Sutta (AN X.60) -- To Girimananda. The Buddha instructs Ven. Girimananda, who is ill, on the ten themes of meditation that can heal both mind and body.
- Kathavatthu Sutta (AN X.69) -- Topics of Conversation. The Buddha presents ten wholesome topics of conversation as an alternative to gossip.
- Akankha Sutta (AN X.71) -- Wishes. This discourse lists ten reasons, of ascending worth, for perfecting the precepts and being committed to the development of calm (samatha) and insight (vipassana). An interesting feature of this discussion is that the Buddha does not separate insight and jhana into separate paths of practice, and actually cites insight, together with tranquillity, as a prerequisite for mastering the four jhanas. [TB]
- Aghata Sutta (AN X.80) -- Hatred. When hatred arises in the mind what do you do? Here are ten reflections to consider as an antidote.
- Bahuna Sutta (AN X.81) -- To Bahuna. What is it that an Awakened being is freed of?
- Ditthi Sutta (AN X.93) -- Views. The householder Anathapindika instructs a group of non-Buddhist wanderers on the nature of Right View.
- Kokanuda Sutta (AN X.96) -- To Kokanuda (On Viewpoints). Ven. Ananda explains that wisdom is not based on subscribing to this or that point of view.
- Virecana Sutta (AN X.108) -- A Purgative. Sometimes even the best medicines for the body fail to work. Here, the Buddha offers a "noble purgative" for the mind that works every time.
- Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta (AN X.176) -- To Cunda the Silversmith. The Buddha explains to Cunda that genuine self-purification comes about not from performing sacred rites, but by cultivating skillfulness in one's thoughts, words, and deeds.
XI - Book of the Elevens
- Kimattha Sutta (AN XI.1) -- What is the Purpose?. Why does the Buddha always implore us to cultivate sila (virtue)? Because all other skillful mental qualities, leading right up to Awakening, depend upon it.
- Cetana Sutta (AN XI.2) -- An Act of Will. Good qualities in the heart naturally lead to the development of other good qualities. It all starts with sila (virtue).
- Mahanama Sutta (AN XI.12) -- To Mahanama (1). The Buddha instructs the householder Mahanama on the importance of developing the six recollections (recollection of the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, one's own virtues, one's own generosity, and the devas).
- Mahanama Sutta (AN XI.13) -- To Mahanama (2). The Buddha further instructs the householder Mahanama on the importance of developing the six recollections, reminding him to develop these recollections in every posture, even "while you are busy at work, while you are resting in your home crowded with children."
- Metta Sutta (AN XI.16) -- Good Will. The Buddha identifies eleven benefits arising from the practice of metta (loving kindness, or good-will) meditation.
Revised: 10 November 1999