Context of the Sutta Pitaka
The Sutta Pitaka
Search for a sutta by name.
See a Map of the Tipitaka.
The Sutta Pitaka, the second division of the Tipitaka, consists of over 10,000 suttas, or discourses, delivered by the Buddha and his close disciples during the Buddha's forty-five year teaching career, as well as many additional verses by other members of the Sangha. Over 700 sutta translations are available here at Access to Insight.
The suttas are grouped into five nikayas, or collections:
- Digha Nikaya
- The "Long" Discourses (Pali digha = "long"), which consists of 34 suttas, including the well-known Mahasatipatthana Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness), the Samaññaphala Sutta (The Fruits of the Contemplative Life), the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (The Buddha's Last Days), and many others.
- Majjhima Nikaya
- The "Middle-length" Discourses (Pali majjhima = "middle"), which consists of 152 suttas of varying length, including the Sabbasava Sutta (All the Taints), Culakammavibhanga Sutta (Shorter Exposition of Kamma), the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing), Kayagatasati Sutta (Mindfulness of the Body), the Angulimala Sutta (The Story of Angulimala), and many more.
- Samyutta Nikaya
- The "Grouped" Discourses (Pali samyutta = "group" or "collection"), which consists of 2,889 shorter suttas grouped together by theme into 56 samyuttas.
- Anguttara Nikaya
- The "Further-factored" Discourses (Pali anga = "factor" + uttara = "beyond," "further"), which consists of 8,777 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.
- Khuddaka Nikaya
- The "Division of Short Books" (Pali khudda = "smaller," "lesser"), consisting of 15 "books" (17 in the Thai edition; 18 in the Burmese), including the Dhammapada, Therigatha (Verses of the Elder Nuns), Theragatha (Verses of the Elder Monks), Sutta Nipata, Jataka stories, etc.
See also: "Befriending the Suttas: Some Suggestions for Reading the Pali Discourses"
Revised: 10 November 1999