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TipitakaSutta PitakaContext of the Samyutta Nikaya

The Samyutta Nikaya
The Grouped Discourses

The Samyutta Nikaya, the third division of the Sutta Pitaka, contains 2,889 suttas grouped into five sections (vaggas). Each vagga is further divided into samyuttas, each of which in turn contains a group of suttas on related topics. The samyuttas are named according to the topics of the suttas they contain. For example, the Kosala Samyutta (in the Sagatha Vagga) contains suttas concerning King Pasenadi of Kosala; the Vedana Samyutta (in the Salayatana Vagga) contains suttas concerning feeling (vedana); and so on.

Selected suttas from the Samyutta Nikaya

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.


Sagatha Vagga (samyuttas I-XI)

I. Devata-samyutta -- Devas.

II. Devaputta-samyutta -- Sons of the Devas.

III. Kosala-samyutta -- King Pasenadi of Kosala.

IV. Mara-samyutta -- Mara. Stories of Mara challenging the Buddha and trying in vain to outwit him.

V. Bhikkhuni-samyutta -- Nuns. Stories of Mara's attempts to lure the nuns away from their meditation spots in the forest by asking them provocative questions. Without exception, these wise women conquer Mara decisively.

VI. Brahma-samyutta -- Brahma deities.

VII. Brahmana-samyutta -- Brahmins.

  • Akkosa Sutta (SN VII.2) -- Insult. What is the best response when someone is angry with you? Hint: if a host offers some food to a guest, but the guest declines the offer, to whom does the food belong?
  • Jata Sutta (SN VII.6) -- The Tangle. Jata Bharadvaja asks the Buddha his famous question, "Who can untangle this tangle [of craving]?" The Buddha's concise answer prompts Jata Bharadvaja's conversion and, ultimately, his attainment of arahantship.
  • Maha-Sala Sutta (SN VII.14) -- Very Rich. A touching glimpse into the sorrow that a father feels when his ungrateful children fail to honor him in his old age. Treat your parents well.
  • Navakammika Sutta (SN VII.17) -- The Builder. What useful work can one possibly accomplish by sitting in meditation under a tree in the forest?

VIII. Vangisa-samyutta -- Ven. Vangisa.

IX. Vana-samyutta -- The forest.

X. Yakkha-samyutta -- Yakkha demons.

XI. Sakka-samyutta -- Sakka (the Deva king).

Nidana Vagga (samyuttas XII-XXI) [top]

XII. Abhisamaya-samyutta -- Paticcasamuppada (dependent co-arising).

XIII. Abhisamaya-samyutta -- Realization.

XIV. Dhatu-samyutta -- Elements.

XV. Anatamagga-samyutta -- The unimaginable beginnings of samsara and transmigration.

XVI. Kassapa-samyutta -- Ven. Maha Kassapa.

  • Jinna Sutta (SN XVI.5) -- Old. Ven. Maha Kassapa explains why he chooses to continue meditating in the forest wilderness even though he has long since attained arahantship.

XVII. Labhasakkara-samyutta -- Gains and tribute.

XVIII. Rahula-samyutta -- Ven. Rahula.

XIX. Lakkhana-samyutta -- Ven. Lakkhana.

XX. Opamma-samyutta -- Comparisons.

XXI. Bhikkhu-samyutta -- Monks.

Khandha Vagga (samyuttas XXII-XXXIV) [top]

XXII. Khandha-samyutta -- The aggregates of clinging/becoming.

XXIII. Radha-samyutta -- Ven. Radha. [top]

XXIV. Ditthi-samyutta -- Views.

XXV. Okkantika-samyutta -- Recurring.

XXVI. Uppada-samyutta -- Arising.

XXVII. Kilesa-samyutta -- Defilements.

XXVIII. Sariputta-samyutta -- Ven. Sariputta.

XXIX. Naga-samyutta -- Nagas.

XXX. Supanna-samyutta -- Garudas.

XXXI. Gandhabbakaya-samyutta -- Gandhabba devas.

XXXII. Valahaka-samyutta -- Rain-cloud devas.

XXXIII. Vacchagotta-samyutta -- Ven. Vacchagotta.

XXXIV. Samadhi-samyutta -- Concentration.

Salayatana Vagga (samyuttas XXXV-XLIV) [top]

XXXV. Salayatana-samyutta -- The six senses.

  • Adittapariyaya Sutta (SN XXXV.28) -- The Fire Sermon. Several months after his Awakening, the Buddha delivers this sermon to an audience of 1,000 fire-worshipping ascetics. In his characteristically brilliant teaching style, the Buddha uses a metaphor that quickly penetrates to the heart of the audience -- in this case, the metaphor of fire. Upon hearing this sermon, the entire audience attains full Awakening (arahatta).
  • Migajala Sutta (SN XXXV.63) -- To Migajala. Why is true solitude so hard to find? The Buddha explains why, no matter where you go, some of your most annoying companions always seem to be tagging along.
  • Upasena Sutta (SN XXXV.69) -- Upasena. Ven. Upasena, mortally wounded by a venomous snake, remains perfectly composed as he utters his dying words to Ven. Sariputta, and reveals that he has thoroughly freed himself from any identification with the body.
  • Loka Sutta (SN XXXV.82) -- The World. The Buddha explains how all things in the world share one inevitable and unfortunate characteristic. Do you want to remain bound to a world like this?
  • Su˝˝a Sutta (SN XXXV.85) -- Empty. The Buddha explains to Ven. Ananda in what way the world is devoid of anything that can rightly be called "self."
  • Punna Sutta (SN XXXV.88) -- To Punna. What would you do with your mind while you're being beaten and stabbed? In this sutta the Buddha instructs Punna on abandoning delight in the six senses. The Buddha then quizzes Punna, to see if his patience and self-control are sufficiently developed to dwell in Sunaparanta, a place reknowned for its fierce inhabitants.
  • Samadhi Sutta (SN XXXV.99) -- Concentration. The Buddha recommends concentration practice as a way to develop discernment of the inconstancy of the six sense doors.
  • Na Tumhaka Sutta (SN XXXV.101) -- Not Yours. Do you usually think of "grass" or "leaves" as being "you"? Of course not. In the same way, the sense of "self" cannot be found anywhere within the realm of the senses.
  • Marapasa Sutta (SN XXXV.115) -- Mara's Power. The Buddha explains that once one completely frees oneself from chasing after sense pleasures, one is then finally out of reach of Mara, the embodiment of evil.
  • Bharadvaja Sutta (SN XXXV.127) -- About Bharadvaja. Ven. Pindola Bharadvaja explains to a king the various tools one can use to help maintain one's resolve towards celibacy.
  • Kamma Sutta (SN XXXV.145) -- Action. The Buddha explains how "old" kamma (the actions we performed in the past) and "new" kamma (the actions we perform in the present) are both experienced in the present.
  • Kotthita Sutta (SN XXXV.191) -- To Kotthita. Ven. Sariputta explains to Ven. Maha Kotthita that our problem lies neither in the senses themselves nor in the objects to which the senses cling; rather, suffering comes from the desire and passion that arises in dependence on both.
  • Kumma Sutta (SN XXXV.199) -- The Tortoise. If we guard the senses wisely, as a tortoise guards against attack by withdrawing into the safety of its shell, we are safely out of Mara's reach.
  • Kimsuka Sutta (SN XXXV.204) -- The Riddle Tree. The Buddha explains how tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassana) function together as a "swift pair of messengers" to guide the meditator onwards to Nibbana.
  • Vina Sutta (SN XXXV.205) -- The Lute. The heart of insight (vipassana): When you take apart a lute in search of its music, what do you find? When you take apart the five aggregates in search of "self," what do you find?
  • Chappana Sutta (SN XXXV.206) -- The Six Animals. The Buddha explains how training one's own mind is like keeping six unruly animals tied together on a leash.
  • Yavakalapi Sutta (SN XXXV.207) -- The Sheaf of Barley. This sutta, if perhaps a bit disjointed, offers some fine similes to illustrate the mind's tendency to create suffering for itself.

XXXVI. Vedana-samyutta -- Feeling.

XXXVII. Matugama-samyutta -- Destinies of women.

XXXVIII. Jambhukhadaka-samyutta -- Jambhukhadaka the wanderer.

XXXIX. Samandaka-samyutta -- Samandaka the wanderer.

XL. Moggallana-samyutta -- Ven. Moggallana.

XLI. Citta-samyutta -- Citta the householder.

XLII. Gamani-samyutta -- Village headmen.

XLIII. Asankhata-samyutta -- The unfashioned (Nibbana).

XLIV. Avyakata-samyutta -- Not designated.

Maha Vagga (samyuttas XLV-LVI) [top]

XLV. Magga-samyutta -- The Noble Eightfold Path.

XLVI. Bojjhanga-samyutta -- The Seven Factors of Awakening. [See "The Seven Factors of Awakening" in The Wings to Awakening.]

XLVII. Satipatthana-samyutta -- The Four Frames of Reference (Foundations of Mindfulness). [See "The Four Frames of Reference" in The Wings to Awakening.]

XLVIII. Indriya-samyutta -- The Five Mental Faculties. [See "The Five Faculties" in The Wings to Awakening.]

XLIX. Sammappadhana-samyutta -- The Four Right Exertions. [See "The Four Right Exertions" in The Wings to Awakening.]

L. Bala-samyutta -- The Five Strengths. [See "The Five Strengths" in The Wings to Awakening.]

LI. Iddhipada-samyutta -- The Four Bases of Power. [See "The Four Bases of Power" in The Wings to Awakening.]

LII. Anuruddha-samyutta -- Ven. Anuruddha.

LIII. Jhana-samyutta -- Jhana (mental absorption).

LIV. Anapana-samyutta -- Mindfulness of breathing.

LV. Sotapatti-samyutta -- Stream-entry.

LVI. Sacca-samyutta -- The Four Noble Truths.

  • Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN LVI.11) -- Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion. This is the Buddha's first discourse, delivered shortly after his Awakening to the group of five monks with whom he had practiced the austerities in the forest for many years. The sutta contains the essential teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. Upon hearing this discourse, the monk Konda˝˝a attained the first stage of Awakening, thus giving birth to the ariya sangha (Noble Sangha).
  • Simsapa Sutta (SN LVI.31) -- The Simsapa Leaves. The Buddha compares the knowledge he gained in his Awakening to all the leaves in the forest, and his teachings to a mere handful of leaves. He then explains why he didn't reveal the remainder.
  • Chiggala Sutta (SN LVI.48) -- The Hole. Here is the Buddha's famous simile of the blind sea-turtle, illustrating the precious rarity of this human birth.


Updated: 1-7-2000

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