Sutta Nipata

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The Sutta Nipāta[1] (lit.'Section of the Suttas') is a Buddhist scripture, a sutta collection in the Khuddaka Nikaya, part of the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. Sutta Nipata is a collection of discourses of Buddha. It is part of an early corpus of Buddhist literature. Chalmers[2] explains that sutta means a consecutive thread of teaching and Oldenberg explained that nipata denotes a small collection.[3]


Calcutta-Bairat Rock inscription

Chalmers says that the materials of the Sutta Nipata are not of equal antiquity but it contains some of the oldest Buddhist compositions.[2] Bharat Singh Upadhyaya,[4] Maurice Winternitz,[5] and Hajime Nakamura[6] are other prominent Buddhist scholars who regard its poetry to have originated in the beginnings of Buddhism. A commentary on Sutta Nipata, called Niddesa, is included in the canon itself which points to the antiquity of the text. Bhabru or Calcutta-Bairat inscription of Ashoka also mentions many texts from this scripture.


The Sutta Nipāta is divided into five sections:

Uraga Vagga ("The Chapter on the Serpent")[7]

Sutta number Pali title English title[8]
Sn I.1 Uraga Sutta "The Serpent"
Sn I.2 Dhaniya Sutta "Discourse to Dhaniya"
Sn I.3 Khaggavisāṇa Sutta "The Rhinoceros"
Sn I.4 Kasibhāradvāja Sutta "Brahman Kasibharadvaj"
Sn I.5 Cunda Sutta "Discourse to Cunda"
Sn I.6 Parābhava Sutta "Downfall"
Sn I.7 Vasala Sutta "The Outcast"
Sn I.8 Metta Sutta "Loving-Kindness"
Sn I.9 Hemavata Sutta "Discourse to Hemvata"
Sn I.10 Āḷavaka Sutta "Discourse to Yakkha Alavaka"
Sn I.11 Vijaya Sutta "Discourse on Disillusionment of the Body"
Sn I.12 Muni Sutta "Discourse on the Sage"

Cūla Vagga ("The Minor Chapter")

Sutta number Pali title English title
Sn II.1 Ratana Sutta "Discourse on Three Treasures"
Sn II.2 Āmaghanda Sutta "Carrion"
Sn II.3 Hiri Sutta "Discourse on Friendship"
Sn II.4 Mahāmaṅgala Sutta "Great Blessing"
Sn II.5 Sūciloma Sutta "Discourse on Yakkha Suciloma"
Sn II.6 Dhammacariya Sutta "Righteous Conduct"
Sn II.7 Brāhmaṇadhammika Sutta "The Tradition of the Brahmins"
Sn II.8 Nāvā Sutta "The Boat"
Sn II.9 Kiṃsīla Sutta "What Good Behavior?"
Sn II.10 Uṭṭhāna Sutta "Arouse Yourselves!"
Sn II.11 Rāhula Sutta "Discourse to Rahula"
Sn II.12 Vaṅgīsa Sutta "Discourse to Vangisa"
Sn II.13 Sammāparibbājanīya Sutta "Proper Wandering"
Sn II.14 Dhammika Sutta "Correct Life of the Mendicant"

Mahā Vagga ("The Great Chapter")

Sutta number Pali title English title
Sn III.1 Pabbajjā Sutta "The Going Forth"
Sn III.2 Padhāna Sutta "Striving"
Sn III.3 Subhāsita Sutta "Well Spoken"
Sn III.4 Sundarikabhāradvāja Sutta "Discourse to Bharadvaja of Sundarika"
Sn III.5 Māgha Sutta "Discourse to Magha"
Sn III.6 Sabhiya Sutta "Discourse to Sabhiya"
Sn III.7 Sela Sutta "Discourse to Sela"
Sn III.8 Salla Sutta "The Dart"
Sn III.9 Vāseṭṭha Sutta "Discourse to Vasettha"
Sn III.10 Kokālika Sutta "Discourse to Slanderer Kokaliya"
Sn III.11 Nālaka Sutta "Discourse to Nalaka"
Sn III.12 Dvayatānupassanā Sutta "Contemplation of Dyads"

Atthaka Vagga "The Chapter of Octads"

Sutta number Pali title English title
Sn IV.1 Kāma Sutta "Sensual Pleasures"
Sn IV.2 Guhaṭṭhaka Sutta "The Octad on the Cave"
Sn IV.3 Duṭṭhaṭṭhaka Sutta "The Octad on the Hostile"
Sn IV.4 Suddhaṭṭhaka Sutta "The Octad on the Pure"
Sn IV.5 Paramaṭṭhaka Sutta "The Octad on the Supreme"
Sn IV.6 Jarā Sutta "Old Age"
Sn IV.7 Tissametteyya Sutta "Discourse to Tissametteya"
Sn IV.8 Pasūra Sutta "Discourse to Pasura"
Sn IV.9 Māgandiya Sutta "Discourse to Magandiya"
Sn IV.10 Purābheda Sutta "Before the Breakup"
Sn IV.11 Kalahavivāda Sutta "Quarrels and Disputes"
Sn IV.12 Cūlaviyūha Sutta "The Smaller Discourse on Deployment"
Sn IV.13 Mahāviyūha Sutta "The Greater Discourse on Deployment"
Sn IV.14 Tuvaṭaka Sutta "Quickly"
Sn IV.15 Attadaṇḍa Sutta "One Who Has Taken Up the Rod"
Sn IV.16 Sāriputta Sutta "Discourse to Sariputta"

Parayana Vagga ("The Chapter on the Way Beyond")

Sutta number Pali title English title
Introductory verses
Sn V.1 Ajitamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Ajita"
Sn V.2 Tissametteyyamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Tissa Metteyya"
Sn V.3 Puṇṇakamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Puṇṇaka"
Sn V.4 Mettagūmāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Mettagū"
Sn V.5 Dhotakamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Dhotaka"
Sn V.6 Upasīvamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Upasīva"
Sn V.7 Nandamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Nanda"
Sn V.8 Hemakamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Hemaka"
Sn V.9 Todeyyamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Todeyya"
Sn V.10 Kappamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Kappa"
Sn V.11 Jatukaṇṇīmāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Jatukaṇṇī"
Sn V.12 Bhadrāvudhamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Bhadrāvudha"
Sn V.13 Udayamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Udaya"
Sn V.14 Posālamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Posāla"
Sn V.15 Mogharājamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Magharāja"
Sn V.16 Piṅgiyamāṇavapucchā "The Questions of Piṅgiya"


Bimbisara meets Bussha, Sanchi
Asita predcting the greatness of gautam Buddha as described in nalaka sutta of Sutta Nipata, Museum Reitberg

Some scholars[9] believe that it describes the oldest of all Buddhist practices. Others such as Bhikkhu Bodhi[10] and K. R. Norman[11] agree that it contains much early material. In the Chinese Buddhist canon, a version of the Aṭṭhakavagga has survived. Fragmentary materials from a Sanskrit version of the Nipata also survive.[12] The Niddesa, a commentary in two parts on the contents of the Atthaka Vagga and portions of the Parayana Vagga, is included in the Pali Canon as a book of the Khuddaka Nikāya. This commentary is traditionally attributed to Śāriputra, and its presence in the canon is regarded as evidence of the relatively early composition of the Sutta Nipata.[13] Many of the Buddhist legends originate in the Suttanipata such as prediction by Asita on the birth of gautam buddha in the Nalaka sutta or the legendar meeting of King Bimbisara with Gautam Buddha.

English translations[edit]

  • The Silent Sages of Old, Suttas from the Suttanipāta by Ven. Ñāṇadīpa Mahāthera, 2018
  • Tr V. Fausbøll, in Sacred Books of the East, volume X, Clarendon/Oxford, 1881; reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi (?and by Dover, New York)
  • Buddha’s Teachings being the Sutta-nipāta or Discourse-Collection, tr. Robert Chalmers Delhi, India, Motilal Barnasidass Publishers, 1932 (reprint in 1997), 300 p., ISBN 8120813553, 9788120813557.[14]
  • Woven cadences of early Buddhists, transl. by E. M. Hare. Sacred Books of the Buddhists vol.15, repr. - London: Oxford University Press, 1947 Internet Archive (PDF 11.4 MB)
  • The Group of Discourses, tr K. R. Norman, 1984, Pali Text Society[2], Bristol; the original edition included alternative translations by I. B. Horner & Walpola Rahula; these are currently available in the paperback edition under the title The Rhinoceros Horn and Other Early Buddhist Poems; the current edition under the original title omits these, but includes instead the translator's notes, not included in the paperback
  • Tr Saddhatissa, Curzon, London/Humanities Press, New York, 1985
  • Tr N. A. Jayawickrama, University of Kelaniya, 2001
  • The Discourse Collection Selected Texts from the Sutta Nipata, by John D. Ireland, Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 2013. Available for free download here
  • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2017). The Suttanipata: An Ancient Collection of the Buddha's Discourses and Its Canonical Commentaries. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 9781614294290.

German translation[edit]

  • Tr Nyanaponika, Verlag Beyerlein & Steinschulte, D 95236 Stammbach, Germany, 3. Auflage 1996

See also[edit]



  1. ^ When referencing suttas from the Sutta Nipāta the case-sensitive abbreviation "Sn" is used. This is distinguished from the abbreviation "SN" which traditionally refers to the Pali canon's Samyutta Nikaya.
  2. ^ a b "Buddha's Teachings: Being the Sutta-Nipata or Discourse Collection". Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  3. ^ Chaturvedi, N (2012). A Historical and Cultural study of the sutta Nipata. Jaipur: Jaipur Publishing House. p. 5. ISBN 9788180471094.
  4. ^ "पालि साहित्य का इतिहास | Hindi Book | Paali Saahity Kaa Itihaas - ePustakalay". (in Hindi). Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  5. ^ Winternitz, Maurice. A History of Indian Literature: A history of Indian literature.
  6. ^ Nakamura, Hajime (2007-01-01). Indian Buddhism: A survey with Bibliographical Notes. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0272-8.
  7. ^ Sutta names, spellings, and translations are taken from Bodhi Bhikku, The Suttanipāta—other translators may have made different choices.
  8. ^ Where no translation is given, the sutta is named after a person.
  9. ^ Nakamura, Indian Buddhism, Japan, 1980; reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1987, 1989, pp. 45-6.
  10. ^ Bodhi, Sutta-Nipāta - The oldest discourses in the Pali Canon (lectures),
  11. ^ Norman, KR. The Rhinoceros Horn and Other Early Buddhist Poems (Sutta-Nipata), 1985.
  12. ^ Hoernle, A. F. Rudolf, The Sutta Nipata in a Sanskrit Version from Eastern Turkestan, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Oct., 1916), pp. 709-732 Published by: Cambridge University Press
  13. ^ Norman, Kenneth Roy (1983). Pali Literature. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. pp. 63-70. ISBN 3-447-02285-X.
  14. ^ Buddha’s Teachings being the Sutta-nipāta or Discourse-Collection, read online: [1]. Retrieved 10 August 2021..


External links[edit]