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Samyutta Nikaya

The Samyutta Nikaya (Saṃyutta Nikāya SN, "Connected Discourses" or "Kindred Sayings") is a Buddhist scripture, the third of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the "three baskets" that compose the Pali Tipitaka of Theravada Buddhism. Because of the abbreviated way parts of the text are written, the total number of suttas is unclear. The editor of the Pali Text Society edition of the text made it 2889, Bodhi in his translation has 2904, while the commentaries give 7762. A study by Rupert Gethin[1] gives the totals for the Burmese and Sinhalese editions as 2854 and 7656, respectively, and his own calculation as 6696; he also says the total in the Thai edition is unclear. The suttas are grouped into five vaggas, or sections. Each vagga is further divided into samyuttas, or chapters, each of which in turn contains a group of suttas on a related topic.

Correspondence with the Saṃyukta Āgama

The Samyutta Nikaya corresponds to the Saṃyukta Āgama found in the Sutra Pitikas of various Sanskritic early Buddhists schools, fragments of which survive in Sanskrit and in Tibetan translation. A complete Chinese translation from the Sarvāstivādin recension appears in the Chinese Buddhist canon, where it is known as the Zá Ahánjīng (雜阿含經); meaning "the mixed agama". A comparison of the Sarvāstivādin, Kāśyapīya, and Theravadin texts reveals a considerable consistency of content, although each recension contains sutras/suttas not found in the others.[2]

Bhikku Sujato, a contemporary scholar monk, argues that the remarkable congruence of the various recensions suggests that the Samyutta Nikaya/Saṃyukta Āgama was the only collection to be finalized in terms of both structure and content in the pre-sectarian period.[3]


  • The Book of the Kindred Sayings, tr C. A. F. Rhys Davids & F. L. Woodward, 1917–30, 5 volumes, Pali Text Society[1], Bristol
  • The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, tr Bhikkhu Bodhi, 2000, Wisdom Publications, Somerville, MA, ISBN 0-86171-331-1; the Pali Text Society also issues a private edition of this for members only, which is its preferred translation



The vaggas contained in this nikaya are (the numbering of chapters [samyuttas] here refers to the PTS and Burmese editions; the Sinhalese[5] and Thai editions divide the text up somewhat differently):

Part I. Sagatha-vagga (SN chapters 1-11)

a collection of suttas containing verses (Pali, sagatha), many shared by other parts of the Pali canon such as the Theragatha, Therigatha, Suttanipata, Dhammapada and the Jatakas.[6]

Part II. Nidana-vagga (SN chapters 12-21)

a collection of suttas primarily pertaining to causation (Pali, nidana).

Part III. Khandha-vagga (SN chapters 22-34)

a collection of suttas primarily pertaining to the five aggregates (Pali, khandha).

Part IV. Salayatana-vagga (SN chapters 35-44)

a collection of suttas primarily pertaining to the six sense bases (Pali, salayatana), including the "Fire Sermon" (Adittapariyaya Sutta).
Path Factors

Part V. Maha-vagga (SN chapters 45-56)

the largest – that is, great (Pali, maha) – collection consists of the following chapters:
Ch 45. the Noble Eightfold Path
Ch 46. the Seven Factors of Enlightenment
Ch 47. the Four Establishment of Mindfulness
Ch 48. the Faculties
Ch 49. the Four Right Striving
Ch 50. the Five Powers
Ch 51. the Four Bases for Spiritual Power[7]
Ch 52. Anuruddha discourses
Ch 53. the Jhanas
Ch 54. Mindfulness of Breathing
Ch 55. Factors of Stream-entry
Ch 56. the Truths

See also


  1. ^ Journal of the Pali Text Society, volume XXIX, pages 369, 381
  2. ^ A Dictionary of Buddhism, by Damien Keown, Oxford University Press: 2004
  3. ^ Bhikku Sujato A History of Mindfulness: How Insight Worsted Tranquility in the Sattipatthana Sutta, pgs 31, 37-52
  4. ^ The BPS anthology was published in three parts, edited by John D. Ireland (1981), Bhikkhu Ñanananda (1983) and Maurice O'C. Walshe (1985).
  5. ^ While the PTS Samyutta Nikaya has 56 sayuttas (connected collections), the Sinhala Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series (BJT) print edition has 54 sayuttas and, based on the BJT edition, the softcopy Sri Lanka Tripitaka Project (SLTP) edition has 55 sayuttas. The reason for these differences are that:
    • the BJT and SLTP sayutta 12 (Abhisamaya-sayutta) combines the PTS sayuttas 12 (Nidana-sayutta) and 13 (Abhisamaya-sayutta), representing the latter sayutta as a final vaggo (chapter) in the former sayutta.
    • the BJT sayutta 34 (Vedanā-sayutta) combines the PTS sayuttas 35 (Salāyatana-sayutta) and 36 (Vedanā-sayutta).
  6. ^ Bodhi (2000), p. 69.[full citation needed]
  7. ^ Bodhi (2000), pp. 1485-6,[full citation needed] points out that the first seven chapters of the Maggavagga-samyutta pertain to the seven sets of qualities conducive to Enlightenment.


External links