Samyutta Nikaya The Grouped Discourses

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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.

An excellent modern print translation of the complete Samyutta Nikaya is Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2000; originally published in two volumes, but now available in a single volume).

A fine anthology of selected suttas is Handful of Leaves (Vol. 2), by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (distributed by the Metta Forest Monastery).


Sagatha-vagga — The Section of Verses (contains samyuttas 1-11)

Nidana-vagga — The Section on Causation (12-21)

Khandha-vagga — The Section on the Aggregates (22-34)

Salayatana-vagga — The Section on the Six Sense Bases (35-44)

Maha-vagga — The Great Section (45-56)

Sagatha Vagga — The Section of Verses

1. Devata-samyutta — Devas

SN 1.1: Ogha-tarana Sutta — Crossing over the Flood

The Buddha explains how he "crossed over the flood" of craving.

SN 1.3: Upaneyya.m Sutta — Doomed

SN 1.9: Maanakaamo Sutta — Vain Conceits

SN 1.10: Arañña Sutta — The Wilderness/A Face So Calm

Why do monks living in the forest wilderness look so happy?

SN 1.17: Dukkara.m (Kummo) Sutta — Difficult

SN 1.18: Hiri Sutta — Conscience

A lovely short teaching on the rarity and value of conscientiousness.

SN 1.20: Samiddhi Sutta — About Samiddhi/Samiddhi

A devata wonders: why waste time meditating in the hopes of some future reward, when one can enjoy sensual pleasures right here and now?

SN 1.25: Araha.m Sutta — The Arahant

SN 1.38: Sakalika Sutta — The Stone Sliver

After an attempt on his life, the Buddha shows by example how to handle pain.

SN 1.41: Aditta Sutta — (The House) On Fire

A deva visits the Buddha and recites a lovely verse on the urgency of giving.

SN 1.42: Kindada Sutta — A Giver of What

The Buddha explains to a deva the true value of various kinds of gifts.

SN 1.69: Iccha Sutta — Desire

A brief and elegant summary of the heart of the Buddha's teaching.

SN 1.71: Ghatva Sutta — Having Killed

The Buddha describes one thing that deserves to be killed.

2. Devaputta-samyutta — Sons of the Devas

SN 2.6: Kamada Sutta — Kamada's Lament

The Buddha reassures a doubting deva that, though the journey to Awakening may indeed be long and hard, it really can be done.

SN 2.7: Pañcalacanda Sutta — Pañcalacanda the Deva's Son

Finding an opening to Nibbana.

SN 2.8: Taayano Sutta — Taayana

SN 2.9: Candima Sutta — The Moon Deity's Prayer for Protection

The Buddha intervenes on behalf of a deva caught in the grips of an evil demon. This sutta belongs to the group of paritta (protection) suttas that are chanted by monastics for devotional and ceremonial purposes.

SN 2.10: Suriya Sutta — The Sun Deity's Prayer for Protection

The Buddha intervenes on behalf of a deva caught in the grips of an evil demon. This sutta belongs to the group of paritta (protection) suttas that are chanted by monastics for devotional and ceremonial purposes.

SN 2.19: Uttara Sutta — Uttara the Deva's Son

Doing good and making merit: are these the best one can aim for in this short life?

SN 2.25: Jantu Sutta — Jantu

SN 2.26: Rohitassa Sutta — To Rohitassa

A well-traveled deva learns that we don't have to go to the ends of the world to find an end to suffering; we need look no further than right here, in this very body.

3. Kosala-samyutta — King Pasenadi of Kosala

SN 3.1: Dahara Sutta — Young

The Buddha reminds King Pasenadi that one's age is no measure of one's wisdom.

SN 3.4: Piya Sutta — Dear

If you truly care about your own and others' welfare, then choose your actions with care.

SN 3.5: Atta-rakkhita Sutta — Self-protected

The Buddha's defense policy.

SN 3.6: Appaka Sutta — Few

The Buddha reminds King Pasenadi of the pitfalls of wealth and luxury.

SN 3.7: Atthakarana Sutta — In Judgment

King Pasenadi discovers what motivates people to tell lies.

SN 3.8: Mallikaa Sutta — Mallikaa

SN 3.13: Donapaka Sutta/Do.napaaka Sutta — King Pasenadi Goes on a Diet/A Heavy Meal

How King Pasenadi learns to use mindfulness to control his overeating

SN 3.14: Sangama Sutta — A Battle (1)

SN 3.15: Sangama Sutta — A Battle (2)

Two stories about the battles fought between rival kings, poignantly demonstrating how in war there is security neither for the victor nor the vanquished.

SN 3.17: Appamada Sutta — Heedfulness

The Buddha reveals the one quality in the heart that offers real security.

SN 3.19: Aputtaka Sutta — Heirless (1)

The Buddha advises a rich householder on the proper use and enjoyment of wealth.

SN 3.20: Aputtaka Sutta — Heirless (2)

Give generously and without regret, or you may suffer the same sad consequences as this wealthy householder.

SN 3.23: Loka Sutta — (Qualities of) the World

Three common things in the world that inevitably lead to harm and suffering.

SN 3.24: Issattha Sutta — Archery Skills

Generosity yields good results. But to whom should we give to reap the very best results?

SN 3.25: Pabbatopama Sutta — Irresistible Force/The Simile of the Mountains

The Buddha offers a powerful simile to King Pasenadi to underscore the imminence of death and the urgency of Dhamma practice.

4. Mara-samyutta — Mara

Stories of Mara's attempts to outwit the Buddha.

SN 4.8: Nandana Sutta — Delight

Mara and the Buddha debate this question: Are possessions a source of joy or of grief?

SN 4.13: Sakalika Sutta — The Stone Sliver

The Buddha, recuperating from an assassination attempt, receives an unwelcome visit from Mara.

SN 4.19: Kassaka Sutta — The Farmer

Mara proclaims his dominion over the sensory world, but the Buddha explains that he (Buddha) dwells in the one place that Mara can never go.

SN 4.20: Rajja Sutta — Rulership

Mara, seeing that the Buddha has developed the four bases of power (iddhipada), tries to persuade him to give up the monastic life and become a powerful world ruler.

5. 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.

SN 5.1: Alavika Sutta — Alavika/Sister Alavika

Mara: Why bother meditating? Why not just relax and enjoy life's pleasures?

SN 5.2: Soma Sutta — Soma/Mara Meets His Match/Sister Soma

Can women achieve Awakening? Ven. Sister Soma handles this misguided question with ease.

SN 5.3: Gotami Sutta — Gotami/Sister Gotami

Mara: Why bother sitting in solitude in the forest?

SN 5.4: Vijaya Sutta — Vijaya/Sister Vijaya

Mara: Why don't we just put aside the meditation for awhile and go out dancing?

SN 5.5: Uppalavanna Sutta — Uppalavanna/Sister Uppalavanna

Mara: Why don't you just give up the dangers of the forest and live somewhere safer?

SN 5.6: Cala Sutta — Cala/Sister Cala

Mara: What's wrong with being reborn, anyway?

SN 5.7: Upacala Sutta — Upacala/Sister Upacala

Mara: Why not just settle for a happy rebirth among the devas?

SN 5.8: Sisupacala Sutta — Sisupacala/Sister Sisupacala

Sister Sisupacala shows Mara how following the path of Dhamma doesn't mean buying into to a fixed philosophy.

SN 5.9: Sela Sutta — Sela/Sister Sela

Mara tries to trip up Ven. Sister Sela with metaphysical questions.

SN 5.10: Vajira Sutta — Vajira/Sister Vajira

Have you ever found yourself getting lured out of meditation by some fascinating, but utterly speculative, train of thought? Ven. Sister Vajira shows how to deal with this.

6. Brahma-samyutta — Brahma deities

SN 6.1: Ayacana Sutta — The Request

Immediately after his Awakening, the Buddha receives a visit from Brahma Sahampati, who pleads with the Buddha to teach the Dhamma, for the sake of those "with little dust in their eyes."

SN 6.2: Garava Sutta — Reverence

Shortly after his Awakening, the Buddha reviews the world around him, searching for another being whom he can now rightly call his teacher.

SN 6.13: Andhakavinda Sutta — Let the Wilderness Serve!

Brahma Sahampati offers up verses of praise for the Buddha, who sits meditating alone in the wilderness.

SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Four eyewitness accounts of the passing away of the Buddha.

7. Brahmana-samyutta — Brahmans

SN 7.1: Dhanañjaanii Sutta — Dhanañjaani

SN 7.2: Akkosa Sutta/Akkoso Sutta — Insult/Abuse

What is your best response when someone is angry with you? Hint: if you offer some food to a guest, but the guest declines the offer, to whom does the food belong?

SN 7.6: Jata Sutta — The Tangle

The Buddha answers Jata Bharadvaja's famous question, "Who can untangle this tangle [of craving]?"

SN 7.11: Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta — Discourse to Bharadvaja, the Farmer/To the Plowing Bharadvaja

The Buddha answers a farmer who asserts that monks do no useful work, and thus don't deserve to eat.

SN 7.12: Udaya Sutta — Breaking the Cycle

In delightfully alliterative Pali verse, the Buddha tells how, without true wisdom, the cycle of death and re-becoming are doomed to drone on and on and on.

SN 7.14: Maha-sala Sutta — 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.

SN 7.17: Navakammika Sutta — The Builder

What useful work can one possibly accomplish by sitting in meditation under a tree in the forest?

SN 7.18: Katthaharaka Sutta — Buddha in the Forest/Firewood-gathering

How does the Buddha practice jhana in the forest? [TB]

SN 7.21: Sangaarava Sutta — Sangaarava

8. Vangisa-samyutta — Ven. Vangisa

SN 8.4: Ananda Sutta — Ananda

Ven. Ananda offers advice to Ven. Vangisa on how to subdue lust.

9. Vana-samyutta — The forest

SN 9.1: Viveka Sutta — Seclusion

A deva comes to the aid of a forest monk whose mind had been wandering during meditation.

SN 9.6: Anuruddha Sutta — Anuruddha

One of Ven. Anuruddha's consorts from a previous life as a deva, visits him and invites him back.

SN 9.9: Vajjiputta Sutta — The Vajjian Princeling

If you've ever wondered, "Why bother meditate?", listen to this devata's advice.

SN 9.11: Ayoniso-manasikara Sutta — Inappropriate Attention

Food for thought for a monk being gnawed away by his thoughts.

SN 9.14: Gandhatthena Sutta — Stealing the Scent/The Thief of a Scent

Have you ever wished for a guardian angel to warn you before you do something foolish? Here's one with an important lesson.

10. Yakkha-samyutta — Yakkha demons

SN 10.8: Sudatta Sutta — About Sudatta (Anathapindika)

Anathapindika, the wealthy benefactor who would later donate the famous Jeta's Grove monastery to the Sangha, meets the Buddha for the first time.

SN 10.12: Alavaka Sutta — Discourse to Alavaka/To the Alavaka Yakkha

A yakkha challenges the Buddha with riddles and threatens to beat him up.

11. Sakka-samyutta — Sakka (the Deva king)

SN 11.3: Dhajagga Sutta — Banner Protection/The Top of the Standard

Are you ever overcome by fear? The Buddha offers an antidote.

SN 11.4: Vepacitti Sutta — Calm in the Face of Anger

Sakka, king of the devas, explains to a skeptic how forbearance is the best response to another's anger.

SN 11.5: Subhasita-jaya Sutta — Victory Through What is Well Spoken

Marvelous account of a debating contest between two deities concerning the best way to respond to an angry person.

Nidana Vagga — The Section on Causation

12. Nidana-samyutta — Paticcasamuppada (dependent co-arising)

SN 12.2: Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta — Analysis of Dependent Co-arising

A summary of the causal chain of dependent co-arising.

SN 12.10: Mahaa Sakyamuni Gotamo Sutta — Gotama the Great Sage of the Sakya

SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta — Nutriment

The Buddha explains how the teachings on the four nutriments (ahara) fits in with dependent co-arising.

SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta — To Phagguna

Questions that presuppose the existence of an abiding "self," are fundamentally invalid. The Buddha shows how to re-frame these questions in a way that conduces to liberation.

SN 12.15: Kaccayanagotta Sutta/Kaccaayanagotto Sutta — To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View)/Kaccaayana

The Buddha explains to Ven. Kaccayana Gotta how dependent co-arising applies in the development of right view.

SN 12.16: Dhammakathiko Sutta — The Teacher of the Dhamma

SN 12.17: Acela Sutta — To the Clothless Ascetic/Naked Kassapa

A perplexed ascetic asks the Buddha: "Is dukkha created by the self? By other? By both? By neither?" The Buddha's answers at first baffle, then inspire, Kassapa, who eventually gains Awakening.

SN 12.19: Bala-pandita Sutta — The Fool & the Wise Person

What is the difference between a fool and a wise person?

SN 12.20: Paccaya Sutta — Requisite Conditions

The Buddha explains that when dependent co-arising is clearly seen and understood, wrong views and confusion disappear.

SN 12.22: Dasabalaa (2) Sutta — Ten Powers

SN 12.23: Upanisa Sutta/Upanisaa Sutta — Discourse on Supporting Conditions/Prerequisites/Upanisaa

The Buddha explains how seeing deeply into dependent co-arising leads to Awakening. The causal chain here includes an additional set of factors not present in the "standard" chain of dependent co-arising.

SN 12.25: Bhumija Sutta — To Bhumija

What is the origin of pleasure and pain? Ven. Sariputta clears up some misconceptions.

SN 12.31: Bhutamidam Sutta — This Has Come Into Being

What characterizes the difference between a run-of-the-mill person, one who practices the Dhamma, and one who has fully realized the Dhamma?

SN 12.35: Avijjapaccaya Sutta — From Ignorance as a Requisite Condition

Is there someone or something that lies behind the processes described in dependent co-arising?

SN 12.38: Cetana Sutta/Cetanaa Sutta — Intention/Volition

The Buddha explains the causal link between mental fabrications and consciousness.

SN 12.44: Loka Sutta — The World

How the world arises and falls according to the law of dependent co-arising.

SN 12.46: Aññatra Sutta — A Certain Brahman

A brahman wonders: When I perform an action (kamma), am I the same person when I experience its results, or am I a different person? The Buddha helps to clear up this man's confused thinking.

SN 12.48: Lokayatika Sutta — The Cosmologist

The Oneness of all being is sometimes taught as a basic Buddhist principle, but this discourse shows that the Buddha himself rejected the idea. It is simply one of the extremes that he avoided by teaching dependent co-arising.

SN 12.52: Upadana Sutta — Clinging

The Buddha uses a marvelous fire simile to describe the nature of clinging.

SN 12.60: Nidaana.m Sutta — Aananda's Mistake

SN 12.61: Assutavā Sutta — The Spiritually-Unlearned (1)/Uninstructed (1)

With a striking simile, the Buddha points out the folly of believing this fickle mind to be "self."

SN 12.63: Puttamansa Sutta — A Son's Flesh

A meditation on inter-relatedness, showing with four striking similes the suffering inherent in everything the body and mind depend upon for nourishment. [TB]

SN 12.64: Atthi Raga Sutta — Where There is Passion

The Buddha describes four factors to which the mind habitually clings. Those who succeed in abandoning passion for these "nutriments" can realize the cessation of birth, aging, and death.

SN 12.65: Nagara Sutta — The City

The Buddha retells the story of how, on the eve of his Awakening, he re-discovered the long-forgotten laws of dependent co-arising and the Four Noble Truths.

SN 12.67: Nalakalapiyo Sutta — Sheaves of Reeds

In a discussion about dependent co-arising with Ven. Maha Kotthita, Ven. Sariputta invokes a helpful simile to illustrate the relationship between consciousness and name-and-form.

SN 12.68: Kosambi Sutta — At Kosambi (On Knowing Dependent Co-arising)

Four good friends share a frank discussion about their grasp of dependent co-arising. One uses a memorable simile to describe the difference between stream-entry and arahatship.

SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

The Buddha explains to Susima that development of psychic powers is not a prerequisite for enlightenment.

13. Abhisamaya-samyutta — Realization

SN 13.1: Nakhasikha Sutta — The Tip of the Fingernail

SN 13.2: Pokkharani Sutta — The Pond

SN 13.8: Samudda Sutta — The Ocean

These three suttas offer vivid similes that give a sense of how much suffering one totally puts behind oneself upon attaining the stream to Nibbana. Good encouragement for putting some extra effort into the practice.

14. Dhatu-samyutta — Elements

SN 14.11: Sattadhatu Sutta — Seven Properties

An alternative way of looking at the stages of concentration practice

15. Anamatagga-samyutta — The unimaginable beginnings of samsara

SN 15.3: Assu Sutta — Tears

"Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating and wandering this long, long time... or the water in the four great oceans?"

SN 15.9: Danda Sutta — The Stick

We bounce from one birth to the next, as a thrown stick bounces along the ground.

SN 15.11: Duggata Sutta — Fallen on Hard Times

When you encounter an unfortunate person, remember: you've been there, too.

SN 15.12: Sukhita Sutta — Happy

When you encounter a fortunate person, remember: you've been there, too.

SN 15.13: Timsa Sutta — Thirty

Which is greater, the blood you have shed in your long journey in samsara, or the water in the four great oceans?

SN 15.14-19: Mata Sutta — Mother

It's hard to meet someone who has not been, at some time in the distant past, your mother, father, son, daughter, sister, or brother.

16. Kassapa-samyutta — Ven. Maha Kassapa

SN 16.1: Santu.t.tha.m Sutta — Contentment

SN 16.2: Anottaapi Sutta — Carelessness

SN 16.5: Jinna Sutta — Old

Ven. Maha Kassapa explains why he chooses to continue meditating in the forest wilderness even though he has long since attained arahantship.

SN 16.13: Saddhammapatirupaka Sutta/Saddhamma-pa.tiruupaka.m Sutta — A Counterfeit of the True Dhamma/False Dhamma

The Buddha issues a warning: a society that fails to show respect for these five things contributes to the eventual decline and disappearance of the Dhamma.

17. Labhasakkara-samyutta — Gains and tribute

SN 17.3: Kumma Sutta — The Turtle

To seek fame and status: like walking around with a harpoon stuck in your back.

SN 17.5: Pilahaka Sutta/Piḷhika Sutta — The Dung Beetle

To seek fame and status: like carrying around a ball of dung.

SN 17.8: Sigala Sutta — The Jackal

To seek fame and status is like being a mangy jackal.

18. Rahula-samyutta — Ven. Rahula

19. Lakkhana-samyutta — Ven. Lakkhana

20. Opamma-samyutta — Comparisons

SN 20.2: Nakhasikha Sutta — The Tip of the Fingernail

The Buddha offers a simile for the preciousness of this human birth.

SN 20.4: Okkha Sutta — Serving Dishes

SN 20.5: Satti Sutta — The Spear

Two suttas on the extraordinary power of metta (goodwill).

SN 20.6: Dhanuggaha Sutta — The Archer

How quickly life passes! Knowing this, how should we conduct our lives?

SN 20.7: Ani Sutta — The Peg

Be careful: there are many popular teachings nowadays that may sound good, but they're not necessarily consistent with the Buddha's teachings.

21. Bhikkhu-samyutta — Monks

SN 21.1: Kolita Sutta — Kolita

The real meaning of noble silence.

SN 21.2: Upatissa Sutta — About Upatissa (Sariputta)

Is there anything in the world whose loss would sadden an arahant?

SN 21.6: Lakuntaka Bhaddiya Sutta — About Bhaddiya the Dwarf

One's inner wisdom and outward appearance are unrelated.

SN 21.8: Nando Sutta — Nanda

A primer for monks on what not to wear.

SN 21.10: Theranama Sutta — [A Monk] by the Name of Elder

The Buddha explains to a wandering monk the true meaning of solitude.

Khandha Vagga — The Section on the Aggregates

22. Khandha-samyutta — The clinging-aggregates 

SN 22.1: Nakulapita Sutta — To Nakulapita

The Buddha explains to the aging householder Nakulapita how one need not be sick in mind even though one may be sick in body.

SN 22.2: Devadaha Sutta — At Devadaha

Ven. Sariputta explains the best way to introduce the Buddha's teachings to inquisitive, intelligent people.

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