Main CategoriesBuddha and BuddhismTheravada Suttas Suttanipāta, The


Suttanipāta, The

Product no.: 978-1614294290
This landmark volume translates the Suttanipāta, a text that matches the Dhammapada in its concise power of expression and its centrality to the Buddhist tradition.

Currently out of stock

Additional product information

Publisher's Synopsis
The Suttanipāta, or “Group of Discourses” is a collection of discourses ascribed to the Buddha that includes some of the most popular suttas of the Pāli Canon, among them the Loving-Kindness Sutta. The suttas are primarily in verse, though several are in mixed prose and verse.

The Suttanipāta contains discourses that extol the figure of the muni, the illumined sage, who wanders homeless completely detached from the world. Other suttas, such as the Discourse on Downfall and the Discourse on Blessings, establish the foundations of Buddhist lay ethics. The last two chapters—the Aṭṭhakavagga (Chapter of Octads) and the Pārāyanavagga (The Chapter on the Way to the Beyond)—are considered to be among the most ancient parts of the Pāli Canon.

The Aṭṭhakavagga advocates a critical attitude toward views and doctrines. The Pārāyanavagga is a beautiful poem in which sixteen spiritual seekers travel across India to meet the Buddha and ask him profound questions pertaining to the highest goal. The main commentary, the Paramatthajotikā, relates the background story to each sutta and explains each verse in detail.

The volume includes numerous excerpts from the Niddesa, an ancient commentary already included in the Pāli Canon, which offers detailed expositions of each verse in the Aṭṭhakavagga, the Pārāyanavagga, and the Rhinoceros Horn Sutta.

In the Preface, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi addresses the fashionably new scholarly skepticism of Western Buddhist teachers (e.g., Stephen Batchelor, Gil Fronsdal) who are grasping at tantalizing, ancient sutta snippets that seem to suggest a secular Siddhartha, a peripatetic plebeian proselytizing for peace in our pedestrian lives.

"Since the Suttanipāta is composed mostly in verse, and the stanzas are sometimes obscure and suggestive, it is tempting for writers on Early Buddhism to seize upon single suttas and even a few enigmatic stanzas as the building blocks for erecting their own personal theories about 'Original Buddhism just as the Buddha intended it.'

Thus, based mainly on the Suttanipāta, claims are sometimes put forth that Buddhism was originally a premonastic movement made up of individualistic wandering hermits, or that the Buddha was a radical skeptic whose teaching had no room for such ideas as kamma, rebirth, saṃsāra, and transcendent liberation, but was aimed solely at inner tranquility through the relinquishment of all views and attachments.

Such theories depend largely on selective citation in defiance of the weight of evidence bearing down from the great mass of Early Buddhist literature and stubborn facts about the history of Buddhism. Reading the Suttanipāta in the light of the main Nikāyas and their commentaries should serve to correct such speculative theories."              ~Bhikkhu Bodhi, 2017

The Serpent (Uraga Sutta)

1. One who removes the anger that has arisen
as one removes with herbs a snake’s spreading venom:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin.

2. One who has entirely cut off lust
as if plucking a lotus growing in a lake:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin.

3. One who has entirely cut off craving,
having dried up its fast-flowing stream:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin.

4. One who has entirely swept up conceit
as a great flood does a fragile bridge of reeds:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin.

5. One who finds no core in states of existence,
as one seeking flowers in udumbara trees finds none:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin.

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk and translator of Pali Buddhist texts. He is also the founding chair of Buddhist Global Relief, an organization dedicated to helping communities worldwide afflicted with chronic hunger and malnutrition.

Author Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama
Coauthor Bodhi, Bhikkhu
Translator Bodhi, Bhikkhu
Book Type Hardcover
Page Count 1616 pp.
Publisher Wisdom Publications 2017
Series Teachings of the Buddha
Browse these categories as well: Theravada Suttas, Southern Buddhism, Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Noteworthy Releases 2017

We also recommend