Guide to Tipitaka
Majjhima Nikæya

(c) Uparipa¼¼æsa Pæ¹i

1. Devadaha Vagga

(1) Devadaha Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha at Devadaha in the country of the Sakyans to refute the wrong views of the Niga¼¥has. The Niga¼¥has believed that whatever a person experienced in this life was caused by former action. They practiced austerity as a penance to put an end to the result of former action. The Buddha taught them the right path that would lead to the end of suffering.

(2) Pañcattaya Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha to bhikkhus at Sævatthi to explain the wrong beliefs of other sects speculating on whether the world is finite or infinite, etc.

(3) Kinti Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha at Pisinæræ. The Buddha explained that he taught the dhamma not for the sake of gain, such as robes, alms-food, lodgings, etc., nor in expectation of future happy existences. His teachings, namely, the Four Methods of Steadfast Mindfulness, the Four Right Efforts, etc., in short, the Thirty-seven Factors of Enlightenment were for the attainment of higher knowledge leading to the end of suffering. Whenever there was a dispute ever the doctrine with regard to meanings and words, it should be resolved strictly in accordance with these dhammas.

(4) Sæmagæma Sutta

Niga¼¥ha Næ¥aputta had recently died at Pævæ and his followers had split into two groups. On being informed by Ænanda that he was worried lest there be such a schism among the Order, after the passing away of the Buddha, the Buddha taught this discourse on imperfect and perfect teachers and disciples, on disputes and their origin, and on the essentials of his Teaching.

(5) Sunakkhatta Sutta

Bhikkhu Sunakkhatta, a former Licchavø prince, once enquired of the Buddha whether all the bhikkhus who came to the Buddha and declared their attainment of Arahatship actually attained it. The Buddha said some of them actually did attain Arahatship whereas some deceived themselves; again others claimed Arahatship, knowing full well that they were not entitled to it, simply to trouble him with unnecessary questions. The Buddha then taught him the essential dhammas in which one must become accomplished before one could claim Arahatship.

(6) Æneñja-sappæya Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha while he was staying once at Kammæsadhamma, in the country of the Kurus. The Buddha explained to the bhikkhus the dangers of enjoying sensual pleasures, which were transitory, empty and deceptive. He said he had shown them the path leading to imperturbability (Æneñja-sappæya), to the realm of Nothingness, to the realm of Neither Consciousness Nor Non-Consciousness, and ultimately to Nibbæna. He then urged the bhikkhus: "Go to the forest, to solitude. Strive hard in meditation."

(7) Ga¼akamoggallæna Sutta

The Buddha was once asked by the Brahmin Ga¼aka Moggallæna whether there were systematic rules, practices and methods in his Teaching, just as there were training rules, manuals, guidances in various branches of worldly knowledge. The Buddha told him about the Dhamma giving details about precepts to be observed, disciplinary rules to be followed, various concentrations to be developed and jhænas and paññæs to be achieved step by step.

(8) Gopakamoggallæna Sutta

Two leading brahmins of Ræjagaha asked the Venerable Ænanda whether the Buddha had appointed a particular there to be the head of the Saµgha after he passed away. Ænanda informed them there was no such person. No person could substitute the Buddha. They wanted to know then if the Saµgha had agreed upon a certain bhikkhu to be their head. When Ænanda told them there was no such person, they wondered how the Saµgha could remain in agreement and unity. Ænanda then explained to them that they had indeed refuge in the Dhamma and how the Saµgha of each locality recited together the Pætimokkha, the summary of disciplinary rules, every half month.

(9) Mahæpu¼¼ama Sutta

The Buddha was sitting in the midst of a large number of bhikkhus out in the open on a full moon night. All the bhikkhus were intently engaged in meditation. The silence of the night was broken by the oldest of the meditating bhikkhus who, with the permission of the Buddha, asked him about the five aggregates of grasping, how craving developed with respect to each aggregate, and how craving would cease. The Buddha explained each point raised by the bhikkhu to the great benefit of the assembled Saµgha.

(10) Cþ¹apu¼¼ama Sutta

This discourse was given on how to differentiate between a good man and a bad man, with detailed description of the characteristics of good and bad men.


II. Anupada Vagga

(1) Anupada Sutta

This discourse was given at Sævatthi. The Buddha brought out in full detail the virtues of one of his two Chief Disciples, the Venerable Særiputta, extolling his wisdom which was extensive like the big earth, describing how, unlike other ordinary disciples who had attained Arahatship, the Venerable Særiputta went through the practices for development of søla, samædhi and paññæ in a very thorough manner, step by step, contemplating very intensely on the minutest phenomenon of ‘arising and perishing’ until he gained the highest goal of the holy life.

The Buddha explained also how the Venerable Særiputta was fully accomplished in the Dhamma to deserve the honour of being a Chief Disciple of the Buddha.

(2) Chabbisodhana Sutta

The Buddha said that when any bhikkhu claimed to the attainment of Arahatship, his claim should not be admitted or rejected outright. His claim should be carefully scrutinized according to the guiding principles provided in this discourse.

(3) Sappurisa Sutta

This describes how a good, worthy man is to be distinguished from a bad, unworthy person enumerating twenty-six characteristics by which each individual is to be judged.

(4) Sevitabbæsevitabba Sutta

This discourse was given briefly by the Buddha, and the Venerable Særiputta continued to expound it in more detail. It deals with practices and actions which a bhikkhu should or should not resort to. Whatever action or practice or object is conducive to one’s spiritual progress and development should be resorted to and made use of; whatever is detrimental to one’s spiritual advancement should be rejected.

(5) Bahudhætuka Sutta

This discourse is an analytical study of elements, dhætu; bases, æyatana; the law of dependent origination; and the right or wrong causes. Only the bhikkhu skilled in these studies may be reckoned as a wise person.

(6) Isigili Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha at Isigili, one of the hills was surrounding Ræjagaha. This is an account of why this hill called by that name and of the many Paccekabuddhas who used to dwell there.

(7) Mahæcattærøsaka Sutta

This discourse is a detailed exposition on Right Concentration which has its base in the other seven constituent parts of the Noble Path, on twenty meritorious dhammas and on twenty demeritorious dhammas.

(8) Ænæpænassati Sutta

Ænæpænassati as a method of meditation was explained to a large gathering of bhikkhus including nearly all well-known senior disciples such as the Venerable Særiputta, Mahæ Moggallæna, Mahæ Kassapa, Anuruddha, Ænanda etc. Development of mindfulness of respiration establishes a person in the Four Methods of Steadfast Mindfulness. The Four Methods of Steadfast Mindfulness, being developed, establishes a person in the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. The Seven Factors of Enlightenment, being developed, bring about Insight Knowledge and emancipation.

(9) Kæyagatæsati Sutta

This discourse describes the meditation practice involving contemplation on the thirty-two parts of the body. The practical steps in the method as well as its advantages are fully explained.

(10) Sa³khærupapatti Sutta

This discourse explains how it is possible to have one’s wish fulfilled if one is well established in the five wholesome dhammas, namely, faith, moral conduct, learning, liberality and wisdom.


III. Suññata Vagga

(1) Cþ¹asuññata Sutta

The Buddha once told Ænanda that he often dwelt in the liberation of the void, Suññata-vihæra. When requested by Ænanda, he explained what liberation of the void meant - Liberation through Insight that discerns voidness of self.

(2) Mæhasuññata Sutta

Seeing many bhikkhus living together in a crowded dwelling place, the Buddha told Ænanda that a bhikkhu should not like living in company. Solitude is most beneficial for a bhikkhu. He urged bhikkhus to look upon him as a sincere friend who would repeatedly point out their faults to help correct them.

(3) Acchariya-abbhuta Sutta

This discourse is an account of the twenty marvellous attributes of the Buddha as extolled by the Venerable Ænanda.

(4) Bækula Sutta

Bhikkhu Bækula, aged one hundred and sixty years, met his old friend, the naked ascetic Kassapa, after he had been in the Order of the Buddha for eighty years. Kassapa asked him how often he had indulged in sexual intercourse during those eighty years. Bækula told his friend the marvellous attributes he possessed as an Arahat, including the fact that he became an Arahat after seven days of strenuous endeavour, after which he was completely rid of moral defilements.

(5) Dantabhþmi Sutta

In this discourse the Buddha explained to the novice Aciravata how a young prince like Prince Jayasena, son of King Bimbisæra could not hope to know, to see, to realize such dhammas as concentration and jhænas, living as he did in the lap of luxury, surrounded by pleasures of senses, enjoying the pleasures of senses and consumed and overwhelmed by the flames of desires. The Buddha pointed out the difference in outlook between an Arahat and an ordinary uninstructed person giving the simile of a tamed elephant and a wild elephant of the forest.

(6) Bhþmija Sutta

This discourse was given by the Venerable Bhþmija to his nephew, Prince Jayasena to explain how Fruition would result by practising the Noble Path of Eight Constituents. The Buddha confirmed that only by following the right Path, namely, the Noble Path of Eight Constituents and not any other Path, Fruition would result. The Buddha gave the similes of attempting to make oil out of sand, squeezing the horns of a cow for milk, churning water to make butter, and rubbing two pieces of wet green wood to make fire.

(7) Anuruddha Sutta

This discourse was given by the Venerable Anuruddha to Pañcaka³ga, the carpenter, to explain the difference between Appamæ¼a Cetovimutti, liberation through practice of four Brahmavihæra Meditation and Mahaggata Cetovimutti, liberation through Kasi¼a Meditation using a meditational device.

(8) Upakkilesa Sutta

Once the Buddha left Kosambø because of quarrelling, contentious bhikkhus and went to Pæcinavaµsa Park where the Venerable Anuruddha, the Venerable Nandiya and the Venerable Kimila were staying. When these bhikkhus informed the Buddha about the aura (obhæsa) and vision (dassana) of various shapes and forms they perceived in the course of their meditation, the Buddha taught them about Upakkilesa, mental defilements, that appear at a certain stage in meditation process. They should be on their guard not to be led astray by these deceptive defilements.

(9) Bælapa¼ðita Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha at Sævatthi on fools and characteristic behaviour of fools; on how evil thoughts, words and deeds of fools harm themselves and others; and on how these evil actions lead fools to states of misery and woe. The utter wretchedness and intense suffering in such states beggar description. Once a fool, through his evil actions, found himself in one of the nether regions, there was very little likelihood for him to rise again to the upper realms. The chances are more remote than that of a blind turtle to get his head through a single hole in a yoke which was being tossed about in a stormy sea.

The discourse deals also with the wise and their characteristics; the wholesome thoughts, words and deeds of the wise, the wholesome effects resulting from such meritorious actions and bliss enjoyed by them in the realms of happiness.

(10) Devadþta Sutta

This is a discourse on evil results arising from evil action, giving details of suffering in realms of misery and woe.


IV. Viba³ga Vagga

(1) Bhaddekaratta Sutta

This sutta which means ‘a discourse on a night of good meditation’ gives a detailed description of Vipassanæ meditation. The Buddha urged the bhikkhus not to dwell in the past which was gone, nor to seek the future which was unattained yet, but to perceive the dhamma in the phenomena presently occurring, at the same time not becoming involved in and attached to them.

(2) Ænanda-bhaddekaratta Sutta

This is a discourse in which the Venerable Ænanda repeated to the bhikkhus the Bhaddekaratta Sutta, for which performance he was highly commended by the Buddha.

(3) Mahækaccæna-bhaddekaratta Sutta

This is a detailed exposition by the Venerable Mahækaccæna on Vipassanæ meditation of the five khandhas as explained by the Buddha in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta. The Venerable Mahækaccæna was commended by the Buddha for his exposition.

(4) Lomasaka³giya-bhaddekaratta Sutta

This is a detailed exposition by the Venerable Lomasaka³giya on Vipassanæ meditation of the five khandhas explained in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta.

(5) Cþ¹akamma-vibha³ga Sutta

Young Subha, son of the Brahmin Todeyya, was curious to know why some were born in high class families, some in low class families; why some were born rich, others poor; why some were beautiful, others ugly; why some were of good health with a long span of life, others of poor health with a short span of life, etc. He approached the Buddha and asked fourteen questions in all to satisfy his curiosity. The Buddha gave a long discourse on kamma and its resultant effects. Deeds, words and thoughts have endless consequences of joy and sorrow to be experienced in this very life and hereafter. Men depend on their own deeds and nothing else for their condition and status in life.

(6) Mahækamma-vibha³ga Sutta

This is another discourse on kamma and its resultant effects which are most difficult to foresee. How the workings of kamma were most strange and surprising were explained with reference to four types of individuals.

(7) Sa¹æyatana-vibha³ga Sutta

This discourse is a detailed analytical exposition on six internal sense bases, six external sense bases, six types of consciousness arising from six types of contact, etc., by the Buddha.

(8) Uddesa-vibha³ga Sutta

In this discourse, the Buddha taught briefly how restraint of the mind with regard to external sense bases and non-attachment to internal sense bases led to the cessation of suffering. The Venerable Kaccæna gave an exposition on this subject which earned him praise from the Buddha.

(9) Ara¼a-vibha³ga Sutta

This discourse is an exhortation on the practice of the Middle Path, avoiding the two extremes of indulgence in sensual pleasures and practice of self-mortification, and on modes of conduct, not indulging in backbiting; not keeping to colloquial vocabulary only and not spurning the conventional usage of the language, but speaking gently, slowly.

(10) Dhætu-vibha³ga Sutta

This is an important discourse taught to Pukkusati, a recluse who had left the homelife inspired by the fame of Gotama Buddha whom he had not yet met and whom he was on his way to see. The Buddha went purposely to meet this recluse in a potter’s hut to teach this discourse: A man is made up of six elements, namely, solidity, fluidity, heat, motion, space and consciousness. On analysis, none of these elements is found to be ‘mine’ or ‘me’ or ‘my self’. All of them are subject to the law of impermanence, so are the three types of sensation. When a bhikkhu perceives the real nature of the physical and mental phenomena, he becomes endowed with absolute wisdom, Knowledge of the Noble Truth.

(11) Sacca-vibha³ga Sutta

In this discourse the Buddha taught the bhikkhus the Four Noble Truths as he had done at the time of giving the discourse on the Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma at Isipatana in Bæræ¼asø. He then urged the bhikkhus to seek guidance from the two theras, the Venerable Særiputta and the Venerable Mahæ Moggallæna, likening the Venerable Særiputta to a mother and the Venerable Mahæ Moggallæna to a foster-mother. The Venerable Særiputta could analyse and explain the Four Noble Truths in detail and lead them to the stage of the first Path and Fruition. The Venerable Mahæ Moggallæna could then lead them on till the highest Path and Fruition, the Arahatship, was achieved.

(12) Dakkhi¼æ-vibha³ga Sutta

This discourse was given to the Buddha’s foster-mother Mahæpajæpati on the occasion of her offering to the Buddha a set of robes made by her own hand. The Buddha urged his foster-mother to make the offering to the Saµgha, the community of bhikkhus. He enumerated fourteen kinds of donations to individuals and seven kinds of donations to the Saµgha, explaining the superior benefit accruing from offerings made to the Saµgha.


V. Sa¹æyatana Vagga

(1) Anæthapi¼ðikovæda Sutta

This discourse was given by the Venerable Særiputta to Anæthapi¼ðika on his death-bed. The Venerable Særiputta enjoined him not to grasp at the six internal sense bases, nor the six external sense bases, nor the feelings that arise in relation to them, nor at the six elements (including space and consciousness), nor at the five aggregates, nor the realms of Infinite Space, of Infinite Consciousness, of Nothingness, of Neither Consciousness Nor Non-Consciousness. With no attachment to any of them, there would come liberation.

(2) Channovæda Sutta

The Venerable Channa was very ill. The Venerable Særiputta and Cunda paid him a visit. They gave him solace by giving instruction on Vipassanæ meditation. The Venerable Channa died an Arahat.

(3) Pu¼¼ovæda Sutta

This discourse was given to Bhikkhu Pu¼¼a by the Buddha on how to practise the holy life in solitude. When the Buddha asked him how he would contend with the dangers which infested the locality where he was going to stay, he told the Buddha of the six categories of fortitude he was endowed with, including indifference to an attack even on his life.

(4) Nandakovæda Sutta

This discourse was given by the Venerable Nandaka to five hundred bhikkhunøs in the presence of the Buddha one full moon night. He dealt with the twelve categories of internal and external sense bases, the six types of consciousness, their impermanent nature and how to practice the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. He won the approval of the Buddha for his lucid exposition of the Dhamma.

(5) Cþ¹aræhulovæda Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha to his son Ræhula who was then a bhikkhu of the Order fully mature to receive the highest dhamma. The Buddha exhorted him, in the form of questions and answers on the impermanent nature of the twelve sense bases, in consequence of which the Venerable Ræhula attained to Arahatship.

(6) Chachakka Sutta

This discourse was given by the Buddha frequently to many bhikkhus on the six internal sense bases, the six external sense bases, six types of consciousness, six types of contacts, six types of sensation, six kinds of craving and on how their interrelationship led to continuity of phenomena from one existence to another.

(7) Mahæsa¹æyatanika Sutta

This discourse is an exposition on how the ignorance of the six categories of dhamma such as the six internal sense bases, etc., gives rise to craving, and craving to suffering. It also explains how, when they are seen as they really are by following the Noble Path of Eight Constituents, the knowledge of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment arises resulting in the perfect Peace of Nibbæna.

(8) Nagaravindeyya Sutta

This is a discourse in which the Buddha explained to the villagers of Nagaravinda the distinction between sama¼as and bræhma¼as who deserved honour and homage and those who did not. Only those religious teachers who had discarded the craving that arose out of æyatana dhammas were worthy of veneration,

(9) Pi¼ðapætapærisuddhi Sutta

This is an exhortation to bhikkhus to keep themselves pure in mind while going on alms round or while eating their meal, by discarding craving, removing hindrances and developing the knowledge of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment through continuous practice.

(10) Indriyabhævanæ Sutta

This discourse was given to the Venerable Ænanda by the Buddha showing the difference between the control of senses practised by an Arahat and that practised by one still under training. The Buddha explained that feelings of liking, disliking or of indifference that arise from conditioned phenomena could be soon eliminated by the practice of Vipassanæ Meditation.

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