Philosophy of language in the Five Nikayas

by K.T.S. Sarao | 2013 | 141,449 words

This page relates ‘Samyutta Nikaya (The Connected of Discourses of the Buddha)’ of the study of the Philosophy of language in the Five Nikayas, from the perspective of linguistics. The Five Nikayas, in Theravada Buddhism, refers to the five books of the Sutta Pitaka (“Basket of Sutra”), which itself is the second division of the Pali Tipitaka of the Buddhist Canon (literature).

2.5(d). Saṃyutta Nikāya (The Connected of Discourses of the Buddha)

The Samyutta Nikāya is the third great Collection of the Buddha’s discourses following the Dīgha Nikāya and Majjhima Nikāya in the Sutta Piṭaka of the Pāli Canon. The collection is so named because the Suttas in any given chapter is named ‘connected’ (saṃyutta) by the theme after which the chapter is named. The Saṃyutta Nikāya is divided into five principal parts called Vaggas ‘books/divisions’ contains 7,762 Suttas.

According to Bhikkhu Bodhi in his English translated version of Saṃyutta Nikāya (2000: 23) the Saṃyutta Nikāya contain only 2,904 Suttas:

“In his commentaries to the Pāli Canon, Ācariya Buddhaghosa sates that SN [Saṃyutta Nikāya] contains 7,762 Suttas, but the text that has come down to us contains, on the system of reckoning used here, only 2,904 Suttas. [And] due to minor differences in the method of distinguishing Suttas, this figure differs slightly from the total of 2,889 connected by Léon Feer on the basis of his roman-script edition.”[1]

The five Vaggas are:

(i) Sagāthā Vagga ‘The Book with Verses’;
(ii) Nidāna Vagga ‘The Book of Causation’;
(iii) Khandha Vagga ‘The Book of Aggregates’;
(iv) Saḷāyatana Vagga ‘The Book of the six Sense Bases’; and
(v) Mahā Vagga ‘The Great Book’.

The followings are the breakdown of the Saṃyatta Nikāya by Vaggas and Suttaa.

1. Sagāthā Vagga ‘The Book with Verses’

The Sagāthā Vagga ‘The Book with Verses’ contains eleven Saṃyuttas ‘Connected Discourses’ within which each Saṃyutta in turn contains a group of Suttas on related topics, for instance, in the Samyutta Nikāy, Sutta number 1 Crossing the Flood, and so on. Thus, this first book, according to Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000), contains 271 Suttas in total.

2. Nidāna Vagga ‘The Book of Causation’

The Nidāna Vagga ‘The Book of Causation’ contains ten Saṃyuttas which in turn totally contain 286 Suttas.

3. Khandha Vagga ‘The Book of Aggregates’

The Khandha Vagga ‘The Book of Aggregates’ contains thirteen Saṃyuttas which in turn totally contain 716 Suttas.

4. Saḷāyatana Vagga ‘The Book of the six Sense Bases’

The Saḷāyatana Vagga ‘The Book of the six Sense Bases’ contains ten Saṃyuttas which in turn totally contain 434 Suttas.

5. Mahā Vagga ‘The Great Book’.

The Mahā Vagga ‘The Great Book’ contains twelve Saṃyuttas which in turn totally contain 1,197 Suttas.

As mentioned above, the Saṃyutta Nikāya is divided into 5 books with total fifty-six Saṃyuttas including 2,904 Suttas.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. (2000). The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: a Translation of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. UAS: Wisdom Publications, pp. 23. For more detail see also C.A.F. Rhys Davids and F.L. Woodward, trans. rept. 2005. The Book of the Kindred Sayings, 5 Vols. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

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