Thursday, 31 March 2011



The Kuddaka niikAya is a collection of fifteen minor anthologies, most of the books in this nikAya are made up of poems, therefore another name to this nikAya is GAtha nikAya because verses are predominant as a characteristic in this when we compare it with former four nikAyas.

      Although the first four nikAyas and vinaya were entrusted to different groups of monks at the first council Kuddhaka nikAya was not given to any special group of monks therefore, there is an idea that Kuddaka nikAya was begun to compile sometime after the first Buddhist council. Ven.Buddhaghosa who wrote commentaries to the first four nikAyas in the fifth century A.D. wrote commentaries only on four texts of Kuddaka nikAya. The fifteen books in the Khuddaka nikAya are as follows.
1) Kuddakapāta –The Minor Sayings
2) ∂hammapda –The Words of the Doctrine
3) üdAna –The Joyful Utterances
4) îtivuttaka –The Thus said Teachings
5) ßuttanipAta –The Collection of Discourses
6) VimAnavatthu –The Heavenly Abodes
7) Petavatthu –The Abode of the Hungry Spirit
8)TheragAthA –The Elders’ Verses
9) TherigAthA –The Verses of the Sisters
10) JAtaka –The Birth Stories
11) ñiddesa –The Descriptions
12) PatisambhidAmagga –The book of Classification
13) åpadAna –The Biographies
14) BuddhavaMsa –The Chronicles of Buddha
15) CariyāpiTtaka –The Collection of stories

As it was kept open to add when the tradition needed to do so. Therefore there is two views that Myanmar believed the there are nineteen books while tradition like Sri Lanka presented only fifteen books. So from this it can understand that the KhuddakanikAya is later developed collection by the disciples of the Buddha.  These are the four which Myanmar tradition believes to be included in this.
1.  ñittipakAraNa
2.  Petakopadesa
3.  µilindapaJhA
4.  ßuttasaGgaha

1. KhuddakapAta
The first book of KuddhakanikAya is a collection of some reading material passages for beginning who is wish to enter or had entered into order of monks. It contains of three refuges, ten precepts and some important suttas which we use more in day today, like µaGgalasutta, ®atanasutta, KAraNiyamettasutta etc. and one is recorded that KumArapaJhA by which answers to the questions put by the Buddha to ßopAka itself is higher ordination foe him.

2. hammapada
This is the second of this nikAya. In ∂hammapada there are four hundred twenty-three (423) verses and grouped under twenty-six chapters given in three hundred four occasions, this book begins with Yamakavagga, the chapter on twin verses and ends with Brāhmanavagga. The ∂hammapada is very popular and well known text not only among Buddhist countries but elsewhere. It was translated into many languages and known as handbooks for ready reference of wanted occasion. In this the teachings which are very essential and lead to spiritual life as well as secular life are formulated in verses that which help to keep in memory in quick time. Therefore term ∂hammapada was given to it, path to truth.

3. üdAna
The üdAna pAli is a text of record of joyful utterance of the Buddha and his followers. Those, such utterances were made on a unique occasion and each one is accompanied by prose of circumstances that led to their being uttered. For an example, in the Bodhivagga the verses were uttered in soon after enlightened on truth the ñibbAna under Bo-tree. It has eight sections (vagga).
1) Bodhivagga
2) µucalindavagga
3) ñandavagga
4) µeghiyavagga
5) ßonavagga
6) Jaccandhavagga
7) Cullavagga
8) Pataligamiyavagga

4. Itivuttaka
The îtivuttaka is the fourth book of Kuddhaka nikAya. According to commentaries this collection as a whole is attributed to a laywoman named Khujjuttara, who worked in the palace of King Udena of Kosambi as a servant to one of his queens, Samavati. Because the Queen could not leave the palace to hear the Buddha's discourses, Khujjuttara went in her place, memorized what the Buddha said, and then returned to the palace to teach the Queen and her 500 ladies-in-waiting. For her efforts, the Buddha cited Khujjuttara as the foremost of his laywomen disciples in terms of her learning. It contains hundred twelve short discourses (112) divided into four nipAtas with verses and prose. The discourses were grouped in nipAta as like åGguttanikAya.

5. ßuttanipAta
The ßuttanipAata is the collection of short discourses which scattered and it the fifth book of the KhuddakanikAya, consists of 71 short suttas divided into five chapters. As well known as ∂hammapada, ßuttanipAta is also a work in verse with occasional introductions in prose. It is divided into five Vaggas namely
i) üragavagga  -12 suttas
ii) Culavagga  -14 suttas
iii) µahAvagga  -12 suttas
iv) åtthakavagga  -16 suttas
v) Parayanavagga  -16 questions.

6. VimAnavatthu
VimAna means mansion. The stories were learnt from the devas themselves, by µoggallAna, VangIsa and others, during their sojourn in the deva-worlds, and reported by them to the Buddha. Here it refers to celestial mansion gained by beings that are meritorious. This book contains eighty-five vaggas grouped in seven Vaggas. In the first four Vaggas, celestial females give an account of what acts of merit they have done in past births as human beings and how they are reborn in ∂eva realm where magnificent mansions await their appearance. In the last three Vaggas, the celestial males tell their stories.

7. Petavatthu
The Petavatthu explains the accounts of miserable states of beings who are reborn in unhappy states as a consequence of their past evil deeds. There are fifty-one stories, divided into four Vaggas, describing the life of misery of the evildoers, in direct contrast to the magnificent life of the devas. Tirokuttapetavatthu gives a detailed account of king BimbisAra’s relatives who are suffering in miserable states. There on by knowing the king released his former relatives offering and doing good deeds.

8 + 9. TheragAtha and TherigAtha
These are two treatises of the KhuddakanikAya of the SuttapiTka. In these the joyful utterance of the disciples of the Buddha are recorded in verses accompanied by their lives stories that what they were in early and now after attaining into truth of non-circling. Two hundred sixty four (264) theras and seventy three (73) theris utterances which they did through sheer exultation and joy that arise out of their religious devotion and inspiration.

10.  Jātaka
The past birth stories of the Buddha are recorded in this book. It contains five hundred and forty-seven (557) past birth stories of the Buddha according to Burmese belief but generally we are known there are five hundred fifty (550). In these birth stories embedded moral principles and practices, which the Bodhisatta had observed for self-development and perfections to attain fully enlightenment.

11. Niddesa
A commentarial work included in the Canon as part of the KhuddakanikAya. It is generally divided into two books: the Cullaniddesa and the µahAniddesa.
The Cullaniddesa contains comments on the KhagganisAna and the sixteen suttas of the PArayanavagga of the ßuttanipAta, while the µahAniddesa deals with the sixteen suttas of the åtthakavagga.
It is significant that the Cullaniddesa contains no comments on the fifty six (VatthugAthA) introductory stanzas, which preface the ParAyanavagga as at present found in the ßuttanipáta. This lends support to the suggestion that at the time the Cullaniddesa was written the ParAyanavagga, was a separate anthology, and that the KhaggavisAnasutta did not belong to any particular group. Similarly with the µahAniddesa and the åtthakavagga.
12. Patisambhidāmagga
This book is really belongs to the literature of the åbhidhamma type, and describes how analytical knowledge can be acquired by an arahant. It presents a systematic exposition of certain important topics of Buddhism. It is possible that, before the development of the extant åbhidhamma piTaka, it passed as one of the åbhidhamma treatises. It consists of three Vaggas and each Vagga contains ten topics:
1.  µahAvagga,
2.  Yuganaddhavagga
3.  PaJJAvagga  

13. åpadāna
This book contains 547 biographies of monks and forty biographies of nuns, all mentioned as having lived in the time of the Buddha. It is divided into two portions namely TherepadAna and TheripadAna. In addition to these, there are two introductory chapters, the BuddhApadAna and the PaccekabuddhApadAna, dealing with the Buddha and the Paccekabuddhas respectively.

14. BuddhavaMsa
The BuddhavaMsa deals with the history of the Buddhas. It contains, in verse, the lives of the twenty five Buddhas, of whom Gotama was the last. The name of the Bodhisatta under each Buddha is also given. The last chapter deals with the distribution of Gotama's relics.
It is said that the Buddhavamsa was preached, at Ven. ßAriputta request, at the ñigrodharAma in Kapilavatthu, after the Buddha had performed the miracle of the ®atanacaGkamana.

15. Cariyāpitaka         
The CariyApitaka contains thirty-five stories of the Buddha’s previous lives retold at the request of Ven. Sāriputta after preaching Buddhavamsa. Whereas the JAtaka is concerned with Buddha’s previous existences from the time of Sumedha, the hermit, till he becomes Gotama Buddha, CariyApitaka deals only with
thirty-five existence of the Bodhisatta in this last world cycle.

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