Suttas of the Digha Nikaya
The Pali text for individual suttas listed below is adapted from the Sri Lanka Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series [BJT]. Much, but not all of it is unabridged and has been checked against the Pali Text Society edition, and many of the suttas have been reformatted to include the original Pali (and/or organizational) phrase and sentence breaks.
PTS: Dialogues of the Buddha, Volumes I, III, III, Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids,
WP: The Long Discourses of the Buddha, Maurice Walshe
BD: Sutta translations by M. Olds.
ATI: Sutta translations by Bhikkhu Thanissaro and others originally located on Access to Insight.
A sutta which serves well as an introduction to the Buddhist Dhamma for the serious beginner. It goes into minute detail concerning ethical practices and what is considered by the Buddha as other points of view held by the world called 'the net of views' from which his Dhamma provides an escape.
The BrahmaNet Spell Nidana, Olds, trans.
The BrahmaNet Spell Ethics, Olds, trans.
The BrahmaNet Spell Higher Dhamma: Speculation about the Past 1, Olds, trans.
The BrahmaNet Spell Higher Dhamma: Speculation about the Past 2, Olds, trans.
The BrahmaNet Spell Higher Dhamma: Speculation about the Future, Olds, trans.
The BrahmaNet Spell Conclusion, Olds, trans.
ATI: The All-embracing Net of Views, Bhk. Bodhi, trans.
King Ajaatasattu of Magadha, after pointing out the advantages derived from their occupations by a long list of ordinary people in the world, asks whether the members of the Order, who have given up the world, derive any corresponding advantage, visible in this life, from theirs. The answer is a list of such advantages, arranged in an ascending scale of importance, each one mentioned being said to be better and sweeter than the one just before described.
3. Amba.t.tha Suttanta, I.87
This is one of several Suttas which deal with the subject of caste. As regards his own Order, over which alone he had complete control, he ignores completely and absolutely all advantages or disadvantages arising from birth, occupation, and social status, and sweeps away all barriers and disabilities arising from the arbitrary rules of mere ceremonial or social impurity. On being questioned about the issue, the Buddhas position was first to point out the actual facts of life - how a prosperous member of any group would find members of the others to wait upon him and serve him. Then he points out how a wicked man in accordance with the doctrine of Karma acknowledged by all good men, will be reborn in some state of woe; and a good man in some state of bliss. Thirdly, a criminal, whatever his class would be equally subject to punishment for his crime. And lastly, a man, whatever his class, would, on joining the order, on becoming a religieux, receive equal respect and honour from the people.
PTS: A Young Brahman's Rudness and An Old One's Faith: The Pride of Birth and Its Fall, Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.108
WP: About Ambattha: Pride Humbled, Walshe, trans., 111
4. So.nada.n.da Suttanta, I.111
This Dialogue comes very appropriately immediately after the Amba.t.tha. That dealt with the general question of pride of birth, or social position. This deals with the special question of what is the essential quality which makes a man a Brahman.
PTS: Characteristics of the True Brahman, Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.144
WP: About Sonadanda: The Qualities of a True Brahmin, Walshe, trans., 125
5. Kuu.tadanta Suttanta, I.127
A sutta in which the Very Reverend Sir Goldstick Sharp-tooth, lord of the manor of Khanumata, - very keen on being sure that his 'soul' should be as comfortable in the next world as he was, now, in this, makes up his mind to secure that most desirable end by the murder of a number of his fellow creatures, or as he would put it, by celebrating a sacrifice. In order to make certain that not one of the technical detail should be done wrong, the intending sacrificer goes to the Sama.na Gotama for advice about the modes of the ritual to be performed. The Buddha's answer is to tell him a wonderful legend of a King Wide-realm, and of the sacrifice he offered - truly the most extraordinary sacrifice imaginable.
PTS: The Wrong Sacrifice and the Right, Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.173
WP: About Kutadanta: A Bloodless Sacrifice, Walshe, trans., 133
6. Mahaali Suttanta, I.150
In this Sutta we have discussed first the question of the ability to see heavenly sights and hear heavenly sounds where the Buddha says that it is not for the sake of acquiring such powers that people join the Order under him, then he gradually leads the questioner on to Arahatship, as the aim, along the Eightfold Path.
7. Jaaliya Suttanta, I.159
The Buddha raises the question - whether the soul and the body are the same. And in answer, he leads the discourse up to Arahatship. This Sutta having been incorporated, word for word, in the previous Sutta, the reader is referred to the translation given there.
PTS: Is the Soul Distinct from the Body? Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.205 (But see #6 as this is just a reference to that sutta.)
WP: About Jaliya, Walshe, trans., 149
In this Sutta the Buddha, in conversation with a naked ascetic, explains his position as regards asceticism. When speaking on sacrifice to a sacrificial priest, on union with God to an adherent of the current theology, on Brahman claims to superior social rank to a proud Brahman, on mystic insight to a man who trusts in it, on the soul to one who believes in the soul theory, Gotama puts himself as far as possible in the mental position of the questioner. He attacks none of his cherished convictions. He accepts as the starting-point of his own exposition the desirability of the act or condition prized by his opponent - of the union with God, or of sacrifice, or of social rank, or of seeing heavenly sights, or of the soul theory, he adopts the phraseology of his questioner and then, partly by putting a new and higher meaning into the words; partly by an appeal to such ethical conceptions as are common ground between them; he gradually leads his opponent up to his conclusion. This is, of course, always Arahatship - that is the sweetest fruit of the life of a recluse, that is the best sacrifice, that the highest social rank, that the best means of seeing heavenly sights, and a more worthy object; and so on.
PTS: The Naked Ascetic, Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.223
WP: The Great Lion's Roar, Walshe, trans., 151
9. Po.t.thapaada Suttanta, I.178
This Sutta, beginning with a discussion on the mystery of jhana, passes over to the question of the doctrine of the impermanence of each and every condition, physical or mental; the absence of any abiding principle, any entity, any substance, any 'soul'. The issue dealt with here is the gradual change of mental conditions, of states of consciousness: and then, secondly, the point that personality, individuality is only a convenient expression in common use in the world, and therefore made use of also by the Tathagata, but only in such a manner that he is not led astray by its ambiguity, by its apparent implication of some permanent entity.
10. Subha Suttanta, I.204
Almost word for word the same as the Samanna-phala Sutta, the chief difference is that the states of mind enumerated in the Samanna-phala as fruits of the life of a recluse are here divided under the three heads of Sila, Samadhi, and Panna - Ethical conduct, Serenity, and Wisdom.
PTS: Conduct, Concentration, and Intellect, Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.267
WP: Morality, Concentration, Wisdom, Walshe, trans., 171
11. Kevaddha Suttanta, I.211
This Sutta deals with the position taken up by the early Buddhists as to the practice of the wonders or magic powers.
PTS: The Three Wonders, and the Gods, Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.276
WP: About Kevaddha: What Brahma Didn't Know, Walshe, trans., 175
ATI: To Kevatta, Bhk. Thanissaro, trans.
Buddhism in Translations, D 11: Kevaddha-Sutta. Warren, trans.
12. Lohikka Suttanta, I.224
This sutta deals with the question of the ethics of teachers and teaching.
13. Tevijja Suttanta, I.235
This Suttanta leads up only to the four states of mind held to result, after death, in a rebirth in the heavenly worlds of Brahma. If you want union with Brahma - which is not the Buddhist goal - this is the way to attain to it.
PTS: On Knowledge of the Vedas Rhys Davids, T., trans., I.300
Buddhist Suttas: Chapter 3: On Knowledge of the Vedas, Rhys Davids, T., trans.,
WP: The Threefold Knowledge: The Way to Brahma, Walshe, trans., 187
The Buddha gives the bhikkhus a comprehensive course on his system through the lens of seeing the lives of the previous seven Buddhas.
PTS: The Sublime Story, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.4
WP: The Great Discourse on the Lineage, Walshe, trans., 199
15. Mahaa-Nidaana Suttanta, II.55
A detailed exposition of the Paticca Smuppada, the Buddha's formula for the workings of kamma in the creation of the existing being. One of the most important Suttas in the entire collection of Pali suttas.
BD: The Great Downbinding Spell, Olds, trans.
PTS: The Great Discourse on Causation T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.50
WP: The Great Discourse on Origination, Walshe, trans., 223
ATI: The Great Causes Discourse, Bhk. Thanissaro, trans.
Buddhist Publication Society: Bodhi: The Great Discourse on Causation
Buddhism in Translations: There is No Ego. (DN 15: Excerpt).; Dependent Origination (DN 15: Excerpt) Warren, trans.
The story of the last days of the Buddha.
Buddhist Suttas: Rhys Davids, Chapter 1: The Book of the Great Decease
PTS: The Book of the Great Decease, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.78
Excerpt: § 33-42
WP: The Great Passing: The Buddha's Last Days, Walshe, trans., 231
ATI: The Last Days of the Buddha, Bhk. Thanissaro, trans.
The Last Days of the Buddha, Story, trans.
BIT: Buddhism in Translations: Chapter 12: The Death of the Buddha (Excerpt)
17. Mahaa-Sudassana Suttanta, II.169
A story of one of the Buddha's former births told to Ananda as the Buddha was dying to illustrate the meaninglessness of worldly things.
Buddhist Suttas: Rhys Davids,
Chapter 6: Legend Of The Great King Of Glory
PTS: The Great King of Glory, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.199
WP: The Great Splendour: A King's Renunciation, Walshe, trans., 279
18. Jana-Vasabha Suttanta, II.200
King Bimbasara, reborn in the retinue of the deva Vesavana, the Great King of the North, revisits the Buddha and reveals to him the discussion that was had in the council of the Thirty and Three upon a visit by Brahma Sanamkumara the topic of which was the great number of beings just from Magadha that were reborn there as stream-entrants consequent on developing faith in the Buddha and his instructions.
PTS: Jana-Vasabha's Story, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., trans., II.237
WP: About Janavasabha: Brahma Addresses the Gods, Walshe, trans., 291
19. Mahaa-Govinda Suttanta, II.220
Brahma Eternal Youth reminds the Buddha of a former birth.
PTS: The Lord High Steward, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II, 259
WP: The Great Steward: A Past Life of Gotama, Walshe, trans., 301
20. Mahaa-Samaya Suttanta, II.253
The Buddha introduces the bhikkhus to the great throng of deities gathered round him in the Great Wood near Kapilavatthu.
PTS: The Great Concourse, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.284
WP: The Mighty Gathering: Devas Come to See the Buddha, Walshe, trans., 315
ATI: The Great Assembly, Piyadassi Th., trans.
The Great Meeting, Bhk. Thanissaro, trans.
21. Sakka-Pa~nha Suttanta, II.263
Sakka, Ruler of Gods, visits the Buddha and puts questions to him that have been perplexing him. The Buddha's answers please him and he becomes a Streamwinner.
The long version of the famous sutta in which the Buddha describes the setting up of the mind by way of understanding the origin, sustainance and ending of body, sense experience, mental states and the Dhamma. Possibly the most famous, certainly one of the most important of all the Buddhas Suttas. It is this sutta which is the basis for the wide-spread 'mindfulness' business which makes use of but the first of its instructions.
BD: The Spell of Four Great Satisfactions, Olds, trans.
PTS: Setting-Up of Mindfulness, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.326
WP: The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness, Walshe, trans., 335
ATI: The Great Frames of Reference, Bhk. Thanissaro, trans.
Buddhism in Translations, [BIT] The Four Intent Contemplations. Warren, trans.
The Four Intent Contemplations. Warren, trans. reformatted with links to the Pali and the other translations above.
Norwegian: Den store teksten om oppmerksomhetens hovedområder Kåre A. Lie trans.
Ganges Sangha: The Great Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness
23. Paayaasi Suttanta, II.316
Prince Payasi has his view that there is no hereafter, that there is no spontaneous rebirth, and that there is no consequences from deeds well done or badly done thoroughly rebutted by Kassapa the Boy.
PTS: Rebirth and Karma, T.W. Rhys Davids, trans., II.349
WP: About Payasi: Debate with a Sceptic, Walshe, trans., 351
24. Paa.tika Suttanta, III.1
This sutta describes events leading up to the resignation of Sunakkhatta from the order. Sunakkhatta has complained that Gotama works no feats of magic for him nor does he tell him about the origins of the world. But Gotama tells of several events where he worked feats of magic right in front of Sunakkhatta which were acknowledged by him as feats of magic. Then he describes several ways theories of the origin of the world are arrived at.
PTS: Mystic Wonders and the Origin of Things, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.7
WP: About Patikaputta: The Charlatan, Walshe, trans., 371
Gotama instructs a group of ascetics on the way to bring the ascetic practice to it's highest perfection. This is a rare case where the Buddha, even after making an heroic effort fails utterly. This is also a sutta which shows the absolutely vital role repetition plays in the suttas. This was a spell which was designed to bring a group of committed ascetics step-by-step to the topmost peak of their discipline with the intent of bringing them, from that point, over to Gotama's system. It worked as far as bringing the group to their highest development, but failed to bring them across.
PTS: On Asceticism, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.33
WP: The Great Lion's Roar to the Udumbarrikans, Walshe, trans., 385
In this sutta the Buddha sets out his idea of conquest, and then as inculcating the observance of the Dhamma as the most important force for the material and moral progress of mankind.
PTS: War, Wickedness, and Wealth, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.59
WP: The Lion's Roar on the Turning of the Wheel, Walshe, trans., 395
ATI: Cakkavatti Sutta The Wheel-turning Emperor (Excerpt) Bhk. Thanissaro, trans
27. Agga~n~na Suttanta, III.80
The Buddha lays out the idea that the world is a phenomena which goes through cycles of evolution and devolution. Contrary to the popular notion that the Buddha did not answer questions about the origin of the world, this sutta explains the phenomena in great detail. The sutta arises from a discussion of the origin of the classes and gives an interesting history of Gotama's clan, the Sakkyans.
28. Sampasaadaniiya Suttanta, III.99
The venerable Sariputta makes an apparently unsupportable claim as to the Buddha's greatness. When he is called on it by the Buddha he makes good.
PTS: The Faith that Satisfied, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.95
WP: Serene Faith, Walshe, trans., 417
29. Paasaadika Suttanta, III.117
Gotama responds to the news that the death of Nathaputta the Nigantha has resulted in the break-up and general disorder of his followers by outlining in great detail the solid foundation on which the Sangha has been constructed.
PTS: The Delectable Discourse, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.111
WP: The Delightful Discourse, Walshe, trans., 427
30. Lakkha.na Suttanta, III.142
The sutta has three elements: a list of signs to be found on the body of one who is a 'maha-purissa' or 'great-man,' an exposition of the behaviors that resulted in it's acquisition and the consequences of possessing such qualities, and a poetic recapitulation of the prose exposition.
PTS: The Marks of the Superman, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.137
WP: The Marks of a Great Man, Walshe, trans., 441
31. Sigaalovaada Suttanta, III. 180
Of this sutta Buddhaghosa writes, 'nothing in the duties of housemen is left unmentioned. This Suttanta is called the Vinaya of the Houseman. Hence in one who practises what he has been taught in it, growth is to be looked for, and not decay.' And Rhys Davids adds: 'And truly we may say even now of this Vinaya, or code of discipline, so fundamental are the human interests involved, so sane and wide is the wisdom that envisages them, that the utterances are as fresh and practically as binding to-day and here as they were then at Rajagaha.'
SSP: Sigaalovada Suttanta, Gogerly, trans.
PTS: The Segala Homily Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.173
The Segala Homily, pdf file
WP: To Sigalaka: Advice to Lay People, Walshe, trans., 461
ATI: To Sigala/The Layperson's Code of Discipline, Narada Th., trans.
The Buddha's Advice to Sigalaka, John Kelly, Sue Sawyer, and Victoria Yareham, trans.
32. Aa.taanaa.tiya Suttanta, III.194
A magic charm to be used by Buddhists to call forth aid in the event of harassment by demonic beings.
SSP: Grimblot, Sept Suttas Pali: The Discourse Called Aa.taanaa.tiya
PTS: The Ward Rune of Aa.taanaa.ta, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.188
Appendix to the Aa.taanaa.tiya Suttanta
WP: The Atanata Protective Verses, Walshe, trans., 471
ATI: Discourse on Atanatiya, Piyadassi Th., trans.
33. Sa'ngiiti Suttanta, III.207
An extensive categorization of all the main ideas in the Buddha's system grouped by the number of concepts covered.
[Pali] Sangiti Sutta: 1s and 2s, p 207
Sangiti Sutta: 3s, p 214
Sangiti Sutta: 4s, p 221
Sangiti Sutta: 5s, p 233
Sangiti Sutta: 6s, p 243
Sangiti Sutta: 7s, p 251
Sangiti Sutta: 8s, p 254
Sangiti Sutta: 9s, p 262
Sangiti Sutta: 10s, p 266
BD: The Compilation: 1s and 2s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 3s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 4s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 4s: The Ancient Aristocratic Heritage, Olds, trans., (excerpt)
The Compilation: 4s: Four Immeasurables, Olds, trans., (excerpt)
The Compilation: 5s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 6s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 6s: Six-Part Harmony, Olds, trans., (excerpt)
The Compilation: 7s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 8s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 9s, Olds, trans.
The Compilation: 10s, Olds, trans.
PTS: The Recital: 1s and 2s, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 201
The Recital: 3s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 207
The Recital: 4s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 214
The Recital: 5s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 224
The Recital: 6s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 230
The Recital: 7s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 234
The Recital: 8s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 237
The Recital: 9s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 243
The Recital: 10s Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III. 245
WP: The Chanting Together: 1s and 2s, Walshe, trans., 479
The Chanting Together: 3s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 4s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 5s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 6s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 7s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 8s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 9s Walshe, trans.
The Chanting Together: 10s Walshe, trans.
34. Dasuttara Suttanta, III 272
This sutta is very similar to DN 33 in that it is a catalog of various units of the Dhamma organized by way of the number of items in the unit. It becomes a form of mental gymnastics by imposing on the structure that it be limited to ten sets fit within 10 specific concepts: - so that section 1 is 10 units of one item each, each dealing with concepts 1-10; the second is 10 units of 2 items each, each dealing with concepts 1-10; on up to 10 units of 10 items each, each dealing with concepts 1-10.
PTS: The Tenfold Series, Rhys Davids, T. and C., trans., III.250
WP: Expanding Decades, Walshe, trans., 511