Majjhima Nikāya - Book I Part 1


Majjhima Nikāya

Collection of Medium Length Discourses of the Buddha.

This collection of medium length discourses is made up of one hundred and fifty-two suttas in three books known as paṇṇāsa.

The first book, Mūlapaṇṇāsa, deals with the first fifty suttas in five vaggas; the second book, Majjhimapaṇṇāsa consists of the second fifty suttas in five vaggas too;

and the last fifty-two suttas are dealt with in five vaggas of the third book, Uparipaṇṇāsa, which means more than fifty.

The suttas in this Nikāya throw much light on the social ideas and institutions of those days, and also provide general information on the economic and political life.

(a) Mūlapaṇṇāsa Pāḷi

I. Mūlapariyāya Vagga

 1. Mūlapariyāya Sutta

The Buddha explained the basis of all phenomena, specifying twenty-four categories such as

the four elements (earth, water, fire, wind); sentient beings, devas; the seen, the heard, the thought of, the known; the oneness, the multiplicity, the whole; and the reality of Nibbāna.

The uninstructed worldling cannot perceive the true nature of these phenomena; only the enlightened ones can see them in true perspective.

 2. Sabbāsava Sutta

In this discourse, mental intoxicants that beset the uninstructed worldling are defined, and seven practices for eradicating them are explained.

 3. Dhammadāyāda Sutta

This sutta contains two separate discourses, the first one given by the Buddha, the second by the Venerable Sāriputta.

The Buddha urged the bhikkhus to receive as their legacy from him the Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma only, and not material things like the four requisites.

The Venerable Sāriputta advised the bhikkhus to lead a solitary life for attainment of jhāna and to strive for the attainment of Nibbāna by abandoning greed, ill will, and delusion.

 4. Bhayabherava Sutta

This discourse describes how a bhikkhu leading a solitary life in a secluded forest invites harm and danger to himself by his impure thoughts, words and deeds,

and how the Buddha had lived a peaceful forest life harmlessly by cultivating pure thoughts, words and deeds which finally led him to enlightenment.

 5. Anaṅgaṇa Sutta

In this discourse given on the request of the Venerable Maha Moggallāna, the Venerable Sāriputta explained four types of individuals:

1. an impure person who knows he is impure;
2. an impure person who does not know he is impure;
3. a pure person who knows his own purity;
4. a pure person who does not know his own purity.

 6. Ākaṅkheyya Sutta

This sutta describes how a bhikkhu should develop śīla, samādhi and paññā, instead of hankering after gain and fame; how he should restrain his faculties, seeing danger in the slightest fault.

 7. Vattha Sutta

In this discourse the Buddha explained the difference between an impure mind and a pure mind by giving the example of dirty cloth and clean cloth. Only the clean cloth will absorb dye; so also only the pure mind will retain the dhamma.

 8. Sallekha Sutta

In this discourse the Buddha explained to Maha Cunda how wrong views about atta and loka can be removed only by vipassanā insight. Jhānic practice is not the austerity practice that removes moral defilements; jhānic practice only leads to a blissful existence.

Only refraining from forty-four kinds of bad deeds constitutes austerity practice for removing moral defilements.

The volition alone to do a good deed is enough to produce a good result; when it is accompanied by the actual deed, the beneficial result accruing is immeasurable.

One immersed in the mire of sensuous impurities cannot rescue others immersed likewise in the mire.

 9. Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta

This discourse is an exposition on the right view delivered by the Venerable Sāriputta at Sāvatthi.

When physical, verbal and mental actions are motivated by greed, hatred and delusion, they are deemed to be bad. When they arise through non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion, the actions are deemed to be good.

Right View is understanding what a good deed is and what a bad deed is; it is the full comprehension of the Four Noble Truths and not holding on to eternity views concerning atta.

10. Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta

This discourse given at Kammāsadhamma market town is the most important sutta which gives practical guidance for cultivation of mindfulness.

It describes the Four Methods of Steadfast Mindfulness, namely, contemplating the body, contemplating sensation, contemplating the mind,

and contemplating the dhamma as the one and only way for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation,

for the complete destruction of pain and distress, for the attainment of the Noble Magga, and for the realization of Nibbāna,

This sutta appears in identical form in the Dīgha Nikāya.