The Sutta-Nipata

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Item Code: NAJ655
Author: P. V. Bapat
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Language: Pali
Edition: 1990
ISBN: 8170302323
Pages: 212
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 400 gm
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Book Description

About the Book


This book represents the whole of what is the best in Buddhism. The Sutta-Nipata is an anthology and contains among others, a large number of verses from the different Nikayas. The verses their in are edifying and inspiring and are revelations of truth. The study of the Sutta-Nipata is important from several points of view. It gives an authentic knowledge of the philosophical and ethical teachings of the Buddha and of the ideals of a Buddhist monk. It affords us a glimpse into the state of the Indian society some 2500 years ago. It tells us good deals of religious sects like the Samanas or the Brahamanas, and 'sometimes, in passing we find a reference to certain customs of the people. This is the first time that it is printed in Devanagari script. The other chief feature of the edition consists in this attempt to supply the parallel passages of the gathas. The present edition contains many indices which includes index of Gods, Persons, Sects and Peoples, Index of Places, Rivers, Countries, Mountains, Index of Similes and Metaphor, Index of subjects and Important words.




My experience, during the last six years of teaching Pali in Fergusson College, Poona, has led me to believe that foreign scripts like Sinhalese or Burmese, or even Roman, presented a great difficulty to students at the beginning of their Pali studies, and that the publication of Devanagari editions of as many Pali books as possible a, would go a long way to make the study of Pali popular, both among the students of Universities, as well as the readers of the public in general. My friend and colleague, the late Prof. C. V. Rajawade of Baroda, whose life was prematurely cut short in the spring of 1920 had informed me that he had already made a beginning to prepare a Devanagari edition of the Sutt a-Nipata, and I was under the impression, when I had to write an obituary nota on him, in the Annals of the Bhandarkar. Inatitute, Poona., published in July 1920 (vol. II Part I, p.84.85), that he had prepared an almost complete manuscript of a Devanagari edition of the Sutta Nipata: But, when I could actually see the manuscripts left behind by him, I found that he had prepared a copy of 1-77, 766-861, 976-1149 satanzas only. I thought it to be my sacred duty to complete the 'work which he had begun, and I requested his in the Principal V. K. Rajawada, to allow me to male use of his manuscripts and complete the work. I am glad to say that he readily consented; and left the manuscripts of his son at my disposal, for which act of kindness, I am highly obliged to him.


I approached the University of Bombay to give me some help, to enable me to complete the work left behind by the great Pali scholar, and publish it. I have a great pleasure to say that the syndicate readily responded and laid me under deep obligations by promising to give me partial help.


I am greatly indebted to Pandit Vidhushekhara Bhattacarya, Principal, Vishvabharati, Santiniketan & Bolpur, for having consented to write a foreword to this book, which originated with our common friend. I must express my thanks to Prof. N. K. Bhagwat, M. A. of St. Xavier"s. College, Bombay, who made me several useful suggestions, and who could make it possible for me to attach to the work a photo of the late Prof. Rajawado, I cannot forget to express my thanks to Pali students of Fergusson College, Poona, and especially to Mr. K. B. Sat he, B. A., for having helped me, to a great extent in preparing the copy for the press. And, last but not least, I have to tender my thanks to the Manager, Aryabhushana Press, Poona, for the great pains he took in keeping the printing of this book as faultless as possible.




The Dhammapada of the Buddhists, which is well- known even to an ordinary reader, is now rightly included in the world literature. There is one work more, viz. the Suita Nipata, in Pali, It holds rather a better position, but. unfortunately, it is not yet so much appreciated as it should have been Indeed,·this single small book can sufficiently represent the whole of what is the hest b Buddhism. One of the special features of it is that it can hardly be regarded as sectarian, and as such can sefely be placed in everyone's hand. Like the Dhammapada, the Sutta Nipata is an anthology and contains, am on gathers, a large number of verses from the different Nikayas. The versos therein are edifying and inspiring and are revelations of truth. The language of the book shows unmistakably that some portions of it are far older than the Dhammapada. Asoka in his Bhabra Edict says that whatever was said by the Buddha was well-said; yet, he wants to" adduce those words of the Buddha, which according to him, might be for the long endurance of the Good Law. He then refers there to seven passages. expressing his desire that the monks and nuns as well as the laity, male and female, should listen to them and understand them. One of these seven passages is the Munigatha,' the song of the hermit.' This Munigatha is identical with the Munisutta, which the readers will find in the following pages of our Sutta-nipata ( 1. 12, vv. 207-221). It can thus rightly boast of containing at least one of the seven favourite passages of Asoka. It may also be added here, as Fausboll observes, that the Sutta nipata is "an important contribution to the right understanding of primitive Buddhism, for we see here a picture not of life in monasteries, hut of life of the hermits in its first stage. We have before us not the systematizing of thee later Buddhist-church, but the first germs of a system, the fundamental ideas of which come out with sufficient clearness .


The chief speciality of the present edition, by Prof. Bapat, is that it is printed for the first time in Devanagari characters. Pali works in Devanagari are badly wanted for Indian students, to whom even the Roman characters are not suitable, as our own experience shows. I discussed the matter, among others, with the late Prof. C. V. Rajwade, whose premature death has removed from us a real worker in the field of Pali literature, and the result was that he brought out a Devanagari edition of the first fifty Suttas (Mulapannasa) of the Majjhimanikaya with his friends. The present editor, Prof. Bapat. It is unfortunate  that he could not survive to see the present edition of the Sutta-Nipata, which he do much desired and attempted to prepare.




What the Vedas are to the Hindus, the Koran to the Mohomadens and the Bible to the Christians, the Tipitaka (Sans. Tripitaka) is to the Buddhist. The Tipitaka consist of the three Pitakas of baskets, which form the Sacred Canon of the Buddhists. The three Pitakas are the Sutta Pitaka, the Vinaya Pitaka and the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Sutta Pitaka purports to give, in a popular and interesting form, the general discussions or discourses of the Buddha or his disciples, on certain religious of philosophical tenets, or ethical on certain religious or philosophical tenets, or ethical principles of Buddhism. The Vinaya Pitaka gives the rules and regulations for illustrate the occasions, when the buddha was forced to lay them down, or was driven, by force of experience, to make certain modifications in not enticing or interesting to those who are not initiated into the orthodox ways of its expression. The inordinate love of an Indian mind for classifications, subdivisions and enumerations is abundantly clear in the books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Study of these books involves a high training of istellect and sharping of memory.


All the books of the Tipitaka have not been composed at one and the same time. They represent the literary activitities among the Buddhist community, for about there centuries since Gotama Budda was accepted and recognised as the leader of a new school of religious reform; that is to say, since the foundation of his religious order -the Samgha. A major part of the Samyutta and Anguttara Nikavas is later than the Digha and Majjhima. Nikayas. In the Anguttara, there is a sutta based upon the death of the wife of Munda, a king of Magadha, who began to rule some fort 7 years after the Buddha's death. Some books of the Khuddska Nikaya also clearly reveal traces of later origin Books like the Peta-Vatthu and Vimana-Vatthu strike clearly distinct note. In the Peta-Vatthu (IV. 3.1.), the is a reference to a king Pingalaka, who is said to have reigned at Surat, soma 200 years after the Buddha. There is another reference (V. 2. ), in the same, to an event !fifty-six: years after the Buddha's death.


Similar lines of growth are discernible in the Vinave, .and Abhidhamma Pitakas also. One can very easily see ,that the Parivara, the fifth book of the Vinaya, is much later -than the other four books of the same, and that the Katha- Vatthu, also, is much later than the Dhamma-Sangani.


The traditional view of the Buddhists is that, immediately after the death of the Buddha his disciples, under the leader- ship of Maha-Kassapa, assembled at Rajagaha, and held a council of 500 -wise men. They decided to bring together all the teachings of the Buddha, and incorporat them into some fixed literary form, in order to prevent, as far as possible the cropping up of a serious difference of opinion, as to' whether any particular thing was sanctioned, or not, by the Buddha. King Ajatasattu helped these monks, and tradition says that the Dhamma (which is interpreted by a later commentator as including both the Sutta and Abhidhamma Pitakas ) was recited by Ananda, who was that chosen by the Buddha to be his personal attendant, and that the Vinaya was recited by Upali. A hundred years after this, another Council of 700 wise ms n 'was held at Vasali, to decide certain legal points which created a schism in the Buddhist Samgha, This time also the Tipitaka was recited and the teachings of the Buddha were red acted. One hundred' and thirty six years after this, i. e. two hundred and thirty-six year after the death of the Buddha, in the reign of the great Emperor Asoka, a third Council was had at Pataliputta, (modern Patana,) and, once more, there was a redaction of all the literary·material that was available till then. A special mention has been made of the Katha- Vatthu, the last book of the Abhidaamma-Pitaka, being recited by Moggali- putta Tissa There, who presided over the deliberat ions of that Council.


These are the only three Councils, which are recognised by the adherents of the The rawada school ( who were later on called as Hinayantsts ), to whom the Pali literature properly belongs.


Though western scholars, like Oldenberg and Karn; doubt the traditional historicity of the First Council, I believe, we can not deny the fact of such a Council itself. There is nothing unnatural in that the followers of & founder of a religion should assemble immediately after the death of their Master, to give a fixed literary form to his teachings. On the contrary, it appears improbable that they should at all have been indifferent to allow the teachings of their Master to perish, through lack of 'zeal on their part. I, however, do not think it probable that they could have recited all the existing books of the Tipitake, either in the First, or Second Council, for the simple reason that the Canon, as we have seen above, could not, then, have boon complete.



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