The Sutta Pitaka is the basket of discourse and doctrine. It is divided into five parts, called Nikayas:

(a) Digha-nikaya, a division of long discourses containing 34 Suttas. Some of these Suttas are: Samannaphala (dealing with the rewards of asceticism), the Ambattha Sutta (dealing with the Buddha’s attitude to caste), Kutadenta Sutta (dealing with the relations of Brahminism and Buddhism), Tevijja Sutta (contrasting the Brahminical culture with Buddhist ideals) and the Mahaparinibbhana Sutta (which gives an account of the last days of the Buddha).

(b) Majjhima- nikaya, a division of medium-long discourses containing 152 Suttas dealing with all the points of Buddhist religion.

(c) Samyutta-nikaya, a division of connected discourses. It contains a version of the famous Sermon of Setting in Motion the Wheel of Righteousness.


(d) Anguttra-nikaya having over 2300 Suttas in eleven groups.

(e) Khuddaka-nikaya, a division of minor discourses. It contains much of the finest material in the scriptures. It begins with the Khuddaka patha which might be described as the manual of Buddhist life.

Next comes the Dhammapada, the most famous of all Theravada scriptures and one of the most perfect ethical manuals of the world. Other famous works included in this Nikaya are the Udana, the Itivuttaka and the famous Sutta Nipata.

Then there are the Jakata tales, a collection of stories dealing with the previous lives of the Buddha.