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Anguttara Nikaya

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The Anguttara Nikaya is the fourth book of the Sutta Pitaka, the first division of the Tipitaka, the sacred scriptures of Buddhism. The word anguttara means ‘up by one’ and is used because all the 2344 discourses or suttas in this book are arranged according to a numerical system from one to eleven. It has also been defined as "Numerical Discourses." The Anguttara Nikaya deals with a wider variety of subjects than any other division in the Tipitaka.

Prominent teachings

Since the Anguttara Nikaya deals with so many teachings, there are many significant teachings to found in this Nikaya or collection:

Anguttara Nikaya 4.21 The Buddha’s Refuge:

After enlightenment the Buddha said, “Let me then honor and respect and dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened.”

Anguttara Nikaya 11.12 The Six qualities of the Dhamma:

1. Svakkhato: The Dhamma is not a speculative philosophy, but is the Universal Law found through enlightenment and is preached precisely. Therefore it is Excellent in the beginning (Sila — Moral principles), Excellent in the middle (Samadhi — Concentration) and Excellent in the end (Panna — Wisdom),

2. Samditthiko: The Dhamma is testable by practice and known by direct experience,

3. Akaliko: The Dhamma is able to bestow timeless and immediate results here and now, for which there is no need to wait until the future or next existence.

4. Ehipassiko: The Dhamma welcomes all beings to put it to the test and to experience it for themselves.

5. Opaneyiko: The Dhamma is capable of being entered upon and therefore it is worthy to be followed as a part of one's life.

6. Paccattam veditabbo vinnunhi: The Dhamma may be perfectly realized only by the noble disciples who have matured and enlightened enough in supreme wisdom.

Anguttara Nikaya 3.65 The Kalama Sutta, The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry:

“Do not believe in something because it is reported. Do not believe in something because it has been practiced by generations or becomes a tradition or part of a culture. Do not believe in something because a scripture says it is so. Do not believe in something believing a god has inspired it. Do not believe in something a teacher tells you to. Do not believe in something because the authorities say it is so. Do not believe in hearsay, rumor, speculative opinion, public opinion, or mere acceptance to logic and inference alone. Help yourself, accept as completely true only that which is praised by the wise and which you test for yourself and know to be good for yourself and others.”

Anguttara Nikaya 3.65 Metta and the Brahma Viharas; loving kindness and the divine emotions:

“Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of greed, devoid of ill will, undeluded, alert, and resolute — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] — as well as the second direction, the third, and the fourth — with an awareness imbued with good will. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, and all around, everywhere and in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second direction, the third, and the fourth — with an awareness imbued with compassion. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, and all around, everywhere and in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with compassion: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second direction, the third, and the fourth — with an awareness imbued with appreciation. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, and all around, everywhere and in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with appreciation: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second direction, the third, and the fourth — with an awareness imbued with equanimity. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, and all around, everywhere and in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with equanimity: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.”

The Christians have John 3:16, for Vegetarian Buddhists there is Anguttara Nikaya 3:16:

“Monks, one possessed of three qualities is put into Purgatory according to his actions. What three? One is himself a taker of life, encourages another to do the same and approves thereof. Monks, one possessed of three qualities is put into heaven according to his actions. What three? He himself abstains from taking life, encourages another to so abstain, and approves of such abstention Anguttara Nikaya 3.16 . . . . (and speaks in praise of thereof . . .” added to this list in Anguttara Nikaya 10. 213)

Anguttara Nikaya 5.177 The five types of wrong livelihood:

“Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.”

Anguttara Nikaya 3.61 The Four Noble Truths:

Suffering, the cause of suffering, the way suffering ceases, and the Middle Path

Anguttara Nikaya 3.62 The Noble Eightfold Middle Path:

Right: Understanding, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, Concentration

Anguttara Nikaya 10.13 The ten hindrances to enlightenment:

The belief in a permanent personality /ego; Doubt, extreme scepticism; Clinging to rites, rituals, ceremonies; Attachment to sense desires; Ill-will / anger; Craving for form world; Craving for formless world; Conceit; Restlessness; Ignorance.

Anguttara Nikaya 4.241-243 Anyone from any religion can get to heaven:

“Another person has practiced the making of merit by giving as well as by moral discipline to a high degree; but he has not undertaken the making of merit by meditation. With the breakup of the body, after death, he will be reborn among humans in a favorable condition. Or he will be reborn in the company of the devas of the Four Great Kings.”

Anguttara Nikaya 2.25 The Dhamma is not a fundamentalist teaching:

“Monks, these two slander the Tathagata [Buddha]. Which two? He who explains a discourse whose meaning needs to be inferred as one whose meaning has already been fully drawn out. And he who explains a discourse whose meaning has already been fully drawn out as one whose meaning needs to be inferred. These are two who slander the Tathagata.”


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