WHAT IS THE SUTTANTA PI¿AKA?
The Suttanta Pi¥aka is a collection of all the discourses in their entirety delivered by the Buddha on various occasions. (A few discourses delivered by some of the distinguished disciples of the Buddha, such as the Venerable Særiputta, Mahæ Moggallæna, Ænanda, etc., as well as some narratives are also included in the books of the Suttanta Pi¥aka.) The discourses of the Buddha compiled together in the Suttanta Pi¥aka were expounded to suit different occasions, for various persons with different temperaments. Although the discourses were mostly intended for the benefit of bhikkhus, and deal with the practice of the pure life and with the exposition of the Teaching, there are also several other discourses which deal with the material and moral progress of the lay disciples.
The Suttanta Pi¥aka brings out the meaning of the Buddhas teachings, expresses them clearly, protects and guards them against distortion and misconstruction. Just like a string which serves as a plumb-line to guide the carpenters in their work, just like a thread which protects flowers from being scattered or dispersed when strung together by it, likewise by means of suttas, the meaning of Buddhas teachings may be brought out clearly, grasped and understood correctly and given perfect protection from being misconstrued.
The Suttanta Pi¥aka is divided into five separate collections known as Nikæyas. They are Døgha Nikæya, Majjhima Nikæya, Saµyutta Nikæya, A³guttara Nikæya and Khuddaka Nikæya.