Are all the suttas in SN compiled from suttas in the other Nikkayas?

Perhaps a silly question…

Are all the suttas in SN complied from suttas in the other Nikkayas? That is, are they all repeated elsewhere, and hence they all end up having 2 reference numbers.

Eg MN144 (Channa) and SN35.87 (Channa)


No, the majority of SN suttas have no parallels in the other nikāyas.


This is an interesting topic. Perhaps a little off topic, but related. I had a conversation with a friend just yesterday about the most “authentic” of the Sutta Pitakas. My friend mentioned that he believes SN is for a number of reasons. Mainly that SN has nearly identical Suttas in its agama parallel.


Thank you Venerable.
It’s funny how coincidence works, I must have previously looked at one or another that had a duplicate, because this wasn’t the first, and hence my Q

Thanks also @Dukkha for your replies :slight_smile:

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There is a principle in Bible Studies that says:

“Documents with a more complex compositional history may well have been formed from the skillful redactional combination of a number of shorter, independent texts, either those originating from the same author on different occasions (e.g., the Isaiah scroll), or those knit together by a primary ‘compiler’ from distinct oral and/or written sources (e.g., the Gospel of Luke)” (Wendland 2013, 98: Orality and its Implications for the Analysis, Translation, and Transmission of Scripture).

Hence, I also treat the SN (and the AN) in general as more foundational than the MN or DN. There are exceptions though as many books in the SN use late vocabulary and mythology.


The themes in Sn are sometimes repeated in other collections, and there was a discussion here recently:

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You can read a lot about the relationship between the SN and the other Nikayas in Bhante Sujato’s A History of Mindfulness.


This is the view of certain Chinese scholars such as Yinshun.

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The following article by Roderick S. Bucknell may be relevant to the question:

2014: “The structure of the Sanskrit Dīrgha-āgama from Gilgit vis-à-vis the Pali Dīgha-nikāya”, Research on the Dīrgha-āgama (Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Research Series 5), edited by Dhammadinnā, 57-101, Taiwan: Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation.

in pages 75-91, 95-96

The author’s finding that transposition of sutras was usually from SN/SA to MN/MA, and/or from MN/MA to DN/DA.


It’s definitely a safe working assumption that shorter texts tend to be combined to form longer texts. The reverse may happen on occasion, but it would require special argumentation to establish this.