Diverse Agama Sutra?

Dear all,

I have found an article about introduction to Agama Sutra in here. There the author has cited passages from a division of Agama called “Diverse Agama” which are based on Chinese version edited by Rev. Yin Suan. I think it is Samyukta Agama because it is said that the text was translated into Chinese by Gunabhadra at 435 AD. But I’m puzzled by it’s numbering because it can’t be found on SC. For example:

“Before I reached enlightenment, I stayed in a quiet place alone, meditating on where my mind tend to go. I observed that my mind tended to go after my past glories, a little less about my present, and very little about the future. I then took great care to guard against my mind flowing with the past glories. Because of my diligence, I found myself slowly nearing enlightenment…” [S-136]

The above passage can’t be found at SA 136.

“It was a dark night, raining lightly, with flashes of lightning. The Buddha said to Ananda: “You can come out with the umbrella over the lamp.” Ananda listened, and walked behind the Buddha, with an umbrella over the lamp. When they reached a place, the Buddha smiled. Ananda said: “The Buddha doesn’t smile without a reason. What brings the smile today?” The Buddha said: “That’s right! That’s right! The Buddha doesn’t smile without a reason. Now you are following me with an umbrella over a lamp. I look around, and see everyone doing the same thing.”” [S-1150]

Neither this can be found at SA 1150 because it’s diferrent from its content. Maybe it isn’t sutta numbering, just page numbering.

Anyone can help me with this?

Thank you


The Diverse Agama Sutra, consisting of 50 chapters and 1359 passages, is generally considered to be the volume that contained the crux of Buddha’s teaching. Passages cited in this discussion were translated into English from the Chinese version based on the editing by Rev. Yin Suan.

This is definitely the Saṃyukta Āgama 雜阿含經, which is T. 99, or SA-1 on this site. Sometimes 雜 is translated as miscellaneous, or in this case diverse. Until recently, most Chinese Buddhists were totally unfamiliar with this collection. For example, in a footnote in Charles Luk’s The Secrets of Chinese Meditation, the SA is simply described as a “miscellaneous treatise on meditation.” This was in 1960’s Hong Kong, so quite a different era.

In 1908, “The Four Buddhist Agama in Chinese” was published in Japan. By 1923, the Chinese scholar, Lu Jing published “The Editing of the Diverse Agama Sutra”. In 1944, Reverend Yin Suan began his lifelong research of the Agama Sutra by publishing a series of works on the origin of early Buddhism.

In 1908, Masaharu Anesaki’s concordance of the āgamas and nikāyas was published. “Lu Jing” should be instead Lü Cheng, who published about the organization of fascicles in the SA. “Yin Suan” should be Yin Shun, who spent his life studying and fixing the SA, and published his own three-volume set of the reordered SA and its classical commentary. Later his texts were edited again and republished in the Foguang Tripiṭaka.

The Diverse Agama Sutra, consisting of 50 chapters and 1359 passages, is generally considered to be the volume that contained the crux of Buddha’s teaching. Passages cited in this discussion were translated into English from the Chinese version based on the editing by Rev. Yin Suan.

If they are citing 1359 sūtras, then that would be the Foguang Tripiṭaka version of the collection, which was published in Taiwan in 1983, and has been reordered and “fixed” (previously the saṃyuktas were in the wrong order due to a filing error).

I have no idea what sūtras they are translating from, though. The translations seem very loose, or otherwise not in the normal style of the SA at all. They read more like Zen encounters or something. I’ve tried matching up quite a few of them because I have a copy of Yin Shun’s fixed SA, and all the sūtras numbered according to the three major numbering systems. I can’t find clear links at all, though, and many names and terms are obviously mistranslated.

For the SA, there is not much material available in English, but some of the sūtras have been translated into English and are available on this site. Aside from those, Ven. Analayo has published some studies on different topics and sūtras from the collection. Hope this was helpful in some way.


For anyone interested here are SA tranalstions 1–32

@llt and @Linda

Thank you for information, actually I have translated Bhante Analayo’s SA into Indonesian and I hope it will continue till the whole collection translated into English. :slight_smile:


Some of the translations are unintentionally hilarious:

Mahakasyapa said to Ananda: "You better be quiet, don’t force me to ask about your affairs in front of all the monks."
Ananda kept quiet immediately


He must have been hinting at Ven. Ānanda’s embarrassing moment with the mātaṅga woman at the beginning of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra.

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I don’t know whether the occasion in Surangama Sutra are evidently based on historical event or not, but I think it refers to the occasion in SN 16.11 where Ananda was rebuked by Mahakassapa because of behavior of some young monks.

Yes, I’m sure it is. It’s just the reference to Ānanda’s “affairs” that struck me as funny.


But indeed, Ananda was being accused by Mahakassapa and other monks for some “affairs” in the First Council. :slight_smile:

Very interesting to see Maha Kassapa playing tough on Ven. Ananda.

Stephen Batchelor has some interesting theories on how the former - held as a key lineage patriarch across Northern Buddhism - seemed to have disliked the latter:

You say there was a power struggle after the Buddha’s death?
Well, fortunately, the canon does not end with his death. It ends with the first council, held nine months after his death.

And it describes quite clearly a power struggle: a struggle between Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and a monk called Mahakassapa, who became a monk later in his life and is described as a former Brahmin.

He claims to have received a kind of direct transmission from the Buddha. He wasn’t there when the Buddha died but arrived with a number of monks a week after his death, just before the cremation pyre is to be lit. Mahakassapa paid his last respects to the Buddha, the pyre was lit, and then the power struggle began.

Mahakassapa does not consider Ananda to be fully enlightened, and therefore not qualified to have any leadership role in the community. Mahakassapa claims he’s fully enlightened and that he is the successor of the Buddha, even though the Buddha has explicitly declared that he will have no successor.

Funnily enough, the Buddhist community now described him as the father of the Sangha. Now father in Latin is Papa, or Pope, the very thing the Buddha didn’t want happened within months of his death. Mahakassapa then organised the first council in Rajgir. He basically took over.

And there are two sutras in the Pali canon where Mahakassapa is very dismissive, almost abusive, in his dealings with Ananda. He dismisses Ananda by saying he’s just a boy. “You don’t know your measure, boy.” And Ananda replies: “But are these not grey hair?” It’s very odd–why are those passages there, why haven’t they been edited out? There are a number of little passages, quite detailed, that tell us about the conflict before the first council.

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the possibility is that the suttas which retain such passages have been passed down within Ven Mahakassapa’s lineage or tradition, unless the entire tradition after the Buddha’s parinibbana, was his

such behavior of his raises the question of him being an arahant i think

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