(Partial) Parallel Link?

I really thought that I had made this suggestion to SC a long time ago considering that this is one of my favorite suttas. But, looking now, I don’t see any link, so Perhaps I didn’t–or was the suggestion rejected? I don’t recall. Anyway, we might want to consider linking EĀ 49.5 with SN 12.60, the Nidāna Sutta, as at least a partial parallel.

Although EĀ 49.5 is correctly linked to the SN 12.2, the Vibhaṅga Sutta, because of the explanation of the 12 DO links which comprise the main body of the text, it in fact begins with the famous “Mā hevaṁ, ānanda, avaca!” episode shared by SN 12.60 and DN 15, the Mahānidāna Sutta.

It gets weird after that intro: before going into its vibhaṅga of the 12 DO links, the Buddha segues into a jātaka/avadāna (to my knowledge, unique to this sutta) to demonstrate that that was not the first time Ānanda had spoken “out of his depth.”

Obviously, I don’t really know the standards and criteria regarding parallels; I merely mention it now because I thought I already had a long time ago. Perhaps @cdpatton or whoever else reads Chinese might give it a look.

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Actually, the jataka/purvayoga story is tacked onto the end of EA 49.5 after the definitions of the twelve dharma of dependent origination. It definitely looks like an alternate version of SN 12.60, but it uses a story about an asura king and his son instead of the parable of a great tree found in Pali to explain Ananda’s statement. So, it’s parallel in the sense that it shows that there may have been an independent sutra about Ananda’s statement. Or at some point Pali split that bit off into a separate sutta (which they seemed to have done at times, especially in AN). A parallel subject, I guess you could call it. The Ekottarika Agama seems to have quite a few cases of sutras that appear to merge two separate sutras (at least in Pali) into one. Or sometimes it merges different chunks of sutra material than Pali does. It shows how patchwork the later sutras are.

As far as the story being “weird,” I’d (as usual) be interested in what’s in the Pali commentaries. Theravadins seem to have sequestered much of this background lore to their commentaries and kept it out of suttas.


Yeah, I went back after I posted and saw that. Sorry.

Yeah, like a splice of 12.60 and 12.2.

But I don’t think the tree parable is connected to Ānanda’s statement, is it? Doesn’t it refer to how craving fuels the DO process?

I’m not following you here.

Yeah, I know. I love it! You get some great mash-ups! My favorites (even though they’re not EĀ ) are T 138 佛說十一想思念如來經 and T 505 佛說隨勇尊者經. (The former even has two openings and closings even though it’s listed under a single Taishō number.) And, now that you mention it, they are both connected with either EĀ or AN. I never looked at it that way before.

What I meant by weird was precisely that: out of place in a sutta collection. Quick question, though: I know that, like you said,

but, to the best of your recollection, do examples from the jātaka genre specifically often pop up in the āgama collections?

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Tacking this onto the end of EA 49.5 seems like a later accretion. It probably would have already existed. I think early Buddhists tended to stitch things together rather than make new material to add to something unrelated.

Not very often, no. There are a few examples of avadanas in general, like the long version of the King Dīrghāyu story that’s inserted into MA 72 (a condensed version of it is in the Theravada Vinaya). EA is weird in that we find alot of this type of material, which I think scholars who’ve studied it closely have decided was added after the initial translation by someone. Most suspect it was Chu Fonian because he was involved in the translation team and was creative in other cases, too. It seems to have been enlarged by maybe 10 fascicles with avadanas and large MA sutras (and some Mahayana references here and there for good measure). It doesn’t look like a pristine version of an Indic EA. Take a look at EA 24.5 sometime. It’s a huge avadana sutra that has no business in the collection. Great story telling, though. Its parallels are mostly in the Pali Vinaya and commentaries.

Who knows, maybe this bit added to EA 49.5 is part of that. It’s kind of hard to tell if it was in the original or not.


Ahhh, yes! And so whether the jātaka/apadāna is in the beginning, middle or end really is significant. Got it.


It seems that it’s just you and I here. Has anyone else noticed our little thread here? What’s the final word on EĀ 49.5? For example, the example I gave, T 505, whose contents are also obviously two separate Pāli discourses, lists both as parallels. I know you don’t decide these things at SC. (Or do you? Maybe I’m wrong?)

Also, I just discovered that SĀ 1066 is listed as a parallel to AN 8.9, Nanda Sutta. This is surely a mistake; the former’s content has nothing to do with the latter. AN 8.9 does have Āgama parallels: SĀ 275 and SĀ2 6. I think the confusion stems from SĀ 1066 sharing the same title, 難陀, as these two others. But, again, the content is wholly different. And it’s actually parallel to the previous discourse, SĀ 1065, which has no Pāli parallel I’m aware of.

Again, whoever’s out there, what’s the word?


The parallels data for Chinese Agamas on SC is in need of a review and improvement. My impression is that it’s mainly created by Pali readers who want to know the parallels to suttas, and Theravadins are the main user base of SuttaCentral. So, people aren’t really looking for parallels to a given Agama sutra and don’t notice these things. And they can’t read Chinese, so they don’t know whether it’s correct or not.

Something we should do is make a concerted effort to go over it and improve it. Maybe slowly look through every sutra and check its parallels? Then we could compile corrections in a thread here on the forum. I’ve avoided taking on big tasks like this because I’m neck deep in translation work (currently editing the Parinirvana Sutra in DA). But it really does need to get done and no one else is doing it. I’m taking time this summer to do as much of Everything Else Besides Translation as I can, so maybe I could set aside some time every day to review parallels. If we could get a couple other people, it would go faster.


I want to commit to this–not just for ‘the cause,’ but because your properly nuanced view on parallelism is of great value, and hard to acquire in less than a few decades. However, I am still involved in the PhD program. (Perhaps, though, that’s just my convenient excuse.) Would a definite “maybe” do any good here? (My guess is not.)

Let me just commit, leaving open the exact amount of time I’m committing to every day.

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