Suttas that reference other suttas by name

Hi all! I am trying to compile a list of suttas that refer to other suttas by name. So far I have:

MN132 MN133 and MN134 refer to MN131
SN41.3 refers to DN1 by name
SN22.4 refers to DN21 and/or MN37
SN12.31 refers to Snp5.2 by name
SN22.3 refers to Snp4.9 by name
AN3.32 refers to Snp5.4 by name
AN4.41 refers to Snp5.4 by name
Ud5.6 refers to Snp4.1 thru Snp4.16 by name
SA205 refers to the Udana
SA106 (the parallel to SN22.86 SN44.2) refers to SA104 (the parallel to SN22.85) by name
MN28 quotes MN21 - The simile of the saw.
MN125 refers to MN107
SN53.13 refers to SN45.139

SN 10.6 mentions Anuruddha reciting “dhammapadāni” Perhaps this sutta refers to an early Dhammapada text :thinking:

Are there other examples of this?



SN22.4 refers to MN37 / DN21


Thanks @Danny ! fantastic!! I will add it to the OP

Interesting that there aren’t any examples that quote suttas from the same collection.

MN132 and MN133 refer back to MN131 “One Fine Night”.


Fantastic!!! I will add those to the OP :slight_smile:

Just briefly on MN131 MN132 MN133 and MN134 they make an interesting collection.
The MA has no parallel to MN131, but it’s parallels to MN132 and MN133 are MA167 ans MA165.
There is a 3rd sutta on the verse in MA, MA166, but this has no parallel in the Pali.
So the MA sequence is MA165, MA166, MA167.


Now I am relying on machine translation here, but basically MA omits the story of the Buddha giving the verse and the explanation ala MN131, and starts with the story of the monk at the hot springs being visited by a goddess, and being instructed to seek out the meaning of the verse, with the analysis being provided by Mahakaccana, using the 6 sense fields as the mode, and omitting the aggregates. MA166 retells the same sequence, with different charterers and locations, a monk is visited by a god, the verse is discussed, its meaning sought, and the monk goes this time to the Buddha for the analysis, which this time gives the aggregates instead of the sense fields. MA167 gives Ananda giving the analysis, using the aggregates, and being summoned by the Buddha, the Buddha approves the analysis.

So a few thoughts. MA has no account of the Buddha giving the teaching first, ALL three accounts give other monks giving the teaching and the Buddha giving approval. 2 out of the 3 accounts give the initial source of the discussion of the verse as being a supernatural visitor and the third gives Ananda giving the teaching, being summoned by the Buddha to discuss it, and being approved.

Finally, MA puts the sense field analysis as the first version of the sutta. Note that in the MN sequence we start with a very clean and straightforward text of the Buddha reciting a verse and then analyzing it in terms of the aggregates. this is followed by a sutta where it is Ananda giving the teaching and the Buddha asks him how he was teaching it (why?) and Ananda literally qoutes the preceding teaching and the Buddha approves. Then in the final sutta in the sequence all sorts of bizzare things are going on, first, A monk is bathing in the hot springs at night (for the passage to make sense paccūsasamayaṁ must mean here before dawn) then a Deva appears, asks if the monk remembers the verse or the explanation, the monk admits they don’t, then the deity admits they don’t either, then the deity encouraged the monk to go find out about this not remembered verse and it’s not remembered explanation. The monk then goes to the Buddha, who recites the verse, but omits to give the explanation, then the original monk simply vanishes from the narrative and those bhikkhūnaṁ who where there seek out Mahkaccana to give the analysis which he does, using the sense bases not the aggregates. (the fourth MN sutta MN134 gives a god who remembers the verse but not the analysis and the Buddha giving the aggregate analysis)

All this is to say, for the one or two posters on here who are from the “text-critical” school of thought, that the only way any of this makes sense is if MN133 is in fact the original text, and that it was revised into increasingly conservative forms until it arrived at MN131, which must have been a step too far for the Sarvastivadans, who where happy enough to swap out the senses for the aggregates (since it makes no fundamental philosophical difference) but where unwilling to completely erase the controversy of the origin of the poem and/or it’s analysis (by putting the whole thing directly and originally into the mouth of the Buddha as the Theravadans did.)

It should probably go without saying that the poem itself is unique to this sequence.

As are the renderings


(i.e practically half the individual words in the poem)

To the 4 NIkayas and in many cases to the entire canon.

(T77 another parallel, is of the form God appears to Monk, Monk doesn’t know the verse, God recites verse, doesn’t know the meaning, monk visits buddha, buddha gives aggregates.

Finally, the last parallel I am aware of, T1362, gives the hot springs location, gives both the monk and the deity being unfamiliar with both the poem and the analysis, the monk then goes to the buddha who recites the poem but instead of an analysis there is a long section of how beneficial the poem is as a protective mantra.)


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I haven’t read this whole thread, but you’re not saying that list of Pali words are unique to one sutta, right? That’s certainly not the case.

I was saying that the particular renderings where unique to the poem at least in the 4 Nikayas? But I am as usual being pretty free and easy with my research, so please jump in and correct any misconceptions I may have.

What do you mean by ‘renderings’? Or ‘where unique’?
A Pali compound inflected in a case?

(For instance, the word ‘ Paccuppanna’ means ‘the present’. Very common.
Yadatītaṁ- ‘that which is past’. Very common words. )

Great, lets take this example to explore what I mean.


the string of letters paccuppannañca occurs in the poem recited in MN131 MN132 MN133 and MN134.
It occurs nowhere else in the 4 Nikayas.
It occurs nowhere in the Vinaya.
It occurs again in the Apadanas, the Netti and the Nidessa.
It does not occur in the Abhidhamma
It occurs as addhāpaccuppannañca in the Visidhumagga

The word paccuppannaṃ does not occur in the first 28 suttas of DN
Does not occur in the first 74 suttas of MN.
Does not occur in the poetry part of SN
Has by far the majority of it’s occurrences in the Nidessa and Kathuvathu

Then next most common variant, paccuppannassa

Does not occur in DN
Does not occur in MN
Does not occur in AN
Does not occur in VN

Does occur in SN, Mil, Netti and Patthana

The next most common, paccuppannanti

Does not occur in DN
Does not occur in MN
Does not occur in SN
Does not occur in VN

Occurs once in AN, then again in the Mil, and then by far the majority of it’s occurrences are in the Kathuvathu

then comes paccuppannañca from the poem.

then paccuppannadukkhañceva occurs once at DN33 and once at MN46

There is also the compound atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ which is absent from DN, occurs once in VN, occurs at MN22, MN35 (Agama parallel not in MA) MN62 (Agama parallel not in MA) MN109 (Agama parallel not in MA) 3 times in AN, then by far the majority of appearances are in SN and Patis.

So to summarise. All I meant by my observation was that the particular “Pali compound inflected in a case” is only used in that poem in the 4 NIkayas, so there is no other poem with that particular Pali compound inflected in that particular case.

I think this alone is enough to indicate that the particular compound inflected that particular way is rare, and to be able to list a dozen such rarities in a single poem not much more than twice that number of words in length is suggestive that it uses quite a few particular compound inflected with particular cases that the rest of the poetry in the canon do not use.

As I said, this of itself is interesting.

However, provoked by the assertion that paccuppannaṃ at least is “very” common, I enquire furthur and find that it is in fact rare in DN, rare in MN, rare in AN, common in SN, common in the Nidessa, common in the Pati, and by far the most common in the Kathuvathu.

This leads me to be MORE suspicious of the poem and it’s conceptual apparatus, not LESS!

And as per usual I am simply unable to grant you that paccuppannaṃ is “very common” it seems clearly to be more common in late books and less so in earlier ones, and this applies even moreso to it’s “compound inflected cases”.


Maybe I am misunderstanding your point, but a 1 minute search found paccuppanna in the second sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya, Sabbasava sutta.

Etarahi vā paccuppannamaddhānaṁ ajjhattaṁ kathaṅkathī hoti:

I’m sure extending my search will find more instances rather quickly.

I really don’t understand what you are up to.

What I am “up to” is taking a string of letters, in this case paccuppan and finding the most common words with that string;

paccuppannaṃ (137)
paccuppanno (69)
paccuppannārammaṇo (67)
paccuppannā (65)
atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ (61)
paccuppanne (43)
paccuppannārammaṇā (37)
paccuppannārammaṇassa (31)

and examining their distribution across the pali Tripitaka plus the Visuddhimagga.


paccuppannamaddhānaṁ for example occurs 4 times across the Tripitaka plus the Visuddhimagga, at MN2, MN38, and twice in the Peta.

I therefore come to the conclusion that this compound is rare in the 4 Nikayas.

paccuppanno (69) occurs in DN9 and DN33, nowhere in MN, nowhere in AN, nowhere in VN, 6 times in SN (all in SN35) once in the Iti, then 54 times in the Abhiudhamma.

Here I come to the conclusion that the variant is rare in the suttas but common in the Abhidhamma.

paccuppannārammaṇo (67) Does not occur in DN, MN, AN, SN, VN, KN, then occurs 67 times in the Abbhidhamma.

Here I come to the conclusion that the variant is absent from the suttas but common in the Abhidhamma.

etc etc.

My conclusion so far is that the sequence of MN131 MN132 MN133 and MN134 reveal the introduction of a new poem to the canon, one that is almost certainly later than the time of the Buddha, one that almost certainly was controversial when introduced, and which uses many terms in inflections of case that are not seen anywhere else, except where they are seen in late KN books and the Abhidhamma. I therefore conclude that we likely have good reason to believe that this sequence of suttas is late, but due to the presence of parallels in the Agamas, that it is pre-sectarian, although the version that most obscures the controversy, MN131, lacking a parallel, is most likely a product of the Theravada* sect.

Your claim that paccuppan is common is not really relevant to my argument, however when I examine the root I find that by far the majority of compounds and inflections have the late material as thier centre of gravity frequency wise.

I therefore am wary of ascribing it to the earliest strata of material.

I really struggle to understand what is so controversial about this, or why I need to be “up to” something, as if being interested in the frequency of words and phrases in the canon is somehow nefarious.


I fail to see how any of what you propose in this thread can lead to conclusions about earlier or later suttas.
But I don’t think I will pursue it anymore.

I mean, you have made it pretty clear in this and other threads that you do not think my methodology is a valid one. Apart from not seeing how anything I propose can lead to conclusions and not seeing what I am up to and so on you offer very little by way of insight into what precisely is wrong with the notion that common strings of letters are in fact common while rare strings are in fact rare, and that where rare strings are more common in books known to be late, there is the possibility that the rare occurrences of those strings in the materials known to be early may emanate from those later books.

the tacit argument seems to be that if the word has a root in Pali, then every possible compound in every possible inflection with every possible variation must have equal claims to earliness, even though we see some roots in certain compounds inflected in certain cases occurring in all the 4principle Nikayas and the later books, while other compounds occur either only in later books or in much greater frequency in later books. According to you I can not possibly draw any conclusion from this fact. But I think that I can make inferences from this evidence.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

that word literally only occurs in the entire canon in that poem.

It is a pronoun + atīta, and this word is of course very common like Stephen says. So it is not a rare word just a rare combination (sandhi).

I see it is in the verse part of the sutta. Verses always can contain unique sandhi because of the metre, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from this.

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Gah. I tried to avoid the controversy by using “rendering” I guess i should have said “sandhi”.

Iiterally every word in pali is built from some root that is common.

Anyway, im clearly out of my depth and losing the plot :slight_smile: i will leave what ive posted up but will stop trying to analyse pali not knowing pali!

Thanks to @stephen and @Danny for your patience with me! I get excited :slight_smile:

Anyway, I hope i havent derailed the actual topic of the thread, which is are there any more examples of Suttas qouting other Suttas by name?