Regarding the implications of the question, the practitioner should be looking for the internal integrity of the teaching across many texts rather than individual suttas. This reveals a global fault in the western mind state conditioned by science, where it focuses on details (single suttas) and consequently becomes blind to the overall synthesis in the suttas. This is a constricted mind state, and it needs to be brought to balance by expansion, but not so far as scattered.
"When the mind is constricted, he discerns that the mind is constricted. When the mind is scattered, he discerns that the mind is scattered”—MN 10, Satipatthana sutta
“Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline (dhammavinaya) there is but one taste — the taste of freedom”: with these words the Buddha vouches for the emancipating quality of His doctrine.
Having said that please find my Top Ten suttas herer.
The Buddha’s teaching is not dependent origination, it is the four noble truths.
In that regard to attain stream entry all the practitioner has to know is the truth of impermanence, whatever is subject to origination is also subject to cessation, that’s all.
To Upali the householder, as he was sitting right there, there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation. Then — having seen the Dhamma, having reached the Dhamma, known the Dhamma, gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over & beyond doubt, having had no more questioning — Upali the householder gained fearlessness and was independent of others with regard to the Teacher’s message.
Ajahn Chah talks here about the four noble truths, and the bulk of the talk is about impermanence, nothing about dependent origination. Like Ajahn Chah, I am concerned with the path of direct experience.
The second noble truth is knowing and seeing that clinging to things which are impermanent causes suffering, and the third noble truth is knowing and seeing that those things which lead to ‘feelings not of the flesh’ don’t lead to suffering
Yes, I take DO to be an elaboration of the Second Truth. DO elaborates on the Second Truth by identifying ignorance as the root cause of suffering.
The problem with DO is that nobody can agree on how it should be interpreted, so perhaps it is more productive to focus on the Four Truths.
I think it would have to be the Karaniya Metta Sutta. The sentiment and intention it expresses is truly awesome and chanting, contemplating, and meditating on metta has and continues to have a powerfully positive effect on my mind.
MN19. Very practical sutta that covers how applying wisdom to categories your thoughts helps one to recognise one’s mental state.
MN20. Another practical sutta that covers how to overcome unwholesome thoughts.
MN128, the Uppakilesa sutta. It is the only sutta I know that explicitly talks about the lights and form that Ajahn Brahm calls the nimitta. The sutta also covers a lot of the problems encountered in the deeper states of meditation (after the breath has disappeared).
“For this is the ultimate noble wisdom, namely, the knowledge of the ending of suffering.”
“For this is the ultimate noble truth, namely, that which has an undeceptive nature—extinguishment.”
"For this is the ultimate noble generosity, namely, letting go of all attachments. "
Mendicants, in this teaching and training a mendicant who is skilled in seven cases and who examines in three ways is called consummate, accomplished, a supreme person.
"So Ānanda, be your own island, your own refuge, with no other refuge. Let the teaching be your island and your refuge, with no other refuge.
And how does a mendicant do this? It’s when a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of feelings … mind … principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. That’s how a mendicant is their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge. That’s how the teaching is their island and their refuge, with no other refuge. Whether now or after I have passed, any who shall live as their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge; with the teaching as their island and their refuge, with no other refuge—those mendicants of mine who want to train shall be among the best of the best.” SN47.13 SuttaCentral
“Mendicants, a woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate should often review these five subjects. What five? ‘I am liable to grow old, I am not exempt from old age.’ A woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate should often review this. ‘I am liable to get sick, I am not exempt from sickness.’ … ‘I am liable to die, I am not exempt from death.’ … ‘I must be parted and separated from all I hold dear and beloved.’ … ‘I am the owner of my deeds and heir to my deeds. Deeds are my womb, my relative, and my refuge. I shall be the heir of whatever deeds I do, whether good or bad.’ A woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate should often review this. AN5.57 SuttaCentral
“Bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness. And what is it, bhikkhus, that is not yours? The eye is not yours: abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness. Forms are not yours … Eye-consciousness is not yours … Eye-contact is not yours … Whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is not yours: abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness.
“The ear is not yours … … The mind is not yours … Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too is not yours: abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness.
“Suppose, bhikkhus, people were to carry off the grass, sticks, branches, and foliage in this Jeta’s Grove, or to burn them, or to do with them as they wish. Would you think: ‘People are carrying us off, or burning us, or doing with us as they wish’?”
“No, venerable sir. For what reason? Because, venerable sir, that is neither our self nor what belongs to our self.”
“So too, bhikkhus, the eye is not yours … Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too is not yours: abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness.” -SN 35.101
Powerful- the fact that Consciousness is not self originated- that it origination is elsewhere, that it can Cease, and isn’t eternal, and that it requires deep viewing, to see all this! That the path to all this, is the Noble eightfold path!
Bizarrely enough, it was this line from the Digha Nikaya that (eventually) converted me to Buddhism.
I thought, “You know, if I were to take a time machine back to ancient India, and try to describe to them the formation of the Earth’s crust and atmosphere, I wouldn’t have been able to think of a metaphor as apt as that!” And then I got to the part about the evolution of first asexual and then sexual organisms and I thought, “okay, this text is a bit muddy, but dang is the Buddha hitting the major points of evolution or what?”
And then a sliver of doubt opened up in my dogmatic scientism: wait. This was spoken 2500 years ago… What if the Buddha really did … know stuff? What if he really was omniscient, all those years ago? What would that mean?
Exploring that possibility has been the journey of (many) a lifetime — one I’m happily still on