Why hasn't there been a full, contemporary English translation of the Khuddaka Nikaya?

Why hasn’t there been a full, contemporary English translation of the Khuddaka Nikaya ?


There’s one right here on Sutta Central. If you want to do some comparison work, it’s also available at Access to Insight.

I think maybe I am confused.

I thought the Patisambhidamagga was part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, can’t seem to find it in thosre.

Where is the Patisambhidamagga located in the Pali Canon?

No, you’re right, there’s no really adequate translation of the full Khuddaka.

  • Some books have been translated well and are available (eg. Udana)
  • Some have been translated well, but are not available due to copyright issues (eg. Patisambhida)
  • Some have been translated poorly and never updated (eg. Jatakas)
  • Some have never been translated at all (eg. Apadana, Niddesa)

When my translation project for the 4 nikayas is done, I plan to translate the six early books of the Khuddaka, so at least we will have them in a consistent form. As for the rest, we can only hope.


I apologize for my incorrect assumption, and for misleading you. On the plus side, I’ve learned something today. :no_mouth: :slightly_smiling_face:

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Well, there is still the question of why the Khuddaka hasn’t been fully translated.

Is it that it doesn’t cover as much ground as the other Nikayas ( or covers the same ground ) combined with scarcity of resources to support translators?

To be honest, there’s no good reason why this material hasn’t been translated. Sure, much of the material is not going to be that popular, but still. The main problem, really, is lack of people to do the work.

The untranslated texts are the Apadanas and the Niddesas.

The Apadanas are past life stories of the arahants. This sounds like it might be fun, along the lines of the Jatakas. But in reality, the stories display little of the variety and interest of the Jatakas, and are mostly pious tales of how someone donated flowers to a Buddha in the past life, and that’s why they’re enlightened today. They are, moreover, in a late poetic style, so present a combination of being linguistically difficult and uninteresting in terms of content. Nevertheless, I did meet a student at Sydney Uni who was translating them, but I haven’t heard if anything came of this.

The Niddesas are abhidhamma-style commentaries on certain verses of the Sutta Nipata. Hopefully this will see a translation before too long.


That was really interesting, thank you.

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I hope with Bhikkhu Bodhi’s upcoming translation of the Suttanipata, the gap of missing texts will be further closed as it will contain the Niddesas or at least a good selection of it.

There is an English translation of the Apadana-atthakatha by the Burmese Pitaka Translation.

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Oh, good, I thought it was just the text and commentary.

Ahh, yes, we often forget this! They translated everything, didn’t they? I’ve seen this edition in occasional monasteries. You don’t happen to know of a digital version by any chance?

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Regarding Bhikkhu Bodhi the publisher states: “The volume includes numerous excerpts from the Niddesa”.

The Venerable Bhikkhu Pesala hosts a digital copy in 5 parts on his website aimwell.org, which he mentions here: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=6461&p=371067&hilit=apadana#p371067 and can be accessed here: http://www.aimwell.org/LediSayadaw/Apadana%20Commentary/. It doesn’t contain much information in regards to the publisher, date etc. It is an OCR’ed version and not a scanned document. Maybe Bhikkhu Pesala has more information.

But maybe the translation wasn’t done by the Burma/Myanmar Pitaka Association after all.


It would be great if all the Bhikkhu’s were able to coordinate their effort in this digital age, as translation resources are scarce and time is of course limited.

with metta

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Oh, good to know.

Thanks for the link. But this is Ledi Sayadaw’s translation of the Apadana commentary. Sadly, it doesn’t include translations of the verses themselves.

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I know almost nothing about the Niddesas. When I have heard reference to them, I always got the impression that they were quite slanted or biased commentaries that tended to overlay and weave traditions into the suttas. Is this out of line? What are the Niddesas actually?

i wouldn’t want to exaggerate the extent of any distortion of meaning so far as the Niddesas go. They’re not malicious, just a bit odd. They deal with texts that are often seen as lying a little left field compared to much of the prose, especially in the emphasis on a solitary life and the rejection of views. To some extent they seem to want to “tame” the texts, make them more amenable to contemporary monastic life.

A good example of this is the famous “Rhino Horn Sutta”. The text itself teaches a pretty uncompromisingly ascetic doctrine, much more favorable to the life of a solitary hermit than a settled monastic in community. The Niddesas, presumably written at a time when monastic life was the norm, get around this by attributing the verses to Paccekabuddhas of the past.

But bear in mind, this is just one detail, and there is much more to them than this. Like all commentaries they can be valuable, but should not be regarded as infallible.


Thanissaro Bhikkhu has almost complete translations of the early Khuddaka Nikaya texts here:

You can also request free book versions through the website.


The Suttanipata, a massive & magnificent work of scholarship by Bhikkhu Bodhi arrived a few days ago. About 200pp of the root text, preceded by 130pp of Introduction and a Guide to the suttas. Then the major part, almost a 1000pp of the Paramatthajotika II commentary, with substantial excerpts from the Niddesa on the last two chapters. Finally his usual copious notes, three appendices, glossary, bibliography, and indexes for the last 300pp.


Thanks for the heads up. This is a great boon for all those who can afford it.

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Amazon has a pre-order price of $46 for the print. That is less than three cents per page, of 1600. The Kindle version is only $40. Precious Dhamma for a cheap price!
Pre-order means it could go down by release date of 26 Sept.

I’m glad it’s cheap for you. For a low income worker in Myanmar, this is nearly a month’s salary.