The Chinese Samyukta Agama presents a unique challenge to producing an English translation. The version of the collection that was preserved in the Taisho Daizokyo is in disarray. The collection lacked any divisions or sutra numbers, so it apparently came to pass after it was translated that its fascicles were shuffled, and a couple were lost. The two lost fascicles were replaced by some helpful soul with Avadana translations by Gunabhadra to make 50 again. The text then fell into obscurity and didn’t receive much attention in the Chinese Buddhist community.
Japanese scholars realized the situation in the early 20th century and began the detective work of reconstructing the original order of the Samyukta, and a Chinese bhiksu scholar, Yinshun, finished the work with a detailed analysis of the Pali parallels. He discovered several passages in the Sarvastivada Vinaya and the Yogacarabhumi that shed light on the structure the collection likely had before it was scrambled.
Below is a table showing the basic relationship between the Pali Samyutta Nikaya and the Chinese Samyukta Agama. Yinshun identified 51 samyuktas in the text, which have clear thematic groupings. Many of them exist in the Pali but not always on a strict one-to-one relationship.
Typically, the two collections share common sutras in different orders. In many cases, the Chinese samyuktas do not exist in Pali as samyuttas, but rather they have parallels scattered in other Nikayas, mainly the Anguttara. In these cases, I’ve marked the Pali parallel as “n/a”. In two cases, SA 11 and SA 48, the Pali has samyuttas of the same name, but the contents have no parallels. On the other hand, SN 55 appears to be a collection that was split between several samyuktas in the Chinese Agama.
Further reading about Yinshun’s method of reconstructing the Samyukta Agama can be found in this article by Choong Mun-keat: Problems and Prospects of the Chinese Samyukta Agama.
Chinese readers who’d like to read the Yinshun version of the Samyukta Agama can find it at Mahabodhi.org.
I also have an Excel spreadsheet with the Taisho vs. Yinshun numbering plus some Pali parallels here in my Dharma Pearls Github Repo: Yinshun Samyukta Agama & Pali Parallels. Yinshun’s numbering of all the abbreviated sutras is indicated, but the Pali parallels is a work in progress.
|Yinshun Varga||Yinshun Saṃyukta||Pali Saṃyutta|
|I. The Five Aggregates||1. Skandha||22. Khandha|
|II. The Six Sense Bases||2. Āyatana||35. Saḷāyatana|
|III. Causation||3. Nidāna||12. Nidāna|
|4. Satya||56. Sacca|
|5. Dhātu||14. Dhātu|
|6. Vedanā||36. Vedanā|
|IV. The Path||7. Smṛtyupasthāna||47. Satipaṭṭhāna|
|8. Samyakprahāṇa (lost)||49. Sammappadhāna|
|9. Ṛddhipāda (lost)||51. Iddhipāda|
|10. Indriya||48. Indriya|
|12. Bodhyaṅga||46. Bojjhaṅga|
|13. Āryamārgâṅga||45. Magga|
|14. Ānâpānasmṛti||54. Ānāpāna|
|16. Avetyaprasāda||55. Sotāpatti|
|V. Eight Assemblies||17. Bhikṣu||21. Bhikkhu|
|18. Māra||4. Māra|
|19. Śakra||11. Sakka|
|20. Kṣatriya||3. Kosala|
|21. Brāhmaṇa||7. Brāhmaṇa|
|22. Brahma||6. Brahma|
|23. Bhikṣuṇī||5. Bhikkhuṇī|
|24. Vaṇgīsa||8. Vaṇgīsa|
|25. Devatā||1. Devatā|
|26. Yakṣa||10. Yakkha|
|27. Vāna||9. Vana|
|VI. Teachings of Disciples||28. Śāriputra||28. Sāriputta|
|29. Maudgalyāyana||40. Moggallāna|
|30. Aniruddha||52. Anuruddha|
|33. Citrā||41. Citta|
|VII. Teachings of the Tathāgata||34. Radha||23. Rādha|
|35. Dṛṣṭi||24. Diṭṭhi|
|39. Āyatana Dhātu Skandha||n/a|
|40. Avetyaprasāda (2)||55. Sotāpatti|
|41. Mahākāśyapa||16. Kassapa|
|42. Grāmaṇī||42. Gāmani|
|44. Mahānāman||55. Sotāpatti|
|45. Anāditva||15. Anamatagga|
|46. Vatsagotra||33. Vaccagotta / 44. Avyākata|
|47. Tīrthika Parivrājaka||n/a|
|49. Upamā||20. Opamma|