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“Numbered” or “Numerical” Discourses are generally known as Aṅguttara Nikāya in Pāli, abbreviated AN. However, the Pāli tradition is also known as Ekottara (“one above” or “incremental”), that is, the Incremental Collection, and this is the form usually found in northern collections. These collections organize the texts into numbered sets, from one to eleven. Compared to the other nikāyas, they are more oriented towards the lay community. The Ekottarikāgama (EA) in Chinese is a very unusual text, featuring a variety of variations on itself even when it comes to basic doctrines. It has much less in common with the Aṅguttara in Pāli than the other collections do with their counterparts. Additionally, there is a partial Ekottarikāgama in Chinese, as well as a variety of individual discourses and fragments in Chinese and Sanskrit.

In the first two books, Ones and Twos, we have a very interesting feature. Not in very readable material, as it was never intended to be read as a readable book. We do not find lists called Mātikās, or watercourses, that is, figuratively speaking, channels along which oral teaching would flow; that is, headings for the speech. These will probably have been written on thin metal plates long before the speeches themselves were attempted to be written down. Such writing material, plaques, or even letters carved into rocks, lent themselves poorly to expansion.

The Book of Ones - Aṅguttara Nikāya

  • Anguttara Nikāya

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