top of page

Although the Aṅguttara Nikāya is known as the “Numbered” or “Numerical” Discourses, its etymology can give us clues to its origin. The word Aṅguttara is composed of aṅgā, which in Pāli and Sanskrit means “member” or “division” and uttara which means “northern”. In Sanskrit “north” is also used figuratively in the sense of superior, above, so uttara could be figuratively translated as “more than” in an incremental sense.

The different categories into which the early Buddhist canonical texts prior to Hinayana scholasticism were divided were called aṅgās. Originally, categories were made depending on the type of material within the various texts and later, they were used to classify those same texts.

Aṅguttara can therefore refer to its geographical origin as “northern division” or “incremental division”. The second meaning seems clear regarding the organization in books, from the book of ones, successively to that of onces, where discourses are grouped in relation to the number of teaching topics they contain. However, “northern division” in addition to being the most direct translation can give clues to its geographical origin considering, furthermore, that Pāli itself is linguistically related to the Prakrit dialects of northwest India, but where it appears is in the south.

This second book, that of Twos, maintains the matrix structure of Mātikās from the previous book, serving as a mnemonic base of headings to be remembered, which is why it is not very readable and, therefore, its interest is very little. We can highlight AN 2.61, on permanent female dissatisfaction as a very curious original contribution.

The Book of Twos - Aṅguttara Nikāya

  • Anguttara Nikāya

bottom of page