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The fifth book of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Collection of the Numbered Discourses of the Buddha, collects 1152 suttas or discourses whose subject matter is centered on groups of five topics. It should be remembered that the nikayas were composed to be transmitted orally at a time when no writing system had yet been reintroduced in India. By that time, the ancient scripts of the archaic Harappa civilization had lost their meaning no less than fifteen centuries ago and are still undecipherable to this day.

Remembering was the key and redundancy was the guarantee for successful transmission. All suttas fit into complex mnemonic systems designed to be tolerant to errors and even loss of data. This not only served in its day for correct transmission, but becomes the most powerful tool for supporting the reconstruction of the message. This is especially important for The Book of Fives.

This book contains suttas to be read, except for the final matikas contained in the last chapter. The contents do not enhance the interest of its predecessors in the numbered collection, and in no way displace the main work, the Saṁyutta Nikaya.

In the section of anecdotal suttas, he returns to the nefariousness of the rulers, in the line of the previous ones. In this case, the legitimate and meritorious defense of one's own wealth against the scourge of the rulers in AN 5.41 and AN 5.148 is included. AN 5.104 reflects their corrupt behavior.

We can highlight the suttas in which the Buddha denounces false bhikkhus who pretend to be bhikkhus in order to make a living by propagating false doctrines. In AN 5.80 and AN 5.167 he speaks of those false bhikkhus who live in houses or who are ordained as a bastard means of earning a living. Messages that are very topical today.

The Word of the Buddha 11 Anguttara Nikaya (II)

Productcode: ENG11
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  • The Word of the Buddha

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