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Pārāyana

Pārāyana Vagga.– The fifth and last division of the Suttanipāta (SN.vs.976 ff). It consists of sixteen suttas preceded by an introduction of fifty-six introductory verses (vatthugāthā). The introductory verses describe how Bāvarī first heard of the coming of the Buddha from a devotee and sent sixteen of his pupils to visit the Buddha and find out if his claims to Enlightenment were true. A description of the route taken by them is also given. The sixteen suttas give the questions asked by Bāvarī’s disciples and the answers given by the Buddha. The Cūḷaniddesa comments on the sixteen suttas, but makes no mention of the vatthu­gāthā. Perhaps, at one time, the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta was attached to the Pārāyana Vagga.

The Pārāyana Vagga is mentioned in the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.i.133, 134; ii.45; iv.63) and in the Saṃyuttanikāya (S.ii.49), which is evidence of its having been one of the oldest collections. The Pārāyanaka Samīti is among the incidents represented in the Mahā Thūpa (Mhv.xxx.84). It is said (e.g., AA.i.57) that at the end of the discourses contained in the Pārāyana Vagga, a hundred and forty million beings realised nibbāna.

Buddhaghosa says (AA.ii.717) that the Pārāyana was so called because it leads to nibbāna (nibbānasahkhātaṃ pāraṃ ayanato pārāyanā’ti laddhavohāraṃ dhammaṃ).

Pārāyana Sutta.– The Buddha teaches the goal (pārāyana) and the path leading thereto. S.iv.373.

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