What is a sutta?

Suttas are the Buddhist scriptures that contain the teachings of the fully enlightened Buddha, Sidhatta Gotama. Theses suttas have been faithfully passed down to us over 2,500 years and are now available translated into very clear, modern English. There are many different styles of suttas, such as sermons, verses (poems), sermons mixed with verses, detailed analyses, inspired utterances, sayings, birth stories, questions and answers, and marvels. The suttas are grouped into books called nikayas. The entire collection of these scriptures is called the Sutta Pitaka.

If you want to learn what the Buddha taught, the suttas are the place to start. You can make the beauty and wisdom of these ancient scriptures a part of your every day life through a daily sutta reading practice. The truth of these teachings can be applied directly to our lives and help to remove suffering in this life as well as put an end to this long cycle of birth and death.

Sadly, many of the sayings attributed to the Buddha that we find on the internet are either completely fake or inaccurate. A true quote from the Buddha will usually have a citation with a book abbreviation and a sutta or verse number, such as SN 56:11 or Dhp 20. When we see a citation like this we know where we can find the original and check to see that it is accurate.

Very rarely in this world a fully enlightened teacher appears for the welfare of all beings. We are very fortunate to be living in a time when the words of a fully enlightened Buddha are available to us in the Sutta Pitaka.

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