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Peṭakopadesa is a Pali text included in the longer Burmese edition of the Khuddaka Nikaya.[1] This text is intended for those who are already well-versed in the dharma -- to assist them "in the proper exegesis of specific passages, allowing them to rephrase a passage in such a way that it remains consistent in meaning with the teaching as a whole."[1]

Some scholars believe that the closely related text, the Nettippakaraṇa, is a latter revision of this text.[2]


The nature of this book is a matter of some disagreement among scholars. The translator, supported by Professor George Bond of Northwestern University,[3] holds it is a guide to those who understand the teaching in presenting it to others. However, A. K. Warder, Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit in the University of Toronto, maintains that it covers all aspects of interpretation, not just that.[4]

The text is often connected to another para-canonical text, the Nettipakaraṇa. Oskar von Hinüber suggests that both of these texts originated from outside the Theravada tradition as handbooks on the interpretation of the sutras.[5]

Warder, in his examination of the Paṭisambhidāmagga Gaṇṭhipada[6] in the Introduction to the Path of Discrimination, notes: “The Gaṇṭhipada (p. 106), however, provides the positive information that this Peṭaka is a book of the Mahiṃsāsakas, an aṭṭhakathā made for the purpose of the Suttantapiṭaka. This implies that it was a work similar to the Peṭakopadesa … Thus both schools had a recension of this work, but differing in such details as this. …”. The passage in the Gaṇṭhipada is Suttante piṭakatthāya kataṭṭhakathā peṭakaṃ mahiṃsakānaṃ gantho.

Stefano Zacchetti[7][8] revealed that in the Chinese Canon there is a text called Yin chi rujing, translated in the 3d century, which corresponds to most of the sixth chapter of the Pali Peṭakopadesa. Then there is another Chinese text, the Da zhidu lun, which mentions the Peṭaka as a text circulating in South India (presumably Kāñcipura and Sri Lanka) and that it is an abridged version of an originally larger text. It describes a few of the methods of the Peṭaka and gives examples which roughly correspond to passages in the Peṭaka.[9] Thus it appears that the Peṭakopadesa was circulating in different schools and in different versions.

According to the chapter colophons, the book was composed by the Buddha's disciple Kaccana (or Kaccayana). Scholars do not take this literally, though the translator mentions that the methods may go back to him.

This book was regarded as canonical by the head of the Burmese sangha about two centuries ago.[10] It is included in the inscriptions of the Canon approved by the Burmese Fifth Council[11] and in the printed edition of the Sixth Council text.[12]

There are 8 sections as follows:

  1. Ariyasacca Pakasana (display of the Noble Truths)
  2. Sãsana patthãna (pattern of the dispensation)
  3. Suttãdhitthãna (terms of expression in the thread)
  4. Suttavicaya (investigation of threads)
  5. Hãravibhanga (modes of conveying in separate treatment)
  6. Suttatthasamuccaya (compendium of the thread's meaning)
  7. Hãrasampãta (modes of conveying in combined treatment)
  8. Sutta vibhangiya (Analyses of Suttas)

However, the translator says this last title is a mistake for "moulding of the guidelines", the title given at the end.


Pitaka-Disclosure, tr. Nanamoli Bhikkhu, 1964, Pali Text Society[1], Bristol


  1. 1.0 1.1 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Peṭakopadesa.
  2. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Nettippakaraṇa.
  3. See his article in Buddhist Studies in Honour of Walpola Rahula, pub Gordon Fraser, London, 1980
  4. Indian Buddhism,3rd edn, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 2000
  5. Von Hinüber, Oskar (1997). A Handbook of Pali Literature (1st Indian ed.). New Delhi: Munishiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. pp. 80–82. ISBN 81-215-0778-2. 
  6. Paṭisambhidāmaggagaṇṭhipadatthavaṇṇanā. Colombo: Semage. 1967. 
  7. Zacchetti, Stefano (2002). An Early Chinese Translation Corresponding to Chapter 6 of the Peṭakopadesa: An Shigao's Yin chi ru jing T 603 and Its Indian Original: A Preliminary Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 74–98. 
  8. Zacchetti, Stefano (2010). Some remarks on the authorship and chronology of the Yin chi ru jing zhu. Kyoto: Italian School of East Asian Studies. pp. 141–198. ISBN 978-4-900793-25-5. 
  9. Zacchetti, Stefano (2001). Some remarks on the peṭaka passages of Da zhidu lun and their relation to the Pāli Peṭakopadesa. ARIRSU 13, 67-86333. 
  10. Journal of the Pali Text Society, volume XXVIII
  11. Bollée in Pratidanam (Kuiper Festshcrift), pub Mouton, the Hague/Paris, 1968
  12. The Guide, Pali Text Society


See also