The fourth division of the Sutta Piṭaka, consisting of eleven sections (nipāta) and 9,557 suttas (A.v.361; DA.i.23; Gv.56). The suttas are arranged in numbered lists, probably as aids to memory. Thus we find set out in order first the units, then the pairs, the trios etc., up to groups of eleven. This method of arrangement has evidently influenced the subject matter as well, for we seldom see any reasoned arguments. The lists are often curtly given and curtly explained (See also Hardy’s remarks, A.v. introd. p.vii).
At the first Council Anuruddha was asked to be the custodian of this Nikāya of 120 bhānavāras and to read it to his pupils (DA.i.15; Mbv.94).
When the Buddha’s religion fades away, the first portion of the Sutta Piṭaka to disappear will be the Aṅguttaranikāya from the eleventh section to the first, and in that order (MA.881).
It was also sometimes called Ekuttara. Mil. 392. It is worthy of note that the Ekottarāgama Sutra of the Chinese is unlike the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.i. introd. ix., n.4).
The Aṅguttaranikāya quotes the Parāyana, which is evidence of its late compilation. (i.133 and 134; ii.45. For other quotations in and from the Aṅguttaranikāya see A.v., introd. p.ix., nn. 3 and 4.) The Commentary to the Aṅguttaranikāya is called the Manorathapūranī.
Selections from the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi in E-