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Itivuttaka

The fourth book of the Khuddakanikāya, containing 110 suttas, each of which begins with the words: “This was said by the Blessed One, (vuttaṃ h’etaṃ Bhagavatā).”

According to Dhammapāla (ItA.24 ff), the suttas were taught from time to time by the Buddha to Khujjuttarā at Kosambī. She then repeated them to the five hundred women of Udena’s palace, chief of whom was Sāmāvatī. In order to emphasise to her audience the fact that she was reporting the Buddha’s words and not her own, she prefaced each sutta with the phrase quoted above. There was no need to describe any special circumstances in which the suttas were taught, because they were familiar to Khujjuttarā’s audience.

At the Rājagaha Council, Ānanda repeated the suttas to the Assembly and they were gathered into this collection.

Itivuttaka is also the name given to one of the nine divisions (aṅga) into which the Buddha’s teaching is divided and it is defined as follows: “vuttaṃ h’etaṃ Bhagavatā ti ādinayappavattā dasuttarasataṃ suttantā Itivuttakaṃ ti veditabbaṃ” (DA.i.24).

In the scholiast of the Kummāsapiṇḍi Jātaka (J.iii.409; l.21), the Itivuttaka is mentioned in the plural (Itivuttakesu) and a sutta is quoted from it, extolling the virtues of generosity. Perhaps, the Itivuttaka was compiled as a result of a critical study of the authentic teachings of the Buddha, considered in a certain light and made for a specific purpose.

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