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Course name: Anupitaka: Nettipakarana

Tác giả : Compile by Dr. Manish

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History Overview

The Tipitaka (P li canon) was first committed to writing sometime in the 1st century BC. The non-canonical or extra-canonical P li literature can be regarded as falling into three historical periods. The first (“classical”) period stretches from about the 3rd century BC to about the 5th century AD. The second (“commentarial”) period extends from the 5th century to the 11th century, and the third (“modern”) period begins with the 12th century.


The literature of the first period consists of some classical works of which only a few now survive. To this period belongs:

• Nettipakarana (The book of guidance)
• Petakopadesa (Instruction on the Tipitaka)
• Milindapa ha (The questions of Milinda)

The Nettipakarana and Petakopadesa are introductions to the teachings of Buddhism. These books present methods of interpretation, means exposition of that which leads to the knowledge of the good law. Petakopadesa is the ‘Instruction on the Tipitaka’. The source material derives directly from the Sutta pitaka. Milindapanho , written in the style of suttas, contains a dialogue between the Indo-Greek king Menander (in Pali, Milinda) and the Thera Nagasena, which throws a flood of light on certain important points of Buddhism.These three books appear in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Burmese Tipitaka, while the first two appear in the Sinhalese printed edition.


The Nettipakarana (Pali: also called Nettippakarana or just Netti) is a Buddhist scripture, sometimes included in the Khuddaka Nikaya of Theravada Buddhism’s Pali Canon. Translation: The Guide, Nanamoli, 1962, Pali Text Society, Bristol. The nature of the Netti is a matter of some disagreement among scholars. The translator, supported by Professor George Bond of Northwestern University holds that it is a guide to help those who already understand the teaching present it to others. However, A. K. Warder, Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit at the University of Toronto, disagrees, maintaining that it covers all aspects of interpretation, not just this. The Netti itself says that the methods were taught by the Buddha’s disciple Kaccana (also Katyayana or Kaccayana), and the colophon says he composed the book, that it was approved by the Buddha and that it was recited at the First Council. The Netti was regarded as canonical by the head of the Burmese sangha around two centuries ago. It is included in the Burmese Phayre manuscript of the Canon, dated 1841/2 the inscriptions of the Canon approved by the Burmese Fifth Council the 1956 printed edition of the Sixth Council, the new transcript of the Council text being produced under the patronage of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and the Sinhalese Buddha Jayanti edition of the Canon. A recent Burmese teacher has not regarded it as canonical.


The title Nettipakarana as explained by Netti pakarana. Dhmmapala, means exposition of nettipakarana. leads to the knowledge of the Good Law. The Netti shows the methodical way of attaining textual knowledge. It contains much of the materials which are so grouped as to form a book by itself.

The commentary on the Nettipakarana says that without an able instructor it is impossible for men to be guided in the right understanding of the doctrines. This treatise was translated into Burmese by Thera Mahasilavarhsa in the fifteenth century of the Christian era, and again two centuries later, by work has been edited by Prof. E. Hardy for the P.T.S., London, and published by the said society in 1902. There is also a Burmese edition of this text. The text is not entirely free from inaccuracies but all such defects are pardonable when we remember that it is a pioneer work. The text edited by the P.T.S. is based on the following manuscripts :

(i) Palm leaf manuscript of the India Office in Burmese character (see Catalogue of the
Mandalay MSS. in the India Office Library by Prof. V. Fausboll, J.P.T.S., 1896.

(ii) Palm leaf manuscript of the India Office (Phayre collec- tion), likewise written in Burmese character (see Catalogue of the Pali MSS. in the India Office Library by H. Oldenberg),

(iii) Paper manuscript (brought from W. Subhuti by Prof. Rhys Davids) in Sinhalese character (Introduction, p. xxxv ). Prof. Hardy has relied on the palm leaf manuscript of the India Office in Burmese character in noting readings whenever they are found to contribute to a better understanding of the text.

Nettipakarana revised and edited by D. Sudassi thera and finally revised by Yen. Srisumangala Ratanasara, Colombo, 1923, should be consulted. Mrs. Rhys Davids translates ‘ Nettipakarana as the ‘ Book of Guidance ‘

A History of Pali Literature dweller in the Pubbarama-Vihara. It was composed at the request of Thera Dhammarakkhita and highly praised by Mahakaccana. The Mandalay manuscript ascribes its authorship to Mahakaccana as every section bears a clear testimony to the authorship of Mahakaccana who has been described here as Jambuvanavasin, i.e., dweller in the rose-apple grove. The Netti is essentially a Pali treatise on the textual and exegetical methodology, a Buddhist treatment upon the whole of the Tantra Yuktis discussed in the Kautiliya Arthasastra, the Susrutasamhita, the Carakasamhita, and the Astanga- Hrdaya.

The Netti and Jnanaprasthana Sastra have many points in common as they were written to serve a similar purpose. It stands in the same relation to the Pali canon as Yaska’s Nirukta to the Vedas. The scheme of methodology has been worked out in a progressive order, the thesis being developed or elaborated by gradual steps.


One of the most eminent disciples of the Buddha, considered chief among expounders in full of the brief saying of the Buddha, (sankhittena bhāsitassa vitthārena attham vibhajantānam). He was born at Ujjenī in the family of the chaplain of King Candappajjota, and was called Kaccāna both because of his golden colour and because Kaccāna was the name of his gotta. He studied the Vedas, and, on the death of his father, succeeded him as chaplain. With seven others he visited the Buddha, at the request of Candappajjota, to invite him to come to Ujjenī. Kaccāna and his friends listened to the Buddha’s sermon, and having attained arahantship, joined the order. He then conveyed the king’s invitation to the Buddha, who pointed out that it would now suffice if Kaccāna himself returned to Ujjenī.

It was in the time of Padumuttara Buddha that Kaccāna had made his resolve to win the eminence he did, after listening to Padumuttara’s praise of a monk, also named Kaccāna, for similar proficiency. Kaccāna was then a vijjādhara, and offered the Buddha three kanikāra flowers. So says the Apadāna says he was a vijjādhara in the time of Sumedhā Buddha. In the time of Kassapa Buddha he was a householder of Benares, and offered a golden brick, worth one hundred thousand, to the cetiya which was being built over the Buddha’s remains, and then made a vow that in future births his body should be golden.

According to the Apadāna, Kaccāna’s father was called Tirītivaccha (or Tidivavaccha), and his mother Candapadumā. There is another account of Mahā Kaccāna in the Apadāna, in which it is said that in the time of Padumuttara Buddha he built a yandhakuti named Paduma in the shape of a lotus and covered with lotus flowers, and that thirty kappas later he became king under the name of Pabhassara.

Kaccana is listed as one of the “Ten Disciples of the Buddha”. [(1) Mahakassapa, 2) Nanda, 3) Sa riputta, 4) Subhuti, 5) Purna (Punna), 6) Mahamoggallana, 7) Mahakatyyana, 8.) Anuruddha, 9) Upali and 10) Rahula.] He was foremost in explaining Dharma.

According to tradition, Kaccāna was the author of the Nettippakarana, the Pāli grammar bearing his name, and of the Petakopadesa. It is probable that these works were the compilations of a school, which traced its descent to Mahā Kaccāna.


Netti means guide; Pakarana means book.

Therefore, Nettipakarana means guiding book that shows the way how to understand the contents of Tipitaka. In other words, Nettipakarana means exposition of that which leads to the knowledge of the good law. The Netti shows the methodical way of attaining textual knowledge. It was composed at the request of thera Dhammarakkhita and highly praised by Mahakaccayana. The scheme of methodology has been worked out in a progressive order, the thesis being developed or elaborated by gradual step. To begin with we have the opening section, Sangahavara, or the conspectus of the whole book which it is a feature also of the Milinda Panha. Then we have the Vibhagavara or the section presenting a systematic treatment in classified tables.

This section comprises three tables or sub-sections: (1) Uddesavara, (2) Niddesavara, and (3) Patiniddesavara.

(1) The Uddesavara merely presents a bare statement of the theses and as such it serves as a table of contents. It is followed by the Niddesavara which briefly specifies the import or definitions of the theses awaiting detailed treatment in the section imme- diately following, we mean the Patiniddesavara, which is but an elucidation and elaboration of the Niddesa scheme.

The theses in the Uddesavara are introduced in three separate tables or categories:

(1) that of sixteen haras (connected chains),
(2) that of five nayas (modes of inspection), and
(3) that of eighteen mulpadas (main ethical topics).

The sixteen haras consist of desana (the method of instruction), vicaya (the method of enquiry), yutti (the method of establishing connection in groups), padatthana (the method of teaching with reference to the fundamentals), lakkhana (the method of determining implications by characteristic marks), catuvyiiha (the method of fourfold array), avatta (the cyclical method), vibhatti (the method of classification), parivattana (the method of trans- formation), vevacana (the method of synonyms), pannatti (the method of determining signification), otarana (the method of descending steps), sodhana (the method of rectification), adhitthana (the method of determining positions), parikkhara (the method of discriminating causal relations), and samaropana (the method of attribution).

The five nayas consist of the following modes of viewing things : (1) nandiyavatta, (2) tipukkhala (by the triple lotus), (3) sihavikkilita (the lion-like sport), (4) disalocana (broad vision), and (5) arikusa (focussing).

The eighteen mulapadas comprise nine kusalas and nine akusalas:

The nine akusalas are tanha (thirst) avijja (ignorance), lobha (covetousness), dosa (hatred), moha (delusion), subhasanna (false idea of purity), niccasanna (false idea of permanence), attasanna (false idea of personal identity), etc. 

The nine kusalas are samatha (tranquillity), vipassana (insight), alobha (absence of covetousness), adosa (absence of hatred), amoha (absence of delusion), asubhasafina (idea of impurity), dukkhasarma (idea of discordance), aniccasanna (idea of impermanence), and anattasafma (idea of non-identity). 

(2) In the Niddesavara, the reader is to expect nothing more than a general specification of the meaning of the topics proposed in the Uddesavara for treatment. From the Niddesavara the reader is led on to the next step,.

(3) The Patiniddesavara which contains four broad divisions, namely:

A. Haravibhanga (explanations of the connected chains),
B. Harasampata (discussions of the hara projections),
C. Nayasamutthana (exposition of the modes of inspection), and
D. the Sasanapatthana (the classification and interpretation of Buddha’s instructions).

The treatise deals in detail with sixteen haras in the specified order as follows:

 A. Haravibhanga (explanations of the connected chains):

1. The Desanahara directs the reader to notice six distinctive features in the Buddha’s method of instructions, namely, assadam (bright side), adinavam (dark side), nissaranam (means of escape), phalam (fruition), upayam (means of success), and anattim (the moral upshot). It also points out that Buddha’s instructions are carefully adapted to four classes of hearers, namely (1) those of right intellect (understanding things by mere hints), (2) those needing short explanations, (3) those to be slowly led by elaborate expositions, and (4) those whose understanding does not go beneath the words. In the same connection it seeks to bring home the distinction between the three kinds of knowledge, sutamayi, cintamayi, and bhavanamayi.

2. In the Vicayahara the method of ruminating over the subjects of questions and thoughts and repetitions in thought is laid down, and his is elaborately illustrated with appropriate quotations from the canonical texts.

3. In the Yuttihara we are introduced to the method of grouping together connected ideas and the right application of the method of reasoning or inference in interpreting the dharma.

4. The Padatthanahara explains the doctrinal points by their fundamental characteristics and exemplifies them. This hara has an important bearing on the Milinda expositions.

5. The Lakkhanahara points out that when one of a group of matters characterised by the same mark is mentioned, the others must be taken as implied. For instance, when the sense of sight is mentioned in a passage, the implication should be that other senses received the same treatment.

6. The Catuvyuhahara unfolds the method of understanding the doctrines by noting the following points : (1) the text, (2) the term, (3) the purport, (4) the introductory episode, and (5) the sequence, illustrating each of them with quotations from the canonical texts.

7. The Avattahara aptly illustrates with authoritative quotations how in the teachings of the Buddha all things turn round to form cycles of some fundamental ideas such as tanha, avijja, the four Aryan truths and the like.

8. The Vibhattihara explains the method of classifying Buddha’s discussions according to their character, common or uncommon, or according to their values, inferior, superior or mediocre.

9. The Parivattanahara contains an exposition of the method by which the Buddha tried to transform a bad thing into a good thing and transform also the life of a bad man.

10. The Vevacanahara calls attention to the dictionary method of synonyms by which the Buddha tried to impress and clarify certain notions of the Dhamma. This section forms a landmark in the development of Indian lexicography.

11. In the Pannattihara it is stated that though the Dhamma is one, the Lord has presented it in various forms. There are four noble truths beginning with dukkha. When these truths are realised then knowledge and wisdom come in and then the way to Bhavana is open to the knower. The elements may be compared but Nibbana cannot be compared.

12. In the section on Otaranahara the Netti illustrates how in the schemata of Buddha’s doctrines diverse notions spontaneously descend under the burden of certain leading topics such as, indriyas, paticcasamuppada, five khandhas and the like.

13. The Sodhanahara illustrates the method by which the Buddha corrected the form of the questions in the replies offered by him.

14. The Adhitthanahara explains in detail the method of determining the respective positions of different ideas according as they make for certain common notions. In the Adhitthanahara the basis of all truth is given. The four truths beginning with dukkham are described and side by side avijja is shown to be the cause working in opposite ways. There are also paths bringing about the extinction of dukkha, etc. The various kayas and dhatus are also considered. Samadhi is the only means of removing evils.

15. In the Parikkharahara the Netti explains and exemplifies how one can distinguish between the causal elements, broadly between hetu and other causal relations. This section lias an important bearing on the Patthdna of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

16. We come at last to the section called the Samaropanahara. This section explains and illustrates the Buddha’s method of fourfold attribution, (1) by way of fundamental ideas, (2) by way of synonyms, (3) by way of contemplation, and by way of getting rid of the immoral propensities.

B. Harasampata (discussions of the hara projections)

Hara Sampata is a division which is dependent on the hara as its purpose is to present the projections or main moral implications of the has or the connected chains previously dealt with. This division like the preceding one consists of sixteen parts exactly under the same headings. In the Hara Sampata the commentator Dhammapala has added and rearranged many new things. He cites the passages from the text and then puts a lay dissertation on them by way of questions and answers. This division stands almost as an in- dependent treatise by itself.

1. Desana hara Sampata In this division it is laid down that Mara invades only a mind which is quite unprotected (pamadacitta), which is based on false beliefs, on idleness, etc.

2. Vicaya hara Sampata In this section it is laid down that desire (tanha) is of two kinds : kusala and akusala. The one leads to nibbana and the other to birth and suffering (samsara). Mind is both kusala and akusala in nature. The real nature of things can only be seen in the fourth Jhana stage. The various signs and nature of nibbana and samadhi are described. Samadhi has five characteristics, namely, joy, happiness, consciousness, enlightenment, and right perception. There are ten objects of meditation (kasinayatanani), e.g., pathavi, apo, etc. They are then attached to three objects, anicca (non-permanent), dukkha (suffering), and anatta (non-existence of soul). A differentiation is brought about between an ordinary man and a man with knowledge. The former can do any kind of offence that may be possible. But the latter cannot. The former can even kill his father or mother, can destroy the stupas but the latter cannot ; when one practises the four Jhanas, and attains to Samadhi, his previous life and futurity are known to him.

3. In the Yutti-hara-sampata it is stated that sloth, stupor, and misery disappear from him who is well protected in mind, firm in resolution, and adheres to right seeing.

4. In the Padatthana-hara and Lakkhana-hara- sampata, the padatthanas (reasonings) are described as belonging to one who is well restrained in mind, words, and actions and who by the proper attainment of padatthanas realises the highest path.

5. In the Catuvyuhahara-sampata, Avattahara- sampata, Vibhatti-hara-sampata, etc., great stress is laid on right perception, mindfulness, and kusala deeds which lead to the knowledge of paticca- samuppada.

C. Naya-samutthana (Exposition of the modes of inspection)

The third division called the Nayasamutthana contains a detailed treatment of the five specified modes of viewing things.

1. Under the Nandiyavatta mode, it is pointed out that the earlier extremity of the world cannot be known owing to avijja (ignorance) which has tanha (desire) at the root. Those who walk in the field of pleasure are bound down in heretical beliefs and are unable to realise the truth.

2. There are four noble truths Dukkham, dukkhasamudayam, dukkhanirodham, and dukkha- nirodhagaminipatipada. There is a middle path (majjhima patipada) which rejects the two extreme views and which is identified with the eightfold noble path (ariya atthangiko maggo). He who has avoided ditthi (false view) escapes from kama (lust). Hence avoidance of desire (tanha) and ignorance (avijja) leads to quietitude or calmness.

3. Kamma is recognised as the cause of the world of sufferings. But consciousness and all that concerns consciousness may be seen in their increment in the ten vatthus. The ordinary enjoyment of food and touch, etc., is the cause of distress of a man with desire. The various asavas (sins) are next described. The sufferings of a man with attachments, faults, and wrong views are also narrated.

4. The four paths, the four foundations of recollections, the four Jhanas, the four essentials (sammappadhanas), the four meditations, the four pleasure yielding states, etc., are also stated ; each of these is described as an antidote for the man with attachment, delusion, and wrong views.

5. Buddhas, Pacceka-Buddhas, the disciples, and all those who are devoid of attachment, batred, delusion, etc., are like lions. Those who look to the right aspects, the senses, the counter forces of the views with as strong reasons as Buddhas, Pacceka-Buddhas, etc., are said to have seen things just like a lion. Human types are four in number. Each of these has to undergo some sort of training. To each of them is offered an advice as to tanha (desire), raga (attachment), kusala (merit), etc. This is the way shown to be of the Tipukkhalo and of the Ankusa described in the text.

D. Sasana-patthana (Classification & interpretation o f Buddha’s instructions)

Now turning to the fourth division, the Sasanapatthana, we get a treatment of the proper method of classification and interpretation of the texts of the Dhamma. That is to say, the Sasanapatthana embodies a classification of the Pitaka passages according to their leading thoughts. It is suggested that the discourses of the Buddha can be classified according to the themes into:

1. Sankilesabhagiya (those dealing with sankilesa or impurity),
2. Vasanabhagiya (those dealing with desire)
3. Nibbedhabhagiya (those dealing with penetration),
4. Asekhabhagiya (those dealing with the subject of a non-learner),
5. Sankilesabhagiya and Vasana- bhagiya,
6. Sankilesa and Nibbedhabhagiya,
7. Sankilesa and Asekhabhagiya,
8. Sankilesa and Nibbedha and Asekhabhagiya,
9. Sankilesa and Vasana and Nibbedhabhagiya,
10. Vasana and Nibbedhabhagiya,
11. Tanhasankilesabhagiya,
12. Ditthisankilesabhagiya,
13. Duccaritasankilesa- bhagiya,
14. Tanhavodanabhagiya,
15. Ditthivo- danabhagiya,
16. Duccaritavodanabhagiya.

Of these, sankilesas are of three kinds, tanha (desire), ditthi (false view), and duccaritas (wrong actions). Various padas, slokas, and texts are cited while explaining each of these textual classifications. The eighteen main padas are those which are worldly (lokikam), unworldly (lokuttaram), etc. In fact the chapter is made highly interesting by its numerous quotations from familiar texts and it does not enter deep into philosophical or logical arguments. But the classification and reclassifications are no doubt interesting as intellectual gymnastics.


That the Nettipakarana is an earlier book than the Patthana (Mahapakarana) has been ably shown by Mrs’/ Rhys Davids (J.R.A.S., 1925, pp. 111-112). She says that in the Netti there is a short chapter on parikkhara, i.e., equipment. Usually applied to a monk’s necessities of life, it is here applied to mean all that goes to bring about a happening, all the conditions to produce an effect.

These are twofold paccaya and hetu. Take now this happening : ” A seeing something “. Here the eye is the dominant condition (adhipateyyapaccayataya paccayo). The thing seen is the object condition (arammana paccayataya paccayo). The light is the medium condition (Sannissayataya paccayo). But attention is the hetu. In conclusion it states : Whatever is sufficing condition (upanissaya) that is a causal antecedent (parikkhara). “This simple exposition,” says Mrs. Rhys Davids, ” is a development of the yet simpler wording in the suttas. There no distinction is drawn between hetu and paccaya “. She then turns her attention to the Patthana. Here at the start not only has a distinction been drawn but an elaborate classification of paccayas twenty-four in kind, is drawn up as standardised knowledge. Hetu is a species of paccaya, first and chief of them. Further, ‘ dominance ‘, * object ‘, ‘ medium ‘, * sufficing condition ‘, are classed as paccayas, Nos. 3, 2, 9, and 8. And further, the in- variable way of assigning causal relation in a happening is not the Netti’s way but (hetu, etc.) paccayena paccayo. We may conclude from this that the writer of the Netti did not know the Patthana. He did know some Abhidhamma. He alludes to a method in the Dhammasangani, to a definition in the Vibhanga but never to that notable scheme in the Patthana.





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  • HT. Thích Trí Hải (1876-1950), Chùa Bích Liên, Bình Định
  • Tổ sư Nguyên Thiều - Siêu Bạch (1648-1729), Khai sơn Tổ đình Thập Tháp, Bình Định
  • Thiền sư Thích Nhất Hạnh - Làng mai, Pháp quốc
  • HT. Thích Thiện Minh (1922-1978), Thiền viện Quảng Đức, Sài gòn
  • HT. Thích Thiện Hoa (1918-1973), Việt Nam Quốc Tự, Sài gòn
  • HT. Thích Thiện Hòa (1907-1978), Chùa Ấn Quang, Sài gòn
  • Bồ tát Thích Quảng Đức (1897-11 tháng 6 năm 1963) Vị pháp thiêu thân
  • HT. Thích Tịnh Khiết (1890-1973), Chùa Tường Vân, Huế
  • HT. Thích Phước Thành (1918-2013), Chùa Thiên Phước, Bình Định
  • HT. Thích Giác Nhiên (1878-1979), Chùa Thuyền Tôn, Huế
  • HT. Thích Đỗng Minh (1927-2005), Chùa Long Sơn, Nha Trang
  • HT. Thích Hành Trụ (1904-1984), Sài gòn
  • HT. Thích Viên Định, Tổ đình Thập Tháp, Bình Định
  • HT. Thích Huệ Chiếu (1898-1965) , Tổ đình Thập Tháp, Bình Định
  • HT. Thích Trí Hải (1906-1979) - Hà Nội
  • HT. Thích Đôn Hậu (1905-1992), Chùa Thiên Mụ, Huế
  • HT. Thích Huyền Quang (1920-2008), Tu Viện Nguyên Thiều, Bình Định
  • HT. Thích Kế Châu (1922-1996), Tổ đình Thập Tháp, Bình Định
  • HT. Thích Trí Diệu (1916-1982), Chùa Phước Long, Bình Định
  • Hoa sen tánh giác

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Reference Material

Royal patronage of Buddhism during the time of Buddha

Royal patronage of Buddhism during the time of Buddha

Active patronage from different royal houses was a major contributing factor to the growth of Sangha, its missionary activities and successful spread of Buddhism. Admiration for Buddha was obvious when kings and rulers made their claims on his relics after his demise...

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Lời vàng của Tổ Qui Sơn

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Ẩm thực Phật giáo

Chè trôi nước ngũ sắc

Chè trôi nước ngũ sắc

Đậu xanh ngâm nước vài tiếng cho nở mềm. Sau đó đãi sạch rồi cho vào nồi, đổ nước sâm sấp mặt đậu. Cho nồi đậu lên bếp, đun nhỏ lửa cho đậu chín bở và cạn hết nước...

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