The Open Buddhist University

The Aṅguttara Nikāya

An ongoing series of talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi going sequentially through the Numerical Discourses, explaining how the collection was compiled and how we might apply its wisdom to our everyday lives.

What are the Numerical Discourses?

The Aṅguttara Nikaya (AN) is the last of the four main books (nikāya) of the Buddha’s discourses (also known as the Sutta Piṭaka) in the Pāḷi Canon.

The Buddha often taught according to numbered lists throughout his career as a teacher, as anyone familiar with Buddhist doctrine will know. In fact, this memorable quality of a list is one of its great advantages as a format and the AN takes full advantage of this technique and hence its name.

From DN 33, we know that the Saṅgha would often recite the Buddha’s teachings in numerical order even during the Buddha’s own lifetime, so it isn’t hard to imagine how the tradition came to form the Aṅguttara Nikaya as we have it today. The first book (AN 1) contains a multitude of teachings on “one thing”, the second book (AN 2) contains teachings on “two things”, etc.

The Aṅguttara Nikaya contains some of the most practical suttas in the entire canon: for monastics and the laity. Being organized around a theme as abstract as numbers (starting with the number one!), the AN contains a rich variety of subjects sure to appeal to readers of any level or interest.


This course is technically a continuation of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s epic, multi-year course on the Majjhimā Nikaya, but don’t let that scare you off! This course is designed to be approachable by anyone with a basic understanding of Buddhism and of the Early Buddhist Texts.

Time Requirement

As of 2021, the course is still ongoing, with new lectures appearing every couple of weeks. I recommend watching one or two videos per week to slowly catch up, but you’re welcome to watch at whatever pace works for you.

Scroll to Top