Avijja Sutta
Discourse on Ignorance
AvijjaVagga, Maga Samyutta
Mahavagga Samyutta, Samyutta Nikaya, Suttanta Pitaka

SOURCE: "Three Groups of Related Discourses from
Translated by Professor U Ko Lay, Yangon
Edited by the Editorial Committee, DFPPS (Myanmar Tipitaka Association), 1998

       1. Thus have I heard:

        At one time the Bhagava was staying in the Jetavana monastery of Anathapindika, in Savatthi. At that time, the Bhagava addressed the bhikkhus, saying, 'Bhikkhus', and the bhikkhus replied to the Bhagava; 'Venerable Sir'. The Bhagava spoke to them thus:

        "Bhikkhus, Ignorance, avijja is the forerunner of the arising of demeritorious factors; lack of moral shame, ahirika, and lack of moral dread, anottappa, are only its followers,1 . Bhikkhus, one who is ignorant and lacking in wisdom would hold Wrong View. In one who holds Wrong View there would arise Wrong Thinking, one who has Wrong Thinking, would utter Wrong Speech; one who utter Wrong Speech would take Wrong Action: one who takes Wrong Action would engage in Wrong Livelihood; one who engages in Wrong Livelihood would make Wrong Effort; one who makes Wrong Effort would practise Wrong Mindfulness: one who practises Wrong Mindfulness would develop Wrong Concentration."

        "Bhikkhus, knowledge2, vijja is the forerunner of the arising of meritorious factors; sense of moral shame, hiri and sense of moral dread, ottappa, are only its followers3. Bhikkhus, one who is endowed with knowledge and is wise would hold Right View4 ; in one who holds Right View, there would arise Right Thinking: one who has Right Thinking would utter Right Speech; one who utters Right Speech would takes Right Action; one who takes Right Action would engage in Right Livelihood: one who engages in Right Livelihood would make Right Effort; one who makes Right Effort would practise Right Mindfulness; one who practises Right Mindfulness would develop Right Concentration."

End of the Avijia Sutta,

the first in this Vagga

        1. its followers: According to the Commentary, Avijja, ahirika and anottappa arise together: ignorance is the prime factor giving decisive support to ahirika and anottappa which play secondary roles.

        2. Knowledge, vijja: Here, it is defined as knowledge that actions done rightly or wrongly inevitably have results. This knowledge also serves as a condition for the arising of meritorious factors. Thus one who is endowed with vijja knows what is evil and what is good; he thus avoids wrong deeds such as killing, stealing, etc. and engages himself only in meritorious deeds that will lead to good resultant effects.

        3. Its followers: According to Commentary, Vijja, hiri and ottapa arise together; Vijja is the prime factor giving decisive support to hiri and ottapa which play secondary roles.

Mahasi Meditation Centre

Home Page




The Way to Nibbana

New Pages

Dhamma Journal

Buddhism in Burma

{short description of image}

Buddhism Discussion Forum

Q & A

Dhamma in Burmese

Becoming a Buddhist

Buddhist Sites




{short description of image}
{short description of image}

Alphabetical Index