The Long Discourses (Dīgha Nikāya, abbreviated DN) is a collection of 34 discourses in the Pali canon (Tipiṭaka) of the Theravāda school. The word “long” refers to the length of the individual discourses, not the collection as a whole, which is in fact the smallest of the five Pali Nikāyas. It is one of the fundamental collections of early Buddhist teachings, depicting the Buddha in a lively range of settings. Compared to other collections it contains more extended narratives in diverse literary styles. Many discourses feature interreligious dialog with brahmins and other non-Buddhists. This collection parallels the Dīrghāgama (DA) of the Dharmaguptaka school, which is the first text in the Taishō edition of the Chinese canon. Several uncollected suttas in Chinese and Sanskrit also belong to this collection. Two-thirds of a Dīrghāgama from the Sarvāstivāda school has been found, but only small portions have been published.
The Chapter Containing the Section on Ethics (Sīlakkhandhavagga) is a chapter of 13 discourses. Each of these contains a long passage on the Gradual Training in ethics, meditation, and wisdom. The chapter is named after the first of these sections. The two other known versions of the Dīrghāgama (in Chinese and Sanskrit) also contain a similar chapter. Despite the monastic nature of the central teaching, most of these discourses are presented in dialog with lay people, with a strong emphasis on the relation between the Buddha’s teachings and other contemporary movements.
This chapter contains a diverse range of discourses. Several focus on the events surrounding the Buddha’s death, while others range into fabulous scenarios set among the gods, and still others are grounded in detailed discussions of doctrine.
Like the previous chapter, this contains a diverse range of discourses. It is named after the first discourse in the chapter. Among the discourses here are legendary accounts of the history and future of our world, which are extremely famous and influential in Buddhist circles.