Home Page

Home Page    First Parittaü    Mahàparittaü    Pañhamakabhàõavàraü    Dutiyakabhàõavàraü    Atireka Sattasuttàni    Tatiyakabhàõavàraü    Catutthakabhàõavàraü    Avasànaü


Safeguard Recitals

edited and translated by

ânandajoti Bhikkhu



Table of Contents






Namo Tassa...













1: Saraõagamanaü

2: Dasasikkhàpadàni

3: Sàmaõerapa¤haü

4: Dvattiüsàkàraü

5: Paccavekkhaõà

6: Dasadhammasuttaü

7: Mahàmaïgalasuttaü

8. Ratanasuttaü

9: Karaõãyamettasuttaü

10: Khandhaparittaü

11: Mett' ânisaüsasuttaü

12: Mitt' ânisaüsaü

13. Moraparittaü

14: Candaparittaü

15: Suriyaparittaü

16: Dhajaggaparittaü


17: Mahàkassapattherabojjhaïgaü

18: Mahàmoggallànattherabojjhaïgaü

19: Mahàcundattherabojjhaïgaü

20: Girimànandasuttaü

21: Isigilisuttaü

Atirekàni Sattasuttàni

22. Dhammacakkappavattanasuttaü

23: Mahàsamayasuttaü

24: âlavakasuttaü

25. Kasãbhàradvàjasuttaü

26. Paràbhavasuttaü

27. Vasalasuttaü

28: Saccavibhaïgasuttaü


29: âñànàñiyasuttaü (1)


âñànàñiyasuttaü (2)


Namo Tassa...








Undoubtedly the best known collection of Buddhist texts in Sri Lanka is the Catubhàõavàrapàëi, the Text of the Four Recitals. On any given day of the year you would not have to go very far to find a complete recital of these texts being made, usually by monks, in an allnight sitting, as the Buddhist community regards such a recital as being particularly auspicious, bringing safety, peace, and well-being in its wake.


Following the Autumnal Rains Retreat (Vassa) every temple in the land has such a recital to ensure the prosperity of the temple and the community it serves during the coming year; and every night in the temples up and down the land a selection of texts from this collection is recited to promote the safety and happiness of all those who attend such gatherings.


In times of adversity, when illhealth or disease are close at hand, certain discourses will be recited which are thought to be particularly effective in restoring confidence and good health. Other discourses are employed when invisible forces or spirits are behaving antagonistically towards people; and at times certain of these discourses are recited as a blessing upon those who hear them.


In terms of the media it would be hard to find any other book in Sri Lanka that has so many editions available, and most homes in the Buddhist community will possess and prize a copy. The Great Safeguard, or Maha Pirit, which opens the recital has been recorded many times and can be heard morning and evening played over loudspeakers from homes and temples alike.


Enough then should have been said to give an idea of the central role these texts play in the life of Sri Lankan Buddhism, but these recitals are also popular in other Theravàda countries like Myanmar and Thailand, and there is every reason to believe that their popularity is growing in those countries where the Buddhist community forms a small but significant minority like Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and in those Western countries where Buddhism has now taken root.


This book has been prepared in order to provide a reliable and complete text of the Catubhàõavàrapàëi for those who would normally read or recite Pàëi through Roman script. The discourses and other material gathered in this book are not, and should not be regarded as, magical incantations. Verbally undertaking the Training Rules, without making an effort to maintain them unbroken is likely to be ineffective. Simply listening to a discourse about friendliness (mettà), without generating and radiating mettà, will similarly have little or no effect. Therefore in preparing this book every effort has been made to promote an intelligent participation in these recitals on the part of those who recite these texts, and those who listen to them. For that reason a line by line translation of the text has been adopted which should make it possible to follow the recital and the translation at the same time.


Those who are unable to attend a recital of these texts may still find much of interest in this collection, which includes the first discourse of the Buddha (Dhammacakkappavatanasuttaü), one of the most important discourses in the canon, together with its Analysis (Saccavibhaïgasuttaü), which was made by Ven. Sàriputta, one of the Buddha's leading disciples. There are many discourses here that deal with various aspects of popular ethics, including the discourses on the Great Blessings (Mahàmaïgalasuttaü), the Advantages of Friendship (Mittànisaüsà), and the causes of Ruin (Paràbhavasuttaü) among others. We may also mention here other pieces like the Reflections (Paccavekkhaõà), which encourages frugality and contentment; and the recollection of the Thirty Two Parts of the body (Dvattiüsàkàraü), which is intended to counteract the lust, hatred, and delusion that arises in consequence of an overattachment to the body and the pleasure that can be gained through that medium.


The two long discourses, Mahàsamayasuttaü & âñànàñiyasuttaü, together with a number of shorter discourses in the first recital (see nos 13-16), should give the reader a fairly good outline of Buddhist cosmology. There are a number of discourses on mettà meditation, including the justly famous Karaõiyamettàsuttaü; and the Girimànandasuttaü outlines ten perceptions, or contemplations, that can be undertaken by those who are intent on training.


At the end of the book there is an appendix on the correct Pronunciation of Pàëi; and a short essay on the prosody, which includes an outline of the metres that are used in the verse sections of the book, and which hopefully will help towards an appreciation of the aesthetic aspect of these texts.


Whenever these texts are recited let it be for the safety, peace, and happiness of all living beings. Having secured their lives on a firm foundation, may all beings then take steps to develop themselves further, until such time as they arrive at the complete cessation of suffering!


Dukkhappattà ca niddukkhà, - bhayappattà ca nibbhayà,
sokappattà ca nissokà - hontu sabbe pi pàõino!
see pg 265)


ânandajoti Bhikkhu
Pavàraõà 2543/1999

If anyone notices any mistakes or inconsistencies in this document, I would very much appreciate it if they could contact me at ih@col7.metta.lk so that corrections can be made.





1: Authorities

The text of Catubhàõavàrapàëi printed in the main section of this book has been established through a comparison of the following authorities, which are given here along with the abbreviations used in the variant readings:

CBhp: Catubhàõavàrapàëi, edited by Ven Siri Sumanatissa Nàyaka Thero. Simon Hewavitarane Bequest Pàëi Text Series Vol VII. 1956, reprinted Colombo, 1992.

MPP: Maha Pirit Pota, edited by âcaryà Devundara Nàhimi, new edition by Makaladuve Sri Piyaratana Nàhimi. Colombo, 1995.

PPV: Piruvànà Pot Vahanse, edited by Attudhàve Ràhula Sthavira. Taiwan. 1994.

The Commentary on Catubhàõavàrapàëi, Sàratthasamuccaya, published in the Simon Hewavitarane Bequest Aññhakathà Series Vol XXVII, 1929 (reprinted 1992), was also consulted.


2: Variant Readings

There are some variations in the text which, as they make little difference in recital have not been noted in the variant readings, but which may usefully be outlined here:

CBhp sometimes prints õ for the more usual n, as in nibbàõa, pahàõa; it also sometimes has ë for l, as in antaëikkha, piëakà.

MPP sometimes prints n where we normally find õ, as in utuparinàma, pisuna.

PPV quite often has ü for ¤, and occasionally in place of other nasals, which is simply an alternative way of representing these sounds.

None of the books are entirely consistent in their usage, which may not be the fault of the editors, but because this is a collection of texts that was originally passed down in different manuscript traditions. However, in this edition I have preferred to prepare a text which is consistent, as far as that is possible.

Printer's errors, like printing tã as the quotation marker, have also not normally been noted, though where they amount to the omission of a word or line they have been included.


Owing to the Sinhala typeface used in MPP & PPV it is impossible to tell the difference between u & å when in combination with certain letters, so that e.g. bhikkhu & bhikkhå are indistinguishable, except by context, and so it was not possible to note variants in this regard.


3: Comparison

Although Catubhàõavàrapàëi is a collection of material drawn from the 5 Nikàyas, there are some significant differences between the suttas and other material in the collection and in the source. Below is a synopsis of where these works are originally found, together with a brief outline of the differences that are found (whenever they exist) for reference. It should be noted that variant readings are not mentioned here, but only major differences affecting either the title or contents:

1    Saraõagamanaü (Vinaya Mahàvagga 1; Khp 1)

      Mahàvagga: no title; Khp: Saraõattaya


2    Dasasikkhàpadàni (Vinaya Mahàvagga 1; Khp 2)

      Mahàvagga: no title; Khp: Dasasikkhàpadaü, also has the word samàdiyàmi (I undertake) at the end of each precept


3    Sàmaõerapa¤haü (Khp 4)

      Khp: Kumàrapa¤haü


4    Dvàttiüsàkàraü (Khp 3)


5    Paccavekkhaõà (M2, passim)

      M2: no title


6    Dasadhammasuttaü (Aïg 10:48)

      Aïg omits the nidàna (introduction) and the conclusion from Idam-avoca...onwards


7    Mahàmaïgalasuttaü (Khp 5; Sn 2:8)

      Khp: Maïgalasuttaü


8    Ratanasuttaü (Khp 6; Sn 2:1)


9    Karaõãyamettasuttaü (Khp 9; Sn 1:8)

      Khp, Sn: Mettasuttaü


10   Khandhaparittaü (Vinaya Cullavagga 5; Aïg 4:67)

      Cullavagga: no title, has different opening upto Na ha nåna..., replaces Idam-avoca Bhagavà, idaü vatvà Sugato athàparaü etad-avoca Satthà, with Eva¤-ca pana bhikkhave kàtabbaü

      Aïg omits Idam-avoca Bhagavà...Satthà


11   Mettànisaüsasuttaü (Aïg 11:16)

      Aïg omits nidàna, starts at Mettàya bhikkhave...; also omits Idam-avoca Bhagavà...to the end


12   Mittànisamsaü (Jàtaka 538)

      Jàtaka has no title


13   Moraparittaü (Jàtaka 159)

      Jàtaka has no title


14   Candaparittaü (Devaputtasaüyuttaü 2:9)

      Saüyuttaü has simply: Sàvatthiyaü viharati. Tena kho...etc


15   Suriyaparittaü (Devaputtasaüyuttaü 2:10)

      Saüyuttaü omits the nidàna entirely, begins with Tena kho...


16   Dhajaggaparittaü (Sakkasaüyuttaü 11:3)

       Saüyuttaü has simply: Sàvatthiyaü viharati, followed by Bhåtapubbaü...etc


17   Mahàkassapattherabojjhaïgaü (Bojjhaïgasaüyuttaü 46:14)

       Saüyuttaü title: Gilàna 1


18   Mahàmoggallànattherabojjhaïgaü (Bojjhaïgasaüyuttaü 46:15)

       Saüyuttaü title: Gilàna 2


19    Mahàcundattherabojjhaïgaü (Bojjhaïgasaüyuttaü 46:16)

        Saüyuttaü title: Gilàna 3

        omits the line: sàyanhasamayaü pañisallànà vuññhito


20   Girimànandasuttaü (Aïg 10:60)

       Aïg omits Evaü me sutaü


21    Isigilisuttaü (M 116)

        M reads simply: Ariññho nàma bhikkhave Paccekabuddho, (as does PPV in the variant readings)


22    Dhammacakkappavattanasuttaü (Vinaya Mahàvagga 1; Saccasaüyuttaü 46:11)

        Saüyuttaü has title as: Tathàgatena vutta 1 (but section title is Dhammacakkappavattanavaggo); abbreviates the list of devas by reading Brahmakàyikà devà instead of the full list.

        Mahàvagga has no title, and also abbreviates the list of devas by reading Brahmakàyikà devà instead of the full list.


23    Mahàsamayasuttaü (D 20)


24    âlavakasuttaü (Yakkhasaüyuttaü 10:12; Sn 1:10)

        Saüyuttaü has the title âlaviü; omits the line beginning Atha kho... before the verses, includes an extra line Asmà lokà paraü lokaü Þ evaü pecca na socati at end of verse 7; omits the prose found after the verse.


25    Kasãbhàradvàjasuttaü (Bràhmaõasaüyuttaü 7:11; Sn 1:4)

        Sn is the same as here, however Saüyuttaü has the title as Kasi; omits the first 3 prose lines after verse 5, replaces Kasãbhàradvàja's request for ordination, and subsequent attainment with a request to be accepted as a lay disciple.


26    Paràbhavasuttaü (Sn 1:6)


27    Vasalasuttaü (Sn 1:7)


28    Saccavibhaïgasuttaü (M 141)


29    âñànàñiyasuttaü, pt 1 (D: 32)

        Dãgha has the title as -suttantaü



4: Layout & Punctuation

a) In prose lines the text and translation normally start parallel to each other at the side of the page, for example from the Dasasikkhàpadàni:

Pàõàtipàtà veramaõã sikkhàpadaü.
The training rule of refraining from killing living creatures.

b) Some prose lines have been indented for emphasis, e.g.

Idam-avoca Bhagavà,
The Gracious One said this,

c) Some prose lines have been centred, example from Saraõagamanaü:

Buddhaü saraõaü gacchàmi
I go to the Buddha for refuge

d) In verse lines the Pàëi is indented in relation to the translation, and each metre is distinguished by the layout (for the details on this see the 2nd appendix on prosody) example from Mahàmaïgalasuttaü:

1.    Bahå devà manussà ca Þ maïgalàni acintayuü
Many are the gods and men Þ who have thought about the blessings

e) Words that have come together through euphonic reasons have been hyphenated in the text by the - . As will be seen these occur in both prose and verse but are much more common in the latter where there is a need to make changes to meet the needs of the metre. Example from Mahàmaïgalasuttaü:

attasammàpaõidhi ca: Þ etaü maïgalam-uttamaü.

f) In the Vatta verses when the two parts of the line have been taken together for translation, this is indicated by the omission of the long slash otherwise dividing the line in the translation. Example from Mahàsamayasuttaü:

10.    Sataü eke sahassànaü Þ amanussànam-addasuü,
Some of them saw a hundred thousand of those non-human beings,

        app' eke 'nantam-addakkhuü Þ disà sabbà phuñà ahå.
and some saw an endless number Þ spread out in every direction.



Home Page    First Parittaü    Mahàparittaü    Pañhamakabhàõavàraü    Dutiyakabhàõavàraü    Atireka Sattasuttàni    Tatiyakabhàõavàraü    Catutthakabhàõavàraü    Avasànaü