The Mahāpadesa Sutta describes about the "Four Great Authorities (Mahāpadesas)" that a disciple should refer, if any one claims some new thing to be the word of the Budhha.

Mahāpadesa Sutta Summary:

The Buddha tells the monks of the four mahāpadesā to be respected by them. If a monks says he has a certain teaching direct from the Buddha himself, his statement should be compared with the rest of the Vinaya and Dhamma; if these do not agree, it should be rejected; if they do, accepted.

The same applies to that which is said to have been learnt from a group of monks led by a Thera from a body of senior monks residing in a certain place, or from a single senior monk, proficient in the Dhamma, the Vinaya, and the Mātikā. A.ii.167ff.; the sutta is incorporated in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta (D.ii.123ff).

Apart from the above four great authorities, Theravadins use another four Authorities called "The Four Vinayas". What are they?

1 Answer 1


According to the commentary on that sutta (via Ven. Mingun Sayadaw):

  • Suttas
  • Suttānuloma: the great authorities as described in the Vinaya and in the discourses
  • Ācariyavāda/Aṭṭhakathā: the ancient commentaries
  • Attanomati: views held by elder bhikkhus

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