Buddhism is a world religion started in South Asia with most current followers in East Asia. Unlike Christianity and Islam, there is not a "one-book" closed canon that every follower use. That said, followers of Buddhism do not doubt (though many would doubt the importance of this fact) that Buddhism as a historical phenomenon started from Buddha's teachings after his awakening / enlightenment. So in modern times, scholars have been quite interested in figuring out what Buddha's teachings were, and often search for them in the large set of Pali canonical texts (likely closed ~5th c. CE) of Theravada Buddhism pervasive in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Within the Pali canon, there are increasing consensus that Samyutta Nikaya ("Connected Discourses", abbreviated as "SN") contains the oldest (and shortest) strata of suttas. A monk Ven. Yin Shun, based primarily on ancient Chinese-language Buddhist texts (also referencing research and translations by Japanese scholars), published a work in early 1970's concluding not only that Samyuktagama (the Chinese collection corresponding to Samyutta Nikaya, abbreviated as "SA") is the oldest of the 4 agamas (the other being Long, Middle, and Numbered Discourses), within the 56 samyuttas ("groups" of sutras/suttas) in SN, 15 doctrinal samyuttas are the earliest to be complied. Reading SN (translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi in 2000) with this lens informed by SA, using online tools (especially suttacentral.net), I have gone through the 15 doctrinal samyuttas in SN two times (once in the summer of 2019 and once in Spring of 2020). After filtering out SN suttas that do not have clear/substantial parallels in a SA sutta, excluding suttas spoken by Buddha's disciples instead of Buddha himself (this exclusion seems natural in "modern" thinking though it wouldn't be considered wise by Buddha's followers in general), selecting the suttas containing the most important content (often those are highlighted by literary gestures within the suttas, and often those are more often translated into Chinese, or included in other Nikayas / Agamas collections), and eliminating unnecessary content redundance, I have selected 88 suttas adding up to ~100 pages for future re-reading:
|No.||SN Sutta||SA Sutra|
SA after translated in its transmission lost 2 of its 50 fascicles. SN51 happens to fall into the lost portion and so there are no corresponding SA sutta for SN51:13.