A commentarial work included in the Canon as part of the
Khuddaka Nikāya. It is generally divided into
two books: the Culla-Niddesa and the Mahā Niddesa.
The Culla Niddesa contains comments on the
Khaggavisāna Sutta and the sixteen suttas of the
Parāyana Vagga of the
Sutta Nipāta, while the Mahā Niddesa deals
with the sixteen suttas of the Atthaka Vagga.
It is significant that the Culla Niddesa contains no comments on the fifty
six (Vatthugāthā) introductory stanzas, which preface the Parāyana Vagga as at
present found in the Sutta Nipāta. This lends support to the suggestion that at
the time the Culla Niddesa was written the Parāyana Vagga, was a separate
anthology, and that the Khaggavisāna Sutta did not belong to any particular
group. Similarly with the Mahā Niddesa and the Atthaka Vagga.
The comments in the Niddesa seem to have been modelled on exegetical
explanations such as are attributed here and there in the Pitakas to Mahā
Kaccāna (E.g., Madhupindika Sutta (M.i.110f); also S. iii.9) and to Sāriputta
(E.g., Sangitī Sutta, D.iii.207f).
There is a tradition (MNidA. p.1), which ascribes the authorship of the
Niddesa to Sāriputta. There exists a Commentary on it, called the
Saddhammapajjotikā, by Upasena. It was written in Ceylon at the request of a
monk called Deva Thera.