Atthaka-Vagga.-The fourth division of the Sutta Nipāta. It consists of sixteen suttas, all of which are explained in the Mahā Niddesa. It may also have been the name of divisions of other books, because we are told that once Sona Thera intoned before the Buddha all the verses of the Books of the Eights (Atthaka-vaggikāni). Vin.i.196-7. The DhA. (iv.101-2) says he recited the 16 portions of the Atthakavagga.
Nandamātā Upāsikā was once reciting the Atthakavagga and the Parāyanavagga on the roof of her house, and Vessavana, while on the way with his followers to see the Buddha, listened to her recital (SnA.i.370; but see A.iv.63, where only the Parāyana is mentioned). According to this tradition, the Atthakavagga was already being recited in the Buddha's own time.
In Sanskrit the title was known as Artha-varga and was so understood by the Chinese translators. No one has explained what the title means nor has interpreted the second sutta (Guhatthaka) except as "The eight Verses on the cave," and similarly with the three following suttas: Dutthatthaka, Suddhattha and Paramatthaka, each of eight verses. The fact that it is commented on separately in the Mahā Niddesa and was translated into Chinese makes it appear probable that it was once a separate work. See Thomas, op. cit., 274.
Atthaka Sutta.-Two of the same name. They deal with the methods of mastering the feelings, of bringing about their cessation and of the six ways of calming them. S.iv.221f.