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Applying NORBU in a Group Study Environment

The Ariya Dhamma Investigation Group (DIG), a Dhamma study group from Ariya Vihara ( achieved a significant milestone when it incorporated NORBU AI as aid in their sutta study session. The milestone marked a significant development in the application of technology to enhance the understanding of Buddhist teachings in a group setting.

On the 26th of November, 2023, Ariya Vihara organized the final DIG session for the year. This group session was conducted through the Zoom virtual platform and was attended by six students. Guided by Bro. Lim Kooi Fong, the group was assigned to study the Chiggala Sutta: The Hole (SN 56.48), a famous sutta about the Parable of the Blind Sea Turtle.

The students were given specific instructions to analyze the sutta as follows:

1) summarizing its content,

2) understanding the context,

3) identifying characteristics,

4) extracting guidance for practice, and

5) recognizing the sutta's overall significance.

To facilitate comprehensive exploration, students engaged themselves in separate small group discussions through "break-out rooms" and were allowed to utilize NORBU ( as a tool to augment their research.

Here was what they found and shared.

The Summary of the Chiggala Sutta

The Chiggala Sutta, also known as The Hole (SN 56.48), is a discourse delivered by the Buddha, employing a powerful simile to underscore the rare opportunity of human birth and the even scarcer chance to encounter the Dhamma and pursue the path to liberation. The sutta likens the likelihood of a blind sea-turtle putting its head through a yoke's hole to the rarity of attaining human birth and encountering the Buddha's teachings. The Buddha urges followers to appreciate the exceptional nature of human life and the access to the Dhamma, emphasizing the importance of earnestly striving towards Nibbana.

Deeper Analysis of the Chiggala Sutta


The Chiggala Sutta, found in the Samyutta Nikaya, is a discourse by the Buddha (SN 56.48) that utilizes a simile to highlight the rarity and preciousness of human birth and the associated opportunity for liberation.


The sutta employs the metaphor of a blind sea-turtle surfacing once every hundred years, illustrating the extraordinary chance of being born human and encountering the Dhamma. This rarity underscores the infrequent opportunity human life provides for pursuing the path to Nibbana.

Guidance for Practice

The sutta serves as a reminder to cherish human life, make diligent efforts in practice, and recognize the preciousness of the encountered teachings. Practitioners are urged to value their existence and strive earnestly towards liberation.


Significant for its portrayal of the rarity of human birth and the even rarer chance of encountering the Buddha's teachings, the sutta motivates practitioners to appreciate their circumstances and commit to the path with urgency.

How NORBU Made Sutta Study "Hip!"

The session revealed several key takeaways:

1) NORBU proved to be an invaluable tool for group study, enabling high quality analysis of the sutta. The interaction proved effective in a virtual sutta discussion setting (via platforms like Zoom), or in a physical face-to-face group meeting. The interactive nature of the discussions allowed students to freely interject and express thoughts and opinions.

2) Students were exposed to sutta dissection methods, breaking down the discourse into digestible parts.

  • In the "context" part, students explored why the Buddha taught the sutta and to whom, identifying its place in the Sutta Pitaka.

  • The "characteristics" section delved deeper into the parable of the blind turtle, linking it to the rarity of human birth.

  • "Guidance for practice" and "significance" prompted students to apply the sutta's teachings to prioritize Dharma practice in their rare human birth.

The study concluded with a general discussion on the meaning of a precious human life, emphasizing the awareness of its preciousness as a catalyst for appreciating and practicing the Buddha Dharma.


The Ariya DIG exercise proves that NORBU extends beyond personal use, proving equally effective in a group study setting. The integration of this powerful AI tool transforms Sutta and Dharma studies, allowing students to dissect and reflect on the Buddha's teachings with newfound depth and insight.


Anyone undertaking sutta studies are encouraged to apply the dissection method mentioned above and use NORBU ( as a tool to investigate the suttas and extract its teachings more effectively for deeper, meaningful study.


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