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The Tipitaka
Vinaya Pitaka
Sutta Pitaka
Digha Nikaya
Majjhima Nikaya
Samyutta Nikaya
Anguttara Nikaya
Khuddaka Nikaya
Abhidhamma Pitaka

The Tipitaka (Pāli, lit. three baskets), Tripitaka (Sanskrit) (Chinese: Sānzàng 三藏; Japanese: Sanzo; Khmer: Traipětâk ត្រៃបិតក; nepal: Samjang 삼장; Thai: Traipidok ไตรปิฎก; Vietnamese: Tam tạng) is the formal term for a Buddhist canon of scriptures. The Tipitaka and the paracanonical Pali texts (commentaries, chronicles, etc.) together constitute the complete body of classical Theravada texts.

The Pali canon is a vast body of literature: in English translation the texts add up to thousands of printed pages. Most (but not all) of the Canon has already been published in English over the years. Although only a small fraction of these texts are available on this website, this collection can be a good place to start.

Many different versions of the canon exist throughout the Buddhist world, containing an enormous variety of texts. The most widely-known version is the Pali Canon of the Theravada school which exists in Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Sri Lanka.

The Three PitakasEdit

The Tripitaka writings, which were originally memorized and recited orally by disciples, fall into three general categories and the scrolls (originally written on palm leaves) were therefore kept in three baskets (tri-pitaka).

Vinaya PitakaEdit

The first category, the Vinaya Pitaka, was the code of ethics to be obeyed by the early sangha, monks and nuns. Some rules and practices were regarded by the Buddha as essential and foundational to the pursuit of his philosophical teachings. Others were invented on a day-to-day basis as the Buddha encountered various behavior problems with the monks.

Sutta PitakaEdit

The second category, the Sutta Pitaka, consists primarily of accounts of the Buddha's life , his teachings and his lectures. The Sutta Pitaka has numerous subdivisions: it contains more than 10,000 suttas.

Abhidhamma PitakaEdit

The third category is known to the Theravada school as the Abhidhamma Pitaka. It is a collection of texts in which the underlying doctrinal principles presented in the Sutta Pitaka are restated and explained in more a systematic framework. For the matters that already exist, such as those in Sutta Pitaka , the Abhidhamma is considered as the final word in case of conflict or ambiguity.

In Mahayana and Vajrayana tripitakas, this pitaka often contains treatises that are referred to as shastras.

See AlsoEdit

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