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Encyclopedia > Buddhist texts
Chinese Song Period Maha-prajna-paramita Sutra Page
Chinese Song Period Maha-prajna-paramita Sutra Page

The texts can be categorized in a number of ways, but the most fundamental division is that between canonical and non-canonical texts. The former, including the Sutras (Sanskrit) or Suttas (Pali), are held to be, literally or metaphorically, the actual words of the Buddha. The latter are the various commentaries on canonical texts and other treatises on the Dharma, as well as collections of quotations, histories, grammars, etc. Within the canonical texts, there is a chronological difference between the early Buddhist texts (the Pali Canon and the Agamas), and the Mahayana sutras. Whereas some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon and Agamas could contain the actual substance of the historical teachings (and possibly even the words) of the Buddha[1][2], this is not the case for the Mahayana sutras[3]. The scriptural works of Early Buddhism precede the Mahayana works chronologically, and are recognized to be the only credible source for information regarding the actual historical teachings of Gautama Buddha. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 400 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,304 × 3,456 pixels, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 400 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,304 × 3,456 pixels, file size: 1. ... Canonical is an adjective derived from canon. ... Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ... The term Early Buddhism can refer to: Pre-sectarian Buddhism, which refers to the Teachings and monastic organization and structure, founded by Gautama Buddha. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... Genera Many: see text Agamas or Agamids are the Agamidae family of lizards, containing more than 300 species in Africa, Asia, Australia, and a few in Southern Europe. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of... The term Early Buddhism can refer to: Pre-sectarian Buddhism, which refers to the Teachings and monastic organization and structure, founded by Gautama Buddha. ...


It should be borne in mind that some of the divisions are arbitrary, and that some texts fall between categories, or can be associated with more than one category. Many later Chinese scriptures were explicitly not of Indian origin, but were widely accepted as valid sutras (經) on their own merits by Chinese and East Asian Buddhists of the Mahayana (大乘) tradition. Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ...


Recently an important archaeological discovery was made, consisting of the earliest known Buddhist manuscripts, recovered from ancient civilization of Gandhara in north central Pakistan near Taxila just south west of the capital Islamabad. These fragments, written on birch bark, are dated to the 1st century and have been compared to the Dead Sea scrolls in importance. Donated to the British Library in 1994, they are now being studied in a joint project at the University of Washington[3]. Gandhāra (Sanskrit: गन्धार, Persian; Gandara, Waihind) (Urdu: گندھارا) is the name of an ancient Indian Mahajanapada, currently in northern Pakistan (the North-West Frontier Province and parts of northern Punjab and Kashmir) and eastern Afghanistan. ... For other places called Islamabad, see Islamabad (disambiguation). ... A Birch bark document is a document written on pieces of birch bark. ... The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise roughly 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran (near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea) in the West Bank. ... British Library main building, London The British Library (BL) is the national library of the United Kingdom. ...

Contents

Canonical texts

These are, in some way or other, texts associated with Gautama, the historical Buddha. Different schools, however, are not always in agreement about which texts are canonical, and the various recensions of the Buddhist Canon contain widely varying numbers and types of texts. Broadly speaking, the texts come in three types:

  • sutras (i.e. discourses)
  • vinaya (relating to the rules of monastic discipline)
  • abhidharma (analytical texts)

Together these three make up what is known in Sanskrit as the Tripitaka and in Pali as the Tipitaka. Both the sutras and the vinaya of every Buddhist school contain a huge variety of documents including discourses on the Dharma, commentaries on other teachings, cosmological and cosmogonical texts, stories of the Buddha's previous lives, and various lists. The Tripiṭaka (Sanskrit त्रिपिटक, lit. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ...


The Theravada and other Nikaya schools believe, more or less literally, that these texts contain the actual words of the Buddha. The Theravada canon, also known as the Pali Canon after the language it was written in, contains some four million words. Theravada (Pāli: theravāda; Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda; literally, the Way of the Elders) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). ... Nikaya Buddhism is a general term for those schools of Buddhism that accept only the class of sutras collected in the Pāli Canon as authentic. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ...


Later texts, such as the Mahayana Sutras, are also considered by Mahayanists to be the word of the Buddha, but transmitted either in secret, via lineages of mythical beings (such as the nagas), or revealed directly from other Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Some 600 Mahayana Sutras have survived in Sanskrit, or in Chinese and/or Tibetan translation. The most complete Mahayana Canon is in Chinese, though it was originally in Sanskrit. It contains texts from many strands of earlier tradition. The nagas ( snake) are an ancient race of snake-humanoid beings first depicted in ancient Vedic Hindu mythology and oral folklore from at least 5000 B.C.E. Stories involving the Nagas are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu (India, Nepal, and the island... Media:Example. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ... The Tibetan language is spoken primarily by the Tibetan people who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering South Asia, as well as by large number of Tibetan refugees all over the world. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


The earliest Mahayana texts were composed in a 'Middle Indo-Āryan' language which was Sanskritised during the Gupta era when Sanskrit became the official language of the Indian court. Most of the Mahayana sutra texts are composed in what is called Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, a Middle Indo-Āryan Prakrit with ornaments and flourishes designed to imitate Sanskrit. Some later Buddhist texts, particularly those originating at the university at Nalanda, were composed in true Sanskrit. Gupta (Hindi: गुप्ता) is a surname of Indian origin. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... SÅ«tra (sex) (Sanskrit) or Sutta (Pāli) literally means a rope or thread that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. ... Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (BHS) is a modern linguistic category applied to some of the Mahāyāna Buddhist Sutras, such as the Perfection of Wisdom. ... The Indo-Aryan languages form a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, which belong to the Indo-European family of languages. ... Prakrit (also spelt Pracrit) (Sanskrit: , original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual, i. ... This article is about the ancient town and university. ...


The Tibetan canon, which belongs to the various schools of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in addition to containing the earlier three classes of texts, also contains the tantric texts and commentaries on them. The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism, consisting of more than 300 volumes and many thousands of individual texts. ... Vajrayāna Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayana, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Esoteric Buddhism, Diamond Vehicle, or 金剛乘 Jingangcheng in Chinese; however, these terms are not always regarded as equivalent: one scholar[1] speaks of the tantra divisions of some editions of the Kangyur as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts) is... This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ...


The division of texts into the traditional three yanas may obscure the process of development that went on, and there is some overlap in the traditional classifications. For instance, there are so-called proto-Mahayana texts, such as the Ajitasena Sutra, which are missing key features that are associated with Mahayana texts. Some Pali texts also contain ideas that later became synonymous with the Mahayana. The Garbhāvakrānti Sūtra is included in both the Vinaya Pitaka of the Mulasarvastivada, one of the early schools, and in the Ratnakuta, a standard collection of Mahayana sutras. [4]Some Mahayana texts are also thought to display a distinctly tantric character, particularly some of the shorter Perfection of Wisdom Sutras. An early tantra, the Mahavairocana Abhisambodhi Tantra, is also known as the Mahavairocana Sutra. At least some editions of the Kangyur include the Heart Sutra in the tantra division.[5] Such overlap is not confined to "neighbouring" yanas: at least nine "Sravakayana" ("Hinayana") texts can be found in the tantra divisions of some editions of the Kangyur.[6] One of them, the Atanatiya Sutra, is also included in the Mikkyo (esoteric) division of the standard modern collected edition of Sino-Japanese Buddhist literature.[7] (A variant of it is also found in the Digha Nikaya of the Pali Canon.) Yana is a Sanskrit word with a range of meanings including nouns such as vehicle, journey, and path; and verbs such as going, moving, riding, and marching. ... This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ... Perfection of Wisdom is a translation of the Sanskrit term prajñā pāramitā (Devanagari: प्रज्ञा पारमिता, Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多/般若波罗蜜多, Pinyin: bānruò-bōluómìduō, Japanese: hannya-haramita), which is one of the aspects of a bodhisattvas personality called the paramitas. ... The Kangyur are a collection of Sanskrit classics that date back to the times of Buddha. ... The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra or Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदयसूत्र Prajñāpāramitā Hridaya SÅ«tra; Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多心經, BōrÄ›bōluómìduō XÄ«njÄ«ng; Japanese: 般若心経, Hannya Shingyō; Korean: Pannya Shimgyŏng) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sutra that is very... The Digha Nikaya (Collection of Long Discourses) is the first part of the Sutta Pitaka- one of the three baskets that compose the Pali Tipitaka. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ...


Some Buddhist texts evolved to become a virtual canon in themselves, and are referred to as vaipulya or extensive sutras. Scholars think, for instance, that the Golden Light Sutra constellated around the celebrated third chapter. The Avatamsaka Sutra is another example of a single Sutra made up of many other sutras, many of which, particularly the Gandavyuha Sutra still circulate as separate texts. The Avatamsaka Sutra and the White Lotus Sutra are associated with the idea of the Ekayana or One Vehicle.. The texts claim to unify all the teachings that have come before into a greater whole. The Golden Light Sutra (金光明經; Chinese: jin1 guang1 ming2 jing1; Japanese: Konkōmyō Kyō), an important Buddhist text, was originally written in India (Sanskrit romanization: Suvarnaprabhasa-sutra), and was translated several times into Chinese. ... The Avataṃsaka SÅ«tra (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the most influential scriptures in East Asian Buddhism. ... The Gandhavyuha Sutra is the last chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra and details the journey of the youth Sudhana, who undertakes a pilgrimage at the behest of the bodhisattva Manjushri. ... The Lotus Sutra or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma (Sanskrit: Saddharmapundarīka-sūtra; Chinese: 妙法蓮華經 or Miàofǎ Liánhuā Jīng; Japanese Myōhō Renge Kyō) is one of the most popular... Yana is a Sanskrit word with a range of meanings including nouns such as vehicle, journey, and path; and verbs such as going, moving, riding, and marching. ...


Shingon Buddhism developed a system which assigned authorship of the early sutras to Gautama Buddha in his physical manifestation, of the Ekayana sutras to the Buddhas as Sambhoghakaya, and the Vajrayana texts to the Buddha as Dharmakaya. Shingon (眞言, 真言 true words, also kongōjō 金剛乘, 金剛乗 pinyin jÄ«ngāngchéng diamond vehicle), is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and is the other branch of Vajrayana Buddhism besides Tibetan Buddhism. ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ... Vajrayāna Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayana, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Esoteric Buddhism, Diamond Vehicle, or 金剛乘 Jingangcheng in Chinese; however, these terms are not always regarded as equivalent: one scholar[1] speaks of the tantra divisions of some editions of the Kangyur as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts) is... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ...


Non-canonical texts

Non-canonical or semi-canonical texts have been important from very early in Buddhism. Extensive commentaries exist in Pali for the Pali Canon and in Tibetan, Chinese and other East Asian languages. Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... The Tibetan language is spoken primarily by the Tibetan people who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering South Asia, as well as by large number of Tibetan refugees all over the world. ... East Asian languages or the East Asian sprachbund describe two notional groupings of languages in East and Southeast Asia, either (1) languages which have been greatly influenced by Classical Chinese, or the CJKV Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese) area or (2) a larger grouping including the CJKV area as well...


Important examples of non-canonical texts are the Visuddhimagga, or Path of Purification, by Buddhaghosa, which is a compendium of Theravada teachings that include quotes from the Pali Canon. The Milinda Pañha (Pali: Milinda), or Questions of Milinda, sometimes included in the Pali Canon is a popular condensation of the Dharma in the form of a dialogue between the Buddhist sage Nāgasena and the Indo-Greek King Menander. The Visuddhimagga (The path to purity) is a Theravada Buddhist commentary written by Buddhaghosa approximately in 430 CE in Sri Lanka. ... Bhadantācariya Buddhaghosa was a 5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. ... The Milinda Pañha (Pali. ... Nāgasena was a Buddhist sage who lived about 150 BCE. His answers to questions about Buddhism posed by Menander I (Pali: Milinda), the Indo-Greek king of northwertern India, are recorded in the Milinda Pañha. ... The Indo-Greek Kingdom (or sometimes Graeco-Indian Kingdom[2]) covered various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent from 180 BCE to around 10 CE, and was ruled by a succession of more than thirty Hellenic and Hellenistic kings,[3] often in conflict with each other. ... Tetradrachm of Menander I in Greco-Bactrian style (Alexandria-Kapisa mint). ...


The treatise Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (attributed by the faithful to Aśvaghoşa) strongly influenced Mahayana doctrine and inspired numerous commentaries authored by early Chinese and Korean Buddhist teachers. Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara has been influential in both Mahayana and Vajrayana, and his Shikshasamucaya contains references to texts which are no longer extant in any other form. The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (or Awakening of Mahayana Faith, 大乘起信論) is a text of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. ... (?80-?150 CE) (Devanagari: अश्वघोष) was an Indian philosopher-poet, born in Saketa in Central India. ... Shantideva (sometimes Åšantideva, Zh: 寂天) was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar at Nalanda University and an adherent of the Prasangika Madhyamaka philosophy. ...


The Platform Sutra of Huineng might be considered a semi-canonical text; it is one of a very few texts not thought to be spoken by the Buddha that has the label "sutra." One should note, however, that this distinction may be an artifact of translation; in the original Chinese, the Platform Sutra is a jīng (經), a term that may be translated as "sutra", but is also applied to a variety of other classic texts, such as the Daodejing and the Shi Jing. In the Platform Sutra, Hui Neng gives an autobiographical account of his succession as Zen Patriarch, as well as teachings about Zen theory and practice. The Zen and Ch'an school in particular rely on non-canonical accounts of Zen masters lives and teachings, for example the Blue Cliff Record. The Platform Sutra (more fully, the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch) is a Buddhist scripture that was composed in China. ... The Tao Te Ching (道德經, Pinyin: Dào Dé Jīng, thus sometimes rendered in recent works as Dao De Jing; archaic pre-Wade-Giles rendering: Tao Teh Ching; roughly translated as The Book of the Way and its Virtue (see dedicated chapter below on translating the... ShÄ« JÄ«ng (Chinese: 詩經), translated variously as the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Songs or the Book of Odes, is the first major collection of Chinese poems. ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ... Chán is a major school of Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... The Blue Cliff Record (Chinese: 《碧巖錄》 Bìyán Lù; Japanese: Hekiganroku) is a collection of Zen Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 (宋宣和七年) and then expanded into its present form by the Chan master Yuanwu...


Tibetan Buddhism has a unique and special class of texts called terma (Tibetan gTer-ma). These are texts (or ritual objects, etc.) which are held to have been either composed or hidden by tantric masters and/or elementally secreted or encoded in the elements or the Akashic Records and retrieved, accessed or rediscovered by other tantric masters when appropriate. Termas are discovered by a tertön (Tibetan gTer-stons), whose special function it is to discover these texts. Some termas are hidden in caves or similar places, but a few are said to be 'mind termas' which are 'discovered' in the mind of the tertön. The Nyingma school (and Bön tradition) has a large terma literature. Many of the terma texts are said to have been written by Padmasambhava, who is particularly important to the Nyingmas. Probably the best known terma text is the so-called "Tibetan book of the dead", the Bardo thodol. Tibetan Buddhism is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Ladakh), Mongolia, Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia (Russia), and northeastern China (Manchuria: Heilongjiang, Jilin). ... Termas are key Tibetan Buddhist teachings, many of which were hidden by Guru Padmasambhava around the Tibetan region for future discovery at auspicious times. ... The Akashic Records (Akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning sky, space or aether) are said to be a collection of mystical knowledge that is stored in the aether; i. ... Terma are key Tibetan Buddhist and Bön teachings, originally esoterically secreted and/or hidden by Guru Padmasambhava and his consorts in the 8th century for future discovery at auspicious times. ... Guru Rinpoche - Padmasambhava statue - near Kullu, India The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism (the other three being the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug). ... Bön[1] (Tibetan: བོན་; Wylie: bon; Lhasa dialect IPA: [) is the oldest spiritual tradition of Tibet. ... Guru Rinpoche - Padmasambhava statue - near Kullu, India Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim. ... The Bardo Thodol, sometimes called the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a funerary text that describes the experiences of the soul after death during the interval known as bardo between death and rebirth. ...


Other types of non-canonical texts which have been important are the histories of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, the Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa. The Dipavamsa (Island Chronicle in Pali) is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka, believed to be compiled in the 4th century. ... The Mahavansha, also Mahawansha, (Pāli: great chronicle) is a historical record, often thought to be the oldest written record oh history, written in the Pāli language, of the Buddhist kings as well as Dravidian kings of Sri Lanka. ...


Texts of the Early schools

Tripitaka Koreana sutra Page Korean Koryo Period 1371

Although many versions of the texts of the early Buddhist schools exist, the only complete canon to survive is the Pali Canon of the Theravadin school, which preserved the texts in the Pali language. Also large parts of the Sarvastivada and Dharmaguptaka texts are extant. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 400 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,304 × 3,456 pixels, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 400 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,304 × 3,456 pixels, file size: 1. ... The Tripitaka Koreana (lit. ... Divisions among the early Buddhist schools came about due to doctrinal or practical differences in the views of the Buddhist Sangha following the death of the Buddha. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... Sarvastivada is a school of Buddhism. ... The Dharmaguptaka are one of the eighteen schools of early Buddhism. ...


The Pali literature divides into roughly three periods. The early, or classical, period begins with the Pali Canon itself and ends with the Milindha-pañha about the turn of the Christian era. After a period of being in comparative disuse or decline, Pali underwent a renaissance in the 4th or 5th century with the help of Buddhaghosa, and this period lasted until the 12th Century. The third period coincides with major political changes in Burma and lasted for some time in Sri Lanka, and much longer in Burma. See also Pali literature. Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... Bhadantācariya Buddhaghosa was a 5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is one the earliest existing scripture collections of the Buddhist tradition. ...


The other (parts of) extant versions of the Tipitakas of early schools include the agamas, which includes texts of the Sarvastivada and the Mahasanghika. Parts of the canon of the Dharmaguptaka can be found amongst the Gandharan Buddhist Texts. Several early Vinaya Pitakas (from various schools) are also kept in the Chinese (Mahayana) Canon. Agama (Sanskrit:आगम) literally means that which has come down (i. ... The Mahāsaṃghika (Majority) sect of Buddhism was formed in the first Buddhist schism around 320 BCE. It split from the Sthaviravāda (Elders) school. ... The Gandhāran Buddhist Texts are the earliest Buddhist manuscripts yet discovered, and indeed the earliest Indian manuscripts yet discovered. ... Pali or Sanskrit word meaning discipline. The Vinaya is the textual framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. ...


Vinaya

The vinaya literature is primarily concerned with aspects of the monastic discipline. However, vinaya as a term is also contrasted with Dharma, where the pair (Dhamma-Vinaya) mean something like 'doctrine and discipline'. The vinaya literature in fact contains a considerable range of texts. There are, of course, those which discuss the monastic rules, how they came about, how they developed, and how they were applied. But the vinaya also contains some doctrinal expositions, ritual and liturgical texts, biographical stories, and some elements of the "Jatakas", or birth stories. The Vinaya (a word in Pali as well as in Sanskrit, with literal meaning discipline) is the textual framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. ...


Paradoxically, the text most closely associated with the vinaya, and the most frequently used portion of it, the Pratimoksha, is in itself not a canonical text in Theravada, even though almost all of it can be found in the canon. The Pratimoksha (skt. ...


Six complete vinayas survive: The Vinaya (a word in Pali as well as in Sanskrit, with literal meaning discipline) is the textual framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. ...

  • Theravada, written in Pali
  • Mula-Sarvāstivāda, written in Sanskrit, but surviving complete only in Tibetan translation
  • Mahāsānghika, Sarvāstivāda, Mahīshāsika, and Dharmagupta, originally in Sanskrit, but only surviving in Chinese translation.

In addition, portions survive of a number of vinayas in various languages. Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


The Mahāvastu compiled by the Lokottaravadin sub-school of the Mahāsānghika was perhaps originally the preamble to their vinaya that became detached; hence, rather than dealing with the rules themselves, it takes the form of an extended biography of the Buddha, which it describes in terms of his progression through ten bhumis, or stages. This doctrine was later taken up by the Mahayana in a modified form as Vasubandhu's Ten Stages Sutra. Vasubandhu (Sanskrit. ... The Ten Stages Sutra (Sanskrit Daśabhūmikasūtra-śāstra, Dasabhūmikabhāsya; Chinese 十地經論, 十地論, 地論; pinyin shi di jing lun; also known as the Sutra on the Ten Stages) is an influential Mahayana Buddhist scripture...


Sutta

The Suttas (in Sanskrit, Sutra) are mostly discourses delivered by the Buddha or one of his close disciples. They are all, even those not actually spoken by him, considered to be 'Buddhavacana' or the word of the Buddha, just as in the case of all canonical literature. The Buddha's discourses were perhaps originally organised according to the style in which they were delivered; there were originally nine, but later twelve, of these: Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...

  • Sūtra: prose discourse
  • Geya: mixed prose and verse discourse
  • Vyākarana: explanation, analysis
  • Gāthā: verse
  • Udāna: inspired speech
  • Ityukta: beginning with 'thus has the Bhagavan said'
  • Jātaka: story of previous life
  • Abhutadharma: concerning wonders and miraculous events
  • Vaipulya either 'extended discourses' or 'those giving joy' (cf Mahayana Texts)
  • Nidāna: in which the teachings are set within their circumstances of origin
  • Avadāna: tales of exploits
  • Upadesha: defined and considered instructions

The first nine are listed in all surviving agamas, with the other three added in some later sources. In Theravada, at least, they are regarded as a classification of the whole of the scriptures, not just suttas. The scheme is also found in Mahayana canons. However, some time later a new scheme of organisation was imposed on the canon, and it is this scheme which most people are familiar with. The scheme organises the suttas into:


Long discourses

These range in length up to 95 pages. The Pali Digha Nikaya contains 34 texts, including the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta and the Brahmajāla Sutta. The Dīrghāgama of the Dharmagupta also survives in Chinese translation and contains 30 sutras. The Digha Nikaya (Collection of Long Discourses) is the first part of the Sutta Pitaka- one of the three baskets that compose the Pali Tipitaka. ...


Medium-length discourses

These are the rest of the suttas of any length, and the Pali Majjhima Nikaya has 152 suttas. The Madhyamāgama of the Sarvāstivada containing 222 sutras survives in Chinese translation. The Majjhima Nikaya, or Middle-length Discourses of the Buddha, is the second of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka of the Tipitaka. ...


Connected discourses

This grouping consists of many short texts connected by theme, setting, or interlocutor. The Pali Samyutta Nikaya contains more than 2,800 suttas. The Samyuktāgama of the Sarvāstivada containing only 1,300 sutras survives in Chinese translation. The Samyutta Nikaya, the third Nikaya (division) of the Sutta Pitaka of the Tipitaka, contains 2,889 suttas grouped into five sections (vaggas). ...


Numbered discourses

Suttas which have the same number of doctrinal items containing over 2,300 suttas in the Pali Anguttara Nikaya. The Chinese canon contains an Ekottarāgana which is thought to belong to the Mahāsanghika school originally. The Anguttara Nikaya (Gradual Collection) is the fourth of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the three baskets that compose the Pali Tipitaka. ...


Miscellaneous texts

Not all schools had this category, but the Pali Khuddaka Nikaya has several well-known and loved texts, including: The Khuddaka Nikaya, or Minor Collection, is the last of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka of the Tipitaka. ...

  • the Dhammapada: a collection of sayings and aphorisms.
  • The Udana : a collection of inspired sayings in verse usually with a prose introduction that sets a context of sorts for the saying.
  • The Sutta Nipata: along with the Dhammapada and the Udana, the Sutta Nipata is thought to represent the earliest strata of the written canon. Many of the features of later texts, such as numbered lists of teachings, or complex doctrinal categories, are not present.
  • Theragāthā and Therīgāthā two collections of biographical verse related to the disciples of the Buddha (male and female respectively.)
  • Jataka: the so-called 'birth stories' which recount former lives of the Buddha. These remain popular in many forms of Buddhism.

Many of these texts are available in translation as well as in the original language. The Dhammapada, for instance, has a Pali version, three Chinese versions, a Tibetan version, and a Khotanese version. The Dhammapada (Pali, translates as Path of the Dharma. ... The Udana (udāna) is a Buddhist scripture, part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. ... The Sutta Nipata is a sutta collection in the Khuddaka Nikaya, part of the Tripitaka Buddhist canon. ... The Jataka stories are a significant body of works about the previous lives of Gautama Buddha. ... relating to Khotan, in particular the Kingdom of Khotan Khotanese, a Saka dialect Category: ...


Abhidharma

Abhidharma (in Pali, Abhidhamma) means 'further Dharma' and is concerned with the analysis of phenomena. It grew initially out of various lists of teachings such as the 37 Bodhipaksika-dharmas or the 37 Factors leading to Awakening. The Abhidharma literature is chiefly concerned with the analysis of phenomena and the relationships between them. The abhidhamma is the name of one of the three pitakas, or baskets of tradition, into which the Tipitaka (Pali; Sanskrit: Tripitaka), the canon of early Buddhism, is divided. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ...


The Theravāda Abhidhamma survives in the Pali Canon. Though it is regarded as the word of the Buddha, modern scholarship has shown that it developed much later, and most of the literature is the product of the two centuries after Ashoka (1st Century CE). Outside of the Theravada monasteries the Pali Abhidharma texts are not well-known. Allegiance: Magadhan Empire Rank: Emperor Succeeded by: Dasaratha Maurya Reign: 273 BC-232 BC Place of birth: Pataliputra, India Battles/Wars Kalinga War Emperor Ashoka the Great (Devanagari: अशोक(:); IAST transliteration: , pronunciation: ) (304 BC–232 BC) (Imperial Title:Devanampiya Piyadassi ie He who is the beloved of the Gods who, in...


A Sarvastivada Abhidharma composed in Sanskrit, survives in Chinese and Tibetan traditions. Though the Theravādin Abhidhamma is well preserved and best known, it should be noted that a number of the early Eighteen Schools each had their own distinct Abhidharma collection with not very much common textual material. Divisions among the early Buddhist schools came about due to doctrinal or practical differences in the views of the Buddhist Sangha following the death of the Buddha. ...


Not all schools accepted the Abhidharma as canonical. The Sautrāntika, for instance, held that the canon stopped with the vinaya and sutras. The rejection by some schools that dharmas (i.e. phenomena) are ultimately real, which the Theravada Abhidhamma, for instance, insists, is thought to be an important factor in the origin of the Mahayana. Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ...


Non-canonical texts

The first important, non-canonical text is probably the Milinda pañha (literally The Questions of Milinda). This text is in the form of a dialogue between Nagasena, and the Indo-Greek King Menander (Pali: Milinda). It is a compendium of doctrine, and covers a range of subjects. It is included in some editions of the Pali Canon. The Milinda Pañha (Pali. ... Nāgasena was a Buddhist sage who lived about 150 BCE. His answers to questions about Buddhism posed by Menander I (Pali: Milinda), the Indo-Greek king of northwertern India, are recorded in the Milinda Pañha. ... The Indo-Greek Kingdom (or sometimes Graeco-Indian Kingdom[2]) covered various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent from 180 BCE to around 10 CE, and was ruled by a succession of more than thirty Hellenic and Hellenistic kings,[3] often in conflict with each other. ... Tetradrachm of Menander I in Greco-Bactrian style (Alexandria-Kapisa mint). ...


The Pali texts have an extensive commentarial literature that remains largely untranslated. These are largely attributed to Buddhaghosa. There are also sub-commentaries or commentaries on the commentaries. Atthakatha (Pali for explanation, commentary)[1] refers to Pali-language Theravadin Buddhist commentaries to the canonical Theravadin Tipitaka. ... Bhadantācariya Buddhaghosa was a 5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. ...


Buddhaghosa was also the author of the Visuddhimagga, or Path of Purification, which is a manual of doctrine and practice according to the Theravada school. The Visuddhimagga (The path to purity) is a Theravada Buddhist commentary written by Buddhaghosa approximately in 430 CE in Sri Lanka. ... Theravada (Pāli: theravāda; Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda; literally, the Way of the Elders) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). ...


Mahayana texts

See Mahayana Sutras for historical background and a list of sutras categorised by source. Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of...


Perfection of Wisdom Texts

These deal with prajñā (wisdom or insight). Wisdom in this context means the ability to see reality as it truly is. They do not contain an elaborate philosophical argument, but simply try to point to the true nature of reality, especially through the use of paradox. The basic premise is a radical non-dualism, in which every and any dichotomist way of seeing things is denied: so phenomena are neither existent, nor non-existent, but are marked by sunyata, emptiness, an absence of any essential unchanging nature. The Perfection of Wisdom in One Letter illustrates this approach by choosing to represent the perfection of prajñā with the Sanskrit/Pali short a vowel ("अ", IPA: [ə]) -- which, as a prefix, negates a word's meaning (e.g., changing svabhava to asvabhava, "with essence" to "without essence"; cf. mu); which is the first letter of Indic alphabets; and which, as a sound on its own, can be seen as the most neutral/basic of speech sounds (cf Aum and bija). For the apocryphal book of the Bible, see Book of Wisdom. ... Look up Insight in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Perfection of Wisdom is a translation of the Sanskrit term prajñā pāramitā (Devanagari: प्रज्ञा पारमिता, Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多/般若波罗蜜多, Pinyin: bānruò-bōluómìduō, Japanese: hannya-haramita), which is one of the aspects of a bodhisattvas personality called the paramitas. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The IPA symbol for the Schwa In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean: An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in any language, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel. ... Svabhava is a Sanskrit term encountered in Buddhism which literally means own-being or own-becoming. It might more meaningfully be rendered as intrinsic nature, essential nature or essence. Much of Buddhism denies that such a svabhava exists within any being; but the Buddha in the Tathagatagarbha sutras (notably the... The character ç„¡ in cursive script. ... “Om” redirects here. ... In Hinduism and Buddhism, the Sanskrit term bīja (Jp. ...


Many sutras are known by the number of lines, or slokas, that they contained.


Edward Conze, who translated all of the Perfection of Wisdom sutras into English, identified four periods of development in this literature: Eberhart (Edward) Julius Dietrich Conze (1904 - 1979) was born in London of mixed German, French, and NetherlandsDutch ancestry. ...

  1. 100BCE-100CE: Ratnagunasamcayagatha and the Astasaharika (8,000 lines)
  2. 100-300CE: a period of elaboration in which versions in 18,000, 25,000, and 100,000 lines are produced. Possibly also the Diamond Sutra
  3. 300-500CE : a period of condensation, producing the well known Heart Sutra, and the Perfection of Wisdom in one letter
  4. 500-1000CE : texts from this period begin to show a tantric influence

The Perfection of Wisdom texts have influenced every Mahayana school of Buddhism. The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra or Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदयसूत्र Prajñāpāramitā Hridaya Sūtra; Chinese: 般若波羅蜜多心經, Bōrěbōluómìduō Xīnjīng; Japanese: 般若心経, Hannya Shingyō; Korean: Pannya Shimgyŏng) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sutra that is very...


Saddharma-pundarika

Also called the Lotus Sutra, White Lotus Sutra, Sutra of the White Lotus, or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma; Sanskrit: Saddharmapundarīka-sūtra; 妙法蓮華經 Cn: Miàofǎ Liánhuā Jīng; Jp: Myōhō Renge Kyō. Probably composed in the period 100 bce100 ce, the White Lotus proposes that the three yanas (Shravakayana, Pratyekabuddhayana, and Bodhisattvayana) are not in fact three different paths leading to three goals, but one path, with one goal. The earlier teachings are said to be 'skilful means' in order to help beings of limited capacities. Notable for the (re)appearance of the Buddha Prabhutaratna, who had died several aeons earlier, because it suggests that a Buddha is not inaccessible after his parinirvana, and also that his life-span is said to be inconceivably long because of the accumulation of merit in past lives. This idea, though not necessarily from this source, forms the basis of the later Trikaya doctrine. Later associated particularly with the Tien Tai in China (Tendai in Japan) school and the Nichiren schools in Japan. The Lotus Sutra or Sutra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma (Sanskrit: Saddharma PuṇḍarÄ«ka SÅ«tra; 妙法蓮華經 Chinese: MiàofÇŽ Liánhuā JÄ«ng; Japanese: Myōhō Renge Kyō; Korean: Myobeomnyeonhwagyeong) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sutras in East Asia and... Binomial name Gaertn. ... Pliny the Younger advances to consulship. ... Pliny the Younger advances to consulship. ... Yana is a Sanskrit word with a range of meanings including nouns such as vehicle, journey, and path; and verbs such as going, moving, riding, and marching. ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ... Tiantai (天台宗, Wade-Giles: Tien Tai) is one of the thirteen schools of Buddhism in China and Japan, also called the Lotus Sutra School. ... Tendai (Japanese: 天台宗, Tendai-shÅ«) is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism, a descendant of the Chinese Tiantai or Lotus Sutra school. ... Nichiren Buddhism (日蓮系諸宗派: Nichiren-kei sho shÅ«ha) is a branch of Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th century Japanese monk Nichiren (1222–1282). ...


Pure Land Sutras

There are three major sutras that fall into this category: the Infinite Life Sutra, also known as the Larger Pure Land Sutra; the Amitabha Sutra, also known as the Smaller Pure Land Sutra; and the Contemplation Sutra, or Visualization, Sutra. These texts describe the origins and nature of the Western Pure Land in which the Buddha Amitabha resides. They list the forty-eight vows made by Amitabha as a bodhisattva by which he undertook to build a Pure Land where beings are able to practise the Dharma without difficulty or distraction. The sutras state that beings can be reborn there by pure conduct and by practices such as thinking continuously of Amitabha, praising him, recounting his virtues, and chanting his name. These Pure Land sutras and the practices they recommend became the foundations of Pure Land Buddhism, which focus on the salvific power of faith in the vows of Amitabha. The Infinite Life Sutra, or Larger Pure Land Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist text associated with Pure Land Buddhism. ... The Amitabha Sutra, or Shorter Sukhavativyuha Sutra, is a Mahayana Buddhist text associated with Pure Land Buddhism. ... The Contemplation Sutra is one of the three major Buddhist sutras found within the Pure Land branch of Buddhism. ... The Buddha Amitabha, 13th century, Kamakura, Japan. ... Amitabha Buddha pictured in the Ushiku Daibutsu in Japan Amitābha (Sanskrit: अमिताभः, Amitābhaḥ; Chinese: 阿彌陀佛, Ä’mítuó Fó; Japanese: 阿弥陀如来, Amida Nyorai; Vietnamese: 阿彌陀佛, A Di Ðà Phật; Tibetan: འོད་དཔག་མེད་; Lhasa dialect IPA: [; Mongolian: CaÉ£lasi ügei gerel-tü) is a celestial buddha described in the scriptures of the Mahāyāna school... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ... The Buddha Amitabha, 13th century, Kamakura, Japan. ...


The Vimalakirti Nirdesha Sutra

Composed some time before 150CE., the Bodhisattva Vimalakirti appears in the guise of a layman in order to teach the Dharma. Seen by some as a strong assertion of the value of lay practice. Doctrinally similar to the Perfection of Wisdom texts, another major theme is the Buddhafield (Buddha-kshetra), which was influential on Pure Land schools. Very popular in China and Japan where it was seen as being compatible with Confucian values. Vimalakirti Sutra (Chinese 維摩經 wéimó jing, Japanese 維摩経 yuima-gyō, Korean 유마경 yuma-gyeong, Sanskrit विमलकीर्ति-निर्देश-सूत्र VimalakÄ«rti-nirdeÅ›a-sÅ«tra. ... The Roman army consists of 400,000 men. ... Confucianism (儒家 Pinyin: rújiā The School of the Scholars), sometimes translated as the School of Literati, is an East Asian ethical, religious and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of Confucius. ...


Samadhi Sutras

Amongst the very earliest Mahayana texts, the Samadhi Sutras are a collection of sutras which focus on the attainment of profound states of consciousness reached in meditation, perhaps suggesting that meditation played an important role in early Mahayana. Includes the Pratyutpanna Sutra and the Shurangama-samadhi Sutra. The Pratyutpanna Sutra (also Pratyutpanna Samadhi Sutra, lit. ... The , usually spelled Shurangama Sutra or Surangama Sutra in English is a Mahayana sutra and one of the main texts used in the Chan school in Chinese Buddhism. ...


Confession Sutras

The Triskandha Sutra, and the Suvarnaprabhasa Sutra (or Golden Light Sutra), which focus on the practice of confession of faults. The Golden Light Sutra became especially influential in Japan, where one of its chapters (on the Universal Sovereign) was used by the Japanese emperors to legitimise their rule, and it provided a model for a well-run state. The Golden Light Sutra (金光明經; Chinese: jin1 guang1 ming2 jing1; Japanese: Konkōmyō Kyō), an important Buddhist text, was originally written in India (Sanskrit romanization: Suvarnaprabhasa-sutra), and was translated several times into Chinese. ...


The Avatamsaka Sutra

A large composite text consisting of several parts, most notably the Dasabhumika Sutra and the Gandhavyuha Sutra. Probably reached its current form by about the 4th Century CE, although parts of it such as those mentioned above, are thought to date from the 1st or 2nd century CE. The Gandhavyuha sutra is thought to be the source of a cult of Vairocana that later gave rise to the Mahavairocana-abhisambodhi tantra, which became one of two central texts in Shingon Buddhism, and is included in the Tibetan canon as a carya class tantra. The Avatamsaka Sutra became the central text for the Hua-yen (Jp. Kegon) school of Buddhism, the most important doctrine of which is the interpenetration of all phenomena. The Avataṃsaka SÅ«tra (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is one of the most influential scriptures in East Asian Buddhism. ... This article is about the primordial Buddha Vairocana. ... Shingon (眞言, 真言 true words, also kongōjō 金剛乘, 金剛乗 pinyin jÄ«ngāngchéng diamond vehicle), is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and is the other branch of Vajrayana Buddhism besides Tibetan Buddhism. ... The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism, consisting of more than 300 volumes and many thousands of individual texts. ... This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ... Huayan (華嚴, Pinyin: huáyán, Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) or Flower Garland is a tradition of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy that flourished in China during the Tang period. ...


Third Turning Sutras

Sutras which primarily teach the doctrine of vijnapti-matra or 'representation-only', associated with the Yogacara school. The Sandhinirmocana Sutra (c 2nd Century CE) is the earliest surviving sutra in this class. This sutra divides the teachings of the Buddha into three classes, which it calls the "Three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma." To the first turning, it ascribes the Agamas of the Shravakas, to the second turning the lower Mahayana sutras including the Prajna-paramita Sutras, and finally sutras like itself are deemed to comprise the third turning. Moreover, the first two turnings are considered, in this system of classification, to be provisional while the third group is said to present the final truth without a need for further explication (nitartha). The well-known Lankavatara Sutra, composed sometime around the 4th Century CE, is sometimes included in this group, although it should be noted that it is somewhat syncretic in nature, combining pure Yogacara doctrines with those of the tathagata-garbha system, and was unknown or ignored by the progenitors of the Yogacara system. The Lankavatara Sutra was influential in the Chan or Zen schools. The Sandhinirmocana Sutra (Sanskrit: Discourse Explaining the Thought or Sutra on Unfurling the Real Meaning) is a Buddhist scripture classified as belonging to the Consciousness-only school of Buddhist thought. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ...


Tathagatagarbha Class Sutras

Especially the Tathagatagarbha Sutra, the Shrīmālādevi-simhanāda Sūtra (Srimala Sutra) and the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra (which is very different in character from the Pali Mahaparinibbana Sutta). These texts teach that every being has a Tathagatagarbha: variously translated as Buddha nature, Buddha seed, Buddha matrix. It is this Buddha nature, Buddha Essence or Buddha Principle, this aspect of every being which is itself already enlightened, that enables beings to be liberated. One of the most important responses of Buddhism to the problem of immanence and transcendence. The Tathagatagarbha doctrine was very influential in East Asian Buddhism, and the idea in one form or another can be found in most of its schools. The Tathagatagarbha doctrine says that each sentient being contains the potential to become a Buddha. ... The Tathagatagarbha Sutra is an influential and doctrinally striking Mahayana Buddhist scripture which treats of the existence of the Tathagatagarbha (Buddha-Matrix, Buddha-Embryo) within all sentient creatures. ... The Śrīmālā Sūtra (full title: ) is one of the main early Mahayana Buddhist texts that taught the theories of tathagatagarbha and the Single Vehicle, through the words of the Indian Queen Śrīmālā. It was translated to... Nirvana Sutra or Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (Chinese: Niepan Jing (涅槃經); Japanese: Nehangyō (涅槃経)) is one of the major texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. ... For the Mahāparinirvāṇa SÅ«tra, a text of East Asian Mahayana Buddhism, see Nirvana Sutra. ... Buddha-nature (originally in Sanskrit, Buddha-dhatu - Buddha Element, Buddha-Principle) is a doctrine important for many schools of Mahayana Buddhism. ...


Collected Sutras

Two very large sutras which are again actually collections of other sutras. The Mahāratnakūta Sūtra contains 49 individual works, and the Mahāsamnipāta Sūtra is a collection of 17 shorter works. Both seem to have been finalised by about the 5th century, although some parts of them are considerably older.


Transmigration Sutras

A number of sutras which focus on the actions that lead to existence in the various spheres of existence, or which expound the doctrine of the twelve links of pratitya-samutpada or dependent-origination. The doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतित्यसमुत्पादा) or Paticcasamuppāda (Pāli: पतिचसमुपादा; Tibetan: ; Chinese:緣起) Dependent Arising is an important part of Buddhist metaphysics. ...


Discipline Sutras

Sutras which focus on the principles which guide the behaviour of Bodhisattvas. Including the Kāshyapa-parivarta, the Bodhisattva-prātimoksa Sūtra, and the Brahmajāla Sūtra.


Sutras devoted to individual figures

A large number of sutras which describe the nature and virtues of a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva and/or their Pure Land, including Mañjusri, Ksitigarbha, the Buddha Akshobhya, and Bhaishajyaguru also known as the Medicine Buddha. Statue of Manjusri (Monju) at Senkoji in Onomichi, Japan MañjuÅ›rÄ« (文殊 Ch. ... Bodhisattva (地藏菩薩), often known by the Japanese name Jizō (地蔵) or the Chinese name Dizang (地藏 Dìzàng), is a popular Mahayana Buddhist Bodhisattva, usually depicted as a monk. ... In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Five Wisdom Buddhas (Jp. ... Standing Bhaiá¹£ajyaguru Buddha at the Gyeongju National Museum. ... Bhaisajyaguru (薬師 Ch. ...


Proto-Mahayana Sutras

Early in the 20th Century, a cache of texts was found in a mound near Gilgit, Afghanistan. Amongst them was the Ajitasena Sutra. The Ajitasena Sutra appears to be a mixture of Mahayana and pre-Mahayana ideas. It occurs in a world where monasticism is the norm, which is typical of the Pali Suttas; there is none of the usual antagonism towards the Shravakas (also called the Hinayana) or the notion of Arahantship, which is typical of Mahayana Sutras such as the White Lotus, or Vimalakirti Nirdesha. However, the sutra also has an Arahant seeing all the Buddha fields, it is said that reciting the name of the sutra will save beings from suffering and the hell realms, and a meditative practice is described which allows the practitioner to see with the eyes of a Buddha, and to receive teachings from them that are very much typical of Mahayana Sutras.


Non-canonical texts

The Mahayana commentarial and exegetical literature is vast, and in many cases the texts have an importance which outweighs canonical texts.


The Mūlamadhyamika-karikā, or Root Verses on the Middle Way, by Nagarjuna is a seminal text on the Madhyamika philosophy, shares much of the same subject matter as the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, although it is not strict a commentary on them. Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, or Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, is a key text by Nagarjuna, one of the most important Buddhist philosophers. ... For other uses, see Nagarjuna (disambiguation). ... Madhyamaka is a Buddhist philosophical tradition that asserts that all phenomena are empty of self-nature or essence (Sanskrit: Svabhāva), that they have no intrinsic, independent reality apart from the causes and conditions from which they arise. ...


The 9th Century Indian Buddhist Shantideva produced two texts: the Bodhicaryāvatāra has been a strong influence in many schools of the Mahayana. It is notably a favourite text of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. The text begins with an elaborate ritual worship section, but goes on to expound the six perfections. The 9th chapter is a critique of various views on perfect wisdom from the madhyamika point of view. Shantideva also produced the Shikshasamuccaya, which is a compendium of doctrines from a huge range of Mahayana Sutras - some of which are no longer extant and therefore known only through Shantideva's quotes. Shantideva (sometimes Åšantideva, Zh: 寂天) was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar at Nalanda University and an adherent of the Prasangika Madhyamaka philosophy. ...


Asanga, associated with the Yogacara school of Mahayana thought, is said to have received many texts directly from the Bodhisattva Maitreya in the Tushita god realm, including Madhyāntavibhāga, the Mahāyāna-sūtrālamāra, and the Abhisamayālamkara. He is also said to have personally written the Mahāyāna-samgraha, the Abhidharma-samuccaya (a compendium of Abhidharma thought which became the standard text for many Mahayana schools especially in Tibet), and the Yogācāra-bhūmi (although the latter text appears to have had several authors.) Asanga (also called Aryasanga), born around 300 C.E., was a great exponent of the Yogacara. ... Yogācāra (Sanskrit: yoga practice), also spelled yogāchāra, is an influential school of philosophy and psychology that developed in Indian Mahayana Buddhism starting sometime in the fourth to fifth centuries C.E., also commonly known as consciousness-only or mind-only (Sanskrit: cittamātra) (although scholars increasingly... Mahāyāna-samgraha (The Mahāyāna Compendium) (Chinese:大乘庄严经論)is a key work of the Yogācāra school of Buddhist philosophy, attributed to Asanga. ... The abhidhamma is the name of one of the three pitakas, or baskets of tradition, into which the Tipitaka (Pali; Sanskrit: Tripitaka), the canon of early Buddhism, is divided. ...


Asanga's brother Vasubandhu wrote a large number of texts associated with the Yogacara including: Trivabhāva-nirdesha, Vimshatika, Trimshika, and the Abhidharmakośa-bhāsya although this work predates his conversion to the Mahayana and a minority of scholars speculate that there may have been two different Vasubandhus who composed these works. Most influential in the East Asian Buddhist tradition was probably his Thirty Verses on Consciousness-only. Vasubandhu (Sanskrit. ... Yogācāra (Sanskrit: yoga practice), also spelled yogāchāra, is an influential school of philosophy and psychology that developed in Indian Mahayana Buddhism starting sometime in the fourth to fifth centuries C.E., also commonly known as consciousness-only or mind-only (Sanskrit: cittamātra) (although scholars increasingly... East Asian Buddhism is a collective term for the schools of Buddhism that developed in the East Asian region, most of which are part of the Mahayana transmission. ... The Thirty Verses on Consciousness-only (Sanskrit: Triṃsikā; Chinese: 唯識三十論頌, Weishi Sanshi Lun Song) is a brief poetic treatise by the Indian Buddhist scholar Vasubandhu. ...


Dignāga is associated with a school of Buddhist logic which tried to establish what were valid sources of knowledge (see also Epistemology). He produced the Pramāna-samuccaya, and later Dharmakirti wrote the Pramāna-vārttikā which was a commentary and reworking of the Dignaga text. Dignāga (5th century AD), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. ... // This article presents the formal background to Buddhist logic which started at about 500 CE in ancient India and still has a living tradition in the Tibetan Gelug order. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. ... Dharmakirti (circa 7th century), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. ...


The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana attributed to Ashvaghosha was influential in East Asian Buddhism, especially the Hua-yen school of China, and its Japanese equivalent, Kegon. Ashvaghosha is also celebrated for his plays. The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (or Awakening of Mahayana Faith, 大乘起信論) is a text of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. ... Ashvaghosha (Aśvaghoṣa; 馬鳴; b. ... Huayan (華嚴, Pinyin: huáyán, Sanskrit: Avatamsaka) or Flower Garland is a tradition of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy that flourished in China during the Tang period. ...


References

  • The Rider encyclopedia of eastern philosophy and religion. London, Rider, 1989.
  • Nakamura, Hajime. 1980. Indian Buddhism: A Survey with Bibliographical Notes. 1st edition: Japan, 1980. 1st Indian Edition: Delhi, 1987. ISBN 81-208-0272-1
  • Skilton, Andrew. A concise history of Buddhism. Birmingham, Windhorse Publications, 1994.
  • Warder, A. K. 1970. Indian Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. 2nd revised edition: 1980.
  • Williams, Paul. Mahayana Buddhism : the doctrinal foundations. London, Routledge, 1989.
  • Zürcher, E. 1959. The Buddhist Conquest of China: The Spread and Adaptation of Buddhism in early Medieval China. 2nd edition. Reprint, with additions and corrections: Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1972.
  • Susan Murcott. The First Buddhist Women Translations and Commentary on the Therigatha, 1991.

Vajrayana texts

Buddhist tantras

The canon of the Vajrayana schools includes a number of Nikaya-related texts from a number of the schools, as well as Mahayana sutras. However, it is the specifically Vajrayana texts that most strongly characterise it. They are considered to be the word of the Buddha, and the Tibetan Canon contains translations of almost 500 tantras and over 2000 commentaries to them. The texts are typically concerned with elaborate rituals and meditations.


A late Tibetan tradition has made a four-fold classification into:


Kriyā tantras. These form a large subgroup which appeared between the 2nd and 6th centuries CE. The Kriya tantras focus on actions (ritual etc.). Each centres around a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva, and many are based around dharanis. Examples include the Mahāmegha Sutra, the Ārya-mañjushrī-mūla-kalpa, the Subhāhu-pariprcchā Sutra, and the Aparimitāyur-jñāna-hrdaya-dhāranī.


Carya tantras. This is a small class of texts that probably emerged after the 6th century and are entirely centred on the worship of the Buddha Vairocana. The best known example is the Mahā-vairocanābhisambodhi Tantra (aka Mahavairocana Sutra), which became a foundational text for the Shingon School of Japan. This article is about the primordial Buddha Vairocana. ... Shingon (眞言, 真言 true words, also kongōjō 金剛乘, 金剛乗 pinyin jÄ«ngāngchéng diamond vehicle), is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and is the other branch of Vajrayana Buddhism besides Tibetan Buddhism. ...


Yoga tantras likewise focus on Vairocana, and include the Sarva-tathāgata-tattva-samgraha Tantra and the Sarva-durgati-parishodhana Tantra. This article is about the primordial Buddha Vairocana. ...


Anuttara tantras. This most advanced class of tantra focuses on mental transformation and less on ritual actions. They are sometimes further divided into the so-called Father Tantras and Mother Tantras.

  • First there are the yogottara (or higher union) tantras, also known as father tantras, or upāya (skilful means) tantras. They focus on the Buddha Akshobhya and his consort Māmaki. The Guhya-samāja Tantra comes from this class of tantras, dating probably from the 8th century.
  • Secondly prajña or mother tantras, (also known as yogini tantras) dating from the late 8th century. Akshobhya is still the central figure, but he now appears in his wrathful form as Heruka. Female figures take on a much greater significance, becoming as important as male figures, if not more so. The Samvara Tantra was translated into Tibetan in the 8th century. Other members of this class, such as the Hevajra Tantra, appeared in the 10th century.
  • The Kalachakra tantra is sometimes said to be an advaya or non-dual tantra. It appeared very late in the development of tantric Buddhism - in the mid 11th century - and is written in classical Sanskrit, rather than the usual mixture of Prakrit and the characteristic "allusive speech" (samdhyābhāshā). For the first time the teachings refer to the ādhibuddha, or primordial Buddha.

Textual evidence suggests that some of these texts are in fact Shaivite Tantras adopted and adapted to Buddhist purposes, and many similarities in iconography and ritual can be seen in them. In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Five Wisdom Buddhas (Jp. ... Kālacakra (Sanskrit कालचक्र; Tibetan དུས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོ་ dus kyi khor lo) is a term used in Tantric Buddhism that means time-wheel or time-cycles. It refers both to a Tantric deity (Tib. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Prakrit (also spelt Pracrit) (Sanskrit: , original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual, i. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages)[1] is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ...


Other products of the Vajrayana literature

The Sādhanamālā is a collection of Sādhanas or spiritual practices. Vajrayana adepts, known as siddhas, often expounded their teachings in the form of songs. Collections of these songs such as the Caryāgīti which is a collection of songs by various 'siddhas' are popular; the Dohakosha is a collection of songs by the siddha Saraha from the 9th century. A collection known in English as The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa is also popular. Jetsun Milarepa (Wylie: Rje-btsun Mi-la-ras-pa), 1052-1135 (approx) was one of one of Tibets most famous yogis and poets, a student of Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu (Bka-brgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism. ...


Terma texts are hidden to be rediscovered at a later date. Padmasambhava wrote and hid many termas. The best known terma text is probably the Bardo thodol, Awakening in the Bardo State, also known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The person who finds a terma text is known as a terton. Guru Rinpoche - Padmasambhava statue - near Kullu, India Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim. ... Terma can refer to: Terma (Buddhism), a concept in Tibetan Buddhism; Terma A/S, a Danish company. ... The Tibetan word Bardo means literally intermediate state - also translated as transitional state or in-between state. In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva. ... The Bardo Thodol, sometimes called the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a funerary text that describes the experiences of the soul after death during the interval known as bardo between death and rebirth. ... In Tibetan Buddhism, a tertön is someone who discovers a terma, or hidden text. ...


The Blue Annals (deb ther sngon po) completed in 1476CE, authored by Gölo Zhönnupel ('gos lo gzhon nu dpal, 1392-1481), is a Tibetan historical survey with a marked ecumenical view, focusing upon the dissemination of various sectarian traditions throughout Tibet.[8] The Blue Annals (deb ther sngon po) completed in 1476CE, authored by Gölo Zhönnupel (gos lo gzhon nu dpal, 1392-1481), is a Tibetan historical survey with a marked ecumenical view, focusing upon the dissemination of various sectarian spiritual traditions throughout Tibet. ... The Blue Annals (deb ther sngon po) completed in 1476CE, authored by Gölo Zhönnupel (gos lo gzhon nu dpal, 1392-1481), is a Tibetan historical survey with a marked ecumenical view, focusing upon the dissemination of various sectarian spiritual traditions throughout Tibet. ... The word ecumenical comes from a Greek word that means pertaining to the whole world. ...


Kūkai wrote a number of treatises on Vajrayana Buddhism which are distinctive to his Shingon Buddhism. Painting of KÅ«kai (774-835). ... Vajrayāna Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayana, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Esoteric Buddhism, Diamond Vehicle, or 金剛乘 Jingangcheng in Chinese; however, these terms are not always regarded as equivalent: one scholar[1] speaks of the tantra divisions of some editions of the Kangyur as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts) is... Shingon (眞言, 真言 true words, also kongōjō 金剛乘, 金剛乗 pinyin jÄ«ngāngchéng diamond vehicle), is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and is the other branch of Vajrayana Buddhism besides Tibetan Buddhism. ...


Notes

  1. ^ It is therefore possible that much of what is found in the Suttapitaka is earlier than c.250 B.C., perhaps even more than 100 years older than this. If some of the material is so old, it might be possible to establish what texts go back to the very beginning of Buddhism, texts which perhaps include the substance of the Buddha’s teaching, and in some cases, maybe even his words. How old is the Suttapitaka? Alexander Wynne, St John’s College, 2003, p.22 (this article is available on the website of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies: [www.ocbs.org/research/Wynne.pdf]
  2. ^ It would be hypocritical to assert that nothing can be said about the doctrine of earliest Buddhism ... the basic ideas of Buddhism found in the canonical writings could very well have been proclaimed by him [the Buddha], transmitted and developed by his disciples and, finally, codified in fixed formulas. J.W. De Jong, 1993: The Beginnings of Buddhism, in The Eastern Buddhist, vol. 26, no. 2, p. 25
  3. ^ The Mahayana movement claims to have been founded by the Buddha himself. The consensus of the evidence, however, is that it originated in South India in the 1st century CE – Indian Buddhism, AK Warder, 3rd edition, 1999, p. 335.
  4. ^ Skilling, Mahasutras, volume II, Parts I & II, Pali Text Society[1], Lancaster, 1997, pages 93f
  5. ^ Conze, The Prajnaparamita Literature, Mouton, the Hague, 1960, page 72; Rgyud is Tibetan for tantra
  6. ^ Jounal of the Pali Text Society, volume XVI, pages 161f
  7. ^ Skilling, Mahasutras, Volume II, Parts I & II, 1997, Pali Text Society, Lancaster
  8. ^ Source: [2] (accessed: November 5, 2007)

The Pali Text Society was founded in 1881 by T.W. Rhys Davids to foster and promote the study of Pali texts. Pali is the language in which the texts of the Theravada school of Buddhism is preserved. ...

See also

The Gandhāran Buddhist Texts are the earliest Buddhist manuscripts yet discovered, and indeed the earliest Indian manuscripts yet discovered. ... Yana is a Sanskrit word with a range of meanings including nouns such as vehicle, journey, and path; and verbs such as going, moving, riding, and marching. ... The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of... The Tripitaka (Sanskrit, lit. ... SÅ«tra (sex) (Sanskrit) or Sutta (Pāli) literally means a rope or thread that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. ...

External links

A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... Several Buddhist terms and concepts lack direct translations into English that cover the breadth of the original term. ... Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z The following is a List of Buddhist topics: A Abhidharma Ahimsa Ajahn Ajahn Chah Ajanta Aksobhya Alexandra David-Néel... The History of Buddhism spans from the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. ... 563 BCE: Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddha-to-be, is born in Lumbini, Ancient India. ... There are many divisions and subdivisions of the schools of Buddhism. ... Buddhism - Percentage by country The percentage of Buddhist population of each country was taken from the US State Departments International Religious Freedom Report 2004 [1]. Other sources used were CIA Factbook [2] and adherents. ... The cultural elements of Buddhism vary by region and include: Buddhist cuisine Buddhist art Buddharupa Art and architecture of Japan Greco-Buddhism Tibetan Buddhist sacred art Buddhist music Buddhist chant Shomyo Categories: Buddhism-related stubs ... Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya Buddhist temples, monasteries, stupas, and pagodas sorted by location. ...


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