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Encyclopedia > Tipitaka

The Tripitaka (Sanskrit, lit. three baskets), Tipitaka (Pali), or 三藏 (Chinese: Sānzng; Japanese: Sanzo; Korean: Samjang; 삼장) is the formal term for a Buddhist canon of scriptures. 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.


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).


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.


The second category, the Sutra Pitaka (literally "basket of threads", Pali: Sutta Pitaka), consists primarily of accounts of the Buddha's life and teachings. The Sutra Pitaka has numerous subdivisions.


The third category contains commentaries and 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 Sutra Pitaka are restated and explained in more a systematic framework. In Mahayana and Vajrayana tripitakas, this pitaka often contains treatises that are referred to as shastras.


"Tripitaka" -- more correctly, "Sanzang", the Chinese form -- is also a nickname of the T'ang Dynsty monk Xuanzang, as portrayed in Journey to the West.


See also

External links

  • Access to Insight (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/index.html) has many suttas translated into English
  • Tipitaka Network (http://www.tipitaka.net/)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Haeinsa Temple, Korea  -  Travel Photos by Galen R Frysinger, Sheboygan, Wisconsin (1069 words)
The Tipitaka is revered by Theravada Buddhists as the complete scriptural collection of the teachings of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama (563?-483?BC), known as the Buddha, or Enlightened One.
According to early Buddhist sources the Tipitaka was written down in the second half of the 1st century BC, in the Pali dialect of the Sanskrit language.
The council of 500 arhats, or worthy ones, was convened to seek consensus on the doctrine (dhamma) contained in the Buddha's discourses (suttas in Pali; sutras in Sanskrit), and on the monastic discipline (vinaya) taught by the Buddha.
Buddhist Councils - Ven. Rewata Dhamma (3575 words)
The Pali Tipitaka and its allied literature exists as a result of the Buddha's discovery of the noble and liberating path of the pure Dhamma.
The main reason for its convening was the realization that it was now not possible for the majority of monks to retain the entire Tipitaka in their memories as had been the case formerly for the Venerable Mahinda and those who followed him soon after.
The traditional recitation of the Buddhist Scriptures took two years and the Tipitaka and its allied literature in all the scripts were painstakingly examined and their differences noted down and the necessary corrections made and all the versions were then collated.
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