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Historical Dictionary of Buddhism
Three Canons of Buddhism

Pali Canon -- Chinese Canon -- Tibetan Canon
also an account of Prajnaparamita Literature

The Pali Canon

I Vinaya Pitaka

A. Suttavibhanga ("analysis of Rules")

  1. Mahavibhanga: (great section) 227 rules for monks
  2. Bikkhunivibhanga: (division for nuns) 311 rules for nuns

B. Khandhaka ("sections"): Chapters relative to the organization of the Samgha

  1. Mahavagga (great group): regulations for ordination, Uposatha days, rain-season retreats, clothing, food, medicine, and procedures relative to Samgha's org.
  2. Cullavagga (small group): judicial matters, requisites, schisms, travel, ordination, instruction of nuns, history of first and second councils.

C. Parivara (supplement): Summaries and classifications of vinaya rules

II. Sutta Pitaka

A. Digha Nikaya: 34 suttas

B. Majjimika Nikaya: 152 suttas

C. Samyutta Nikaya: 56 groups of suttas, by subject matter

D. Anguttara Nikaya: discourses grouped according to number, in ascending list

E. Khuddaka Nikaya: "Collection fo Little Texts"

  1. Khuddaka-patha (collection of little readings)
  2. Dhammapada
  3. Udana: solomn utterances of buddha
  4. Itivuttaka: "Thus was said" 112 short sutras
  5. Sutta-nipata: 70 sutras containing legendary material
  6. Vimana-vatthu: Heavenly mansions, heavenly births
  7. Peta-vatthu: Stories of the departed 51 stories of unfortunate rebirths
  8. Thera-gatha: verses of male elders
  9. Theri-gatha: verses of female elders
  10. Jataka: 547 stories of previous lives of the Buddha
  11. Niddesa: "exposition"
  12. Patisambhida-magga
  13. Apadana
  14. Buddhavamsa: lineage of the buddha: 24 previous buddhas
  15. Cariya-pitaka "Basket of Conduct" Jataka stories emphasizing practice of perfections

III. Abhidhamma Pitaka

A. Dhammasangani: Ennumeration fo Dhammas
B. Vibhanga: analysis of various doctrinal categories
C. Dhatu-Katha: discussion of elements
D. Puggala-Pannatti: designation of human types
E. Katha-Vatthu: disputes among rival schools
F. Yamaka: (book of pairs. Untranslated?)
G. Patthana: Casuality in 24 groups

The Chinese Canon
Ta-ts'ang-Ching, "great scripture store"

Compiled tipatika in 983 CE, known as Szechuan Ed. or Shu-pen ed. 1074 texts. Modern Standard Edition is the Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo, pub in Tokyo, betw. 1924-29. 55 vols. 2184 texts, 45 vols. of supplement.

I. Agama Section: vols 1-2, 151 texts. First four Nikayas, portion of fifth

II. Story S: v.3-4, 68 texts. Jataka

III. Prajnaparamita S*: v5-8, 42 txt.

IV. Saddharmapundarika S: v9, 16txts. 3 versions of Lotus Sutra +

V. Avatamsaka S: v9-10, 31txt. Flower Garland Sutra +.

VI. Ratnakuta S: v10-11, 64txts. early Mahayana texts

VII. Mahaparinirvana S: V12, 23txt. Mahayana verison of the end of Buddha's life

VIII. Great Assembly S. V13, 28 txt.

IX. Sutra-Collection S: V14-17, 423 txt.

X. Tantra S: V18-21, 572txt. Vajrayana sutras, etc.

XI. Vinaya S: V22-24, 86txts. hinayana and bodhisattva rules of conduct.

XII. Commentaries on Sutras: V24-26, 31 txt. Commentaries from various indian authors on agamas and mahayan sutras

XIII. Abhidharma S: V.26-29, 28txt. Translations of Sarvastivadin, Dharmaguptaka, and Sautrantika Abhidharma Texts.

XIV. Madyamika S: V30, 15txts.

XV. Yogacara S: V30-31, 49 txt.

XVI. Collection of Treatises: V32, 65 txt. works on logic and other matter

XVII. Commentary on the Sutras: V33-39, by chinese authors

XVIII. Comm on the Vinaya: V40, chinese auth.

XIX. Comm on the Sastras: V40-41, chinese auth.

XX. Chinese Sectarian Writings: V44-48

XXI. History and Biography: V49-52

XXII.Encyclopedae and Dictionaries: V53-54.

XXIII. Non-Buddhist Doctrines: V54, 8txt. Materials on Hinduism, Manichean and Nestorian Christian writing.

XXIV Catalogs: V55, 40 txt.

The Tibetan Canon

I. bKa'-gyur (Kanjur): The Word of the Buddha; 98 vols in sNarthang Edition

A. Vinaya: 13 volumes
B. Prajnaparamita: 21v.
C. Avatamsaka: 6v.
D. Ratnakuta: 6v.
E. Sutra: 30v. 270txt. 3/4 mahayana, 1/4 hinayana
F. Tantra: 22v. 300+ texts.

II. bStan-'gyur (Tenjur): Teachings; 224 vols, 3626txts in Peking Ed.

A. Stotras: "Hymns of Praise" 1volume, 64 txt.
B. Commentaries on the Tantras: 86v, 3055txt.
C. Commentaries on the Sutras: 137v, 567 txt.
  1. Prajnaparamita Comm, 16 volumes
  2. Madhyamika Treatises, 17v.
  3. Yogacara Treatises, 29v.
  4. Abhidharma, 8v.
  5. Misc. Texts, 4v.
  6. Vinaya Commentaries, 16v.
  7. Tales and Dramas, 4v.
  8. Technical Treatises, 43v
    1. logic 21 volumes.
    2. grammar 1v
    3. lexicography and poetics 1v
    4. Medicine 5v
    5. Chemistry and misc 1v
    6. Supplements 14v.

Prajnaparamita Literature: Generic term for a series of mahayana texts known as "the perfection of wisdom discourses. These texts, the earliest of which dates from 100 BCE, represent the first Mahayanan Literature... Edward Conze notes the period of composition of this class of literature to extend for about 1000 years, divided into four phases:

    1. establishment of a basic text representing the initial impulse of the movement
    2. expansion of the basic text
    3. restatement of the basic doctrines into shorter texts and verse summaries
    4. a period influenced by the Tantric tradition.

The oldest text is the Astasahasrika-prajnaparamita-sutra (8000 line Praj.) This text was later expanded into versions of 18,000; 25,000; and eventually 100,000 [very tedious] verses. It was then shortened into much smaller versions, the two most famous of which are the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. Finally, a body of Tantric texts emerge, one of which is titled "Perfection of Wisdom in One Letter." [wouldn't that be nice]... For the most part disciples associated with the early, hinayana [read: niggers] tradition (such as Sariputra) are generally afforded the lowest position of expression, while those figures identified as bodhisattvas (such as Subhuti) are more highly regarded. In other words the new Mahayana path is emphasized at the expense of the older framework. Such is also the case regarding doctrinal issues, with the Praj. texts launching an endless diatribe about the inadequacy of Abhidharma approach anth the efficacy of the doctrine of emptiness (sunyatta)... Appears in China as early as 179. (8000 line v.)." (Prebish, 214)

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