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Tipitaka (The Pali Canon)

The Tripitaka 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.

Colour photograph of a stack of long, thin wooden rectangles; each with scripture written on the face. The stack sits on a white cloth, in front of a carved wooden box.
Tipitaka Scripture

Divisions of the Tipitaka[edit]

Vinaya Pitaka[edit]

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.
— Excerpted from Vinaya Pitaka on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Sutta Pitaka[edit]

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: it contains more than 10,000 sutras.
— Excerpted from Sutta Pitaka on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Abhidhamma Pitaka[edit]

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 Sutra Pitaka are restated and explained in a more systematic framework. In Mahayana and Vajrayana tripitakas, this pitaka often contains treatises that are referred to as shastras.
— Excerpted from Abhidhamma on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.