Buddhist literature

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Buddhist literature.

During his lifetime the Buddha taught not in Vedic Sanskrit, which had become unintelligible to the people, but in his own NE Indian dialect; he also encouraged his monks to propagate his teachings in the vernacular. After his death, the Buddhist canon was formulated and transmitted by oral tradition, and it was written down in several versions in the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. Its main divisions, called pitakas [baskets], are the Vinaya or monastic rules, the Sutra (Pali Sutta) or discourses of the Buddha, and the AbhidharmaAbhidharma
[Skt.,=higher dharma, or doctrine], schools of Buddhist philosophy. Early Buddhism analyzed experience into 5 skandhas or aggregates, and alternatively into 18 dhatus or elements.
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 (Pali Abhidhamma) or scholastic metaphysics. Also included are the Jataka, stories about the previous births of the Buddha, many of which are non-Buddhist in origin. The only complete Indian version of the canon now extant is that of the Sri Lankan Theravada school, in the Pali language, written 29–17 B.C. (see PaliPali
, language belonging to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Some scholars classify it as a Prakrit, or vernacular dialect of classical Sanskrit.
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). North Indian Buddhist texts were written in a type of Sanskrit influenced by the vernaculars. Mahayana Buddhism produced its own class of sutras, and all schools of Buddhism generated a considerable body of commentary and philosophy. The entire corpus of Buddhist writings was translated into Chinese over a period of a thousand years, beginning in the 1st cent. A.D. This was a collaborative effort of foreign and Chinese monks. Its most recent edition, the Taisho Daizokyo (1922–33), is in 45 volumes of some 1,000 pages of Chinese characters each. Translation of Buddhist texts into Tibetan was begun in the 7th cent. The final redaction of the canon was by the Buddhist historian Bu-ston (1290–1364) and is in two sections, the Kanjur (translation of the Buddha's word) and the Tanjur (translation of treatises), consisting altogether of about 320 volumes of Tibetan script. The Tibetan translation is extremely literal, following the Sanskrit almost word for word and based on standardized Sanskrit-Tibetan equivalences for Buddhist terms; thus it is particularly useful for scholars.


See M. Cummings, Lives of the Buddha in the Art and Literature of Asia (1982).

References in periodicals archive ?
As I wrote in the previous article, "We can probably discount the story, found in the Chronicles of Japan (Nihon shoki, completed in 720), which tells of Paekche envoys bringing books to Japan in the fourth century, and perhaps even the putative Paekche historiographical works cited in the same work, but we have clear evidence of the importation of Buddhist texts from Korea in the eighth century.
Guangkuan and Juezun point out that reading Buddhist texts is essential to achieve ganying, and they recommend reading the Diamond Sutra, the Surangama Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, and especially the Buddha Amituo Sutra.
According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude.
This is the story he tells and as every tale must have its hero, the one who adorns this tale is a young French scholar by the name of Eugene Burnouf, whose mastery of Sanskrit and Chinese enabled him to flesh out the Buddhist texts in their original language, thus resurrecting an understanding of the Buddha that heretofore had been unknown in the West but which has since become an unchallengeable certitude thanks to the happy release of his trailblazing book, Introduction to the History of Indian Buddhism.
My favorites were the Ganden Monastery, a massive town-like structure accommodating hundreds of monks, which travel to reach it is an experience all of its own; the Sera Monastery, famous for its adebating monksa and an experience that is not to be missed and incredible to watch; and the Drepung Monastery, with its incredible views of Lhasa, itas astonishing library of ancient Buddhist texts and printing house, and itas extraordinary Great Assembly Hall.
10) One of the oldest early Buddhist texts, the Digha Nikaya, makes this abundantly clear: "abandoning the taking of life, the ascetic Gotama (i.
21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of South Korean netizens are campaigning to change the official English name for a Korean collection of Buddhist texts carved on more than 80,000 wooden blocks.
Both started reading Buddhist texts and meditating, before joining the Cardiff Buddhist Centre about four years ago, where they met operations director John James.
History blends with passages from Buddhist texts, writings of the Dalai Lamas, and the author's own personal journeys to provide a fine survey spiced with brilliant color photos throughout.
My response is based on my understanding of early Buddhist texts, but there is considerable disagreement on how to interpret the early Buddhist treatment of anatman.
In Indian Buddhist texts, extant accounts of the Buddha's life all date from at least several centuries after his passing, and so the physical reality of his body was no impediment to the construction of the details of the physique of the ultimate man, adorned with the physical characteristics of a great man.
Buddhist texts traditionally start with naming the location where the Buddha had delivered a particular sermon: "At one time the Lord stayed at Shravasti in the Jetavana", (2) for example, the name of the place serving as a mnemonic support, a true "lieu de memoire".