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(in Pali, Tipitaka; the word means “three baskets”), a collection of Buddhist texts written in the Pali language and also known as the Pali canon. The tenets of the Tripitaka were set forth at the first Buddhist council, held in Rajagriha in the fifth century B.C. The definitive redaction was established at the third Buddhist council, held in Pataliputra in the third century B.C. The work was first written down in 80 B.C. in Ceylon.
The Tripitaka is a collection of works by various authors and from diverse periods. It combines philosophical and psychological discourses and ethical maxims with folktales, legends, and parables. The original tenets of Buddhism contained in the Tripitaka have been altered over the course of history, in particular, through the editing of the adherents of the Theravada school. Nevertheless, in terms of completeness and authenticity the work is the principal source for the study of early Buddhism; only individual parts and fragments of the canons of other ancient sects have survived. The Tripitaka also contains valuable information about the economic, social, and ideological life of ancient India.