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What is the tripitak?

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The Holy Books of Buddhism are variously called:

  • the Dhammapada
  • the Pali Canon
  • the Lotus Sutra

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The sacred book of Buddhism is called the Tripitaka (called Tipitaka in Pali). It is also called the Pali Canon, after the language in which it was first written.

It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali which is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The Tripitaka is a very large book. The English translation of it takes up nearly forty volumes. Buddhism is based on Buddha's teachings. At first these were passed down by word of mouth and later were complied into two sets of scripture. One set by Council of Monks of the Theravada school (the Tripitaka) the other by the Mahayana school ( the Sutras). Both were similar.

Both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists generally accept the Tripitaka (called Tipitaka in Pali) as the Buddhist sacred writings.

The three section of the Tripitaka (three baskets of Wisdom) are

Vinaya Pitaka (the Discipline Basket) - A rule book for monks and nuns

There are 227 rules for monks,and more for nuns.


Sutta Pitaka (the Teaching Basket)- The actual experiences of Buddha


Abhidhamma Pitaka (the Higher Doctrine Basket)- An explanation on the teaching of Buddha. Most of these are called Sutras


Parts of the Tripitaka such as the Dhamma-pada and the Sutta-Nipata are among the most expressive religious books in the world. Some of Buddha's parables are very similar to those used by Jesus.

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