Thursday, 31 March 2011

An Introduction to Tipitaka


The Tipitaka is a whole body of the Canonical PAli Literature. It consists of most of the teachings of the Buddha and his followers – bhikkhu, bhikkhunI, upasaka and upasikA and not only by those but gods as well. The Three Baskets are namely:
       1) Vinaya piTaka            -    The Basket of Rules
       2) Suttanta piTaka (ßuttapiTaka)         -   Basket of Discourses
       3) Abhidhamma piTaka  -    The Basket of Higher Doctrine

The word ‘TipiTaka’ was not introduced by the Buddha Himself, instead these classifications grouping the teachings of the Buddha were prepared by the disciples of the Buddha after His great Demise (µahAparinibbAna). In the Buddhist history, three Buddhist Councils are recorded to have been held before Buddhism was taken to other countries, into those three councils different activities were performed to protect the teachings for the future generations. As a part of that work TipiTaka was arranged by the early disciples.

The TipiTaka has been handed to generations to generations by Buddhist monks. At the first Buddhist Council the teachings of the Buddha, both Vinaya (discipline) and the ∂hamma (doctrine) were entrusted to some responsible chief monks (bhANaka) and their disciples who participated in the council as follows: -
1. Vinaya - Ven.üpAli and his Disciples
2.  ∂īgha nikAya - Ven.Ānanda and His Disciples
3.  µajjhima nikAya - Ven.ßāriputtas the Disciples of
4. SaMyutta nikAya - Ven.Mahākassapa and His Disciples
5.  åGguttara nikAya - Ven.Ānuruddha and His Disciples
6.  Khuddhaka nikAya  
7.  åbhidhamma                                       All Monks

      The main purpose of putting all the teachings and disciplinary rules into one form is called TipiTaka to preserve them for the future generations. Today TipiTaka is being protected by writing on books in many languages but in early period it was preserved by Oral tradition.

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