Introduction to the Buddhist "Bible"

Tipitaka ( the 3 ‘ti’ Basket ‘pitaka’ ) is an extensive body of Canonical Pali literature in which are enshrined the Teachings of Gotama Buddha expounded for forty-five years from the time of His enlightenment to his Mahaparinibbana (passing away to the un-conditional).

The discourses of the Buddha cover a wide field of subjects and are made up of exhortations and injunctions.

Even from the earliest times some kind of classification and systematization of the Buddha’s Teachings had been made to facilitate memorization, since only verbal transmission was employed to pass on the Teachings from generation to generation. Three months after the Mahaparinibbana of the Buddha, the great disciples recited together all the Teachings of their Master, after compiling them systematically and carefully classifying them under different heads into specialized sections.

The general discourses and sermons intended for both the bhikkhus ( holy disciples ) and lay disciples, delivered by the Buddha on various occasions are collected and classified in a great division known as the SUTTANTA PITAKA.

The great division in which are incorporated injunctions and admonitions of the Buddha on modes of conduct, and restraints on both bodily and verbal actions of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis ( Nuns ), which form rules of discipline for them, is called the VINAYA PITAKA.

The philosophical aspect of the Buddha’s Teaching, more profound and abstract is classified under the great division known as the ABHIDHAMMA PITAKA. ABHIDHAMMA deals with ultimate Truths, expounds ultimate Truths and investigates Mind and Matter and the relationship between them.

The Tipitaka into which the Pali Canon is systematically divided and handed down from generation to generation together with commentaries forms the huge collection of literary works which the bhikkhus of the Order have to learn, study and memorize in discharge of their duty of study ( gantha dhura ).


1. What is Vinaya Pitaka?

   Disciplinary Rules for the disciples

2. What is Suttanta Pitaka?

   The Master’s Discourses.

3. What is Abhidhamma Pitaka?

   Higher Analysis on the Teachings.

4. The Buddhist Councils.