Chinese Buddhist Canon

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Template:Qual 3 Template:Chinese Canon The Chinese Buddhist Canon refers to the core texts of East Asian Buddhism.

With the East Asian tradition, this canon is referred to as The Great Scripture Store (C. 大藏經, dazangjing or ta-ts'ang-ching; J. daizōkyō; K. taejanggyŏng).Template:Buswell sv[1] It is also sometimes referred to as the Tripitaka within the tradition.

In the West, the canon is sometimes referred to as the Chinese Tripitaka or the East Asian Buddhist Canon.Template:Buswell sv

There have been many different editions of the Chinese canon that have been printed in locations throughout East Asia. The first complete printing of the canon, known as the Szechuan edition, was completed in 983 C.E.[1]Template:One teacher inline

The modern standard edition of the Chinese Canon is the Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō, which was published in Tokyo between 1924 and 1929.[1]

The Chinese Canon is one of the three major Buddhist Canons, the other two being the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, and the Pali Canon.[2]


Buswell and Lopez state: Template:Quote

According to contemporary scholar Tanya Storch:Template:Sfn

  • the early transmissions of Buddhist thought from Central Asia to China were transmitted orally, and then written down in the Chinese language
  • these initial texts were followed by later translations of Sanskrit texts
  • in China, due to the influence of Confucian "book culture", the written word was valued more than oral recitation
  • the early Chinese Buddhist bibliographers were influenced by the structure of Confucian bibliographies
  • an important concern for the early catalogers was to validate which texts were "authentic" and which were not
  • the catalogues for the various editions have evolved over time

Etymology of dazangjing

The Chinese canon is traditionally referred to as dazangjing (ta-ts'ang-ching, 大藏經), which is translated as "The Great Scripture Store" or "Scriptures of the Great Repository".Template:Buswell sv

Buswell and Lopez state: Template:Quote

Buswell and Lopez note that rather than cataloguing texts according to the traditional Indian organzation categories of "Vinaya", "Sutra" and "Abhidharma", the Chinese catalogers followed the categorizations that were more common within the Chinese courts.Template:Buswell sv Similarly, Tanya Storch suggests that the Chinese Buddhist bibliographers were influenced by the structure of Confucian bibliographies.Template:Sfn


File:Korea-Haeinsa-Tripitaka Koreana-01.jpg
The Tripiṭaka Koreana, an early edition of the Chinese Buddhist canon

There have been many editions of the Chinese canon that have been printed in locations throughout East Asia, including editions from Korea and Japan.

Some notable editions are:

  • The Tripiṭaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong was carved between 1236 and 1251, during Korea's Goryeo Dynasty, onto 81,340 wooden printing blocks. It is stored at the Haeinsa temple, South Korea.[4]


The Chinese canon contains the following categories of texts (presented as organized in the Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō):Template:Sfn

  • (i) Agamas and Jataka tales
  • (ii) Mahayana sutras
  • (iii) Tantras
    • The Chinese Tripitaka includes Chinese translations of both the Vairocana Sutra of the practical division, and the Diamond Crown Sutra of the Yoga division of the Tantric school of Buddhism. The only esoteric scriptures that are missing are those of the Highest Yoga division which, as they arrived in China at a time of national chaos, did not have much chance to circulate widely.[1]
  • (iv) Vinaya texts
    • (a) The Mahasamghika Vinaya of the Mahasamghika school.[1]
    • (b) The five divisions of the Mahisasaka Vinaya, the four divisions of the Dharmagupta Vinaya, the pratimoksa of Mahadasyapiyah, and the Sudarsana Vinaya of Tamrasatiya. All these are rules of the Vibbajyavada school.[1]
    • (c) The old Sravastivada Vinaya and the new Mulasarvasti vadanikaya Vinaya, both of the Sarvastivada school.[1]
    • (d) The Twenty-Two-Points-Of-Elucidation Sastras of the Sammatiya sect of the Vatsiputriyas school.[1]
  • (v) Translations of commentaries on the Agamas and Mahayana sutras
  • (vi) Abhidharma texts (translations of various early Abhidharmas)[1]
    • (a) The Samgitiparyaya, the Dharmaskandha, the Prajnapti, the Vijnanakaya, the Dhatukaya, the Prakaranapada, the Jnanaprasthana, the Mahavibhasa, the Abhidharma-hrdaya-vyakhya, the Abhiraharmananyanyanusara and the Abhidharmasamayapradipika Sastras of the Sarvastivada school.
    • (b) Of the works of Vibhajyavadins, it includes the Abhidharma Sastra of Sariputa, which is the only important work that links up the Southern and Northern Abhidharmas.
    • (c) The Vimmuttimagga which is a different version of the Pali Visuddhimagga.
    • (d) The Sammitiya Sastra of the Vatsiputriya School.
    • (e) The Abhidharma-kosha of the third to fourth century which combines the best teachings of the Sarvastivada and Sautrantika schools, and the Satyasiddi Sastra of Harivarman which greatly influenced Chinese Buddhism.
  • (vii) translations of commentaries on Yogacara and Madhyamaka
  • (viii) Chinese commentaries on the sutras, vinaya, and shastras (Indian commentaries)
  • (ix) Chinese sectarian writings
  • (x) Histories and biographies
  • (xi) Encyclopedias, dictionaries, non-Buddhist doctrines (Hindu, Manichean, and Nestorian Christian) and catalogs of various Chinese Canons

Avaliable texts

Online libraries of Chinese language texts

The following websites contain online libraries of the Chinese canon:

Translations into English

The following websites provide English language translations of selected texts from the Chinese canon:

Works not included in the canon

Types of works not included in the canon are:

Comparison with other canons

Template:See also The Chinese Canon is traditionally referred to as The Great Scripture Store (C. 大藏經, dazangjing or ta-ts'ang-ching).

Compared to the other Buddhist Canons, the Chinese Canon contains:

  • a section of sutras (called the Agamas) that are referred to as "parallel texts" of the Sutta Pitaka (called Nikayas in Pali) of the Pali Canon
  • major sections on Mahāyāna sūtras and tantras
    • The Mahayana sutras and trantras have no equivalents within the Pali Canon; but many of the same texts are found in the Tibetan Canon
  • many texts that are not found in either the Pali or Tibetan canons, such as Chinese-language commentaries

In addition:

Unlike the Theravadan Pali Canon, the Chinese Canon is not literally divided into three sections or pitakas. However, the term tripitaka (three pitakas) is sometimes used to refer to the Chinese canon.

Sample pages

See also



External links


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Page is sourced from Chinese Buddhist Canon