The Pāli Canon
Tipiṭaka or Pāli Canon
The Pāli Canon descends from an august tradition. Within three months after the Buddha's maha-parinibbāna, a council was convened. It consisted of 500 learned disciples who had attained the highest state of sainthood, arahant-phala. To prevent the Buddha's words from being distorted by ignorant and unscrupulous people, they formed the First Council to preserve the teaching in its pristine purity. Their express purpose was to collect and arrange the Buddha's voluminous teachings, which they organized into what is now commonly known as the Tipiṭaka. The Tipiṭaka is a vast record, containing in modern script more than 24 million characters in over forty printed volumes.
The Pāli literature also includes the Aṭṭhakathā (commentaries), Tikā (sub-commentaries), and further sub-commentaries such as the Anu-Tikā, Madhu-Tikā, etc. The commentarial literature is very extensive, exceeding the Tipiṭaka in length.
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Explore the Tipiṭaka with this virtual bookshelf. Click on any book to view its contents. Use the menus to find specific categories and topics.