Presentation on theme: "Buddhist Scriptures Dhamma. Teachings of the Buddha Originally passed on orally Meetings of Buddhists at special places during rainy seasons = passing."— Presentation transcript:
Teachings of the Buddha Originally passed on orally Meetings of Buddhists at special places during rainy seasons = passing on of recent teachings and reminders of others People were used to remembering things ‘off by heart’ as writing was not common practice. The rainy season lasts for many weeks – plenty of time for discussion and learning.
The First Council During the first rainy season after the Buddha died (usually given as around 483BCE), Buddhists met to collate his teachings and agree on what he said. 500 senior members of the Sangha (Buddhist community) made up what is known as the ‘First Council’ and started to work through all of the Buddhist teachings to decide which ones were definitely taught by the Buddha This work was confirmed almost one hundred years later by a second council at Vaisali in around 386 BCE
Canonisation By the first century CE, the works were officially collated and organised (canonised) These original teachings are known as the Pali Canon, and are the main scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. The Pali Canon is accepted by all Buddhists, although schools other than Theravada also accept later works. The Pali Canon is made up of the Tripitaka (Three Baskets). These are three different collections of writing.
Other Scriptures There are also non-canonical works that are considered important teaching aids in Buddhism. For example, “The Questions of King Milinda” is famous in Buddhism Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism accept many other scriptures (as well as the Tripitaka) as ‘canonical’ texts – they are written in many languages and are considered as ‘newer’ revelations of the Buddha’s teaching, still carrying the authority of the Buddha. Theravada Buddhists would usually not accept these as authentic.
The Dhammapada Part of the Pali Canon (Sutta Pitaka ‘basket’) Used by all Buddhists Said to be the actual words of the Buddha It ‘argues’ between the foolish person, and the wise person who understands the path of Buddhism It aims to ‘win’ the reader over to Buddhism by logic, verse, prose, and clever argument! This is the main text you will need to understand for this section of the course.