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The Buddhist Scriptures   

By: Joe Hing Kwok Chu


              After Siddhartha Gautama passed away,1.11 his disciples, headed by Mahakasyapa, a senior disciple, held a convention in a cave called Seven Leaf Tree Cliff (Seven Leaf Cave) to record his teachings in writing. Different committees were  formed to record the various aspects of the teachings. One  group (headed by  Ananda, a cousin of the Buddha) recorded   the philosophy preached by Buddha, which are the  "Sutras".

         Another group (headed by Upali) recorded the disciplines or rules of conduct, which are the "Vinaya" (Moral Canons).

         Another group (headed by Purna) debated on the philosophy  and recorded the outcome of the debate as "Abhidharma"  (Treatise). So, the main scriptures of Buddhism are the Sutras, the Vinaya (Moral Canons), and the Abhidharma (Treatises).


During the convention of Seven Leaf Cave, many scholars that did not have the chance to participate in the convention, gathered  outside the cave, and headed by Vaspa, recorded another five groups of scriptures:

  1. Sutras,

  2. Moral Canons  (Vinaya),

  3. Treatises (Abhidharma),

  4. Miscellanous,

  5. Chants (Mantras).

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