What is the Pali Canon in Buddhism? I keep running across this in my readings. Can you briefly explain this term to me.
1. What is the Pali Canon in Buddhism?
The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It was not printed until the nineteenth century, but is now available in electronic form. However, the English translation by the Pali Text Society is not yet complete. The Canon was written down from oral tradition in the last century B.C.E., at the occasion of the Fourth Buddhist Council (sources more than a millennium later state the location as Alokavihara). It is the most complete surviving early Buddhist canon and one of the first to be written down. It is composed in the Pali language, and falls into three general categories, called pitaka (piṭaka, basket) in Pali. Because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the Tipitaka (Tipiṭaka; three baskets). The three pitakas are as follows.
1. Vinaya Pitaka, dealing with rules for monks and nuns
2. Sutta Pitaka, discourses, most ascribed to the Buddha, but some to disciples
This solution explains the Pali Canon in Buddhism including its history, size, and content (three pitakas).