Tibetan Buddhist canon

Loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various schools of Tibetan Buddhism / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to sutrayana texts from Early Buddhist schools (mostly Sarvastivada) and Mahayana sources, the Tibetan canon includes tantric texts.[1] The Tibetan Canon underwent a final compilation in the 14th century by Buton Rinchen Drub (1290–1364).

Young monks printing scriptures. Sera Monastery, Tibet. 1993
Printing the scriptures, Sera Monastery

The Tibetans did not have a formally arranged Mahayana canon and so devised their own scheme which divided texts into two broad categories:

  • Kangyur (Wylie: bka'-'gyur) or "Translated Words or Vacana", consists of works supposed to have been said by the Buddha himself. All texts presumably have a Sanskrit original, although in many cases the Tibetan text was translated from Chinese or other languages.
  • Tengyur (Wylie: bstan-'gyur) or "Translated Treatises or Shastras", is the section to which were assigned commentaries, treatises and abhidharma works (both Mahayana and non-Mahayana). The Tengyur contains 3626 texts in 224 Volumes.

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