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Chinese Buddhist Literature

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By the end of Tang Dynasty, almost all Buddhist scriptures were translated into Chinese, and many catalogues have been compiled to collect the different translations of all the sutras. The most important catalogues are:

The whole corpus of Chinese Buddhist writings is compound in the so-called Tripitaka "Threefold basket" (Sanzang 三藏). The modern edition of that corpus was made in Japan under the Taishô Emperor from 1922-1933, therfore called Taisho Daizokyo 大正大藏經 "Great Sutra Storehouse of the Taisho era" (chin.: Dazheng Dazangjing). It is divided into 86 volumes, distributed into the sermons of the Buddha (Sutras; jing ); the Vinaya writings (rules of discipline; 律); the Abhidharma writings ("Higher Subtleties"; chin.: lun 論 or apitan 阿毘曇); Madhyamika ("Middle path", i.e. Great Vehicle; chin.: zhongdao 中道) and Vijnanavada (Idealistic School; chin.: Weishizong 唯識宗) writings; shastra (treatises; chin.: lun 論); commentaries by Chinese monks; literature of the various Chinese schools; historical records; encyclopedias; catalogues.

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Other writings that are not encluded in the Tripitaka comprise a vast diversity of biographical, philosophical, encyclopedical and even poetry writings, some freely translated from the Sanskrit original, but there exist also many Buddhist writings by Chinese Buddhists:

Excursion: While the Mahayana tradition ("Great Vehicle") of Buddhism in China, Korea and Japan is based on the Chinese Tripitaka Canon, the Theravada or Hinayana tradition ("Smaller Vehicle") is based on the Pali Canon (Pali is a Middle Age Indian language). The composition of the Pali Canon is older than that of the Sanskrit Mahayana tradition. The order of writings - and their content - is different to the Chinese Tripitaka. The main sections of the Pali Canon are:

Source

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