Chronology of the Pali Canon

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Chronology of the Pali Canon

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:08 am

Thomas William Rhys Davids in his Buddhist India (p. 188) has given a chronological table of Buddhist literature from the time of the Buddha to the time of Ashoka which is as follows:

1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.

2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.

3. The Silas, the Parayana, the Octades, the Patimokkha.

4. The Digha, Majjhima, Anguttara, and Samyutta Nikayas.

5. The Sutta-Nipata, the Thera-and Theri-Gathas, the Udanas, and the Khuddaka Patha.

6. The Sutta Vibhanga, and Khandhkas.

7. The Jatakas and the Dhammapadas.

8. The Niddesa, the Itivuttakas and the Patisambbhida.

9. The Peta and Vimana-Vatthus, the Apadana, the Cariya-Pitaka, and the Buddha-Vamsa.

10. The Abhidhamma books; the last of which is the Katha-Vatthu, and the earliest probably the Puggala-Pannatti.


Thomas William Rhys Davids was a past president of the Pali Text Society, scholar, Pali translator, and husband of the great Pali translator, Caroline A. F. Rhys Davids (who was also president of the Pali Text Society for some years).
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Re: Chronology of the Pali Canon

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:25 am

Greetings,

Here is a comparable list by B. C. Law

(source: http://www.budsas.org/~anson/ebud/mind/01_chap1.htm)

1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.

2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.

3. The Sīlas, the Pārāyaṇa group of 16 poems without the prologue, the Aṭṭhaka group of 4 or 16 poems, the Sikkhāpadas.

4. The Dīgha, vol. i, the Majjhima, the Saṃyutta, the Aṅguttara, and earlier Pātimokkha code of 152 rules.

5. The Dīgha, vols. ii and iii, the Thera- and Therī-gāthā, the collection of 500 Jātakas, Sutta Vibhaṅga, Paṭisambhidāmagga, Puggalapaññatti and the Vibhaṅga.

6. The Mahāvagga and the Cullavagga, the Pātimokkha code completing 227 rules, the Vimānavatthu and Petavatthu, the Dhammapada and the Kathāvatthu.

7. The Cullaniddesa, the Mahāniddesa, the Udāna, the Itivuttaka, the Sutta Nipāta, the Dhātukathā, the Yamaka, and the Paṭṭhāna

8. The Buddhavaṁsa, the Cariyāpiṭaka, and the Apadāna.

9. The Parivārapāṭha.

10. The Khuddakapāṭha.

Plus some extra comment from the source linked to above........

The juxtaposition of the stratification by T. W. Rhys Davids (abbreviated as A) with the other one by B. C. Law (abbreviated as B) shows that their first two strata are completely identical. The third strata contain each 4 items of which the first three, namely, the Sīlas, the Pārāyaṇa, the Octades, the Pātimokkha are nearly identical, the difference is that A gives a sharper boundaries of denotation of the Pārāyaṇa and the Octades. The last item of this strata in A, i.e. the Pātimokkha is substituted by the Sikkhāpadas in B. That in the fourth strata the first position is occupied by the Dīgha Nikāya is partly agreed upon by the 2 scholars, B. C. Law drags the vol. ii and vol. iii of the Dīgha Nikāya which are followed by the Majjhima Nikāya down to the heading position of the next stratum, stratum 5. The Aṅguttara and the Saṃyutta succeeding the Majjhima Nikāya in the fourth strata replace each other in table B. B. C. Law adds to this level the earlier Pātimokkha code of 152 rules. In the fifth stratum both A and B are quite different: the first position is occupied as already mentioned by the Dīgha Nikāya ii and iii in B and by the Sutta Nipāta in A; the Thera- and Therī-gāthās follow up in both the tables; the Udānas and the Khuddakapāṭha in A are replaced by the Collection of 500 Jātakas, the Sutta Vibhaṅga, the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the Puggalapaññatti and the Vibhaṅga in B. From stratum 6 onward the 2 tables becomes easily seen to be totally different. When discussing each of the individual items we will be in touch with the stratification again.


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Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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