General Studies Notes – Art and Culture: Buddhist Literature

In this blog, we are providing you with free General Studies Notes on an Important Topic from the Art and Culture Section – Buddhist Literature. This Topic is supremely important for UPSC Exam – both prelims and Mains. Apart from UPSC, questions on Buddhist Literature are regularly asked in the SSC CGL, General Awareness sections of Banking Exams, etc. as well. A List of all the important text of Buddhist Literature has been in given in this edition of General Studies Notes. So here we go – 

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General Studies Notes – List of Buddhist Literature

Buddhist Literature
Tripitaka Vinaya Pitaka
(Rules to be followed by the Buddhist monks.)
Suttavibhanga – Rules of conduct for Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis.
Khandhaka – Regulations for the life course of a Buddhist Monk.
Parivara – Manual of Instructions about Vinaya Pitika Contents
Sutta Pitaka
(Principles of Buddhist religion)
Digha Nikaya – It means  Long collection – 34 in total among which Mahaparinibbana Sutta (about  last few days of Lord Buddha’s life) is most important.
Majjhima Nikaya – contains 152 suttas which are medium-sized reports on instructions
Samyutta Nikaya – It is also a collection of instructions divided into 5 groups
Anguttara Nikaya – contains discourses ascribed to Buddha and his disciples.
Khadduka Nikaya – contains small size texts like Khuddakapatha, Suttanipata, Udana, Itivuttaka etc about diverse characters.
Abhidhamma Pitaka Latest of the Tripitika. Talks about the philosophy of Ethics, psychology and metaphysics.
Canonical Literature Jatakas collections of poems and stories which are very close to folklore literature.
Mahaniddesa Commentary on chapters of Suttanipata
Patisambhidamagga Talks about knowledge. It is also considered a part of Abhidhamma Pitaka
Buddhavamsa Narrates the story of 24 Buddhas who preceded Gautum Buddha
Apandanas Describes activities of young monks who have attained the position of Arhants
Non-Canonical Literature Milindpanha It literally means  “Questions of Milind” – a dialogue between King Menander and the monk  Nagasena. It is written in the Pali language.
Mahavamsa It is a Ceylonese chronicle dealing with Royal dynasties of Indian subcontinent which includes Sri Lanka.
Dipavamsa It talks of about Buddhist teachings and their arrival in Sri Lanka.
Sanskrit Literature Mahavastu Most important text for Hinayana school of Buddhism which talks about earlier births and miracles of Gautama Buddha.
Lalitavistara It is a biography of Lord Buddha and is considered to be one of most sacred texts for Mahayana Buddhism.
Buddhacharita It is the Biography of Buddha’s life written by Asvaghosa.
Mahavibhasa Sastra It deals with the  thoughts of Buddhist philosophy along with Samkhya and Vaisheshikha  philosophies of Hinduism. It is written by Vasumitra.
Udanavarga Contains verses said by Gautama Buddha and his Disciples.
Vajrayana Buddhist Literature Kriya tantras It focuses on the rituals of the Tantric School of Buddhism.
Charya tantras It deals with the worship of the Celestial Buddha – Vairocana
Yoga tantras This text also deals with Vairocana
Anuttara tantras This text deals with mental transformation


That is all from us in this General Studies Notes blog about Buddhist Literature. We hope this has been a valuable addition for your Art and Culture preparation for exams like UPSC, SSC CGL, etc. Keep checking this space for more such Free General Studies notes. All the best.

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