The Importance of Scriptures

HideShow resource information

There are many Buddhist scriptures, because of the spread of Buddhism across countries.

Are Buddhist Scriptures Revealed Texts

  • Sciptures are not considred to be divinely revealed. Some therefore question whether they can have the same status and authority as scriptures in other traditions.
  • Might be revealed by the Buddha.
  • Early scriptures like the sutta pitaka of the Pali Cannon will be viewed in this way.
  • Before revealing the dhamma, recorded in the texts, he became enlightened. He could therefore access ultimate truths that are hidden from most poeple. Therefore it could be argued that these are revelations, they are therefore highly respected. Not placed on the floor.
  • Buddha felt that these truths were accessible to others if they followed the correct paths, he encouraged Buddhists to test his teachings against their own experiences.

How are the Scriptures used and Studied?

  • Use of scriptures varies tremendously between different Buddhist schools.
  • Study is restricted to specialist Budshit scholars. Within Buddhist monasteris, few bikkhus will undertake a thorough study of the scriptures
  • Most bikkhus will make a study of scriptures most important to their particular tradition, may be expected to teach the laity the key elements of these scriptures, monks will pass on the key information.
  • Laity may know stories and taechings from the scriptures, which form part of their cultural tradition, might recite some phrases on a regular basis, or recall certain parts of the scriptures on festival days. Scripture form a backdrop for their practices.
  • 3 buddhist scriptures of importance: The Pali Cannon/Tipitaka - scripture of Theravada Buddhism main source of the vinaya rules. The Lotus Sutra - Mahayana text, widely known in the West, uses evocative imagery in its writings and is very popular. The Heart Sutra is a very short Mahayana text which is very popular as a summary text encompassing the teachings of the much longer 'Perfection of Wisdom' texts (prajnaparamita)

The Pali Cannon

  • The Pali Cannon refers to the language, Pali, which the scripture is recorded in. The language existed at the time of the Budda, and Theravadin Buddhists believe that the Buddha spoke Pali amongst other languages. Certain parts are regarded as the direct language.
  • Tipitaka is te alternative name, meaning three baskets. Refers to division of the Canon into three main sections. Pitaka refers to a basket. Would have been first recorded on leaves which


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Buddhism resources »