The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The Sutta Piṭaka is the second division of the Tipiṭaka, the sacred scriptures of Buddhism, the other parts being the Vinaya Piṭaka and the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka contains the discourses of the Buddha and some by his disciples and is made up of five books or nikāyas – the Long Discourses or Dīgha Nikāya, the Middle Length Discourses or Majjhima Nikāya, the Connected Discourses or Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Numbered Discourses or Aṅguttara Nikāya and the Small Discourses or Khuddaka Nikāya. These discourses were committed to memory by monks and nuns and sometimes even by lay men and women, and orally transmitted for several hundred years after the Buddha’s passing. Historical records say that the suttas were written down in the 1st century BCE in Sri Lanka, although they had probably already been committed to writing earlier in India. See Oral Transmission.