The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Three Pitakas (Skt. tripiṭaka; Tib. སྡེ་སྣོད་གསུམ་, Wyl. sde snod gsum) — the three collections or 'baskets' into which the Word of the Buddha is divided. They are the Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma. Together these comprise the Dharma of transmission or scripture. They teach the Dharma of realization which is comprised of the three higher trainings.
- The Sutras are discourses recounted together with their particular context, i.e. the location of the teaching, who was present and who asked a question, and so on.
- The Vinaya gives accounts of how certain rules came about by mentioning the particular context and who was involved.
- The Abhidharma takes the various topics covered in the sutras and arranges them according to their classifications and divisions.
Generally, it is said that:
- The Vinaya teaches the Higher Training of Discipline
- The Sutras teach the Higher Training of Meditation
- The Abhidharma teaches the Higher Training of Wisdom
However, Mipham Rinpoche mentions an alternative tradition according to which the Sutra pitaka teaches all three trainings, the Vinaya teaches discipline and meditation, and Abhidharma teaches wisdom.
- Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang, A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher, translated by Padmakara Translation Group (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2004), pages 6-7.
- Thinley Norbu, The Small Golden Key (Shambhala Publications, 1999), ‘9. The Tripitaka and the Three Trainings'.