Canon Comparison Chart

This is a preliminary effort to show the contents of the three major collections. Although this may not be complete, it does provide an idea of what these three collections include.


The Pali Canon The Chinese Canon The Tibetan Canon
VINAYA PITAKA XII.Vinaya Section (Volumes 22-24) VINAYA (Volumes 1-13)
A. Suttavibhanga: Patimokkha-Monastic code or rules for the Sangha 1. 227 rules for monks 2. 311 rules for nun A. Disciplinary texts of a variety of Lessor Vehicle Schools: Bhikkhuni Patimokkha–Theravada, Mahasanghika, Mahisasaka, Sarvastivada, Dharmagupta, and Mula-Sarvastivada
B. Khandhaka: Matters concerning the organization of the Sangha 1. Mahavagga: Regulations for ordination, retreats, clothing, food, etc. 2. Cullavagga: Procedural matters and the history of the first two councils. B. Bodhisattva discipline: Brahmajala Sutra
C. The Parivara: (Appendix summarizing the rules)


The Pali Canon The Chinese Canon The Tibetan Canon
SUTTA PITAKA I. Agama Section (Volumes 1-2): 151 texts that correspond to the Pali Canon, but were translated from the Sanskrit of the Sarvastivada tradition. Agama means “those handed down by tradition.” Approximately 67 lesser vehicle texts:
A. Digha Nikaya: 34 long discourses 2-Sama¤¤aphala Sutta 11-Kevatta (Kevaddha) Sutta 12-Lohicca Sutta 15-Maha Nidana Sutta 16-Maha-Parinibbana Sutta 21-Sakka-pa¤ha Sutta 22-Maha-Satipatthana Sutta 26-Cakkavatti Sutta 27-Agganna Sutta 31-Sigalovada
B. Majjhima Nikaya: 154 medium length discourses: 2-Sabbasava Sutta 4-Bhaya-bherava Sutta 7-Vatthupama Sutta 8-Sallekha Sutta 22-Alagagaddujupama Sutta 45-Culadhammasamadana Sutta 55-Jivaka Sutta 63-Cula Malunkya Sutta 72-Aggi Vacchagotta Sutta 74-Dighanakha Sutta 86-Angulimala Sutta 87-Piyajatika Sutta 102-Devadaha Sutta 104-Samagama Sutta 108-Moggallana Sutta 117-Maha-Cattarisaka Sutta 118- Anapanasati Sutta 143-Anathapindikovada Sutta 145-Punnovada Sutta
C. Samyutta Nikaya: 56 groups of discourses arranged by subject matter: I.4-Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta I.8-Metta Sutta I.42-Kindada Sutta I.71-Ghatva Sutta III.13-Donapaka Sutta VI.1-Ayacana Sutta XII.48-Lokayatika Sutta XV.14-19-Mata Sutta XVI.13-Sadhammapatirupaka Sutta XX.7-Ani Sutta XXII.81-Parileyyaka Sutta XXII.122-Silavant Sutta XXXV.28-Adittapariyaya Sutta XXXV.145-Kamma Sutta XLII.2-Talaputa Sutta LVI.11-Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta LVI.48-Chiggala Sutta
D. Anguttara Nikaya: Discourses grouped by incremental lists of subjects: III.65-Kalama Sutta IV.77-Acintita Sutta V.27-Samadhi Sutta
E. Khuddaka Nikaya: A collection of fifteen minor texts
1. Khuddakapatha: Short suttas
2. Dhammapada: Popular collection of 423 verses on ethics.Dhammapada Includes Chinese Dhammapada Includes Tibetan Dhammapada
3. Udana: 80 solemn utterances of the Buddha
4. Itivuttaka: 112 Short suttas
5. Sutta-nipata: 70 suttas in verse
6. Vimanavatthu: Accounts of the heavenly rebirths of the virtuous
7. Petavatthu: 51 poems about rebirth as a hungry ghost
8. Theragatha: Verses by 264 male Elders
9. Therigatha: Verses by around 100 female elders.
10. Jataka: 547 stories about the Buddha’s previous lives II. Story Section (Volumes 3-4): 68 Jataka texts: Combination of Mahayana and pre-mahayana stories on accounts of the buddha’s past lives. “Past-Condition” Sutras: The Parable Sutra
11. Niddesa: Commentary on portions of the Sutta-nipata
12. Patisambhidamagga: Abhidharma-style analysis of points of doctrine
13. Apadana: Verse stories about the present and former lives of monks and nuns
14. Buddhavamsa: An account of the 24 previous Buddhas
15. Cariyapitaka: Jataka stories about the virtues of bodhisattvas


The Pali Canon The Chinese Canon The Tibetan Canon
III. Prajna-paramita Section (Volumes 5-8): 42 texts, Perfection of Wisdom Sutras,Heart Sutra, Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita Sutra Prajna-paramita (Volumes 14-34): Perfection of Wisdom Sutras,Heart Sutra, Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita Sutra
IV. Saddharmapundarika Section(Volume 9): 16 texts relating to the Lotus Sutra
V. Avatamsaka Section (Volumes 9-10): 31 texts relating to the Avatamsaka(Flower Ornament) Sutra Avatamsaka (Volumes 41-46)
VI. Ratnakuta Section (Volumes 11-12): 64 early Mahayana texts: Amitayurdhyana Sutra, Sukhavati-vyuha Sutras (Pure Land) Ratnakuta (Volumes 35-40)
VII. Mahaparinirvana Section (Volume 12): 23 texts concerning theMahaparinirvana Sutra Parinirvana (Volumes 78-79)
VIII. Great Assembly or Collection Section (Volume 13): 28 texts containing early sutras, beginning with the Great Assembly Sutra. Tend to focus on esoteric materials. Translations not found.
IX. Sutra-Collection Section (Volumes 14-17): 423 texts primarily of miscellaneous mahayana sutras: Bhaishajyaguru Sutra, Ksitagarbha Bodhisattva Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra,Platform Sutra of Master Hui Neng, Samdhinirmocana Sutra,Srimalaidevi-simhanada Sutra, Shurangama Sutra,Suvarnabhasottama Sutra, Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra (Luk), Sutra in Forty-Two Sections,Bathing the Buddha Sutra Other Mahayana Sutras: Over 200 texts including the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra
X. Tantra Section (Volumes 18-21): 572 texts on vajrayana and tantric materials: includes the Vairocana Sutra and theDiamond Crown Sutra of the Yoga division. It does not include the highest or Supreme Yoga division texts, but does include many texts that are not in the Tibetan Canon. Tantra (Volumes 80-100), 300 texts including the Supreme Yoga or highest tantra texts.


The Pali Canon The Chinese Canon The Tibetan Canon
XIII. Abhidharma Section (Volumes 26-29): Tranlations of Sarvastivadin, Dharmaguptaka, and Sautrantika Abhidharma texts: Vasubandhu`s Abhidharmakosa Abhidharma: 8 volumes: Vasubandhu`s Abhidharmakosa
ABHIDHAMMA PITAKA (Scholastic treatises)
A. Dhammasangani: Psychological analysis of ethics
B. Vibhanga: Analysis of various doctrinal categories
C. Dhatukatha: Classification of points of doctrine
D. Puggalapannatti: Classification of human types
E. Kathavatthu: Doctrinal disputes among the sects
F. Yamaka: Pairs of questions about basic categories of teachings
G. Patthana: causation analyzed into 24 groups


The Pali Canon The Chinese Canon The Tibetan Canon
Stotras (Hymns of praise): 1 volume, 64 texts.
XII. Commentaries on Sutras (Sastras) by Indian authors on the Agamas and Mahayana Sutras (Volumes 24-26): 31 texts-Asanga’s Yog-cara-bhumi Shastra, Asvaghosa’s Mahayana-Sraddhotpada Shastra, Sthiramati’s Mahayana Dharma-realm without Distinction, Vasubandhu’s Mahayana `satadharmaa-prakaa`samukha shastra and Trimsika Commentaries on various sutras: 137 volumes, 567 texts:Asvaghosa’s Gurupancasika,Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, Chandragomin’s Bodhisattvasamvaravimsaka,Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara,
Asanga’s Abhisamaya Alamkara Prajna-paramita commentaries: 16 volumes: Asanga’s Abhisamaya Alamkara
XIV. Madhyamaka Section (Volume 30): 15 texts on Madhyamaka thought. The Madhyamaka texts of the Chinese Canon are considerably different from the Tibetan renditions of the same system of thought. The Chinese collection consists mostly of earlier works. The Chinese Canon does not contain as many works or as many schools of this system as the Tibetan Canon. Madhyamaka Treatises: 17 volumes: includes Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika Treatise, Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara
XV. Yogacara Section (Volumes 30-31): 49 texts-contains a very complete collection of this system of thought. Yogacara Treatises: 29 volumes: Lord Maitreya’s Uttaratantra Shastra and Abhisamaya Alamkara as transmitted to Dharma King Asanga
XVI. Collection of Treatises(Volume32): 65 Texts on miscellaneous works on logic and other matters. The Hetuvidya which is closely connected with Vijnanavada (Yogacara school), is not fully translated in the Chinese Canon and cannot compare favorably with the works of Dignaga and Dharmakirti collected in the Tibetan Canon. Miscellaneous texts: 4 volumes: Tsongkhapa’s Lam Rim Chen Mo,Mountain of Blessings, and The Principal Teachings of Buddhism.Technical Treatises: 43 volumes (includes logic, grammar, lexicography and poetics, medicine, chemistry, etc.):Dharmakirti’s Pramana Varttika,Dignaga’s, Commentary on Compendium on Valid Perception
XVII. Commentaries on Sutras by Chinese authors (Volumes 33-39)
XVIII. Commentaries on the Vinaya by Chinese authors (Volume 40) Vinaya commentaries: 16 volumes: Gunaprabha’s Vinaya Sutra
XIX. Commentaries on the Sastras byChinese authors (Volumes 40-44)


The Pali Canon The Chinese Canon The Tibetan Canon
XX. Chinese Sectarian Writings(Volumes 44-48)
XXI. History and Biography (Volumes 49-42): 95 texts Tales and dramas: 4 volumes
XXII. Encyclopedias and Dictionaries(Volumes 53-54): 16 texts
XXIII. Non-Buddhist Doctrines (Volume 54): 8 texts on Hinduism, Manichean, and Nestorian Christian writings
XXIV. Catalogs (Volume 55): 40 texts Catalog to Kanjur (Volume 101)