Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pali Canon Structure and indexation

As a Zen practitioner I am not really supposed to be interested in the Pali Canon -  some think I am not even supposed to be interested in any scriptures. But, whatever they say is not really going to help me... So as I was investigating dependent origination, I came to realize that you cannot really be serious about it without delving into it.

The Pali canon is huge. The Pali Text Society's edition of the Tipitaka (English translation) fills over 12,000 pages in approximately fifty hardbound volumes, taking up about five linear feet of shelf space. Moreover, a few of the more obscure books in the Tipitaka are simply still unavailable in English translation, so that if you really must read the entire Tipitaka, you'll just have to learn Pali.

The PTS has for over a century been the leading publisher of the Tipitaka, both in romanized Pali and in English translation, but many of their translations are now badly out of date. Much better translations of several portions of the Canon are now available from other publishers.

These new translations are also often commented in very interesting ways.

Most of the texts are available online. One of the difficulty for a novice is to navigate between various texts. The way these texts are referenced in articles may differ depending upon the translators

The Pali Canon is composed of 3 main branches.

... to be continued...

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