Three pitakas

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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.

Three Pitakas and Three Higher Trainings

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.

Mipham Rinpoche also says that through the Vinaya one overcomes negative conduct, through Sutras one overcomes doubt, and through the Abhidharma one overcomes faulty views.

Further Reading