Japanese mythology embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agriculturally-based folk religion. The Shinto pantheon comprises innumerable kami; this article will discuss only the typical elements present in Asian mythology, such as cosmogony, important deities, the best-known Japanese stories. Japanese myths, as recognized in the mainstream today, are based on the Kojiki, the Nihon Shoki, some complementary books; the Kojiki, or "Record of Ancient Matters", is the oldest surviving account of Japan's myths and history. The Shintōshū describes the origins of Japanese deities from a Buddhist perspective, while the Hotsuma Tsutae records a different version of the mythology. One notable feature of Japanese mythology is its explanation of the origin of the Imperial Family, used to assign godhood to the imperial line; the title of the Emperor of Japan, tennō, means "heavenly sovereign". Japanese is not transliterated across all sources, see: #Spelling of proper nouns In the Japanese creation myth, the first deities which came into existence, appearing at the time of the creation of the universe, are collectively called Kotoamatsukami.
The seven generations of kami, known as Kamiyonanayo, following the formation of heaven and earth. The first two generations are individual deities called hitorigami, while the five that followed came into being as male/female pairs of kami: brothers and sisters that were married couples. In this chronicle, the Kamiyonanayo comprise 12 deities in total. In contrast, the Nihon Shoki states that the Kamiyonanayo group was the first to appear after the creation of the universe, as opposed to the Kamiyonanayo appearing after the formation of heaven and earth, it states that the first three generations of deities are hitorigami and that the generations of deities are pairs of the opposite gender, as compared to the Kojiki's two generations of hitorigami. Japan's creation narrative can be divided into the birth of the land; the seventh and last generation of Kamiyonanayo were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, they would be responsible for the creation of the Japanese archipelago and would engender other deities.
To help them to achieve this and Izanami were given a naginata decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko. The two deities went to the bridge between heaven and earth and churned the sea below with the halberd. Drops of salty water formed Onogoro; the deities made their home on the island. They fell in love and wished to mate. So they built. Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions, when they met on the other side, the female deity, spoke first in greeting. Izanagi didn't think that this was proper, they had two children and Awashima, but the children were badly formed and are not considered gods in their original form. The parents, who were dismayed at their misfortune, put the children into a boat and sent them to sea, petitioned the other gods for an answer about what they had done wrong, they were informed that Izanami's lack of manners was the reason for the defective births: a woman should never speak prior to a man. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time, when they met, Izanagi spoke first.
Their next union was successful. From their union were born the Ōyashima, or the eight great islands of Japan: Awaji Iyo Oki Tsukushi Iki Tsushima Sado Yamato Note that Hokkaidō, Chishima and Okinawa were not part of Japan in ancient times. Izanami died giving birth to Kagutsuchi called Homusubi due to severe burns, she was buried on Mount Hiba, at the border of the old provinces of Izumo and Hoki, near modern-day Yasugi of Shimane Prefecture. In anger, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi, his death created dozens of deities. The gods who were born from Izanagi and Izanami are symbolic aspects of culture. Izanagi undertook a journey to Yomi. Izanagi found little difference between Yomi and the land except for the eternal darkness. However, this suffocating darkness was enough to make him ache for life, he searched for Izanami and found her. At first, Izanagi could not see her, he asked her to return with him. Izanami informed him that he was too late, she had eaten the food of the underworld and now belonged to the land of the dead.
Izanagi was shocked at this news, but he refused to give in to her wishes to be left to the dark embrace of Yomi. Izanami first requested to have some time to rest, she instructed Izanagi to not come into her bedroom. After a long wait, Izanami did not come out of her bedroom, Izanagi was worried. While Izanami was sleeping, he took the comb that set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once graceful Izanami; the flesh of her ravaged body was rotting and was overrun with maggots and fou
Maruyama Ōkyo, born Maruyama Masataka, was a Japanese artist active in the late 18th century. He moved to Kyoto, during which he studied artworks from Chinese and Western sources. A personal style of Western naturalism mixed with Eastern decorative design emerged, Ōkyo founded the Maruyama school of painting. Although many of his fellow artists criticized his work as too slavishly devoted to natural representation, it proved a success with laymen. Ōkyo was born into a farming family in Ano-o, in present-day Kameoka, Kyoto. As a teenager, he joined the townspeople class, he apprenticed for a toy shop. The shop began selling European stereoscopes, novelties that when looked into presented the illusion of a three-dimensional image, it was Ōkyo's first look at Western-style perspective, in 1767 he tried his hand at one of the images. He created a small picture in single-point perspective. Ōkyo soon mastered the techniques of drawing stereoscope images.Ōkyo decided to pursue a career as an artist. He first studied under Ishida Yūtei, a member of the Kanō school and a bigger influence on Ōkyo than the stereoscope images.
During these formative years, Ōkyo studied Chinese painting as well. He admired the works of Ch'ien Hsüan, a 13th-century painter known for his detailed flower drawings, Qiu Ying, a 16th-century figure painter. In fact, the "kyo" in Ōkyo's name was adopted in tribute to Ch'ien Hsüan. Ōkyo briefly adopted the Chinese practice of signing his name with one character, so for a time he was known as Ōkyo En. He studied the works of Shen Quan, a Chinese artist who lived in Nagasaki from 1731 to 1733 and painted images of flowers. However, Ōkyo did not like the artist's treatment of proportion, preferring the works of Watanabe Shikō, he studied Ming and Qing paintings. Most Ōkyo eagerly studied any Western paintings or prints he could find. Ōkyo's first major commission came in 1768 from Yūjō, abbot of a temple in Ōtsu called Enman'in. Over the next three years, Ōkyo painted The Seven Misfortunes and Seven Fortunes, a depiction of the results of both bad and good karma; the three scrolls total about 148 ft in length.
Ōkyo tried to find models for the people depicted in them for the shocking images such as a man being ripped in two by frightened bulls. His introduction to the work states that he believed that people needed to see reality, not imaginary images of Nirvana or Hell, if they were to believe in Buddhist principles. Other painters were critical of Ōkyo's style, they found it to be overly concerned with physical appearances, alleging that he was too beholden to the real world and produced undignified works. His style proved popular with the public, commissions came in to do Western-style landscapes, decorative screens, nudes, he used them for material in his paintings. Ōkyo was the first Japanese artist to do life drawings from nude models. The subject was still considered pornographic in Japan. During his career he painted for wealthy merchants, the shogunate the emperor; the public's perception of Ōkyo's skill is evident in a legend recounted by Van Briessen. The story goes. Once the work was completed, the ghost image flew away.
Success prompted Ōkyo to start a school in Kyoto. He was a talented art teacher, he soon took on many students, he taught them to rely on nature to render images in a realistic picture of light and forms. The school grew popular, branches soon appeared in other locations, including Osaka. Much of the school's work is today preserved at a temple in Kasumi. Noteworthy pupils include Ōkyo's son, Maruyama Ōzui, Nagasawa Rosetsu, Matsumura Goshun. Goshun joined Ōkyo's school in 1787; that year, the Maruyama school took a commission to paint screens for Daijō-ji. That year, Kyoto suffered a devastating fire, so Ōkyo and Goshun moved into a temple called Kiunin; the two became fast friends, Ōkyo refused to regard their relationship as that of a teacher and student. Goshun went on to found the Shijō school. Ōkyo's painting style merged a tranquil version of Western naturalism with the Eastern decorative painting of the Kanō school. His works show a Western understanding of shadow, his realism differed from previous Japanese schools in its devotion to nature as the ultimate source with no regard for sentiment.
Ōkyo's intricately detailed plant and animal sketches show a great influence from European nature drawings. An album of leaves in the Nishimura Collection in Kyoto depicts several animals and plants, each labeled as if in European guidebook. Still, Ōkyo's works remain Japanese. Unlike European painting, Ōkyo's images have few midtones. Moreover, he follows the Eastern tradition in depicting objects with little setting; the result is a more immediate naturalism with a reflective feel. This was achieved through skillful brush handling; this created broad strokes. Nature was not his only subject, his Geese Alighting on Water, painted at Enman'in, Ōtsu in 1767, is an early example of his mature style. The subject is treated as a part of nature.
Tortoises are reptile species of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines. They are distinguished from other turtles by being land-dwelling, while many other turtle species are at least aquatic. However, like other turtles, tortoises have a shell to protect from other threats; the shell in tortoises is hard, like other members of the suborder Cryptodira, they retract their necks and heads directly backwards into the shell to protect them. Tortoises are unique among vertebrates in that the pectoral and pelvic girdles are inside the ribcage rather than outside. Tortoises can vary in dimension from a few centimeters to two meters, they are diurnal animals with tendencies to be crepuscular depending on the ambient temperatures. They are reclusive animals. Tortoises are the longest living land animal in the world, although the longest living species of tortoise is a matter of debate. Galápagos tortoises are noted to live over 150 years, but an Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita may have been the longest living at an estimated 255 years.
In general, most tortoise species can live 80–150 years. Differences exist in usage of the common terms turtle and terrapin, depending on the variety of English being used; these terms do not reflect precise biological or taxonomic distinctions. The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists uses "turtle" to describe all species of the order Testudines, regardless of whether they are land-dwelling or sea-dwelling, uses "tortoise" as a more specific term for slow-moving terrestrial species. General American usage agrees. In America, for example, the members of the genus Terrapene dwell on land, yet are referred to as box turtles rather than tortoises. British usage, by contrast, tends not to use "turtle" as a generic term for all members of the order, applies the term "tortoises" broadly to all land-dwelling members of the order Testudines, regardless of whether they are members of the family Testudinidae. In Britain, terrapin is used to refer to a larger group of semiaquatic turtles than the restricted meaning in America.
Australian usage is different from both British usage. Land tortoises are not native to Australia, yet traditionally freshwater turtles have been called "tortoises" in Australia; some Australian experts disapprove of this usage—believing that the term tortoises is "better confined to purely terrestrial animals with different habits and needs, none of which are found in this country"—and promote the use of the term "freshwater turtle" to describe Australia's aquatic members of the order Testudines because it avoids misleading use of the word "tortoise" and is a useful distinction from marine turtles. Most species of tortoises lay small clutch sizes exceeding 20 eggs, many species have clutch sizes of only 1–2 eggs. Incubation is characteristically long in most species, the average incubation period are between 100 and 160 days. Egg-laying occurs at night, after which the mother tortoise covers her clutch with sand and organic material; the eggs are left unattended, depending on the species, take from 60 to 120 days to incubate.
The size of the egg depends on the size of the mother and can be estimated by examining the width of the cloacal opening between the carapace and plastron. The plastron of a female tortoise has a noticeable V-shaped notch below the tail which facilitates passing the eggs. Upon completion of the incubation period, a formed hatchling uses an egg tooth to break out of its shell, it begins a life of survival on its own. They are hatched with an embryonic egg sac which serves as a source of nutrition for the first three to seven days until they have the strength and mobility to find food. Juvenile tortoises require a different balance of nutrients than adults, so may eat foods which a more mature tortoise would not. For example, the young of a herbivorous species will consume worms or insect larvae for additional protein; the number of concentric rings on the carapace, much like the cross-section of a tree, can sometimes give a clue to how old the animal is, since the growth depends on the accessibility of food and water, a tortoise that has access to plenty of forage with no seasonal variation will have no noticeable rings.
Moreover, some tortoises grow more than one ring per season, in some others, due to wear, some rings are no longer visible. Tortoises have one of the longest lifespans of any animal, some individuals are known to have lived longer than 150 years; because of this, they symbolize longevity in some cultures, such as China. The oldest tortoise recorded, one of the oldest individual animals recorded, was Tu'i Malila, presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer Captain Cook shortly after its birth in 1777. Tu'i Malila remained in the care of the Tongan royal family until its death by natural causes on May 19, 1965, at the age of 188; the record for the longest-lived vertebrate is exceeded only by one other, a koi named Hanako whose death on July 17, 1977, ended a 226-year lifespan. The Alipore Zoo in India was the home to Adwaita, which zoo officials claimed was the oldest living animal until
Deer are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk, the fallow deer, the chital. Female reindeer, male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family within the same order of even-toed ungulates; the musk deer of Asia and chevrotains of tropical African and Asian forests are separate families within the ruminant clade. They are no more related to deer than are other even-toed ungulates. Deer appear in art from Paleolithic cave paintings onwards, they have played a role in mythology and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry, their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular activity since at least the Middle Ages and remains a resource for many families today.
Deer live in a variety of biomes. While associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets and prairie and savanna; the majority of large deer species inhabit temperate mixed deciduous forest, mountain mixed coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, savanna habitats around the world. Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may benefit deer populations by exposing the understory and allowing the types of grasses and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. Additionally, access to adjacent croplands may benefit deer. However, adequate forest or brush cover must still be provided for populations to thrive. Deer are distributed, with indigenous representatives in all continents except Antarctica and Australia, though Africa has only one native deer, the Barbary stag, a subspecies of red deer, confined to the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of the continent. However, fallow deer have been introduced to South Africa. Small species of brocket deer and pudús of Central and South America, muntjacs of Asia occupy dense forests and are less seen in open spaces, with the possible exception of the Indian muntjac.
There are several species of deer that are specialized, live exclusively in mountains, swamps, "wet" savannas, or riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Some deer have a circumpolar distribution in Eurasia. Examples include the caribou that live in Arctic tundra and taiga and moose that inhabit taiga and adjacent areas. Huemul deer of South America's Andes fill the ecological niches of the ibex and wild goat, with the fawns behaving more like goat kids; the highest concentration of large deer species in temperate North America lies in the Canadian Rocky Mountain and Columbia Mountain regions between Alberta and British Columbia where all five North American deer species can be found. This region has several clusters of national parks including Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, Kootenay National Park on the British Columbia side, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Glacier National Park on the Alberta and Montana sides. Mountain slope habitats vary from moist coniferous/mixed forested habitats to dry subalpine/pine forests with alpine meadows higher up.
The foothills and river valleys between the mountain ranges provide a mosaic of cropland and deciduous parklands. The rare woodland caribou have the most restricted range living at higher altitudes in the subalpine meadows and alpine tundra areas of some of the mountain ranges. Elk and mule deer both migrate between the alpine meadows and lower coniferous forests and tend to be most common in this region. Elk inhabit river valley bottomlands, which they share with White-tailed deer; the White-tailed deer have expanded their range within the foothills and river valley bottoms of the Canadian Rockies owing to conversion of land to cropland and the clearing of coniferous forests allowing more deciduous vegetation to grow up the mountain slopes. They live in the aspen parklands north of Calgary and Edmonton, where they share habitat with the moose; the adjacent Great Plains grassland habitats are left to herds of elk, American bison, pronghorn antelope. The Eurasian Continent boasts the most species of deer in the world, with most species being found in Asia.
Europe, in comparison, has lower diversity in animal species. However, many national parks and protected reserves in Europe do have populations of red deer, roe deer, fallow deer; these species have long been associated with the continent of Europe, but inhabit Asia Minor, the Caucasus Mountains, Northwestern Iran. "European" fallow deer lived over much of Europe during the Ice Ages, but afterwards became restricted to the Anatolian Peninsula, in present-day Turkey. Present-day fallow deer populations in Europe are a result of historic man-made introductions of this species, first to the Mediterranean regions of Europe eventually to the rest of Europe, they were park animals that escaped and reestablished themselves in the wild. Europe's deer species shared their deciduous forest habitat with other herbivores, such as the extinct tarpan, extinct aurochs (fo
A handheld fan may be any broad, flat surface, waved back-and-forth to create an airflow. Purpose-made handheld fans are shaped like a sector of a circle and made of a thin material mounted on slats which revolve around a pivot so that it can be closed when not in use. On human skin, the airflow from handfans increases evaporation which has a cooling effect due to the latent heat of evaporation of water, it increases heat convection by displacing the warmer air produced by body heat that surrounds the skin. Fans are convenient to carry around folding fans. Next to the folding fans, the rigid hand screen fan, was a decorative and desired object among the higher classes, its purpose is different. They were used to shield the lady's face against the glare of the sun or the fire. Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that the hand fan was used in ancient Greece at least since the 4th century BC and was known under the name rhipis. Christian Europe's earliest fan was the flabellum; this was used during services to drive insects away from wine.
Its use continues in the Eastern Orthodox and Ethiopian Churches. Hand fans were absent in Europe during the High Middle Ages until they were reintroduced in the 13th and 14th centuries Fans from the Middle East were brought back by Crusaders. Portuguese traders brought them back from China and Japan in the 16th century, fans became popular; the fan is popular in Spain, where flamenco dancers used the fan and extended its use to the nobility. European brands have introduced more modern designs and have enabled the hand fan to work with modern-day fashion. In the 17th century the folding fan, its attendant semiotic culture, were introduced from Japan. Simpler fans were developed in China and Egypt. Japanese fans became popular in Europe; these fans are well displayed in the portraits of the high-born women of the era. Queen Elizabeth I of England can be seen to carry both folding fans decorated with pom poms on their guardsticks as well as the older style rigid fan decorated with feathers and jewels.
These rigid style fans hung from the skirts of ladies, but of the fans of this era it is only the more exotic folding ones which have survived. Those folding fans of the 15th century found in museums today have either leather leaves with cut out designs forming a lace-like design or a more rigid leaf with inlays of more exotic materials like mica. One of the characteristics of these fans is the rather crude bone or ivory sticks and the way the leather leaves are slotted onto the sticks rather than glued as with folding fans. Fans made of decorated sticks without a fan'leaf' were known as brisé fans. However, despite the relative crude methods of construction folding fans were at this era high status, exotic items on par with elaborate gloves as gifts to royalty. In the 17th century the rigid fan, seen in portraits of the previous century had fallen out of favour as folding fans gained dominance in Europe. Fans started to display well painted leaves with a religious or classical subject; the reverse side of these early fans started to display elaborate flower designs.
The sticks are plain ivory or tortoiseshell, sometimes inlaid with gold or silver pique work. The way the sticks sit close to each other with little or no space between them is one of the distinguishing characteristics of fans of this era. In 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked in France; this caused large scale immigration from France to the surrounding Protestant countries of many fan craftsman. This dispersion in skill is reflected in the growing quality of many fans from these non-French countries after this date. In the 18th century, fans reached a high degree of artistry and were being made throughout Europe by specialized craftsmen, either in leaves or sticks. Folded fans of silk, or parchment were painted by artists. Fans were imported from China by the East India Companies at this time. Around the middle 18th century, inventors started designing mechanical fans. Wind-up fans were popular in the 18th century. In the 19th century in the West, European fashion caused fan size to vary, it has been said that in the courts of England and elsewhere fans were used in a more or less secret, unspoken code of messages These fan languages were a way to cope with the restricting social etiquette.
However, modern research has proved that this was a marketing ploy developed in the 18th century - one that has kept its appeal remarkably over the succeeding centuries. This is now used for marketing by fan makers like Co.. Ltd who produced a series of advertisements in 1954 showing "the language of the fan" with fans supplied by the well known French fan maker Duvelleroy; the rigid or screen fan became fashionable during the 18th and 19th century. They never reached the same level of popularity as the easy to carry around, folding fans which became an integrated part of women's dress; the screen fan was used inside the interior of the house. In 18th and 19th century paintings of interiors one sometimes sees one laying on a chimney mantle, they were used to protect a woman's face against the glare and heat of the fire, to avoid getting'coup rose' or ruddy cheeks from the heat. But not in the least it served to keep the heat from spoiling the applied
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
Buddhist texts were passed on orally by monks, but were written down and composed as manuscripts in various Indo-Aryan languages which were translated into other local languages as Buddhism spread. They can be categorized in a number of ways; the Western terms "scripture" and "canonical" are applied to Buddhism in inconsistent ways by Western scholars: for example, one authority refers to "scriptures and other canonical texts", while another says that scriptures can be categorized into canonical and pseudo-canonical. Buddhist traditions have divided these texts with their own categories and divisions, such as that between buddhavacana "word of the Buddha," many of which are known as "sutras," and other texts, such as shastras or Abhidharma; these religious texts were written in many different languages and scripts but memorizing and copying the texts were of high value. After the development of printing, Buddhists preferred to keep to their original practices with these texts. According to Donald Lopez, criteria for determining what should be considered buddhavacana were developed at an early stage, that the early formulations do not suggest that Dharma is limited to what was spoken by the historical Buddha.
The Mahāsāṃghika and the Mūlasarvāstivāda considered both the Buddha's discourses, of his disciples, to be buddhavacana. A number of different beings such as buddhas, disciples of the buddha, ṛṣis, devas were considered capable to transmitting buddhavacana; the content of such a discourse was to be collated with the sūtras, compared with the Vinaya, evaluated against the nature of the Dharma. These texts may be certified as true buddhavacana by a buddha, a saṃgha, a small group of elders, or one knowledgeable elder. In Theravada Buddhism, the standard collection of buddhavacana is the Pāli Canon; some scholars believe that some portions of the Pali Canon and Agamas could contain the actual substance of the historical teachings of the Buddha. In East Asian Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Chinese Buddhist canon; the most common edition of this is the Taishō Tripiṭaka. According to Venerable Hsuan Hua from the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, there are five types of beings who may speak the sutras of Buddhism: a buddha, a disciple of a buddha, a deva, a ṛṣi, or an emanation of one of these beings.
These sutras may be properly regarded as buddhavacana. Sometimes texts that are considered commentaries by some are regarded by others as Buddhavacana. Shingon Buddhism developed a system that assigned authorship of the early sutras to Gautama Buddha in his physical manifestation, of the Ekayana sutras to the Buddhas as Sambhoghakaya, the Vajrayana texts to the Buddha as Dharmakaya. In Tibetan Buddhism, what is considered buddhavacana is collected in the Kangyur; the East Asian and Tibetan Buddhist canons always combined Buddhavacana with other literature in their standard collected editions. However, the general view of what is and is not buddhavacana is broadly similar between East Asian Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; the Tibetan Kangyur, which belongs to the various schools of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, in addition to containing sutras and vinaya contains tantras. The earliest Buddhist texts were passed down orally in Middle Indo-Aryan languages called Prakrits, including Gāndhārī language, the early Magadhan language and Pali through the use of repetition, communal recitation and mnemonic devices.
Doctrinal elaborations were preserved in Abhidharma works and Karikas. As Buddhism spread geographically, these texts were translated into the local language, such as Chinese and Tibetan; the Pali canon was preserved in Sri Lanka where it was first written down in the first century BCE and the Theravadan Pali textual tradition developed there. The Sri Lankan Pali tradition developed extensive commentaries as well as sub-commentaries for the Pali Canon as well as treatises on Abhidhamma. Sutra commentaries and Abhidharma works exist in Tibetan, Chinese and other East Asian languages. Important examples of non-canonical Pali texts are the Visuddhimagga, by Buddhaghosa, a compendium of Theravada teachings and the Mahavamsa, a historical Sri Lankan chronicle; the earliest known Buddhist manuscripts, recovered from the ancient civilization of Gandhara in north central Pakistan are dated to the 1st century and constitute the Buddhist textual tradition of Gandharan Buddhism, an important link between Indian and East Asian Buddhism.
After the rise of the Kushans in India, Sanskrit was widely used to record Buddhist texts. Sanskrit Buddhist literature became the dominant tradition in India until the decline of Buddhism in India. Around the beginning of the Christian era, a new genre of sutra literature began to be written with a focus on the Bodhisattva idea known as Mahayana sutras. Many of the Mahayana sutras were written in Sanskrit and translated into the Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist canons which developed their own textual histories; the Mahayana sutras are traditionally considered by Mahayanists to be the word of the Buddha, but transmitted either in secret, via lineages of supernatural beings, or revealed directly from other Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Some 600 Mahayana Sutras have survived in Chinese and/or Tibetan translation. In the Mahayana tradition there are important works termed Shastras, or treatises which attempt to outline the sutra teachings and defend or exp