Chinese Buddhist canon
The Chinese Buddhist Canon refers to the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese Buddhism. The traditional term for the canon." The Chinese Buddhist canon includes Āgama and Abhidharma texts from Early Buddhist schools, as well as the Mahāyāna sūtras and scriptures from Esoteric Buddhism. There are many versions of the canon in East Asia in different places and time. An early version is the Fangshan Stone Sutras from the 7th century; the earlier Lung Tripitaka, Jiaxing Tripitaka, Zhaocheng Jin Tripitaka are still extant in printed form. The complete woodblocks are the Chenlong Tripitaka; the Tripiṭaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong was carved between 1236 and 1251, during Korea's Goryeo Dynasty, onto 81,340 wooden printing blocks with no known errors in the 52,382,960 characters. It is stored at South Korea. One of the most used version is Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō. Named after the Taishō era, a modern standardized edition published in Tokyo between 1924 and 1934 in 100 volumes.
It is one of the most punctuated tripitaka. The Xuzangjing version, a supplement of another version of the canon, is used as a supplement for Buddhist texts not collected in the Taishō Tripiṭaka; the Jiaxing Tripitaka is a supplement for Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty Buddhist texts not collected, a Dazangjing Bu Bian published in 1986 are supplements of them. The Chinese Manuscripts in the Tripitaka Sinica, a new collection of canonical texts, was published by Zhonghua Book Company in Beijing in 1983-97, with 107 volumes of literature, are photocopies of early versions and include many newly unearthed scriptures from Dunhuang. There are newer. Written in Classical Chinese; the Mi Tripitaka is the Tangut canon. Eric Grinstead published a collection of Tangut Buddhist texts under the title The Tangut Tripitaka in 1971 in New Delhi; the Taishō edition contains classical Japanese works. The Dunhuang edition contains some works in old Western Regions languages; the Tripitaka Sinica mentioned above features a Tibetan section.
A number of apocryphal sutras composed in China are excluded in the earlier canons, such as composed stories the Journey to the West and Chinese folk religion texts, High King Avalokiteshvara Sutra. Modern religious and scholarly works are excluded but they are published in other book series. Pali Canon Sanskrit Buddhist literature Tibetan Buddhist canon
Prajñā or paññā "wisdom" is insight in the true nature of reality, namely anicca, anattā and śūnyatā. Prajñā is translated as "wisdom", but is closer in meaning to "insight", "non-discriminating knowledge", or "intuitive apprehension". Jñā can be translated as "consciousness", "knowledge", or "understanding". Pra is an intensifier which can be translated as "higher", "greater", "supreme" or "premium", or "being born or springing up", referring to a spontaneous type of knowing. Paññā is the fourth virtue of ten Theravāda pāramitās, the sixth of the six Mahāyāna pāramitās. In the Pāli Canon, paññā is concentrated insight into the three characteristics of all things, namely impermanence, suffering and no-self, the four noble truths. In the 5th-century exegetical work Visuddhimagga, one of the most revered books in Theravada Buddhism, Buddhaghoṣa states that the function of paññā is "to abolish the darkness of delusion". In Mahayana Buddhism, the importance of prajna was stressed in combination with compassion.
It took a central place such as the Heart Sutra. Prajna is spoken of as the principal means of attaining nirvāna, through its revelation of the true nature of all things as emptiness. Smaran/Simran Kenshō Mahāvākyas Noble Eightfold Path Five wisdoms Four ways of knowing What is Prajna
Dhyāna in Buddhism
In the oldest texts of Buddhism, dhyāna or jhāna is the training of the mind translated as meditation, to withdraw the mind from the automatic responses to sense-impressions, leading to a "state of perfect equanimity and awareness." Dhyana may have been the core practice of pre-sectarian Buddhism, in combination with several related practices which together lead to perfected mindfulness and detachment, are realized with the practice of dhyana. In the commentarial tradition, which has survived in present-day Theravada, dhyana is equated with "concentration," a state of one-pointed absorption in which there is a diminished awareness of the surroundings. In the contemporary Theravada-based Vipassana movement, this absorbed state of mind is regarded as unnecessary and non-beneficial for awakening, which has to be reached by mindfulness of the body and vipassana. Since the 1980s, scholars and practitioners have started to question this equation, arguing for a more comprehensive and integrated understanding and approach, based on the oldest descriptions of dhyana in the suttas.
In Chan and Zen, the Chinese and Japanese renderings of dhyana, dhyana is the central practice, based on Sarvastivada meditation practices, has been transmitted since the beginning of the Common Era. Dhyana is translated as meditation, is equated with "concentration," though meditation may refer to a wider scala of exercises for bhavana, development. Dhyana can mean "attention, reflection." According to Buddhaghosa, the term "jhāna" is derived from the verb jhayati, "to think or meditate," while the verb jhapeti, "to burn up," explicates its function, namely burning-up opposing states, burning-up or destroying "the mental defilements preventing the development of serenity and insight." The Pāli canon describes four progressive states of jhāna called rūpa jhāna, four additional meditative states called arūpa. Meditation and contemplation are preceded by several practices, which are realized with the practice of dhyana; as described in the Noble Eightfold Path, right view leads to leaving the household life and becoming a wandering monk.
Sila comprises the rules for right conduct. Right effort, c.q. the four right efforts, aim to prevent the arising of unwholesome states, to generate wholesome states. This includes indriya samvara, controlling the response to sensual perceptions, not giving in to lust and aversion but noticing the objects of perception as they appear. Right effort and mindfulness calm the mind-body complex, releasing unwholesome states and habitual patterns, encouraging the development of wholesome states and non-automatic responses. By following these cumulative steps and practices, the mind becomes set naturally, for the practice of dhyana; the practice of dhyana reinforces the development of wholesome states, leading to upekkha and mindfulness. The practice of dhyana is aided by mindfulness of breathing; the Suttapitaka and the Agamas describe four stages of rupa jhāna. Rupa refers to the material realm, in a neutral stance, as different form the kama realm and the arupa-realm; each jhāna is characterised by a set of qualities.
First dhyāna: the first dhyana can be entered when one is secluded from sensuality and unskillful qualities, due to withdrawal and right effort. There is pīti and non-sensual sukha as the result of seclusion. Traditionally, the fourth jhāna is seen as the beginning of attaining psychic powers. While the jhanas are understood as deepening states of concentration, due to its description as such in the Abhidhamma, the Visuddhimagga, since the 1980s scholars and modern Theravadins have started to question this understanding. Roderick S. Bucknell notes that vitarka and vicara may refer to "probably nothing other than the normal process of discursive thought, the familiar but unnoticed stream of mental imagery and verbalization." Bucknell further nothes that "hese conclusions conflict with the widespread conception of the first jhana as a state of deep concentration."According to Stuart-Fox, the Abhidhamma separated vitarka from vicara, ekagatta was added to the description first dhyana to give an equal number of five hindrances and five antidotes.
The commentarial tradition regards the qualities of the first dhyana to be antidotes to the five hindrances, ekagatta may have been added to the first dhyana to give five antidotes for the five hindrances. Stuart-Fox further notes that vitarka, being discursive thought, will do little as an antidote for sloth and torpor, reflecting the inconsistencies which were introduced by the scholastics. Vetter and Wynne note that the first and second jhana represent the onset of dhyana due to withdrawal and right effort c.q. the four right efforts, followed by concentration, whereas the third and fourth jhana combine concentration with mindfulness. Polak, elaborating on Vetter, notes that the onset of the first dhyana is described as a quite natural process
Devotion, a central practice in Buddhism, refers to commitment to religious observances or to an object or person, may be translated with Sanskrit or Pāli terms like saddhā, gārava or pūjā. Central to Buddhist devotion is the practice of buddhānussati, the recollection of the inspiring qualities of the Buddha. Although buddhānussati had been an important aspect of practice since the early period of Buddhism, its importance was amplified with the arising of Mahāyāna Buddhism. With Pure Land Buddhism, many forms of devotion were developed to recollect and connect with the celestial Buddhas Amitābha. Most Buddhists use ritual in pursuit of their spiritual aspirations. Common devotional practices are receiving a blessing, making merit, making a resolution, making offerings, chanting traditional texts and pilgrimage. Moreover, many types of visualizations and mantras are used in Buddhist meditation in different traditions to devote oneself to a Buddha or a teacher; the politically motivated practice of self-immolation is a less common aspect of devotion in some Buddhist communities.
Buddhist devotional practices can be performed at home or in a temple, in which images of Buddhas and enlightened disciples are located. Buddhist devotion is practiced more intensively on the uposatha observation days and on yearly festivals, which are different depending on region and tradition; the term devotion in the context of Buddhism is defined by Sri Lankan scholar Indumathie Karunaratna as "the fact or quality of being devoted to religious observances or a solemn dedication to an object or a person". It is covered in Pali language by terms such as saddhā, pasāda, bhatti and gārava. Pema is used in the initial attraction a student feels for his spiritual teacher. Saddhā and gārava might inspire a layperson to ordain as a monk, whereas saddhā and pema may help a devotee to attain a good afterlife destination. Bhatti in early Buddhism has the meaning of'faithful adherence to the religion', but in texts, the term develops the meaning of an advanced form of devotion. Apart from these terms, the term pūjā is used for expressions of "honor and devotional attention".
Pūjā is derived from the Vedic root pūj-, meaning'to revere, to honor'. According to the Pāli Studies scholar M. M. J Marasinghe, in the Theravāda Pāli Canon, it did not have the meaning of ritual offering yet, it did include honoring through physical and mental ways. The term pūjā originated with Dravidian culture, in which it may have been used for a ritual or an element of ritual procedure, these ritual connotations may have affected Buddhism at a period. According to anthropologist William Tuladhar-Douglas, the root pūj- had a ritual meaning from the early Buddhist period. Although in traditional texts devotional acts are sometimes not considered part of the path to enlightenment itself, they are considered a way to prepare oneself for the development of this path. Devotion is expressed through the three doors of action, it is regarded as a form of giving, done for both one's own benefit and that of the other. In many Buddhist societies, devotional practices are engaged in because of this-life benefits, because of karmic pursuits and because the devotee would like to attain Nirvana.
In early Buddhism, it was a common practice to recollect the qualities of the Buddha, known as buddhānussati. In the period of the arising of Mahāyāna Buddhism, there was a growing sense of loss in Buddhist communities with regard to the passing away of the Buddha, a growing desire to be able to meet him again; these developments led to the arising of faith-based forms of Buddhism such as Pure Land Buddhism, in which the practice of buddhānussati involved celestial Buddhas such as the Amitābha Buddha. Devotional practices became commonplace, as new techniques were developed to recollect the qualities and magnificence of the celestial Buddhas, such as visualization and chants. In Buddhist devotion the Triple Gem, the Buddha, his teaching, his community are honored. However, this does not mean that deities have no role in Buddhist devotion: they do, but are put on a subordinate level with the Buddha at the top of the spiritual hierarchy. In some Buddhist societies, the devotional life has been influenced by pre-Buddhist devotion to deities and spirits.
In modern times, Buddhist devotion has changed in many ways. Traditional days of observance can no longer be maintained in the same way due to the introduction of a seven-day workweek, chants and other practices have been abridged or standardized to adapt to modern society. Goods offered in devotion have been commercialized. Devotional practices still continue to exist and evolve. Today, most Buddhists use ritual in pursuit of their spiritual aspirations. Devotion to the Triple Gem is expressed toward the Buddha image. However, other symbols have been used throughout Buddhist history, including the lotus flower, the Wheel of the Dhamma, the Bodhi Tree and the stupa. Sometimes, devotees pay honor to foot prints believed to have been left behind by Gautama Buddha or a previous Buddha. Buddhism regards inner devotion as more important than outer ritual. However, devotion does have an important place in Buddhism. Devotion is developed through several practices, expressed through physical movement and mind.
Buddhist devotion is not only direct to the Buddha
The Dhamma Chakra is a symbol from ancient India and one of the Ashtamangala of Hinduism, Buddhism. The Dhamma wheel symbol has represented Buddhism, Gautama Buddha's teachings and his walking of the path to Enlightenment since the time of early Buddhism; the symbol is connected to the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Sanskrit noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which has a meaning of "to hold, keep", takes a meaning of "what is established or firm", hence "law", it is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman- with the meaning "bearer, supporter" in the historical Vedic religion conceived of as an aspect of Ṛta. The wheel is the main attribute of Vishnu, the Vedic god of preservation. Madhavan and Parpola note Chakra sign appears in Indus Valley civilization, on several seals. Notably, in a sequence of ten signs on the Dholavira signboard, four are the chakra. Common Dharmachakra symbols consist of either 24 spokes. In Unicode, as emoji: ☸️; the Buddha described the 24 qualities of ideal Buddhist followers, represented by the 24 spokes of the Ashoka Chakra which represent 24 qualities of a Santani: Also an integral part of the emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script: Satyameva Jayate.
This is a quote from the concluding part of the sacred Hindu Vedas. In the Bhagavad Gita too, verses 14, 15 and 16, of Chapter 3 speaks about the revolving wheel thus: "From food, the beings are born; the one who does not follow the wheel thus revolving, leads a sinful, vain life, rejoicing in the senses." The Dharmachakra is one of the ashtamangala of Buddhism. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist symbols found in Indian art, appearing with the first surviving post-Indus Valley Civilization Indian iconography in the time of the Buddhist king Ashoka; the Buddha is said to have set the dhammacakka in motion when he delivered his first sermon, described in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. The wheel itself depicts ideas about the cycle of saṃsāra and furthermore the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism adopted the wheel as the main symbol of the chakravartin "wheel-turner", the ideal king or "universal monarch", symbolising the ability to cut through all obstacles and illusions. According to Harrison, the symbolism of "the wheel of the law" and the order of Nature is visible in the Tibetan prayer wheels.
The moving wheels symbolize the movement of cosmic order. The image, having been found in antiquity is referred to as Rimbo is an accepted symbol used in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, first Vice President of India has stated that the Ashoka Chakra of India represents the Dharmachakra. In the Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana, two kings named Jadabharata of the Hindu solar and lunar dynasties are referred to as "Chakravartins". Jagdish Chandra Jain referred to this icon in Kalinga. In Jainism, the Dharmachakra is worshipped as a symbol of the dharma. Other "chakras" appear in other Indian traditions, e.g. Vishnu's Sudarśanacakra, a wheel-shaped weapon; the former Flag of Sikkim featured a version of the dharmachakra. Thai people use a yellow flag with a red dhammacakka as their Buddhist flag; the emblem of Mongolia includes a dharmachakra together with some other Buddhist attributes such as the padma, cintamani, a blue khata and the Soyombo symbol. The dharmachakra is the insignia for Buddhist chaplains in the United States Armed Forces.
In non-Buddhist cultural contexts, an eight-spoked dharmachakra resembles a traditional ship's wheel. As a nautical emblem, this image is a common sailor tattoo. In the Unicode computer standard, the dharmachakra is called the "Wheel of Dharma" and found in the eight-spoked form, it is represented as U+2638. In Falun Gong or Falun Dafa, the Fǎlún is described as “an intelligent, rotating entity composed of high-energy matter.” Practitioners of Falun Gong cultivate this Law Wheel, which rotates in the lower abdomen, the same focal point described as Lower Dāntián. Dorothy C. Donath. Buddhism for the West: Theravāda, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna. Julian Press. ISBN 0-07-017533-0. Media related to Dharmacakra at Wikimedia CommonsBuddhist Wheel Symbol
Silk Road transmission of Buddhism
Buddhism entered Han China via the Silk Road, beginning in the 1st or 2nd century CE. The first documented translation efforts by Buddhist monks in China were in the 2nd century CE under the influence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin under Kanishka; these contacts brought Gandharan Buddhist culture into territories adjacent to China proper. Direct contact between Central Asian and Chinese Buddhism continued throughout the 3rd to 7th century, well into the Tang period. From the 4th century onward, with Faxian's pilgrimage to India, Xuanzang, Chinese pilgrims started to travel by themselves to northern India, their source of Buddhism, in order to get improved access to original scriptures. Much of the land route connecting northern India with China at that time was ruled by the Kushan Empire, the Hephthalite Empire; the Indian form of Buddhist tantra reached China in the 7th century. Tibetan Buddhism was established as a branch of Vajrayana, in the 8th century.
But from about this time, the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism began to decline with the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana, resulting in the Uyghur Khaganate by the 740s. By this time, Indian Buddhism itself was in decline, due to the resurgence of Hinduism on one hand and due to the Muslim expansion on the other, while Tang-era Chinese Buddhism was repressed in the 9th century, but not before in its turn giving rise to Korean and Japanese traditions. Buddhism was brought to China via the Silk Road. Buddhist monks travelled with merchant caravans on the Silk Road; the lucrative Chinese silk trade along this trade route began during the Han Dynasty with the establishment by Alexander the Great of a system of Hellenistic kingdoms and trade networks extending from the Mediterranean to modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan on the borders of China. The powerful Greco-Bactrian Kingdoms in Afghanistan and the Indo-Greek Kingdoms practiced Greco-Buddhism and formed the first stop on the Silk Road, after China, for nearly 300 years.
See Dayuan. The transmission of Buddhism to China via the Silk Road started in the 1st century CE with a semi-legendary account of an embassy sent to the West by the Chinese Emperor Ming: It may be assumed that travelers or pilgrims brought Buddhism along the Silk Roads, but whether this first occurred from the earliest period when those roads were open, ca. 100 BC, must remain open to question. The earliest direct references to Buddhism concern the 1st century AD, but they include hagiographical elements and are not reliable or accurate. Extensive contacts however started in the 2nd century CE as a consequence of the expansion of the Greco-Buddhist Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin, with the missionary efforts of a great number of Central Asian Buddhist monks to Chinese lands; the first missionaries and translators of Buddhists scriptures into Chinese were either Parthian, Sogdian or Kuchean. In the middle of the 2nd century, the Kushan Empire under king Kaniṣka from its capital at Purushapura, India expanded into Central Asia and went beyond the regions of Kashgar and Yarkand, in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang.
As a consequence, cultural exchanges increased, Central Asian Buddhist missionaries became active shortly after in the Chinese capital cities of Loyang and sometimes Nanjing, where they distinguished themselves by their translation work. They promoted both Mahāyāna scriptures. Thirty-seven of these early translators of Buddhist texts are known. An Shigao, a Parthian prince who made the first known translations of Hīnayāna Buddhist texts into Chinese Lokakṣema, a Kushan and the first to translate Mahāyāna scriptures into Chinese An Xuan, a Parthian merchant who became a monk in China in 181 Zhi Yao, a Kushan monk in the second generation of translators after Lokakṣema. Kang Meng-hsiang, the first translator from Kangju Zhi Qian, a Kushan monk whose grandfather had settled in China during 168–190 Zhi Yueh, a Kushan monk who worked at Nanjing Kang Senghui, born in Jiaozhi close to modern Hanoi in what was the extreme south of the Chinese empire, a son of a Sogdian merchant Tan-ti, a Parthian monk Po Yen, a Kuchean prince Dharmarakṣa, a Kushan whose family had lived for generations at Dunhuang An Fachiin, a monk of Parthian origins Po Srimitra, a Kuchean prince Kumārajīva, a Kuchean monk and one of the most important translators Dharmakṣema, scholar who brought Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra to China Fotudeng, a Central Asian monk who became a counselor to the Chinese court Bodhidharma, the founder of the Chan school of Buddhism, the legendary originator of the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolin kung fu.
According to the earliest reference to him, by Yang Xuanzhi, he was a monk of Central Asian origin whom Yang Xuanshi met around 520 at Loyang. Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian, he is referred to as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" in Chinese Chan texts. Five monks from Gandhāra who traveled in 485 CE to the country of Fusang, where they introduced Buddhism. Jñānagupta, a monk and translator from Gandhāra Śikṣānanda, a monk and translator from Udyāna, Gandhāra Prajñā (c. 81
Gautama Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, Shakyamuni Buddha, or the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region, he taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, he is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire, died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, renunciation, search and liberation, death" is accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies; the times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death; these alternative chronologies, have not been accepted by all historians.
The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community, on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. One of his usual names was "Sakamuni" or "Sakyamunī", it was either a small republic, or an oligarchy, his father was an elected chieftain, or oligarch. According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, died in Kushinagar. Apart from the Vedic Brahmins, the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of influential Śramaṇa schools of thought like Ājīvika, Cārvāka, Ajñana. Brahmajala Sutta records sixty-two such schools of thought. In this context, a śramaṇa refers to one who toils, or exerts themselves.
It was the age of influential thinkers like Mahavira, Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambalī, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, as recorded in Samaññaphala Sutta, whose viewpoints the Buddha most must have been acquainted with. Indeed and Moggallāna, two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the sceptic. There is philological evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, were indeed historical figures and they most taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. Thus, Buddha was just one of the many śramaṇa philosophers of that time. In an era where holiness of person was judged by their level of asceticism, Buddha was a reformist within the śramaṇa movement, rather than a reactionary against Vedic Brahminism; the life of the Buddha coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE. This Achaemenid occupation of the areas of Gandhara and Sindh, to last for about two centuries, was accompanied by the introduction of Achaemenid religions, reformed Mazdaism or early Zoroastrianism, to which Buddhism might have in part reacted.
In particular, the ideas of the Buddha may have consisted of a rejection of the "absolutist" or "perfectionist" ideas contained in these Achaemenid religions. No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka mention the Buddha, Ashoka's Rummindei Minor Pillar Edict commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace. Another one of his edicts mentions the titles of several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Maurya era; these texts may be the precursor of the Pāli Canon. "Sakamuni" in mentioned in the reliefs of Bharhut, dated to circa 100 BCE, in relation with his illumination and the Bodhi tree, with the inscription Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, repor