A collection of Early Buddhist material not found in the Pali Nikayas and Chinese Agamas

Hello everyone.

Over the past year I have been collecting EBT materials that are not from the Pali Nikayas and Chinese Agamas. This collection of mine grew to include Gandharan, Tibetan and Sanskrit sutras, excerpts from texts like the Mahavastu, the Salistamba sutra, the Pudgalavada text called the “Treatise on the three Dharmas”, the Tattvasiddhi Sastra of Harivarman, the Sravakabhumi and numerous Mahayana texts including the Da zhi du lun, the Large Prajñaparamita sutra and others.

I have collected enough material that I decided to put it in one document and give it some kind of structure. Most of the material in this collection is not found in suttacentral, though a small part of it is. It is a large collection, and numbers over 500 pages now.

I have mainly used my own judgement regarding what it included as an ‘Early Buddhist Teaching’ (but see the introduction for more on this).

Anyways, here is the document:

Early Buddhist Teachings - A Collection of Early Sutras.pdf (3.3 MB)


Thanks so much @Javier for sharing this :anjal:


Thanks for this! It’s huge, but I’m going to dive into it! (Slowly, though.)

I just posted a short note about the Sutra in Forty-two Chapters. I don’t seem to see it in your collection. Maybe you’d like to chime in on that thread? I’d really like to hear your thoughts.



is on page 377


Yes, I see it now. Thank you, Venerable.


Thank you, Javier, for this vast resource. :heart: :pray:

My first exploration yielded this gem that made me smile:

“It is not easy to perform good acts while walking. But with the words of the Buddha, monks, it is easy for a wise man to do them while walking, but not for a fool

I’m sure there will be others. :smile:


p89 Up 6031 – Discourse parallel to SĀ 6096

Monks, with the arising of name-and-form there is the arising of the mind. With the cessation of
name-and-form the mind will pass away. One abides contemplating the mind’s nature of arising.
Or one abides contemplating the mind’s nature of vanishing. Or one abides contemplating the
mind’s nature of arising and vanishing. And one abides independent, without clinging to
anything in the world.
Monks, with the arising of attention there is the arising of dharmas. With the cessation of
attention dharmas will pass away. One abides contemplating the dharmas’ nature of arising. Or
one abides contemplating the dharmas’ nature of vanishing. Or he abides contemplating the
dharmas’ nature of arising and vanishing. And one abides independent, without clinging to
anything in the world. Monks, this is the arising and passing away of the establishments of

can you state the pali equivalent of the original word for ‘‘mind’’ (citta? vinnana?) and the original word for ‘‘attention’’?


Awesome, thank you so much! I will read this ASAP.


Not sure exactly but I imagine its citta (Tibetan: sems).

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According to the SN 47.42, the Pāli parallel to SĀ 609, “mind” would be citta and “attention” would be manasikāra:

Nāmarūpasamudayā cittassa samudayo; nāmarūpanirodhā cittassa atthaṅgamo.

Manasikārasamudayā dhammānaṃ samudayo; manasikāranirodhā dhammānaṃ atthaṅgamo.


The very same day you posted this, I had a presentation to make in front of my class–full ppt, everything–to explain the work I am doing, which is a comparison of the parallel versions of DN15. But I rightly suspected that I would have to prepare a second, smaller presentation just to explain the concept of EBTs: what is considered an EBT, and why; what can be learned from, and what the benefit is of restricting research to EBTs: just a basic rundown. It was good for me because I’ve never had to actually enumerate these things before.

I naturally showed them your immense (and timely uploaded) collection to help illustrate my point. When I explained the parameters you chose for your collection–i.e., that you were specifically using material which was not from the Pali Nikayas or Chinese Agamas–I don’t know what they heard, because the only response I got was, “What?! So he only wants to use non-Chinese material?!” I had to explain that, no, you were simply making a collection which specifically sought to go beyond the cliched EBTs and that you did indeed use Chinese materials. People hear what they expect to hear.

Anyhow, after talking about what different criteria different people may have regarding what they accept as EBTs, my professor asked about discourses (I told him I focused almost exclusively on discourses) or discourse citations found in other places, such as vinaya, abhidhamma materials, comparing them with sutta pitaka material–sort ofencouraging me to expand my range a bit, I guess. It made sense to me, and it’s been on my mind ever since.

Your collection is something like that, isn’t it? I’m wondering how, then, such material should be viewed in relation to material gleaned directly from the sutta pitaka. Have such comparisons ever been done before? Was anything interesting found? In putting together such a study, where would the line be drawn historically as to which citations would be used?

As we see with the immeensity of your work, this approach expands the field of EBT discourse more than a little. The questions, though, I think, are also more than a few. Anyone have any thoughts?

(Or, should this kind of query go somewhere else?)

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The issue is that since this compilation is so broad, the answer to your question varies depending on which texts we are talking about. But generally, while there has been a lot of comparative study done on the Pali Nikayas and the Chinese Agamas, much less had been done with the other sources. For example, only one study exists on the Tibetan EBTs (Skilling).

Regarding the EBT material found inside the Mahayana texts or works like the Mahavastu almost nothing has been done on this. The only mention I can think of is how Sujato’s history of mindfulness mentions the Prajnaparamita sutra’s excerpt of the Satipatthana.

So there’s a lot of possibilities for future PHDs!


… Finally, I feel there might be a need for a short apologia. Why do this? I felt the need to create this compilation because it seemed useful to have all of this EBT material in one place, without commentary, later texts and scholarly apparatus cluttering it up. It allows those interested in EBT study to access these texts on th eir own, without later interpretations, notations and doctrines in the way, and without having to read through numerous books and tons of non EBT material (such as Abhidharma or Mahayana doctrines and legends) to find them. Thus, it is clearly aimed at tho se who have a preference for the study of Early Buddhism and who are interested in what the historical Buddha and his direct disciples are most likely to have taught. …

It’s very useful, thanks for sharing… :grin:


I became interested in the Agamas years ago because I realized they formed the literary background that Mahayana works are drawn from. Understanding stories and metaphors as the authors intended means needing to know them oneself. So, like many people in the Chinese Buddhist world, I started out reading Mahayana texts and then explored Agamas.

The Commentary on the Prajna Sutra is a good example of a secondary source with tons of Agama quotes, gathas, and jataka stories interlacing it. Lamotte does an amazing job of identifying stories that are paraphrased and giving the reader other sources that match them. And only about 1/3 of that commentary was translated, so there’s sure to be more in it that isn’t in English or French yet.


Wow! (Unfortunately, I know no French.)

When my professor mentioned this way of sort of expanding the range of texts I’m looking at, he really mentioned it as a career. (Well, literally, as “a great contribution to scholarship.”) He wasn’t talking about anything exciting, either, no great doctrinal debates or anything like that, just the legwork of combing through endless texts and collating: honestly, decade upon decade of tedium chipping away at a huge monolith which would probably be left without even a dent by the time I died.

It sounds like fun, but I wonder about the language training, the incredible familiarity one would have to have with the EBTs to be able to accomplish that. I don’t see that I’d be able to begin such training at this age; and, yet, limiting myself to Nikaya-Agama comparative work just sort of rings hollow now that my professor (and Javier) have significantly widened the playing field for me.

Pardon me for rambling. I feel like Luke in the first movie: “You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.”


Not to worry, Lamotte’s French was translated to English fairly well by Gelongma Karma Migme Chodron. It’s available as web text at Wisdom Library and other places like Internet Archive. She was giving out free PDFs to anyone who requests them last I knew.

I’m fairly happy just knowing classical Chinese. There’s plenty of Mahayana, Abhidharma, and Agama material to work with for a lifetime, and scholars working in other languages can help when it’s needed. As for the familiarity, yes: It’s this kind of thing that makes mortality quite clear. There’s only so much you can do in a single lifetime.


We’re moving towards being able to let neural nets do the legwork for us. Check out https://buddhanexus.net/. They use TensorFlow to run the various sets of Buddhist texts in root languages, and generate matching patterns.


Thanks, I found some of it. It’ll probably be a nice way to branch out beyond the Agamas and ease into the greater Chinese Canon.

Did you know that she passed away three years ago?

Thank you for the link, Ven. I will.

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Oh … no. I didn’t know. “Last I knew” was 2011, back when that was the main way of getting those files. 2016 … I would have been running about a college campus madly trying to juggle multiple school projects at the time.