Classification of texts in “Other Taisho” category

Let’s sort out the organization of the texts before making any changes. At the end I will propose the changes.

First of all let’s look at the subdivision page.

T 210 through T 213 are Dhammapadas, while T 1670B is of course the Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra.


Okay, first thing, many of these are, in fact, Vinaya or Abhidharma and should not be here at all. This is a legacy of the division between sutta and vinaya parallels, so we should ensure the data is properly accounted for in the new format.

I’ll describe the list here, placing each text in the category as assigned in the Taisho.


From T 152 through T 219 are Jatakas.


From T 499 through to T 802 are classified as “sutra collections”. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I guess it is what it sounds like.


T 1245 and T 1362 are classifed as “tantra”, whatever that means here. It’s probably either a misclassified text, or a sutra quote in a tantra.


All the texts from Zh Mi Bu Vb Pc 38 down to T 1451 are Vinaya.

From T 1442.13 to T 1451.37 we have the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya. You can identify these by the character 本, which means “root”, i.e. mūla. See how it’s a tree with a root growing out the bottom? Hey, you do read Chinese after all! As we have discussed previously, this should be deferred for the time being.

##Sūtravyākaraṇa (Sutra Commentaries)

No need for us to have any of these. The latter two are Mahayana commentaries.


###Sarvastivādin Abhidharma

  • T 1536: 阿毘達磨集異門足論 Abhidharmasaṅgītīparyāyapādaśāstra
  • T 1537 阿毘達磨法蘊足論: Dharmaskandhaśāstra
  • T 1545 阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論 Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra

The last of these is a post-canonical treatise, so no.

In principle, we could include the other two. They both correspond fairly closely with Pali texts, and contain a sizable number of parallels. T 1536 is, in fact, mostly a sutta compilation.

###Dharmaguptaka Abhidharma

  • T 1548 舍利弗阿毘曇論 Śāriputrābhidharma-śāstra

In principle we could include it, but not a priority.

##What to do?

First step, move the Abhidharma and Vinaya texts to the appropriate sections.

Then, rather than the messy, ad hoc system we have currently, let’s present the texts on a subdivision page according to the above categorization. This subdivision page occupies the same hierarchical level as the Khuddaka Nikaya in Pali, and to some extent it contains similar material, so should be handled the same way.

However, while we should in general follow the Taisho, we should, as usual, prioritize the meaningful divisions in the EBTs themselves. This means we should treat Dhammapada separately, even though Taisho includes it in Jataka. So on the subdivision page we have:

  • Dhammapada
  • Jātaka
  • Sūtrasannipāta
  • Tantra
  • Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

I’ll post some questions here as I go along. Right now I just want to move things into the right section, not add any texts. That can come later.

Just delete this out off the list? There are some parallels so that is why they are in there in the first place.

No, I just mean we don’t need to host the text. The parallels data stays as is.

Ha, just found another question!
We have a full schedule of the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya in our menu. Now which Vibhanga/Khandhaka do these numbers correspond to (and where exactly within the Vibhanga/Khandaka) …

When I look at the parallels, I find for instance that the first one: T 1442.13 is partial parallel to Skt Mu Kd 17, which is a full parallel to Lzh Mu Kd 17.
Can I conclude from that that T 1442.13 is part of Lzh Mu Kd17? (the first one lists mainly sutta parallels while the last one only lists vinaya-parallels, but inference would tell us that T 1442.13, which is a Vinaya text, should have more vinaya-parallels as well. But this does not work for all of them.
For the time being, I have stored them under Mulasarvastivada Vinaya - Miscellaneous.

Please also have a look at the “Other Taisho Texts”. I’m not very happy with the Dharmapada category because that is already a subdivision and we do not have such a thing as subsubdivisions so the texts T210 to T213 are listed under each other. I would rather move the Dharmapada section to division-level, in between “Other Agama Sutras” and “Other Taisho Texts”. Let me know what you think.

Yes, and did you know that China is actually Middle-Earth: 中国 (literally middle-country). See how the first character is the perfect symbol for “middle”!

Looks like it too:


No, you cannot! Check here:

And you’ll see that Lzh Mu Kd begins at T 1444. T 1442 must be in the Vibhangas, though lacking vol/page numbers for these we can’t say exactly where without further research.

What’s going on here is that Kd 17 is the Sanghabhedavastu, which originally told the story of Devadatta, as it still does in the Pali and most other Vinayas. In the Mulasarvastivada, however, it has been expanded to become a full biography of the Buddha. You can see the scale of it just from the titles in the Sanskrit text:

So T 1442.13 is a partial parallel for DN 2 Sāmaññaphala Sutta, which is also included in Kd 17, since it is part of the Devadatta story. My guess would be that T 1442.13 includes the Gradual Training, or part thereof, which is the main doctrinal content of the Sāmaññaphala Sutta. (Or at least it should be: in some versions of the Sāmaññaphala Sutta the doctrinal content is largely missing, as it focuses on the narrative. This is not the case for the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya, however, at least in the Sanskrit version, which has the full Gradual Training.)

Again, not the case. The Vinaya parallels are fully spelled out and do not require inference. This is because the parallels operate at a well-defined level, either patimokkha rules or khandhakas. While there will, of course, be smaller scale Vinaya-Vinaya parallels within these sections, we have not accounted for these. So the small set of parallels we are dealing with here are affect relations between Sutta and Vinaya only.

You’re right, it is a little janky. But then we have the same issue with Jatakas.

How about this. What if we were to just shift them all to the division level. That means we don’t get into the dubious practice of creating extra categories that don’t exist in the Taisho.

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the equally janky “Other Agama” division, and shift its texts to the division level, too. That gives us a less wieldy menu, but it’s clear what is actually there. It also relates more closely to how these texts are organized in the Taisho.

In addition, we should assign all of these a proper semantic ID. Let’s use the following conventions:

  • Use ot consistently for “Other”.
  • To keep consistency with sa-2, etc., we have sa-ot, etc.
  • Where necessary we use additional language specifiers. This is done throughout the Vinaya, where we put the language at the beginning, so we do the same here: lzh-dhp, etc. For ssnp, tantra, and svk we don’t currently have to have language specifiers, as there are no equivalents in other languages. But they are quite generic categories, and we may well require them in future, so let’s use the language specifier anyway.

One other thing. Checking I realized that the so-called “tantra” category includes parallels for the Atanatiya and Bhaddekaratta suttas. These are not tantras, but parittas. Using the name “tantra” conveys quite the wrong impression, especially since there are some people who try to argue that the tantras are a part of original Buddhism. In fact, paritta and tantra come from the same root trā, and as protective chants these have some relation to the notion of tantra. But the specifically tantric texts and practices came a thousand years later, or more. Anyway, let’s just call them paritta. The Sanskrit form paritrāṇa doesn’t seem to be used in this sense, but the Pali should be comprehensible enough anyway.

So our Sutta-Chinese menu becomes:

  • Dīrghāgama = da
  • Other DA = da-ot
  • Madhyamāgama = ma
  • Other MA = ma-ot
  • Saṃyuktāgama (1st) = sa
  • Saṃyuktāgama (2nd) = sa-2
  • Saṃyuktāgama (3rd) = sa-3
  • Other SA = sa-ot
  • Ekottarikāgama (1st) = ea
  • Ekottarikāgama (2nd) = ea-2
  • Other EA = ea-ot
  • Jataka = lzh-ja
  • Dhammapada = lzh-dhp
  • Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra = lzh-nbs
  • Sūtrasannipāta = lzh-ssnp
  • Paritta = lzh-paritta
  • Sūtravyākaraṇa = lzh-svk

What do you think?

1 Like

Thank you for the explanation and detailing the error in my thinking here. But you did not address the question fully and maybe I did not formulate it very well: I have now created a new and completely artificial miscellaneous category under Mulasarvastivada Vinaya to park all those entries I do not know what to do with. Obviously they do not belong there but it is better than parking them under “Other Taisho Texts” in Suttas. What should I do with these texts? Like you said, more research is needed to find out where they actually belong, so my question was: how do I find out, how do I go about this?

No, we don’t. The Dhammapada is the only category that has more categories under it, namely T210, T211, T212 and T213. Each of these subcategories contains a number of texts. In the Jatakas and other categories, there are no subcategories and the texts themselves come straight under the main category.

:grinning: I think you’re the boss!
But seriously, that all fine with me. Will do it later today.

Any time. :smile:

I don’t think you need do anything with the texts: they’re just data points. They need to appear as the relevant parallels, but you don’t need to be able to navigate to them through the menu. The navigation is, or in theory will be, via the usual Vinaya rules and chapters. These entries will, I assume, be sectional parallels of those texts when they are ready. Until then, so long as they appear as partial parallels in the right places, that’s fine.

They are similar to the first 3 entries that currently appear under . When the data is fully integrated, these should not be separate entries, as they merely fall within the relevant chapters. As long as the parallels appear, we are good.

Sorry, I misunderstood. Anyway, the problem should be resolved with the new format.


One thing i didn’t mention is backwards compatibility. Is it possible to set up the old IDs to redirect to the new ones, in case of incoming links?

I can remove the misc category but the relevant parallels will only show up in staging right now because they are only in the parallels.json file.

However, because they are embedded parallels that are now not linked to any particular Vinaya text on our site, they will not appear as parallels under those relevant Vinaya sections. For instance, if t1xxx is an embedded parallel inside Lzh Mu Bi Vb Pj 1, the parallels to t1xxx will not show up with Lzh Mu Bi Vb Pj 1. As far as the system is concerned, these two are then completely separate texts that have nothing to do with each other. Not sure if I make myself clear here.

This is automatic. The old IDs and the new ones are the same. /lzh/t499 remains /lzh/t499 whereever in the menu that one shows up.

One more question: Dhammapada or Dharmapada?

I’m still not 100% clear.

Let’s start with the three Pali Khandhaka texts I mentioned above as an example. The Chinese texts should, i think, be treated the same way, so at least we know where we are heading.

Currently these appear as separate entries in the Khandhaka division page. But, as I mentioned above, this is a mistake. Instead, they should be removed from that page, and only appear as parallels.

On the details page at we only have the full Vinaya parallels, not the sectional parallels. Meanwhile, on the page for Kd 1.68, which has the ID, we have no mention of the Vinaya parallels. This is of course because of the legacy separation of sutta and vinaya parallels.

What we should have is one details page for Kd 1, which lists the entries currently under Kd 1.68 as sectional parallels. (Incidentally, I can think of half a dozen sutta parallels for this chapter off the top of my head, none of which we have …)

Okay, so are we on the same page here? If so, moving on!

The problem is then that with the Chinese texts, we can’t treat them in a similar way, because we don’t know where they fall in terms of the basic Vinaya structure (because we don’t have a structure for the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya). Am I right?

If so, then it seems the only thing to do is something like you suggest. Under the Chinese Mulasarvastivada Vinaya, add a “Other Parallels” categories or something like that. When we come to fixing this in detail, we can put them in the right place.

What about, eg:

Or say, which should become

And so on. The individual texts are the same, but not the categories.

Ahh, the perennial question. I guess we use sanskrit for the Chinese texts (even though it’s not necessarily and more authentic than Pali …)

1 Like

I can do this but only with the parallels.json file on staging. NOT on master as it stands now.

With these Khandhaka files it is an entirely different situation; it is clear where they belong: pi-tv-kd15.119 clearly belongs under pi-tv-kd15 and when you click on it, it actually goes to that page and shows you the embedded parallel part.
Look at You can see pi-tv-kd15#116-#119, which is the same one. (at the moment, when you click on it, it does not go to the right section yet, but that will come).

Or look at for your example of kd1.68, which works the same way.

In other words, we are doing away with the embedded parallels completely and substitute them for ranges in the new system.

So you are saying: keep the miscellaneous section as it is right now, and dump it there for the time being. Or do you prefer another name?

OK. Here you got me. No clue. When I remove that heading, so does the link to it.
Will have a think about this.

Sure, that’s fine.

Ahh, yes, exactly, i had been going to the plain details page, forgetting we needed the /ll/. Anyway, so this is how it should be.

Maybe just keep it as “Other” rather than “miscellaneous”; it’s shorter, and we can just use the ot for the URL.

It’s probably not a huge deal, but if we can keep compatibility as much as possible that would be good.

All done, except that the server won’t restart at the moment. No idea why because all works well locally so I emailed Blake.
So you cannot see my changes yet.

With regards to the links: the link to “Other Taisho Texts” remains, but now it just goes to “Other” under the Chinese Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya section. Other old links don’t work.

1 Like

The changes are now visible on staging. So please have a look.

Nice, that looks terrific.

Now we just need to sort out the Tibetan and Sanskrit menus …

I thought we had done the Sanskrit already and added a lot of those texts. Tibetan: should we not wait for Ayya Dhammadinna?

I think we have to see which Chinese texts can be added still.

No, there are some reorganizations that need doing, I’ll see if I can get around to checking it again, this is separate to the Mula-sarv Vinaya thing.

Thank you for all the hard work!

In the CBETA scheme the subdivision T18~T21 is called 密教部 or “the division belonging to the esoteric school” (as one of the so-called “10 schools” of Chinese Buddhism), not tantra. This term doesn’t have a ready-made Sanskrit equivalent.

From the perspective of Chinese Buddhism, I think the contents should be called dhāraṇī ( 陀羅尼) or mantra-dhāraṇī or spells (咒) . Esoteric Buddhism is alternatively called “mantrayana” in Chinese 真言乘. The texts belong to this group because they contain transliterated Sanskrit mantras or dhāraṇīs. I can’t see any reason to label them in Pali as paritta (except for a Theravada takeover) when they already belong to a well-established category. Also the label paritta doesn’t help me to find anything. Could the labels please be roughly matched to CBETA so that they are recognisable? “Esoteric texts” could work???

1 Like

Thanks for the clarification. As far as I understand, mantra, dharaṇī, and paritta all mean roughly the same thing.

I am not quite sure what to do here. From a Theravada perspective, mantra and dharaṇī refer exclusively to magic spells and the like, and convey quite the wrong impression. The texts we’re talking about are always called Paritta. But you say from a Chinese perspective this does not make sense. Okay, that’s fair enough. But how many people from a Chinese background will understand the Indic terms anyway? Hmm, let me think about it.

1 Like

Not really bhante. These are obscure***Chinese Taisho tripitaka texts*** (not what is printed in the pirith book or your average bhikkhu manual). I have never heard anyone talk about T1362 or T1245 in my life before.

T1362 explicitly uses the term dharaṇī.(復更說此陀羅尼曰。)
T1245 uses another term, 真言, which literally means “true speech” but tends to refer to mantras. (爾時毘沙門天王說真言已。) Unfortunately, I can’t read the transliterated Sanskrit quickly enough to say if they are mantras of the form which would have been added later, or a transliteration of text which also exists in the Pali. But my bet is on the former.

I was putting together the Pali syllabus for Newbury the other day and I was thinking about this issue (schema development). Even though “paritta” and “dharaṇī” might be synonyms in some sense, “paritta” belongs to a schema which includes Pali language sources (khanda, mora etc…). “Dharaṇī” belongs to an established category of things in the schema of Chinese Buddhism. Spells go back further in the Chinese consciousness than Buddhism-- see, for example: You can see from the article that the word “paritta” doesn’t do justice to the importance of spells/dharani in the Chinese-Buddhist thought-world (they are normally called tuoluoni or dharani, it’s a Thing).

Of course, the reason that these texts are in Sutta Central doesn’t have anything to do with their Chinese esoteric portion- it is because they are partial parallels to early texts. They could just be labelled as “Other parallels” & ignore the Taisho scheme?

1 Like