Other early schools


What texts from other early schools (not Theravada) can be read online in English? Are there any such texts that differ in doctrine from Theravada? Are there any that have yet to be translated and made available online in English?


How about patna dhammpadan?


Most of the texts that have been translated may be found on SuttaCentral, and we will add more as best we can.

Open up the sidebar menu to see the texts. A green dot indicates that there are translations in your language (in this case, English.) If you open the “long” section, you’ll see that the Dirghagama has translations (actually just one!). Click on the Dirghagama and scroll down till you find it, it is DA 22, the parallel to the Pali Brahmajala Sutta.

In addition, you can see an overview of the translations available on SuttaCentral in any language. Go to the top-right menu dropdown, select “languages”. Then click on “English”.

You see a list of texts, and the number of English translations in each. The list is currently unstructured, so you can’t see exactly which collection is not in pali, but anyway if you are familiar with the pali texts you should be able to see it easily enough. (I’ve made a ticket for sorting these more effectively.)

As a rule, doctrinal developments are found in Abhidhamma and commentaries, not in the canonical texts. But there is a small degree of doctrinal variation in early texts. In a few cases, notably the Ekottarikagama, the doctrine has developed to some degree. it is still mostly based on the same texts and teachings as the Pali, but the text is a loose one that also incorporates later elements. In some other cases, we include later texts that quote from or contain early Suttas; for example the Lalitavistara is a Sarvastivada/mahayana life of the Buddha dating over 500 years after the Buddha’s death; but it includes a number of straight sutta passages, including a version of the Dhammacakkappavattanasutta.

Yes, many! Most of the Chinese Agama and Vinaya material is still untranslated.


Thanks for the comprehensive reply. Just an idea: what about a walk-through page of the various schools with historical/doctrinal info organized by school, and links to specific texts associated with that school when available in English? If you have something like this already, I’m sorry I missed it.


The information is a bit too scattered for this to be really useful.

Much of our information on the different doctrines of the schools come from the debate texts, especially the Kathavatthu and its commentary. These generally speaking tend to agree with te doctrines as taught in texts of the schools, where they exist. For example, for the Sarvastivadins we have not only the arguments in the kathavatthu, we have most of their early suttas, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma, as well as their (much better known) late treatises. But for the Kasyapiyas, say, or the Haimavatas, we have little. Even a very large group of schools such as the Puggalavada, we have very little from their own perspective.

Nevertheless, it should be possible to at least assemble what we have. This is the kind of thing that should be on Wikipedia: have you checked there?


@sujato There is info there, yes.