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Q1. What language are Buddhist books written in?

 

The main Buddhist writings were at first passed on orally by Buddhist monastics, however, were later recorded and created as compositions in different Indo-Aryan dialects, (for example, Pali, Gāndhārī and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit) and gathered into different Buddhist ordinances. These were then converted into different dialects, for example, Buddhist Chinese and Classical Tibetan as Buddhism spread outside of India. The hallowed book of Buddhism is known as the Tripitaka (called Tipitaka in Pali). It is likewise called the Pali Canon, after the language wherein it was first composed. It is written in an antiquated Indian language called Pali which is exceptionally near the language that the Buddha himself talked.


Q2. How Buddhist literature is divided?


Tripitaka, also known as Pali Canon in English, is a traditional term used for Buddhist scriptures. The three pitakas are Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka. Sutta Pitaka has around 10 thousand sutras related to Buddha and his close associates. Vinaya Pitaka is known as book of discipline, it deals with the monastic rules for monks and nuns. Abhidhamma pitaka comprises the philosophy and doctrine of Buddhism. Jatakas comprise the stories of previous births of Buddha in the form of poems. Milinda Panha contains the dialogue between Buddhist monk Nagasena and Indo-Greek king Meander. Dipavamsa means Chronicle of Island. It is considered one of the most important works in Pali Literature. Mahavamsa, meaning is Great Chronicle, is the most important Pali epic poem. Buddha Charita is written by Ashavaghosa in Sanskrit language. It depicts primarily the life of Buddha.


Q3. Which is the oldest Buddhist literature?


The Gandharan Buddhist texts are the oldest Buddhist manuscripts yet discovered, dating from about the 1st century BCE to 3rd century CE. These were taken from ancient Gandhara (modern northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan). They are written in Gandhari, a Middle IndoAryan language that is closely related to Sanskrit and Pali, and the Kharosthi script, which was probably derived from Aramaic, which had been used in the region since the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Gandhari served as a kind of lingua franca beyond Gandhara proper (Peshawar Valley) for a culturally and linguistically diverse region spanning from modern day southern Turkmenistan in the west to the eastern edge of the Chinese Taklamakan desert in the east.