Three Baskets of Dharma
Chapter 4 takes up Buddhist understandings of dhamma or dharma as they were developed in (or better, into) the three baskets of the early Buddhist canon, especially the Pāli canon of the Theravāda tradition. It takes the three baskets' extant collections to have historical implications for understanding how Buddhist dharma was formulated over time. The first section treats Sūtra/Sutta Basket dharma, concentrating on what the Buddha is represented as saying in these “sermons,” particularly in dialogues with Brahmins, highlighting in this respect the Ambaṭṭha Sutta. The second section on Abhidharma/Abhidhamma concentrates on Buddhist “dharma theory,” with its notion of “dharmas plural.” It looks at “dharmas plural” first in Sutta Basket usages and then in scholastic usages by the Theravāda, the influential Sarvāstivādin sect, and the early Mahāyāna. The third part examines Vinaya for its usage of dharmas as “rules,” its emphasis on consensus with respect to recitation of the Prātimokṣa/Pātimokkha code, possible correlations between Vinaya and the so‐called “little republics,” and the treatment of Vinaya rules in the “Buddhist Genesis” narrative of the emergence of householder life, celibacy, and kingship recounted in the Aggañña Sutta.
Keywords: Three Baskets, Tripīṭaka, tīpiṭaka, Pāli canon, Theravāda, Ambaṭṭha Sutta, Aggañña Sutta, Buddhist Genesis, Abhidharma, Abhidhamma, Buddhist dharma theory, dharmas plural, Sarvāstivādins, Vinaya, Prātimokṣa/Pātimokkha, little republics
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