Professor Peter Skilling (Bhadra Rujirathat)

The Universe of Buddhist Canons

“Buddhism has a multiplicity of canons. There is no agreement on the definition or range of the term ‘Buddhist canon’ or ‘Buddhist canons’—to the point that we may speak of a “loose canonicity.” Buddhist scriptures are an endless universe (ananta-cakkavāḷa). Out of the galaxy of Buddhist canons, I will focus on Indic or South Asian canons and give a few close-ups of the grand tapestry of the Buddha’s words. There are many canons and many fascinating points to consider, including textual transmission, canonization, canon formation, orality and the movement from orality to writing, hermeneutics (embedded and secondary/external), classical and vernacular canonicities, intertextualities, translation and the role of translation, and so on. In the short talk I can only touch on a few of them.”