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Pali Canon/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Pali Canon.
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For items specific to particular parts of the Canon see the appropriate headings in the Addendum subpage.

Editions of the Canon

As no full bibliography seems to be available, this listing may be incomplete.

  • Ceylon/Sri Lanka
    • Buddhajayanti Tripitaka Granthamālā/Series (Sinhalese/English title pages; the word jayanti does not appear in Pali dictionaries and has several meanings in Sinhalese), 52 volumes in 58, Sinhalese script with Sinhalese translation on facing pages, published under the patronage of (the government of) Ceylon/Sri Lanka (various wordings in different volumes), [Colombo?], 1957-1989. Apparently lacking in coordination between editors of different volumes.[1].
      • apparently complete set of images at [4]
      • another at [5]; unlike the preceding, also includes the parallel Sinhalese translations
      • an unproofread digitization is available at [6], [7]; this transcript makes changes in the text[2]
    • Pali text series published by the trustees of the Simon Hewavitarne Bequest. This includes texts other than the Canon, which itself seems not to be complete yet
    • At least one volume has appeared in the All-Ceylon Buddhist Congress Tripiṭaka Pāḷi Series.
    • [8] mentions a Sripada Tripitaka Series
  • Burma/Myanmar
    • 38 volumes, Burmese script, The Hanthawaddy Press, Rangoon, c. 1900. Apparently the first complete printed edition of the Canon, it was copied from the inscriptions approved by the 5th Council. Sponsored by the British authorities
    • Burmese script, Tampadipa Time Press, 1912
    • Chaṭṭha Saṅgīti Piṭaka [6th Council Pitaka; this council was held in Rangoon from 1954 to 1956 by all 5 Theravada countries], 40 volumes. As of 1968, the Burmese government did not permit any other edition to be published. German Pali scholar Professor Dr Oskar von Hinüber describes this as an excellent edition.[3] There seems to be disagreement among scholars on whether the text of this edition is Burmese or eclectic
      • [9]: digital transcript by Vipassana Research Institute, Igatpuri, India; this makes small editorial changes to the printed text[4]
      • Latin-script edition, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yangon, 2008.
      • set of images at [11]; various dates; may not be a set of a single edition
      • another set of images (at least some volumes not same printing dates as above) at [12]; click on Eng to get from the Burmese page to the English version; includes commentaries, subcommentaries, English translations of many volumes, and much other material
  • India
    • Nālandā Devanāgarī Pāli Granthamālā/Series (devanagari/English title pages), ed Bhikkhu J. Kashyap, 39 volumes in 41, devanagari script, Pali Publication Board (Government of Bihar), [Nalanda, Bihar, India?], 1957–1961. Based mainly on the 6th Council edition.
    • A devanagari transcript of the 6th Council edition has been published (c. 1993-8), with commentaries and subcommentaries added. There is also said to be a Latin-script version[5]
  • Siam/Thailand
    • 39 volumes, Thai script, with tone markers, c. 1893. The first printed edition of the Canon, but incomplete, probably because not all was ready by the king's jubilee, which this edition was intended to celebrate. Reviews of this edition were published in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, new series, volume XXX, and Journal of the American Oriental Society, volume 16.
    • Mon script, Bangkok, 1940; states that it is based on the above.[6]
    • Syāmaraṭṭhassa Tepiṭakaṃ [Tepiṭaka of the Kingdom of Siam], 45 volumes, Thai script, without tone markers; completion of 1893/4 edition; according to Professor von Hinüber, intermediate between the Sinhalese and Burmese editions.[7] According to Dr Wynne,[8] in general, close to the Burmese.
      • [1st edition], Mahāmakuṭarājavidyālaya [Mahamongkut Royal University], Bangkok, 1925–1928
      • [2nd edition/printing], c. 1960: more collation
      • reissues also mentioned in 1980, 1982 (or are these one printing over a few years?), 1995 and 2009
    • Dayyaraṭṭhassa Saṅgītitepiṭakaṃ [Thai Kingdom Council Tepiṭaka], 45 volumes, Thai script, 1987; said[9] to have been approved by a Thai council
    • Mahācūḷātepiṭakaṃ, 45 volumes, Thai script, Mahācūḷālaṅkaraṇarājavidyālaya [Mahachulalongkorn Royal University], [Bangkok?], 1960-1990; based on the 6th Council edition.
    • Mahāsaṅgīti Tipiṭaka Buddhavasse 2500 [Great Council Tipiṭaka in Buddha Year 2500; the council ended at the beginning of 2500 in the calendar used in Burma and Ceylon, though it was still 2499 in Thailand], 40 volumes, Latin script, Dhamma Society Fund [sponsored by the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand], Bangkok, 2005. Text transcribed from the 6th Council edition, but more collation; a few differences in volume divisions.
      • digital version at [13], along with other early Buddhist literature in various languages
    • The Bhumibalo project aims at printing all Pali texts surviving in manuscripts in Thailand
    • The Dhammakaya project has so far produced only a sample volume
    • There are also said[10] to be editions in Lanna and Chiangtung scripts
  • Cambodia
    • Braḥ Traipiṭakapāḷi, 110 volumes, Khmer script, with Khmer translation on facing pages, [Cambodian Royal National Library], Phnom Penh, 1931-1969. The Khmers Rouges burnt every set in the country, with only a few surviving elsewhere.
  • Britain
    • Pāli Canon in Pāli (Tipiṭaka), Latin script, Pali Text Society, Bristol, 56 volumes; the standard Western scholarly edition, originally issued 1877-1927; a few volumes replaced by new editions, and index volumes added, since then; according to Dr Wynne,[11] in general, fairly close to the Sinhalese
  • Bangladesh: the following appear to be both transcribed from the VRI's transcript of the 6th Council text
    • Bengali script, 55 volumes, Tipitaka Publishing Society, 2013; download
    • Chakma script, 61 volumes; download
  • China? [14] mentions something called "The Complete Chinese Pattra Buddhist Scripture", listing it as an edition of the Pali Canon, but giving no indication of why something with such a title should be listed as such; Wikipedia cites a Chinese source for this, [15], and says it was preserved by the "Dai people": the Wikipedia article on them and its talk page reveal a lot of confusion as to what that means


  • Pali Canon in English Translation, 1895- , in progress, 33 volumes so far, Pali Text Society, Bristol; for details see website.

Selections from all three pitakas:

  • The Lion's Roar: an Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings Selected from the Pāḷi Canon, David Maurice, Rider, London, 1962; American printing Citadel, New York, 1967; online at [16]

Selections from the first two pitakas:

  • Buddhist Scriptures: a Selection Translated from the Pāli with Introduction by E. J. Thomas, Wisdom of the East Series, John Murray, London, 1913
  • Some Sayings of the Buddha According to the Pali Canon, translated by F.L. Woodward, Oxford World Classics, 1924; reprinted Buddhist Society, London, 1974; online at [17]
  • The Life of Gotama the Buddha, Compiled Exclusively from the Pali Canon by E. H. Brewster, Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, London, 1926
  • The Vedāntic Buddhism of the Buddha: a Collection of Historical Texts, translated from the original Pāli and edited by J. G. Jennings, Geoffrey Cumberlege, London, 1947
  • The Living Thoughts of Gotama the Buddha, presented by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy & I.B. Horner, Cassell, London, 1948
  • Early Buddhist Poetry: an Anthology, edited by I. B. Horner, Ananda Semage, Colombo, 1963
  • The Life of the Buddha As It Appears in the Pali Canon, the Oldest Authentic Record, translation from the Pali, selection of material, and arrangement, by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1972: [18]

Selections from the last two pitakas

  • Buddhist Meditation: an Anthology of Texts from the Pali Canon, Sarah Shaw, Routledge, London / New York, 2006: [19]

(For selections from the Suttantapitaka only, and for translations of particular books of the Canon, see the appropriate headings in the Addendum subpage.)

Secondary sources


  • A History of Pāli Literature, by Bimala Churn Law, volume I, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, London, 1933; [20], [21]
  • Pāli Literature: Including the Canonical Literature in Prakrit and Sanskrit of All the Hīnayāna Schools of Buddhism, K.R. Norman, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1983 (volume 7, fascicle 2 of History of Indian Literature), pages 15-107
  • Guide to Tipiṭaka, compiled by U Ko Lay, Burma Piṭaka Association, Rangoon, 1986; reprinted in India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand; now online at numerous websites, e.g. [22], [23], [24], [25]
  • A Handbook of Pali Literature, Oskar von Hinüber, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1996, pages 10-155
  • An Analysis of the Pāli Canon, edited by Russell Webb, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 3rd edition, 2008; [26]; includes extensive bibliography
  • New Guide to the Tipitaka. A Complete Reference to the Pâli Buddhist Canon, Matthew Meghaprasara, Sangha of Books, Delhi, 2013
  • An Outline Of the Pāḷi Canon, compiled from various sources by Allan R. Bomhard, Charleston Buddhist Fellowship, Charleston, SC USA, 2013 (2557); [27]


  • Pali Metre: a Contribution to the History of Indian Literature, A. K. Warder, London: published for the Pali Text Society by Luzac, 1967; monograph about metre in the Canon
  • Die Āryā-Strophen des Pali-Kanons: metrisch hergestellt und textgeschichtlich untersucht von L. Alsdorf, Wiesbaden: Steiner in Komm, 1968
  • Pāli-Kanon und ostasiatische Kunst, Fausta Nowotny, Köln, 1975
  • Der Pāli-Kanon, Fausta Nowotny, Köln, 1976
  • Der Pali-Kanon. Ein Wegweiser durch Aufbau und deutsche Übersetzungen der heiligen Schriften des Buddhismus, Hellmuth Hecker, Hamburg, 1965
  • Synonymic Collocations in the Tipiṭaka: a Study, M.G. Dhadphale, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1980
  • Philosophy of Desire in the Buddhist Pali Canon, David Webster, RoutledgeCurzon, London 2005; review, Karel Werner, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 2006, Vol.16(1), pp.104-107
  • "On the very idea of the Pali Canon", Steven Collins, Journal of the Pali Text Society, volume XV (1990), pages 89-126
  • "Was ist das Kanonische am Pāli-Kanon?”, Oliver Freiberger, in Kanonisierung und Kanonbildung in der asiatischen Religionsgeschichte, ed. Max Deeg et al, Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna, 2011, pages 209–232; [28]

Language (only sources specifically about canonical Pali):

  • Introduction to Pali, A. K. Warder, London: Luzac for the Pali Text Society, 1963
  • Pali Grammar by Vito Perniola S. J., published by the Pali Text Society, Oxford, 1997
  • Indian Philology and South Asian Studies ... Pāli: a Grammar of the Language of the Theravāda Tipiṭaka, Thomas Oberlies, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York, 2001
    • Expanded edition: Pāli Grammar. The language of the canonical texts of Theravāda Buddhism, 3 volumes, Pali Text Society, 2019- , in progress

On manuscripts and printed editions:

  • H. Oldenberg, description of the Phayre manuscript of the Canon, Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1882, pages 59-62 ([29])
  • W. Bollée, "Some less well-known Burmese Pali texts", in Pratidanam (Kuiper Festschrift), Mouton, The Hague/Paris, 1968, pages 493-9: mainly the 5th Council inscriptions of the Canon
  • review of 1893/4 edition of the Canon, Robert Chalmers, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (New Series), volume XXX (number 1), pages 1-10
  • another of the same, C. R. Lanman, Journal of the American Oriental Society, volume 16, pages ccxliv-ccliv
  • "Zu einigen neueren Ausgaben des Pāli-Tipiṭaka", Frank-Richard Hamm, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 112 (neue Folge, Band 37), 1962, pages 353-378; the German original is available on Jstor for those with access
    • revised translation: "On some recent editions of the Pāli Tipiṭaka", in German Scholars on India: Contributions to Indian Studies, ed Cultural Department of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, New Delhi, volume I, pub Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, 1973, pages 123-135
  • "Thoughts about 'European editions' of Pāli texts", Nalini Balbir, Thai International Journal of Buddhist Studies, volume 1 (2009), pages 1-19
  • "A preliminary report on the critical edition of the Pāli Canon being prepared at Wat Phra Dhammakāya", Alexander Wynne, Thai International Journal of Buddhist Studies, volume IV (2013), 135-70
  • "Middle way eclecticism: the text-critical method of the Dhammachai Tipiṭaka Project", G.A. Somaratne, Journal of Buddhist Studies, Vol. XII, 2014–2015, pages 207-235: [30]; Dhammachai is the Thai spelling, Dhammakāya the Pali
  • Chris Clark, "The sixth Buddhist council: its purpose, presentation, and product", Journal of Burma Studies, volume 19, number 1, June 2015, pages 79-112: [31] (restricted access)


  • Pāli Tipiṭakaḿ Concordance, Being a Concordance in Pāli to the Three Baskets of Buddhist Scriptures in the Indian Order of Letters, listed by F. L. Woodward and others, arranged & edited by E. M. Hare and others, PTS; originally issued in fascicles, reprinted in 3 volumes, unfinished
  • special issue
  • Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga (probably 5th century AD) has been described as a "general commentary to the whole canon"[12]
    • Pali Text Society Translation Series ... The Path of Purity: Being a Translation of Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga, translated by Pe Maung Tin, [3 volumes,] London, published for the Pali Text Society, by Oxford University Press, [1922]-1931; reprinted in 1 volume
    • The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) by Bhadantācariya Buddhaghosa, translated from the Pāli by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, R. Semage, Colombo, 1956; reprints by Shambhala, Berkeley, California (distributed in the USA by Random House, 2 volumes), and Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka (and Seattle)


  1. The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, Wisdom Publications/Pali Text Society, 2012, page 1691, note 747
  2. The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, Wisdom Publications, 2012, notes 533, 584, 1338
  3. Handbook of Pali Literature, de Gruyter, Berlin, 1996, pages 3f
  4. Bulletin of Chuo Academic Research Institute, no. 45 (Nov. 2016), page 237
  5. [1], page 17
  6. Indo-Iranian Journal, volume 11, page 311
  7. Journal of the Siam Society, volume 71, pages 75f
  8. Thai International Journal of Buddhist Studies, volume IV (2013), page 136
  9. [2], page 16
  10. [3], page 17
  11. Thai International Journal of Buddhist Studies, volume IV (2013), page 136
  12. Dispeller of Delusion, volume I, Pali Text Society, 1987, page vii