Buddha-Dharma-Sangha History

Āgama Section of the Sanskrit Buddhist Tripitaka

“Āgama (Skt.). One of the four sections of the *Sanskrit Buddhist *canon that coincide with those of the *Pāli Canon. Thus the Sanskrit *Dīrgha āgama corresponds to the Pāli *Dīgha Nikāya; the *Madhyama Āgama to the *Majjhima Nikāya; the *Samyukta Āgama to the *Samyutta Nikāya, and the *Ekottara (or Ekottarika) āgama to the *Aṅguttara Nikāya. The equivalence between these collections is broad but not exact. Note there is no reason to suppose that there was ever a single ‘Sanskrit Canon’. The *Sarvāstivādins had a canon in Sanskrit but so did the *Lokottaravādins and presumably other schools. Others again may have had canons in various forms of Middle Indian, such as Gandhārī. It is not known how many of these schools had an equivalent to the fifth *Nikāya of the *Pāli Canon, namely the *Khuddaka Nikāya, but none survives in Sanskrit. The term āgama is used by Buddha-ghosain Pāli interchangeably with *Nikāya. Almost certainly the introduction of the term āgama is a later development with the growth of Sanskrit cultural hegemony.” (PDoB)


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