The Theravada collection of the Buddha’s teachings is called the Pali Canon. As a whole, this mass of material is called Tipitaka (Pali), or Tripitaka (Sanskrit), which means “three baskets.”
The first collection is called vinaya-Pali and Sanskrit, which outlines the procedural rules for monastic life including rules on begging, eating, relations with monks and nonmoks, and other disciples.
The second collection is called sutta (Pali), or sutra (Sanskrit), which comprises sayings of the Buddha in the form of sermons or dialogues.
The third collection is called abhidhamma (Pali), or abhidharma (Sanskrit), meaning the works that go beyond the elementary teachings.
The Tantras (“spread out”) are the scriptures of the Tantric Buddhism which taught that the body and all its energies could be used to reach enlightenment. For Tantric Buddhism, enlightenment is an experience of ultimate oneness that occurs when a practitioner unites all opposites.
Mahayana Buddhism developed versions of the Tripitaka in Sanskrit, along with a host of additional written works. Many of the new Mahayana works were called sutras because they were imaginative, colorful creations seen as a natural development of basic Buddhist insights.
Primary among these texts are the Prajnaparamita Sutras (“sutras on the perfection of wisdom”), which attempt to contrast ordinary understanding with the enlightened understanding that everything in the universe is interdependent.
One of the most widely loved works of Mahayana was the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra (“lotus sutra of the good law”), known as the Lotus he preaches to thousands of his disciples, his light and wisdom extend out into the universe.
The literature of Tibetan Buddhism consists of two large collections of writings.
The first collection is the Kanjur, which is made up of works from the Tripitaka (mostly Mahayana sutras and the vinaya) with Tantric texts.
The second collection is the Tenjur, which comprises commentaries on scripture and treatises on a wide variety of disciplines such as medicine, logic, and grammar.