What is Tengyur?

The Tengyur or Tanjur or Bstan-’gyur (“Translation of Teachings”) is the Tibetan collection of commentaries to the Buddhist teachings, or “Translated Treatises”.

Tibetan Blockprints / Undated Tibetan Buddhist Religious Texts, circa 1800s

Tibetan Blockprints / Undated Tibetan Buddhist Religious Texts, circa 1800s

The Buddhist Canon

Main article: Tibetan Buddhist canon

To the Tengyur were assigned commentaries to both Sutras and Tantras, treatises and abhidharma works (both Mahayana and non-Mahayana).

Together with the 108-volume Kangyur (the Collection of the Words of the Buddha), these form the basis of the Tibetan Buddhist canon.

“The Kangyur usually takes up a hundred or a hundred and eight volumes, the Tengyur two hundred and twenty-five, and the two together contain 4,569 works.”

As example, the content of the Beijing Tengyur:

  • Stotras (“Hymns of Praise”): 1 Volume; 64 texts.
  • Commentaries on the Tantras: 86 Volumes; 3055 texts.
  • Commentaries on Sutras; 137 Volumes; 567 texts.

    Woodblock printing of scriptures. Sera Monastery. 1993.

    Woodblock printing of scriptures. Sera Monastery. 1993.

  1. Prajnaparamita Commentaries, 16 Volumes.
  2. Madhyamika Treatises, 29 Volumes.
  3. Yogacara Treatises, 29 Volumes.
  4. Abhidharma, 8 Volumes.
  5. Miscellaneous Texts, 4 Volumes.
  6. Vinaya Commentaries, 16 Volumes.
  7. Tales and Dramas, 4 Volumes.
  8. Technical Treatises, 43 Volumes.

The Bön Tengyur 

The Tibetan Bön religion, under the influence of Buddhism, also has its canon literature divided into two sections called the Kangyur and Tengyur but the number and contents of the collection are not yet fully known. Apparently, Bön began to take more on a literary form about the time Buddhism began to enter Tibet, although it could have had some written register some time before that.

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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