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In the 6th council changes have been made to the Disclosure in Establishing Mindfulness in the Middle Length Discourses according to Ven Sujato and Ven Analayo where the section on the 4 Noble Truths was expanded. 3rd Council the Abhidhamma as made officially part of the canon.

Is there other known instances where changes to the Pali Canon happened either at this council or elsewhere?

  • Atma would say that there is actually no really known but it is clear that it has been developed, step by step. It's maybe worthy to discriminate between changes and additions. Those in charge, as far as know, never changed something. (something modern people and western people do not scare at all). Maybe its good to call the question subject additions. In the old days they followed the prove to know what is Dhamma-Vinaya, today even Monks are in doubt to do so and spend Dana and times like other people in doubt, making nothing but troubles all over the world and serve the world. – Samana Johann Jan 4 '16 at 8:01
  • Also there are minor variation between the editions (PTS, Buddha Jayanthi, Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, etc.). What accounts for these variations and what they are and how material are they? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jan 4 '16 at 8:05
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    If something did not change somewhere there cannot be variations. Am I right? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jan 4 '16 at 8:06
  • One needs to compare the amount of variations and compare it with time distance and possibilities of information (nearly nothing) with our last 100 years having "scholars" involved. Anicca is fundamental characteristic but its speed is a matter of hiri and ottappa. It would be naively to think that it appeared at once and never changed. Having such as the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana collection is certainly a last gift and will no more happen in this Buddha-Area. – Samana Johann Jan 4 '16 at 8:17
  • If changes happened in a recent council like the 6th or 5th these changes most likely in the preceding. This must be published some where. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jan 4 '16 at 9:16
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The Scriptures or the Doctrine of the Supreme Buddha is called the Sutta Pitaka, and consists chiefly of instructive discourses delivered by the Buddha to both the Sangha and the laity on various occasions. A few discourses, expounded by disciples such as the Venerable Sariputta, Moggallana, and Ananda, are incorporated and are accorded as much veneration as the Word of the Buddha Himself, since they were approved by Him.

The Sutta Pitaka consists of the following five Nikayas(Collections):

  1. Digha Nikaya (Collection of Long Discourses)
  2. Majjhima Nikaya (Collection of Middle-length Discourses)
  3. Samyutta Nikaya (Collection of Kindred Sayings)
  4. Anguttara Nikaya (Collection of Gradual Sayings)
  5. Khuddaka Nikaya (Smaller Collection)

There are no changes made to the first four, but the fifth got expanded with time. Khuddaka Nikaya, the fifth, is a minor or smaller collection. Although termed "smaller", it is in fact the largest as more and more books have been added to it over the years. It has grown to 15 books in the Thai and Sri Lankan versions. In 1956, the Sangha Council in Burma added another 3 books, which are not the Supreme Buddha's own words. These 3 additions are additions are Questions of King Milinda, Petakopadesa and Nettipakarana. This is how the Khuddaka Nikaya grew from a minor collection to become a major collection! In the future, say in 500 or 1000 years' time, this would definitely create more confusion. Out of the 18 books now, probably only 6 are reliable in that they do not contradict the earliest 4 Nikayas. These 6 reliable books are the Dhammapada, Sutta Nipata, Theragatha, Therigatha, Itivuttaka and Udana.. This is how the Khuddaka Nikaya grew from a minor collection to become a major collection! In the future, say in 500 or 1000 years' time, this would definitely create more confusion. Out of the 18 books now, probably only 6 are reliable in that they do not contradict the earliest 4 Nikayas. These 6 reliable books are the Dhammapada, Sutta Nipata, Theragatha, Therigatha, Itivuttaka and Udana.

But I personally would trust the Questions of King Milinda and Nettipakarana a whole lot more than the Abhidhamma, which got added much later on. I will not go into Abhidhamma (the third basket of the Tipitaka) as it will confuse things in my humble openion. When there are nearly 18,000 suttas that are found in the canonical texts why would one want to check the Abhidhamma? It came only after the 3rd Buddhist Council. So my advice to you is to please limit yourself to reading only canonical texts (Sutta Pitaka) until you are fully established in the Path. Do not go even into the Visuddhimagga – it is only a thesis that Buddhagosha Thera wrote to show his qualifications.

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To get to the heartwood, supporting good intentions with this question and counter not so wise intentions or coloring of the question, and leading to an aim:

‘When you know for yourselves...’: The Authenticity of the Pali Suttas, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002; 17pp./52KB) For centuries scholars have argued over which parts of the Pali canon — if any — contain an accurate record of the Buddha's teachings. The texts themselves state that doubts about the Dhamma can be decisively resolved only if one puts the teachings into practice to the point of attaining stream-entry, the first stage of enlightenment. In this essay the author explains the qualities that (according to the texts) one must develop in order to authenticate the Dhamma for oneself.

If seeking for a technical answer, not so aimed at an aim beyond assuming, it's maybe of future fruits here on DW: Who added what to buddhavacana or who removed what from buddhavacana? since such makes many people busy and gratified.

(Note: this answer has not been given with the agreement to be means of trade or the purpose of/for trade and/or keep people trapped and bound. How you handle it lies in your sphere, but does not excuse the deed here either.)

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