My conclusion from tipitaka and commentaries:

Most of Tipitaka canons and commentaries, except Kathāvatthu the forth of abhidhamma, began before 1st saṅgāyanā, but catagorize at 1st saṅgāyanā (see: DN.Commentary.)

But some tipitaka canons had done at 1st saṅgāyanā, some at 2nd, some at 3rd, and just vinaya-history in parivāra had done after 3rd saṅgāyanā (because vinaya have serious rule about the qualification of vinaya-successor, so list of vinaya-memorized successor's names were required, in parivāra, that began in upāli-thera school).

What canons were done at 1st?

Because of unanimous decision of 500 saṅgha at 1st saṇgayanā, that saṅgha must not add/cut/change any buddha's words off teaching. So this canons must done in 1st saṇgayanā:

  1. Buddha's literal canons, that was learn & memorized by ānanda, upāli:

    • 7 vinaya-pitaka (except sattasatikakhandhaka in cullavagga), parivāra-content (except vinaya-history), 4 nikāya, buddha's literal canons in kuddaka-nikaya.
  2. Sāriputta's literal canons, that was learn & author by sāriputta-mahāsāvaka and memorized by his students, who were in 1st saṇgayanā instead of sāriputta, who died before 1st saṇgāyanā. Buddha chose to support sāriputta as the best teacher (etadagga) like himself. So no one can change his speech, too. So his canons should had done in 1st saṇgayanā, too:

    • Sāriputta's literal sutta in 4 nikāya, sutanipāta, sāriputta-theragāthā, niddesa, paṭisambhidāmagga, sāriputta-apadāna, cariyāpitaka, 6 abhidhamma-pitaka, Mahāaṭṭhakathā (The great commentary).

    • In my opinion I think buddha-apadāna and many jātaka are memorized by sāriputta, too. Because of buddhavaṃsa's and cariyāpitaka's characters. And in nidāna of DN.Commentary. also have an conversation between ānanda (dīghabhāṇaka) and sāriputta's students (macchimabhāṇaka) at first saṇgāyana about the categorization of KN. & buddhavaṃsa & cariyapitaka that should include in suttanta or in abhidhamma.

  3. The other sāvaka's & sāvikā's speech, that were memorized by some saṇgha in 1st saṇgāyanā:

    • Sāvaka's & sāvikā's speech that were memorized by ānanda: Itivuttaka, The remaining speech in 4 nikāya.

    • Sāvaka's & sāvikā's speech that were told by the owners: Some thera/therīgatha, Some thera/theri-apadāna.

    • Sāvaka's & sāvikā's speech that were told by their students: Sāriputta-theragātha/therāpadāna, Moggallāna-theragātha/therāpadāna, etc.

What canons were done at 2nd?

  1. Some thera/therīgatha, Some thera/theri-apadāna (some thera died after 1st saṇgāyanā such as ānanda, kassapa, anuruddha, upāli, etc.)

  2. Sattasatikakhandhaka in cullavagga and just sattasatikakhandhaka's commentary. (In my opinion arahanta, in 3rd saṇgāyanā, did not author 3rd saṇgayana history anymore because they realized that it will be over responsibility of future-generations-vinaya-memorizers).

What canons were done at 3rd?

  1. Kathāvatthu and just kathāvatthu's commentary.

  2. Commentary about 3rd saṇgāyanā history.

What canons were done after 3rd?

  1. Vinaya-history in parivāra.

  2. None-Pali commentaries' translation and extension (andhaka-aṭṭhakathā, kauanadī-aṭṭhakathā, pañcarī-aṭṭhakathā).

  3. Visuddhimagga and Abhinava-aṭṭhakathā (the combination of commentaries. It is just old commentaries in new package. Buddhaghosa wrote that he never add/edit anything. He just remix fussy/duplicate texts and translate siṇhala commentaries to pali language).

  4. Abhidhammatthasaṇgaha, abhidhammāvatara, and many conclusion-commentaries.

Related Answer:

  • Perhaps there is much competent information on discourse.suttacentral.net Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 17:49
  • I am going to rewrite above after I read the anti-Abhidhamma book carefully. As I read through, there is much information from Pali canons that they never told you in SuttaCentral's book. The looking over the information can destroy the real story and origin the unfinished debate. What I prefer are pieces of evidence from the history which no one ever told you, although what I quoted still appearing in the Pali canon, but they avoid them to keep their books go on right. This is not honest because their analysis could be wrong. They should give us all possible aspects, not only their analysis.
    – Bonn
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 18:18
  • "As I read through, there is much information from Pali canons that they never told you in SuttaCentral's book." <-- do you mean here the differences between the different Abhidharma and which ones follow the sūtras and which ones don't? If you mean this, the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma follows the sūtra closer than the Pāli Abhidhamma, but this is a matter of opinion, because each particular Abhidharma follows the Buddha in their own way. One has to read all of them to be in a good position to decide which ones follow the Buddha and which ones follow the Buddha poorly.
    – Caoimhghin
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


This may not exactly be the answer that you're looking for, but it's related. It doesn't say at which council, but it speculates on the chronology of different parts of the Pali Canon, from an academic viewpoint.

On this page and this page, you can find the "Chronology Of The Pali Canon" by Dr. Bimala Churn Law.

Here, it is written in the beginning:

Rhys Davids in his Buddhist India (p. 188) has given a chronological table of Buddhist literature from the time of the Buddha to the time of Asoka which is as follows:--

  1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.

  2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.

  3. The Silas, the Parayana, the Octades, the Patimokkha.

  4. The Digha, Majjhima, Anguttara, and Samyutta Nikayas.

  5. The Sutta-Nipata, the Thera-and Theri-Gathas, the Udanas, and the Khuddaka Patha.

  6. The Sutta Vibhanga, and Khandhkas.

  7. The Jatakas and the Dhammapadas.

  8. The Niddesa, the Itivuttakas and the Patisambbhida.

  9. The Peta and Vimana-Vatthus, the Apadana, the Cariya-Pitaka, and the Buddha-Vamsa.

  10. The Abhidhamma books; the last of which is the Katha-Vatthu, and the earliest probably the Puggala-Pannatti.

But later, after in-depth analysis, the author comes to the conclusion:

The results arrived at concerning the chronology of the Pali canonical literature are presented in the subjoined table:

(1) The simple statements of Buddhist doctrines now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.

(2) Episodes found, in identical works, in two or more of the existing books.

(3) The Silas, the Parayana group of sixteen poems without the prologue, the atthaka group of four or sixteen poems, the sikkhapadas.

(4) The Digha, Vol. l, the Majjhima, the Samyutta, the Anguttara, and earlier Patimokkha code of 152 rules.

(5) The Digha, Vols. II & III, the Thera-Theri-Gatha, the collection of 500 Jatakas, the Suttavibhanga, the Partisambhidamagga, the Puggala-pannatti and the Vibhanga.

(6) The Mahavagga and the Cullavagga, the Patimokkha code completing 227 rules, the Vimanavatthu and Petavatthu, the Dhammapada and the Kathavatthu.

(7) The Cullaniddesa, the Mahaniddesa, the Udana, the Itivuttaka, the Suttanipata, the Dhatukatha, the Yamaka and the Patthana.

(8) The Buddhavamsa, the Cariyapitaka and the Apadana.

(9) The Parivarapatha.

(10) The Khuddakapatha.

But there is no table available listing each sutta with its date of writing.

  • Thank you for the information. They miss a lot that they didn't consider the personal speech style, the separated memorizing group, the difficulty of content, the lazy of the other monk, etc. Especially, they didn't understand Atthakatha before they made that timeline. Rhys David's paper is a very old analysis from the paper age should be re-created by the digital information. Nowadays, we can read all the Pali canons by ourselves on the computer.
    – Bonn
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 16:53

If Dhamma is realised, it is obvious this question is unanswerable because each Nikaya has inauthentic Dhamma in it.

The Samyutta Nikaya is the most authentic (but includes minor inclusions of Anguttara non-sense). This is why the first three sermons and the real teachings of dependent origination are in the SN.

The Majjhima Nikaya is mixed with 'heartwood' plus later Jataka ideology.

The Anguttara is loaded with Brahmanistic mumbo-jumbo.

The Digha Nikaya is the least authentic & shameful.

The Udana can be funny but has many fantastic stories in it.

The Sutta Nipata has good teachings but the language sounds different to the Buddha of the Nikayas.

The Dhammapada is obviously a compilation of various verses.

The Abhidhamma is ineffective and excessive. Venerable Sariputta would not have spoken or composed such excessive & unnecessary words.

The Jataka and Past Lives of the Buddhas and Disciples is contrary to the original teachings.

It is obviously by the study of doctrines and language that either the Nikayas were compiled at a later time or, otherise, suttas were added to the Nikayas at a later time.

What should be analysed is the genre/content of individual suttas rather than each Nikaya.

  • I sent you an E-Mail. It was to be expected that this answer receives dislikes because a lot of people assume that every Sutta must be the words of the Buddha. I doubt that too. Ultimately, it's as you said at the beginning: If Dhamma is realised one needs scriptures less & less
    – Val
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 15:20

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