Does all Tibetan Buddhism classify the sutras and sastras in the same way, or do specific schools elevate different Indian etc. texts?

I read about Chinese discussion about panjiao (doctrinal classification), and found it really interesting, especially the systems developed by Tsungmi and Zhyiyi, even if may seem quite dogmatic compared to someone like Wonhyo, who practiced hwajaeng, doctrincal harmony, so that "in his works we do not see the application of the practice of doctrinal classification".

Is there an equivalent in Tibetan Buddhism?

2 Answers 2


There are variations in the classification per school/monastery. All schools divide the canon in Kangyur and Tengyur (resp. original canon and treatises).

The number of Kangyur texts varies. Variations include the Derge, Lhasa, Narthang, Cone, Peking, Urga, Phudrak and Stog Palace versions, each named after the physical location of its compilation.


If your question is whether all schools of Tibetan Buddhism have historically agreed upon which sutras were definitive and which were provisional, then the answer is no they have not always agreed.

In particular, there is a dialectic between the schools of Tibetan Buddhism similar to the dialectic between the two great philosophical schools of Indian Mahayana Buddhism: Madhyamaka and Yogacara and their proponents.

The dialectic is complex and the issues are subtle, but the upshot for sutras is the question of which of the 2nd Turning of the Dharma Wheel or the 3rd Turning of the Dharma Wheel should be held as definitive and which provisional.

To be clear, I do not think any modern Tibetan Buddhist school thinks there is any real contradiction between these sutras, but there is still argument about which sutras should be held as definitive and which provisional in order to resolve the apparent contradiction between these two turnings of the wheel.

See here for a decent discussion.

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