One of the fifteen books of the Khuddaka
Nikāya, generally placed last in the list. It contains tales in metrical verse
of the Buddha's previous births, chiefly setting forth the ten
pāramī, by which
he attained Enlightenment. Each story is called a Cariyā. The stories told here
in verse are parallel to the corresponding Jātaka stories in prose, and
pre-suppose a familiar acquaintance with all the incidents of the prose tales.
The first two pāramī are illustrated by ten stories each, while the remaining
pāramī have only fifteen stories between them.
The Dīgha-bhānakas refused to include the
Cariyāpitaka in their canonical books, but it was accepted by the
Majjhima-bhānakas (DA.i.15, 23).
There exists a Commentary on the
Cariyāpitaka which is ascribed to Dhammapāla and which forms a part of the
Paramathadīpanī. (Published in the Hewavitarane Bequest Series, vol.xxvi.;
According to the Commentary (CypA.1, 2), the Cariyāpitaka was preached by
the Buddha at the
Nigrodhārāma, after the conclusion of the
Buddhavamsa and at
the request of
It was preached by Mahinda at the Nandanavana in
Anurādhapura, soon after his arrival in Ceylon (Dpv.xiv.45; but see Mhv.xv.179).