The Chinese Buddhist Canon—Ta-t’sang-ching (“Great Scripture Store”) in Mandarin—is the collection of scriptures accepted as canonical throughout most of Mahayana Buddhism and specifically in China, Korea, and Japan. The first version of the Canon to be fully recorded in writing was made in Sichuan, China in 983 CE, and numerous other versions with slight variations have been produced since. The standard variation used today, the Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo, was completed in Tokyo in 1934. The Chinese Canon contains some early texts from pre-sectarian Buddhism similar to those found in the Pali Canon, but most of its contents are devotedly Mahayana, such as the Mahayana sutras. The Canon includes scriptures from diverse schools of thought and is significantly larger than the Pali Canon.
The Chinese Canon stands as sacred scripture for more Buddhists worldwide than any other Buddhist canon. Compiled significantly later than the Pali Canon, the Chinese Canon is an important source for understanding the development and evolution of Buddhism as it spread across East Asia and fostered various schools of thought. The Chinese Canon’s most significant contribution to Buddhist thought is the Mahayana focus on attaining Buddhahood not just for oneself but also in order to guide all other sentient beings towards that achievement. The Chinese Canon in its various forms and translations also allowed for a more widespread understanding amongst lay believers than the Pali Canon. This has contributed to Mahayana Buddhism’s relatively larger role for laity in religious practice than is found in Theravada.