Tibetan Texts & Sutras


The Tibetan canon of essential Buddhist scripture consists of two parts:

  • The Kangyur ("Translation of the Buddha's Word")—the texts that are attributed to the Buddha. Esteemed and worshipped for centuries in Tibet, it is regarded as the single most authoritative repository of Buddhist thought by Tibetan speakers throughout Asia and beyond. The Kangyur unquestionably ranks among the most important sources for the study of Buddhism in India and Tibet. Containing many hundreds of Buddhist texts translated in the eighth and ninth centuries by teams of scholars from India, China, Tibet and Central Asia in order to create the literary foundation for Buddhism in Tibet, it is unrivalled in doctrinal authority and historical value. On account of its vast scope and the reliability of its translations, the Kangyur is widely used as a principle point of access to centuries of Buddhist developments in the Indo-Tibetan cultural world.

    As a Mahayana tradition, Tibetan Buddhism's Kangyur includes most of the Mahayana sutras. In addition it includes tantric (esoteric) texts.
  • The Tengyur ("Translations of treatises")—traditional commentaries attributed to subsequent learned and realized masters of Buddhism. In the Tibetan tradition, it is common for a meditation master to offer explanations and interpretations, sharing his understanding with students and shedding light on centuries-old texts that may be difficult for contemporary practitioners to fully understand.

There are a number of popular Tibetan editions of these scriptures.


Sources of the Tibetan Buddhist canon:

The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
The TBRC Digital Library is a vast repository of digital texts

Tibetan Sutra Teachings
Alexander Berzin

The Kangyur
Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library (THDL)

The Tengyur
Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library (THDL)

The Kangyur Collection and The Tengyur Collection
Asia Classics Institute

The Institute of Tibetan Classics

The Tibetan Tanjur and Associated Literature
American Institute of Buddhist Studies

The Library of Tibetan Classics
Spanning more than a millennium, the literature in The Library of Tibetan Classics will eventually encompass thirty-two volumes covering such diverse fields as philosophy, psychology, spiritual practices, and ethics, as well as poetry, linguistics, plays, history, and classical Tibetan medicine.

The Mahayana Sutra & Tantra Press

A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage (A Spiritual History of the Teachings of Natural Great Perfection)
Jam-dbyans-rdo-rje (Padma Publishing - 2005)