Buddhism originated in Northern India several centuries before the Christian era. As a religion and a philosophical system, it grew in influence quite rapidly, and spread both to the south and to the far east. This growth and expansion also led to the development of various schools and sects which, while retaining a core set of teachings, differed from one another in details of practice and theory. The focus of this chapter is on Early Buddhism, also known as Therav¡da Buddhism. The main texts of early Buddhism are called the canon, and are in the Pali language. The Pali canon was put together at a council of monks shortly after the Buddha’s death and was committed to writing in Sri Lanka in the first century BC (Saddhatissa, 1976). It consists of three parts, known as the ‘three baskets’ (Tipiṭaka). These are the Vinaya Piṭaka, containing the rules of discipline for the monks; the Sutta Piṭaka, containing discourses of the Buddha on various occasions; and the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, containing philosophical and psychological analyses that were finalised in their present form about 250 BC, later than the material in the other two parts.