In Buddhism, a great number of religious texts and Buddhist scriptures are present which are fundamentally divided into these two groups :
Canonical Texts : These texts are known to be the actual saying and adage of Lord Buddha. These are also identified as the Sutras in Sanskrit or Suttas in Pali.
Non-canonical Texts : These texts are mainly concerned with observation and study of the discourses on the Dharma, canonical texts and the compilations and collections of histories, quotes and grammars along with others.
Apart from the above texts, there are also several classic scriptures of Buddhists. Some of these texts are as follows :
Tripitaka (Pali Canon) : This famous scripture of Buddhism: Tripitaka is known to be one of the oldest collections of Buddhist teaching and education. The name Tripitaka literally means three baskets. In the earlier times, the text was written on narrow and a long leaf, grouped and united into bunches and afterwards stocked up and stored into baskets. The compilation is also known as Pali connon or Tipitaka in Pali. Today the text comprises up to 50 volumes as over the years, several new observations and studies have been carried out and were added to this.
Mahayana Sutras : There exist more than two thousand Mahayana sutras, out of which the most significant ones are the Heart Sutra and the Lotus Sutra. The Mahayana sutras were mainly written around 200 BCE to 200 CE, which is also the period when the Mahayana Buddhism was build up and developed. Tikitaka is known to be a sacred text by the Mahayana sect of Buddhism, although this is not the only text in Mahayana. In actual fact, it was included the Mahayana sutra which specifically comprise of the Mahayana sutras.
Tibetan Book of the Dead : A Tibetan monk wrote a Tibetan text known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. It elucidates and states the stages of death from the Tibetan viewpoint and how they perceive and understand it. This book informs about the experience of a being dying, at the instant of death and during the 49 day period between death and rebirth.