One of the fifteen books of the Khuddakanikāya, generally placed last in the list. It contains tales in metrical verse of the Buddha’s previous births, chiefly setting forth the ten perfections (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 perfections are illustrated by ten stories each, while the remaining perfections have only fifteen stories between them.
The Dīghabhāṇakā refused to include the Cariyāpiṭaka in their canonical books, but it was accepted by the Majjhimabhāṇakā (DA.i.15, 23).
There exists a Commentary on the Cariyāpiṭaka, which is ascribed to Dhammapāla, and which forms a part of the Paramaṭṭhadīpanī. (Published in the Hewavitarane Bequest Series, vol.xxvi; 1929).
According to the Commentary (CypA.1, 2), the Cariyāpiṭaka was taught by the Buddha at the Nigrodhārāma after the conclusion of the Buddhavaṃsa and at the request of Sāriputta.
It was taught by Mahinda at the Nandanavana in Anurādhapura, soon after his arrival in Sri Lanka (Dpv.xiv.45; but see Mhv.xv.179).