One of the fifteen books of the Khuddaka Nikāya, generally placed last in the list. It contains tales in metrical verse of the Buddha's previous births, chiefly setting forth the ten 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 pāramī are illustrated by ten stories each, while the remaining pāramī have only fifteen stories between them.
The Dīgha-bhānakas refused to include the Cariyāpitaka in their canonical books, but it was accepted by the Majjhima-bhānakas (DA.i.15, 23).
There exists a Commentary on the Cariyāpitaka which is ascribed to Dhammapāla and which forms a part of the Paramathadīpanī. (Published in the Hewavitarane Bequest Series, vol.xxvi.; 1929).
According to the Commentary (CypA.1, 2), the Cariyāpitaka was preached by the Buddha at the Nigrodhārāma, after the conclusion of the Buddhavamsa and at the request of Sāriputta.
It was preached by Mahinda at the Nandanavana in Anurādhapura, soon after his arrival in Ceylon (Dpv.xiv.45; but see Mhv.xv.179).