Two trends in Buddhism in the Mauryan period were particularly influential on Buddhist literature. On the one hand, the Sangha became much larger, better endowed, and more specialised, with detailed systems of Buddhist exegesis. On the other hand, the Dhamma reached out to a much broader spectrum of the lay community.
These trends correspond to the developments of the content in the doctrinally secondary books of the early canons. On the one hand, Buddhist literature saw the evolution of the Abhidhamma texts, a highly abstruse and specialised literature. On the other hand, there was the development of the popular stories of the Jātakas, Vimānavatthu, Buddha biography, and the like. This literature is thus situated naturally within the Mauryan period, and is quite unlike the literature of the s, on which it depends.
Within the Pali school, the literary style of texts composed in Sri Lanka, such as the commentaries and the chronicles, is substantially different from the style of texts inherited from India [3, 175]. And since the new style that emerged in Sri Lanka is not encountered in the s, it would appear that the Pali s were considered closed upon their arrival on the island, that is, at the time of Asoka
5. The Jātakas mention things not found in the s such as bricks (iṭṭhaka) and trade routes to countries outside of India (e.g. Jā no. 339).
There are numerous doctrinal developments between the s and non-s. Some specific examples are:
1. Karma as destiny (Vimāna- and Peta-vatthu);9
2. Transference of merit (Petavatthu [2, , –]);
3. Elaboration on and fascination with good and bad destinations of rebirth (Vimāna- and Peta-vatthu);
4. Shift in attitude to jhāna, especially the Abhidhammic concept of lokuttarajjhāna (Vibh);
5. Dependent origination happening on an ‘occasion’ (Vibh 145);
6. Emphasis on and detailed explanation of obscure doctrines in the s, e.g. the relay coaches of MN 24/MĀ 9/EĀ 39.10 and the kasiṇas (Vism);
7. Increased detail and expansion in the exposition of core teachings of the s, such as the description of insight (Vism);
8. Abstract teachings as opposed to applied (Abhidhamma, Paṭisambhidāmagga);
9. Systematisation of “dhammas” (Dhammasaṅgaṇī);
10. The explanation of dhammas as “bearing their own essence”, sabhāva (As 39,11);
11. Khaṇikavāda, “doctrine of momentariness” (e.g. Vism 268,14; Vibh-a 27,3);
12. Systematisation of “conditions” (Paṭṭhāna);
13. Omniscience of the Buddha (JN 99);
14. Lineage of past Buddhas (Buddhavaṁsa);
15. Pāramīs (Cariyāpiṭaka);
16. Bodhisatta path (Cariyāpiṭaka and commentaries);
17. Books on history (Aśokāvadāna, Dīpavaṁsa, Mahāvaṁsa).
According to the Sinhalese chronicle the Dīpavaṁsa (5.37 of Oldenberg’s translation), the Mahāsāṅghika rejected the Parivāra (the last book of the Pali Vinaya Piṭaka), the six books of the Abhidhamma (six, because this is said to have occurred before the composition of the Kathāvatthu), the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the Niddesa, and some of the Jātakas.