The sections of the Tripitaka are the central source of authority for Buddhists, and key teachings are included in the various scriptures such as the experiences of the Buddha and guidelines for reaching enlightenment.
All Buddhists accept the teachings of the Dhammapada as being the teaching of the Buddha. The Dhammapada generally teaches Buddhists how to live their lives in the right way and is therefore an excellent source of authority. For example, the Dhammapada teaches:
If a man speaks many holy words but he speaks and does not, this thoughtless man cannot enjoy the life of holiness.Dhammapada 19-20
There are different approaches to the scriptures depending on the tradition a Buddhist follows or belongs to.
Buddhists often chant sections of Buddhist scriptures, particularly the sutras, during worship. Chanting is not only an effective means of remembering key texts, but it also helps to remind Buddhists of the importance of a particular message. Chanting can also be an aid to meditation helping the chanter to clear and focus the mind.