The Tāmraśāṭīya (Sanskrit: ताम्रशाटीय), also called Tāmraparṇīya (Sanskrit; Pali: Tambapaṇṇiya) was one of the early schools of Buddhism and a branch of the Vibhajyavāda school based in Sri Lanka. It is thought that the Theravāda tradition has its origins in this school.
Its sutras were written mainly in Pali; and the Pali canon of Buddhism largely borrowed from this school. The Tāmraśāṭīya is also known as the Southern transmission or Mahaviharavasin tradition. This contrasts with Sarvastivada or the 'Northern transmission', which was mostly written in Sanskrit and translated into Chinese and Tibetic languages.
Tāmra is a Sanskrit term referring to the color of red copper, describing the color of the monks' robes. Based on the standard Chinese translation of the term, it has also been suggested that "copper" refers to copper plates on which the Tripitaka was written.
The Tāmraśāṭīya school was established in modern-day Sri Lanka in the city of Anuradhapura, but also remained active in Andhra and other parts of South India, such as Vanavasa in modern Karnataka, and later across South-East Asia.
The school survived in Sri Lanka and established three main branches: