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Lec. 2 The Councils and History of Tipitaka Dr. Jutamas Vareesangthip

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  • 1. Lec. 2 The Councilsand History of TipitakaDr. Jutamas Vareesangthip

2. The First Council The first council took place three months after the Buddhas attainment of Mahparinibba and was followed by five more, two of which were convened in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These collective recitations which were performed by the monks at all these Dhamma Councils are known as the Dhamma Sagtis, the Dhamma Recitations. 3. The First Council They are so designated because of the precedentset at the First Dhamma Council, when all theTeachings were recited first by an Elder of theSagha and then chanted once again in chorus byall of the monks attending the assembly. Therecitation was judged to have been authentic, whenand only when, it had been approved unanimouslyby the members of the Council. What follows is abrief history of the Six Councils. 4. The First Council King Ajtasattu sponsored the First Council. Itwas convened in 544 B.C. in the SattapaCave situated outside Rjagaha three monthsafter the Buddha had passed away. A detailedaccount of this historic meeting can be found inthe Cllavagga of the Vinaya Piaka. Accordingto this record the incident which prompted theElder Mahkassapa to call this meeting was hishearing a disparaging remark about the strict ruleof life for monks. 5. The First Council Thisis what happened. The monk Subhadda, a former barber, who had ordained late in life, upon hearing that the Buddha had expired, voiced his resentment at having to abide by all the rules for monks laid down by the Buddha. Many monks lamented the passing of the Buddha and were deeply grieved. 6. The First Council However, the Elder Mahkassapa heardSubhadda say: Enough yourReverences, do not grieve, do not lament.We are well rid of this great recluse (theBuddha). We were tormented when hesaid, this is allowable to you, this is notallowable to you but now we will be able todo as we like and we will not have to dowhat we do not like. 7. The First Council Mahkassapa was alarmed by his remark andfeared that the Dhamma and the Vinaya mightbe corrupted and not survive intact if othermonks were to behave like Subhadda andinterpret the Dhamma and the Vinaya rules asthey pleased. To avoid this he decided that theDhamma must be preserved and protected. Tothis end after gaining the Saghas approval hecalled to council five hundred Arahants. nandawas to be included in this provided he attainedArahanthood by the time the council convened. 8. The First Council With the Elder Mahkassapa presiding, the five-hundred Arahant monks met in council during therainy season. The first thing Mahkassapa didwas to question the foremost expert on theVinaya of the day, Venerable Upli on particularsof the monastic rule. This monk was wellqualified for the task as the Buddha had taughthim the whole of the Vinaya himself. 9. The First Council First of all the Elder Mahkassapa asked himspecifically about the ruling on the firstoffense [prjika], with regard to thesubject, the occasion, the individualintroduced, the proclamation, the repetition ofthe proclamation, the offense and the case ofnon-offense. Upli gave knowledgeable andadequate answers and his remarks met withthe unanimous approval of the presidingSagha. Thus the Vinaya was formallyapproved. 10. The First Council The Elder Mahkassapa then turned hisattention to nanda in virtue of his reputableexpertise in all matters connected with theDhamma. Happily, the night before the Councilwas to meet, nanda had attained Arahantshipand joined the Council. The ElderMahkassapa, therefore, was able to questionhim at length with complete confidence about theDhamma with specific reference to the Buddhassermons. 11. The First Council This interrogation on the Dhamma sought toverify the place where all the discourses werefirst preached and the person to whom theyhad been addressed. nanda, aided by hisword-perfect memory was able to answeraccurately and so the Discourses met withthe unanimous approval of the Sagha. 12. The First Council The First Council also gave its official seal ofapproval for the closure of the chapter on theminor and lesser rules, and approval for theirobservance. It took the monks seven months torecite the whole of the Vinaya and the Dhammaand those monks sufficiently endowed with goodmemories retained all that had been recited. Thishistoric first council came to be known as thePacasatika because five-hundred fullyenlightened Arahants had taken part in it. 13. The Second Council The Second Council was called one hundredyears after the Buddhas Parinibba in order tosettle a serious dispute over the ten points. Thisis a reference to some monks breaking of tenminor rules. they were given to:1. Storing salt in a horn.2. Eating after midday.3. Eating once and then going again to a villagefor alms. 14. The Second Council 4. Holding the Uposatha Ceremony with monksdwelling in the same locality.5. Carrying out official acts when the assemblywas incomplete.6. Following a certain practice because it wasdone by ones tutor or teacher.7. Eating sour milk after one had his middaymeal.8. Consuming strong drink before it had beenfermented.9. Using a rug which was not the proper size.10. Using gold and silver. 15. The Second Council Their misdeeds became an issue and caused amajor controversy as breaking these rules wasthought to contradict the Buddhas originalteachings. King Ksoka was the SecondCouncils patron and the meeting took place atVesli due to the following circumstances. Oneday, whilst visiting the Mahvana Grove atVesli, the Elder Yasa came to know that a largegroup of monks known as the Vajjians wereinfringing the rule which prohibited monksaccepting gold and silver by openly asking for it 16. The Second Council He immediately criticized their behavior and their response was to offer him a share of their illegal gains in the hope that he would be won over. The Elder Yasa, however declined and scorned their behavior. The monks immediately sued him with a formal action of reconciliation, accusing him of having blamed their lay devotees. 17. The Second Council The Elder Yasa accordingly reconciled himselfwith the lay devotees, but at the same time,convinced them that the Vijjian monks haddone wrong by quoting the Buddhaspronouncement on the prohibition againstaccepting or soliciting for gold and silver. Thelaymen immediately expressed their support forthe Elder Yasa and declared the Vajjian monksto the wrong-doers and heretics, saying theElder Yasa alone is the real monk and Skyanson. All the others are not monks, not Skyan 18. The Second Council The Stubborn and unrepentant Vajjianmonks then moved to suspend theVenerable Yasa Thera without the approvalof the rest of the Sagha when they cameto know of the outcome of his meeting withtheir lay devotees. The Elder Yasa,however escaped their censure and wentin search of support from monkselsewhere, who upheld his orthodox viewson the Vinaya. 19. The Second Council Sixty forest dwelling monks from Pv and eightymonks from the southern regions of Avanti whowere of the same view, offered to help him tocheck the corruption of the Vinaya. Together theydecided to go to Soreyya to consult theVenerable Revata as he was a highly reveredmonk and an expert in the Dhamma and theVinaya. As soon as the Vajjian monks came toknow this they also sought the VenerableRevatas support by offering him the fourrequisites which he promptly refused. TheVenerable Revata saw through their ruse andrefused to support them. 20. The Second Council He then dismissed Uttara. In order to settle the matteronce and for all, the Venerable Revata advised that acouncil should be called at Vikrma with himselfasking questions on the ten offenses of the most seniorof the Elders of the day, the Thera Sabbjakmi. Once hisopinion was given it was to be heard by a committee ofeight monks, and its validity decided by their vote. Theeight monks called to judge the matter were theVenerables Sabbakmi, saha, Khujjasobhita andVsabhagmika, from the East and four monks from theWest, the Venerables Revata, Sambhuta-Savs, Yasa and Sumana. They thoroughly debatedthe matter with Revata as the questioner and 21. The Second Council After the debate was heard the eight monks decided against theVajjian monks and their verdict was announced to the assembly.Afterwards seven-hundred monks recited the Dhamma andVinaya and this recital came to be known as the Sattasatbecause seven-hundred monks had taken part in it. This historiccouncil is also called, the Yasatthera Sangti because of themajor role the Elder Yasa played in it and his zeal forsafeguarding the Vinaya. The Vajjian monks categoricallyrefused to accept the Councils decision and in defiance called acouncil of there own which was called the Mahsagiti , whichlater developed into the Mahayana. So, a century after theBuddha Gotamas death, Buddhism is divided into 2 majorschools of Theravada and Mahayana. 22. The Third Council The Third Council was held primarily to rid theSagha of corruption and bogus monks who heldheretical views. The Council was convened in(Buddhist era) 234. At Asokrma in Paaliputta underthe patronage of Emperor Asoka (274-236). It waspresided over by the Elder Moggaliputta Tissa andone thousand monks participated in this Council.Tradition has it that Asoka had won his thronethrough shedding the blood of all his fathers sonssave his own brother, Tissa Kumra who eventuallygot ordained and achieved Arahantship. 23. The Third Council Asoka was crowned in the two hundred andeighteenth year after the BuddhasMahaparinibbna. At first he paid only token homageto the Dhamma and the Sagha and also supportedmembers of other religious sects as his father haddone before him. However, all this changed when hemet the pious novice-monk Nigrodha who preachedhim the Appamda-vagga. Thereafter he ceasedsupporting other religious groups and his interest inand devotion to the Dhamma deepened. He used hisenormous wealth to build, it is said, eighty-fourthousand pagodas and vihras and to lavishlysupport the Bhikkhus with the four requisites. 24. The Third Council His son Mahinda and his daughter Saghamittwere ordained and admitted to the Sagha.Eventually, his generosity was to cause seriousproblems within the Sagha. In time the orderwas infiltrated by many unworthy men, holdingheretical views and who were attracted to theorder because of the Emperors generoussupport and costly offerings offood, clothing, shelter and medicine. Largenumbers of faithless, greedy men espousingwrong views tried to join the order but were 25. The Third Council Despite this they seized the chance toexploit the Emperors generosity for theirown ends and donned robes and joinedthe order without having been ordainedproperly. Consequently, respect for theSagha diminished. When this came tolight some of the genuine monks refused tohold the prescribed purification orUposatha ceremony in the company of thecorrupt, heretical monks. 26. The Third Council When the Emperor heard about this he sought to rectifythe situation and dispatched one of his ministers to themonks with the command that they perform theceremony. However, the Emperor had given the ministerno specific orders as to what means were to be used tocarry out his command. The monks refused to obey andhold the ceremony in the company of their false andthieving companions [theyyasinivsaka]. In desperationthe angry minister advanced down the line of seatedmonks and drawing his sword, beheaded all of them oneafter the other until he came to the Kings brother, Tissawho had been ordained. 27. The Third Council The horrified minister stopped the slaughterand fled the hall and reported back to theEmperor Asoka was deeply grieved and upsetby what had happened and blamed himselffor the killings. He sought Thera MoggaliputtaTissas counsel. He proposed that theheretical monks be expelled from the orderand a third Council be convened immediately.So it was that in the seventeenth year of theEmperors reign the Third Council was called. 28. The Third Council Thera Moggaliputta Tissa headed theproceedings and chose one thousand monksfrom the sixty thousand participants for thetraditional recitation of the Dhamma and theVinaya, which went on for nine months. TheEmperor, himself questioned monks from anumber of monasteries about the teachings ofthe Buddha. Those who held wrong views wereexposed and expelled from the Saghaimmediately. In this way the Bhikkhu Saghawas purged of heretics and bogus bhikkhus. 29. The Third Council This council achieved a number of other importantthings as well. The Elder Moggaliputta Tissa, in order torefute a number of heresies and ensure the Dhammawas kept pure, complied a book during the councilcalled the Kathvatthu. This book consists of twenty-three chapters, and is a collection of discussion (kath)and refutations of the heretical views held by varioussects on matters philosophical. It is the fifth of the sevenbooks of the Abhidhamma Piaka. The members of theCouncil also gave a royal seal of approval to thedoctrine of the Buddha, naming it the Vibhajjavda, theDoctrine of Analysis. 30. The Third Council It is identical with the approved Theravda doctrine. One of themost significant achievements of this Dhamma assembly andone which was to bear fruit for centuries to come, was theEmperors sending forth of monks, well versed in the BuddhasDhamma and Vinaya who could recite all of it by heart, to teachit in nine different countries. These Dhammadta monksincluded the Venerable Majjhantika Thera who went to Kashmirand Gandhra. He was asked to preach the Dhamma andestablish an order of monks there. 31. The Third Council The Venerable Mahdeva was sent toMahinsakamaaa (modern Mysore) and theVenerable Rakkhita Thera was dispatched toVanavs (northern Kanara in the south of India.)The Venerable Yonaka Dhammarakkhita Therawas sent to Upper Aparantaka (northern Gujarat,Kathiawar, Kutch and Sindh]. 32. The Third Council The Venerable Mahrakkhita Thera went toYonaka-loka (the land of the lonians, Bactriansand the Greeks.) The Venerable MajjhimaThera went to Himavanta (the place adjoiningthe Himalayas.) The Venerable Soa and theVenerable Uttara were sent to Suvaabhmi[now Myanmar]. The Venerable MahindaThera, The Venerable Ittiya Thera, theVenerable Uttiya Thera, the Venerable SambalaThera and the Venerable Bhaddasla Therawere sent to Tambapai (now Sri Lanka). 33. The Third Council The Dhamma missions of these monkssucceeded and bore great fruits in thecourse of time and went a long way inennobling the peoples of these lands withthe gift of the Dhamma and influencingtheir civilizations and cultures. With the spread of Dhamma through thewords of the Buddha, in due course Indiacame to be known as Visvaguru, theteacher of the world. 34. The Third Council In this Third Great congregation of 100people Arahant repeated reading ofScripture Tipitaka (Pali) for nine months.From this starting point PesamuaanBuddhism to spread to the corners of theworld and avoid vanished from the earthsorigin. 35. The Fourth Council The Fourth Council was held in Tambapai [SriLanka] in (Buddhist era) 236 under thepatronage of King Vaagmai. The mainreason for its convening was the realization thatis was now not possible for the majority of monksto retain the entire Tipiaka in their memories ashad been the case formerly for the VenerableMahinda and those who followed him soon after.Therefore, as the art of writing had, by this timedeveloped substantially, it was thought expedientand necessary to have the entire body of theBuddhas teaching written down. 36. The Fourth Council King Vaagmai supported the monksidea and a council was held specifically toreduce the Tipiaka in its entirety to writing.Therefore, so that the genuine Dhammamight be lastingly preserved, theVenerable Mahrakhita and five hundredmonks recited the words of the Buddhaand then wrote them down on palm leaves.This remarkable project took place in acave called, the loka lena, situated in thecleft of an ancient landslip near what is 37. The Fourth Council Thus the aim of the Council was achievedand the preservation in writing of theauthentic Dhamma was ensured. Later, inthe Eighteenth Century, KingVijayarjasha had images of the Buddhacreated in this cave. 38. The Fifth Council The Fifth Council took place in Mndalay, Burmanow known as Myanmar in (Buddhist era) 450 inthe reign of King Mindon. The chief objective ofthis meeting was to recite all the teachings of theBuddha and examine them in minute detail tosee if any of them had been altered, distorted ordropped. It was presided over by threeElders, the Venerable MahtheraJgarbhivasa, the VenerableNarindbhidhaja, and the Venerable MahtheraSumagalasmi in the company of some twothousand four hundred monks (2,400). 39. The Fifth Council Their joint Dhamma recitation lasted forfive months. It was also the work of thiscouncil to cause the entire Tipiaka to beinscribed for posterity on seven hundredand twenty-nine marble slabs in theMyanmar script after its recitation hadbeen completed and unanimouslyapproved. 40. The Fifth Council This monumental task was done by sometwo thousand four hundred erudite monksand many skilled craftsmen who uponcompletion of each slab had them housedin beautiful miniature piaka pagodas on aspecial site in the grounds of KingMindons Kuthodaw Pagoda at the foot ofMndalay Hill where this so called largestbook in the world, stands to this day. 41. The Sixth Council The Sixth Council was called at Kaba Ayein Yangon, formerly Rangoon in eighty-three years after the fifth one was held inMandalay. It was sponsored by theBurmese Government led by the PrimeMinister, the Honorable U Nu. Heauthorized the construction of the MahPsna Gh, the great cave that wasbuilt from the ground up, to serve as thegathering place much like IndiasSattapnni Cave--the site of the first 42. The Sixth Council Upon its completion, the Council met onthe 17th of May, 1954. As in the case ofthe preceding councils, its first objectivewas to affirm and preserve the genuineDhamma and Vinaya. However it wasunique in so far as the monks who tookpart in it came from eight countries. Thesetwo thousand five hundred learnedTheravda monks came from Myanmar,Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka,Thailand and Vietnam. 43. The Sixth Council The late Venerable Mahsi Sayadaw wasappointed the noble task of asking therequired questions about the Dhamma ofthe Venerable BhadantaVicittasrbhivasa TipiakadharaDhammabhagrika who answered allof them learnedly and satisfactorily. By thetime this council met, all the participatingcountries had the Pli Tipiaka renderedinto their native scripts, with the exceptionof India. 44. The Sixth Council The traditional recitation of the DhammaScriptures took two years during which theTipiaka and its allied literature in all the scriptswere painstakingly examined. Any differencesfound were noted down, the necessarycorrections were made and all the versions werethen collated. Happily, it was found that therewas not much difference in the content of any ofthe texts. Finally, after the Council had officiallyapproved them, all the volumes of the Tipiakaand their Commentaries were prepared forprinting on modern presses and published in theMyanmar (Burmese) script. 45. The Sixth Council This notable achievement was made possiblethrough the dedicated efforts of the twothousand five hundred monks and numerouslay people. Their work came to an end inMay, 1956, two and a half millennia after theLord attained Parinibbna. This councilswork was the unique achievement ofrepresentatives from the entire Buddhistworld. The version of the Tipiaka which itundertook to produce has been recognizedas being true to the pristine teachings ofGotama the Buddha and the most 46. The Sixth Council The volumes printed after the SixthSagyana were printed in Myanmarscript. In order to make the volumes to thepeople of India, Vipassana ResearchInstitute started the project to print theTipiaka with its Ahakaths and ikas inDevanagari in the year 1990. 47. History of Tipitaka Tripiaka (Sanskrit; Pali: Tipitaka; Devanagari: Bengali:lit. three baskets) isa traditional term used by various Buddhistsects to describe their various canons ofscriptures. Buddhists of the Theravda schooluse the Pali variant Tipitaka to refer what iscommonly known in English as the Pali Canon.Later Buddhist traditions also use other termsfor their collections of scriptures, such asKangyur (Tibetan Buddhism) and DZng Jng (Far East Mahayana Buddhism). 48. History of Tipitaka As the name suggests, a Tripiakatraditionally contains three "baskets" ofteachings: a Stra Piaka (Sanskrit; Pali:Sutta Pitaka), a Vinaya Piaka (Sanskrit &Pali) and an Abhidharma Piaka (Sanskrit;Pali: Abhidhamma Piaka). 49. History of Tipitaka Each of the Early Buddhist Schools likely hadtheir own recensions of the Tripitaka, whichmainly differed on the subject of Abhidharma. Interms of Vinaya and Sutras, the contents wereremarkably similar. The following survive: Theravda - The complete Tripiaka of theTheravda school, written and preserved in Paliin the Pali Canon Srvstivda - The complete or near-completeTripiaka of the Srvstivda school, written inSanskrit and preserved in Sanskrit, Chinese andTibetan: 50. Srvstivda: Stra Piaka: Sayukta gama - a complete Chinesetranslation was done by Guabhadra duringthe Song dynasty (435-443CE), although twofolios are now missing. Portions also survivein Tibetan translation. Madhyama gama - a complete translationwas done by Saghadeva during the EasternJin dynasty (397-398CE). The Madhyamagama of the Sarvstivda school contains222 stras, in contrast to the 152 suttas in thePli Majjhima Nikya. Portions also survive inTibetan translation. 51. Srvstivda :Stra Piaka: Drgha gama - a "very substantial"portion survives in Sanskrit,[2] and portionssurvive in Tibetan translation. Ekottara gama - a complete version inChinese, translated by Dharmanandi of theFu Qin state (397CE) and altered bySaghadeva in the Eastern Jin, although itmay also be from the Mahsaghikaschool. 52. Srvstivda Vinaya Piaka - survives in Chinesetranslation Abhidharma Piaka - seven books,surviving in Chinese translation 53. Dharmaguptaka - Portions of the Dharmaguptaka Tripiaka, written inGndhr and preserved in Gndhr and Chinesetranslation (see also Gandhran Buddhist Texts): Stra Piaka: Various individual stras in Gndhr Drgha gama - a complete translation into Chinesewas done Buddhayaas and Zhu Fonian in the LateQin dynasty (413 CE). It contains 30 stras incontrast to the 34 suttas of the Theravadin DghaNikya. Vinaya Piaka - survives in Chinese translation Abhidharma Piaka - Various texts in Gndhr 54. Mahsaghika - Portions of the Mahsaghika Tripiaka survive inChinese translation: Stra Piaka - a complete version of the Ekottaragama , translated by Dharmanandi of the Fu Qinstate (397CE) and altered by Saghadeva in theEastern Jin, although it may also be from theSarvstivda school as noted above Vinaya Piaka - survives in Chinese translation. 55. Mahsaka - Portions of the Mahsaka Tripiakasurvive in Chinese translation: Vinaya Piaka - survives in Chinesetranslation. 56. Kyapya - Small portions of the Tipiaka of theKyapya school survive in Chinesetranslation Stra Piaka - an incomplete Chinesetranslation of the Sayukta gama of theKyapya school by an unknowntranslator circa the Three Qin () period(352-431 CE) survives. 57. The End