Monday, 28 March 2011

Composing New Texts to Disprove Wrong Views

The earliest example of composing new text to disprove wrong views is the composing of KathAvatthuppakAraNa by elder Moggaliputatissa in 217 B.C (the treatise on points of controversy). It was done in completion of AbhidhammapiTaka and it was one of the major tasks that was completed in the third Buddhist council under the patronage of emperor Dhammasoka and with the participation of one thousand monks. The tradition believed that the other treatise of canonical Abhidhamma was produced by Arahant SAriputta and following his method of analysis the KathAvatthuppakAraNa was composed. The theravAda tradition therefore maintains that KathAvatthuppakAraNa to have the contribution of two elders, namely, elder ßAriputta giving method and elder Moggaliputtatissa improved on it.

      In present Kathavatthu (KV) incorporates the introduction to the text says it was composed for disproving 500 points (paJcasata paravAde vinetum) and to establish 500 right views (paJcasatasakavAde Thapetum). Accordingly there must be one thousand points discussed, but it is different from the exact number. The scholar who was studied about KathAvatthuppakAraNa say that sometimes the original book has not come down to us, what we have is only a part of that. This could be true for the presently available work discusses only points to be rejected. None in it is dealing with topics to be approved.
      The background of composing this significant work highlights the developing of Buddhism in few angles. Around this time period is important to study the development of Buddhist schools their philosophies modes of discipline and even some significant personalities. Up to the second Buddhist council the disciples of the Buddha function as a single organization. After the Buddha with the first schism dividing the community into two main groups that is †heravAda and µahAsaGghIka, led to the emergence of a number of school. It is said they were 18 in number at the time of third Buddhist council. A rough picture of the evolution those schools follow. 

The beginning point of the emergence of Buddhist schools in this manner was the rejection of ten improper disciplinary practice maintained by Vajjiputtaka monks. Historical sources like µahAvaMsa and IpavaMsa informs us that Theravada monks rejected those ten points subsequently other monks guided by Vajjiputtakas established the tradition called µahAsanGhIka.

      Nevertheless we have a different records in Chinese sources and that maintain even the µahAsanGhIkas rejected the ten points practiced by Vajjiputakas. When we compare and contrast these sources, it is not justifiable that so called ten points caused the schism.

Therefore modern scholars like E.J. Thomas, (History of Buddhist Thought) argue that that the first schism in Buddhist order could have arisen sometimes before second council was held.

      This information is further strengthened by facts that were developing, in this time against the supremacy and nobility of the perfect one (arahanta). As there were some senior monks who did not readily accept what was rehearsed at the first council- that is elder PuraNA, there is information in the record of ßammitIya school that elder Bhadra maintained with following given views as the weakness of aranhant.

1.   Accomplished one would have desire.
2.   Accomplished one would have ignorance
3.   Accomplished one would have doubt
4.   Accomplished one is to be mode free from samsAra by another
5.   By the utterance of certain word one can attain liberation.
These records further say that at one time there was a gathering of monks at the city of PAtalIputta where those monks agreed that all arahants have these weaknesses. Those monks who agreed the view of elder Bhadra was called since then µahAsaGghIka.                                                                                   
      All these five facts stand for devaluating       the supremacy and nobility of arahant. They give an insight that the arahant is none other than normal monks with regard to his spiritual attainments. In later µahAyAna texts, like ßaddharmapuNDarIkasutra (the discourse of the lotus of true doctrine). These ideas were further developed in philosophical sense. The sole aim of such work was to bring down the supreme place assigned for the arahants. Clues of such ideas have been treated in KathAvatthuppakAraNa under parihAnikathA giving the idea that they are points that occurs in time of decline.
      Those who developed the arahant ideal highlighted the idea of Boddhisattva (the aspirant Buddha) on the other hand. For doing that they developed theories, literatures and concepts. As the result the human quality of the Buddha’s biography were transformed into supernormal states. The beginning record of such transformation is found in µahAsaGgIka texts. 

      Opposite to µahAsaIka the sthAviravAda was working and functioning. This means difference which led to the birth of more and more schools, are as follows.

1.   Different views on the Buddha and Buddha, nature
2.   Different views on the nature and philosophical word
3.   Different views on the soul and re-incarnation
4.   Different views on the  person and personality
5.   Different views on the ethic an epistemology.

With the presentation of new theories on the above ideas, eighteen schools emerged under main two major traditions. The two traditions are ßthAviravAda and µahAsaGgIkA . Professor M.B. Barua maintains that the emergence of Buddhist schools was not a decline, but it is a significant development about Buddhist thought. Buddhism was rejuvenated and saved from its natural death due to the emergence of Buddhist schools.  Only with this Buddhism had new developments, news thoughts, and new appearances so that it to be applicable to a big portion of humanity in different lands. 

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