Monday, 28 March 2011

Kuddanukuddasikkha (Minor rules)


The MahaparinibbAnasutta of DN the following sentences were recorded
Akankhamano Ānanda saGgho mamaccayena khuddAnukkhuddakAni sikkhApadAni samuUanatu” (O Ānanda! may the desiring sangha change minor disciplinary rules after me). At the end of the recitation of vinaya at the first council Ven. Ānanda informed the gathering that Buddha has permitted monks to change minor rules when they wish to do so. Then the community questioned Ānanda whether he had clarified what they were. The later answered in negative. The matter was discussed in the council thoroughly yet interpretations were many then the president Ven. MahAkassapa made the decision not to change any rule enunciated by the Buddha no matter whether they were big or small and the gathering agreed with this conclusion.

Elder MahAkassapa’s decision based on a particular laid by the Buddha in the discourse of Great demise (µahAparinnibanasutta, DN).

YAvakIvaJca bhikkhave bhikkhU apaJJattaM na paJJapessanti paJJattaM na samucchindissanti yathA paJJatesu sikkhApadesu samAdAya vattissanti vuddhiyeva bhikkhave bhikkhUnaM patikankhA no parihAni

=O monks! As far as monks declare do not promulgate what is not promulgated, do not violet what is promulgated, live observed in promulgated precepts well. O. monks a progress is desirable for monks, not a downfall”

Secondly, elder MahAkassapa addressing monks said that even lay- people knows what is good and what is bad for monks. Just after the Buddha’s demise if we change Vinaya rule lay -community may criticized us saying that immediately after the master Death Buddhist followers are violating their code of discipline.

In the BhikkhUvibhaGga we have a PAcittiya rule as follows;

Yo pana bhikkhu pAtimokkhe uddissamAne evaM vadeyya, kiM panimehi khuddAnukhuddakehi sikkhApadehi udditthehi yAvadeva kukkucchAya vihesAya vilekhAya samvattantiti sikkhApadavivanne pAcittiyam

=A monks who may say this in the reciting of PAtimokkha what is the use of reciting minor rules so far as they exist for restlessness tiredness and doubt. In deforming precepts there occur the wrong doing forfeiture.”

This was said when the group of six monks had a discussion on minor rules as in the matter mentioned above. This indication brings into light the fact that even during the time of Buddha there were in conveniences of feelings on minor rules among monks. It could have been the reason for Buddha’s declaring the teaching and code of behaviors as the Master after him.     

In this way there is no doubt about the fact that monks at the first Buddhist council were well aware about the significance of minor disciplinary rules. Definitely they could have thought not to violet them for any reason according to the commentary the Buddha gave permission as “if they wish (AkankhamAno)” well knowing that the community would not violet them in future. The ßumangalavilAsanI (the commentary of ∂hIganikAya by ven. Buddhaghosa) puts it in following form- ßangItikAle Kassapo na samUnissati tasmA vikappeneva Thapesi” (at that time of council elder Kassapo will not change. Therefore He kept in alternative”

This is further confirmed in first council when all participation agreed unanimously on elder Mahakassa’s decision. Based on above data, the Theravada tradition believes that although the Buddha kept the issue on minor rules open he did not wish future monks to alter any of the disciplinary rules major or minor. This is further confirmed from the Buddha’s attitude towards the conduct of monks whenever even minute misbehaviors occurred the Buddha immediately proposed and opposite good behavior to have a better discipline in the community. In the Dhammapada he says the following:

ña tam kammaM kataM sAdhU - yaM katvA anutappati
yassa assumukho rodam - vipakam paTisevati.

=Having done what one repent, of which the one associates the consequence crying with tired face. Not doing of that kamma is good.”

†aJca kammaM kataM sAdhU - yaM katvA nAnutappati
yassapatito sumano - vipakam patisevati.
 = Having done what one does not repents of which one associate the consequence with good mind even after doing that performance of that kamma is good

Accordingly, the view held by Theravada tradition four years is that minor rules should not be changed. Furthermore, this tradition holds that Buddha did not expect that monks would change them in the time to come.

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