Monday, 28 March 2011

Protecting Original Teachings Free from Pollutions.


It is well- known that sometime after the demise of Buddha schism arose in the order of monks for many reasons such as philosophical matters disciplinary matters and teacher tradition disagreement. When we examine the nature of the order when the Buddha was alive it is clear the germs of later disagreements were seen in the early days themselves. Each and everybody who entered the order were not genuinely bound for the purpose of which they renounced the home life. Once, elder Dabbamattaputta was assigned to arrange beds for monks at the monastery. He prepared beds separately for Suttantika, Vinayadharas, Dhammakatikas and meditators. He also arranged beds separately for other monks who had big bodies who engaged in muscle development and engaged in inferior conversation.

Ye te bhikkhU tiracchAna kathikA kAyadaDDhibahulA tesampi ekajjhaM senAsanaM paJJapeti
From monks of this nature nor a practice or good behaviors could be expelled. They were not interested in practicing Dhamma and Vinaya but this aspiration were mean and their practices were led to those mean ideas.

            Elder Devadatta accompanied with his disciples  Kokalika and Samuddadatta attempted to create a schism demanding for five boons (paJcavara). They are as follows:

1.   RukkhamUlika –living at tree food
2.  PansakUlika – wearing cemetery cloth
3.  PiNDapAtika living on begged food
4.   Na mamsabhakkhaka – vegetarian
5.   ĀraJJika – forest dweller

The Buddha’s respond to them was that he would not insist any monks to do so. But he permitted to perform so those who preferred those practices. Then elder Devaddata made a breach in congregation of monks with the consent of lay-supporters who admire austerity among bhikkhus accompanying a group of monks and nuns of Buddhist disciples.

There were some male disciples who were out of the Buddha’s control according to the Koasambiyasutta of MN. According to its commentary their problem was over a trivial disciplinary matters leaving some water in the bucket in the washing room caused that problem. The master constant advices were unable to settle down the congregation. The Buddha at last left GositarAma at Kosambi and entered the forest Parileyya where he found peace in solitude. The rivalry at Kosambi remained until the lay-supporters decision not to support order till the Buddha returns.

These two classic examples shows that even within the order there were monks who conducted out of the disciplinary code and caused serious damage to the unity of Buddha’s disciples.

A monk named Arittha generated a wring view (micchadiTThi) on dangerous factors (antarayikadhamma) as revealed by the ålaggadhUpamasutta of MN.

†athAhaM bhagavatA dhammaM desitaM AjAnAmi yathA ye me antarAyikA dhammA antarAyikA vuttA bhagavatA , te patisevanAya nAlaM antarAyAti .”

=I know the teaching of the Buddha declared so as by the Buddha that these dangerous factors are dangerous by association of them no danger will occur.

The Buddha responds to the wrong view illustrating the simile of snake. MahAtaNhAsankhAyasutta of MN records another similar incident where a bhikkhu named Sati misinterpreted the Buddhist concept of consciousness (ViJJAna) in the following words.

†adevidaM viJJAnaM sandhAvati samsArati anaJJaM” (that consciousness which go and move is this itself, not another). This is against Buddhist fundamental and this interpretation is an atonalistic view. Therefore Sati’s view was a serious misinterpretation of Buddhist principle. Yamakasutta of SN records how a monk named Yamaka wrongly interpreted the Buddhist view on the destiny.

†athAhaM bhagavatA dhammaM desitaM AjAnAmi, yathA khINasavA bhikkhu kAyassa ucchijjanti na honti parammaraNA.” (I know as preached by the Buddha as Arahanth monks cut off after the breaking up of body they do not exist after death.)

Ven. Yamaka was interpreting the Buddhist idea of liberation in nihilistic terminology

      In these instances we observed misinterpretation of the dhamma, very significant Buddhist philosophical concept were being wrongly rendered by these monks. Apart from these monks that were mentioned about there were other groups such as Chabbaggiya monks Ven. UdAyi Ven. Sudinna who misbehaved paving the way for the introduction of a number of new disciplinary rules. The examples sited about depict how the monks in the Buddha’s time itself created issue related to the doctrine and discipline.
      Even though such incident took place they were not very effective to make a radical change in the order or doctrine in face of the outstanding personality of the Buddha. The Subbada’s words just after the demise of the Buddha amply represent how they felt free when the Buddha passed away. In the time when the master was alive that avoided expressing their naked thought out of the respect to the Buddha.

      The Buddhist councils took place mainly due to such disturbance that occurred originating from monks who liked to change the doctrine and discipline. All the three councils function for this purpose.
      Herman Oldenberg held the idea that first Buddhist council was not a historical incidence, but it is a fanciful story created by monks. For his decision he derived evidence from the fact that MahAparinibbAnasutta does not bear any indication about first Buddhist council. His view has been reviewd and rejected by number of western and eastern who deeply examined pAli historical documents. Some of those are E.J. Thomas Majunder and Rhy davids. They established the historicity of this council with sound example. It is true that due to this council a number of historical issues that could have arisen in the history of sAsana were prevented.

      A century later the second Buddhist council SattasatikavinayasangIti was held. It was another occasion where vinaya problem occurred when there was sufficient room. The main reason for this was the ten points against vinaya which were practiced by vajjiputtaka monks.

†ena kho pana samayena vassasataparinibbuta bhagavati vesAlikA vajjiputtakA bhikkhU dasavatthUni dIpenti.

Dasa akappika vatthu
1.  Kappati singilona kappo ( keeping salt in a horn and using it is proper)
2.  Kappati gvangula kappo ( taking food when the sun has passed two inches being proper to have)
3.  Kappat gAmantara kappo ( when decided to go to another village it is proper to use extra food even though not properly given)
4.  Kappati AvAsa kappo ( it is proper to perform sanghakamma at different places of the premises of single monastery)
5.  Kappati anumati kappo (it is proper to perform vinaya kamma separately without taking the consent of co-resident or with the idea of taking it later.)
6.  Kappati Acinna kappo ( it is proper to practice whatever practiced by teacher even by the student)
7.  Kappati amathita kappo ( it is proper to take milk in the state when it is neither ghee nor curd)
8.  Kappati jalogi patum kappo ( it is proper to drink unfermented toddy)
9.  Kappati adasaka nisIdana ( it is proper to use half served sitting cloth)
10. Kappati jAtarUparajataM ( it is proper to use forms of money)

The purpose of second council was in main to justify whether practices were for or against vinaya. The participations in the council decided to reject them completely. Because they believed that giving permission to them would be conducive to empower adhamma and avinaya. Therefore second Buddhist council was concluded rejecting the ten points of practices of Vajjiputtaka monks deciding that they are completely against original vinaya. CullavaggapAli records how Ven. Yasa highlighted the Significance of rejecting them.

Handa mayaM bhante imaM AdhikaraNaM AdiyissAna pure adhammo dippati dhammo patibAhIyati, avinayo dippati vinayo patibAhIyati. Pure adhammavAdino balavantA honti dhammavAdino dubbalA honti avinayavAdino balavantA hoti vinayavAådino  dubbalo hoti’’

=Now o, Venerable! Sir shall we consider this matter of discussion. In future the wrong doctrine will shine good doctrine will decline wrong vinayo will shine and good vinayo will decline. In the future the holder of the wrong doctrine will be powerful and holders of good dhamma will be weak. The holder of wrong vinaya will be powerful and the holder of good vinaya will be weak.”             
In the second Buddhist council monks were successful in taking measure to protect dhamma and vinaya as was done in the first council.
At third Buddhist council named ßAhassikadhammasaGghIti was held to purify the order of monks as it had been destructively polluted by the extremes of the holders of wrong views (aJJatiTThiyA) in the order.
At this period discipline monks had abandoned performing vinayakamma as order was consisting with a big considerable number of wrong view-holders. To purify the order form this situation the third Buddhist council was held. At åsokarAmavihAra at PAtaliputta the council was chaired by Ven. Moggaliputtatissa thera and it was sponsored by Emperor Asoka. One thousand monks participated in the council. And therefore it is called sahassikasanghiti. Those who answered when questioned that the Buddha is a Vibbajjavadin were considered as true disciple of Buddhism. Sixty thousand who answered otherwise were disrobing. It is said king gave white cloths and occupation for them. After that the council was held. In the council elder Moggaliputtatissa compiled KathAvatthuppakAraNa establishing 500 right views and rejecting 500 hundred wrong views.
 In these three councils elder monks worked with a great responsibility to protect the pure tradition of Buddhism and Buddhist order. Due to their selfless attempt the words of the Buddha were protected in original purity. Their main purpose was to maintain dhamma a without pollution. 

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