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Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 2.1.9 Paṭhamasāmaññasuttaṃ
(About Being a Sāmañña and the Fruits thereof)
While uniformity up to the second council had been maintained amongst the Bhikkhus, - the Mahāvaṃsapāḷi refers to them as Theravādo: “Yā mahākassapādīhi, mahātherehi ādito; katā saddhamma saṅgīti, theriyā’ti pavuccati. Eko’va theravādo so, ādivassasate* ahu*;
aññācariyavādātu*, tato oraṃ ajāyisuṃ*……” – That true Dhamma that was arranged in the beginning by Mahākassapa and other great Theras was called that of the Theras. United (of one) were the Theravādins for the first one hundred years, after that teachings of other teachers were produced.” - this first great split after the second council was the base for further separations, divisions, partitions and disconnections. (see lesson 2.1.11)
While the Mahāsaṅgitas continued to maintain their doctrine which they translated into Sanskrit they mainly resided around Vesāli and soon further fractions amongst the Mahāsaṅgitas arose. The then called orthodox Bhikkhus moved to various places to spread the teaching. But also the Theravādins, who maintained their oral tradition in Pāli are described of having split into different groups and were partly named according to the place of their residence*. The Mahāvaṃsapāḷi presents the picture by summarizing: - Theravādena saha te, honti dvādasi’mepi ca; pubbe vuttachavādā ca, iti aṭṭhārasā khilā. Sattarasāpi dutiye, jātā vasassate iti; aññācariyavādā tu, tato oramajāyisuṃ. …… - Together with those from the Theravādins they are twelfe, with those mentioned previously they make up eighteen. So in the second century arose seventeen groups, and even more teachings of other teachers arose afterwards.
By the time of King Asokā the Saddhammasaṅgaha describes the scene as such: “……228 years after the passing away of the Sammasaṃbuddha all heretics being deprived of honour and patronage so they didn`t get enough to eat and tried to receive the coveted honour and patronage, cut off their hair, dressed themselves in yellow robes, went about the monastries, even entered the assemblies during the Uposatha times. “vihīna lābhasakkara hutvā antamaso ghāsacchādanam* pi alabhantā lābhasakkāraṃ* patthayamānā sayam eva muṇḍe katva kāsāyāni acchādetvā vihāresu vicaranta uposathādhikammaṃ pi pavisanti.”
By this time, the King Asoka had met the pious and tranquile Bhikkhu Nigrodha who had preached him on request the Appamādavagga: ……- sambuddhadesitaṃ dhammaṃ, sāmaṇeramapucchitaṃ. Tassappamādavaggaṃ so, sāmaṇero abhāsatha; taṃ sutvā bhūmipālo so, pasanno jinasāsane …… - and the devotion of the master of the earth in the Sāsana of the Conqueror and his support for the spread of the Dhamma deepened. He used his enormous wealth to build many pagodas and vihāras and to subsidize the Bhikkhus generously. This was the time when more and more unworthy heretics of different sects had entered the Saṅgha by donning their robes in order to gain their revenue. Therefore the foremost Thera Moggaliputta Tissa decided to depart from his disciples to stay all by himself in solitude during the next seven years further up the Gaṅga at the Ahogaṅga-mountain: ……- Uddhaṃ gaṅgāya ekova, ahogaṅgamhi pabbate; vihāsi sattavassāni, viveka manubrūhayaṃ*…… - and no further Uposatha ceremony was held: “……Because of the great number of disruptive monks were unmanable to could not be controlled by the regulations of Dhamma the Bhikkhus did not perform the ceremony of Uposatha nor that of Pavāraṇā* for seven years in any of the parks of Jambudīpa* where they were usually held: -Titthiyānaṃ bahucattā ca, dubbaccattā ca bhikkhavo; tesaṃ kātuṃ na sakkhiṃsu, dhammena paṭisedhanaṃ*. Teneva jambudīpamhi, sabbārāmesu bhikkhavo; sattavassāni nākaṃsu, uposatha pavāraṇaṃ……. When this came to the notice of King Asoka in his urge to improve the situation he commanded his minister to go to the splendig Asokārāma and to take care that the ceremony was to be carried out: Taṃ sutvā mahārājā, dhammāsoko mahāyaso; ekaṃ amaccaṃ pesesi, asokārāmamuttamaṃ. Gantvādhikaraṇaṃ etaṃ, vupasamma uposathaṃ; kārehi bhikkhusaṅghena, pamārāme tuvaṃ iti.
The Bhikkhus but refused to hold the ceremony in this kind of false, deceitful company. Finally the King called upon the remote living Thera Moggaliputta Tissa's counsel and then adhered to his proposition to rid the Saṅgha of all heretical monks. The King arranged an assembly of Bhikkhus in their full number: …… - kāresi bhikkhusaṅghassa, sannipātamasesato….. and himself questioned the gathered monks about the teachings of the Buddha with the Thera Moggaliputta Tissa checking on the replies. Those who held wrong views were exposed and expelled from the Saṅgha. In this way the Bhikkhu Saṅgha was purified and cleansed of spurious heretics who proclaimed and held wong views: - Kiṃvādī sugato bhante, iti pucchi mahīpati; te sassatādikaṃ diṭṭhiṃ*, byākariṃsu yathāsakaṃ. Te micchādiṭṭhike sabbe, rājā uppabbājāpayī*. King Asoka got thrilled once he found out about those who held right views and confirmed with Thera Moggaliputta Tissa that their replies were in comformity with the teaching of the Buddha: - Apucchi dhammike bhikkhū, kiṃvādī sugato iti; vibhajjavādī* tāhaṃsu, taṃ theraṃ pucchi bhūpati, vibhajjavādī sambuddho, hoti bhante’ti āha so.
So it happened during the seventeenth year of the reign of King Asoka that the Third Council was initiated. Thera Moggaliputta Tissa headed the proceedings during the next nine months at the Asokārāma and chose one thousand monks with higher achievements of the six higher knowledges, well versed in the Tipiṭaka for the traditional recitation and compilation of the Dhamma and the Vinaya: - Thero aneka saṅkhamhā, bhikkhusaṅghā visārade*; chaḷabhiññe tepiṭake, pabhinnapaṭisambhide*. Bhikkhusahassaṃ uccini, kātuṃ* saddhammaṃ saṅgahaṃ; tehi asokārāmamhi, akā* saddhamma saṅgahaṃ.
The Elder Moggaliputta Tissa, in order to refute a number of heresies and to ensure the Dhamma was kept pure, complied a book during the council called the Kathāvatthu. This book consists of twenty-three chapters, and is a collection of discussion (kathā) and refutations of the heretical views held by various sects on philosophicaltopics: - Mahākassapatthero ca, yasatthero ca kārayuṃ; yathā te dhamma saṃgītiṃ, tissattheropi taṃ tathā. Tathāvatthuppakaraṇaṃ, paravādappamaddanaṃ*; abhāsi tissatthero ca, tasmiṃ saṃgīti maṇḍale. Evaṃ bhikkhusahassena, rakkhāya’soka rājino; ayaṃ navahi māsehi, dhamma saṃgīti niṭṭhitā.
For us today the most significant achievement of this Third Council, which thus under the protection of King Asoka was terminated after nine months, was one which was to bear fruit for centuries to come. Again it is said that the great earth approved of the upkeep of the Dhamma by giving a sign at the conclusion of of this significant event: - Saṃgīti pariyosāne, akammittha mahāmahī. It was King Asoka’s errand of sending forth fully enlightened well versed Theras as dhammadūtas to the neighbouring countries to spread the Dhamma beyond the limtis of India. For this mission India later was known to be Visvaguru, the teacher of the world.
Understanding this wholesome decision and the immeasurable benefits millions of beings derived thereof we understand the wish of the great Sayagi U Ba Khin to pay back the debt of gratitude towards India. (see 2.1.12)
Pāli lesson (with audio) 2.1.9
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*aññācariyavādātu: añña + ācariya + vāda : of other + teachers + sayings, teachings
Last modified: Monday, 14 December 2015, 8:31 AM