Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 2.1.10: Dutiyasāmaññasuttaṃ
(The Purpose of Being a Sāmañña)
It was this noble mission of King Asoka that enabled the Buddha`s teaching to spread beyond the limits of India and to survive in the neighbouring countries. Thera Moggaliputta envisioned the future (pekkhamāno anāgata) and in the month of Kattikā (October/November - the last month of the rainy season) he sent forth the following Theras beyond the borders of Majjhimadesa: Thera Majjhantika to Kasmīra and Gandhāra; Thera Mahādeva to Mahisamaṇḍalaṃ; Thera Rakkhita to Vanavāsa; Thera D hammarakkhita to Aparantaka; Thera Mahādhammarakkhita to Mahāraṭṭha; Thera Mahārakkhita to the country of Yona; Thera Majjhima to the Himalaya region; the Theras Soṇa and Uttara to Myanmar; Thera Mahāmahinda along with his disciples the Theras Iṭṭiya, Uttiya, Sambala and Bhaddasāla to the country of Lanka on order to establish the teaching of the conqueror there, as related in the Mahāvaṃsapāḷi:
Theraṃ kasmīragandhāraṃ, majjhantikamapesayi; apesayī* mahādevattheraṃ mahisamaṇḍalaṃ. Vanavāsiṃ apesayi, theraṃ rakkhitanāmakaṃ; tathā’parantakaṃ yona-dhammarakkhitanāmaka Mahāraṭṭhaṃ mahādhamma-rakkhitatthera nāmakaṃ; mahārakkhita theraṃ taṃ, yona lokamapesayi. Pesesi* majjhimaṃ theraṃ, himavantapadesakaṃ; suvaṇṇabhūmiṃ there dve, soṇamuttara meva ca. Mahāmahindattheraṃ taṃ, thera iṭṭiyamuttiyaṃ; sambalaṃ bhaddasālañca, sake saddhivihārike. Laṇkādīpe manuññamhi, manuññaṃ jinasāsanaṃ; patiṭṭhāpetha tumhe’ti, pañca there apesayi.
It were those neighbouring countries, especially Laṇka and Myanmar who developed close bonds and maintained their relationship over the centuries. The Fourth Council was held in Tambapaṇṇi, in Laṇka* to where Mahāmahindatthera had gone, under the patronage of King Vaṭṭagāmaṇi who reigned from 29 to 17 B.C. The main reason for it was the apprehension that is became now less possible for the majority of monks to retain the entire three Piṭakas and the Aṭṭhakatha in Pāḷi* in their memories in order to convey the teaching orally as had been the case with the Bhikkhus of old: …… Piṭakattayapāḷiñca, tassa aṭṭhakathampi ca; mukhapāṭhena* ānesuṃ*, pubbe bhikkhū mahāmati. - Seeing that people were falling away in order that the Dhamma may endure long they wrote them down in books: Hāniṃ disvāna sattānaṃ, tadā bhikkhū samāgatā; ciraṭṭhitatthaṃ dhammassa, potthakesu likhāpayuṃ……
During former times, although the art of writing on plam leaves seems already have been used for administrational purposes, it was the tradition for bhikkhus and śamanas of all traditions to maintain their textural knowledge by heart. Tipiṭakadharas, who knew the complete Tipiṭaka may have been rare, but it was customary for a bhikkhu to know a certain Nikāya. it had developed by this time.
The Saddhammasaṅgaha summarizes the events of the Fourth Council that was convened by sixty eight great Theras completely freed from their āsava in the monastery of Thūpārama, steered and set forth by Mahāmahindatthera and Thera Ariṭṭha at the first Pavāraṇa-day in the month of Kattika: - Āyasmā ariṭṭhatthero mahindatthera pamukhehi aṭṭha saṭṭhiya paccekagaṇehi khīṇāsavamahātherehi parivuto mahāpaṭhama kattikapavāraṇadivase* thūpārāmaviharamajjhe - The Vinaya as taught by the brightened compassion of the teacher was expounded, which explains the reason for the regulations as laid out by the Bhagava removing the struggle of physical and verbal actions - …… satthu karūnādīpakaṃ bhagavato anusitthakāranaṃ* kāyakammavacīkamma vipphanditavinayakaraṃ* vinayapiṭakaṃ pakāsesi*. At the end of this Forth Saṅgīti, which re-confimed thus the Dhamma and Vinaya the great earth quaked again as to show that the Sāsana was thus made to continue further on: dhammañcavinayañca samgāyiṃsu evaṃ dhammavinayañca samgāyanto mahāmahindatthero laṅkādīpe sāsanassa mūlaṃ otāretvā catuttha saṅgītiṃ akāsi. Saṅgīti pariyosāne anekappakāro mahāpaṭhavikampo ahosi……
Pāli lesson (with audio) 2.1.10
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*kattikapavāraṇadivase: kattika + pavāraṇa + divase: the month of Kattika + Pavāraṇa + the day of
*apesayī: aor. peseti: to send forth
*pesesi: altern.aor. peseti: to send forth
*There was another Fourth Council inaugurated in India propably in Kashmir at around 78 C.E. which was held to unify and collect the respective diverse teachings of the various groups that had disperged from the Mahāsaṅgitas. It was held under the patronage of King Kaṇiṣka during the supportive rulership of the Kushāṇas.
*In Laṇka had developed also two different partly controversing traditions, the Abhayagiris and the monks of the Mahāvihāra. This Forth Council was inaugurated by monks of the Mahāvihāra who maintained the tradition of the Theravāda. Both traditions centuries later finally merged and maintained the Theravāda-tradition as it is found today.
*mukhapāṭhena: mukha + pāṭhena: mouth + by recitation
*ānesuṃ: aor. āneti: to bring forward, convey
*anusitthakāranaṃ: doing as instructed
*vipphandati: to struggle, vinayakaraṃ: removal; kāyakammavacīkamma vipphanditavinayakaraṃ
*pakāseti: to make known, expound, proclaim