Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.4.10
Vivādasuttaṃ (How Quarrel Arises!)

The Vinaya1 relates the serious incident referred to in the previous sutta2 about those quarrelling bhikkhus from Kosambi in greater detail. The cause for this strife is referred to in the following abstract description:

“.......Tena kho pana samayena aññataro bhikkhu āpattiṃ3 āpanno4 hoti. So tassā āpattiyā āpattidiṭṭhi hoti; aññe bhikkhū tassā āpattiyā anāpattidiṭṭhino honti. So aparena samayena tassā āpattiyā anāpattidiṭṭhi hoti; aññe bhikkhū tassā āpattiyā āpattidiṭṭhino honti......”
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”At one time a certain bhikkhu had committed an offence. He understood this offence as being an offence, but other bhikkhus didn’t see it as an offence. After some time he then didn’t understand this offence as being an offence, while other bhikkhus maintained the view that this offence was an offence......”

When all was brought before the Buddha his thoughts were that the Saṅgha was going to split apart: “Atha kho bhagavā ‘bhinno bhikkhusaṅgho, bhinno bhikkhusaṅgho’ti.” In spite of his efforts to harmonise the two sides this separation between the two groups was maintained for a long time to such an extent that both sides held their meetings in different places. Finally, after the lay followers declined to support those quarrelling Bhikkhus any longer, these Bhikkhus went to Sāvatthi, where the Buddha was staying, to settle this matter at last. The bhikkhus arrived at Sāvatthi. And the very Bhikkhu, who had originally performed the offence, ultimately changed his perspective and gained insight, and thus the Saṅgha could be reconciled:

‘‘āpatti esā, nesā anāpatti. Āpannomhi, namhi anāpanno. Ukkhittomhi5, namhi anukkhitto. Dhammikenamhi kammena ukkhitto akuppena ṭhānārahenā6’’ti
. -
“This was an offence, not no offence. I have fallen, I was not unfallen. I was suspended, not unsuspended. And I was suspended by a formal righteous act, not to be changed, acceptable for good reason.”

Why vivāda ( lit.: -“speaking against” - translated as: dispute, contention, quarrel) originates can be understood from two angles. One perspective originates from the angle of ‘worldy’ causes for quarrels that are based in any one of six respective mental states and the deluded intention of the individual who gives rise to such quarrels. These are highlighted in the Vivādamūlasuttaṃ as sixfold: kodha, makkha, issā, sāṭheyya, pāpicchatā, sandiṭṭhiparāmāsa - anger, hypocrisy, envy, fraudulence, evil intention and clinging to his own views:

‘‘Chayimāni, bhikkhave, vivādamūlāni. Katamāni cha? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu kodhano hoti upanāhī7. Yo so, bhikkhave, bhikkhu kodhano hoti upanāhī so sattharipi agāravo viharati appatisso, dhammepi agāravo viharati appatisso, saṅghepi agāravo viharati appatisso, sikkhāyapi na paripūrakārī hoti. Yo so, bhikkhave, bhikkhu satthari agāravo viharati appatisso, dhamme agāravo viharati appatisso, saṅghe agāravo viharati appatisso, sikkhāya na paripūrakārī so saṅghe vivādaṃ janeti, yo hoti vivādo bahujanāhitāya bahujanāsukhāya bahuno janassa anatthāya ahitāya dukkhāya devamanussānaṃ. ……-……
“There are, O’Bhikkhus, six causes for disputes. What are the six? Here, Bhikkhus, a Bhikkhu develops anger and grudge. Being thus angry and hostile he lives without respect and esteem for the Teacher, the Dhamma and likewise for the Saṅgha. He does not fulfil the requirements for his training. Such a Bhikkhu living without respect and esteem for the Teacher, the Dhamma and likewise for the Saṅgha, not fulfilling the requirements for his training will create dispute in the Saṅgha, that leads to the harm of many, to unhappiness of many, and will bring downfall and ruin for many beings and suffering to gods and mankind. …….”

“…… Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhu makkhī hoti paḷāsī8…pe… issukī hoti maccharī… saṭho hoti māyāvī… pāpiccho hoti micchādiṭṭhi… sandiṭṭhiparāmāsī hoti ādhānaggāhī9 duppaṭinissaggī10. Yo so, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sandiṭṭhiparāmāsī hoti ādhānaggāhī duppaṭinissaggī, so sattharipi agāravo viharati appatisso, dhammepi agāravo viharati appatisso, saṅghepi agāravo viharati appatisso, sikkhāyapi na paripūrakārī hoti. Yo so, bhikkhave, bhikkhu satthari agāravo viharati appatisso, dhamme…pe… saṅghe agāravo viharati appatisso, sikkhāya na paripūrakārī, so saṅghe vivādaṃ janeti, yo hoti vivādo bahujanāhitāya bahujanāsukhāya bahuno janassa anatthāya ahitāya dukkhāya devamanussānaṃ…….”
“……Here, Bhikkhus, a Bhikkhu develops hypocrisy and malice…... again, a Bhikkhu develops envy and stinginess …… again, a Bhikkhu develops fraudulence and lives deceitful…….. again, a Bhikkhu lives with evil intention and wrong view …..again, a Bhikkhu develops his own views, clings to them stubbornly and hardly lets loose. Thus he lives without respect and esteem for the Teacher, the Dhamma and likewise for the Saṅgha. He does not fulfil the requirements for his training. Such a Bhikkhu living without respect and esteem for the Teacher, the Dhamma and likewise for the Saṅgha not fulfilling the requirements for his training will create dispute in the Saṅgha, that leads to the harm of many, to unhappiness of many, and will bring downfall and ruin for many beings and suffering to gods and mankind.…….”

The second approach is presented in this Vivādasuttaṃ. It is taken from Akkosavaggo, Aṅguttaranikāyo, Dasakanipātapāḷi, which, just as with the preceding Upālivaggo, present situations where Upāli, who was to preside the first council11, approaches the Buddha. Upāli was not only known as Vinayadharānaṃ, the one most proficient in the discipline12: – ‘‘Etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, mama sāvakānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ vinayadharānaṃ yadidaṃ upāli13 - but also praised by the Buddha in the following manner: “Āpattianāpattiyā14, satekicchāya15 kovido; vinaye agganikkhitto16, upāli satthuvaṇṇito.”17 – “Whether something is an offence or without any guilt, whether it is pardonable, all this is well understood by Upāli, skilled and famous for knowing the Vinaya in detail and is praised by the teacher.”18 Here Upāli asks the Buddha various questions in regard to rules and regulations for the Saṅgha but also about potential causes for schism on which he receives the reply shown in this sutta.

This second approach points out the difficulty that Dhamma may be understood and presented differently amongst the Buddha’s own disciples. The respective causes and explanation for quarrel are given in general terms without going into any detail: “......adhammaṃ dhammoti dīpenti, dhammaṃ adhammoti dīpenti, avinayaṃ vinayoti dīpenti, vinayaṃ avinayoti dīpenti ……” – “……monks declare non-Dhamma as Dhamma, declare Dhamma as non-Dhamma, declare non-Discipline as Discipline, declare Discipline as non-Discipline…...”19

Although these reasons and explanations as found in this sutta are given in abstract terms only - they corroborated their validity not only through the historical accounts of the incident at Kosambi referred to above but also in the period when the Sangha split into various groups.20 Slight differences in interpretations as to how the words of the Buddha should be understood, how disciplinary rules laid out by the Buddha should be followed unfortunately provided sufficient reasons for splits and serious separations and controversies in times to come.21
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[1] Kosambakavivādakathā, Kosambakakkhandhako, Mahāvaggapāḷi, Vinayapiṭake

[2] Kosambiyasuttaṃ see: 3.4.9

[3] āpatti: offence, guilt, sin

[4] āpanno: āpajjati (pp.): entered upon, fallen to

[5] ukkhittomhi: ukkhipati (pp.): ukkhitta +amhi: suspended + I am

[6] ṭhānārahenā: ṭhāna +arahenā: standing + worthy/fit for

[7] upanāha – enmity, hostility, grudge

[8] paḷāsī- spiteful, unmerciful, malicious

[9] ādhānaggāhī: ādhāna + g + gāhī: depositing + taking up: sticking to what one has taken up, being obstinate

[10] duppaṭinissaggī: du + p + paṭinissaggī: difficult + forsaking, letting lose

[11] see 2.1.6

[12] see 3.4.5, where the Buddha refuses Upāli’s request for solitude in order to get him trained and to understand the rules and regulations that were laid out for the Bhikkhus

[13] Aṅguttaranikāyo, Ekakanipātapāḷi, Etadaggavaggo, Catutthavaggo

[14] āpattianāpattiyā: āpatti + ana + āpattiyā: being guilty + free from guilt

[15] satekicchāya: sa + tekicchāya: with cure: pardonable

[16] agganikkhitto : agga + nikkhitto: the highest + having laid down: highly praised, famed

[17] Khuddakanikāye, Buddhavaṃsapāḷi, Ratanacaṅkamanakaṇḍaṃ

[18] In Upālisaṅghasāmaggīpucchā, Kosambakakkhandhako, Mahāvaggapāḷi, Vinayapiṭake the Venerable Upāli approaches the Buddha and asks him about reasons how strife in the Order can arise and how unanimity amongst the Saṅgha could be maintained.

[19] In the Vinaya (Aṭṭhārasavatthukathā, Kosambakakkhandhako, Mahāvaggapāḷi, Vinayapiṭake) the Venerable Sāriputta asks the Buddha what qualifies someone to speak the Dhamma correctly from someone who doesn’t: - ‘‘Kathāhaṃ, bhante, jāneyyaṃ dhammaṃ vā adhammaṃ vā’’ti?
The following eight further distinctions added to those ten presented in this sutta refer to the interpretations of offenses - (taking offense as no offense; no offense as offense, a slight offense as a serious one; a serious one as slight; an offense that can be rectified as one not being rectifiable and vice versa; a coarse offense as a not coarse one and vice versa)- which in addition to the above ones make them eighteen: Aṭṭhārasahi kho, sāriputta, vatthūhi adhammavādī jānitabbo. Idha, sāriputta, bhikkhu adhammaṃ dhammoti dīpeti, dhammaṃ adhammoti dīpeti; avinayaṃ vinayoti dīpeti, vinayaṃ avinayoti dīpeti; abhāsitaṃ alapitaṃ tathāgatena bhāsitaṃ lapitaṃ tathāgatenāti dīpeti, bhāsitaṃ lapitaṃ tathāgatena abhāsitaṃ alapitaṃ tathāgatenāti dīpeti; anāciṇṇaṃ tathāgatena āciṇṇaṃ tathāgatenāti dīpeti, āciṇṇaṃ tathāgatena anāciṇṇaṃ tathāgatenāti dīpeti; apaññattaṃ tathāgatena paññattaṃ tathāgatenāti dīpeti, paññattaṃ tathāgatena apaññattaṃ tathāgatenāti dīpeti; anāpattiṃ āpattīti dīpeti, āpattiṃ anāpattīti dīpeti; lahukaṃ āpattiṃ garukā āpattīti dīpeti, garukaṃ āpattiṃ lahukā āpattīti dīpeti; sāvasesaṃ āpattiṃ anavasesā āpattīti dīpeti, anavasesaṃ āpattiṃ sāvasesā āpattīti dīpeti; duṭṭhullaṃ āpattiṃ aduṭṭhullā āpattīti dīpeti, aduṭṭhullaṃ āpattiṃ duṭṭhullā āpattīti dīpeti – imehi kho, sāriputta, aṭṭhārasahi vatthūhi adhammavādī jānitabbo.
With slight variations to ten roots for disagreement as regards to the offenses see Dutiyavivādamūlasuttaṃ, Akkosavaggo which adds sappaṭikammaṃ - redress as without redress and vice versa : ‘‘Dasa kho, upāli, vivādamūlāni. Katamāni dasa? Idhupāli, bhikkhū anāpattiṃ āpattīti dīpenti, āpattiṃ anāpattīti dīpenti, lahukaṃ āpattiṃ garukāpattīti dīpenti, garukaṃ āpattiṃ lahukāpattīti dīpenti, duṭṭhullaṃ āpattiṃ aduṭṭhullāpattīti dīpenti, aduṭṭhullaṃ āpattiṃ duṭṭhullāpattīti dīpenti, sāvasesaṃ āpattiṃ anavasesāpattīti dīpenti, anavasesaṃ āpattiṃ sāvasesāpattīti dīpenti, sappaṭikammaṃ āpattiṃ appaṭikammāpattīti dīpenti, appaṭikammaṃ āpattiṃ sappaṭikammāpattīti dīpenti. Imāni kho, upāli, dasa vivādamūlānī’’ti.

[20] see 2.1.8 and 2.1.9

[21] see 3.2.10
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Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.4.10

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Last modified: Thursday, 14 January 2016, 7:36 PM