Buddhist councils

Since the death of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhist monastic communities have periodically convened to settle doctrinal and disciplinary disputes and to revise and correct the contents of the sutras. These gatherings, referred to by historians as 'Buddhist councils', are recorded in the Buddhist sutras as having begun immediately following the death of the Buddha and have continued into the modern era.

The number, dating, and ordering of the councils typically employed in Western academia is based primarily on Theravada historical chronicles — regional or sectarian gatherings not involving the Mahavihara Theravada lineage may be regarded as equivalent in significance by other traditions. The earliest councils — for which there is little historical evidence outside of the sutras — are regarded as canonical events by every Buddhist tradition, while some later councils have primarily been concerned only with the Theravada tradition.

First Buddhist council (c. 400 BCE)

According to the scriptures of all Buddhist schools, the first Buddhist Council was held soon after the death of the Buddha, dated by the majority of recent scholars around 400 BCE,[1] under the patronage of the king Ajatashatru with the monk Mahakasyapa presiding, at Sattapanni caves Rajgriha (now Rajgir). Its objective was to preserve the Buddha's sayings (suttas) and the monastic discipline or rules (Vinaya). The Suttas were recited by Ananda, and the Vinaya was recited by Upali. Western scholarship has suggested that the Abhidhamma Pitaka was likely composed starting after 300 BCE because of differences in language and content from other Sutta literature.[2][3]

Some scholars of Indian Buddhism have questioned the event's historicity.[4]

The circumstances surrounding the First Buddhist Council are recorded in the Vinaya Pitaka of the early Buddhist schools. The text is called the Recitation of Five-Hundred (Pañcasatikakkhandhaka) because five hundred senior monks were chosen by the community to collect and clarify the Buddha's teachings.

Second Buddhist council

The historical records for the so-called "Second Buddhist Council" derive primarily from the canonical Vinayas of various schools. In most cases, these accounts are found at the end of the Skandhaka portion of the Vinaya. While inevitably disagreeing on points of details, they nevertheless agree that the root dispute was points of vinaya or monastic discipline.

The Second Council resulted in the first schism in the Sangha. Modern scholars see this event as probably caused by a group of reformists called Sthaviras who split from the conservative majority Mahāsāṃghikas.[5] This view is supported by the vinaya texts themselves, as vinayas associated with the Sthaviras do contain more rules than those of the Mahāsāṃghika Vinaya.[6]

Virtually all scholars agree that this second council was a historical event.[7] There is no agreement however on the dating of the event or if it was pre or post Ashoka (304–232 BCE).[8]

It was held at Vaishali under the patronage of King Kalasoka and the presidency of Sabakami.

Third council

Nava Jetavana Temple - Shravasti - 014 King Asoka at the Third Council (9241725897)
Asoka and Moggaliputta-Tissa at the Third Council, at the Nava Jetavana, Shravasti

In striking contrast to the uniform accounts of the Second Council, there are records of several possible "Third Councils". These different versions function to authorize the founding of one particular school or other.

According to the Theravāda commentaries and chronicles, the Third Buddhist Council was convened by the Mauryan king Ashoka at Pātaliputra (today's Patna), under the leadership of the monk Moggaliputta Tissa.[9] Its objective was to purify the Buddhist movement, particularly from opportunistic factions which had been attracted by the royal patronage. The king asked the suspect monks what the Buddha taught, and they claimed he taught views such as eternalism, etc., which are condemned in the canonical Brahmajala Sutta. He asked the virtuous monks, and they replied that the Buddha was a "Teacher of Analysis" (Vibhajjavādin), an answer that was confirmed by Moggaliputta Tissa.[10] The Council proceeded to recite the scriptures once more, adding to the canon Moggaliputta Tissa's own book, the Kathavatthu, a discussion of various dissenting Buddhist views now contained in the Theravāda Abhidhamma Pitaka. This council seems to have been the cause of the split between the Sarvastivada and the Vibhajjavāda schools.[11]

Also, emissaries were sent to various countries in order to spread Buddhism, as far as the Greek kingdoms in the West (in particular the neighboring Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, and possibly even farther according to the inscriptions left on stone pillars by Ashoka). According to Frauwallner (Frauwallner, 1956), several of these missionaries were responsible for founding schools in various parts of India: Majjhantika was the father of the Kasmiri Sarvastivādins; Yonaka Dhammarakkhita may have been the founder of the Dharmaguptaka school; Mahādeva, sent to the Mahisa country may have been the founder of the Mahisasakas; and several teachers travelled to the Himalayas where they founded the Haimavata school, including a certain Kassapagotta, who may be connected with the Kasyapiyas. Relics of some of the Haimavata monks have been excavated at Vedisa in central India.[12] The most famous of the missionaries, and the main focus of interest for these Theravada histories, is Mahinda, who travelled to Sri Lanka where he founded the school we now know as Theravada.

The Theravāda's own Dipavamsa records a quite different Council called the "Great Recital" (Mahāsangiti), which it claims was held by the reformed Vajjiputtakas following their defeat at the Second Council. The Dipavamsa criticizes the Mahasangitikas (who are the same as the Mahasanghikas) for rejecting various texts as non-canonical: the [Vinaya] Parivāra; the 6 books of the Abhidhamma; the Patisambhida; the Niddesa; part of the Jatakas; and some verses. (Dipavamsa 76, 82)

The Mahāsanghika, for their part, remember things differently: they allege, in the Sāriputraparipriccha that there was an attempt to unduly expand the old Vinaya. The Mahasanghikas' own vinaya gives essentially the same account of the Second Council as the others, i.e. they were on the same side.

An entirely different account of Mahāsanghika origins is found in the works of the Sarvāstivāda group of schools. Vasumitra tells of a dispute in Pātaliputra at the time of Ashoka over five heretical points: that an Arahant can have nocturnal emission; that he can have doubts; that he can be taught by another; that he can lack knowledge; and that the path can be aroused by crying "What suffering!". These same points are discussed and condemned in Moggaliputta Tissa's Kathavatthu, but there is no mention of this Council in Theravadin sources. The later Mahavibhasa develops this story into a lurid smear campaign against the Mahasanghika founder, who it identifies as "Mahadeva". This version of events emphasizes the purity of the Kasmiri Sarvastivadins, who are portrayed as descended from the arahants who fled persecution due to Mahadeva.

Fourth Buddhist Councils

By the time of the Fourth Buddhist councils, Buddhism had long since splintered into different schools. The Theravada had a Fourth Buddhist Council in the first century BCE in Tambapanni, i.e. Sri Lanka, at Aloka Lena now Alu Vihara during the time of King Vattagamani-Abaya. However it should be clarified that an anonymous local chieftain had given patronage and not the king, since he was a firm follower of the Abayagir school (a Mahayana Sect.). In fact one of the main reasons for the Council was the cruel policy the king held against the Mahavihara Priests who were Theravadians who were once attacked at the Mahavihara Premises killing many and driving away the others. The temple was destroyed and in its place a Mahayana Temple was built. The other main reasons for the Council were the unstable political situation within the country due to constant invasions which lead the king himself to flee several times and also severe famine. It is said to have been devoted to committing the entire Pali Canon to writing, which had previously been preserved by memory. No mention had been made as to who led this Council, for which the approximate cause would have been the deteriorating status of Buddhism then, and the collective effort by the priesthood to preserve the religion in its purest form therefore not needing a leader(only the fact that the Mahavihara priesthood i.e. Theravada school took part in this recital and compilation had been mentioned).

Another Fourth Buddhist Council was held in the Sarvastivada tradition, said to have been convened by the Kushan emperor Kanishka, in 78 AD at Kundalban in Kashmir. It is said that Kanishka gathered five hundred Bhikkhus in Kashmir, headed by Vasumitra, to systematize the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma texts, which were translated from earlier Prakrit vernacular languages (such as Gandhari in Kharosthi script) into the classical language of Sanskrit. It is said that during the council three hundred thousand verses and over nine million statements were compiled, a process which took twelve years to complete. Although the Sarvastivada are no longer extant as an independent school, its traditions were inherited by the Mahayana tradition. The late Professor Etienne Lamotte, an eminent Buddhologist, held that Kanishka's Council was fictitious.[13] However, David Snellgrove, another eminent Buddhologist, considers the Theravada account of the Third Council and the Sarvastivada account of the Fourth Council "equally tendentious," illustrating the uncertain veracity of much of these histories.[14]

Theravada Buddhist council in 1871 (Fifth Buddhist Council)

Another Buddhist Council, this time presided by Theravada monks took place in Mandalay, Burma, in 1871 in the reign of King Mindon. The chief objective of this meeting was to recite all the teachings of the Buddha and examine them in minute detail to see if any of them had been altered, distorted or dropped. It was presided over by three Elders, the Venerable Mahathera Jagarabhivamsa, the Venerable Narindabhidhaja, and the Venerable Mahathera Sumangalasami in the company of some two thousand four hundred monks (2,400). Their joint Dhamma recitation lasted for five months. It was also the work of this council to approve the entire Tripitaka inscribed for posterity on seven hundred and twenty-nine marble slabs in the Burmese script before its recitation.[15] This monumental task was done by the monks and many skilled craftsmen who upon completion of each slab had them housed in beautiful miniature 'pitaka' pagodas on a special site in the grounds of King Mindon's Kuthodaw Pagoda at the foot of Mandalay Hill where it and the so-called 'largest book in the world', stands to this day. This Council is not generally recognized outside Burma.[16]

Theravada Buddhist council in 1954 (Sixth Buddhist Council)

Chattha Sangāyana
The Sixth Buddhist Council

The Sixth Council was called at Kaba Aye in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) in 1954, 83 years after the fifth one was held in Mandalay. It was sponsored by the Burmese Government led by the then Prime Minister, the Honourable U Nu. He authorized the construction of the Maha Passana Guha, the "great cave", an artificial cave very much like India's Sattapanni Cave where the first Buddhist Council had been held. Upon its completion The Council met on 17 May 1954.

As in the case of the preceding councils, its first objective was to affirm and preserve the genuine Dhamma and Vinaya. However it was unique insofar as the monks who took part in it came from eight countries. These two thousand five hundred learned Theravada monks came from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal. Germany can only be counted as the nationality of the only two western monks in attendance: Venerable Nyanatiloka Mahathera and Venerable Nyanaponika Thera. They both were invited from Sri Lanka. The late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw was appointed the noble task of asking the required questions about the Dhamma of the Venerable Bhadanta Vicittasarabhivamsa who answered all of them learnedly and satisfactorily. By the time this council met all the participating countries had had the Pali Tripiṭaka rendered into their native scripts, with the exception of India.[17]

The traditional recitation of the Buddhist Scriptures took two years and the Tripiṭaka and its allied literature in all the scripts were painstakingly examined and their differences noted down and the necessary corrections made and all the versions were then collated. It was found that there was not much difference in the content of any of the texts. Finally, after the Council had officially approved them, all of the books of the Tipitaka and their commentaries were prepared for printing on modern presses and published in the Burmese script. This notable achievement was made possible through the dedicated efforts of the two thousand five hundred monks and numerous lay people. Their work came to an end on the evening of Vesak, 24 May 1956, exactly two and a half millennia after Buddha's Parinibbana, according to the traditional Theravada dating.

See also

References

  1. ^ Prebish, Charles S. (2008), "Cooking the Buddhist Books: The Implications of the New Dating of the Buddha for the History of Early Indian Buddhism" (PDF), Journal of Buddhist Ethics 15, 1–21
  2. ^ Gombrich 2006, p. 4.
  3. ^ Damien Keown (2004). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-19-157917-2.
  4. ^ Berkwitz, Stephen C. South Asian Buddhism: A Survey, Routledge, 2012, page 43.
  5. ^ Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pg. 88-90.
  6. ^ Skilton, Andrew. A Concise History of Buddhism. 2004. p. 48
  7. ^ "Buddhist council." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008.
  8. ^ Bhikkhu Sujato. Sects & Sectarianism
  9. ^ Berkwitz, Stephen C. South Asian Buddhism: A Survey, Routledge, 2012, page 44.
  10. ^ Berkwitz, Stephen C. South Asian Buddhism: A Survey, Routledge, 2012, page 45.
  11. ^ Berkwitz, Stephen C. South Asian Buddhism: A Survey, Routledge, 2012, page 45.
  12. ^ M. Willis, "Buddhist Saints in Ancient Vedisa", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 11 (2001): 219-28
  13. ^ Teaching of Vimalakirti, Pali Text Society, page XCIII
  14. ^ Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Snellgrove, David. Shambhala. Boston:2003. pg. 46
  15. ^ Bollée in Pratidanam (Kuiper Festschrift), pub Mouton, the Hague/Paris, 1968
  16. ^ Mendelson, Sangha and State in Burma, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1975, pages 276f
  17. ^ http://pariyatti.org/FreeResources/Treasures/ChatthaSangayana/tabid/78/Default.aspx

Bibliography

  • Cousins, L. S. (2001). On the Vibhajjavadins. Buddhist Studies Review, 18 (2), 131-182.
  • Dutt, N. (1998). Buddhist Sects in India. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
  • Frauwallner, E. (1956). The Earliest Vinaya and the Beginnings of Buddhist Literature.
  • Lamotte, E. (1976). History of Indian Buddhism. Paris: Peeters Press.
  • La Vallée Poussin, Louis de (1905). Les conciles bouddhiques, Louvain, J.B. Istas
  • La Vallée Poussin, Louis de (1976). The Buddhist Councils, Calcutt : K.P. Bagchi
  • Law, B. C. (1940, reprinted 1999). The Debates Commentary. Oxford: Pali Text Society.
  • Mukherjee, Biswadeb (1994). The Riddle of the First Buddhist Council - A Retrospection in Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal, No.7, pp. 452~473, 1994
  • Prebish, J. N. (1977). Mahasamghika Origins. History of Religions, pp. 237–72.
  • Prebish, Charles S. (1974). "A Review of Scholarship on the Buddhist Councils"; Journal of Asian Studies 33 (2), 239-254
Abhidharmadīpa

The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.

The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.

Buddhism in Venezuela

Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people (roughly 0.2% of the population). The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

Most identify with the Mahayana tradition, reflecting the religious heritage of their emigrant countries.

However, in the mid-1990s Keun-Tshen Goba (né Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta), together with Jigme Rinzen, founded a meditation center using the Shambhala Training method.

There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.

Buddhist temple

A Buddhist temple is the place of worship for Buddhists, the followers of Buddhism. They include the structures called vihara, chaitya stupa, wat and pagoda in different regions and languages. Temples in Buddhism represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace. Its structure and architecture varies from region to region. Usually, the temple consists not only of its buildings, but also the surrounding environment. The Buddhist temples are designed to symbolize 5 elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Water, and Wisdom.

Fifth Buddhist council

The Fifth Buddhist council (Burmese: ပဉ္စမသင်္ဂါယနာ; Pali: Pañcamasaṃgāyanā) took place in Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar) in 1871 CE under the auspices of King Mindon of Burma (Myanmar). The chief objective of this meeting was to recite all the teachings of the Gautama Buddha according to the Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhism and examine them in minute detail to see if any of them had been altered, distorted or dropped. It was presided over by three elder bhikkhus, Mahathera Jagarabhivamsa, Narindabhidhaja, and Mahathera Sumangalasami in the company of 2400 monks. Their joint Dhamma recitation lasted five months.

The Fifth Buddhist council was a Burmese affair, and most other Buddhist countries were not involved in it. It is not generally recognized outside Burma. It has been argued that, since the Theravadin multinational Sixth Buddhist council received the name of "Sixth Buddhist council", this involved implicitly recognizing the fifth, even though most other nations were not involved in the fifth council, and the results of the fifth council were limited to the Burmese edition of the Pali Canon only. However, there were a number of other councils held in Ceylon and Siam between the fourth and sixth, so the total can be made up in other ways.

First Buddhist council

The First Buddhist council was a gathering of senior monks of the Buddhist order convened just after Gautama Buddha's death in ca. 400 BCE. The story of the gathering is recorded in the Vinaya Pitaka of the Theravadins and Sanskrit Buddhist schools. It is regarded as canonical by all schools of Buddhism, but in the absence of evidence from outside the Buddhist sutras some scholars have expressed doubts as to the event's historicity.

Fourth Buddhist council

Fourth Buddhist Council is the name of two separate Buddhist council meetings. The first one was held in Sri Lanka and is traditionally attributed to the 1st century BCE. In this fourth Buddhist council the Theravadin Pali Canon was for the first time committed to writing, on palm leaves. The second one was held by the Sarvastivada school, in Kashmir around the 1st century CE.

Khandhaka

Khandhaka is the second book of the Theravadin Vinaya Pitaka and includes the following two volumes:

Mahāvagga: includes accounts of Gautama Buddha's and the ten principal disciples' awakenings, as well as rules for uposatha days and monastic ordination.

Cullavagga: includes accounts of the First and Second Buddhist councils and the establishment of the community of bhikkhunis, as well as rules for addressing offenses within the sangha (monastic community).

List of Buddhas

This is a list of historical, contemporary, and legendary figures which at least one school of Buddhism considers to be a Buddha and which have an article on Wikipedia:

Acala

Adi-Buddha

Akshobhya

Amitābha, principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism

Amoghasiddhi

Bhaisajyaguru

Budai

Dīpankara Buddha

Five Tathagatas

Gautama Buddha

Kakusandha

Kassapa Buddha

Koṇāgamana Buddha

Lokesvararaja

Nairatmya

Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)

Padumuttara Buddha

Padmasambhava

Ratnasambhava

Satyanama

Sumedha Buddha

Tara

Tonpa Shenrab

Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya

Vajradhara

Vajrayogini

Yeshe Tsogyal

List of suttas

Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.

List of Digha Nikaya suttas

List of Majjhima Nikaya suttas

List of Samyutta Nikaya suttas

List of Anguttara Nikaya suttas

List of Khuddaka Nikaya suttas

Punna

Pūrṇa Maitrāyanīputra (Sanskrit; Pali: Puṇṇa Mantānīputta, Chinese: 富楼那弥多罗尼子; pinyin: fùlóunàmíduōluónízǐ), also simply known as Pūrṇa (Sanskrit; Pali: Puṇṇa), was an arhat and one of the ten principal disciples of Gautama Buddha.

Second Buddhist council

The Second Buddhist council took place at Vaishali approximately in 383 BCE, seventy years after the Buddha's parinirvāṇa. The Second Council resulted in the first schism in the Sangha, probably caused by a group of rigorist reformists called Sthaviras who split from the majority Mahāsāṃghikas. After unsuccessfully trying to modify the Vinaya, a small group of "elderly members", i.e. sthaviras, broke away from the majority Mahāsāṃghika during the Second Buddhist council, giving rise to the Sthavira sect.

Sixth Buddhist council

The Sixth Buddhist Council (Pali: Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana; Burmese: ဆဋ္ဌမသင်္ဂါယနာ; Sinhala: ඡට්ඨ සංගායනා) was a general council of Theravada Buddhism, held in a specially built cave and pagoda complex at Kaba Aye Pagoda in Yangon, Burma. The council was attended by 2500 monastics from eight Theravada Buddhist countries. The Council lasted from Vesak 1954 to Vesak 1956, its completion coinciding with the traditional 2500th anniversary of the Gautama Buddha's Parinibbāna. In the tradition of past Buddhist councils, a major purpose of the Sixth Council was to preserve the Buddha's teachings and practices as understood in the Theravada tradition.

Over the two-year period, monks (sangīti-kāraka) from different countries recited from their existing redaction of the Pāli Canon and the associated post-canonical literature. As a result, the Council synthesized a new redaction of the Pali texts ultimately transcribed into several native scripts.

Sthavira nikāya

The Sthavira nikāya (Sanskrit "Sect of the Elders"; traditional Chinese: 上座部; ; pinyin: Shàngzuò Bù) was one of the early Buddhist schools. They split from the majority Mahāsāṃghikas at the time of the Second Buddhist council.

Ten Principal Disciples

The ten principal disciples were the main disciples of Gautama Buddha. Depending on the scripture, the disciples included in this group vary. The Vimalakirti Sutra includes:

Shariputra

Śāripūtra (Sanskrit), or Sāriputta (Pāli), is a top master of Wisdom. In Heart Sutra, the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara preaches to him.

Maudgalyayana

Maudgalyāyana (Sk.) or Moggallāna(Pl.), also known as Mahāmaudgalyāyana or Mahāmoggallāna. He is a top master of supernatural powers. Maudgalyayana and Śāriputra were once disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the skeptic, but they became disciples of the Buddha. In Chinese Buddhism, the Mass that Maudgalyayana held to save his mother who had gone to the Hungry Ghost realm (one of the Six realms) is the foundation of ullambana (Ghost Festival).

Mahākāśyapa

Mahākāśyapa (Sk.) or Mahākassapa (Pl.). He was a top master of ascetic training. After the death of Shakyamuni Buddha, he assumes the leadership of the sangha, compiled the Buddha's sayings (suttas) with 500 other disciples (First Buddhist councils), and became the first man who preached the Buddha's teachings directly.

Subhuti

Subhūti (Sk. & Pl.) understood the potency of emptiness. He appears in several Sutras of Mahāyāna Buddhism which teach Śūnyatā (Emptiness or Voidness). He is the subject of the Subhūti Sutta.

Purna Maitrayani-putra

Pūrṇa Maitrāyaniputra (Sk.) or Puṇṇa Mantānīputta (Pl.). He was also called Purna for short. He was the greatest teacher of the Law out of all the disciples. He was the top master of preaching.

Katyayana

Kātyāyana or Mahākātyāyana (Sk.) or Mahākaccāna (Pl.). He understood Shakyamuni Buddha's lecture the best. Although he had only five master in the rural areas, he was permitted to learn Vinaya by the Buddha.

Anuruddha

Anuruddha (Pl.) or Aniruddha (Sk.) was a top master of clairvoyance and the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana). Aniruddha was a cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha. He and Ananda became monks at the same time.

Upali

Upāli (Sk. & Pl.) was a top master of Vinaya. He was born in the Shudra class and worked as a barber, ayurveda vaidya. Buddha had denied the class system, he ranked his disciples according to the order in which they joined. So Upali was ranked ahead of the ex-princes. In the First Buddhist council, the Vinaya was compiled based on his memory.

Rāhula

Rāhula (Sk. & Pl.) was the only son of the Buddha (when he was still Prince Siddhartha) and his wife Princess Pṛthī. He was a scrupulous, strict and shrewd person. When the Buddha went to his hometown, he became the first Sāmanera (novice monk).

Ananda

Ānanda (Sk. & Pl.) listened to the Buddha's teachings the most among the disciples. He was a cousin of the Buddha. Ananda means great delight. After he became a monk, he took care of the Buddha for 25 years, until the Buddha died. In the First Buddhist council, the suttas/sutras were compiled based on his memory. He lived to 120 years old.

Third Buddhist council

The Third Buddhist council was convened in about 250 BCE at Asokarama in Pataliputra, supposedly under the patronage of Emperor Ashoka. This is however disputed, as mention of the council never appears in the Edicts of Ashoka.

The traditional reason for convening the Third Buddhist Council is reported to have been to rid; corruption, the enemies who in guise of supporters infiltrated the Sangha, and monks who held heretical views. The council recommended the ruler Ashoka to expel sixty thousand brahmanic spies as well as reevaluate the Pāli Canon.It was presided over by the elder monk Moggaliputta-Tissa and one thousand monks participated in the Council. The council is recognized and known to both the Theravada and Mahayana schools, though its importance is central only to the Theravada.

Thus have I heard

Thus have I heard (Pali: Evaṃ me suttaṃ; Sanskrit: Evaṃ mayā śrūtaṃ) is the common translation of the first line of the standard introduction (Pāli and Sanskrit: nidāna) of Buddhist discourses. This phrase serves to confirm that the discourse is coming from the Buddha himself, as a "seal of authenticity". Buddhist tradition maintains that the disciple Ānanda used the formula for the first time, as a form of personal testimony, but this is disputed by some scholars. It is also disputed how the phrase relates to the words that follow, and several theories have been developed with regard to how the text was originally intended to be read. The formula has also been used in later Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna discourses.

World Buddhist Council

World Buddhist Council may refer to:

Buddhist councils, History of Buddhist Councils

World Buddhist Sangha Council, Ecumenic Organization

Ānanda

Ānanda (5th–4th century BCE) was the primary attendant of the Buddha and one of his ten principal disciples. Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the texts of the early Buddhist Sutta-Piṭaka (Pāli; Sanskrit: Sūtra-Piṭaka) are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he is known as the Treasurer of the Dhamma, with Dhamma (Sanskrit: Dharma) referring to the Buddha's teaching. In Early Buddhist Texts, Ānanda was the first cousin of the Buddha. Although the early texts do not agree on many parts of Ānanda's early life, they do agree that Ānanda was ordained as a monk and that Puṇṇa Mantāniputta (Sanskrit: Pūrṇa Maitrāyaṇīputra) became his teacher. Twenty years in the Buddha's ministry, Ānanda became the attendant of the Buddha, when the Buddha selected him for this task. Ānanda performed his duties with great devotion and care, and acted as an intermediary between the Buddha and the laypeople, as well as the saṅgha (Sanskrit: saṃgha, lit. 'monastic community'). He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.

Scholars are skeptical about the historicity of many events in Ānanda's life, especially the First Council, and consensus about this has yet to be established. A traditional account can be drawn from early texts, commentaries, and post-canonical chronicles. Ānanda had an important role in establishing the order of bhikkhunīs (Sanskrit: bhikṣuṇī, lit. 'nun'), when he requested the Buddha on behalf of the latter's foster-mother Mahāpajāpati Gotamī (Sanskrit: Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī) to allow her to be ordained. Ānanda also accompanied the Buddha in the last year of his life, and therefore was witness to many tenets and principles that the Buddha conveyed before his death, including the well-known principle that the Buddhist community should take his teaching and discipline as their refuge, and that he would not appoint a new leader. The final period of the Buddha's life also shows that Ānanda was very much attached to the Buddha's person, and he saw the Buddha's passing with great sorrow.

Shortly after the Buddha's death, the First Council was convened, and Ānanda managed to attain enlightenment just before the council started, which was a requirement. He had a historical role during the council as the living memory of the Buddha, reciting many of the Buddha's discourses and checking them for accuracy. During the same council, however, he was chastised by Mahākassapa (Sanskrit: Mahākāśyapa) and the rest of the saṅgha for allowing women to be ordained and failing to understand or respect the Buddha at several crucial moments. Ānanda continued to teach until the end of his life, passing on his spiritual heritage to his pupils Sāṇavāsī (Sanskrit: Śāṇakavāsī) and Majjhantika (Sanskrit: Madhyāntika), among others, who later assumed leading roles in the Second and Third Councils. Ānanda died 20 years after the Buddha, and stūpas (monuments) were erected at the river where he died.

Ānanda is one of the most loved figures in Buddhism. He was known for his memory, erudition and compassion, and was often praised by the Buddha for these matters. He functioned as a foil to the Buddha, however, in that he still had worldly attachments and was not yet enlightened, as opposed to the Buddha. In the Sanskrit textual traditions, Ānanda is considered the patriarch of the Dhamma, who stood in a spiritual lineage, receiving the teaching from Mahākassapa and passing them on to his own pupils. Ānanda has been honored by bhikkhunīs since early medieval times for his merits in establishing the nun's order. In recent times, the composer Richard Wagner and Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore were inspired by stories about Ānanda in their work.

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