Sangha

Sangha is a Sanskrit word used in many Indian languages, including Pali, meaning "association", "assembly", "company" or "community". It was historically used in a political context to denote a governing assembly in a republic or a kingdom. It is used in modern times by groups such as the political party and social movement Rashtriya Seva Sangh. It has long been commonly used by religious associations including by Jains and Sikhs.

In Buddhism sangha refers to the monastic community of bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns). These communities are traditionally referred to as the bhikkhu-sangha or bhikkhuni-sangha. As a separate category, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment, whether or not they are members of the monastic community, are referred to as the āryasaṅgha "noble Sangha".[3][4]

According to the Theravada school, the term "sangha" does not refer to the community of sāvakas (lay followers) nor the community of Buddhists as a whole.[5][6][4]

RatoMonks
Monks, Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Rato Dratsang, India, January 2015
Translations of
Sangha
Paliसंघ
(saṅgha)
Sanskritसंघ
(IAST: saṃgha)
Burmeseသံဃာ
(IPA: [θaɴɡà])
Chinese僧伽
(Pinyinsēngjiā[1])
Japanese
(rōmaji: )
Khmerសង្ឃ, ព្រះសង្ឃ
(Sang, Preah Sang)
Korean승가
(RR: seungga)
Sinhalaසංඝයා
Tibetanདགེ་འདུན་
(dge 'dun[2])
Thaiพระสงฆ์
VietnameseTăng đoàn
Glossary of Buddhism

Definitions

In a glossary of Buddhist terms,[7] Richard Robinson et al. define sangha as:

Sangha. Community. This word has two levels of meaning:

(1) on the ideal (arya) level, it denotes all of the Buddha’s followers, lay or ordained, who have at least attained the level of srotāpanna;

(2) on the conventional (saṃvṛti) level, it denotes the orders of the Bhikṣus and Bhikṣunis.

Mahayana practitioners may use the word "sangha" as a collective term for all Buddhists, but the Theravada Pāli Canon uses the word pariṣā (Sanskrit pariṣad) for the larger Buddhist community—the monks, nuns, lay men, and lay women who have taken the Three Refuges—with a few exceptions[8] reserving "sangha" for a its original use in the Pāli Canon—the ideal (arya) and the conventional.[4][9][10]

The two meanings overlap but are not necessarily identical. Some members of the ideal Sangha are not ordained; some monastics have yet to acquire the Dharma-eye.[9]

Unlike the present Sangha, the original Sangha viewed itself as following the mission laid down by the Master, viz, to go forth "…on tour for the blessing of the manyfolk, for the happiness of the manyfolk out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the blessing, the happiness of deva and men".[11]

Qualities of the Sangha

The Sangha is the third of the Three Jewels in Buddhism.[12] Common over all schools is that the āryasaṅgha is the foremost form of this third jewel. As for recognizable current-life forms, the interpretation of what is the Jewel depends on how a school defines Sangha. E.g. for many schools, monastic life is considered to provide the safest and most suitable environment for advancing toward enlightenment and liberation due to the temptations and vicissitudes of life in the world.

In Buddhism, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha each are described as having certain characteristics. These characteristics are chanted either on a daily basis and/or on Uposatha days, depending on the school of Buddhism. In Theravada tradition they are a part of daily chanting:

The Sangha: The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples (sāvakas) is:

  1. practicing the good way
  2. practicing the upright way
  3. practicing the knowledgeable or logical way
  4. practicing the proper way
  5. practicing the mindful way

That is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals - This Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is:

  1. worthy of gifts
  2. worthy of hospitalities
  3. worthy of offerings
  4. worthy of reverential salutation
  5. the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.[13]

Monastic tradition

The Sangha was originally established by Gautama Buddha in the fifth century BCE in order to provide a means for those who wish to practice full-time in a direct and highly disciplined way, free from the restrictions and responsibilities of the household life.[14] The Sangha also fulfils the function of preserving the Buddha’s original teachings and of providing spiritual support for the Buddhist lay-community. The Sangha has historically assumed responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the doctrine as well as the translation and propagation of the teachings of the Buddha.

The key feature of Buddhist monasticism is the adherence to the vinaya which contains an elaborate set of 227 main rules of conduct (known as Patimokkha in Pāli) including complete chastity, eating only before noon, and not indulging in malicious or salacious talk.[15] Between midday and the next day, a strict life of scripture study, chanting, meditation, and occasional cleaning forms most of the duties for members of the Sangha.[16] Transgression of rules carries penalties ranging from confession to permanent expulsion from the Sangha.

Japanese vinaya

Saichō, the founder of the Japanese school of Tendai, decided to reduce the number of rules down to about 60 based on the Bodhisattva Precepts. In the Kamakura, many Japanese schools that originated in or were influenced by the Tendai such as Zen, Pure Land Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism abolished traditional ordination in favor of this new model of the vinaya.

The Fourteen Precepts of the Order of Interbeing

The Order of Interbeing, established in 1964 and associated with the Plum Village Tradition, has fourteen precepts observed by all monastics.[17] They were written by Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Possessions

Monks and nuns generally own a minimum of possessions due to their samaya as renunciants, including three robes, an alms bowl, a cloth belt, a needle and thread, a razor for shaving the head, and a water filter. In practice, they often have a few additional personal possessions.

Traditionally, Buddhist monks, nuns, and novices eschew ordinary clothes and wear robes. Originally the robes were sewn together from rags and stained with earth or other available dyes. The color of modern robes varies from community to community: saffron is characteristic for Theravada groups; blue, grey or brown for Mahayana Sangha members in Vietnam, maroon in Tibetan Buddhism, grey in Korea, and black in Japan.

Attitudes regarding food and work

Bodleian MS. Burm. a. 12 Life of the Buddha 15-18
Gautama Buddha and his followers, holding begging bowls, receive offerings: from an 18th-century Burmese watercolour

A Buddhist monk is a bhikkhu in Pali, Sanskrit bhikṣu while a nun is a bhikkhuni, Sanskrit bhikṣuṇī. These words literally mean "beggar" or "one who lives by alms",[2]:115[18] and it was traditional in early Buddhism for the Sangha to go on "alms round" for food, walking or standing quietly in populated areas with alms bowls ready to receive food offerings each day. Although in the vinaya laid down by the Buddha the Sangha was not allowed to engage directly in agriculture, this later changed in some Mahayana schools when Buddhism moved to East Asia, so that in the East Asian cultural sphere, the monastic community traditionally has engaged in agriculture. An emphasis on working for food is attributed to additional training guidelines laid down by a Chan Buddhist master, Baizhang Huaihai, notably the phrase, "A day without work is a day without food" (Chinese: 一日不做一日不食).

The idea that all Buddhists, especially Sangha members, practice vegetarianism is a Western misperception.

In the Pali Canon, the Buddha rejected a suggestion by Devadatta to impose vegetarianism on the Sangha. According to the Pali Texts, the Buddha ate meat as long as the animal was not killed specifically for him. The Buddha in the Pali Canon allowed Sangha members to eat whatever food is donated to them by laypeople, except that they may not eat meat if they know or suspect the animal was killed specifically for them. Consequently, the Theravada tradition does not practice strict vegetarianism, although an individual may do so as his or her personal choice [1].

On this question Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions vary depending on their interpretation of their scriptures. In some Mahayana sutras, meat eating is strongly discouraged and it is stated that the Buddha did not eat meat. In particular, East Asian Sangha members take on the Bodhisattva Precepts originating in the Brahmajala Sutra, which has a vow of vegetarianism as part of the Triple Platform Ordination, where they receive the three sets of vows: śrāmaṇera/śrāmaṇerī (novitiate), monastic, and then Bodhisattva Precepts, whereas the Tibetan lineages transmit a tradition of Bodhisattva Precepts from Asanga's Yogacarabhumi-sastra, which does not include a vow of vegetarianism. In some areas such as China, Korea and Vietnam the Sangha practices strict vegetarianism, while in other areas such as Japan or Tibet, they do not.

According to Mahayana sutras, Gautama Buddha always maintained that lay persons were capable of great wisdom and of reaching enlightenment. In some areas there has been a misconception that Theravada regards enlightenment to be an impossible goal for those outside the Sangha, but in Theravada suttas it is clearly recorded that the Buddha's uncle, a lay follower, reached enlightenment by hearing the Buddha's discourse, and there are many other such instances described in the Pāli Canon. Accordingly, emphasis on lay persons, as well as Sangha members, practicing the Buddhist path of morality, meditation, and wisdom is present in all major Buddhist schools.

Sangha as a general reference to Buddhist community

Three Ancestors Temple - nigu
Upāsakas and Upāsikās performing a short chanting ceremony at Three Ancestors Temple, Anhui, China

Some scholars noted that sangha is frequently (and according to them, mistakenly) used in the West to refer to any sort of Buddhist community.[19] The terms parisa and gaṇa are suggested as being more appropriate references to a community of Buddhists. Pariṣā means "following" and it refers to the four groups of the Buddha's followers: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.[20] The Sanskrit term gaṇa has meanings of flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class, and is usable as well in more mundane senses.[21]

The Soka Gakkai, a new religious movement which began as a lay organization previously associated with Nichiren Shōshū in Japan, disputes the traditional definition of sangha. It interprets the meaning of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, in particular the "treasure of the Sangha," to include all people who practice Buddhism correctly, whether lay or clerical.[22][23] Nichiren Shu holds this position[24] as do some progressive Mahayana movements as well.[25][26][27]

Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism maintains the traditional definition of Sangha as the head temple priesthood collective as sole custodians and arbiters of Buddhist doctrine.[28][29]

See also

References

  1. ^ "zdic.net: 僧伽".
  2. ^ a b Buswell, Robert Jr; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2013). Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691157863.
  3. ^ "What is the Triple Gem?". www.accesstoinsight.org.
  4. ^ a b c Sangha © 2005–2012.http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/sangha.html
  5. ^ Sangha - By Bhikkhu Bodhi.(November, 2010). http://www.beyondthenet.net/sangha/sng_body.htm
  6. ^ "Sangha by Bhikkhu Bodhi - Bhikkhu - Gautama Buddha". Scribd.
  7. ^ Robinson et al. (2005). Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction. Fifth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson, p. 327
  8. ^ Todd Lewis, Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism Through the Lives of Practitioners, Chicester, 2014, p. 30 mentions this too. An example of such a sutra is AN II.1.vii Catukka nipata, Bhandagamavaggo https://archive.is/20130222111223/http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/4Anguttara-Nikaya/Anguttara2/4-catukkanipata/001-bhandagamavaggo-e.html
  9. ^ a b Robinson et al. (2005). Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction. Fifth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson, p. 32.
  10. ^ "parisā". http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html
  11. ^ Spiro, Melford: Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes (1982). Berkeley: University of California. p. 279.
  12. ^ Going for Refuge and Taking the Precepts, Kandy 1981, Wheel leaflet 282/284, Bhikku Bodhi, P 49 (Of the Collected Wheel publications XIX)
  13. ^ Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000). "The Collected Discourses of the Buddha: A new translation of the Samyutta Nikaya". Somerville: Wisdom Publications, Sakkasamyutta, Dhajjaggasutta (3), p.319-321.
  14. ^ Robinson et al.(2005). "Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction". Fifth Edition. Belmont,CA: Wadsworth/Thomson, p. 36.
  15. ^ Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations, Third Edition. Linda Woodhead. Pg. 273
  16. ^ Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo (1995). "Duties of the Sangha". Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
  17. ^ "Order of Interbeing History". Order of Interbeing | Tiep Hien. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  18. ^ Nyanatiloka (1988). Buddhist Dictionary - Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 9552400198
  19. ^ The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction (fourth edition) by R.H. Robinson & W.L. Johnson (Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 1997), p.307.
  20. ^ "A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms". www.accesstoinsight.org.
  21. ^ "Gaṇa - Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia". www.hindupedia.com. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  22. ^ Hurst, Jane (2000). Global Citizens, "A Buddhist Reformation in the 20th Century: Causes and Implications of the Conflict between the Soka Gakkai and the Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood". p.79
  23. ^ The English Buddhist Dictionary Committee (2009). The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 9788120833340.
  24. ^ Arai, Nissatsu (1893). Outlines of the Doctrine of the Nichiren Sect. Tokyo, Japan: Central Office of the Nichiren Sect. p. 18. The Holy Book says: "We ought to know that this place is the Kaidan.'" This means that whatever a place, where we practice the doctrines of the Holy Book, is fit for a "Kaidan." If it is fit for a "Kaidan," it is inhabited by all Buddhas. Such is the nature of the "Kaidan" taught by our Sect.
  25. ^ "Taking Refuge". plumvillage.org. 15 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Three Jewels - The Buddhist Centre". thebuddhistcentre.com.
  27. ^ www.zen-buddhism.net. "The Three Jewels of Buddhism - ZEN BUDDHISM". www.zen-buddhism.net.
  28. ^ "BBC - Religions - Buddhism: Nichiren Buddhism". bbc.co.uk.
  29. ^ Seager, Richard Hughes (2012). Buddhism in America (Rev. and expanded ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780231159739.

Bibliography

  • Buswell, Robert E., ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Macmillan Reference USA. pp. 740–744. ISBN 0-02-865718-7.

External links

Bharatiya Jana Sangh

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (abbrv. BJS, short name: Jan Sangh, full name: Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh) was an Indian right wing political party that existed from 1951 to 1977 and was the political arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation. In 1977, it merged with several other left, centre and right parties opposed to the Indian National Congress and formed the Janata Party. After the Janata Party split in 1980, the former Jan Sangh was recreated as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently India's largest political party by primary membership and representation in the Lok Sabha.

Bhikkhu

A bhikkhu (Pali; Sanskrit: bhikṣu) is an ordained male monastic ("monk") in Buddhism. Male and female monastics ("nun", bhikkhuni, Sanskrit bhikṣuṇī) are members of the Buddhist community.The lives of all Buddhist monastics are governed by a set of rules called the prātimokṣa or pātimokkha. Their lifestyles are shaped to support their spiritual practice: to live a simple and meditative life and attain nirvana.A person under the age of 20 cannot be ordained as a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni but can be ordained as a śrāmaṇera or śrāmaṇērī.

Buddhism in Laos

Buddhism is the primary religion of Laos. The Buddhism practiced in Laos is of the Theravada tradition. Lao Buddhism is a unique version of Theravada Buddhism and is at the basis of ethnic Lao culture. Buddhism in Laos is often closely tied to animist beliefs and belief in ancestral spirits, particularly in rural areas.However, Laos is a multi-ethnic country with a large proportion of non-Buddhist groups that adhere to religions that are often subsumed under the denominator "animism", but that can also substantially overlap with Buddhism, or a least contain Buddhist elements resulting from cross-cultural contact. The percentage of the population that adheres to Buddhism in modern Laos is variously reported, the CIA World Factbook estimates 65% of the total population identify as Buddhist. Although this overall number is likely to be correct, there are obviously large variations from province to province. Ethnic minority provinces like Sekong had only a quota of 20% of Buddhists in 2005, while provinces largely populated by ethnic Lao like Champassak reach 92% in the same year. There are also some Chinese or Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhists, primarily in urban centers.

Chal-e Sangha

Chal-e Sangha (Persian: چال سنگها‎, also Romanized as Chāl-e Sanghā) is a village in Lalar and Katak Rural District, Chelo District, Andika County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. In the 2006 census, its population was 88, in fourteen families.

Digambara

Digambara (; "sky-clad") is one of the two major schools of Jainism, the other being Śvētāmbara (white-clad). The word Digambara (Sanskrit) is a combination of two words: dig (directions) and ambara (dress), referring to those whose garments are of the element that fills the four quarters of space. Digambara monks do not wear any clothes. The monks carry picchi, a broom made up of fallen peacock feathers (for clearing the place before walking or sitting), kamandalu (a water container made of wood), and shastra (scripture).

One of the most important scholar-monks of Digambara tradition was Kundakunda. He authored Prakrit texts such as the Samayasāra and the Pravacanasāra. Other prominent Acharyas of this tradition were, Virasena (author of a commentary on the Dhavala), Samantabhadra and Siddhasena Divakara. The Satkhandagama and Kasayapahuda have major significance in the Digambara tradition.

Four stages of enlightenment

The four stages of enlightenment in Theravada and Early Buddhism are the four progressive stages culminating in full enlightenment as an Arahant.

These four stages are Sotāpanna, Sakadāgāmi, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. The Buddha referred to people who are at one of these four stages as noble people (ariya-puggala) and the community of such persons as the noble sangha (ariya-sangha).The teaching of the four stages of enlightenment is a central element of the early Buddhist schools, including the Theravada school of Buddhism, which still survives.

Kalighat Milan Sangha F.C.

Kalighat Milan Sangha Football Club is an Indian football club from Kalighat South Kolkata. Formed in 1944, the club has always been amateur but in January 2012 it announced its move into professional football and was accepted into the I-League 2nd Division, the second tier of football in India. They use several stadiums in Kolkata for Calcutta Premier Division matches, but most of their matches are held at the Salt Lake Stadium, which has a 120,000 capacity.

Magha Puja

Māgha Pūjā (also written as Macha Bucha Day) is the second most important Buddhist festival, celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and on the full moon day of Tabaung in Myanmar. It celebrates a gathering that was held between the Buddha and 1,250 of his first disciples, which, according to tradition, preceded the custom of periodic recitation of discipline by monks. On the day, Buddhists celebrate the creation of an ideal and exemplary community, which is why it is sometimes called Saṅgha Day, the Saṅgha referring to the Buddhist community, and for some Buddhist schools this is specifically the monastic community. In Thailand, the Pāli term Māgha-pūraṇamī is also used for the celebration, meaning 'to honor on the full moon of the third lunar month'. Finally, some authors have also referred to the day as the Buddhist All Saints Day.Celebration of Māgha Pūjā is first known of in the modern period, with the institution of it in Thailand, by King Rama IV (1804–68). It is a public holiday in some South and Southeast Asian countries and is an occasion when Buddhists go to the temple to perform merit-making activities, such as alms giving, meditation and listening to teachings. It has been proposed as a more spiritual alternative to the celebration of Valentine's Day.

Mahapajapati Gotami

Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī (Pali; Sanskrit Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī) was the step-mother and maternal aunt (mother's sister) of the Buddha. In Buddhist tradition, she was the first woman to seek ordination for women, which she did from Gautama Buddha directly, and she became the first bhikkhuni (Buddhist nun).

Pratimokṣa

The Pratimokṣa (Sanskrit prātimokṣa) is a list of rules (contained within the vinaya) governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics (monks or bhikṣus and nuns or bhikṣuṇīs). Prati means "towards" and mokṣa means "liberation" from cyclic existence (saṃsāra).

It became customary to recite these rules once a fortnight at a meeting of the sangha during which confession would traditionally take place. A number of prātimokṣa codes are extant, including those contained in the Theravāda, Mahāsāṃghika, Mahīśāsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Sarvāstivāda and Mūlasarvāstivāda vinayas. Pratimokṣa texts may also circulate in separate pratimokṣa sūtras, which are extracts from their respective vinayas.

Ramesh Sangha

Rameshwer Singh Sangha (born June 6, 1945) is a Canadian politician who was elected as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of Canada to represent the federal electoral district Brampton Centre during the 2015 Canadian federal election.

Rana Sanga

Maharana Sangram Singh (12 April 1482 – 30 January 1528) commonly known as Rana Sanga, was an Indian ruler of Mewar and head of a powerful Rajput confederacy in Rajputana during the 16th century.Rana Sanga succeeded his father, Rana Raimal, as king of Mewar in 1508. He fought against the Afghan Lodhi dynasty of Delhi Sultanate, and later against the Mughals.

Robert Baker Aitken

For others similarly named, see the Robert Aitken navigation page

Robert Baker Dairyu Chotan Aitken Rōshi (June 19, 1917 – August 5, 2010) was a Zen teacher in the Harada-Yasutani lineage. He co-founded the Honolulu Diamond Sangha in 1959

together with his wife, Anne Hopkins Aitken. Aitken received Dharma transmission from Koun Yamada in 1985 but decided to live as a layperson. He was a socialist advocating social justice for gays, women and Native Hawaiians throughout his life, and was one of the original founders of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Samanera

A sāmaṇera (Pali); Sanskrit śrāmaṇera, is a novice male monastic in a Buddhist context. A female novice is a śrāmaṇerī or śrāmaṇerikā (Sanskrit; Pāli: sāmaṇerī).

Sangha, Mali

Sangha (sometimes spelled Sanga) is a rural commune in the Cercle of Bandigara in the Mopti Region of Mali. The commune contains around 44 small villages and in the 2009 census had a population of 32,513. The administrative centre (chef-lieu) is the village of Sangha Ogol Leye, one of a cluster of small villages at the top of the Bandiagara Escarpment.

The commune is known as a centre for traditional religion with many temples and shrines, and as a base for visitors to the local Dogon villages. Most of the ethnographic work by Marcel Griaule was carried out among the Dogon of Sangha.

Sangha Department (Republic of the Congo)

Sangha is a department of the Republic of the Congo in the northern part of the country. It borders the departments of Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, and Likouala, and internationally, Cameroon, Gabon and the Central African Republic. The regional capital is Ouésso. Principal towns include Sembé and Souanké.

Sangha is divided into one commune and six districts:

Commune of OuéssoKabo

Mokéko District

Ngbala District

Pikounda District

Sembé District

Souanké District

Sangha Ogol Leye

Sangha Ogol Leye is a village and seat of the commune of Sangha in the Cercle of Bandiagara in the Mopti Region of southern-central Mali. The village is one of a group that are located at the top of the Bandiagara Escarpment.

Vinaya

The Vinaya (Pali and Sanskrit, literally meaning "leading out", "education", "discipline") is the regulatory framework for the sangha or monastic community of Buddhism based on the canonical texts called the Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Gautama Buddha can be divided into two broad categories: Dharma "doctrine" and Vinaya "discipline".

Extant vinaya texts include those of the Theravada (the only one in Pali), the Kāśyapīya, the Mahāsāṃghika, the Mahīśāsaka, the Dharmaguptaka, the Sarvāstivāda and the Mūlasarvāstivāda.

Yasa

Yasa means role , order that can not be refused.

Yasa was a bhikkhu during the time of Gautama Buddha. He was the sixth bhikkhu in the Buddha’s sangha and was the sixth to achieve arahanthood. Yasa lived in the 6th century BCE in what is now Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in northern India.

Yasa was raised in Varanasi in a life of luxury. His father was a millionaire. The family home was full of servants, musicians and dancers who catered for the family’s needs and entertainment. One day, when he had become a young man, Yasa awoke early and saw his female servants and entertainers asleep in a repulsive state. Disgusted by the spectacle, Yasa realised the vanity of worldly life, and left the family home muttering “Distressed am I, oppressed am I” and journeyed in the direction of Isipatana where the Buddha was temporarily residing after his first five bhikkhus had attained arahantship. This was five days after all of the first five bhikkhus had attained arahantship.

The Buddha was pacing up and down in an open space near where Yasa was muttering “Distressed am I, oppressed am I”, and called Yasa over to him, inviting him to sit down. Yasa took off his golden sandals, saluted and sat down. The Buddha gave a dharma discourse, and Yasa achieved the first stage of arahanthood, sotapanna.

At first, the Buddha spoke about generosity (Dana), morality (sila), celestial states (sagga), the evils of sensual pleasure (kamadinava), blessing of renunciation (nekkhammanisamsa), before teaching the Four Noble Truths.

Yasa’s mother had noticed her son’s absence, and notified her husband, who sent horsemen in four directions to search for Yasa. Yasa’s father headed in the direction of Isipatana, following the trail left by the golden slippers. When the millionaire saw the Buddha and asked him if he had seen Yasa, the Buddha asked him to sit down, and then delivered a dharma talk. After this Yasa’s father became the first to take refuge in the Triple Gems, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Yasa, who was in the vicinity and had heard the talk given to his father, became an arahant. After father and son were reunited, the father invited the Buddha and the Sangha to his home for alms on the following day. The Buddha then ordained Yasa.

The Buddha and his six arahants visited the home of Yasa the following day. Yasa’s mother and his former wife thus became the first two female lay disciples. Upon hearing of Yasa's ordination, four of his closest friends, Vimala, Subahu, Punnaji and Gavampati followed him into the sangha and they too became arahants. Within two months, a further fifty of Yasa's friends had joined the Sangha and attained arahantship, bringing the total number of arahants to sixty.

Topics in Buddhism
Foundations
The Buddha
Bodhisattvas
Disciples
Key concepts
Cosmology
Branches
Practices
Nirvana
Monasticism
Major figures
Texts
Countries
History
Philosophy
Culture
Miscellaneous
Comparison
Lists

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.