Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Second ‘saŋgīti’

The second convocation of the Buddha’s teaching was sometimes around a century after his demise. The reason of conducting the second ‘saŋgīti’ from both traditions is identical, which, however, finally marked the beginning of the progress of philosophical division in Buddhist history. It is claimed the account of a group of Vajjīputra bhikkhus [a group of ascetics or monks from Vajjī kingdom] who claimed to practice some ten doubted miscellaneous precepts [dasavatthu], and interpreted those monastic rules that there are originally set by the Buddha for example;
  •   It is accepted for bhikkus to preserve salt in animal’s horn suffice to consume as long as possible
  •  Vajjīputra bhikkus claimed that after the sun has surpassed about two inches beyond noon-time [I guess when the sun is exactly above your head called ‘noon’. Unfortunately there was no proper time-monitored machine at the time] bhikkhus are still allowed to have meals. [Note that the issue regarding numbers of meals of bhikkhus is still debatable currently. The exact rule concerning this issue by the time Buddha is so far unclear.] 
  • Bhikkhus are allowed to possess money and gold. [This monastic rule is believed to be added up later when Buddhism became popular in many traditions.] 
  • And, drinking soft intoxicated level of beverage is accepted etc. [No comment]
There were, at least, eight senior theras [the elders] for instance, Sabbakāmī bhikkhu, Sālāha bhikkhu, Khuj᷂jasobhita bhikkhu, Vāsabhagāmika bhikkhu, Revata bhikkhu, Sam᷂bhūtaňān᷂avāsī bhikkhu, Yasakākan᷂d᷂aputra bhikkhu, and Sumuna bhikkhu addressed the issue and initiated the second convocation of the doctrine. In this occasion, Sumuna phikkhu is believed to act as the inquirer of those 10 miscellaneous precepts [dasavatthu] abused by a group of Vajjīputra bhikkhus in middle of monastic community. The assembly is believed to have 700 bhikkhus altogether attaining the event. The location of the second ‘saŋgīti’ appeared to be at Vālikāram [Valika monastery] in the city of Baisālī. It was sponsored by King Kālāsoka which the process took 8 months to complete.

Note that a false interpretation of some miscellaneous monastic rules by monks after merely a century of the Buddha’s demise has led to the second ‘saŋgīti’. Evidence shows that there had been several attempts to soften the strictness of monastic rules and vinaya set by the Buddha even when he was still alive. It is such a natural response of some particular kind of human-being who lack potential to abide the rules. This happens also in most doctrines and sets of belief called ‘religions’. Therefore, the incident gave the first mark of actual division inside Buddhism which later led to actual separation, and shortly after Buddhism is claimed to at least divide into 18 schools.

No comments:

Post a Comment