Page images

1accomplished in the "wédo," propounded the "dhamma," all these priests, repeating his discourse in chants, became perfect in "dhamma."

Thus this convocation, held by these benefactors of mankind for the benefit of the whole world, was brought to a close in seven months; and the religion of the deity of felicitous advent was rendered effective for enduring five thousand years, by the high priest Mahákassapa.

At the close of this convocation, in the excess of its exultation, the selfbalanced great earth quaked six times from the lowest abyss of the ocean, by various means in this world, divers miracles have been performed. Because this convocation was held exclusively by the theras, (it is called) from generation to generation the "Théríyá Convocation."

Having held this first convocation, and having conferred many benefits on the world, and lived the full measure of human existence (of that period), all these disciples (in due course of nature) died.

In dispelling the darkness of this world, these disciples became, by their supernatural gifts, the luminaries who overcame that darkness. By (the ravages of) death, like unto the desolation of a tempest, these great luminaries were extinguished. From this example, therefore, by a piously wise man (the desire for) this life should be overcome. *

The third chapter in the Mahávaysa, entitled "The first Convocation on Religion," composed equally to delight and afflict righteous men.


UDAYIBHADDAKA, the perfidiously impious son of Ajàtasattu, having put (his parent) to death, reigned sixteen years.

Anuruddhaka, the son of Udáyibhaddaka, having put him to death; and the son of Anuruddhaka, named Munda, having put him to death; these perfidious, unwise (princes, in succession) ruled. In the reigns of these two (monarchs) eight years elapsed.

The impious Nágadásaka, son of Munda, having put his father to death, reigned twenty-four years.

The populace of the capital, infuriated (at such conduct), designating this "a parricidical race," assembled, and formally deposed Nágadásaka; and desirous of gratifying the whole nation, they unanimously installed in the sovereignty the eminently wise minister bearing the (historically) distinguished appellation of Susunága. He reigned eighteen years. His son Kálásóka reigned twenty years. Thus, in the tenth year of the reign of king Kálásóka, a century had elapsed from the death of Buddha.

At that time a numerous community of priests, resident in the city of Vésáli, natives of Vajji, shameless ministers of religion, pronounced the

'Omit "accomplished in the wédo."

2" and divers (other) wonders happened in the world in various forms."

*" (Arhat) théras alone, it is called the Thériyá Parampará ('the Tradition or Collection of the Elders ')."

4 The terseness and beauty of the original are so completely lost in this paraphrase that I cannot refrain from rendering it anew. "Even those théras, who shone like great lamps in dispelling, by the light of their wisdom, the darkness of the world, were themselves extinguished by the fierce tempest of death. Hence, let the thoughtful man cast away (from him) the pride of life.'

"twenty-eight years."


[ocr errors]

(following) ten indulgences to be allowable (to the priesthood): viz.,© 'salt meats, "two inches," also in villages, 'fraternity," proxy, "example," "milk whey," "beverage," covers of seats," "gold, and other coined metals." The théra Yasa having heard of this heresy, proceeded on a pilgrimage over the Vajji country. This Yasa, son of Kákaṇḍaka, the brahman, versed in the six branches of doctrinal knowledge, and powerful in his calling, repaired to that place (Vésáli), devoting himself at the Mahávana vihára to the suppression of this heresy.

They (the schismatic priests) having placed a golden dish filled with water in the apartment in which the "upósatha" ceremony was performed, said (to the attendant congregation of laymen): "Devotees, bestow on the priesthood 'at least a kahápanan." The théra forbade (the proceeding), exclaiming, "Bestow it not: it is not allowable." They awarded to the théra Yasa (for this interference) the sentence of paṭisáraniya." Having by entreaty procured (from them) a messenger, he proceeded with him to the capital, and propounded to the inhabitants of the city the tenets of his own faith.


The (schismatic) priests having learned these circumstances from the messenger, proceeded thither, to award to the théra the penalty of 7" ukkhépaniyam," and took up their station surrounding his dwelling. The théra (however) raising himself aloft, proceeded through the air to the city of Kósambi; from thence, speedily despatching messengers to the priests resident in Páveyya and Avanti, and himself repairing to the Ahóganga mountain (mountain beyond the Ganges), reported all these particulars to the théra Sambhúta of Sáņa.

Sixty priests of Páveyya and eighty of Avanti, all sanctified characters who had overcome the dominion of sin, descended at Ahógańga. The whole number of priests who had assembled there, from various quarters, amounted to ninety thousand. These sanctified personages having deliberated together, and acknowledged that the théra Réwata, of Soreyya, in profundity of knowledge and sanctity of character, was at that period the most illustrious, they departed thither for the purpose of appearing before him.

The said théra having attended to their statement, and being desirous (on account of his great age) of performing the journey by easy stages, departed at that instant from thence, for the purpose of repairing to Vésáli. On account of the importance of that mission, departing each morning at dawn, on reaching the places adapted for their accommodation, they met together again (for consultation) in the evenings.

* These are the opening words of the sentences descriptive of the ten new indulgences attempted to be introduced into the discipline of the Buddhistical priesthood, an explanation of which would lead to details inconvenient in this place.

1 "salt preserved in horns."

2" going into villages."

3" consent."

↑ "kahápanas and such like."


an act of censure involving the obligation of seeking forgiveness from an offended layman by the offending priest.

[ocr errors]


(instead of seeking forgiveness) justified himself before the people of the

7 suspension from privileges of monkhood.

8 The translation is altogether wrong. There is a lacuna to be filled up here in order to make the sense clear. "(And the other priests followed him on the journey), and reaching every evening the place which the noble théra had left in the morning, they overtook and saw him at (a place called) Sahajáti." Révata being old and infirm wished to journey quietly and by easy stages; so the priests who had gone to fetch him wished not to intrude on his privacy.

1At a place (where they had so assembled), the théra Yasa, under the directions of the chief priest Sambhúta, at the close of a sermon, addressing himself to the celebrated théra Révata, inquired what the ten (unorthodox) indulgences were. Having examined those rules, the thera pronounced them "inadmissible," and said, "Let us suppress this (schism).

These sinners, with the view to seducing the renowned théra Révata to their party, collecting a vast quantity of priestly offerings, and quickly embarking in a vessel, arrived at the place where the principal priests were assembled ; and at the hour of refection set forth the chant of refection. The théra Sálha, who was resident at that selected place, and had overcome the dominion of sin, reflecting whether the doctrine of the Pathéya priests was orthodox, it appeared to him to be so. The Mahá-Brahma (of the world Suddhávása) descending unto him (Sálha) addressed him thus: "Adhere to that doctrine." He replied that his adherence to that faith would be steadfast.

Those who had brought the priestly offerings presented themselves to the eminent théra Révata. The théra declined accepting the offerings, and dismissed the pupil of the sinful fraternity (who presented them).

These shameless characters departing thence for Vésáli, and from thence repairing to the capital Pupphapura, thus addressed their sovereign Kálâsóka: "We, the guardians of the dwelling of our divine instructor, reside there, in the land of Vajji, in the Mahávana vihára. The priests resident in the provincial villages are hastening hither, saying, 'Let us take possession of the vihára.' Oh, Mahárája, prevent them." They having (thus) deceived the king, returned to Vesáli.

In the (aforesaid) selected place where the (orthodox) priests had halted, unto the théra Révata, for the purpose of suppressing the schismatic indulgences, eleven hundred and ninety thousand priests congregated. He had decided (however) not to suppress the heresy at any place but that at which it had originated. Consequently the théras, and all these priests repaired to Vésáli. The deluded monarch despatched his ministers thither. Misguided, however, by the interposition of the gods, they proceeded in a different direction.

The sovereign having (thus) deputed these ministers (to the priesthood), in the night, by a dream, he saw that his soul was cast into the Lóhakumbhi hell. The king was in the greatest consternation. To allay that (terror) his younger sister, the priestess Nandi, a sanctified character, who had overcome the dominion of sin, arrived, travelling through the air: "The act thou hast committed is of the most weighty import: make atonement to the orthodox ministers of the faith: uniting thyself with their cause, uphold true religion. By adopting this course peace of mind will be restored unto thee." Having thus addressed him she departed.

At the very dawn of day the monarch departed to proceed to Vésáli. Having reached the Mahávana vihára, he assembled the priesthood; and having examined the controversy by listening to both parties, he decided in favour of the cause of true religion. The sovereign having made atonement to all the ministers of true religion, and having avowed his adherence to its cause, he said: "Do ye according to your own judgment provide for the due

'Omit italicised words, and substitute "There."

2 " about."

'Delete were.

"The théra rejected them as errors, and said 'Let us hear the case and suppress them.""

5" beseech the forgiveness of." "obtained the forgiveness of."

maintenance of religion"; and having extended his protection to them, he departed for his capital (Pupphapura).

Thereupon the priesthood assembled to inquire into these indulgences : there, in that convocation (however) endless and frivolous discussions arose. The théra Révata himself then advancing into the midst of the assembly, and causing to be proclaimed 'the ubbȧhiká rules, he made the requisite arrangements for the purpose of suppressing this heresy.

"By the ubbáhiká 3rules he selected, for the suppression of the sacerdotal heresy, four priests of Pácína and four of Páveyya. These were the Pácína priests: Sabbakámi, Sálha, Khujjasóbhita, and Vásabhagámika. These were the four Páveyya priests: Révata, Sambhúta of Sána, Yasa the son of Kákaṇḍaka, and Sumana. For the purpose of examining into these (controverted) indulgences, these eight sanctified personages repaired to Válukâráma vihára, a situation so secluded (that not even the note of a bird was heard), and free from the strife of men.1 The high priest Révata, the chief of the interrogating party, questioned the théra Sabbakámi in due order on these indulgences, one by one. The principal théra Sabbakámi, who had been thus interrogated by him (Révata), declared: "By the orthodox ordinances all these indulgences are inadmissible." There (at the Válukâráma vihára), having in due form rejected this heresy, in the same manner in the midst of the convocation at Mahávana vihára (to which they returned), they again went through the interrogations and replies.

To the ten thousand sinful priests who put forth the ten indulgences, these principal orthodox priests awarded the penalty of degradation.

Sabbakámi was at that time high priest of the world, and had already attained a standing of one hundred and twenty years in the ordination of “upasampadá.”

Sabbakámi, Sálha, Révata, Khujjasóbhita, Yasa the son of Kákaṇḍaka, and Sambhúta, a native of Sána,-these six théras were the disciples of the théra A'nanda. Vásabhagámika and Sumana,-these two théras were the disciples of the théra Anuruddha. These eight pious priests, in aforetime, had seen the deity who was the successor of former Buddhas.


The priests who had assembled were twelve hundred thousand of all these priests the théra Révata was at that time the leader.

Thereupon, for the purpose of securing the permanency of the true faith, this Révata théra, the leader of these priests, selected from those who were gifted with the 'qualifications for sanctification, and were the depositories of the doctrines contained in the three "piṭakas," seven hundred sanctified disciples (of Buddha, for the purpose of holding the convocation on religion). All these théras, having Révata for their chief, protected by king Kálâsóka, held the convocation on religion at the Válukâráma vihára. According to the form observed in interrogation and illustration on the former occasion, conducting this meeting precisely in the same manner, it was terminated in eight months.

Thus these théras, who were indefatigable in their calling, and absolved from all human afflictions, having held the second convocation on religion, in due course attained" nibbuti."

"that matters in dispute should be settled according to the Ubbáhiká rules of procedure."

2" For."

3" council."

A verse is missing here: "And the great elder Sabbakámi, who knew the mind of the great sage, seated himself on a beautiful throne prepared by a young priest."

5 "four kinds of highest knowledge."

Hence, bearing in mind the subjection to death of the disciples of the saviour of the universe, who were endowed with the sanctification of "arhat," who had attained the state of ultimate beatitude,—and had conferred blessings on the beings of the three "bhavas," recollecting also the liability of the rest of mankind to an interminable transmigration, let (the reader) steadfastly devote himself (to a life of righteousness).

The fourth chapter in the Mahávansa, entitled "The Second Convocation on Religion," composed equally to delight and afflict righteous men.


THE Convocation which was held in the first instance by the principal théras, having Mahákassapa for their chief, is called the "Théríyá Sangítí." During the first century after the death of Buddha there was but that one 'schism among the théras. It was subsequent to that period that the other schisms among the preceptors took place.

The whole of those sinful priests, in number ten thousand, who had been degraded by the théras who had held the second convocation, originated the schism among the preceptors called the Mahásańgíti heresy.

Thereafter arose the Gókulika and Ekabbóhárika schisms.

From the Gókulika schismatics the Pannatti as well as the Báhulika and Cétiya heresies proceeded. Those priests, again, gave rise to the schisms of the Sabbatthi and the Dhammaguttika priesthood. These two (heresies) arose simultaneously. Subsequently, from the Sabbatthi schismatics, the Kassapiya schism proceeded. Thereafter the Sańkantika priesthood gave rise to the Sutta schism. There were twelve schisms, including the Théra schism which was suppressed at the first convocation, in the first year of the first century); together with six schisms named hereafter, there were eighteen inveterate schisms.

Thus, in the second century (after the death of Buddha), there arose seventeen schisms. The rest of the schisms among the preceptors were engendered subsequently thereto. These were the six secessions which took place in Jambudípa (during the second century):-The Hémavata, Rájagiriya, and the Siddhatthiká, as well as (that of) the Pubbaséliya and Aparaséliya priesthood, and the Vájiriya. The Dhammaruchiya and Ságaliya schisms took place in Lagká (in the fifth and eighth centuries after Buddha's death).

'I doubt much whether "schism among the théras" is the proper rendering of "théra-váda." I should think it rather means "the tradition of the elders" or "the sayings of the elders." This term thera-váda is used in contradistinction to ácariya-váda in the same verse and subsequent places, translated by Turnour as "schisms among the preceptors," but which I think should be "the sayings of (the subsequent) false teachers." The subject, however, is one for detailed investigation.

*The Baṭuvantuḍâva-Sumangala Recension puts in two and a half verses here, which are said to be found in the Cambodian copy and a Sinhalese copy which were used in the collation of the printed text. They run thus:-"These belonged to the Mahá Sangíti school. Again, from among the Théra-vádas there sprung two sects, the Mahinsásaka and the Vajji-puttaka priests. And from among the latter (the Vajji-puttakas) there arose (four sects, namely,) the Dhammuttariya, the Bhadra-yánika, the Channágárika, and the Sammiti, who were all (denominated) the "Vajji-puttaka priests."



"So that, including the (original) Théra-váda school, there were twelve; and these, together with the six afore-mentioned, formed eighteen in all.”

« PreviousContinue »