First Buddhist council

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First Council at Rajgir, painting at the Nava Jetavana, Shravasti

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.[1][2] 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.[3]

Description[edit]

The Saptaparni Cave in Rajgir, where the First Buddhist Council may have been held.

A council of 500 Arahats was held at Rajgir (Sanskrit: Rājagṛha) three months following the Buddha's death to agree on the contents of the Dhamma and Vinaya.[4][5] It is said that following the Buddha's death, 499 of the Buddha's top arahats were chosen to attend the council, with one seat reserved for Ananda, then a sotapanna. As the meeting approached, Ananda trained himself until the dawn of day of the council. When the dawn arrived, he decided to lie down and before his head hit the pillow he became an arahant.[6]

The meeting was led by Mahakasyapa under the patronage of the king Ajatashatru. Its objective was to preserve the Buddha's sayings (suttas) and the monastic discipline or rules (Vinaya). Even though the Buddha allowed the Sangha to abolish the minor rules, the Sangha made the unanimous decision to keep all the rules of the Vinaya. Ananda recited the Suttas, such that each begins: ‘Thus have I heard’ (Pali: Evaṃ me sutaṃ).[7] The monk Upali (Sanskrit उपालि upāli) recited the Vinaya.[8] According to D.N. commentary's introduction, the Abhidhamma Pitaka and ancient commentary was also included.

See also[edit]

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pg. 88.
  2. ^ Bechert, Heinz; Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, eds. (1995). When did the Buddha live?: the controversy on the dating of the historical Buddha. Delhi, India: Sri Satguru Publications. ISBN 8170304695. 
  3. ^ "The First Buddhist Council". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2017-12-30. 
  4. ^ Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pg. 88.
  5. ^ "Life of Buddha: The 1st Buddhist Council (Part 2)". www.buddhanet.net. Retrieved 2017-12-30. 
  6. ^ "Life of Buddha: The 1st Buddhist Council (Part 2)". www.buddhanet.net. Retrieved 2017-12-30. 
  7. ^ Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pg. 88.
  8. ^ Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pg. 88.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Harvey, Peter (2013). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.