Sacred Texts Journals Buddhist Articles



by Teitaro Suzuki









Volume XIV



{Scanned and edited by Christopher M. Weimer, April 2002. The transcriptions in this article are very inconsisent, and have been retained as they appear in the original for lack of any apparent system in the text to restore them to.}

p. 253



TEITARO SUZUKI has made, in the present translations, the most valuable contribution to our knowledge of the First Buddhist Council, which has appeared in Western nations since Samuel Beal's translation from the Chinese Dharmagupta document presented by that scholar to the Oriental Congress at Berlin in 1881, and reprinted in his Abstract of Four Lectures (1882). It is well known to students of the Sacred Books of the East that there is, in the twentieth volume of that series, an account of the first two Councils of the Buddhist Order, translated from the Pâli. The account is a later addition to the Minor Section on Discipline, and we may call it the Council Appendix. It proceeds from the orthodox and aristocratic School of the Elders, the great rival of whom was the School of the Great Council (Mahâsamghika) who, says the pilgrim Hsüan-Tsang, admitted to their deliberations the common people, the foolish and the wise.[1] This being so, it is important for us to know both sides of the story, indeed as many sides as possible; and this we can do, to some extent, by reading the different sectarian statements translated by Suzuki. It is very satisfactory to me, on comparing the one document which he has in common with Beal (viz., the Dharmagupta) to find that the two Sinologues substantially agree in their list of the Canonical books.[2]

[1. The Ceylon Chronicles do not admit this sect's existence until the Second Council.

2. The only real disagreement is Suzuki's Itivrittaka and Nidâna in place of Beal's "good Nidâna Sûtra." I sincerely hope Suzuki is right, for the Pâli Itivuttaka is one of the jewels of the Canon.]

p. 254

   Hermann Oldenberg, in his pioneer essay on the Canon (1879) threw grave doubts upon the historicity of the First Council, as Suzuki now reminds us. Rhys Davids, while admitting the doubt, subtracted from its cogency. (S. B. E., XI., Introd., 1881.) For that doubt is based upon the argument from silence, viz: the silence of the Decease Book upon any convocation, while yet reporting the very speech of Subhadra which, according to the Council Appendix, gave rise to the Council. But there is another speech in the Decease Book which really requires a Council, or at least a discussion which would inevitably be decided by authority. It is the speech of Buddha to Ânanda: "If the Order should so desire, Ânanda, after my demise, let them abrogate the lesser and minor precepts."

   Now, according to the Council document of the Great Council School, here translated by Suzuki, this speech did raise a vehement debate, as indeed how could it fail to? The document agrees with the Pâli account of the rival sect, that the objectors were overruled by Kassapa the Great.

   Again, the Decease Book also tells us that not only monks and nuns, but laymen and laywomen, were, at the time of the Master's death, bahussutâ, dhammadharâ, full of learning and repositories of the Dhamma. In the Numerical Collection we find the names of the chief ones who were thus expert. This ancient list of disciples holds a place in the Pâli Canon like that of the Christian list in the Third of Mark. Now the list in the Numerical Collection tells us that Kaccâna was the foremost among those who could accurately expand an utterance of the Master's which had been spoken concisely. (Anguttara I., 14). The Middling Collection adds that Buddha complimented Kaccâna upon his ability to do this. (Majjhima, No. 18.) The same Nikâya (No. 84) tells us that Kaccâna converted the King of Avanti after Buddha's decease, and the monarch was ready to take him for his master. Besides this learned Kaccâna, there was Ânanda learned in the Suttas, Upâli in the Vinaya; while others, both clerical and lay, were preachers of the Dhamma, or otherwise expert in points of the great religion.

   So obviously does this great list of disciples bear upon the First Council, that the oldest Chronicler of Ceylon gives a poetic p. 255 abridgment thereof in his two accounts;[1] for, like the Hebrew compilers of the Old Testament, the Ceylon Chronicler is not content with a composition of his own, but transmits two separate documents concerning each of the three Councils. These documents probably emanate from the Great Minster and some other monastery in the ancient capital of Ceylon.

   There is, in the Pâli Canon, an archaic work, the Itivuttaka, which I venture to call the Buddhist Logia-Book. Each paragraph in this venerable Gospel-source is attested by the solemn words: "Exactly this is the meaning of what the Blessed One said, and thus it was heard by me."[2]

   Though no names are given, this formula implies that earwitnesses made depositions as to what they had heard from the Master.

   Another ancient document, the Great Section on Discipline, exhibits a charming picture of the monks reciting the Master's words even during his lifetime: on the last night of the yearly residence during the rains, the reciters sat up late comparing notes and fixing in their minds the discourses they had chanted together. Another document of the Discipline, the Minor Section, tells us how the famous disciple Dabba the Mallian (who could light the monks to bed by emitting magnetic flames from his fingers) allotted apartments to the different reciters: the Sutta-reciters and the Vinaya-reciters were housed together. Another ancient Discipline document, the Pârâjika, enumerates Nine Divisions into which the sacred lore was divided. Three of these divisions, Jâtaka, Udâna, Itivuttaka, are names of leading books of the Canon to this day; a fourth one, Sutta, is the name of the great fivefold collection; while three other names enter into the titles of books or discourses.

   Thus we have reason to believe, from the Canon itself, even in its oldest documents, that a Council to fix it after Buddha's decease was inevitable. The monks had been used to hold just such a council every year through the long decades of his life-work, and

[1. Dîpavamsa 4 and 5.

2. Cf. "Gospel Parallels from Pâli Texts," in The Open Court for January, 1901.]

p. 256 they could not have done without one when he was no more. Again does the Decease Book come to our aid: "Ânanda, the Doctrine and Discipline set forth and laid down by me must, after my departure, be your Master." And again: "These four great References, O monks, will I set forth," viz.: that when a monk maintains a given doctrine to be that of the Buddha, of the Order, of the reciters, or of some Elder learned in the Âgamas, the Dhamma, the Vinaya and the Summaries (Mâtikâ), it must be compared with the established Doctrine and Discipline, line by line and letter by letter (padavyañjanâni), This implies, according to Western ideas, a written standard whereto appeal could be made; but many facts brought forward by Max Müller and Rhys Davids prevent our believing this. The appeal could only be, therefore, to some established form of the Sacred Lore as held by the reciters in their collective capacity: for, says the text of the Great References, a monk may be misled by a numerous company of Elders who are learned in the Âgamas (and so forth, as above). There must therefore have been a standing Council on Doctrine and Discipline during Buddha's lifetime.

   The later testimony of the Council Appendix affirms that the Elders of the First Council revised corruptions of the text,[1] because Buddha had commended it. It had therefore been done before, doubtless at the yearly meetings aforesaid. The Council Appendix also gives a hint that more than one recension was compiled. For, just as Papias, when Peter and John were no more, said that he preferred the living voice of those who remained who had heard the Apostles, rather than written records; so, when the monk Purâ.na was informed that the Elders had recited and fixed the Canon, whereto he was asked to bow, he politely replied: "Gentlemen, the Doctrine and Discipline have been beautifully chanted in chorus by the Elders; but, all the same, I shall maintain what I heard and received from the mouth of the Blessed One exactly as I heard it."

   Now Purâ.na was the leader of a party of five hundred--a symbolical

[1. Thus do I translate khandaphullam patisamkarimsu, rendered in S. B. E., XX., p. 373, "they repaired dilapidation."]

p. 257 number, meaning a large body; and the same number is attached to the orthodox party. Therefore, from the moment of Buddha's death, there were at least two recensions of the Canon maintained by parties of equal strength. The documents here set before us by Suzuki plainly proclaim the existence of rival recensions, agreeing in fundamentals, but differing in arrangement and extent. We may gather from the Island Chronicle that a favorite bone of contention was the question: What is text and what is commentary? Accordingly we find that sharp divergences prevail in those portions of the Canon which embody commentary: the Short Collection and the Higher Doctrine (Khuddaka Nikâya and Abhidhamma).

   Of course, the Canons here given as fixed at the Master's death are taken by each school from its own recension as it existed when the account was written; but this does not upset the fact that at least two such recensions existed from the first, viz., an aristocratic and a democratic. The first is the School of the Elders and the second the Great Council. It is true that the latter (the Mahâsamghika) did not formally secede until the second council, at the end of the first Buddhist century; but it has long been clear to me that its germ is to be found in the words of Purâ.no.

   Suzuki's documents are valuable, if nothing else, as lists of the contents of the different sectarian Canons. It is just such fundamental documents as these that are in crying need of translation, from Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. We want to compare the statements of the conservative school, transmitted to us through the Pâli, with those of other sects who had other and rival recensions. (Unless we are very orthodox Theravâdins, we may even call them Canons, in the plural, just as we should speak of the Greek, Armenian, and Abyssinian Canons of the Old and New Testaments, which accept or reject the Apocalypses of Enoch and John.) According to the Tibetans (teste Csoma) the Confessional (and presumably the Scriptures generally) were recited in four different dialects: Sanskrit, Pâli,[1] and two more.

[1. The name Pâli is not used, but from the names of the Ceylon sects who used the dialect called "the vernacular," we know that Pâli is meant.]

p. 258

   Let us hope that Teitaro Suzuki will go on adding to our knowledge in the same useful way.


   Historical Society of Pennsylvania, August, 1901.



   The purpose of the present article is not to enter into an historical or critical examination of the First Convocation of the Buddhist Order, which is generaily admitted by all the schools of Buddhism to have taken place immediately after the death of the Master. Though, some critics, for instance, Oldenberg, doubts its historical reality, it is apparently natural that the pious disciples of Buddha wished to rescue all his teachings from oblivion as soon as an opportunity presented itself. It may not, of course, have taken place in all its details as told by different sects, but even then those records possess an important historical significance on account of the light which they throw on the later development of Buddhism. Having this in view, I have collected and compared as many materials as available from the Chinese sources, but have refrained from giving an entire translation of them, which, however interesting to the specialist, cannot be presented in a limited space. The following summarised notes may serve in giving some insight into the nature of the First Convocation as well as into the attitude assumed towards it by different schools of Buddhism.



   The Chinese sources relating to the First Convocation of Buddhism are as follow:

   1. The Sudarçana-vinaya-vibhâshâ (right-comprehension-vinaya-analysis): Case Han,[1] fas. VIII., pp. 1-4. (Translated by Samghabhadra, A.D. 489. 18 fasciculi.)

   2. The Mahîçâsaka-nikâya-pañcavarga-vinaya (the Vinaya-text of the Mahîçâsaka school in five divisions): Case Chang, fas. II.,

[1. This refers to the Japanese edition of the Chinese Tripitaka. 1883. commonly known as the Kôkyô Shoin Edition.]

p. 259 pp. 68-69. (Translated by Buddhajîva with the assistance of some native Chinese Buddhists, A.D. 423-424. 30 fasciculi.)

   3. The Caturvarga-vinaya (the Vinaya-text of the Dharmagupta school in four divisions): Case Lieh, fas. VI. , pp. 49-51. (Translated by Buddhayaças and Chu Fo-nien, A.D. 405. 60 fasciculi.)

   4. The Mahâsanghika-vinaya (the Vinaya-text of the Mahâsanghika school): Case Lieh, fas. X., 32-35. (Translated by Buddhabhadra and Fâ-hsien, A.D. 416. 46 fasciculi.)

   5. The Mûlasarvâstivâda-nikâya-vinaya-samyuktavastu (the miscellaneous part of the Vinaya-text of the Sarvâstivâda school): Case Han, fas. II., pp. 87-93. (Translated by I-tsing, A.D. 710. 40 fasciculi.)

   6. The Vinaya-mâtrikâ Sûtra (the Sûtra of the Vinaya-summaries): Case Han, fas. IX., pp. 15-16. (The translator's name is lost, but the work is considered to have been done under the Chin dynasty, A.D. 350-431. 8 fasciculi.)

   7. The Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Çastra (a treatise on the great wisdom-perfection): Case Wang, fas. I., pp. 15-17. (The work is ascribed to Nâgârjuna. A commentary on the Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Sûtra. Translated by Kumârajîva, A.D. 402-405. 100 fasciculi. The original is said to have been thrice as large as the present translation.)

   8. The Life of King Açoka: Case Tsang, fas. X., pp. 13-14. (Translated by An Fa-chin, between A.D. 281-306. 5 or 6 fasciculi.)

   9. The Record of the Compilation of the Three Pitakas and the Miscellaneous Pitaka: Case Tsang, fas. VIII., pp. 32-35. (The translator's name is lost, but the work is said to be a production of the Eastern Chin dynasty, A.D. 317-420.)

   10. The Sûtra on Kaçyapa's Compilation: Case Tsang, fas. VIII., pp. 35-37. (Translated by Ân Shih-kao, a monk from Parthia, A.D. 148-170. The above two works are very short and consist of a few pages only.)

   11. The Accounts of the Transmission of the Dharmapitaka: Case Tsang, fas. IX., p. 92. (Translated by Chi-chia-yeh [Ki.mkâra?], A.D. 472. 6 fasciculi.)

p. 260

   Besides the above works we may consult Fâ-hsien and Hsüan-tsang as well, but I have refrained from making extracts from these works, because good English and French translations are accessible to the students of Buddhism.



   That Mahâkâçyapa, the first Buddhist patriarch, was the originator of the first assembly for compiling the Pitakas, is a matter of general acceptance by all schools of Buddhism. His motive, according to the Ceylon tradition, is ascribed to the imprudent utterance of a certain Bhikshu Subhadra[1] who, hearing of Buddh'a's entrance into Nirvâna, unreservedly gave vent to his feeling of relief, for he thought the religious discipline demanded by his Master was too rigorous. This tradition agrees with the records in the Vinaya texts of the Mahîçâsaka, the Mahâsa.nghika, and the Dharmagupta schools, and also with those in the Vinaya-mâtrikâ-Sûtra and the Sudarçana-Vinaya-vibhâshâ,[2] whereas in the Vinaya text of the Dharmagupta an additional reason why the Pitaka should be rehearsed immediately after Buddha's death is given by Kâçyapa thus: "We should now compile[3] the Dharma and the Vinaya, in order that heretics (tîrthakas) shall not make us [the subject of] superfluous comments and censures, saying that the discipline of the Çrâ Gautama is like smoke; that when the World-honored One was living, all [his disciples] observed the precepts, but now, after his disappearance, there are none who observe them."

   But the Vinaya text of the Sarvâstivâda, Transmission of the Dharmapitaka and the Mahâprajñâpâramitâ Çâstra do not make any allusion to the unwise Bhikshu. The Sarvâstivâda-vinaya, the Mahâprajñâpâramitâ Çâstra, and the Life of Açoka, on the other

[1. This monk Subhadra should not be confounded with Buddha's last convert, who happens to bear the same name.

2 The name of the imprudent Bhikshu is Bhânanda in the Mahîçâsaka, the Dharmagupta, and the Vinaya-mâtrikâ; Mahallaka in the Mahâsanghika; Subhadra-Mahallaka in the Sudarçana-vibhâsbâ-Vinaya.

3. Chieh chi. Literally, chieh means to tie, to join, or to unite, and chi to gather, to collect, to compile, and the like. The term is apparently an equivalent of samgîti, but I have retained its Chinese sense by translating it "compilation."]

p. 261 hand, state that Mahâkâçyapa was requested or instigated by devas who deeply lamented the possibility of the future loss of the Pitakas, if not compiled in due time. The Transmission of the Dharmapitaka, however, says nothing about the superhuman suggestion. To quote the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya: "Those devas whose long life extends over many kalpas were greatly afflicted at witnessing the Nirvâna of Buddha. But when they came to observe that many a sage had also entered into Nirvâna, they at last began to blame [the disciples], saying: 'The Sûtra, Vinaya, and Mâtrikâ [which constitute] the genuine Dharmapitaka taught by the World-honored One are left uncompiled; but surely [the disciples] are not going to have the right doctrine turned into ashes?'"

   Surmising the wish of those devas, Mahâkâçyapa said to all Bhikshus: "You know that the venerable Çâriputra and the venerable Mahâmaudgalyâyana, each with a large number of great Bhikshus who could not bear witnessing Buddha's entrance into Mahânirvâna, had already reverted to a state of perfect tranquillity; and now the World-honored One himself, in turn with 18,000 Bhikshus, has also entered into Parinirvâna. All those devas who are living innumerable kalpas, however, come forth to express their deep grief, and blame us, saying: 'Why do you not have the holy teachings of the Tripitaka compiled? Are you going to have the deepest spiritual doctrine of the Tathâgata turned into ashes?' So I declare to you all that the greatest thing we can do now is the compilation of the Pitaka. All then responded: 'Well, let us do the work.'"

   In the Transmission of the Dharmapitaka, Mahâkâçyapa is stated to have told all Bhikshus, as follows: "Buddha is now cremated, but we have no concern with the relics (çârîra) of the World-honored One, for kings, the rich, ministers of state, and lay-believers who desire the most excellent bliss will, of their own accord, make offerings [to them]. What we have to do is the collection of the Dharmacakshu [literally, the eye of the law], whereby to prevent an untimely extinction of the torch of the law. ln order that it may illuminate the future generation, let a prosperous perpetuation of the Triratna be not interrupted."

p. 262

   The Record of the Collection of the Tripitaka and the Samyuktapitaka, which was translated during the Eastern Tsin dynasty, A.D. 317-420, agrees with the above-mentioned work in referring neither to the imprudent Bhikshu nor to the suggestion of devas.



   It is almost[1] unanimously recorded in all the Chinese books that Ânanda was not admitted to membership in the Convocation, until he attained to the state of mastery, through the reprimand of Mahâkâçyapa, which successfully awakened in his heart the feelings of deep remorse and shame. There is, however, no agreement of statements as to how Ânanda was instigated by him in obtaining final emancipation.

   According to The Sudarçana-vibhâshâ-vinaya, Mahâkâçyapa insisted on the exclusion of Ânanda from the Convocation in order to protect it against all the reprehension that might arise from admitting one who was still in the stage of training; but the rest of the congregation thought it impossible to compile the Sûtras without Ânanda, so they admonished him to exert all his spiritual powers for the attainment of Arhatship.

   The Life of Açoka, the Caturvarga-vinaya of the Dharmagupta school, and the Pañcavarga-vinaya of the Mahîçâsaka school, these three works generally agree in this connection. Ânanda was preaching the Law to a large crowd of people, not knowing anything about Mahâkâçyapa's determination to exclude him from the meeting. A certain Bhikshu named Po-she,[2] who perceived through his supernatural insight that Ânanda was not yet free from attachment, felt pity for him, and told him the following in verse:

"Calmly sitting under a tree, contemplate Nirvâna.
Be not indolent, but exercise Dhyâna.
For what good would there be in chattering?"

[1. Except the Transmission of the Dharmapitaka, where no mention is made of this incident.

2. So in the Caturvarga-vinaya, but Po-ch'i in the Pañcavarga-vinaya, and Po-shê-fu-to, as a disciple of Ânanda, in the Life of Açoka. It is very difficult to find the Sanskrit equivalents of those names when their meanings are not given, for there is a tendency among the so-called "old translators" to simplify long Sanskrit terms in such a manner as to make them appear like native Chinese names.]

p. 263

   Thereupon Ânanda made up his mind to obtain final emancipation, etc., etc.

   In the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya, a verse slightly different in meaning from the above is also mentioned, but it was given by a mysterious boy who served him as an attendant, instead of by a Bhikshu. This incident occurred after a severe censure by Mahâkâçyapa of eight misdemeanors committed by Ânanda. The Vinaya text states that Mahâkâçyapa at first considered what would be the proper way of treating Ânanda, whether with a severe reprehension or with a gentle encouragement. When he had determined to take the first course, Ânanda was brought before the congregation. Mahâkâçyapa said: "You must leave this place. [It is not proper for] this congregation of worthy [Bhikshus] to be associated with you in their work." Hearing this, Ânanda felt as if his heart were being pierced with arrows, and, trembling all over his body, he pleaded with Mahâkâçyapa not to exclude him from the congregation, as he was not conscious of any faults [which would justify this severe punishment] Mahâkâçyapa now enumerated his eight misdemeanors, which caused Ânanda at last to retire from the assembly and to train himself for the attainment of Arhatship.

   In the Mahâsanghika-vinaya, Ânanda is stated to have received a very humiliating treatment from Mahâkâçyapa. When Mahâkâçyapa was requested by Bhikshus to admit the former to their assembly, he said: "No, if such a one [who is still in the stage] of training should be admitted into a congregation of those who are above training and are perfect in their meritorious powers, he would appear like a leprous fox (?) in an assemblage of lions." When this ignominious comparison was communicated by a deva to Ânanda, who was travelling towards Râjagriha, it did not please him at all. But he thought that Mahâkâçyapa who well knew to what family he belonged, would not have referred to him in such a way, if he were free from prejudices. But in the meantime having attained final deliverance, Ânanda hastened through the air to the Convocation. Mahâkâçyapa, it is stated, then explained to him that he used such a vigorous expression, only as he wished to encourage him to reach the stage of Arhatship.

p. 264

   In the Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ-Çâstra, the episode is described somewhat in a similar way to that in the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya. Ânanda is brought before the congregation by Mahâkâçyapa, and is reproached first for his not being yet qualified to rejoin it, and then for his six (not eight) misdemeanors. When Ânanda is expelled from the assembly, Mahâkâçyapa closes the gate behind him, and begins to compile the Vinaya with the remaining Bhikshus. Exceedingly mortified, Ânanda during the night exercised all his spiritual powers to reach the Path, and when at last he attained to the state of freedom from all prejudices, he rushed at midnight to Mahâkâçyapa's gates. Being told there to come inside through the keyhole, he did so by his supernatural power. Mahâkâçyapa consoled him, saying that the severe reproach had been inflicted upon him simply because he wished to see him enter into the state of Arhatship.

   In the Sûtra on Kâçyapa's Compilation [of the Tripitaka] Ânanda is said to have been expelled from the congregation after he was censured by Mahâkâçyapa for his nine misdemeanors in the presence of the Samgha.



   When Ânanda said to Mahâkâçyapa that he was not conscious of any faults, and that therefore there was no reason to exclude him from the assembly, Mahâkâçyapa enumerated several of his (duskrita), which were considered by him to be the proof that Ânanda was still in the stage of training. This incident is said to have occurred, according to some, before the compilation, but according to others, after it. To the former belong the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya, the Sûtra on Kâçyapa's compilation, the Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ-Çâstra, and the Caturvarga-vinaya of the Dharmagupta school; to the latter belong the Vinayamâtrikâ Sûtra, the Pañcavarga-vinaya of the Mahîçâsaka, the Life of Açoka, and the Mahâ-samghika-vinaya. But in the Caturvarga-vinaya, the Mahâsamghika-vinaya,[1] the Life of Açoka, the Pañcavarga-vinaya, the faults

[1. Here the accuser is not Mahâkâçyapa, but Upâli.]

p. 265 of Ânanda are simply enumerated without any reference to his qualification as a member of the Convocation.

   The number of his faults as censured by Mahâkâçyapa or Upâli is variously estimated at six, seven, eight, and nine. The following sums up all that was charged against him:

   1. Ânanda asked Buddha for the admittance of women into the Samgha, in spite of Buddha's prediction that if women were admitted, the Law of the Tathâgata would not long abide on earth.[1]

   2. Ânanda did not ask Buddha for the prolongation of his life, when the latter expressly suggested this to him, by saying that those who were trained in the four supernatural powers could either prolong or shorten their life for the period of one kalpa.

   3. When Buddha preached in parables, Ânanda made, in spite of his presence, some superfluous remark on them.

   4. Ânanda trod on Buddha's golden-colored robe while trying to wash it (a), or while trying to sew it (b).

   5. Being asked by Buddha to give him some water when he was going to enter into Nirvâna, Ânanda gave him muddy water (a), or he did not give him any, even when thrice asked (b).

   6. When Buddha told Ânanda that Bhikshus might dispense with minor precepts, he did not make any inquiry as to what precepts should be regarded minor.[2]

   7. Ânanda exposed the secret parts of Buddha in the presence of women, thinking that the act would tend to the cessation of their passions, but how could he know this when he had not yet attained to the stage of Arhatship?

   8. Ânanda showed the gold-colored body of Buddha to a multitude of women, allowing them to defile it with their tears.

   9. Ânanda first allowed women to worship the remains of Buddha.

   10. When Ânanda was one time reproached by Buddha, he secretly cherished ill-will, and was mischievous to others.

[1. Most of the Chinese books here referred to give all the reasons by which Ânanda justified himself for having committed those alleged misdemeanors, but from want of space, no mention here is made of them.

2. This naturally caused a vehement demonstration among the Samgha later.]

p. 266

   11. Ânanda was not yet free from the three evil passions: lust, malice, and ignorance, while all the other Bhikshus assembled in the Convocation were free therefrom.

   12. Buddha asked Ânanda three times to serve him as one who offers things (?) to Buddha, but he declined it.[1]

   The number and the order of these faults committed by Ânanda are different in different works.

   In the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya eight faults are counted in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4a, 5a, 6, 7, 8.

   The Pañcavarga-vinaya counts six in this order: 6, 4b, 1, 2, 5b, 9.

   The Life of Açoka, six: 6, 5b, 4 (simply stepping on Buddha's robe), 2, 7 (the reason given by Ânanda is that he wished to awake in the minds of women the desire to be born as men in their future life), 1.

   The Sûtra on Kâçyapa's Compilation has nine: 1, 2, 10, 4 (simply stepping over the golden robe of Buddha), 5b, 6, 7, 8, 11.

   The Caturvarga-vinaya states seven: 1, 12, 4b, 2, 5b, 6, 8.

   The Mahâsamghika-vinaya describes seven, thus: 1, 2, 4b, 5b, 6, 7, 8.

   The Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Çâstra has six: 1, 5b,[2] 2, 4 (when folding), 7.

   The Vinaya-mâtrikâ Sûtra merely states that Mahâkâçyapa accused Ânanda for his seven faults, but does not particularise any of them: on the other hand it relates nine disadvantages arising from the admittance of women into the Samgha.

   It is significant that the Sudarçana-vinaya does not make any reference to Ânanda's misdemeanors.



   The incident of Gavâmpati in connection with the First Convocation is stated in all the Mahâyâna literature and also in some[3]

[1. Note how trifling all these accusations are.

2. The fault is viewed here from two points: (1) not giving any water, (2) not knowing the fact that Buddha is able to cleanse any kind of water .

3. That is, the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya and the Mahâsamghika-vinaya.]

p. 267 of the Hînayâna. In the Mahâyâna literature we have the following works: The Life of Açoka, the Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Çâstra, the Sûtra concerning Kâçyapa's Compilation, the Record of the Transmission of the Dharmapitaka, and the Record of the Compilation of the Tripitaka and the Samyuktapitaka. On the other hand, the Vinaya-mâtrikâ Sûtra, the Caturvarga-vinaya, the Pañcavarga-vinaya, and the Sudarçana-vinaya, all of which belong to documents of the Hînayâna class, make no statement about the Gavâmpati incident.

   The incident of Gavâmpati, though it is more or less differently recorded as to its details in different works, is briefly this. Hearing the great bell rung by Mahâkâçyapa, the five hundred Bhikshus[1] hastened to the place of meeting, but when Mahâkâçyapa found that one of them[2] called Gavâmpati[3] had not yet joined them, he asked Anuruddha of the whereabouts of the missing Bhikshu. Being told that he was enjoying a peaceful life in one of the Heavens,[4] he sent a message thither to invite him to the convocation presided over by Mahâkâçyapa. Gavâmpati, who knew nothing about the late events relating to Buddha and his disciples, scrutinisingly asked the messenger why Mahâkâçyapa, instead of the Blessed One himself, stood at the head of the congregation: what was the object of such a grand religious convention, and some other questions.[5] When he was informed of all that had been going on below, he was so greatly afflicted that he said he had now no inclination to descend to the earth, which was made entirely desolate by the eternal departure of Buddha. So saying, Gavâmpati entered into a state of deep meditation, suddenly rose in the air

[1. The number of the Bhikshus who took part in the First Convocation is generally estimated at five hundred, but according to the Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Çâstra, the Convocation consisted of one thousand Bhikshus.

2. According to the Mahâsamghika, two Bhikshus were missing when the members were counted by Kâçyapa, but one of them, Anuruddha, soon joined them.

3. The Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Çâstra makes him a disciple of Çâriputra.

4. According to some, the Çrîvriksha (?) palace, but according to others the Çrîdeva palace.

5. So in the Sarvâstivâda-vinaya.]

p. 268 shining with supernatural brilliancy, and then consumed himself in a heavenly fire.[1]

   The Mahâ-prajñâ-pâramitâ Çâstra says that Gavâmpati having been fully familiar with the Vinaya and the Sûtra, his presence was necessary to the assembly.

   According to the Mahâsamghika-vinaya, Mahâkâçyapa sent several messages to Heaven to summon those Bhikshus who were abiding there, but all of them, having learned that Buddha had already entered into Parinirvâna, were so exceedingly mortified that they disappeared one after another in the same manner. Mahâkâçyapa then declared that no more messages would be despatched to Heaven, nor should those Bhikshus who were living on earth enter into Nirvâna until their work of great importance had been completed.



   What was done by the Convocation? Were the Vinayapitaka and the Sûtrapitaka alone compiled? Did a compilation of the Abhidharmapitaka also take place? Did any dissension occur in the assembly? These questions constitute the most important part of the First Convocation, and the following abstracts from various Chinese translations are calculated to throw some light on them.

   A. The Vinaya in Four Divisions (Caturvarga-vinaya).--When the cremation ceremony of Buddha was over, all the five hundred Bhikshus went from Vaiçâli to Râjagriha, where Mahâkâçyapa intended to summon the assembly. First, Ânanda was blamed for his seven faults, as already mentioned; then Upâli was requested to recite the Vinaya, beginning with the first of the Principal Sins (Pârâjika), as to the individual, the circumstance, and the nature of the crime. Rules concerning the Bhikshu and the Bhikshuni, the Prâ.timoksha, the Poshadha, the Residing Season, the Wandering Season, the use of leather, the robes, medicaments, the Ka.thina ceremonies,--all these regulations were incorporated in the Vinaya.

[1. The Sarvâstivâda-vinaya, the Mahâprajñâ-pâramitâ Çâstra, and the Sûtra on Kâçyapa's Compilation relate, in addition, that four streams ran out of his transfigured body, each murmuring a gâthâ which proclaimed the transiency of life and the lamentable departure of the Lord.]

p. 269

   Ânanda was next asked to compile the Sûtrapitaka. Such Sûtras as the Brahma-jâla (translated Brahma-moving), the Ekottara (increasing by one), the Daçottara (increasing by ten), the Formation and Destruction of the World, the Sa.ngîti (chorus), the Mahânidâna (great cause), the Questions of the Çakradeva (Indra), were included in the Longer Âgama (Pâli, Dîgha Nikâyo); those Sûtras of middle length were called the Middling Âgama (Pâli, Majjhima Nikâyo); those in which the subjects were arranged numerically from one to eleven were called the Âgama Increasing by One (A.nguttara Nikâyo); those which were miscellaneously preached for (?) the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upâsakas, Upâsikâs, Devas, Çakra, Mâras, and Brâhmarâjas, were called the Miscellaneous Âgama (Samyutta Nikâyo); and lastly such Sûtras as the Jâtaka, Itivrittika,[1] Nidâna, Vaipulya, Adbhûta, Avadâna, Upadeça, the Explanation of Aphorisms (Nirdeça?), Dharmapada, Pârâyana,[2] Miscellaneous Discussions and several Gâthâs, were comprised in the Miscellaneous Pitaka, (Pâli, Khuddaka Nikâyo, with other matter). The Discursive [Book] (Kathâ Vatthu),[3] the Non-discursive [Book] (Vibha.nga or Puggala paññati?), the Yoking (Dhamma, the Correlating (Yamaka?), and the Place of Birth (Pa.t.thâna?) made up the Abhidharmapitaka.[4]

   B. The Vinaya in Five Divisions (Pañcavarga-vinaya).--When the five hundred Bhikshus were assembled in Râjagriha, Mahâkâçyapa inquired of Upâli in due formulary of the four Principal Precepts (Pârâjika) as to the place where they were occasioned, as to the individual with whom they were concerned, and as to the matter with which they dealt. All the Vinaya, for the Bhikshus as well as for the Bhikshunis, was compiled in this way.

   Mahâkâçyapa then asked Ânanda where Buddha taught the Ekôttara Sûtra, the Daçôttara Sûtra, the Mahânidâna Sûtra, the

[1. Not given by Beal.

2. Beal gives the Anâgata-Bhayâni and Munigâthâ.

3. This and following four titles are so concisely given in the text that it is very difficult to make out what they are, and the translation and the reference to the Pâli Abhidharma works here presented are merely tentative.

4. The text is reticent about the author of the compilation of this Pitaka.]

p. 270 Samgiti Sûtra, the Çrâmañaphala Sûtra, the Brahmajâla (translated Brahmâ-moving), as well as those Sûtras which were preached to Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upâsakas, Upâsikâs, Devapûtras, and Devis. When all the Sûtras were thus recited, Mahâkâçyapa declared to the Samgha: "Those longer Sûtras which are now compiled in one group shall be called the Longer Âgama; those Sûtras which are neither long nor short, and are now compiled in one group, shall be called the Middling Âgama; those which are miscellaneously preached to Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upâsakas, Upâsikâs, Devapûtras, and Devis, and are now compiled in one group, shall be called the Miscellaneous Âgama; those Sûtras which start with one dharma and increase by one, up to eleven dharmas, and are now compiled in one group, shall be called the Âgama Increasing by One; while the remainder, all consisting of miscellaneous teaching, and now compiled in one group, shall be called the Miscellaneous Pitaka. And to them all shall be given a collective name, Sûtrapitaka. We have now finished compiling the Law, and henceforth let us not put any unnecessary restraint on what was not restrained by Buddha; let us not violate what has already been restrained by Buddha; let us sincerely train ourselves according to the teachings of Buddha."

   C. The Vinaya-mâtrikâ Sûtra.--Ânanda being admitted to join the assembly, and the five hundred Arhats having taken their seats, they began to compile the Tripitaka out of the materials which consisted of Sûtras in five or five hundred[1] divisions. Rules for the Bhikshu and Bhikshuni, and the Skandhas (divisions) relating to the Ka.thina and other things composed the Vinayapitaka. The four Âgamas, (1) Long, (2) Middling, (3) Increasing by One, and (4) Miscellaneous--the last one consisting of those Sûtras which relate to Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, the Çakrendra, devas, and Brâhmarâjâs, as well as (5) the sundry collection which comprised the Dharmapada, the Exposition, the Pârâyana, the Upadeça and others,--these five groups of the Sûtras were classified under the Sûtrapitaka. The Discursive (or Dialogical) Treatise (Kathâ vatthu?),

[1. According to other editions.]

p. 271 the Non-discursive (or Non-dialogical) Treatise (Vibhanga?), the Mutual Enclosing (Dharma, the Correlating (Yamaka?), and the Regions (Dhâtu Kathâ or Patthâna?)[1] made up the Abhidharmapitaka. And the general name Tripitaka was given to them all.

D. The Vinaya Text of the Sarvâstivâda School.--Mahâkâçyapa and the five hundred Bhikshus kept the assembly in the Pippâla Cave. He announced that as Bhikshus in coming generations would be inferior in their natural endowment (literally, root, mûla?) and lacking in the power of concentration, the assembly would first compile, for the sake of such, the Gâthâs (verses)[2] in which the Sûtra, Vinaya and Abhidharma[3] were treated in comprehensive brevity. This was done before the meal. They then proceeded to compile the Sûtras. Ânanda was requested by Mahâkâçyapa as well as by the Samgha to select and compile them. Having gone through due formality and having reflected on the impermanence of things, he thought: "Among those Sûtras which I heard personally from Buddha, some are traditional,[4] some are preachings in the Nâga (Serpent) Palace,[5] others are preachings in the heavens.

[1. Those five titles of the books contained in the Abhidharmapitaka closely agree, though the translation is a little different, with those above referred to in the Vinaya in Five Divisions, but the terms being too concise, we cannot give anything more than a mere conjecture as to their correspondence to the Pâli works.

2. Was the Gâthâ already existing side by side with the prose at the time of the First Convocation? Did Buddha himself put some most important tenets of his doctrine into a rhythmical form, that his disciples might learn them by heart? (Yes: See S. B. E., XIII., p. 151.--Edmunds.)

3. Were some parts of the Abhidharma also versified?

4. Does this mean that Buddha preached on some traditional subjects, or that some Sûtras deal with traditions, or that the first sermons of Buddha, such as were delivered for the five Bhikshus in Vârânasî before the conversion of Ânanda, were heard by him afterwards from Buddha's own mouth, or from those who were then present, in which case the term tradition would be used in the sense of hearsay? Judging from similar passages in some other works, the last sense seems to be most preferable.

5 This statement is most significant, for many Mahâyâna texts are said to have been taken from the Nâga Palace where they were long preserved in secret. The Vinaya text of the Sarvâstivâda is generally considered to belong to the Hînayâna work, and this fact makes the above statement much more mysterious. Is the Nâga Palace an ideal creation of later Buddhists? or is it some yet unknown region in the Himâlaya? [Buddha converted several yakkhas, nâgas, etc.--Edmunds.]]

p. 272 As I keep them all in memory and do not forget any of them, I shall now recite them." All Devas expressed their willingness to listen, and Mahâkâçyapa praised the words of Buddha as the foremost of all doctrines.

   Ânanda then recited the first Sûtra, the Dharmaçakrapravartana (Revolution of the Law-wheel), which was taught in Benâres for the five Bhikshus, one of whom, Ajñâta Kau.n.di.nya, being present in the assembly, told Mahâkâçyapa how at that time he gained the eye of the Law. Hearing this, devas as well as those Bhikshus who were not yet freed from attachment,[1] uttered a pitiful cry as if their hearts were being pierced with thousands of arrows, and lamented that they could not hear those words of Buddha any more from his own mouth. In this lamentation the Bhikshus of the assembly also joined. When they recovered from the shock of deep feeling, Mahâkâçyapa declared that this first Sûtra, taught by the Blessed One, having been accepted by all, should be recognised as the genuine doctrine of Buddha.

   The second Sûtra, Ânanda now went on, which was also preached in Benâres for the sake of the five Bhikshus, consisted in the elucidation of the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Right Paths. Kau.n.di.nya's confirmation and Mahâkâçyapa's conclusion were declared as before.

   The occasion which induced Buddha to preach the third Sûtra was also in Benâres for the sake of the five Bhikshus. He taught that the five Skandhas (aggregates) have no Âtman, that they are subject to transformation, that they cause misery, that one can save oneself from misery through a right comprehension of the nature of things. The conclusion of Mahâkâçyapa was the same as before.

[1. This is very strange, considering that those who were admitted to the assembly were all free from attachment, that is, they were all Arhats; but in spite of this were many other Bhikshus also admitted as the audience, though not actually partaking in the work of the compilation of the Tripitaka? In the Mahâyâna work a statement is sometimes made to the effect that the followers of the Mahâyâna Buddhism had their own convocation somewhere in the neighborhood. Does the present text refer to this, or to the council of the Mahâsanghika school as it is mentioned in Hsüan-Tsang?]

p. 273

   In this way all the other Sûtras taught by Buddha in several places were recited by Ânanda and confirmed by the Arhats of the assembly. They were all classified in proper forms according to the subject: for example, Sûtras which treated the five Skandhas were grouped under the heading of Skandha, those which treated the six Âyatanas or the eighteen Dhâtus were classified under the Âyatana or Dhâtu; and so on with the (twelve) Chains of Causation, the (four) Noble Truths, the speeches of Çrâvakas, the speeches of Buddha, the (four) subjects of Recollection, the (four kinds of) Right Effort, the (four) Supernatural Powers, the (five) Indriyas, the (five) Balas, and the (eight) Bodhyangas.[1]

   Those Sûtras which are in coincidence with the Gâthâs (verse parts), were called the Coincidence[2] Âgama; those which consist of lengthy teachings, the Longer Âgama; those which are of medium length, the Middling Âgama; those in which the subjects are numerically arranged, the Âgama Increasing by One. "There are," says Mahâkâçyapa, "no other Âgamas than these" now compiled.

   Next, the Convocation proceeded to compile the Vinaya, led by Upâli, who was considered by Buddha to be the first of the Vinaya-dharâ.[3] Being asked by Mahâkâçyapa where, to whom, and on what the first rule of propriety, (Çikshâ)[4] was announced by Buddha, Upâli said that it was in Vârâ.nasi (Benâres) and for the five Bhikshus, and that the matter related to the arrangement of

[1. These subjects also appear in the Abhidharmapitaka, as we see below. Do the statements mean that those subjects as taught by Buddha were classified with the Sûtrapitaka, while a further exposition of the same by his disciples was included in the Abhidharma?

2. Samyukta in Sanskrit. Coincidence is a literal translation of it, which is commonly rendered miscellaneous, according to its derived meaning--so says the text.

3. Literally, those who carry the Vinaya, i.e. , know it by heart.

4. It is very strange that Mahâkâçyapa did not first ask Upâli about the four Principal Sins (Pârâjika), instead of about such insignificant regulations as the Çikshâ rules. Why does the Sarvâstivâda school attach such importance to the latter, while other schools invariably give the first place to the Pârâjika, as is naturally expected? Noticing, however, the in consistent statement which is made immediately below, I am inclined to think that some spurious elements have crept later into the body of the original text.]

p. 274 the undergarment. The second Çikshâ was recited by him in the same way.

   As for the third Çikshâ, the text continues as follows:[1] "Mahâkâçyapa again said to Upâli: Where did the World-Honored One announce the Çikshâ? Upâli replied with a clear, penetrating voice: In Kala.n.daka Village.--For whom?--For Bhikshu Sudinna, son of Kala.n.daka.--What was the matter? If a Bhikshu training himself in the disciplinary rules, commits an adulterous act with another Bhikshu or with an animal, he performs a Pârâjika fault; nor is he allowed to cohabit."[2]

   In this way all the parts of the Vinaya were compiled, which consist of the Pârâjika rules, Samghâvaçesa rules, two Aniyata rules, thirty Naissargika rules, ninety Prâyaçcittika rules, four Pratideçanîya rules, a number of Çikshâ rules, seven Adhikara.naçamatha, as well as the principal rules, obligatory rules, voluntary rules, rules for the Bhikshu, rules for the Upâsaka, regulations of the Karmavâca, conditions for conversion, the Poshadha, the season of residence, the wandering season, general and miscellaneous regulations, and the circumstances which brought forth all these rules and regulations.

   The compilation of the Vinaya being thus finished, it now occurred to Mahâkâçyapa that, as the people in coming generations would be so lacking in intelligence and so poor in natural endowment that they could not comprehend the deep significance of the Doctrine by studying the text only, he himself would recite the Mâtrikâ,[3] that is, Abhidharma, whereby to prevent the spirit of the Sûtra and the Vinaya from being obliterated by arbitrary interpretations. Having obtained the sanction of the Convocation, he comprised under the Mâtrikâ the following subjects: the four Objects of Smriti (recollections), the four Right Efforts, the four Supernatural

[1. The following quotation clearly shows how confusing the text is: "Upâli was asked to recite the third Çikshâ, and is stated to have told them about the first Pârâjika instead." As I remarked just above, the text must be considered to contain some later additions.

2. Literally, to live together.

3. Originally tables of contents, as may be seen in the Pâli texts.--A.J.E.]

p. 275 Powers (Riddhi), the five Indriyas (lit. root), the five Powers (Bala), the seven Bodhyangas (constituent parts of enlightenment), the Eightfold Noble Path, the four Abhayas (fearlessness), the four Pratisamvids (unimpeded knowledge), the four Çrâmanaphala (obtainment of Çrama.naship), the four Dharmapadas, the Ârañya (solitude), Wish, Knowledge, the Dhyâna of Boundary (the fourth Dhyâna?), Emptiness (Çûnyatâ), Unconditionality (Animitta), Freedom from Desire (Apra.nihita), miscellaneous Disciplines, various Meditations, the Right Entering, Presentation (or perception), Knowledge of Phenomena, Çamatha (tranquilisation), Vipaçyana (insight), the Dharmasamgraha, and the Dharmaskandha.[1]

   When the compilation of the Sûtra, the Vinaya, and the Abhidharma was thus done, the heaven and the earth resounded with the praise of the devas.

   E. The Vinaya text of the Mahâsanghika school.--Having reached at last the state of Arhatship, Ânanda was permitted to join the assembly, which unanimously acknowledged him as the disciple of best memory. They requested him to compile the Dharmapitaka.[2] When Ânanda began to recite, "Thus have I heard: 'Buddha was at one time in the Bodhima.n.dara by the river Nairañjanâ,'" the five hundred Bhikshus showed their deep feeling, which, however, soon passed to the calm reflection that all things which originate from a combination of causes are necessarily subject to ruin and transformation.

   The Dharmapitaka thus compiled by Ânanda consisted of the Longer Âgama; the Middling Âgama; the Miscellaneous Âgama,

[1. Observe that some of those subjects also appear in the Sûtrapitaka, while the identity of others cannot be determined, owing to the brevity of the statement.

2. According to some the Dharmapitaka is identified with the Sûtrapitaka, as in the present text; while, according to others, it is a general name given to the entire collection of the sacred writings. This disagreement among the records of different Buddhist schools apparently shows that at the earlier stage of development of Buddhist literature there was no definite name for the Pitaka compiled by the First Convocation, which had probably been known by the simple designation, Buddhavâcâ (Words of Buddha). Therefore we shall not run much risk in considering those terms which are now currently used by Buddhists themselves, as well as by Buddhist scholars, (to-wit, Vinayapitaka, Sûtrapitaka, Abhidharma, Tripitaka or Dvipitaka), as the elaboration of later Buddhists.]

p. 276 which was so called because of its dealing with miscellaneous subjects concerning predisposition (lit. root, mûla), power (bala), enlightenment (bodhi), and the path (mârga); and the Âgama Increasing by one, which was so called because of a numerical arrangement of subjects from one up to one hundred:[1] while the Miscellaneous Pitaka comprised the Udâna (narratives), Itivrittika (incidents), and Nidâna (circumstantial notes), relating to Pratyekabuddhas and Arhats, which are written in verses (Gâthâ).[2]

   Upâli, who was announced by Buddha as well as by the Sa.ngha as the first of the Vinaya-dharâ, was asked next to compile the Vinaya text. He first told the Convocation that there were five sorts of purity, and then proceeded to censure Ânanda for having committed the seven faults as stated elsewhere, two of which, however, Ânanda refused to acknowledge.[3]

   Upâli is said to have then recited the nine divisions of the Vinaya, to wit, (1) Pârâjika, (2) Samghâvaçesa, (3) two Aniyatas, (4) thirty Naissargika, (5) ninety-two Prâyaçcittika, (6) four Pratideçanîya, (7) Çikshâ, (8) seven Adhikara.naçamathas, and (9) rules conforming to the Doctrine. He also explained in addition various meanings of the Vinaya: for example, as to the distinction between the dreadful sins (pârâjika) and serious offences (sthûlâtyaya), or as to a different classification of the Vinaya-text. When thus they had finished compiling the Pitaka, the ten hundred Bhikshus staying outside[4] were called in and informed of the work of the Convocation.

[1. The reader will observe that the number of the subjects contained in the "Âgama increasing by one" differs in different texts.

2. This statement is very valuable. The Mahâsa.nghika quarreled with the Theravâda about the contents of the Khuddaka Nikâya, where these books belong, and the very treatises which the Dîpavamsa says they omitted, are wanting here.--Edmunds.

3. It is noteworthy that according to the Mahâsamghika school the man who blamed Ânanda before the assembly was not Mahâkâçyapa, but Upâli, the first of the Vinaya-dharâ.

4. What does the statement here refer to, which says one thousand Bhikshus staying outside were summoned in? Hsüan-tsang mentions that the Mahâsanghika school, being excluded from the assembly of the Sthavira school, had their own compilation, meeting to the west of Mahâkâçyapa's convocation. Does the present text refer to that?]

p. 277

   A vehement discussion now arose in the assembly as to what was meant by Buddha when he said to Ânanda that the precepts of minor importance could be dispensed with. A certain group of six Bhikshus went so far to the extreme as to say that "if the World-Honored One were still living, he would have everything at once abolished." Mahâkâçyapa, whose majestic dignity and authority were equal to those of Buddha, then sternly ordered them to keep silence, and made a declaration that all which had ever been forbidden should be forbidden, and what had not been forbidden should not be forbidden, and that they should not give any chance to the heretics who were willing to blame the congregation at all costs.

   The text concludes with a list of the venerable masters through whom this knowledge of the First Convocation was lineally transmitted down to the venerable Tao-lih (Bodhibala?).[1]

   F. The Sudarçana-vinaya.--When the five hundred Bhikshus were seated, Mahâkâçyapa asked them what they would first compile, the Dharmapitaka or the Vinayapitaka, and to this they answered: "Venerable Sir, the Vinayapitaka is the life of Buddhism, and so long as the Vinayapitaka exists, Buddhism will also exist. Therefore, let us first produce the Vinayapitaka."

   The next question was who should be the principal compiler of it: Upâli suggested that Ânanda could be chosen for the position, but it was not accepted by the assembly. Being recognised by Buddha as the first of the Vinaya-dharâ, Upâli himself was prevailed upon to recite the Vinaya by a general vote. After due formulary he produced all parts of the Vinaya which consisted of the Prâtimoksha of Bhikshu and Bhikshuni, and Skandhaka, and the Parivâra.

   Mahâkâçyapa then nominated Ânanda, according to a general wish of the Sangha, to compile the Dharmapitaka. The Brâhmajâla and the Çrâmaña-phala were first recited, and then all the five divisions of the Sûtra, which consist of the Longer Agama Sûtra, the Middling Agama Sûtra, the Samyukta Sûtra, the Anguttara

[1. Why not give names, so as to compare with Theravâda list in Mahâvamsa?--Edmunds.]

p. 278 Sûtra, and the Khuddhaka Sûtra, the last one containing all the words of Buddha (Buddha-vâcâ) not included in the first four Âgamas.[1]

   The speeches of Buddha, the text goes on to say, are of one taste, have two functions, and are divisible into three periods: that is, they all teach the means of deliverance (moksha) which consist in morality, meditation, and understanding; they are composed of the Dharmapitaka and the Vinayapitaka; they are divisible into the first speech, the last speech, and those speeches which were delivered between them. The text then raises the question: What is the Tripitaka? to which is given the answer that it consists of Vinayapitaka, Sûtrapitaka, and Abhidharmapitaka, together with their analytic explanation.[2] The contents of the Tripitaka given in this way agree with those of the Pâli collection.[3]

   G. Mahdprajñâpâramitâ Çâstra.[4]--Mahâkâçyapa in a friendly way requests Ânanda to compile the Dharmapitaka, saying: "Though there were many great disciples of the Buddha to whom the guarding of Dharmapitaka was entrusted, they are now all gone except you. Therefore, out of the compassion for all beings and in accordance with the spirit of Buddha, you shall compile the Buddhadharmapitaka." Thus requested, Ânanda ascends the lion-seat, and reverentially turning towards the place where Buddha's Nirvâna took place, says: "Though I did not personally hear the first preaching of Buddha, I have learned it by hearsay. When Buddha was in Vârâ.nasî, he first opened the gate of nectar for the five Bhikshus and preached the Four Noble Truths of Suffering,

[1. The Pâli commentaries say the same.--A. J. E.

2. This is very strange, because the text bas before said that the First Convocation compiled the Vinaya and Sûtra only. I am inclined to think that these additional statements, as well as the succeeding detailed explanation of such terms as Sûtra, Abhidharma, Pitaka, and Âgama, are later interpolations put down here by way of commentary, but which in the course of time have been mixed up with the text.

3. The Chinese characters for transliteration in the present text, so far as they have come under my notice, strongly suggest that the text is a translation of the Pâli original, though I have retained the Sanskrit terms for the sake of uniformity.

4. The present text belongs to the Mahâyâna literature, and it will be very interesting to contrast its accounts of the First Convocation with those of the preceding ones, which all belong to the Hînayâna Buddhism.]

p. 279 Amassing, Cessation, and the Path. Ajñâta Kau.n.dinya was the first to perceive the Path, and 80,000 devas also all entered upon the Path."

   When the one thousand Arhats assembled in the Convocation heard the words of Buddha as recited by Ânanda, they were greatly afflicted with the thought that they could no more hear Buddha's personal address. The Sthaviras Anuruddha and Mahâkâçyapa expressed in verses their deep feelings about the impermanence of things.

   Mahâkâçyapa told Ânanda that all the teachings of Buddha, from the Dharma-cakra-pravartana Sûtra down to the Mahâparinirvâna Sûtra, should be classified in four divisions, each being called an Âgama, viz.: the Âgama Increasing by One, the Middling Âgama, the Longer Âgama, and the Coincidence Âgama.[1] And to them all was given a general name: Sûtradharmapitaka.

   Upâli, who was recognised by the Samgha to be the first of the Vinaya-dharâ among the five hundred Arhats,[2] was then asked to recite the Vinaya consisting of eighty divisions.[3]

   Lastly, Ânanda was again requested to recite the first Abhidharma taught by Buddha, as he was acknowledged among the five hundred Arhats to be most conversant with the exposition of the Sûtra. He addressed the Sangha: "Thus have I heard: Buddha was at one time in Çrâvasti, when he told the Bhikshus that those who neither removed nor exterminated the five dreadful [sins], the five misdemeanors, and the five sorts of malice, would suffer in consequence innumerable misfortunes in this life, bodily as well as spiritual, and in the future would fall down into the evil paths; that those, however, who were free from these five dreadful [sins], five misdemeanors, and five sorts of malice, would enjoy in consequence various blessings in this life, bodily as well as spiritual, and in the future be born in a pleasant heavenly abode. What

[1. A literal translation of Samyuktâgama.

2. Here, as well as further on, five hundred Arhats are mentioned. Is this the number of the Arhats assembled in the Convocation? If so, it is in direct contradiction to the above statement that there were a thousand.

3. One edition reads eight thousand, which is probably a misprint.]

p. 280 are those five dreadful [sins] which are to be kept away? They are: (1) killing, (2) stealing, (3) unlawful lust, (4) lying, and (5) drinking spirits."

   All such matters were comprised under the Abhidharmapitaka. Thus ended the compilation of the three Dharmapitakas.



   Three[1] out of the eleven Chinese translations which contain accounts of the First Convocation refer to the episode of Purâ.na, who was in the south[2] when Mahâkâçyapa and five hundred Bhikshus were working on the compilation of the Pitaka. According to the Caturvarga-vinaya, the event occurred in the following manner:

   Having heard that the Convocation was taking place in Râjagriha, Sthavira Purâ.na hastened thither, accompanied by his party, which consisted of five hundred Bhikshus. He went to Mahâkâçyapa and asked if he also might be allowed to learn all that had happened. Mahâkâçyapa thereupon again summoned the assembly, requested Upâli to rehearse what he had recited, and had other things repeated as they had been done before. Purâ.na expressed his satisfaction with the general proceedings of the Convocation, except as to the insertion of the following eight indulgences, which had been plainly approved by Buddha, and unmistakably kept in memory by himself. The eight things were: (1) Keeping food indoors; (2) Cooking indoors; (3) Cooking of one's own accord; (4) Taking food of one's own accord; (5) Receiving food when rising early in the morning; (6) Carrying food home according to the wish of a giver; (7) Having miscellaneous fruits; (8) Eating things grown in (or by?) a pond.

   These indulgences, said he, were not against the rule that forbids the taking of the remnant of food. Mahâkâçyapa told him that he was correct in saying so, but that Buddha permitted them only on account of a scarcity of food, when the Bhikshus could not

[1. The Pañcavarga-vinaya, the Caturvarga-vinaya, and the Vinaya-mâtrikâ.

2. According to the Pañcavarga-vinaya, agreeing with the Pâli.]

p. 281 get a sufficient supply of it by going their rounds, and that therefore when this circumstance was removed, Buddha again bade them to abstain from these eight indulgences. Purâ.na, however, protested, declaring that Buddha, who was all-wise, would not permit what otherwise was forbidden, nor would he forbid what otherwise was permitted. To this Mahâkâçyapa replied: "The very reason of his being all-wise has enabled him to permit what otherwise was forbidden, and to forbid what otherwise was permitted. Purâ.na, we will now make this decision: That whatever Buddha did not forbid shall not be forbidden, and whatever Buddha forbade shall not be disregarded. Let us train ourselves in accordance with the disciplinary rules established by Buddha."

   The Pañcavarga-Vinaya mentions, instead of the eight above enumerated, seven indulgences which, however, may be taken for eight, according to how we punctuate the passage, though the text apparently states "these seven things." They are slightly different from those in the Caturvarga-vinaya, to-wit: (1) Keeping food indoors; (2) Cooking indoors; (3) Cooking of one's own accord; (4) Receiving food in compliance with the wish of another; (5) Taking fruit of one's own accord; (6) Receiving things coming out of a pond; (7) Eating fruit with its seeds (or stone) removed, when received from one who is not a regular attendant in the Samgha.[1]

   According to the Vinaya-mâtrikâ Sûtra, the first of the eight indulgences is the keeping of food indoors, and the last is the eating of sundry grasses and roots (or roots of grass) growing by a pond, but the six intermediate ones are not mentioned.

   Mahâkâçyapa is said to have told Purâ.na about the eight excellent qualities of Buddha, by virtue of which he could, when deemed fit, establish or abolish the rules for the benefit of the Samgha.



   All the Chinese works, already referred to, agree in stating that the First Convocation took place in Râjagriha, though they

[1. The last passage is not clear, and we may consider it either as forming an independent statement or as an appendix to the sixth.]

p. 282 differ as to the special locality of the city. The Cave, the Pippala Rock, the Kshatrya Cave, and the Gridhrakûta are the places thus mentioned in them.

   As to the time, they unanimously say that the event happened immediately after the demise of Buddha, though they in no wise agree regarding the exact date.



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