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The Buddhist Councils

By Gaurav Manandhar at
Buddhist Council
Buddhist Council that were held at the different centuries has changed the course of Buddhism and has impacted on the different tradition of Buddhism such as early Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.

Buddhist Councils are the some of the important that changes the flow of Buddhism . After Lord Buddha attained Parinirvana in Kushinagar , India, many Seniors monks such as Mahakassyapa and Upali were concerned about the lessons, preachings of Dharma and discipline of all Buddhist monks . The first Historical Buddhist council was believed to be held in the 5th Century CE (the date may change whatsoever), and was led by Ven. Mahakassyapa .

Buddhist Councils held in different millennium have changes the course of Buddhism that have led to the present Buddhism. One of the most important changes that occurred during the early Buddhist council was the formation of two of the oldest Buddhist tradition , Mahayana , and Theravada Buddhist Schools . The history of early Buddhist schools shows many changes in Buddhism like the translation of many original Buddha's sutras and teachings . As the time goes on, many Buddhist Councils were held in the course of time and there are 4 most important Buddhist Councils that changes the flow of Buddhism .

FIRST BUDDHIST COUNCIL

The First Buddhist Council was held right after the death of Lord Buddha in Kushingara . After the Parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, many senior monks held meeting to discuss how to teach and manage Buddha's Teachings . The First Buddhist Council is considered as the turning point in Buddhism since the meeting First Buddhist Council decides how the Buddhism is taught still to present time.

The First Buddhist Council was held at the entrance of Sattapanni Cave, Rajargaha (Known as Rajgir in Present time) and known as the Council of Rajargaha . Even though the exact date is not known but it is believed that it was held in the time around 4th or 5th Century CE . According to Buddhist history , the council was called by Ven. Mahakasyapa with the consent of Ven. Upali , one of the senior monks of the order of Sangha . After the death of Lord Buddha , one of the monks, Subhadda said that "Now we can do what we like" .

After hearing such words from the monks, Mahakasyapa held the meeting to maintain the discipline of the ordained monks and how to record and translate all the Buddha's teachings . In this council, Ven. Ananda was asked to preach the teachings of Buddha or Dharma teachings since he was the closest of Lord Buddha and have amazing memory power. But before asking Ananda , another interesting event took place. Ven. Ananda hadn't yet attained Nirvana after the death of Lord Buddha . So before the meeting of First Buddhist Council, Ven. Ananda started meditating and later in the same night attained Enlightenment while he was sleeping. In this Council, Ven. Ananda and senior monk Ven. Upali preached on Vinaya and Sutta-Pitaka after the preaching made by Ven. Ananda was accepted by all the 500 monks who attended the Council.

  • SECOND BUDDHIST COUNCIL

SECOND BUDDHIST COUNCIL

The second Buddhist Council was held after the 100 years of Lord Buddha's death . It was believed to be held in 386 CE and was held at Vaishali , an ancient city of India . The main purposes of Second Buddhist Council were to discuss the Buddhist practices and norms of Buddhism.

According to Buddhist history , senior monk named Yasa noticed some bad practices by some local monks and called the Buddhist Council in order to discuss the matters of Buddhist practices . It was also held in order to discuss whether the monks can handle money for the benefits of all monks and order of Sangha . Some historians called first Buddhist Council held at Pataliputra as the second Second Buddhist Council or some called it the first Third Buddhist Council .

Known as the second Second Buddhist Council , Buddhist Council Pataliputra was held during the time of 3rd Century CE. The main purpose of this Buddhist Council was to discuss the matter of " Great Schism ". This Great Schism was between the two early Buddhist Schools like Early Theravada Buddhism and early Mahayana Buddhism .

THIRD BUDDHIST COUNCIL

The Third Buddhist Council or Buddhist Council: Pataliputra II was held during the time of Great Emperor Ashoka 's time ( 250 BCE ) and was held at Pataliputra . According to the Theravada Buddhism , this Buddhist council was held by the order of Emperor Ashoka in order to discuss the matter of increasing the influence of Buddhism in more than south-east Asia .

It is said that third Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of senior monk Moggaliputta Tissa. As a result of this Buddhist council , Ashoka sends the Buddhist missionaries to teach the Buddha's teachings and teachings to various places like Gandhara, Kashmir and Sri Lanka and many other places. But the missions was succeeded only in Gandhara, Kashmir, and Sri Lanka .

FOURTH BUDDHIST COUNCIL

When the Fourth Buddhist Council was held, Buddhism was taught in many versions like Mahayana , Tibetan , Theravada , and many other traditions. The Fourth Buddhist Council was held under the Theravada traditions and was held in Tambapani of Sri Lanka during the time of First Century BCE . It is said that Fourth Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of King Kanishka . It is also believed that only a few Sarvastivada Buddhist monks were present in Fourth Buddhist Council .

After the Fourth Buddhist Council was held, the number of other small Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Theravada Buddhist Monks and was known by Theravada Buddhist Council (Fifth and Sixth).