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Subject: Tipitaka Topic: The Classification of Tipitaka
Lectured by: Ajahn Sudhivorayan
An Assignment submitted by Vinayānanda Bhikkhu Registration Number:
The International Masters of Arts Degree Programme (IMAP) Graduate School Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Bangkok, Thailand Date: 12. 10. 2008
Tipitaka in Theravada Tradition is a huge collection of teachings attributed to the Buddha and His eminent disciples written down in an almost dead and very ancient language named “Pali”. Owing to the language in which His precious words were inscribed Theravada tradition is also well known as “Pali Buddhism”. There are other versions of Tipitaka available in Sanskrit and Chinese for Mahayana Tradition. Tipitaka is considered to be the most authentic texts for all the Buddhists regardless of schools and for the ‘Truth Seekers’ as well. Buddhist world with its all complements like Sangha community, laity, Buddhist culture, Buddhist education, propagation, missionary works, research etc, is very much dependent on this Canonical Pali Literature called “Tipitaka” as the nucleus of the sources. Even though I’ve studied some training rules, suttas, and the ultimate realities for my BA degree, I did not know the Essential Structure or the constituents of whole Tipitaka. To prepare the assignment on “The Classification of Tipitaka” for one of the important subjects of IMAP “Tipitaka Studies” conducted by lecturer venerable Phra Sudhivorayan helped me to have a beautiful portrayal of entire Tipitaka Framework and perhaps a guideline to explore any subject matters in it. Actually for the preparation of the assignment I had to search many related books of renowned scholars including the translated Pali Canon itself. I’ve come across different interpretations, views, explanations of certain subject matter on Nikayas and the authentic Pali text itself which I’ve very much tried to mention in this paper in the chapter concerned. An account of the emergence and development of Tipitaka throughout the Ages with brief record of important Buddhist Synods has been provided. And I’ve also attempted to give brief elaboration on divisions (vagga) and sub-divisions of each Nikaya; important training rules & regulations, Vinaya Kamma, rites for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis in Vinaya Pitaka; elucidation of seven Abhidhamma books in nut shell. My sincere gratitude goes to lecturer Phra Sudhivorayan, librarian, officials, my senior Dhamma friends, colleagues for their respective contributions to complete this paper on time. Wat Pawana, Bang Khun Non. Bangkok, 12th October 2008 Ven. Binayananda Sraman
The Classification of Tipitaka
II. The role of Tipitaka as the Buddhist scripture
2.1: Definition of Tipitaka 2.2: The emergence and development of Tipitaka 2.4: Classification of Tipitaka in a chart III. Vinaya Pitaka 3.1: The essence of the basket of discipline 3.2: The constituents of Vinaya Pitaka 3.3: A brief elucidation of the constituents of Vinaya Pitaka IV. Suttanta Pitaka 4.1: The essence of the basket of great discourses 4.2: The constituents of Suttanta Pitaka 4.3: A brief elaboration of the constituents of Suttanta Pitaka V. Abhidhamma Pitaka 5.1: The essence of the basket of higher discourses 5.2: The constituents of Abhidhamma Pitaka 5.3: A brief elucidation of the constituents of Abhidhamma Pitaka VI. The benefits of Tipitaka Studies VII. Conclusion
Having received the prediction from Dipankara Buddha, the Awakened One with the name Sumedha has fulfilled the Perfections (Paramis) with His boundless patience and altruism. And as Prince Siddhatha with all the lap of luxuries he renounced the material world in quest of true freedom from bondage. What made this important turning point in His life were the Four Great Omens. Once on his way to the royal garden he came across these great signs, namely, a sick man, a dead man, a dead man and a recluse1 which gave him a flawless insight of the truth of life that is indubiously Dukkha (intrinsic suffering). He discovered the Unique Path to Emancipation at last after six long years of penance which he disseminated throughout His life for the wellbeing of the mankind irrespective of caste and creed. In the course of his long ministry, the Buddha taught in different ways as determined by occasion and circumstances2 as well as the capacity of the audience. Having successfully accomplished his missionary works the Buddha entered the Mahaparinibbana and soon after His demise according to the instructions delivered by him, the essential task of collecting “His Words” was performed first in Oral Tradition, later on, on Palm-leaves. The written form or the inscription of Tipitaka has played a vital role in preservation and perpetuation of this precious Dhamma and Vinaya. His teachings consist of Dhamma and Vinaya are categorized into three divisions. Vinaya Pitaka, the division of discipline; Suttanta Pitaka, the division of discourses; Abhidhamma Pitaka, the division of higher teachings or Buddhist psychology. Vinaya Pitaka contains the rules and regulations for the Community of those who have gone forth from home to homelessness in seek of true liberation from the burden of Samsara called defilements (Kilesa). It has three main complements, namely, (1) Sutta Vibhanga (2) Khandhaka (3) Parivara. Sutta Vibhnaga is divided into two books, Bhikkhu Vibhanga containing 227 rules for bhikkhus and Bhikkhuni Vibhanga containing 311 rules for bhikkhunis. And Khandhaka is also divided into two books, Mahavagga giving accounts of Buddha’s enlightenment, regulations for monks in various matters and Cullavagga explaining the methods of Vinaya-Kamma, settling disputes, Buddhist synods etc.
. The Teaching of the Buddha (Basic Level), P. 30, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Kaba-aya, Yangon, Myanmar, 1998. . Bhikkhu Bodhi, In the Buddha’s Words (Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon), P. 01, Wisdom Publication, USA.
Suttanta Pitaka is the collection of Buddha’s discourses preserved in the Pali Canon3 containing various aspects of life such as social, economic, educational, secular life, moral, spiritual, humanitarian, psychological, cosmological, universal and so on. It comprises Five major divisions called Nikayas, namely, Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya, and Khuddhaka Nikaya. Digha Nikaya has 34 Suttas divided into three sub-divisions, namely, (1) Silakkhandha Vagga (2) Maha Vagga (3) pathika Vagga. Majjhima Nikaya has 152 Suttas divided into three sub-divisions, namely, (1) Mulapannasa (2) Majjhimapannasa and (3) Uparipannasa. Samyutta Nikaya has 7762 Suttas divided into five sub-divisions, namely, (1) Sagatha Vagga (2) Nidana Vagga (3) Khandha Vagga (4) Salayatana Vagga (5) Maha Vagga. Anguttara Nikaya has 9557 Suttas divided into eleven Nipatas namely, Ekaka Nipata, Dukaka Nipata, Tika Nipata etc up to Ekadasa Nipata. Khuddhaka Nikaya, even though literally ‘small’, is the important collection of 15 books of different subject matters. They are (1) Khuddhakapatha (2) Dhammapada (3) Udana (4) Itivuttaka (5) Suttanipata (6) Vimana Vatthu (7) Pet Vatthu (8) Theragatha (9) Therigatha (10) Jataka (11) Niddesa (12) Patisambhidamagga (13) Apadana (14) Buddhavamsa (15) Cariya Pitaka. Abhidhamma Pitaka is the higher teachings in the sense that it goes beyond the “Conventional Level” of teaching and elaborates the so-called “World of Senses” into “Ultimate Realities”. Whole world with its beings is described into only two categories namely, Mind (Nama) and physicality (Rupa) and this complex happening of mentality and materiality has three phases of time – genesis or birth, cessation or death and a static interval between.4 This Pitaka is consists of the seven books namely, (1) Dhammasanghani (2) Vibhanga (3) Dhatukatha (4) Puggalapannati (5) Kathavatthu (6) Yamaka (7) Patthana. Dhammasanghani explains different categories of Kusala, Akusala and Abykatha dhammas. Puggalapannati talks about various temperaments of individuals. Patthana expresses how the happenings take place always “Being Conditioned” by something else under the under the five fold Cosmic Laws.
. Ibid. P. IX
. Maha Thera Ladi Sayadaw, The Manuals of Buddhism (The Expositions of the Buddha-Dhamma), P. 61, Mother Ayeyarwaddy Publishing House, Yangon, Myanmar.
II. The role of Tipitaka as the Buddhist scripture
2.1: Definition of Tipitaka: Before going to explain what the definition of Tipitika is, we ought to cast a look at the language in which the Tipitaka (Theravada) was compiled for its preservation and perpetuation. The language in which the Buddha bestowed the Dhamma and the composition of Tipitika was done is an ancient dialect called Pali or Magadhi. The word Pali signifies only “text,” “Sacred text” and should be regarded as a form of Magadhi, the language in which the Buddha himself had preached.5 Pali was a very popularly spoken among the Indians. In the opinion of James Alwies, Sanskrit was no longer the vernacular speech of the people when Buddhism arose. Pali was one of the dialects in current use in India.6 The Buddhist scripture or Tipitaka of Theravada School (Hinayana) was written on this old dialect of coinage named Pali. The Buddhist term, Tipitaka in Pali; Tripitaka in Sanskrit while etymologically defined comes ‘Ti’, ‘Tri’ - three, ‘Pitaka’- basket containing manuscript or traditional handing on.7 So together in combination the whole word literally means three baskets of the doctrine or the separate divisions of Buddha’s teachings handed down from generation to generation. The teachings of the Buddha here symbolize the Dhamma and Vinaya (Discipline). Of twofold teachings Dhamma and Vinaya, Dhamma indicates to two types of doctrine, Suttanta which is the conventional discourses (Vohara Desana) whereas Abhidhamma that is the discourse on ultimate realities (Paramattha Desana). Vinaya points out to the rules and regulation of Buddha’s monastic Order for the sake of a holly life. Tipitaka, the three baskets; is the name for the 3 main divisions of Pali canon: the basket of discipline (vinaya Pitaka), the basket of discourses (suttanta Pitaka), and the basket of philosophy (Abhidhamma Pitaka).8 All the subject matter or contents of Buddha’s teachings is available in this huge body of Canonical Pali literature.
5 6 7 8
. Wilhelm Geiger, Pali Literature and Language, P. 1&4 . B. C. Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. xiii . Ibid, P. 43 . Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary, Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, P. 333
Among these Pitakas( baskets) of Pali canon, first basket Vinaya Pitaka deals with the discipline of the Order. Second is the Sutta-Pitaka which is said to be a compilation of the utterances of the Master himself. The third is the Abhidhamma Pitaka which deals with philosophical discussions.9 According to another classification, mentioned by the Buddha Himself, the whole teaching is ninefold in terms of components, namely-1. Sutta (Discourse) 2. Geyya (Poem) 3. Veyyakarana (Explanation) 4. Gatha (Stanza) 5. Udana (Emotional Utterance) 6. Itivittaka (Thus-said discourses) 7. Jataka (Birth story) 8. Abhutadhamma (Wonder, marvel) 9. Vedalla (Catechism).10 2.2: The emergence and development of Tipitaka: Perfectly Enlightened One soon after His attainment of the Sammasambodhi under the Bo-tree of Gaya and having been humbly implored by the King of Devas Sakkha, delivered the fundamental discourses of His invaluable teachings such as Four Noble Truth, Eight fold Noble path (middle way), avoidance of two extremes and Non-Substantiality. And throughout His Noble life after the enlightenment, the Buddha in various ways preached and propagated His doctrine (Dhamma) of completely unique character for the emancipation from inevitable suffering of life. Thus He was obviously successful in making people understand the truth of life and helped many to be liberated and to attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana eradicating the so-called defilements. There could be several significant reasons for the teachings of Buddha to be compiled into collections (Pitaka) in order to prevent true doctrine from being submerged into false doctrines11 both during the life time and after the Great Demise (Mahaparinibbana) of the Awakened One. During His life time of Forty-five- year of noble dispensation, many Brahmins rebuked the Buddha not realizing the essence of His teachings and even some of his foolish disciples (Moghapurisa) misinterpreted his doctrines not being able to precisely understand its nature. Two of the more prominent of these instances are recorded in Majjhima Nikaya. The first was the statement by a monk named Arittha that the
. Dr. Chandradhar Sharma, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, P. 71 .Dr. K Sri. Dhammananda, What Buddhist Believe, P. 103 . A. K Warder, Indian Buddhism, P.195
pleasures of the sense, according to the Buddha, are not ‘stumbling blocks’ (antarayika Dhamma). The other was the case of the monk Sati who insisted that in the Buddha’s teachings, it is the consciousness that transmigrates and not something else.12 So the Buddha seeing danger in it to the authenticity of his doctrine immediately took steps to instruct them proper way and exterminated such wrong beliefs in them. Soon after the Final Extinction of Buddha, an old monk named Subhadda addressed the monks saying ‘Enough, your reverences, do not grieve, do not lament, we are well rid of this great recluse. We were worried when he said: “This is allowable to you; this is not allowable to you.” But now we will be able to do as we like and we won’t do what we do not like.’ “Come, let us, your reverences, chant dhamma and discipline before what is not Dhamma shines out and Dhamma is withheld, before what is not discipline shines out and discipline is withheld, before those who speak what is not-Dhamma become strong and those who speak Dhamma become feeble, before those who speak what is not discipline become strong and those who speak discipline become feeble.”13 The Enlightened One knew that some kind of disagreement might happen after His passing away as he witnessed the schism and conflict took place among the followers of the Jain leader Nigantha Nataputta following his death. So He, on certain occasion, as mentioned in Pasadika Sutta, advised novice Cunda how to deal with schism in his dispensation in a peaceful manner declaring: “Wherefore, Cunda, do you, to whom I have made known the truths that I have perceived, come together in company and rehearse all of you together those doctrines and quarrel not over them, but compare the meaning with meaning, phrase with phrase, in order that this true doctrine may last long and be perpetuated, in order that it may continue to be for the good and happiness of great multitude; out of love for the world, to the good and gain and weal of goods and men.”14 On his death-bed the Awakened One, as mentioned in Mahaparinibbana Sutta, gave guideline to venerable Ananda, if they would require any teacher after his passing away, who that would be. He manifestly made it clear in his words:
12 13 14
. Davia J. kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy, A Historical Analysis, P. 93 . I. B. Horner. MA,(Trns) The book of The Discipline (Cullavagga), Vol.5, P. 394 . T.W.Rhys Davids & J.E.Carpenter, Digha Nikaya, Vol 3,PTS, P. 127
“Now, Ananda, if it occurs to any of you – The teaching has lost his authority; we are without a teacher – do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma and Vinaya I have pointed out and formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone.”15 These certainly would have induced the monks to collect all the discourses preached by the Buddha even during his life time. But the necessity for doing this was felt even more strongly after the Buddha’s death, and for this reason the task of collecting the discourses delivered by him to various people at different times at different places was carried out with unabated enthusiasm.16 Thus venerable Mahakassapa the Great was the one who first took steps to summon all the monks in a friendly manner and to convene in an assembly to compile the discourses given by Buddha for the conservation of its pristine purity. The Tipitaka for the first three councils was actually compiled in an oral tradition of memorization as there was no writing system at that time. The First Council was held at Sattapanni Cave near mount Vebhara in Rajagaha three months after the demise of Buddha in 544 BC. Five hundred Elder Arahant monks are said to have participated in this council presided by venerable Mahakassapa under the auspicious of King Ajatasattu for seven months. Vinaya Pitaka was recited by venerable Upali whereas Suttanta and Abhidhamma Pitaka were recited by Venerable Ananda; personal attendant of Buddha. The main objective of this council was to preserve the purity of the teachings. The second council was held at Valukarama monastery in Vesali one hundred years after the extinction of Buddha in 450 BC for eight months. This council was presided by venerable Sabbakami under the patronage of King Kalasoka with the objective of arresting the growth of irreligion and ensuring the conservation of Vinaya. It was at this council that the schism brook out for the first time based on ten particular points of controversy in monastic rules. The Vajjins refused to obey these rules whereas the Orthodox group of monks called Theravadins clutched to original rules. The ten controversial points are:
. Maurice Walshe, Digha Nikaya, S.16 .David J. kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy, P. 94
1. SIGILONAKAPPA: The practice of carrying salt in a horn. This practice is contrary to Pacittiya 38 which prohibits the storage of food. 2. DVANGULAKAPPA: The practice of taking meals when the shadow is two fingers broad. This is against the Pacittiya 37 which forbids the taking of food after midday. 3. GAMANTRAKAPPA: The practice of going to another village and taking a second meal there on the same day. This is opposed to Pacittiya 35 which forbids over-eating. 4. AVASAKAPPA: The observance of the Uposatha ceremonies in various places in the same parish. This practice contravenes Mahavagga rules of residence in a parish(Sima0 5. ANUMATIKAPPA: Obtaining a sanction for a deed after it is done. This is also a breach of monastic discipline. 6. ACINNAKAPPA: Using customary practices as precedents. This also belongs to the above category. 7. AMATHITAKAPPA: The drinking of butter milk after meals. This practice is in contravention to Pacittiya 35 which prohibits overeating. 8. JALOGIM-PATUM: The drinking of toddy. This practice is opposed to Pacittiya 51 which prohibits the drinking of intoxicants. 9. ADASAKAM-NISIDANAM: Using a rug which has no fringe. This is contrary to Pacittiya 89 which prohibits the use of borderless sheets. 10. JATARUPARAJATA: The acceptance of gold and silver which is forbidden by rule 18 of Nissggiya pacittiya. Those who rejected to agree upon these rule left this council and convened another council of their own where more than ten thousand protesting monks attended. They are known as Mahasanghikas. Thus the origin of two main schools generated from this council; namely Theravada School and Mahasanghika School. The Third Buddhist council was held at Asokarama Monastery in Pataliputta(Patna) in 260 BC for nine months. One thousand monks who were well-versed in canonical scriptures participated the council presided by venerable Moggaliputta Tissa Thera under the support of King Asoka with the objective to examine and refute the heretical doctrines. It compiled the original Tipitaka Scriptures including the Abhidhamma Pitaka and a new treatise Kathavatthu Pakarana. The celebrated pious emperor King Asoka then dispatched missionary to nine different countries of the world for the propagation of this true
Dhamma. Ven. Sona and Ven. Uttara led a missionary group to Suvannabhumi. Ven. Mahinda and Theri Sanghamitta were sent to Ceylon with missionary activities. Other missions also were sent to faroff counties in Asia, Africa and Europe. The fourth Buddhist Council was held at Aloka Cave or Aluvihara in Malaya in Srilanka in 80 – 100 BC under the patronage of the pious King Vattagamini Abhaya. It was at this time in Srilanka that the Tipitaka along with the Atthakathas was committed to writing (in palm leaves) for the first time in the world. It must be emphasized that writings were continued, the basic tradition has always remained oral. That is why the disciples were known as Sravakas listeners.17 This council was summoned Buddhist religious practice and culture was threatened by the growing materialism and the moral decline of mankind through wars and famines. The Fifth Council (1871) and Sixth Council (1954) were also convened and held in Myanmar where the Pali Canon was revised and compiled once again in new versions. This is the history, throughout the ages, how the emergence of present form of Tipitaka containing Vinaya, Suttanta and Abhidhamma Pitaka approved by the Theravada School, the Way of the Elders came into existence. And now with the utilization of modern technology, some Buddhist Organizations inserted the whole Tipitaka into CD Rom with its commentaries and sub-commentaries in many languages. So it is portably useful for us to be in any part of the world and search for any subject matter we wish to know in the Original Tipitaka without the worry of referring to huge collection of volumes of Tipitaka.
2.4: Classification of Tipitaka in a chart:
. K. Sri. Dhammananda, What Buddhists Believe, P. 100
Vinaya Pitaka Vol. 1 - 8
Suttanta Pitaka Vol. 9 - 33
Abhidhamma Pitaka Vol. 34 - 45
Silakkhandhavagga 9 Mahavagga 10
Ekakanipata 20 Dukanipata 20
Khuddakapatha 25 Dhammapada 25 Udana 25 Ittvuttaka 25 Suttanipata 25 Vimanavatthu 26 Petavatthu 26 Theragatha 26 Therigatha 26 Jataka 27-28
Tikanipata 20 Catukkanipata 21 Pancakanipata 22 Chakkanipata 22 Sattakanipata 23
Apadana 32-33 Buddhavamsa 33 Cariya Pitaka 33
Mulapannasa 12 Majjhimapannsa 13 Uparipannasa 14
Dhammasanghai 34 Vibhanga 35 Dhatukatha 36 Puggalapannatti 36 Kathavatthi 37 Yamaka 38-39 Patthana 40-45
Sagathavagga 15 Nidanavagga 16 Khandhavagga 17 Salayatanavagga 18 Mahavagga 19
Atthakanipata 23 Navakanipata 23 Dasakanipata 24 Ekadasakanipata 24
Suttavibhanga 1-3 Khandhaka 4-7 Parivara
Bhikkhuvibhanga 1-2 Bhikkhunivibhanga 3 Mahavagga 4-5 Cullavagga 6-7
III Vinaya Pitaka
3.1: The essence of the basket of discipline: The first basket of Tipitaka is the Vinaya Pitaka which deals with disciplinary code of the Order.18 Vinaya - discipline- is what the Buddha formulated as rules, ideals, and standards of behaviour for those of his followers who go forth from home life to take up the quest for release in greater earnestness.19 It contains rules and regulation for the management of the Buddhist Sangha. Rules for the reception into the Order, for the periodical confession of sins, for life during the rainy season, for housing, clothing, medicinal remedies, and legal procedures in case of schism are also included in it.20 The community or the Order of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis is guided to live their Holy life of purity by these rules and regulations laid down in their proper times. In the early years of Buddha’s career, the texts tell us, there was no need to formulate monastic disciplinary rules. All of the Bhikkhus in his following- the community of Bhikkhunis had not yet been started – were men of high personal attainment who had succeeded in many or all of their mental defilements. They knew his teachings well and behaved accordingly.21 But as the years went by, the Sangha grew in strength. Undesirable elements not having the purest of motives but attracted only by the fame and gain of the Bhikkhus began to get into the Buddha’s Noble Order. Some twenty years after the founding of the Order, it became necessary to begin establishing rules relating to the grave offences. It was through Bhikkhu Sudinna, a native of Kalanda village near Vesali, who committed the offence of having sexual intercourse with his ex-wife, that the first Parajika rule came to be promulgated. It was laid down to deter Bhikkhus from indulging in sexual intercourse.22 Thus according to the degree of offences that corrupts the sanctity of monk-hood, the rules had been laid down by Buddha as occasion necessitated their promulgation.
18 19 20 21 22
. Dr. C. Sharma, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, P. 71 . Bhikkhu Thanissaro, The Buddhist Monastic Code, P. 3
. B. C. Law, A History of Pali Literature, 44 . B. Thanissaro, The Buddhist Monastic Code, P. 4 . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P.2
One of the several significant reasons behind the promulgation of these disciplinary rules for the sake of a peaceful as well as saintly monk life is their salient characteristic of leading towards the emancipation from lifesuffering. The Buddha evidently said, just as the sea has a single taste, that of salt, so too the Dhamma and Vinaya have a single taste: that of release. He has pointed out the link between discipline and emancipation or cessation of dukkha as follows: “Discipline is for the sake of restrain, restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse, freedom from remorse for the sake of joy, joy for the sake of rapture, rapture for the sake of tranquility, tranquility for the sake of pleasure, pleasure for the sake of concentration, concentration for the sake of knowledge and vision of things as they come to be, knowledge and vision of things as they have come to be for the sake of disenchantment, disenchantment for the sake of dispassion, dispassion for the sake of release, release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release, knowledge and vision for the sake of total unbinding through non-clinging.”23
3.2: The Constituents of Vinaya Pitaka: ……………………………………….
. Parivara Pali, xii. 2
3.3: A Brief Elucidation of the Constituents of Vinaya Pitaka: The Vinaya Pitaka contains the monastic rules of the Order of Buddhist monks. It consists of the following parts:24 1. Suttavibhanga 2. Khandhaka 3. Parivara Suttavibhanga again has two sub-divisions. They are: A. Bhikkhu Vibhanga B. Bhikkhuni Vibhanga Khandhaka has two sub-divisions. They are: A. Mahavagga Pali B. Cullavagga Pali 1. Suttavibhanga: The word Suttavibhanga means analysis or classification of a Sutta. The literal meaning of the word Sutta is ‘thread’ but apparently in Vinaya; it bears a meaning of rules. It is a term here applied to each rule or course of training included in Patimokkha. Vibhanga simply means analysis or explanation.25 It gives us a detailed illustrations of how, when and why a particular rule came to be promulgated. The Suttavibhanga is based on the Patimokkha.26 And It is mainly divided into two sections, namely (I) Parajika and (ii) Pacittya. These sections basically provide a comprehensive account of the training rules prescribed for the Order of Bhikkhus as well as Bhikkhunis. Bhikkhu Vibhanga mentions that there are 227 training precepts for the bhikkhus whereas Bhkkhuni vibhaga consists of 311 rules for the bhikkhunis (although there is no bhikkhuni sangha in Theravada Buddhist tradtion now-a-days). A. Bhikkhu Vibhnaga: The male followers of the Buddha who go forth from household life to homelessness renouncing the world for the sake of a secluded and more peaceful life of less attachment are trained with 227 disciplinary rules to get adapted with this kind of life style. The Bhikkhu Vibhanga categorizes these 227 rules into 8 groups according to their gravity.
24 25 26
. W. Geiger, Pali Literature and Language, P. 15 .I.B. Horner, The Book of the Discipline, Vo. I P.x . Wilhelm Geiger, Pali Literature and Language, P.15
Category 1. Parajika 2. Sanghadisesa 3. Aniyata 4. Nissaggiya Pacittya 5. Suddha Pacittya 6. Patidesaniya 7. Sekhiya 8. Adhikaranasamatha Total
Number of rules 4 13 2 30 92 4 75 7 227
Parajika Dhamma: Among the seven categories of offences, Parajika being the first, means defeat. This category comprised of four major rules concerning those acts which bring about defeat. The Parajikas are rules which involve the perpetual expulsion of the transgressor from the monkhood. The offender is said ‘to have fallen into defeat’ and he is no longer allowed to remain in the community- the heaviest punishment for the monk.27 He is like a palm tree which has been cut off from its stem; it will never grow again. The four rules, in short, relates to four conditions of defeat in effort to accomplish the object for which a Bhikkhu has entered the Order.28 Through the commitment of such morally impure offences, his moral character for the sake of a Noble life to reach the Goal, supreme bliss of Nibbana, simply deteriorates. The four Parajika training rules are: 1. Methunadhamma Sikkhapadam: The rule about sexual intercourse whatever Bhikkhu, (who has) undertaken the training and the way of life of the bhikkhus, having neither renounced the training nor declared hi weakness, should engage in sexual intercourse even with female animal, he becomes defeated.29
27 28 29
. S. Tachibana, The Ethics of Buddhism, P. 80 . B. C. Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. 50
. Yo pana Bhikkhu bhikkhunam sikkhasajivasamapanno sikkham apaccakkhaya dubbalayam anavikatva methunam dhammam patiseveya antamaso tiracchanagataya pi, parajika hoti asamvaso.
2. Adinnadana Sikkhapadam: The rule about taking what is not given whatever Bhikkhu, should take away from a village or from a forest what is not given in way which is called theft, in such manner of taking what is not given that kings, having arrested a robber, would beat or would bind or would expel him, (saying), “you are a robber, you are a fool, you are a stupid, you are a thief,” the Bhikkhu taking anything of such a nature that is not given, he too becomes defeated, not in communion.30 3. Manussaviggaha Sikkhapadam: The rule about a human being Whatever Bhikkhu, should intentionally deprive human being of life, or seek a (life) taking weapon for him, or should utter praise of death, or should urge towards death(saying), “Good man, what man is this miserable life? Death is better for you than life,” having such thought in mind and such intentions in mind, in many ways should utter praise of death, or should urge him towards death, he too becomes defeated, not in communion.31
4. Uttarimanussadhamma Sikkhapadam: The rule about super human
state. whatever Bhikkhu, should while not knowing (for certain), boast a superhuman state, knowledge and insight deserving the name “noble” as referring to in himself, (saying) “ I know thus, I see thus” then afterwards on another occasion should, whether being examined or not being examined, having committed the offence and looking for purification, say thus, “Friend, not knowing, I said, ‘I know’ not seeing, I said, ‘I see’ I spoke falsely, laying” other than from an overestimation ( of him), he too becomes defeated, not in communion.32 Samghadisesa Dhamma: The Sanghadisesas are rules which requires Sangha-kamma in the beginning (adi) and at the end (sesa), or which require a formal meeting of the whole community at every stage, for the amendment of the
. Yo pana Bhikkhu gama va adinnam theyyasankhatam adiyeyya yatharupe adinnadane rajano coram gahetva haneyyum va bandheyyum va pabbajeyyum va coro’si mulho’si …parajiko hoti asamvaso.
. Yo pana Bhikkhu sancicca manussaviggaham jivita voropeyya sattharakam vassa pariyeseyya maranavannam va samvanneyya maranaya va samadapeyya ambho purisa kim tuyh’imina papakena dujjivitena? Matanm te jivita seyyo ti, ti cittamano cittasankappo ….parajiko hoti asmvaso.
. Department of research & Compilation, Bhikkhu Patimokkaha, P. 7-11 Yo pana Bhikkhu,anabhijanam uttarimanussadhammam attupanayikam alariyananadassanam… annataro adimana, ayam pi parajiko hoti asamvaso.
offences committed33 as they are considered to be four deadly sins or penalty. The stages a monk who has committed these type of offence has to go through for his exoneration from the offence are:
The Sangha determines his offence and orders him to observe Parivasa penance, a penalty requiring him to live under suspension form association with the rest of Sangha, for as many days he has knowingly concealed his offence. At the end of the Parivasa observance, he undergoes a further period of penance, manatta, for six days to gain approbation of Sangha. Having carried out the manatta penance, the Bhikkhu requests the Sangha to reinstate him to full association with the rest of the Sangha.
Being now convinced of the purity of his conduct as before, the Sangha lifts the Apatti at a special congregation attended by at least twenty bhikkhus where natti, the motion for his reinstatement, is recited followed by three recitals of Kammavaca, procedural text for formal acts of the Sangha.34 There are thirteen rules which form the category of Sanghadisesa. The firs five concern the monk’s behaviour towards woman or uncleanness; the next two (6, 7), building a hut and large residence; the 8th and the 9th, charging another monk with Parajika offence without ground or on some points of no importance; the 10th and 11th, causing schism among the community; the 12th, refusing to listen to what is addressed to him in accordance with the law; and the 13th, leading a life hurtful to the lay people.35 Some of those training rules are mentioned below as found in Pali Canon.
1. Sukkavissatthi Sikkhapada:The rule about the emission of semen
Intentional emission of semen, other than in a dream, entails a formal meeting of the samgha.36 2. Kayasamsagga Sikkhapada: The rule about bodily contact If any Bhikkhu should, beset (by passion), with perverted mind, engage in bodily contact with a woman or in holding of hands or holding of locks
33 34 35 36
. S Tachibana, The Ethics of Buddhism, P. 82 . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P. 6-7 . S. Tachibana, The Ethics of Buddhism, P. 82,83 . Sancetanika sukkavissatthi annatra supinanta samghadisesa.
pf hairs or touching this or that limb, this entails a formal meeting of the Samgha.37 3. Kutikara Sikkhapada: The rule about making a hut When a Bhikkhu by his own begging is having a hut made, without a (lay) owner, (that is) intended for himself, it must be made according to the (prescribed) measurements. Herein these are the measurements: in length, twelve spans of the sugata span; in width, seven (spans) inside. Bhikkhus are to be brought to appoint the site. By those bhikkhus a site is not involving harm (to living creatures) is to be appointed with a space around it. if a Bhikkhu by his own begging should havea hut made on a site involving harm with no space around it, or if he should not bring bhikkhus to appoint the site, or if he should exceed the (prescribed) measurements, this entails a formal meeting of the Sangha.38 4. Dutthadosa Sikkhapada: The rule about being corrupted and corrupting. whatever Bhikkhu should, being corrupted, corrupting, displeased, accuse a Bhikkhu of an unfounded matter entailing defeat, (thinking), “Perhaps I may make him fall from his holly life,” and then on another occasion being questioned or not being questioned, that legal process turns to be unfounded, and the Bhikkhu admits to corruption, this entails a formal meeting of the Sangha.
5. Samghabheda Sikkhapada: The rule about schism in sangha
Should any Bhikkhu attempt to cause schism in the united sangha or should he persist having undertaken and having taken up a legal process conducive to schism that bhikkhu is to be spoken to by the Bhikkhu thus, “Do not, venerable sir, attempt to cause schism in a united sangha; do not persist having undertaken and having taken up legal process conducive to schism. Let the venerable one be at peace with the sangha; for the sangha is united in agreement, not disputing, having united recitation (of Patimokkha etc.), and lives comfortably.” And should that Bhikkhu, being spoken to thus by bhikkhus, persist in the same way (as before) that Bhikkhu is to be admonished by the bhikkhus up to the third time to give up that (course of action) if being admonished up to the third time, he should give it up, that Is good. If he should not give it up, this entails a formal meeting of the sangha.
. Yo pana Bhikkhu otinno viparinatena cittena matugamena saddhim kayasamsaggam samapajjeyya hatthaggaham....va angassa paramasanam samghadiseso. . Sannacikaya pana bhikkhuna kutim karayamanena assamikam attudesam pamanikam karetabba. Tatr’idam pamanam: dighaso dvadasa vidatthiyo sugatavidatthiya,...va atikkameyya, sanghadiseso.
Aniyata Dhamma: The Aniyatas are rules concerning undetermined matters, undetermined because it depends upon circumstances whether they are to be treated as Parajikas, Sanghadiseasas, or as Pacittiyas. Both are about the monk’s behaviour towards woman, or relation between them.39
if a Bhikkhu sits down privately alone with a woman in a place which is secluded and hidden from view, and convenient for an immortal purpose and if a trustworthy lay woman (i.e. an Ariya), seeing him accuses him of anyone of the three offences: (1) A Parajika offence, (2) A Sanghadisesa offence, (3) A Pacittiya offence and the bhikkhu himself admits that he was so sitting, he should be found guilty of one of these three offences as accused by the trustworthy lay woman. If a Bhikkhu sits privately alone with a woman in a place which is not hidden from a view and not convenient for an immoral purpose but convenient for talking lewd words to her, and thrust worthy lay woman (i.e, An Ariya), seeing him, accuses him of any one of the two offences (1) Sanghadisesa offences, (2) a Pacittiya Offence, and the Bhikkhu himself admits that he was so sitting, he should be found guilty of one of these offences as accused by the trustworthy lay woman.40
Nissaggiya Pacittiya Dhamma : The Nissaggiya Pacittiyas are rules the violation of which involves forfeiture. This is why this rules are called Nissaggitya, or ‘those which should be given up or to be forfeited’. This section of Pacittiya comprised of thirteen training rules. They mainly concern robes, bowls, medicines, rugs and mats, except three (18-20), which deal with accepting gold or silver, and with commercial transactions in which silver is used.41 The training precepts in this Nissaggiya Pacittiya are grouped into three sub-divisions, namely (i) Civaravagga – robe section (ii) Kosiyavagga – wool section (iii) Pattavagga – bowl section. Few training rules in these Vaggas are mentioned below:
39 40 41
. S. Tachibana, The Ethics of Buddhism, P.83 . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P. 8 . S. Tachibana, The Ethics of Buddhism, P. 83
1. Civaravagga – The section about robe
Udosita Sikkhapada: The “store house” rule The robe material having been used up, the Kathina frame having been removed by a Bhikkhu, if any Bhikkhu should live apart from the three robes, even for one night, other than with the agreement of bhikkhus, there is an offence entailing expiation with forfeiture. Annatakavinnattisikkhapada: The rule about asking someone not related. If any Bhikkhu should ask for robe material from a householder or householder’s wife, not related (to him), other than on the proper occasion, there is an offence of entailing expiation with forfeiture. Herein this is the proper occasion: the Bhikkhu has had a robe stolen or has lost a robe. This is the proper occasion here.
2. Kosiyavagga – The section about silk
Kosiyasikkhapada: The rule about silk If any Bhikkhu should have a rug made mixed with silk, there is an offence entailing expiation with forfeiture. Elakalomasikkhapada: The rule about sheep’s wool Should sheep’s wool accrue to a Bhikkhu when he has set out on a journey, it is to be accepted by the Bhikkhu if he wishes. Having accepted it, it is to be carried (by him) with his own hand for three youganas at most, there being no one to carry (it). if he should carry it further than that, even though there is no one to carry (it), there is an offence entailing expiation with forfeiture.
3. Pattavagga – The section about bowls
Pattasikkhapada: the rule concerning bowls An extra bowl is to be kept for ten days at most, for one exceeding that, there is an offence entailing expiation with forfeiture. Bhesajjasikkhapada: The rule concerning medicines There are medicines to be eaten by sick bhikkhus, namely ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey, molasses. Having accepted them, they are to be used, storing them up for seven days at most. For one exceeding that, there is an offence entailing expiation with forfeiture. 42
. DRC, Bhikkhu Patimokka, P. 37,40,48,52,55,5
Suddha Pacittya Dhamma: Pacittiya, here simply means expiation. These rules also require repentance and absolution (apatti desetabba). There are ninety two pacittya offences. It is in this division that we find the offences of most moral nature. Lying (1), using abusive language (2), slandering (3), worrying monk in the assembly (12), stirring up ill-will against a monk who is deputed to an official duty (13), revealing lack of public spirit (14,15), revealing selfishness (16-18), killing living creatures (10,11,20,61, 62), showing disrespect (54), giving blow to another monk from anger (74), using a threatening gesture (75). 43 These ninety two rules under his class of offences are classified into nine sections. They are as follows: 1. Musavada-vagga (section on false speech) 10 rules 2. Bhutagama-vagga (section on plants) 10 rules 3. Ovada-vagga (section on exhortation) 10 rules 4. Bhojana-vagga (section on food) 10 rules 5. Acelaka-vagga (section on naked ascetics) 10 rules 6. Surapana-vagga (section on drinking liquor) 10 rules 7. Sapana-vagga (section on living beings) 10 rules 8. Sahadhammika-vagga (section according to Dhamma) 12 rules 9. Ratana-vagga (section on treasures) 10 rules Few training rules from these sections (vaggas) are mentioned in here. 1. In telling a conscious lie, there is an offence of expiation. (Musavadavagga) 2. For destruction of vegetable growth, there is an offence of expiation. (Bhutagamavagga) 3. Whatever monk, not agreed upon, should exhort nuns, there is an offence of expiation. (Ovadavagga) 4. One meal in a public rest-house may be eaten by a monk who is not ill. If he should eat more than there is an offence of expiation. (Bhojanavagga) 5. In drinking fermented liquor and spirits, there is an offence of expiation.(Surapanavagga)44 Patidesaniya Dhamma:
. S Tachibana, The Ethics of Buddhism, P. 83 . I B Horner,(Trns) The Book of Discipline, vol ii, P. 166, 227, 264, 304, 385
The term Patidesaniya means ‘to be acknowledged’. But as a name here for these training rules, it means ‘entailing acknowledgement’45 or confession, as ‘having fallen into a blameworthy offence’.46 They mostly deal with the bhikkhus’ way of manner while accepting and eating alms food offered to them. A Bhikkhu with this type of fault, to acknowledge it must use a special formula stating the nature of his fault. Some of them are: A. If a Bhikkhu accepts and eats the food given by a bhikkhuni who is not related to him, there is a patidesaniya offence. B. If a Bhikkhu accepts, without having been previously invited, food with his own hand in household under discipline, then there is a patidesaniya offence. Sekhiya Dhamma: The Sekhiya rules of polite behaviour are said to be chiefly demenours ‘ought to be observed’,47 ‘to be trained in’ or the code of etiquette for the Order of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis as well as for the novice who act as a probationer with the noble intention of entering to the community. There are seventy five sekhiya sikkhapadas. They can be divided into four as follows: A. Chabbisati Saruppa: There are twenty six rules of same nature forming first group. They are mostly concerned with proper conduct and behaviour of monks when going into towns and villages. B. Samatimsa bhojanapatisamyutta: The next thirty rules come under this second group. They deal with courteous manner while accepting alms-food and eating meals. C. Solasa dhammadesanapatisamyutta: The sixteen rules that come next form the third group. They concern with the audience to whom monks are supposed to deliver the Dhamma. Monks are forbidden either to preach or teach Dhamma to disrespectful people. 48 D. Tayo pakinnaka: The last three rules of sekhiya that are to be followed by those have gone forth, are connected with easing one self like urinating, spiting in water and grass etc. They are very much conducive to preservation of hygienic environment and protection against ecological pollution.
45 46 47 48
. B Thanissaro, The Buddhist Monastic Code, 584 . S T, The Ethics of Buddhism, p.83
.Ibid, P.84 . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P.10
Adhikaranasamatha Dhamma: The Adhikaranasamathas are the rules connected with the legal questions and settling disputes. Here, etymologically ‘adhikarana’ means a matter of dispute and ‘samatha’ means tranquility or peacefulness. So together the term ‘adhakaranasamatha’ refers to the way of settling clash in peaceful manner. There can be disputes based on different cases, disputes of Dhamma, Vinaya, constituents of offence (vivadadhikarana); disputes of virtue, practice, views (anuvadadhikarana); disputes of infringement of any disciplinary rule (apattadhikarana); disputes of formal meeting or decision made by the Sangha (kicchadhikarana). The seven methods of settling disputes of above mentioned nature are: 1. Sammukha Vinaya: Before coming to a decision, conducting an enquiry in the presence of both parties according to the rules of Vinaya. 2. Sati Vinaya: making a declaration by the sangha of the innocence of an Arahat against some allegations has been made, after asking him if he remembers having committed the offence. 3. Amulha Vinaya: Making a declaration by the Samgha when the accused is found to be insane. 4. Patinnata Karana: Making decision after admission by the party concerned. 5. Yebhuyyasika Kamma: Making a decision in accordance with the majority vote. 6. Tassapapiyasika Kamma: Making a declaration by the sangha when the accused to be unreliable, making admissions only to retract them, evading questions and telling lies. 7. Tinavattharaka Kamma: The ‘act of covering up with grass’ – exonerating all the offences except the offence of Parajika, Samghadisesa and those in connection with laymen and laywomen, when the disputing parties are made to reconcile by the Sangha.49 B. Bhikkhuni vibhanga: The female followers of Buddha who renounced the household life to take up the practice of holy life are supposed to abide by the code of discipline specified for them. Bhikkhuni Patimokkha, the code of discipline for nuns is consists of 311 rules; 84 rules more than Bhikkhu Patimokkha. Many similar rules are found in both Patimokkhas except some fundamental rules especially for bhikkhunnis. The seven categories of bhikhuni Patimokkha are as follows:
. Ibid, P. 11
Category 1. Parajika 2. Samghadisesa 3. Nissaggiya Pacittya 4. Suddha Pacittya 5. Patidesaniya 6. Sekhiya 7. Adhikaranasamatha
Number 8 17 30 166 8 75 7 total - 311
Some of the eight fundamental precepts for Bhikkhunis are: A) A bhikkhuni, even if she enjoys a seniority of hundred years in the Order, must pay respect to a Bhikkhu though he may have been Bhikkhu only for a day. B) A bhikkhuni who has committed a Samghadisesa offence must undergo penance for a half-month, pakkha manatta, in each assembly of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. C) Admission to the Order must be sought, from both assemblies, by a woman novice only after two year’s probationary training as a candidate.50 2. Khandhaka Mahavagga 1. The Mahavagga being the first and great division of the second main complement of Vinaya Pitaka called Khandhaka, gives us a precise account of the Buddha’s supreme Enlightenment or Buddha-hood through insight meditation discovering unique and fundamental tenets of His teachings. It also explains his first sermon Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta which contains the Fourfold Noble Truth, the Eightfold Noble Path; the second sermon Anattalakkhana Sutta, discourse on Non-self; how he for the first time formed the Order of monks and commenced his missionary of disseminating his newly unveiled Dhamma. How his eminent disciples such as Sariputta, Moggallana, Maha Kassapa, Ananda, Upali, Angulimala
etc joined his Order being immensely fascinated with his teaching of great profundity. It further provides description of following facts: Upasathakkhandaka: This section deals with observance of formal acts at the assembly of the Samgha on every full moon day and fourteenth or fifteenth day of waning day of the lunar month. Each and every monk is supposed to convene on this ceremony where recitation of Patimokkha is carried out. 3. Vassupannikakhandhaka: This section deals with the method to be followed to enter upon the rains retreat and regulation to be observed during the rainy season. Determination to reside at a specific place (monastery) for all three-month and to return there within seven days if one goes on any trip is done. 4. Pavaranakhadhaka: This section deals with the obligatory rites for the monks which is done to mark the termination or ending of rainy season. On the Invitation ceremony (pavarana), monks must get together and invite one another to point out one’s fault if they have seen it themselves or have heard from some one or are just in doubt for the sake of self-purity and oneness of Sangha. 5. Cammakkhandhaka: This section gives a description of how the Buddha allowed the use of leather-slippers or shoes for monks. Once the son of a wealthy man of Campa named Sona Kolivisa got ordained as monk and practiced walking meditation bare-footed with excessive strenuous effort that resulted his feet with wounds and blood-shed. So, thus the Buddha came to allow a pair slipper if needed on account of Sona kolivisa. 6. Bhesajjakkhandaka: This section explains about the consumption of food, fruits and roots of tree as medicine limited in time. Mango-juice, lotus-root-juice, juice from Bassia lotifolia, lychee-juice etc are to be used to quench the thirst limited to one day (yamakalika). Ghee, butter, oil, honey, molasses etc are used to dispel the affliction of both hunger and illness like jaundice or debilities, limited to 7 days (sattahakalika). Turmeric, ginger, decoctions of neem, neem leaves, myrobalan, peppers, salt etc, are may be consumed to remove illness that can be used for whole life (yavajivika). 7. Kathanikhandhaka: This section illustrates about the special kathina robe woven on occasion of kathina ceremony for the monks who observed the rains-retreat. 8. Civarakkhandhaka: This section expounds about how Buddha happened to allow the robes or robe-materials offered by the laity on account of Jivaka’s pair of Siveyyaka cloths offerring. Thus monks are to use six kinds of robe materials, namely; linen, cotton, silk, wool, wares, hempen cloth and canvas.
Campeyyakhandhaka: This section deals with validity and invalidity of formal acts of samgha if an act is unlawful and performed by an incomplete assembly, such an act is objectionable invalid on account of its unlawfulness and of incompleteness of congregation.51 10. Kosambikhandhaka: an account of schism among the bhikkhus in Kosambi due to some disagreement which led the Buddha set out for Parileyyavana is given in this section.
Cullavagga The etymological definition of cullavagga can be, culla – lesser or small and vagga – division or group; the lesser division. Cullavagga contains 12 divisions short in size.
Formal acts such as Tajjiniya kamma, Ukkepeniya kamma, Pakasamika kamma, are mentioned in this division. 2. Parivasakhandhaka: The probationary period for those monks who have sanghadisesa offence is dealt with in this division. 3. Samucchayakhandhaka: What this division deals with is manatta and actually about the probation too. 4. Samathakhandhaka: The different ways of settling the legal questions is dealt in this division. 5. Khuddhaka: Minor matters or offences such as cutting hair etc. are dealt in this division. 6. Senasanakhandhaka: it deals with the accommodation or residence for monks in their monastic life. 7. Sanghabhedakhandhaka: This division deals with the schisms among the monks or the fraternity based certain discord. 8. Vattakhandhaka: it deals with the duties and responsibilities of a resident monk towards the guest or new comer monks both locality and in the forest. 9. Patimokkhapanakhandhaka: This chapter is concerned with the suspensions or exclusion of the Patimokkha introduced by the eight similes of the great ocean. 10. Bhikkhunikhandhaka: This chapter deals with the Order of bhikkhunis. It also gives an account of how the order of bhikkhunis came into being and their duties. 11. Pancasatikakhandhaka: It provides an account of historical event of the first council held at Rajagaha soon after Buddha’s Parinibbana
. B. C. Law, A history of Pali Literature, P. 65
in details. This first synod attended by five hundred Arahantmonks produced a compilation of Tipitaka in oral tradition. 12.Sattasatikakhandhaka: This division deals with the second synod held at Vesali, attended by 700 monks. It gives an account of how the unified sangha had split into groups as the schools based on ten points of controversy. Parivara Parivara Pali is the last book of Vinaya Pitaka. It serves as the manual of the instruction in the Vinaya Pitaka.52 U Ko Lay explicates about it thus, it is compiled in the form of a catechism enabling the reader to make an analytical survey of this Pitaka. All the rules, official acts and other matters of the Vinaya are classified under separate categories according to subjects dealt with. It provides general principles and guidance for the administrative affairs of the Order. The procedures for settling of disputes and handling matters forming a Samgha court or committee with a body of well-qualified learned Vinayadharas.53
IV. Suttanta Pitaka 4.1: The essence of the basket of great discourses: The Basket of Discourses – Suttanta Pitaka, is said to be the compilation of the utterances of the Master himself54 or the discourses delivered by the Buddha on various occasions in accordance of the situation as well as temperaments of the audience and the main source of the doctrine of the Buddha as expounded in the argument and dialogues.55 It also consists of the sermons given by his distinguished disciples eg; venerable Sariputta,
52 53 54 55
. B C Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. 78 . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P.14,15 . Dr. C Sharma, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, P. 71 . B C Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. 79
Ananda, Moggallana and eminent venerable like Khema, Uttara, Visakha etc. In the sutttanta Pitaka are found not only the fundamentals of the Dhamma but also pragmatic guidelines to make the Dhamma meaningful and applicable to daily life.56 The systematic practical method of practices as a Noble Path of Eight factors to achieve the goal of Supreme bliss of Nibbana is advocated to us for the spiritual development through threefold training (tisikkha). The threefold training are, a) The Training of morality (Sila sikkha) observing the precepts such as five, eight, ten for laity, 227 for bhikkhus etc is the development of wholesome conducts for moral purity, b) The training of concentration (Samadhi Sikkha) is the purity of mind through tranquility meditation (Samatha bhavana), c) The training of wisdom (Panna sikkha) is the purity of Insight through Vipassana meditation. Morals, ethics, discipline, duties, responsibilities, obligation, human qualities, cosmology, origin of life, the world beyond are some of the significant subject matters found in this Pitaka. All these teachings of Buddhist literature are grouped in five Nikayas. The Five Nikayas are as follows: 1. Digha Nikaya: The collection of long discourses. 2. Majjhima Nikaya: The middle length discourses. 3. Samyutta Nikaya: The connected discourses. 4. Anguttara Nikaya: The collection of gradual sayings (discourses) 5. khuddaka Nikaya: The minor texts. 4.2: The Constituents of Suttanta Pitaka …………………. 4.3: A brief elaboration of the constituents of Suttanta Pitaka 1) Digha Nikaya Digha Nikaya being the first book of Suttanta Pitaka and a collection of long discourses has thirty four suttas. All these suttas are again divided into three groups (vaggas) as follows: (A) Silakkhandha Vagga: The division concerning morality
. U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P. 16
(B) Maha vagga: The great division (C) Patika vagga: The Patika division A) Silakkhandha vagga: This division is formed with thirteen important suttas which are mostly connected with morality of various types practised basically by the recluses. It also provides explanation about the contemporary wrong views, Hindu view of sacrifice, caste system and the practices considered extremes in Buddhism. Some of the important suttas in this vagga are Brahmajala Sutta, Samannaphala sutta, Kutadanda Sutta, Mahasihanada Sutta, Kevatta Sutta, Tevijja Sutta and so on. Brahmajala Sutta: This is the first sutta of Silakkhandha vagga. The wanderer Suppiya speaks ill of the Triple Gem but the Buddha advises monks not to be affected by either praise or blame of the teaching because the ‘worldling’ will praise him for superficial reasons, not for the essence of his teachings. Sixty two different types of wrong view are mentioned here, all of which are based on contact of the six sense-bases and their objects.57 Sassata ditthi, Antananta ditthi, Amaravikkhepavada, Adhiccasamuppannavada, Ditthadhamma nibbanavada are some of those wrong views which are ensnared in Buddha’s in the supreme net. Samannaphala sutta: It is all about the fruit of recluse life. King Ajatasattu of Magadha comes to see the Buddha and poses questions about the advantage of homeless life which he has already asked the six heretic teachers. Buddha impresses him with the explanation of higher benefits of the secluded recluse life revealing restrain of senses, elimination of defilements, psychic powers and at last true liberation. Kutadanta sutta: Brahmin Kutadanta comes to the Buddha asking for some advices before he holds a sacrifice with the slaughter of hundreds of beasts. Buddha advocates him the bloodless sacrifice of higher benefits with taking refuge of triple Gem, the offering of four requisites to noble sangha and observing the five precepts. He then exempts the animals and becomes a lay-follower of Buddha. Mahasihanada sutta: The naked ascetic Kassapa asks the Buddha if he reviles all the forms of austerities. Buddha tells him that without the morality one is not a true Brahmin; further he says that the importance of development of morality (sila), concentration (Samadhi) and wisdom (panna) as a middle path for the emancipation from the suffering of Samsara.
. Maurice Walshe, DN, P. 55, Wisdom Publications, 1995
Kevatta sutta: A lay devotee by the name Kevatta (kevaddha) approaches the Buddha and asks to engage one of the monks to display super-human feats and miracle in order to win the faith of the prosperous people. Buddha then preaches him three kinds of miracle, namely a) The miracle of psychic power (Iddhi-patihariya) b) The miracle of telepathy ( Adesana patihariya) c) The miracle of instruction (Anusasani patihariya). Third miracle of instruction is recommended to for it leads to the morality,attainment of Jhanas, maggas, phalas, and finally to ultimate bliss of Nibbana.58 B) Mahavagga: This division is comprised another ten long suttas which are some of the most important ones in Tipitaka, dealing with historical and biographical as well as the doctrinal aspects of Buddhism.59 Some of the important suttas in this vagga are Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Mahapadana Sutta, Mahanidana Sutta, Mahasatipatthana Sutta, Payasi, etc. Mahaparinibbana sutta: This is one of the longest and more important suttas. It gives narrative accounts of last days of the Buddha. With Ananda, he visits a series of places and gives discourses to monks and laity. Vajjian republican system is praised by Buddha to see as an example for the sangha. He gets ailed having eaten Cunda’s sukaramaddava at Pava. He passes away after giving last instructive words “strive on untiringly-appamadena sampadetha”.60 Mahanidana sutta: It is a discourse on the law of dependent origination or causality. Being the doctrine of cause-effect, it is the real foundation on which the entire philosophy of Buddhism is built up.61 Ven. Ananda is corrected for his perfunctory statement of this profound and deep doctrine. Proper understanding and penetrative comprehension of the doctrine is of utmost importance to be exempted from the whirlpool of Samsara. Mahasatipatthana sutta: The Great discourse on the foundation of mindfulness. This held by many to be the most important sutta in the Canon.62 Buddha’s unique way of establishing mindfulness in four things,
58 59 60 61 62
. Handouts source of BA degree . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P. 30 . Maurice Walshe, DN, P.59 . B Panna Dipa, Buddha desana and Essential Principles of Enlightenment, P. 59 .Maurice Walshe, DN, P.60
namely body (kaya), sensation (vedana), consciousness (citta), mental objects (Dhamma) is elucidated as ‘the only way’ for the purification of beings…for the realization of Nibbana. There are fourteen ways of contemplating the body, nine for the sensation, sixteen for the consciousness and five ways for the Dhamma. C) Pathikavagga: This section starts with Pathika Sutta and consists of eleven suttas. It mainly deals with rejection of wrong views, futile ascetic practices, Buddhist cosmology, ven.Sariputta’s eulogy to Buddha, universal monarch, thirty two body marks of a great man, social responsibilities etc. some of the important suttas in this vagga are Pathika Sutta, Cakkavatti sihanada Sutta, Agganna Sutta, Pasadika sutta, lakkhana sutta, Singala sutta, Sangiti sutta etc. Pathika sutta: The name of this division seems to have been named for this sutta. The sutta is about a foolish disciple of the Buddha called Sunakkhatta who leaves the Order having been fascinated some dubious ‘holy man’. The Pthikaputta challenges the Buddha to a contest of miracles but he can not even rise from his seat to meet him as the Buddha prophesied.63 Cakkavatti sutta: The monks are advised to count on the Dhamma as well as on one self through mindfulness. The Buddha tells about a universal monarch, Dalhanemi of seven sacred treasures obtained by righteous reign over the four continents. And how depending on the standard of morality the life-span of human being declines to ten years and lengthens up to 80,000 years and appearance of future Buddha Metteyya are shown. Aggañña sutta: This is another important sutta that gives an account of Buddhist cosmology and caste system. How human beings first appears on the earth and in course of time become very ordinary men due to their craving (tanha) forming castes of Khattiya, Brahmana, Suddha and Vessa. The emphasis is laid on the ethically wholesome deeds by which the superiority of human-class should be recognized. Lakkhana sutta: The sutta describes about the thirty two body marks of a great man in details. There can be only two types of individual who possess these marks of a Great Man; namely a fully Enlightened One and a Universal Monarch. These marks are obtained because of boundless meritorious deeds.
Singala sutta: Young Singala was corrected of worshipping six directions, namely, East for parents; South for teachers; West for wife and children; North for friends and associates; Nadir for servants and employees; Zenith for samanas and brahmans. Responsibilities for these six social groups are mentioned in order to maintain a peaceful and harmonious society. 2) Majjhima Nikaya Majjhama Nikaya being the second book of Suttanta Pitaka and the collection of discourses of middle length compared with the longer suttas in the Digha Nikaya which precedes it64 contains one hundred and fifty two suttas. These suttas of 152 are divided into three divisions (vaggas) as follows: A) Mulapannasa Pali – The first batch of 50 B) Majjhimapannsa Pali – The middle batch of 50 C) Uparipannasa Pali – The last batch of 5065 (actually 52)
A) Mulapannasa Pali: This division of first fifty suttas is again sub-
divided into five sections: (i) Mulapariyaya vagga – The division of the discourse on the root. (ii) Sihanada vagga – The division of the lion’s roar. (iii) Opamavagga – The third division. (iv) Mahayamaka – The great division of pairs. (v) Culayamaka – The shorter division of pairs. Mulapariya vagga: In this division (vagga), some of the important Suttas are Mulapariyaya Sutta, Sabbasava Sutta, Dhammadayada Sutta, Sammaditthi Sutta, Satipatthana Sutta, Bhayabherava Sutta etc. Mulapariyaya Sutta: This Sutta gives a vivid explanation of the root of all things. The analyses the cognitive processes of four types of individuals – the untaught ordinary person, the disciple in higher training, the arahant, and the Tathagatha66 specifying twenty-four categories such as the four elements, sentient beings, devas, the thought of, the oneness,
64 65 66
Bhikkhu Nanamuli & Bhikkhu Bodhi, MN, P.19 . Phraphom Khunaphon (P. A. Payutto), The Pali Canon, P. 37 .Bhikkhu Nanamuli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, MN, 61
the multiplicity, the whole and the reality of Nibbana. The uninstructed worldling cannot perceive the nature of these phenomena.67 Sabbasabha Sutta: This discourse identifies all the taints or mental intoxicants and ways to exterminate them. With the special stress on the Yonisomanasikara (wise attention), the Buddha teaches seven methods to wipe out the taints, namely, by discernment (Dassana), by restraints (Samvara), by consumption/use (Patisevana), by endurance (Adhivasana), by avoidance (Parivajjana), by elimination (Vinodana), by development (Bhavana). Dhammadayada Sutta: This is another very significant and essential discourse specially for monks; they are expected to be the heirs of Dhamma (Bodhipakkhiya) bestowed by the Buddha, not to be the heir of material things. Ven. Sariputta further instructs the monks to strive to attain Jhana, Magga, Phala and the bliss of Nibbana. Sammaditthi Sutta: It is one of the important Suttas delivered by ven. Sariputta explaining apparently what the Right View is. The root of the wholesome and the unwholesome (Kusala & Akusala), Nutriment (Ahara), the four Noble truths (Ariyasaccani), the twelve factors of dependent origination in reverse order and the taints (Asava) are carefully illustrated. Satipatthana Sutta: This Sutta has almost similar content in Mahasatipatthana sutta regarding the Foundations of Mindfulness. It is one of the most important suttas by the Buddha dealing with meditation, with particular emphasis on the development of insight68 through the contemplation on body, feeling, consciousness and mind objects. It is declared to be the direct path to be free from the suffering and to realize Nibbana. Sihanadavagga: Some of the important suttas in this vagga are Culasihanada Sutta, Mahadukkhakkhanda Sutta, Cetokhila Sutta, Madhupindika Sutta, Vitakkasanthana Sutta etc. Madhupindika sutta: The Honey Ball. The Buddha utters a deep but enigmatic statement about “the source through which perceptions and notions tinged by mental proliferation beset a man”.69 In other words, not
67 68 69
. U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P. 44 .Bhikkhu Nanamuli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, MN, P.62 . Ibid. P.63
to live in discord with anyone in the world; not obsessed by sense impraesions (sanna); not troubled by doubts; and not craving for any form of existence.70 Opamavagga: Some of the important suttas in this division are Alagaddupama Sutta, Rathavinita Sutta, Ariyapariyesana Sutta, Mahahatthipadopama Sutta etc. Alagaddupama Sutta: A Bhikkhu by the name Arittha misinterprets the Dhamma understanding it wrongly saying that what the Buddha teaches as ‘stumbling blocks’ for monks in the path towards the goal, are actually not so. Buddha admonishes him and describes three kind of learning, namely, 1) learning dhamma with wrong purpose (alagaddupama pariyatti) 2) learning Dhamma to be liberated (nitthana pariyatti) 3) learning for treasure (bhandhagarika pariyatti specified for arahant only). Mahayamakavagga: Some of the momentous suttas in this division are Culagosinga Sutta, Mahagopalaka Sutta, Culasaccaka Sutta, Culatanhasankhaya Sutta, Mahatanhasankhya Sutta etc. Culasaccka Sutta: This discourse gives an account of the debate between the Buddha and Saccaka the wandering ascetic on the subject of Atta. Saccka maintained that rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana were one’s atta. It was Atta which enjoyed the fruit of good deeds and suffered the consequences of bad deeds. The Buddha refuted his theory, pointing out that none of the khandhas was atta, each being subjected to the laws of anicca, dukkha, anatta, and not amenable to anyone’s control.71 Saccaka at last surrenders to Buddha’s cogent arguments and becomes a lay disciple. Mahagopalaka Sutta: The great discourse on the Cowherd. The Buddha instructs eleven good qualities that contribute to a bhikkhu’s growth in the Dhamma and eleven bad qualities that prevent his growth. Some of the bad qualities are, not knowing eightfold noble path, four foundation of mindfulness, even does not listen to Dhamma talks, but ask too much from lay devotees.
. U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P.47 . Ibid, P. 51
Culayamakavagga: Some of the good suttas in this division are Saleyyaka Sutta, Mahavedalla Sutta, Culavedalla Sutta, Culadhammasamadana Sutta, Mahadhammasamadna Sutta etc. Mahadhammasamadana Sutta: This discourse describes four practices involving: (i) happy living now, followed by dire consequences In the future (ii) unhappy living now followed by dire consequences in the future (iii) unhappy living now, followed by happy living in the future (iv) happy living now, followed by a happy life in the future with the similes of poisonous fruit juice, delicious cordial and medicinal preparation of cow’s urine.72
B) Majjhimapannasa Pali: This division of fifty suttas lying in the
middle of this Nikaya is also sub-divided into five vaggas as follows: I) Gahapativagga: The division on householders ii) Bhikkhuvagga: The division on bhikkhus iii) Paribbajakavagga: The division on wanderers iv) Rajavagga: The division on kings v) Brahmanavagga: The division on Brahmins Gahapativagga: The important suttas in this division are Kandaraka Sutta, Jivaka Sutta, Abhayarajkumara Sutta, Bahuvedaniya Sutta, Apannaka Sutta etc. Kandaraka Sutta: In sutta the Buddha discusses four kinds of persons found in the world – the one who torments himself, the one who torments others, the one torments both himself and others, and the one who torments neither himself nor others.73 The silence maintained by the great assembly of monks accrued actually from their practice of tranquility and insight meditation. Jivaka Sutta: Jivaka, the renowned physician comes and asks the Buddha whether it is true that he eats meat of animals slain purposefully for him. Buddha lets him know that it is unjust slandering; and he promulgates the rules for the monks what types of meat are allowable and on what condition they are supposed to have them. There are ten kinds of flesh not allowable such as tiger, lion etc, besides they are not to partake meat which they have seen or heard or suspect to be specially prepared
. Ibid, P. 53 . Bhikkhu Nanamuli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, MN,P. 67
for them killing. Moreover, bhikkhus are expected to reflect over the meal that he take it for mere sustaining the body. Abhayarajkumara Sutta: Prince Abhayarajakumara, persuaded by Nigantha Nataputta tries to discredit the Buddha on Devadatta-issue. The Buddha enumerates six modes of utterances out of which he would make two modes of utterances, namely, words which are true profitable but unpleasant to others and words which are true, profitable and pleasant to others.74 Bhikkhuvagga: In this division, there are some very important suttas giving guidelines for bhikkhus to practice properly without being engaged in metaphysical thoughts. Some of them are Maharahulovada Sutta, Culamalumkya Sutta, Bhaddali Sutta, Latukikopama Sutta, Catuma Sutta etc. Maharahulovada Sutta: The Sariputta admonishes Rahula to develop the mindfulness meditation on Anapana – inhalation and exhalation.75 The Buddha also gives exhortation to Rahula on the five aggregates and the four great elements. The advantages of Anapana meditation in details was also delivered to him. Culamaunkya Sutta: Bhikkhu Malunkya threatens to leave the Order unless the Buddha answered the his metaphysical questions such as Is the universal eternal or not, is the soul one thing and body another, does Buddha live after passing away etc. with the simile of a man struck by a poisoned arrow, the Buddha makes76 it clear that he teaches Four Noble Truths only to understand life. Whatever views one holds about these questions, there will still be birth, ageing, decay etc. so he teaches the Noble Path to people to be liberated from the inevitable suffering of life. Catuma Suttta: A group of five hundred monks who are disciples of ven.Sariputta and Moggllana to see the Buddha and were making a noisy atmosphere while settling down. First Buddha was reluctant to see them but later taught them four dangers to be overcome in a life a Bhikkhu, namely, ill-will against those who instruct them and guise them; dissatisfaction with training rules such as those concerning taking of meals or dealing wit womenfolk; and pleasures of the senses.
74 75 76
. U Ko Lay, P. 56 . Bimala Churn Law, A History of Pali Literature, P.138 . Bhikkhu Nanamuli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, MN, P. 68
Paribbajakavagga: Some of the important suttas in this division are Aggivacchagotta sutta, Dighanakha Sutta, Magandiya Sutta, Culasakuludayi Sutta etc. Magandiya Sutta: The Buddha comes across a wandering ascetic of hedonistic views called Magandiy. The truth finder subjugates the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body, consciousness and their respective functions. He preaches the doctrine of subjugation of these. Further,77 He tells the ascetic the story of his own renunciation, how he left his luxurious palaces and how on discovering the truth, he found the happiness of Arahanttahood much more superior than the sensuous pleasures. Magandiya at last becomes the disciple of Him. Rajavagga: Some of the significant suttas in this section are Ratthapala Sutta, Bodhirajkumara Sutta, Angulimala Sutta, Dhammacetiya Sutta, etc. Rattahapala Sutta: Ratthapala, a true Bhikkhu goes from home to homelessness as a monk, when he knows, sees and hears the following four propositions enumerated by the Master, eg, the world is in continual flux and change; the world is no protector or preserver; the world owns nothing; the world lacks and hankers being enslaved to craving. That can not be called true renunciation when one goes form home to homelessness as a monk, for old age, failing health, impoverishment and a death of kinsfolk. The verses uttered by him giving out his religious experience are highly interesting.78 Angulimala Sutta: The sutta gives vivid account of Angulimala, how such a notorious bandit was tamed and took refuge in the Triple Gem. Although his name previously was Ahimsaka means non-violence, he was forced to be murderous and a victim of his companion’ jealousy. But after his conversion he started leading a life of true peacefulness as well as non-violence, actualization of the meaning of his name. Dhammaceriya Sutta: King Pasenadi Kosala offers ten reasons why he shows such a deep veneration to the Buddha and commends the doctrine in monumental words. He says that there are always strife going on between kings, nobles, Brahmins and householders, but the bhikkhus live in peace and harmony. There are Samanas and Brahmins who are lean
. B C Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. 141 . Ibid, 144
miserable creatures but the almsmen are joyous and joyful being free from care and worry.79 Brahmanavagga: Suttas that bear importance in this division are Assalayana Sutta, Vasettha Sutta, Subha Sutta, etc. Assalayana Sutta: Brahmin Assalayana, a highly talented young man well versed in the Vedas was sent to the Buddha by a group of Brahmins to challenge the Buddha on his views with regard to the purity and nobility of the four classes of people. The importance of this sutta lies in its allusions to Yonakamboja regin where the caste system of the Brahmins did not prevail. Vasettha Sutta: Two young Brahmins Vesettha and Bharadvaja have confusion about authenticity of Brahmin. One holds that it is the birth that makes one true Brahmin and another believes that the moral conduct makes one true Brahmin. However, they approach the Buddha for its solution. The Buddha tells them that a person is not a Brahmin just because of his birth, if he is full of worldly defilements like greed, hatred, craving, ignorance.80 A person becomes true Brahmin with the attainment of Arahantahood becomes true Brahmin whatever his birth when he eliminates all the fetters of defilements through the realization of Four Noble truths. Uparipannasa Pali: The final fifty discourses of this Nikaya are again sub-divided into five vaggas. They are as follows: i) Devadahavagga – The division at Devadaha ii) Anupadavagga – The division of one by one iii) Sunnatavagga – The division on voidness iv) Vibhangavagga – The division on exposition v) Salayatanavagga – The division of six fold base Devadahavagga: The important suttas in this division are Devadaha sutta, Pancattaya sutta, Anenjasappaya sutta, Mahapunnama sutta etc. Devadaha sutta: The Buddha refutes the wrong views of selfmortification of Nigathas who believe that whatever a person experienced in this life was caused by former action. They practise austerity as a
. Ibid, P.145 . U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, P. 68
penance to put an end to the result of former action. The Buddha teaches them the right path of extinguishing the suffering and to goal. Mahapunnama sutta: While sitting outside on a full moon night in meditation among the huge number of monks, the Buddha teaches them about the five aggregates of grasping, how craving develops with respect to each aggregate and how craving would come to an end. Anupadavagga: Some of the essential discourses in this division are Anapanasati sutta, kayagatasati sutta, Sevitabbasevitabba sutta, Anupada sutta, Anapanasati sutta: The benefit of Anapanasati as a method of meditation is explained by the Buddha to well known disciples. Development of mindfulness establishes one to the four foundations of mindfulness. The four foundation of mindfulness, being developed, establishes a person in the seven factors of enlightenment. And the seven factors of enlightenment, being developed brings about sixteen kinds of Insight knowledge and emancipation.81 Kayagatasati sutta: The Master deals with meditation on the body – how is mindfulness of body cultivated and developed as to abound in fruit and blessings? In reality, like Anapana, the kayagatasati sutta is only a sectional presentation of the Satipatthana sutta.82 Sunnatavagga: Some of the vital suttas in this division are Mahasunata sutta, Dantabhumi sutta, Anuruddha sutta, Balapandita suta, Devaduta sutta etc. Mahasunnata sutta: Upon finding many bhikkhus have grown fond of socializing and like to dwell in crowded place, the Buddha tells Ananda that monks should not delight living in company. And in friendly manner he suggested the need of seclusion in monk life in order to abide in voidness. Anuruddha sutta: Venerable Anuruddha explains to the carpenter Pancakanga what boundless deliverance is and what vast deliverance of the heart is. If a Bhikkhu dwells with radiant thoughts of love pervading all the quarters of the world, the whole length and breadth of the world, bove, below, around, everywhere – this is termed the heart’s deliverance
.Ibid. P. 73 . B C Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. 151
that’s boundless. If the Bhikkhu pervades and imbues a single tree with the idea of vastness, that is termed a vast deliverance of the heart. Anuruddha then speaks on the four states of rebirth, among the Paritabba gods, the Appamanabba gods, the Sankilitthabbha gods, the Parisuddhabha gods.83 Balapandita sutta: The suffering of hell and animal life into which fool is reborn trough his evil deeds and the pleasures of heaven that a wise man reaps through his good deeds. Vibhangavagga: This is being the second last division of the this Nikaya contains some pressing suttas such as Bheddekarattha sutta, Culakammavibhanga sutta, Dhatuvibhanga sutta, Saccavibhanga sutta etc. Culakammavibhanga sutta: The Buddha delivers this exposition on action to Subha. Kamma of both wholesome and unwholesome types for eight categories of people as sensible reason is described such as inferior and superior, short life and long life, sick and healthy, ugly and beautiful, little influential and great influential, wealthy and needy, inferior linage and superior linage, unwise and wise. He further declares that ‘kamma as their possession, kamma is their inheritance….it is the only kamma that conditions beings either to be inferior and superior. Salayatanavagga: This being the last division of Majjhima Nikaya comprises some of the very important suttas like Punnovada sutta, Mahasalayatanika sutta, Indriyabhavana sutta and Cularahulovada sutta. Punnovada sutta: The Bhikkhu punna receives an exhortation from the Buddha on how to practise the holy life in solitude. When the Buddha asked him how he would contend with the dangers of fierce people in a remote territory where he was going to stay, he responds the Buddha of six categories of fortitude he was endowed with including indifference to an attack even on his life. Indriyabhavana sutta: The Lord speaks on the culture of faculties. The brahmanical culture of faculties was according to him faulty. It is when a man neither sees forms with his eyes nor hears sounds with his ears. But according to the rule of the Noble it is when a Bhikkhu is indifferent to
. Ibid, P. 153
something agreeable or disagreeable which results either from seeing forms with eyes or hearing sounds with ears.84 3) Samyutta Nikaya: Samyutta Nikaya, The connected discourses of the Buddha is the third major collection in the Sutta Pitaka belonging to the Pali Canon. The collection is so named because the suttas in any given chapters are connected by the theme after which the chapter is named.85 Samyutta Nikaya is consists of 7762 discourses of various subject matters generally short. And it is a compilation of suttas with their main bearings on psycho-ethical and philosophical problems. It also has many verses and poetry dealing with legends of fairies, gods and deities, with royal and priestly interviews as well as mythical and folklore drapery86 found in sayings of the Buddha. This huge numbers of Suttas in this collection are divided into five major divisions. They are as follows: a) Sagathavagga (11 Samyuttas) : The book with verses of dialogue b) Nidanavagga (9 Samyuttas): The book of Causation c) Khandhavagga (13 Samyuttas): The book of the Aggregates d) Salayatanavagga (10 Samyuttas): The book of the Six Sense Bases e) Mahavagga (12 Samyuttas): The Great Book on 37 Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma. A) Sagatha vagga: This chapter with verses, has eleven sub-divisions enriched in spiritual guidelines discourse with Devatas, son of Devas, Kosalan, Bhikkhunis, Brahmas, Brahmins, Vangisa, Woods, Yakkhas and Sakkaha. 1. Devata Samyutta: Usually question by Devas and answer by the Buddha. Certain god questions emancipation, the Buddha answers ‘By the utter destruction of delight in existence, perception, consciousness, appeasement of feelings.87 2. Devaputta Samyutta: Questions by sons of Devas and answers by Buddha.
84 85 86 87
.Ibid. P. 157 . Bhikkhu Bodhi,(Trns) The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, SN, P.11 B C Law, HPL, 159-160
. Accenti kala tarayanti rattiyo, vayaguna anupubbam jahanti, etam bhyam marane pekkhamano, punnani kayiratha sukhavahaniti.
3. Kosala Samyutta: An account of some twenty-five anecdotes of King Pasenadi Kosala. 4. Mara Samyutta: Dialogue between the Buddha and Mara. 5. Bhikkhuni Samyutta: About distraction of Mara to Bhikkhinis. 6. Brahma Samyutta: About Brahma’s persuasion to Buddha to disseminate the Dhamma after His Enlightenment. 7. Brahmana Samyutta: About the conversion of Brahmin Bhradvaja. 8. Vangisa Samyutta: About Vangisa’s appeasement of passion. 9. Vana Samyutta: About deities showing right path to faulty forest monks. 10. Yakkha Samyutta: About the dialogue between certain yakkha and the Buddha. 11. Sakkha Samyutta: An account of Sakkha, the king of the Devas.88 B) Nidana Vagga: This second major division, Nidana Vagga contains ten Samyuttas, all dealing with fundamental aspects of the doctrine. The discourses are chiefly concerned with principles of conditionality and interdependence, explained in the detailed formula which is called ‘Paticchasamuppada’, Conditioned genesis consisting of twelve factors. 1. Nidana Samyutta: Dependent Origination is elucidated in details here. 2. Abhisamaya Samyutta: Ariyan disciples’ reflection over the magnitude of their defilements before the training and after it. 3. Dhatu Samyutta: Eighteen kinds of element are explained here. 4. Anamatagga Samyutta: Concerning the being’s going round the cycle of Samsara blinded by the Avijja, tanha, ditthi, nivarana etc and the Way to the liberation from it through the realization of Nibbana. 5. Kassapa Samyutta: Concerning an exemplary character of ven. Kassapa in the Noble life renunciation with contentment. 6. Labhaskkara Samyutta: Concerning wrong motive of Monkhood seeking after the gain and favour. 7. Rahula Samyutta: Deals with Buddha’s instruction to Rahula for discipline with proper attitude of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta in life. 8. Lakkhana Samyutta: Deals with the reason of ven.Moggllana’s smile to ven. Lkkhana. 9. Opamma Samyutta: Deals with the Buddha’s instruction to bhikkhus to be strenuous and mindful all the time as all the unwholesome states have ignorance (Avijja) as their root. 10. Bhikkhu Samyutta: Deals with Maha-Moggllana’s explanation second Jhana as ‘Ariyan Silence’.
.Ibid, P. 161-168
C) Khanda Vagga: In this division, most of the suttas mainly have five aggregates and Atta, Anatta, eternity, annihilation as their themes which constitute the so-called being. Each of the components of these aggregates, namely, materiality, sensation, perception, mental formation or volitional activities and consciousness is shown to a bundle of dukkha.89 There are thirteen Samyuttas in this division as follows: 1. Khanda Samyutta: It is all about the five aggregates wrongly grasped with the attitude of the existence of self (Atta). 2. Radha Samyutta: Deals with ven.Radha’s inquiry of Mara and craving. 3. Ditthi Samyutta: Deals with the origin of certain view based on Khandhas with self-identity. 4. Okkantika Samyutta: deals with the impermanence of the aggregates. 5. Uppada Samyutta: Deals with the Buddha’s explanation that the arising of aggregates is the arising of suffering (dukkha). 6. Kilesa Samyutta: Deals with the defilements (kilesa) that originate from the Six Sense Bases (salayatana), their respective objects and consciousness. 7. Sariputta Samyutta: Deals with ven. Sariputta’s response to Ananda of his tranquility of mind through the attainment of first Jhana. 8. Naga Samyutta: Deals with four types of birth of Nagas. 9. Supanna Samyutta: Deals with four types of birth as harpies namely, Egg-born, the womb-born, the sweat-born and those born without parents. 10. Gandhabbakaya Samyutta: Deals with the livelihood of Gandhabbas. 11. Valaha Samyutta: Deals with Devas who belong to various cloudgroups. 12. Vaccagotta Samyutta: deals with Vaccagotta metaphysical questions of world and Buddha’s general response of the ignorance of Aggregates.90 13. Jhana Samyutta: Deals with skills of Jhana attainment by meditation. D) Salayatana Vagga: This second last division of this Nikaya deals mainly with the six internal sense bases namely, eye, ear, nose etc. and external sense bases such as sight, sound, smell etc as well as the consciousness arisen through these sense organs. Abandonment of clinging or attachment to these senses, corresponding consciousness and
. U Ko Lay, GT, P.93 .B C Law, HPL, P.168-174
feelings due to their transitory mature leads to liberation, Nibbana. There are ten sub-divisions in this vagga as follows: 1. Salayatana Samyutta: Concerning impermanent, suffering and nonsubstantial nature of the six sense bases with their respective objects as well as the guideline to restrain oneself from the desires arisen out of them. 2. Vedana Samyutta: Deals with exhortation to discard grasping to threefold sensation of pleasant, unpleasant and indifferent called ‘right seeing’. 3. Matugama Samyutta: Concerning womankind of five possession and five woes. 4. Jambukhadaka Samyutta: Deals with Sariputta’s explanation of some fundamental teachings of the Buddha to Jambukhadaka such as Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Noble Path, abandonment of Asavas (taints). 5. Samandaka Samyutta: Concerning the way to attain Nibbana. 6. Moggallana Samyutta: Deals with his explanation of Arupa Jhanas. 7. Citta Samyutta: Concerning fetters of six sense bases. 8. Gamani Samyutta: The Buddha describes of the nature of being wrathful and kind, the Middle Path and giving up of two Extremes. 9. Asankhata Samyutta: Deals with mindfulness, calm, insight, four Satipatthanas, four Iddhipadas and the Noble Eightfold Path as the Way to the attainment of Nibbana, the supreme bliss. 10. Avyakata Samyutta: Concerning King Pasenadi’s metaphysical inquiry about the Buddha from Khema, Sariputta, Moggalana.91 Maha vagga: Being the last division of the Samyutta Nikaya, it deals with fundamental doctrines of the Buddha such as Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Noble Path and thirty seven requisites of Enlightenment as the whole in the ending suttas which actually cover both the theoretical and practical aspects of His teachings. There are twelve samyuttas in this division as follows: 1. Magga Samyutta: Deals with Noble Path of Eight constituents. 2. Bhojjanga Samyutta: Deals with the seven elements of Enlightnement. 3. Satipatthana Samyutta: Concerning the Four Foundation of Mindfulness. 4. Indriya Samyutta: Deals with the Five Spiritual faculties. 5. Sammappdana Samyutta: Deals with the Four Perfect Exertions.
. Ibid, P.174-178
6. Bala Samyutta: Deals with the Five Powers. 7. Iddhipada Samyutta: Concerning the Four Wonderful Powers. 8. Anuruddha Samyutta: Concerning ven.Anuruddha’s attainment of supernatural power by four foundation of mindfulness. 9. Jhana Samyutta: Concerning the Four Jhanas. 10. Anapana Samyutta: Concerning the great benefits of practicing the respiration. 11. Sotapatti Samyutta: Concerning the conditions for Sotapattia Magga. 12. Sacca Samyutta: Deals with the Four Truths of Nobility. 4. Anguttara Nikaya Anguttara Nikaya constitutes an important source book on Buddhist psychology and ethics, which provides an enumerated summary of all the essential features concerning the theory and the practice of the Dhamma. There are 9557 short suttas in this Nikaya divided into eleven divisions known as Nipatas.92 Each Nipata has sub-chapters containing Suttas arranged in progressive numerical Order.
1. Ekaka Nipata (contains 21 chapters): This group comprises single
item of Dhamma mainly dealing with the Nivaranas (obstacles), the mind concentrated or unconcentrated, trained or untrained, cultivated or uncultivated, exertion, diligence and the Tathagata – the only person who does good to mankind. The eminent disciples are dealt as well.
2. Dukaka Nipata (contains 16 chapters): Deals with two kinds of
sins which should be avoided, two kinds of powers, two kinds of gifts-gift of material objects and gifts of dhamma, two kinds of persons and happiness, different kinds of desires as well as assemblies of bhikkhus. 3. Tika Nipata (contains 16 chapters): Deals with three signs-conduct in deed, word and thought, three places, three types of individuals, three root cause for the origination of actions, three dangers that a mother cannot protect her son, Kalama Sutta, three kinds of rare persons. 4. Catukka Nipata (contains 26 chapters): Deals with four personsSotapanna, Skkadagami, Anagami, Arahant, four right efforts, four kinds of faith, four ways of responding questions; four things for bhikkhusholy conduct, concentration, insight; four hallucinations; four faults of
. U Ko Lay, guide to Tipitaka, P.107
recluse and Brahmins; who offers food gives four things-long life, beauty, happiness, strength; four inconceivable; four things conducive for the growth of wisdom. 5. Pancaka Nipata (contains 26 chapters): Deals with five strength for a trainee - faith, bashfulness, moral dread, energy and insight knowledge; another five kinds of bala – saddha, viriya, sati, Samadhi and panna; five kinds of hindrances; five standards which should be set up for the teaching the Dhamma; five ways of getting rid of grudge. 6. Chakka Nipata (contains 12 chapters): Deals with six things which are unsurpassed; six kinds of suffering in the world; six steps to gain liberation; six things to be known by bhikkhus; six rare things in the world; six benefits of Sotapatti phala. 7. Sattaka Nipata (contain 9 chapters): Mainly deals with seven factors of winning respect of fellow-monks; seven bonds (samyujjanas); a Bhikkhu is a fruitful field when he is endowed with seven things knowing the text of the teachings, meaning of it, himself etc; 37 Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma for liberation; true teaching must lead one to disenchantment…calm, direct knowledge, enlightenment and finally Nibbana. 8. Atthaka Nipata (contains 9 chapters): Deals specially with eight benefits of loving-kindness meditation; eight vicissitudes of life – gain, loss, fame, disrepute etc; eight great reflection venerable Anuruddha on the Dhamma; eight types of by an Ariya. 9. Navaka Nipata (contains 9 chapters): Deals chiefly with nine kinds of Noble persons – Sotapattimaggatha, Sotapttiphalatha etc; nine practices not indulged in by Arahats – killing, stealing, sexual misconduct etc; nine characteristics of a layman’s residence which should not be visited by a Bhikkhu; nine ways of forming grudge; nine defilements should be wiped out for the realization of Arahant Phala. 10. Dasaka Nipata (contains 22 chapters): Deals with ten benefits of being established in morality(sila) – feeling pleased, glad, satisfied etc; ten fetters – personality belief, skeptical etc; ten kinds of dhammas possessed by one who has become accomplished one-Arahant; ten types of advantageous perception – anicc, anitta, marana. 11. Ekadasaka Nipata (contains 3 chapters): Deals with eleven benefits derived from cultivation and development of loving-kindness – one
sleeps soundly and wakes peacefully with no bad dreams, one is regarded with esteem by men; eleven kinds of destruction any one of which is likely to befall a Bhikkhu who reviles the fellow bhikkhus of the community – lack of progress in his efforts; one should also develop eleven conditions for acquiring the knowledge of human.93 5. Khuddaka Nikaya The Khuddaka Nikaya is the fifth and the last division of the Sutta Pitaka. Although the word ‘Khuddaka’ literally means ‘minor or small’, the actual content of this collection can by no means be regarded as minor as it contains the largest number of the treatises and the most numerous categories of Dhamma. The miscellaneous nature of this collection, containing not only the discourses by the Buddha but compilation brief doctrinal notes mostly in verse, accounts of personal struggles and achievements by threras and theries also in verse, the birth stories, the history of the Buddha etc. There are fifteen books in the Khuddaka Nikaya. They are 1) Khuddaka Patha 2) Dhammapada 3)Udana 4) Ittivuttaka 5) Suttanipata 6) Vimanavatthu 7) Petavatthu 8) Theragatha 9) Therigatha 10) Jataka 11) Niddesa (Maha, Cula) 12) Patisambhidamagga 13) Apadana 14) Buddhavamsa 15) Cariyapitaka. The additions of three more books in this Nikaya approved by the Sixth Buddhist Synod are 1) Nettipakarana 2) Petakopadesa 3) Milinda Panha. Khuddakapatha: It is being the first treatise in this Nikaya means ‘short lessons’ or ‘minor readings’ and consists of a collection of nine short formulas and suttas used as the manual for the novices under training, namely, a) the three refuges b) the Ten precepts c) the thirty two parts of the body d) simple Dhamma for novices in the form of a catechism e) Mangala Sutta f) Ratana Sutta g) Tirokotta Sutta h) Nidhikanda Sutta i) Metta Sutta. ‘Kumara Panha’ is also included here for nivices. Dhammapada: It literally means ‘sections or portions of the dhamma’ and is the basic as well as essential principles of the Buddha’s wellknown teachings. It is also known as gems of literary excellence with appropriate similes and universal truths and is thus found appealing and edifying by readers as the wisdom of all ages. It consists of 423 verses arranged in twenty six vaggas. The first two stanzas briefly represent the
. B C law, HPL, P. 178-191 & U Ko Lay, GT, P. 108-121
ethico-philosophical system of the Buddha with importance of mind in assessing morality and the Buddhist Law of moral causation.94 Udana: Udana is an utterance mostly in metrical form inspired by a particularly intense emotion. This treatise is a collection of eighty joyful utterances made by the Buddha on unique occasions of sheer bliss; each Udana in verse is followed by an account of its events. It is divided into eight vaggas such as The Enlightenment, Mucalinda, Nanda etc. Itivuttaka: It is the fourth book and the title of it signifies that it’s a book of quotation of the authoritative sayings of the Buddha. It is an anthology of 112 Suttas of ethical teachings of the Buddha on the wide range of moral subjects like passion, anger, pride, lust etc divided into four Nipatas. First Nipata speaks of the effect of evil and good. Second speaks of temptation of senses. Third speaks of how impropriety originates and the taints of lust, existence and ignorance.95 Sutta Nipata: The Sutta Nipata is one of the most important works of Sutta Pitaka. It is divided in to five vaggas: (i) Uraga Vagga of 12 suttas (ii) Cula Vagga of 14 suttas (iii) Maha Vagga of 12 suttas (iv) Atthaka Vagga of 16 suttas (v) Parayana Vagga of 16 suttas. It contains information about the social, economic and contemporary religious condition of Gautama Buddha referring to six heretical teachers and Samanasa and Brahmanas. It represents us the philosophical and ethical teachings of the Buddha and with the ideals of the Buddhist monks.96 Vimana Vatthu: Vimanavatthu literally means ‘mansion’. Here it specifically refers to heavenly mansions gained by beings who have done meritorious deeds in previous life. Eighty five verses in this text are grouped in seven vaggas. The vivid account of the lives of Devas in various deva abodes serve to show clearly that the higher beings are not immortals, nor beyond the conditionality and thus subject to laws of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta and have to strive themselves to achieve the deathless state of Nibbana. Peta Vatthu: “The stories of petas” are graphic accounts of the miserable states of beings who have been reborn in unhappy existences as a consequence of their evil deeds. There are fifty one stories divided into
94 95 96
. Narada Thera, The Dhammapada, P. XI . B C Law, HPL, P. 229 .Ibid, P. 233
four vaggas, describing the life of misery of the evils deeds, in direct contrast to the magnificent life of devas. Theragatha: This treatise form a compilation of delightful verses uttered by some two hundred and sixty four theras through sheer exaltation and joy that arise out of their religious devotion and inspiration. These poems are conducive to the understanding of the religious theories and feelings prevalent in the Buddhist Order. Therigatha: This is another collection of uttered verses attributed to the seventy three Theries who gushed these very inspiring verses from their heart after their attainment of Arahantship as an announcement of their achievement and also as a statement of their effort which ahs led to their final enlightenment.97 Jataka: Jataka is the collection of previous existences of the Buddha when he was fulfilling the noble perfections (paramis) as Bodhisatta, one who is going to be Buddha. There are five hundred and fifty birth stories recounted by the Awakened One on the occasions concerned. At the end of each story he gives a moral lesson in nut shell to suit the temperament of audience. The stories are very interesting as they throw a light on the social, political, religious life of the people in ancient India.98 Niddesa: This division contains two parts: Maha Niddesa (Major exposion) and Cula Niddesa (Minor exposition). They are the commentaries on first, fourth and fifth vaggas of Sutta Nipata. Patisambhida Magga: It is rendered as the “Path of Discrimination or Analysis” and attributed to venerable Sariputta. It consists of three Vaggas, namely, Mahavagga, Yugandhavagga, and Pannavagga. It belongs to the literature of Abhidhamma type and it describes how analytical knowledge can be acquired by an Arahant. Patisambhidamagga is insistently practical: it expounds the way or path of ‘discrimination’ in its various aspects and tries to show exactly how understanding takes place in a practical sense, not simply in theory. Though this book is strictly practical, it represents a practice which is possible only when the practitioner understands the nature of reality as impermanent, unhappiness and non-soul.99
97 98 99
. U Ko Lay, GT, P.128 - 132 . B C Law, HPL, P, 267 . Bhikkhu Nanamuli, (Trans) The Path of Discrimination, P.xii – xiii, PTS, London, 1982
Apadana: Apadana here means biography or a life story of a particular accomplished person. It is biographical work containing the life stories (past and present) of the Buddha and his Arahant disciples. It is divided into two divisions: Therapadana giving the life stories of the Buddha, 51 Paccekabuddha, 559 arahants and Theripadana with 50 Arahant Theris. Buddhavamsa: The ‘Buddhavamsa is the fourteenth book and it contains in verse the history of twenty four Buddhas supposed to have preceded the historical Gautama Buddha. It consists of twenty nine sections in verse and have been intellectually divided into three portions or Nidanas. Cariyapitaka: The Cariyapitaka’ is the fifteenth book. It means the canonical collection of stories illustrating the modes in which the Bodhisatta practiced the cariya or conduct. It contains a series of narratives relating to the thirty-four of the supposed previous births of the historical Buddha himself. The lofty means of ten perfections (dasa paramiyas) whereby Gautama attained Buddhahood are mentioned in it.100
V. Abhidhamma Pitaka
5.1: The essence of the basket of higher discourses: Abhidhamma Pitaka, Basket of higher exposition or Basket of Analytical Doctrine, is the third main division of Tipitka. Abhidhamma is the Higher Teachings of the Buddha. It expounds the quintessence of His profound doctrine. Dhamma embodied in the Sutta Pitaka, is the conventional teaching (vohara desana) and the Abhidhamma is the Ultimate teaching (paramattha desana). In Abhidhamma both mind and matter which constitutes the complex machinery of man, psycho-physical being, are microscopically analyzed. Various types of consciousness, mental states are classified chiefly from ethical stand point. The description of thought-processes that arise through the five sense doors and the mind door are extremely interesting. Such a clear exposition of thought-processes cannot be found in any other psychological treatise. Bhavanga and Javana thought-moments, which are explained only in Abhidhamma and which have no parallel in modern psychology, are of special interest to a research student of psychology. It is a profound Buddhist psychology without psyche. It is not subject of fleeting interest designed for superficial reader. To the wise truth-seekers,
. B C Law, A History of Pali Literature, P. 290
Abhidhamma is an indispensable guide and an intellectual treat. Abhidhamma also helps the student of Buddhism to fully comprehend the Anatta (No-Soul) doctrine which forms the crux of Buddhism.101 The content of the Abhidhamma studies rather varied: they include philosophical and psychological investigation, references to the practical application of the teachings concerned, pointers to neglected or unnoticed aspects of Abhidhamma, textual research etc. The Abhidhamma literature will be valuable contributions to theoretical understanding and practical realization of Buddhist Doctrine.102 The penetration through the insight of these consciousness (citta), mental states (cetasika), cognitive processes (vithi), physicality (rupa) as ultimate realities widely elucidated in Abhidhamma, will be very much conducive to the realization of Path – fruition wisdom for those who interested and at last to Supreme bliss of Nibbana, an Unconditioned state. The Abhidhamma Pitaka is composed of following seven books are: 1. Dhammasangani (Enumeration of phenomena) 2. Vibhanga (Book of Analysis) 3. Dhatu Katha (Book of elements) 4. Puggala Pannati (Description of individuals) 5. Katha Vatthu (Points of controversy) 6. Yamaka (Book of pairs) 7. Patthana (Book of conditional relation)103
5.2 The Constituents of Abhidhamma Pitaka
5.3: A brief elucidation of the constituents of Abhidhamma Pitaka
101 102 103
. Narada Maha Thera, (Trns) A Manual of Abhidhamma (Abhidhammatthasangha), P. III, IX, X, XI, XII, Pub: Buddhist Missionary Society, Kuala lumpur, 1987. . Nyanaponika Thera, Abhidhamma Studies, P. III, BPS, Kandy, Srilanka, 1976. . K Sri Dhammananda, What Buddhists Believe, P.103, Buddhist Missionary Society, Malaysia, 2002.
Dhammasanghani: Being the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, the title of it may be translated as ‘Enumeration of phenomena’. It is said to be the fountainhead of the entire system and the work does in fact undertake to compile an exhaustive catalogue of the ultimate constituents of existence. Opening with the Matika, the schedule of categories which serves as the framework of the whole Abhidhamma, the text proper is divided into four chapters. The first, “States of Consciousness” takes up about half of the book and unfolds an analysis of 122 modes of classification of matrix (matika) special to the Abhidhamma method. Of these, twenty two are triads (tika), sets of three terms into which the fundamental dhammas that of the wholesome, the unwholesome, the indeterminate are to be distributed; the remaining hundreds are dyads (Duka), sets of two terms used as the basis for the classification. To supply that analysis, the text enumerates 121 types of consciousness classified by way of their ethical quality. Each type of consciousness is in turn dissected into its concomitant mental factors, which are individually defined in full. The second chapter, “On Matter” continues the inquiry into the ethically indeterminate by enumerating and classifying the different types of material phenomena. The third chapter, called “The Summary” offers concise explanations of all the terms in the Abhidhamma matrix (Matika) and the Suttanta matrix. Vibhanga: The “Book of Analysis” eighteen chapters, each a selfcontained dissertation, dealing in turn with the following: aggregates, sense bases, elements, truths, faculties, dependent arising, foundations of mindfulness, supreme efforts, means to accomplishment, factors of enlightenment, the eightfold path, Jhanas, illimitables, training rules, analytical knowledges, kinds of knowledge, minor points (a numerical inventory of defilements), and psycho-cosmic topography of the Buddhist universe. Most of the chapters in the Vibhanga, though not all, involve three sections: an analysis according to the methodology of the Suttas; an analysis according to he methodology of the Abhidhamma proper; andan introgation section, which applies the categories of the matrix to the subject under investigation. Dhatukatha: The “Discourse on Elements” is written entirely in catechism form. It discusses all phenomena with reference to the three schemata of aggregates, sense bases, and elements, seeking to determine whether, and to what extent, they are included or not included in them, and whether they are associated with them or dissociated from them.
Puggalanannatti: The “Concepts of Individuals,” is the one book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka that is more akin to the method of the Suttas than to the Abhidhamma proper. The work begins with a general enumeration of types of concepts, and this suggests that it was originally intended as a supplement to the other books in order to take account of the conceptual realities excluded by the strict application of the Abhidhamma method. The bulk of the work provides formal definition of different types of individuals, it has ten chapters: the first deals with single types of individuals; the second with pairs; the third with group of three, etc. Kathavatthu: The “Points of Controversy,” is a polemical treatise ascribed to the Elder Moggliputta Tissa. He is said to have compiled during the time of Emperor Asoka, 218 years after the Buddha’s Parinibbana, in order to refute the heterodox opinions of the Buddhist schools outside the Theravadin fold. The Commentaries defend its inclusion in the Canon by holding that the Buddha himself, foreseeing the errors that would arise, laid down the outline of rebuttal, which Moggaliputta Tissa merely filled in according to the Master’s intention. Yamaka: The “Book of Pairs,” has the purpose of resolving ambiguities and defining the precise usage of technical terms. It is so called owning to its method of treatment, which throughout employs the dual grouping of a question and its converse formulation. For instance, the first pair of questions in the first chapter runs thus: “Are all wholesome phenomena wholesome roots?” And are all wholesome roots wholesome phenomena?” The book contains ten chapters: roots, aggregates, sense bases, elements, truths, formations, latent dispositions, consciousness, phenomena, and faculties.104 Patthana: The “Book of Conditional Relation,” is probably the most important work of Abhidhamma Pitaka and thus is rationally designated the “Great Treatise” (mahapakarana). Gigantic in extent as well as in substance, the books comprises five volumes totalling 2500 pages in the Burmese-script Sixth Council edition. The purpose of the Patthana is to apply its scheme of twenty-four conditional relations to all the phenomena incorporated in Abhidhamma matrix. The main of the work has four great divisions: origination according to the positive method, according to the negative method, according to the positive-negative method, and according to the negative-positive method.
. Bhikkhu Bodhi, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma (The Abhidhammattha Sangha of Acariya Anuruddha), P. 7.11.12, BPS, Kandy, Srilanka.
Each of these in turn has six sub-divisions: origination of triads, of dyads, of dyads and tried combined, of triads and dyads combined, of triads and triads combined, and of dyads and dyads combined. Within this pattern of twenty four sections, the twenty four modes of conditionality are applied in due order to all the phenomena of existence in all their conceivable permutations. Despite its dry and tabular format, even from a “profane” humanistic viewpoint the Patthana can easily qualify as one of the truly monumental products of human mind, astounding in its breadth of vision, its rigorous consistency, and its painstaking attention to details. To Theravada orthodoxy, it is the most eloquent testimony to the Buddha’s unimpeded knowledge of omniscience.105
VI. The Benefits of Tipitaka Studies
In my opinion, the questions “why do we particularly study Tipitaka?” and “what are the actual benefits we may get from the Tipitaka Studies?” are very crucial for those who are interested in this study. For the first question, we could say that because this Pali Canonical Literature or Tipitaka is staunchly believed specially by the Buddhists to be the “Authentic Words” or the “Teachings, Instructions” of the Buddha preserved throughout the ages in two main traditions, the Oral Tradition by recitation and the Written Tradition on Palm leaves by the Holy Sangha Order. And another response to this question could be is because the enthusiastic ones, I mean, the Truth-Seekers, want to know for them selves what exactly Gotama Buddha taught, what the main core of His all teachings without just relying on some scholastic interpretations of his doctrine. And for the second question to be answered there could be several sensible reasons supportive to the actual benefits and advantages we get from this Tipitaka Studies. Some of the major benefits we gain from this study are: (1) we come to know the entire structure of the Tipitaka which is very helpful for our research works (2) we will be able to refute the misunderstandings, misconceptions as well as the misinterpretations held by the people of different classes in the society and at the same time correct our own understanding. (3) The purpose of our life and the means
. Ibid, P. 13
to work or contribute for the sake of peaceful as well as prosperous world. Firstly, this study is really very conducive for the academic research of post-graduate degrees. Once we get to know the framework of Whole Tipitaka with its essential components, we would have an overview and it will be easier to find out the particular subject matter we are looking for. A general explanation could be as follows: Vinaya Pitaka being constituted with five books basically narrates the disciplinary code or training precepts, 227 for bhikkhus and 311 for bhikkhunis, and the violation of Parajika rules is the penalty for them, no longer considered to be Holy Man. It also describes about the methods of settling disputes in the Order, Vinaya activities, stories of well-known disciples, accounts of Great Councils and so on. Suttanta Pitaka being constructed with five major Nikayas basically elaborates spiritual development, social well fare, metaphysical dimensions etc. Digha Nikaya describes 62 kinds of wrong view (Brahmajala Sutta); Dependent origination (Mahanidana Sutta); guideline with Four Foundations of Mindfulness for insight mediation (Mahasatipatthana Sutta); Buddhist cosmology (Agganna Sutta); mutual responsibilities of people belong to six classes in the society (Sigala Sutta). Majjhima Nikaya basically describes seven ways of eliminating the mental taints or cankers (Sabbasava Sutta); advice to be true heir to the Dhamma, not to the material things (Dhammadayada Sutta); foundations of mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta); what the right view is all about (Sammaditthi Sutta); the path to liberation avoiding the metaphysical inquires (Culamalunkayaputta Sutta); cultivation of mindfulness on the respiration (Anapanasati Sutta); the ways to practise the holy life In solitude being even in the adverse situations (Punnovada Sutta). Samyutta Nikaya generally describes about the Buddha’s dialogue with devas, devaputtas, king Kosala, Brahmas (Sagatavagga); doctrine of conditionality and interdependence (Nidanavagga); the five aggregates of grasping (Khandhavagga); six sense bases of contact and reaction (Salayatanavagga); 37 requisites of enlightenment (Mahavagga). Anguttara Nikaya basically describes means to accept a doctrine justified by own experience and practice (Kalama Sutta); biographies of eminent disciples etc. khuddaka Nikaya containing 15 books basically expatiates about verses according to the Dhamma (Dhammapada); life story of
emancipated Bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (Thera-Theri Gatha); previous life of Buddha’s perfections (Jataka); path of discrimination (Patisambidhamagga); history of the Buddhas (Buddhavamsa). Abhidhamma Pitaka containing seven books mainly explains all the phenomena into Ultimate realities rather than Conventional concepts. Everything here comes to merely two categories that are mental process and physical process. It also emphasizes very much the “Law of Conditionality” (Patthana). Secondly, once we have the general idea of the above mentioned information about the constituents of the Pitakas, we’ll be capable enough to identify the misconceptions and misinterpretations result from the misunderstanding of certain points of the teachings and at the same time strengthening our own concise understanding of the precious Dhamma. Thirdly, when we know the essence or the fundamental doctrine of the Enlightened One, that can be said ‘Four Noble Truths of Life and Eightfold Noble Path,’ we’ll naturally be able to determine the true purpose of life that is fulfilling the Perfections (Paramitas). The perfections of good qualities such as virtue, renunciation, patience, wisdom and so on through the Buddhistic Understanding of three things that are (1) Gratification (Assada) (2) Danger (Adhinava) and (3) Escape (Nissarana). The Buddha said of these three thongs thus “Before my enlightenment, O monks, while I was still a Bodhisatta, it occurred to me: ‘What is the gratification in the world, what is the danger in the world, what is the escape from the world?’ then it occurred to me: ‘Whatever pleasure and joy that is in the world, this is the gratification in the world; that the world is impermanent, bound up with suffering and subject to change, this is the danger in the world; the removal and abandoning of desire and lust for the world, this is the escape from the world.’106 Through the efforts and proper understanding of the world, when one perfects virtuous qualities in a peaceful manner in this world of turmoil and grasping he is said to be one way proceeding towards the emancipation and enlightenment. Thus being tranquil and peaceful on the Path of Supreme Bliss and liberation for himself he propagates this Soothing Dhamma to his friends
. F. L . WOODWARD, The Book of Gradual sayings (Anguttara Nikaya) (Trns), Vol. 1, Part – III, P. 237, PTS, Oxford, 2000.
and family members to lead a life of virtue and peace. This way the individual happiness becomes the family happiness, and then spreads to social happiness, then to provincial, own country, another country and eventually it makes a great impact to the contribution of happiness, peace and prosperity in the whole world and thus leading the multitude towards the Eternal Bliss of Nibbana, an Unconditioned State of Mind. These are the benefits can be obtained through the Proper Tipitaka Studies. And “One who studies Tipitaka thoroughly with proper attitude can not help practise the Dhamma.” Then the Ultimate benefit would be the liberation for oneself and guide to liberation for others.
The Buddha appeared in the world in 6th century B.C and lived for only eighty years as Extraordinary Human Being. He understood the nature of life and the world through his Omniscience that there is dukkha in life; there is also a cause or origin of this dukkha; there is too a cessation of dukkha; and he himself discovered the Noble Eightfold Path as the means leading to the cessation of this dukkha. He taught for forty five years based on the above mentioned doctrine for the welfare and happiness of human beings since he attained the enlightenment. First propagation was started with 61 members of the holy Order throughout the Jambudipa. The abridgement of the whole teachings he delivered which worked as the main principle of the propagation is found in the Ovada Patimokkha and goes: “To refrain from all the evil and unwholesome deeds; To perform the good and wholesome deeds; To develop one’s own mind systematically through meditation, are the main teachings of all the Buddhas.” The entire teachings, in other words the Psycho-ethical philosophy he bestowed 2550 years ago was conserved with great respect from time to time throughout the aeons and compiled as a huge collection of teachings named Tipitaka in Theravada Tradition. Of course, in course of time there have been several modifications of His instructions with emergence of different schools or scholasticism and different versions of Tipitaka in Sanskrit, Chinese.
The Pali Tipitaka which is given the utmost authority in the Theravada School, comprises Disciplinary Code for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (Vinaya Pitaka), Discourses on spiritual development, social welfare and various other aspects (Suttanta Pitaka), Higher teachings or Buddhist Psychology of mind and form (Abhidhamma). The Theravada Buddhism with its Buddhist community, culture propagation is basically guided by the Pali Tipitaka. Therefore, the importance of proper Tipitaka Studies conducive to the proper understanding and longevity of Buddhism is very much significant for the individual, social as well as World peace and prosperity.
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