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The Schism






While the Blessed One dwelt at Kosambi, a certain bhikkhu was
accused of having committed an offence, and, as he refused to
acknowledge it, the brotherhood pronounced against him the
sentence of expulsion.

Now, that bhikkhu was erudite. He knew the Dharma, had studied
the rules of the order, and was wise, learned, intelligent,
modest, conscientious, and ready to submit himself to discipline.
And he went to his companions and friends among the bhikkhus,
saying: "This is no offence, friends; this is no reason for a
sentence of expulsion. I am not guilty. The verdict is
unconstitutional and invalid. Therefore I consider myself still
as a member of the order. May the venerable brethren assist me in
maintaining my right."

Those who sided with the expelled brother went to the bhikkhus
who had pronounced the sentence, saying: "This is no offence";
while the bhikkhus who had pronounced the sentence replied: "This
is an offence."

Thus altercations and quarrels arose, and the Sangha was divided
into two parties, reviling and slandering each other.

And all these happenings were reported to the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One went to the place where the bhikkhus were
who had pronounced the sentence of expulsion, and said to them:
"Do not think, O bhikkhus, that you are to pronounce expulsion
against a bhikkhu, whatever be the facts of the case, simply by
saying: 'It occurs to us that it is so, and therefore we are
pleased to proceed thus against our brother.' Let those bhikkhus
who frivolously pronounce a sentence against a brother who knows
the Dharma and the rules of the order, who is learned, wise,
intelligent, modest, conscientious, and ready to submit himself
to discipline, stand in awe of causing divisions. They must not
pronounce a sentence of expulsion against a brother merely
because he refuses to see his offence."

Then the Blessed One rose and went to the brethren who sided with
the expelled brother and said to them: "Do not think, O bhikkhus,
that if you have given offence you need not atone for it,
thinking: 'We are without offence.' When a bhikkhu has committed
an offence, which he considers no offence while the brotherhood
consider him guilty, he should think: 'These brethren know the
Dharma and the rules of the order; they are learned, wise,
intelligent, modest, conscientious, and ready to submit
themselves to discipline; it is impossible that they should on my
account act with selfishness or in malice or in delusion or in
fear.' Let him stand in awe of causing divisions, and rather
acknowledge his offence on the authority of his brethren."

Both parties continued to keep Uposatha and perform official acts
independently of one another; and when their doings were related
to the Blessed One, he ruled that the keeping of Uposatha and the
performance of official acts were lawful, unobjectionable, and
valid for both parties. For he said: "The bhikkhus who side with
the expelled brother form a different communion from those who
pronounced the sentence. There are venerable brethren in both
parties. As they do not agree, let them keep Uposatha and perform
official acts separately."

And the Blessed One reprimanded the quarrelsome bhikkhus saying
to them:

"Loud is the voice which worldlings make; but how can they be
blamed when divisions arise also in the Sangha? Hatred is not
appeased in those who think: 'He has reviled me, he has wronged
me, he has injured me.'

"For not by hatred is hatred appeased. Hatred is appeased by
not-hatred. This is an eternal law.

"There are some who do not know the need of self-restraint; if
they are quarrelsome we may excuse their behavior. But those who
know better, should learn to live in concord.

"If a man finds a wise friend who lives righteously and is
constant in his character, he may live with him, overcoming all
dangers, happy and mindful.

"But if he finds not a friend who lives righteously and is
constant in his character, let him rather walk alone, like a king
who leaves his empire and the cares of government behind him to
lead a life of retirement like a lonely elephant in the forest.

"With fools there is no companionship. Rather than to live with
men who are selfish, vain, quarrelsome, and obstinate let a man
walk alone."

And the Blessed One thought to himself: "It is no easy task to
instruct these headstrong and infatuate fools." And he rose from
his seat and went away.





Next: The Re-establishment Of Concord

Previous: The Uposatha And Patimokkha



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