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.





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