Joined: 24 September 2010
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The Sixth Buddhist Council (Pali: Chaha Sagyana; Burmese: " or ") was a general council of Theravada Buddhism, held in a specially built cave and pagoda complex at Kaba Aye Pagoda in Yangon, Burma. The council was attended by 2,500 monastics from eight Theravada Buddhist countries. The Council lasted from Vesak 1954 to Vesak 1956, its completion coinciding with the traditional 2,500th anniversary the Buddha's Parinibbna. In the tradition of past Buddhist councils, a major purpose of the Sixth Council was to preserve the Buddha's teachings and practices as understood in the Theravada tradition.
Over the two-year period, monks (sangti-kraka) from different countries recited from their existing redaction of the Pali Canon and the associated post-canonical literature. As a result, the Council synthesized a new redaction of the Pali texts ultimately transcribed into several native scripts.
The Council was convened 83 years after the Burmese Fifth Buddhist council was held in Mandalay. The Council commenced proceedings on Vesak, 17 May 1954, in order to allow sufficient time to conclude its work on Vesak, 24 May 1956, the day marking the 2,500-year Jayanti celebration of the Lord Buddha's Parinibbna, according to the traditional Theravada dating.
The Sixth Council was sponsored by the Burmese Government led by the Prime Minister, the Honorable U Nu. He authorized the construction of the Kaba Aye Pagoda and the Maha Passana Guha, or "Great Cave", in which the work of the council took place. This venue was designed to be like the cave in which the First Buddhist Council was held.
As in the preceding councils, the Sixth Council's aim was to affirm and preserve the genuine Dhamma and Vinaya. The 2,500 participating Theravadan Elders came from eight different countries, being Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal. A temple in Japan also sent delegates. The only Western monks to participate were German-born, Sri-Lanka-residing Ven. Nyanatiloka and Ven. Nyanaponika.
By the time this council met all the participating countries had had the Pali Tipitaka rendered into their native scripts, with the exception of India. During the two years that the Council met, the Tipitaka and its allied literature in all scripts were painstakingly examined with their differences noted down, the necessary corrections made, and collated. Not much difference was found in the content of any of the texts. Finally, after the Council had officially approved the texts, all of the books of the Tipitaka and their commentaries were prepared for printing on modern presses. This notable achievement was made possible through the dedicated efforts of the 2,500 monks and numerous lay people. Their work came to an end with the rise of the full moon on the evening of 24 May 1956, the 2,500th anniversary of the Buddha's Parinibbna, according to the traditional Theravada dating.
This Council's work was a unique achievement in Buddhist history. After the scriptures had been examined thoroughly several times, they were put into print, covering 52 treatises in 40 volumes. At the end of this Council, all the participating countries had the Pali Tipitaka rendered into their native scripts, with the exception of India.
Since the year 1999, the Dhamma Society Fund in Thailand has been revising the 1958 Sixth Council Edition with other editions to remove all printing and editorial errors.   This romanized version in 40 volumes, known as the World Tipitaka Edition, was completed in 2005. The 40-volume Tipitaka Studies Reference appeared in 2007.
The Dhamma Society Fund is currently printing the World Tipitaka Edition in Roman Script based on the B.E. 2500 Great International Tipitaka Council Resolution (1958 Sixth Buddhist Council) with sponsorship from the Royal Matriarch of Thailand, Tipitaka patrons and leaders of business community, for distribution as a gift of Dhamma worldwide, with a priority for the libraries and institutes around the world which had received the Siam-script Tipitaka as a royal gift from King Chulalongkorn Chulachomklao of Siam over a century ago.
Joined: 24 September 2010
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The Mahavamsa (Sinhala: [mahavay]; Pali: Mahvasa, trans. "Great Chronicle"; abbrev. Mhv. or Mhvs.) is a historical poem written in the Pali language, of the Kings of Sri Lanka. The first version of it covered the period from the coming of King Vijaya of the Rarh region of ancient Bengal in 543 BCE to the reign of King Mahasena (334-361).
The first printed edition and English translation of the Mahavamsa was published in 1837 by George Turnour, an historian and officer of the Ceylon Civil Service. A German translation of Mahavamsa was completed by Wilhelm Geiger in 1912. This was then translated into English by Mabel Haynes Bode, and revised by Geiger.
While not considered a canonical religious text, the Mahavamsa is an important text in Theravada Buddhism. It covers the early history of religion in Sri Lanka, beginning with the time of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. It also briefly recounts the history of Buddhism in India, from the date of the Buddha's death to the various Buddhist councils where the Dharma was reviewed. Every chapter of the Mahavamsa ends by stating that it is written for the "serene joy of the pious". From the emphasis of its point-of-view, it can be said to have been compiled to record the good deeds of the kings who were patrons of the Mahavihara temple in Anuradhapura.
Buddhist monks of the Mahavihara maintained chronicles of Sri Lankan history, starting from the 3rd century BCE. These annals were combined and compiled into a single document in the 5th century by the Buddhist monk Mahathera Mahanama. It was written based on prior ancient compilations known as Sinhala Atthakatha, which were commentaries written in Sinhala. Mahathera Mahanama relied on this text, as he mentions in Mahavamse tika, that is the preface to Mahavamse. Another, earlier document known as the Dipavamsa, which survives today, is much simpler and contains less information than the Mahavamsa, and was probably compiled using the Sinhala Mahavamse Atthakatha as well.
A companion volume, the Culavamsa ("lesser chronicle"), compiled by Sinhala Buddhist monks, covers the period from the 4th century to the British takeover of Sri Lanka in 1815. The Culavamsa was compiled by a number of authors of different time periods.
The combined work, sometimes referred to collectively as the Mahavamsa, provides a continuous historical record of over two millennia, and is considered one of the world's longest unbroken historical accounts. It is one of the few documents containing material relating to the Ngas and Yakkhas, the dwellers of Lanka prior to the legendary arrival of Vijaya.
As it often refers to the royal dynasties of India, the Mahavamsa is also valuable for historians who wish to date and relate contemporary royal dynasties in the Indian subcontinent. It is very important in dating the consecration of the Maurya emperor Asoka, which is related to the synchronicity with the Seleucids and Alexander the Great.
Indian excavations in Sanchi and other locations, confirm the Mahavamsa account of the Empire of Asoka. The accounts given in the Mahavamsa are also amply supported by the numerous stone inscriptions, mostly in Sinhala, found in Sri Lanka. Karthigesu Indrapala  has also upheld the historical value of the Mahavamsa. If not for the Mahavamsa, the story behind the large stupas in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, such as Ruwanwelisaya, Jetavanaramaya, Abhayagiri, and other works of ancient engineering would never have been known.
Besides being an important historical source, the Mahavamsa is the most important epic poem in the Pali language. Its stories of battles and invasions, court intrigue, great constructions of stupas and water reservoirs, written in elegant verse suitable for memorization, caught the imagination of the Buddhist world of the time. Unlike many texts written in antiquity, it also discusses various aspects of the lives of ordinary people, how they joined the King's army or farmed. Thus the Mahavamsa was taken along the silk route to many Buddhist lands. Parts of it were translated, retold, and absorbed into other languages. An extended version of the Mahavamsa, which gives many more details, has also been found in Cambodia. The Mahavamsa gave rise to many other Pali chronicles, making Sri Lanka of that period probably the world's leading center in Pali literature.
The Mahavamsa has, especially in modern Sri Lanka, acquired a significance as a document with a political message. The Sinhalese majority often use Manavamsa as a proof of their claim that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation from historical time. The British historian Jane Russell has recounted how a process of "Mahavamsa bashing" began in the 1930s, especially from within the Tamil Nationalist movement. The Mahavamsa, being a history of the Sinhala Buddhists, presented itself to the Tamil Nationalists and the Sinhala Nationalists as the hegemonic epic of the Sinhala people. This view was attacked by G. G. Ponnambalam, the leader of the Nationalist Tamils in the 1930s. He claimed that most of the Sinhala kings, including Vijaya, Kasyapa, and Parakramabahu, were Tamils. Ponnambalam's 1939 speech in Navalpitiya, attacking the claim that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese, Buddhist nation was seen as an act against the notion of creating a Buddhist only nation. The Sinhala majority responded with a mob riot, which engulfed Navalapitiya, Passara, Maskeliya, and even Jaffna. The riots were rapidly put down by the British colonial government, but later this turned through various movements into the civil war in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009.
Various writers have called into question the morality of the account given in the Mahavamsa, where Duttugemunu regrets his actions in killing the Chola king Elara and his troops. The Mahavamsa equates the killing of the invaders as being on par with the killing of "sinners and wild beasts", and the King's sorrow and regret are assuaged. This is considered by some critics as an ethical error. However, Buddhism does recognize a hierarchy of actions as being more or less wholesome or skillful, although the intent is as much as or more important than the action itself. Thus the killing of an Arahant may be considered less wholesome and skillful than the killing of an ordinary human being. Buddhists may also assert that killing an elephant is less skillful and wholesome than killing an ant. In both cases, however, the intent must also be considered. An important thing to note is that Dutthagamani regretted his act, and this was also true of King Asoka, who became a pacifist after a series of bloody military campaigns.
An eminent historian who has come to the defense of the Mahavamsa is Karthigesu Indrapala. He has argued that the popular presentation of the Mahavamsa as a work of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism is incorrect, and that the Mahavansa writer was singularly fair in his presentation.
The historical accuracy of the Mahavamsa, given the time when it was written, is considered to be astonishing, although the material prior to the death of Asoka is not considered to be trustworthy and is mostly legend.
This date of Vijaya's arrival is thought to have been artificially fixed to coincide with the Ceylonese date for the death of Buddha, that is 543 BCE. The story of Vijaya's arrival was also written much later after it had occurred, as the Mahavansa is thought to have been written in 6 CE to 1877 CE by Buddhist monks.
The historical accuracy of Mahinda converting the Sri Lankan king to Buddhism is also debated. Professor Hermann Oldenberg, a German scholar of Indology who has published studies on the Buddha and translated many Pali texts, considers this story a "pure invention". V. A. Smith (Author of Asoka and Early history of India) also refers to this story as "a tissue of absurdities". V. A. Smith and Professor Hermann came to this conclusion due to Ashoka not mentioning the handing over of his son, Mahinda, to the temple to become a Buddhist missionary and Mahinda's role in converting the Sri Lankan king to Buddhism, in his 13th year Rock Edicts. Particularly the Rock-Edict XIII.
There is also an inconsistency with the year on which Ashoka sent Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka. According to the Mahavamsa the missionaries arrived in 255 BCE, but according to Ashoka's Rock-Edict XIII it was 5 years earlier in 260 BCE.
Joined: 24 September 2010
In countries where Theravda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people (Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand), it is customary for Buddhists to hold elaborate festivals, especially during the fair weather season, paying homage to the 28 Buddhas described in Chapter 27 of the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the 27 Buddhas who preceded him. The Buddhavamsa is part of the Khuddaka Nikya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piaka. The Sutta Piaka is one of three main sections of the Pli Canon of Theravda Buddhism.
The first three of these Buddhas"Tahakara, Medhakara, and Saraakara"lived before the time of Dpankara Buddha. The fourth Buddha, Dpankara, is especially important, as he was the Buddha who gave niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) to the Brahmin youth who would in the distant future become the bodhisattva Gautama Buddha. After Dpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.
Many Buddhists also pay homage to the future (and 29th) Buddha, Maitreya. According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya will be a successor of Gautama who will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravda, Mahyna, and Vajrayna), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa (the terrestrial realm, where ordinary human beings live).
|Pli name||Caste||Birthplace||Parents||Bodhirukka (tree of enlightenment)|
|1||Tahakara||King Sunandha, and Queen Sunandhaa||Rukkaththana|
|2||Medhakara||Sudheva, and Yasodhara||Kaela|
|3||Saraakara||Sumangala, and Yasawathi||Pulila|
|4||Dpankara||Brahmin||Rammawatinagara||Sudheva, and Sumedhaya||Pipphala||Sumedha (also Sumati or Megha Mnava, a rich Brahman)|
|5||Koaa||Kshatriya||Rammawatinagara||Sunanda, and Sujata||Salakalyana||Vijitawi (a Chakravarti in Chandawatinagara of Majjhimadesa)|
|6||Magala||Brahmin||Uttaranagara (Majhimmadesa)||Uttara, and Uttara||a naga||Suruchi (in Siribrahmano)|
|7||Sumana||Kshatriya||Mekhalanagara||Sudassana and Sirima||a naga||King Atulo, a Naga|
|8||Revata||Brahmin||Sudhannawatinagara||Vipala and Vipula||a naga||A Veda-versed Brahman|
|9||Sobhita||Kshatriya||Sudhammanagara||Sudhammanagara (father) and Sudhammanagara (mother)||a naga||Sujata, a Brahman (in Rammavati)|
|10||Anomadassi||Brahmin||Chandawatinagara||Yasava and Yasodara||ajjuna||A Yaksha king|
|11||Paduma||Kshatriya||Champayanagara||Asama, and Asama||salala||A lion|
|12||Nrada||Dhammawatinagara||King Sudheva and Anopama||sonaka||a tapaso in Himalayas|
|13||Padumuttara||Kshatriya||Hansawatinagara||Anurula, and Sujata||salala||Jatilo an ascetic|
|14||Sumedha||Kshatriya||Sudasananagara||Sumedha (father), and Sumedha (mother)||nipa||Native of Uttaro|
|15||Sujta||Sumangalanagara||Uggata, and Pabbavati||welu||a chakravarti|
|16||Piyadassi||Sudannanagara||Sudata, and Subaddha||kakudha||Kassapa, a Brahmin (at Siriwattanagara)|
|17||Atthadassi||Kshatriya||Sonanagara||Sagara and Sudassana||champa||Susino, a Brahman|
|18||Dhammadass||Kshatriya||Surananagara||Suranamaha, and Sunanada||bimbajala||Indra, the leader of the gods (devas)|
|19||Siddharttha||Vibharanagara||Udeni, and Suphasa||kanihani||Mangal, a Brahman|
|20||Tissa||Khemanagara||Janasando, and Paduma||assana||King Sujata of Yasawatinagara|
|21||Phussa||Kshatriya||Kasi||Jayasena, and Siremaya||amalaka||Vijitavi|
|22||Vipass||Kshatriya||Bandhuvatinagara||Vipassi (father), and Vipassi (mother)||patali||King Atula|
|23||Sikh||Kshatriya||Arunavattinagara||Arunavatti, and Paphavatti||pundariko||Arindamo (at Paribhuttanagara)|
|24||Vessabh||Kshatriya||Anupamanagara||Suppalittha, and Yashavati||sala||Sadassana (in Sarabhavatinagara)|
|25||Kakusandha||Brahmin||Khemavatinagara||Agidatta the purohitta Brahman of King Khema, and Visakha||airisa||King Khema|
|26||Kogamana||Brahmin||Sobhavatinagara||Yannadatta the Brahman, and Uttara||udumbara||King Pabbata of a mountainous area in Mithila|
|27||Kassapa||Brahmin||Baranasinagara||Brahmadatta a Brahman, and Dhanavati||nigroda||Jotipala (at Vappulla)|
|28||Gautama||Kshatriya||Kapilavastu||King Suddhodana, and Maya||peepal a.k.a. fig (Ficus religiosa)|
|29||Maitreya||foretold as a future Buddha||Benares||Unknown||Unknown|
Joined: 25 August 2010
I have seen quite a few posts regarding birthplace of Buddha being Nepal. While it is true that Buddha was born in present day Nepal, but in the era Buddha was actually born, was the countries really had such boundaries? As far as I know, all the land below China was broadly belong to Indian subcontinent. Even ancient India maps from all lands from the Himalayas as India Subcontinent. Nepal, as a country rose much later in the 18 century. A lot of India history spans from middle east/Pakistan and Tibet and are considered as the history of the people living broadly in these areas. Why get so regional when the region has influenced so much each other and has enriched all us all in the process...
Joined: 24 September 2010
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Joined: 25 October 2008