Tipitaka

Three Baskets

  • Tipitaka is a Pali term.
  • It is commonly rendered as “Three Baskets”.
  • Tipitaka comprises of
    Vinaya / Monastic rules of conduct
    Sutta / Discourses
    Abhidhamma / Ultimate reality

Buddhist Councils

  • According to the Theravada tradition, there are six Buddhist Councils.
  • The First, Second and Third Councils were held in India.
  • The Fourth Council (which recorded the teachings on palm leaves) was held in Ceylon.
  • The Fifth Council was held in Mandalay, Burma.
    U Khanti inscribed the Tipitaka on marble slabs.
    It was featured as the World’s Largest Book in Ripley’s “Believe it or not”.
  • The Sixth Council was held in Rangoon, Burma.
    Tipitaka was reconfirmed and published as printed texts.
    Selected Pali texts were also translated into Burmese.

First Buddhist Council

Source : U Silananda

  • Date : 3 months and 5 days (Sasana Era)
  • Place : Rajagaha (India)
  • King : Ajasattha
  • Leader : Mahakassapa Thera
  • Number of Monks : 500
  • Duration : 7 months
  • Accomplishment :
    Collected, examined, classified, and recorded orally the Buddha’s Teachings
  • Ashin Maha Kassapa acted as the Chief Questioner.
  • Ashin Upali recited Vinaya.
  • Ashin Ananda recited Sutta and Abhidhamma.
  • 500 Arahants confirmed Buddha’s teachings.

References :

  • Culavagga-Pali pp. 479 – 490
  • Dipavamsa 1.24; 5.4
  • Mahavamsa 3.26 – 41
  • Vinaya Atthakatha I 2 – 25
  • Digha-Attahakatha I 3-26

Second Buddhist Council

Source : U Silananda

  • Date : 100 (Sasana Era)
  • Place : Vesali (India)
  • King : Kalasoka
  • Leader : Yasa Thera (Vinaya Athakatths)
    Revata Thera (Mahavamsa)
  • Number of Monks : 700
  • Duration : 8 months
  • Accomplishment :
    Reaffirmed the Texts accepted at the 1st Council after a group of monks tried to relax the rules of discipline (oral)

References :

  • Culavagga-Pali pp. 490 – 508
  • Dipavamsa 5.30
  • Mahavamsa 4.9 – 64
  • Vinaya Atthakatha I 25 – 29

Third Buddhist Council

Source : U Silananda

  • Date : 234 (Sasana Era)
    310 BC
  • Place : Pataliputta (India)
  • King : Asoka
  • Leader : Mogallaputta-Tissa Thera
  • Number of Monks : 1000
  • Duration : 9 months
  • Accomplishment :
    Reaffirmed the Texts accepted at the previous Councils. The Kattavatthu (5th book of Abdhidhamma) is added (oral)

References :

  • Dipavamsa 7.34-43, 44-59
  • Mahavamsa 5.228-279
  • Vinaya Atthakatha I 29 – 78

Fourth Buddhist Council

Source : U Silananda

  • Date : 450 (Sasana Era)
    94 BC
  • Place : Alokavihara (Sri Lanka)
  • King : Vattagamani Abhaya
  • Number of Monks : 500
  • Accomplishment :
    Wrote the Buddha’s Teachings together with the Commentaries on palm leaves

References :

  • Vajirabuddhitika 543
  • Mahavamsa 33.100-101

Fifth Buddhist Council

Source : U Silananda

  • Date : April 5, 1871 (*)
  • Place : Mandalay (Burma)
  • King : Mindon
  • Leader : Jagara Thera
  • Number of Monks : 2400
  • Duration : 5 months (recitation)
    Began on April 14, 1871
    Ended on September 9, 1871
  • Accomplishment :
    Reaffirmed the Texts accepted at the previous Councils and wrote them on 729 marble slabs.

References :

  • Burmese Chronicles

(*) 1853 – 59 Writing on palm leaves in gold-color ink, ink and stylus – over 200 volumes.

Began writing on marble slabs on October 26, 1859.
Ended writing on marble slabs on May 4, 1868 .
Took 7 years, 6 months and 19 days.

Seven books of Abidhamma on 208 slabs.

Slab size : 5 feet high, 3 feet across, 5 inches thick and about 90 lines long

Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” named it the “Largest Book in the World”.

Sixth Buddhist Council

Source : U Silananda

  • Date : May 1954 – 56
  • Place : Rangoon (Burma)
  • Prime Minister : U Nu
  • Leader : Revata Thera
  • Number of Monks : 2500
  • Duration : Two years for the Pali Texts
  • Accomplishment :
    Reaffirmed the Texts accepted at the previous Councils.
    Editions of Pali Texts, Commentaries and Sub-commentaries.

References :

  • Sangayana Album

Editor’s Notes :

  • The Sixth Buddhist Council held in Kaba Aye Pagaoda, Rangoon.
  • 2500 Sayadaws from Burma and neighboring Theravada Buddhist nations re-confirmed Buddha’s teachings.
  • Mahasi Sayadaw U Sobhana acted as the Chief Questioner.
  • Mingun Sayadaw Ashin Vicittacarabhimvamsa acted as the Chief Reciter.
  • Mingun Sayadaw’s memory feat was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records (in the mid-50s).

Tipitaka Examination

Background

  • Burma wanted to host the Sixth Buddhist Council.
  • The Sayadaws visited neighboring Theravada countries to seek advice and to solicit participation in the Council to celebrate 2500 years of Sasana.
  • The Theravada Sayadaws expressed the need for a Tipitaka Sayadaw.

Burma invited interested Sayadawa to sit for Oral and Written Examination over four years (or more)

  • Vinaya
  • Sutta
  • Abhidhamma (Part One)
  • Abhidhamma (Part Two)

Mingun Tipitaka Sayadaw

  • Mingun Sayadaw U Vicittacara served as an Examiner for the first Tipitaka examination.
  • One Sayadaw passed the Vinaya, but said that he would not take further examinations to concentrate on his Practice of the Dhamma.
  • Sir U Thwin requested Mingun Sayadaw to take the Tipitaka examination as preparation for the Sixth Buddhist Council.
  • Mingun Sayadaw passed with Distinction in all subjects, and was awarded “Tipitakadara Bandakarika”

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