Archive for the ‘My Writting’ Category

The Four Buddhist Councils

Posted: April 1, 2010 in My Writting

The Four Buddhist Councils

Venerable Eindobhasa


In 589 B.C, the Lord Buddha, at the age of 35, attained Enlightenment in this world for the welfare of all living beings, after which He, throughout 45th Vasas, taught many sermons to all classes of all living beings. Just before being death, the Buddha as the last word, said:

“Ananda, when the Tathagata passes away, you may consider that you have no teacher. Don’t consider this way. The Doctrines and the Disciplines I have taught and
Lay down to all of you will be your teacher when I pass away.”[1]


By studying above said by the Buddha, it is quite clear that as long as the Teachings of the Buddha are in existence, the Buddha will be like alive. So the bhikkhus have been striving for protecting the discourses and the disciplines handing down generation to generation. Through the ages, both the Buddha’s disciples and His teachings had faced many obstacles, yet the bhikkhus neglected however they faced what kinds of obstacles had arisen. And they ever tried to overcome those obstacles. To protect the real Teachings of the Buddha, the bhikkhus held the Great Buddhist Councils, during which they at first recited only orally, but later on they recited and record on palm leaves without any change, addition or modification.

The First Buddhist Council

In 544 B.C., the First Buddhist Council, three months after the Buddha’s Parinibbana, was held in the Sattipanni Cave which was at Mouth Vebhara that was near the City of Rajagaha. We can find a detail account of this historic meeting in the Culavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka. Due to this record, Venerable Mahakassapa called the meeting, for he heard an insulting remark about the strict rule of the life for monks.

What it happened was that when the five hundred bhikkhus led by Venerable Mahakassapa came to Kusinara from Pava, they heard the news of the demise of the Buddha from Ajivaka Ditthi. As soon as hearing that the Buddha had passed away for 7th days, many monks lamented the passing away of the Buddha, and they were also deeply grieved, But for the monk of the name of Subhadda, a former barber, who became a bhikkhu in his old age, on seeing the events, he (Subhadda) said,

“Enough your reverences, do not grieve, do not lament. Now we are well rid of this great Recluse Gotama (the Buddha). We were tormented when he said,’ this is allowable to you, and this is not allowable to you’. Yet now we are able to do as we like, and we will not have to do what we do not like.”[2]


When Mahakassapa heard what Subhadda’s insulting words mentioned above, Mahakassapa was alarmed, and felt feared of the Dhamma, and the Vinaya that might be corrupted and not survive intact if other monks were to behave like Subhadda, and if they interpreted the Dhamma and the Vinaya rules as they pleased. To avoid this, he decided to protect and preserve the Dhamma, after which Venerable Mahakassapa called meeting for holding the First Buddhist Council. After gaining the Sangha’s approval, he called the Four Hundred and Ninety-nine Arahats and Ananda for the First Buddhist Council.

The night before the First Buddhist Council, Venerable Ananda became Arahat. Venerable Mahakassapa was the presiding of the council, and he, first of all, questioned Venerable Upali who, being expert on the Vinaya of the day, was well qualified for the task as the Buddha had taught him the whole Vinaya, specifically about the offence(parajika) with regard to the subject, place, occasion, the repetition of the proclamation and the like.

Then Venerable Mahakassapa turned his attention to Venerable Ananda, and asked questions to him who had complete confidence about Dhamma with specific reference to the Buddha’s Sermons. He answered what Venerable Mahakassapa gave question to him, such as the discourses which were first expounded because of the persons to whom the Buddha had addressed, etc. And the First Buddhist Council also gave its official seal of approval for the closure of the chapter on the minor and lesser rules and approval for their observance.

To finish the First Buddhist Council took the monks for 7th months to recite the whole Dhamma and Vinaya orally. For that council, King Ajatasatthu supported what the monks needed, and it was known as the Pancasatika, for the Five Hundred Bhikkhus who selected took part in the council were the Fully Enlightened Arahats. And it was also known as “Dhamma and Vinaya Sangayana (Council).

The Second Buddhist Council

The Second Council was held at Valukarama monastery, which was near the city of Vesali, the date of which was one hundred years after the demise of the Buddha. The main reason why the Council was held was that the monks, who were the Vijian clan from Vesali, preached and practiced the “Ten Unlawful Modification” in the Rules of the Order. They were given to the followings:-

1.Singilona kappa- storing salt in a horn,
2.Dvangula kappa- eating after mid-day,
3.Gamantara kappa- eating once, after that going again to a village for alms-food,
4. Avasa kappa- holding the Oposatha Ceremony with monks dwelling in the same locality,
5. Anumati kappa- Carrying out official acts when the assembly was incomplete,
6. Acinana kappa- Following a certain practice because it was done by one’s tutor teacher,
7. Amathita kappa- Eating sour milk after one had taken his mid-day meal,
8. Jalogimpatum kappa- Drinking strong drink before it had been fermented,
9. Adasakam nisidanam kappa- Using a rug which was not the proper size, and
10. Jataruparajata kappa- Using gold and money.[3]

[3] , and 2500 Years of Buddhism in Burmese Version Published by Myanmar Religious Affair in 1995, Rangoon

The ten unlawful rules expounded and practiced by the Vijjian monks made the original Teachings of the Buddha polluted.

One day, while the Venerable Yassa paid a visit to Mahavana Grove at Vesali,
Venerable Yassa saw that a large Sangha Members of Vijjians were breaking the Rules—–monks can not accept gold and sliver by openly asking for it from the lay people. At once, he criticized their behaviors, and they became to know that Venerable Yassa did not like their behaviors, so they tried to win him over by offering their illegal gains. Yet, Not only Venearable Yassa did not do as they thought, but he also said to the devotees not to give the monks gold and silver that were not allowed to the ascetics, sons of Buddha.

Because of Venerable Yassa’s explaining what was allowed by the Lord Buddha for lay people to donate the Snagha Members, the devotees decided to break with the Bhikkhus Vajjiputtaka: “There is none in the Vijji, but Yasa who is a real ascetic and a real son of Buddha; all the others are ascetics and Sons of Buddha, too.” The monks of Vijji clan felt angry with Venerable Yassa, and they decide to impose Ukkepaniya Kamma, the meaning of which is “Act of Suspension” on Venerable Yassa. But before it was imposed, Venerable Yassa because of being aware that the Vijjian monks were upset with him left the Vijji City.

Venerable Yassa tried to gather a sufficient Sangha Members protecting the Disciplines for resolving the problems. Therefore, Venerabel Yassa visited Sambhuta Sanavasin who agreed with him that the ten unlawful deeds were wrong. Sixty monks from Pava and eighty monks from the southern regions of Avanti also agreed, and urged to make the corruption of Vinaya Rules. After that they together went to Soreyya to ask for information to Venerable Revata being a highly revered monk was expert in the Dhamma and the Viniya in that day.

As soon as knowing of the events, the Vijjian monks persuaded Venerable Revata by supporting him what they got in illegal ways the Buddha did not allow to do so. But he at all refused to accept what the Vijjian monks offered him, after which they sought to use another way to win over the Venerable Uttara, Venerable Revata’s attendats. Firstly, he also refused to accept what they gave to him.But later he accepted their supports, and he also agreed with them to persuade the Venerable Revata to declare that the Vijjian monks were in reality the upholders of the True Dhamma.

The very monks came to gather to resolve the unlawful deeds to Mahavam Monastery in Vesali, and when the all Sangha Menbers gathered together, the Venerable Revata said, “In this Sangha assembly, it can not go on the end by talking one by one. Therefore, both sides select the bhikkhu who are expert in the Dhamma and the Vinaya, and then the selected Sanghas will decide whether it is the Vinaya or Avinaya by analyzing the True Dhamma and the Vinaya.”

Then, according to the Thera Sabbakami’ advice who was the most senior of the Elders of the day, the eighty monks were called to judge the matters. The four monks from the East of Vesali were the Venerable Sabbakami, the Venerable Salha, the Venerable Khujjasobhita and the Venerable Vasabhagamika; and the four monks from the West of Vesali the Venerable Revata, the Venerable Sambhuta-Sanavasi, the Venerable Yasa and the Venerable Sumana, after which thoroughly they debated the matter of the ten Unlawful Modification the Vijjian monks practiced in that day. In that debate, the Venerable Revata serviced as the questioner, and the Venerable Sabbakami was the answerer what the Venerable Ravata put the question on him.

After knowing that, according to the Viniya Rules, what the Vijjian monks were preaching and practicing was wrong, they announced to hold the Second Council, after which the seven hundred arahats who were led by Venerable Yasa. Venerable Sabbakami and Venerable Revata took part in that council, and they recited all orally. Kalasoka, King of Vesali, was the supporter of that council. It took the monks for 8th months to be the end. The Second council was also known as “Dhamma and Vinaya” because of the Dhamma and Viniya were included and recited. On the one hand it was also known as the “Sattasati” because of the seven hundred monks taking part in it, on the other hand it was know as the “Yasatthera Sangiti”, for the Venerable Yassa played in the major role in that council. The Vijjian monks who denied accepting the decision of that council called for other council known as Mahasangiti.

The Third Buddhist Council

In 308 B.C., the Third Buddhist Council was held at Asokarama Monastery in the city of Pataliputta. To celebrate the Third Buddhist Council, King Asoka supported what the bhikkhus needed for the council. The main reason why the Third Council was held was that sixty thousand of ascetics infiltrated into the Sangha Order by using many ways, such as practicing, expounding, and making the Teachings of the Buddha polluted mixed with their heretical views, planting, dwelling together with the Sanghas and much more.

Because of the So-called monks, it had been for seven years to the real bhikkhus not being able to take performance of common uposatha kamma, and other Sangha kammas. When hearing that news, King Asoka dispatched one of his ministers to the monks with the command for performing the uposatha and other sangha kamma ceremonies. But the monks refused to obey and take the ceremony in the retinue of macchidithi monks. Without knowing what means were to be used to carry out his command given by the King, the Minister beheaded the monks one by one till coming to King’s brother named Tissa, who had ordained.

Despite of that he dared to behead other monks, he did not dare to do so to Venerable Tissa. And then, he reported back to the King Asoka about that. As soon as hearing that news, King Asoka was deeply grieved and upset by what had happened and blamed himself for the killings. To know clearly about the problems whether the Minister’s beheading the monks was as if his doing or not, the King obeyed the Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa’s counsel.

The King Asoka of Pataliputta, in order to resolve that situation, had learnt what the Buddha taught under the guidance of the Venerable Mahamoggaliputta Tissa for seven days, after which King Asoka invited all monks to Asokarama monastery. And he made all monks to gather together with the same view groups, after which he asked one by one. The King Asoka expelled those monks who in correct way were not able to reply the Original Teachings of the Buddha from the Sangha Order.

Then, the Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa selected one thousand monks from the sixty thousand participants to hold the Third Buddhist Council for the traditional recitation of Dhamma and Vinaya by oral. The Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa was the Present of that council, and in that council, the Venerable Mogga;iputta Tissa complied a book by the name of Kathavatthu to refute a number of heresies and to keep the Dhamma purely and correctly. In that book we can find analyzing different sorts of Vada, views. That council lasted for nine months to the end of recitation of the Buddha’s Teachings orally. The bogus monks, such as Sabbatthivadins, who were expelled from that council, also called and held the contemporary council in Nalanda near Rajaghaha. Since then, there were many developing different kinds of schools like Mahasamghika, Sabbatthivada and so forth in Rajagaha, Kosambi, Nalanda, Savatthi, etc.

After the Third Council, the King Asoka under the guidance of Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa sent forth of monks who were very versed in the Teachings of the Buddha— the Venerable Majjhantika Thera going to Kashmir and Gandhara, the Venerable Mahadeva going to Mahinsakamandala, the Venerable Yonaka Dhammarakkhita Thera going to Upper Aparantaka, the Venerable Maharakkhita Thera went to Yonaka-loka, the Venerable Majjhima Thera went to Himavant, the Venerable Sona and the Venerable Uttara were sent to Suvannabhumi, the Venerable Mahinda Thera, the Venerable Ittiya Thera, the Venerable Uttiya Thera, the Venerable Sambala Thera and the Venerable Bhaddasala Thera going to Lankadipa.
The Fourth Buddhist Council
In 29 B.C, the Fourth Council was held at Cave Aloka in Malaya district, Sri Lanka when the King Vattagamani was ruling it. The main reason of holding the Fourth Buddhist Council was because, during the time of the people of Ceylon being hard hit by rebels, hunger and starvation for 12 years, the monks even though not having anything to eat, had to make strong efforts to maintain the Teachings of the Buddha by reciting them, and the elder monks foresaw that the monks would not be able to memorize the Buddha’s Teachings by heart if there would happen such danger in future.
Then, the five hundred monks who were led by Venerable Madhammarakkhitta recited the Buddha’s Words, and then wrote down on the palm leaves. Both the King of Ceylon and the people of Ceylon supported the necessities by the monks. It took the monks for one year to go the end.
According to the last Word of Buddha that “the Doctrines and the Disciplines I have taught and lay down to all of you will be your teacher when I pass away,” the Disciples of the Buddha have been trying to protect the Buddha’s Words without any change, addition or modification. As soon as doing so, the Buddha is also in existence as if alive in this world.





4. Ant Maung, “2500 Years of Buddhism” in Burmese Version, Rangoon: Myanmar Religious Affair, 1995

5. Bapt, P.V. “2500 Years of Buddhism” New Delhi: Asian Education Service, 1987

By Arakanese Indobhasa

Throughout the world history, we can find that there were many philosophers such as Aristole, Aquinas, st. Thhomas Thales and so forth in the past and also there are at present many thinkers. Of them, Russell, B was born on the 18th of May 1872 in Ravenscroft, Trelleck, Monmouthshire, Wales, and passed away on the 2nd day of Feb 1970 in Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth, Wales. He is one of the famous great thinkers; he is also known as one of the twenty century modern philosophers. He is a famous thinker as if there were matchless ones with him in twenty centuries, and also he is one of the most important logicians of the 20th Century. He is a British. I would like describe him briefly about his thinking ideas.

When he was a child, he studied at Trinity College and Cambridge University, during the time of which he was interested in studying Mathematic and Philosophy, and he met Moore G, E and Alfred North Whitehead who would, in 20th century, become contemporary philosophers with him at the Cambridge University. He started his ideas of thinking at that University, and in working at the University Education Department, in 1916, he was dismissed from the College as a result of the conviction of anti-war activities. Because of participating anti-war, he was sent in jail for five months in 1918, and also he was imprisoned for one week in connection with anti-nuclear protests. His thoughts connected to politic, and also he wrote many books of the name of “Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919)”, “Roads to Freedom, Justice in War-Time, Icarus or The Future of Science, Has Man a Future?, Let the People Think, German Social Democracy, Satan in the Suburbs, Nightmares of Eminent Persons, Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, Portraits from Memory, The Problem of China, etc.”

And he also wrote many books—-on education “Education and the Social Order”; on religion “Why I Am Not a Christian” published in 1927, London, “Religion and Science and so forth; on science “Common Sense and Nuclear Warfare”, “Fact and Fiction” and so on; on social “Freedom and Organization”, etc. Beside, he wrote about matrimonial affairs—“Matrimonial Affairs of Ethic” and he occasionally wrote the stories such as Nightmares of Eminent Persons and Other Stories. Despite of that he was a thinker, he wrote many books– over eighty books and hundreds of articles, and he did many works that were related to the public in his the whole life. His voice used to be heard whenever the events of global affairs happened.

In the twenty century years, he who was a father of peacefulness was working for the welfare of peacefulness of all human being in the world as much as he was able to. His first doing in only thinking was trying to connect with “Mathematic” and “Logic.” His first book is “A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz”, Cambridge University Press.
It was a book, Principia Mathematica, which was written together with Alfred North Whitehead, and which was published in 1910. And it was a famous book by the name of The Principles of Mathematics, Cambridge (1903), in which they explained widely how the mathematic was descended from “Logic.”

Russell’s Thoughts

He as philosopher overcame the four steps of thoughts, and the combination of four steps are his famous four books well-known as the followings;-

(1) The Problems of Philosophy which was published in 1911;
(2) Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy that was published in 1914;
(3) The Analysis of Mind published in 1921; and
(4) Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits, which was published in 1948.

We can study of his step by step thoughts in those books which were mentioned above. Such way, he was changing his thoughts time and time again. It will, therefore, be wrong if we regard him as the one who was an un-changing and non-reasonable thinker. The reason is that behind his step by step thoughts there is a law that is giving the reasonable definitions.

This law was very popular in middle age, and it was created by William. If we study his thoughts, we can find that unnecessary ideologies or principles were cut off. That is why he became a thinker whose thoughts was being changed one to another. In fact, his thinking was as a Positivist.

According to his thoughts;
(1) If we detail study External World’s an object related to knowing, what we know is not an object, but its quality. For example, on looking at a tree, we can see its green leaves, the dark-brown of trunk of a tree, its appearance and the like. In this way, we must detail examine our knowledge on the tree; in this cause the question we had better ask is “what we are aware of” Russell’s idea. What we know directly about the tree is not the matter which exists itself, but it is the quality of depending on the matter of it.

As the above mentioning, it is these that are not able to be as Russell’ saying if we study it. But we can find that these are depending on the matter. The green does not exist itself, and it to be green needs another depend on. Hence, there must have another to depend on. The appearance of a tree is also the same. If so, the question appeared to put on that there is not really “Matter” in the External World. He said that there is not really the mater, the meaning of which is that we can not see the object in the External World directly.

He divided into two parts—- directly knowing and knowing throughout manifestation. Concerning this chapter, we can, in brief, find that there are four types in his thoughts;–
(1) There is Consciousness;
(2) There is Sensation and Matter;
(3) There is general communication with Matter; and
(4) There is object that is can be known by describing, but not sensuality.

(2) We, to understand his second thoughts, must know four points—- (1) His first thoughts and second thoughts are connected; (2) When he changed his first thoughts into the second, he used what he cut off at first; (3) Basically, he is an Empiricist, so there is real facts by sensation; and (4) There is not facts really by knowing logically, yet being build with Logic.

If a philosopher regards sensation as being important, he will consider that only sensation determines the reality, and it will be excess object. In the second step of his thoughts, cutting off excess object is a great his exchanging. If so, it is the question that there is really External World. He gave the positive answer. Yet, there is not phenomenon in the world called External World, but just only sensation of matter. He said that it automatically exist itself. Normally, the matter is mixed with sensation.

For example, as we can look at a table in different sorts of views, we can get sensations by looking at it in different kinds of views. These sensations are different from one another. But he pointed out that the sensations are in the External World, because all these sensations exist in reality. Hence, due to his view the object which is called the matter is built just with the credibility, but not reality. In this chapter, he warded off External Object from his thinking way. The matter became the building logically, but not reality.

(3) In the third step of his thoughts, he clearly examined the ideology of “Mind” and “Matter”. He said that “Matter” is only a building of “Logic”. What is the meaning of “Mind”? “Mind” is not an object which can not be touched and seen; however, it is just only the knowing. The meaning of knowing is mainly “Sensation”. We can find the object of sensation in perception, and Mind is impossible to remove what is given in sensation, and be able to know nothing except the knowing of Matter Sensation. So “Mind” is occupied by perception. On the one hand, “Matter” and “Sensation” is not “Object” and “Mind”, but on the other hand the principle of Mind can prove the Matter as the object of none-Mind.

If so, it is the question that there is no “Mind” and “Matter” in the world. According to his idea, the remark of “Mind” and “Matter” does not disappear, and ‘Physics’ and ‘Psychology’ has, in the world, appeared throughout studying “Matter” that is known by human beings. According to modern Physics and Psychology, they regard “Matter” as a remark of “Mind”. In the same way, according to psychology, they agree that “Mind” is the characteristic of “Mind”. Therefore, “Mind” and “Matter” is the study of the same sensation-matter from the different kinds of views.

It is impossible to describe his thoughts in detail because of being a lot of what he did in his life about philosophy. When we studied his thinking, we can clearly find how he described his thoughts on “Mind” and “Matter”, and also can find that he did not devote himself to observe just only thoughts. And he also participated in anti-war, and worked at Educational Department in the Cambridge University; and wrote many books related to difference types such as in religion, in science and the like. So I think that it will not be wrong if we regard him as being an all-rounder.

The Indus Valley Civilization

Posted: November 13, 2009 in My Writting

By Arakanese Indobhasa

The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the world’s first great urban civilizations in the world history, such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, and Greece. It was playing in the most important role in the ancient age of India, as well as the cradle of human culture in the world. It flourished in the vast river plains, and the regions which, in ancient time, included the cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, are now in West Pakistan; Kalibanga near the border of India and Pakistan; eastward from Rupar in the foothills of Himalayas; and south to Lothal in Gujarat.

According to the archaeological evidence, an ancient civilization which was known as the Indus Valley or the Harappa Civilization appeared in India about 3000 B.C. on the fertile plain of Punjab which was watered by the five tributaries of the Indus, the names of which were Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.

The Civilization was stable for more than thousand years, and it was also very advanced civilization in the development of the material and of the spiritual. Materially, the Indus Valley Civilization was an agrarian one, and a great skill in irrigation and urban planning belonged to the civilization. It was the first one in South Asia, which was predated by the first farming cultures.

In those days, the Indus Valley people had domesticated numerous crops—- peas, sesame seeds, dates, and cotton, and they had a wide range of domestic animals, such as water buffalo, and other animals remaining very essential intensive agricultural production throughout Asia up to now.

Archaeologist Jim G. Shaffer (1999: 245) mentioned that the Mehrgarh site “demonstrates that food production was an indigenous South Asian phenomenon” and that the data support interpretation of “the prehistoric urbanization and complex social organization in South Asia as based on indigenous, but not isolated, cultural developments.”

Spiritually, the Indus Valley Civilization was a very highly advanced developed one in the literate and script, yet, unfortunately, the scholars can not depict what the Indus Valley people wrote about. If we were able to read what they wrote by the time, we would know very clearly what they wanted to describe, and for what they wrote. However, there is no doubt about the development of script in those days, and that the Indus Valley people used a sort of alphabet that was created by them or derived it from others; for there is ample evidence of the civilization’s enjoying a very highly developed spiritual culture.

The scripts are most commonly associated with flat, rectangular stone tablets called seals, but they are also found on at least a dozen other materials. Abstract or pictographic symbols that were engraved on the animal symbols, including Unicom seal, bull seal, and so forth, as represent the Indus form writing. The presence of writing on seals, as well as on pottery and other objects, indicate that the Indus people had developed a system for recording the names of deities, or people or materials. The archeological evidences were discovered at the Mohenjo-Daro and other sites.

According to the discoveries by the archeologists, there are many terra-cotta female figurines in many sites and the symbols depicting various scenes related with the belief of mother goddesses, and also many symbols relating to the religious beliefs of Indus Valley people were found, and they are also sacred to Buddhism, and to others.

Therefore, we can guest that the ancient Indus Valley people were not only the worshippers of mother goddesses, but believed in others, like practicing meditation, training mind and so fourth. At Harappa, there was found a very interesting oblong terra-cotta symbol that was depicting a nude female figure upside down with legs apart and a plant issuing from her womb.

The tree of the name of ‘pipal’ tree known as bodhi tree, the tree of enlightenment was also found, which is the most important sacred of Buddhism. Several symbols with swastika signs, and the famous bronze statue of a slender that was dancing girl as a proto-type “Yogic” of late Tantrism have been found in the Indus Valley Civilization sites.

It is the famous symbol from Mohenjo-Daro that is seating on a law throne flanked by antelopes, deer throne in a Yogic posture which is with eyes half closed, arms outstretched and resting, tiger rhinoceros and Pashupati, Agni, the fire god, a Jaina arahant, a proto-type Siddha, an esoteric adept, Rudra or a proto-type Shiva.

On the other hand, when we study the description of the religious practice of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization that was found in the written records of early Aryans, the Vedas, we find the figure of the wandering ascetic frequently mentioned. In reality, it is different between Aryan and Indus Valley People. The Aryan came to Indus Valley from a region somewhere in Eastern Europe, maybe the steppes of modern Poland and Ukraine. The Aryan migrated to India (Indus Valley) about after the middle of the second millennium B.C.E.

When we examine, with the help of archaeological findings, the religious attitudes of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization and of the Aryan Civilization, we can find that the cults are different between them. The religion of the Indus Valley Civilization evidently contained several important elements as the following;- meditation, or the practice of training mind, the practice of renunciation, the conception of rebirth or reincarnation, a sense of moral responsibility extending beyond this life, the goal of liberation, the goal of freedom from endless cycle of birth and death. Yet, the early Aryan people believed in a member of gods who were personification of natural phenomena including Indra, the god of thunder and lighting, Agni, the god of fire, and Varuna, the god of water.

While the Indus Valley people cults emphasized the meditation, renunciation, rebirth, karma, and final goal of liberation, the Aryan people faith relied on the practice of sacrifice, the primary meanings of which were for communicating with gods, securing victory in war, obtaining sons and wealth, and finally reaching heaven.
In fact, it is too difficult to identify the believing of the people of Indus Valley in detail what the archaeologists found in the Indus Valley sites and other sites. In India, the religious life is still the full of many beliefs and myths and thus a continuity of the complex religious practice of the Indus Valley Civilization. However, we can not deny that the Indus Valley Civilization was a main point of the pre-religious practice, as well as the cradle of human culture in the world.


1. Della Santina, Petter, The Tree of Enlightenment, Chico Dharma Study Foundation, Chico, USA.
2. Basham L. A., The Wonder That was India, London.
3. The Cultural Heritage of India, Part. I., The Ramakrishna Mission, Calutta.

The contribution of the followings in the spread of Buddhism
1) The contemporary kings of Buddhism
2) The clans
3) The lay men community
4) The lay women community

By Arakanese Indobhasa

In India there were many different sorts of religions before the Buddha’s attainting Enlightenment and after the Enlightenment of His. Yet, other religions were not success in promotion and propagation in their missionary activities as the success of Buddhism. Why the Lord Buddha and His disciples succeeded in a great measure of their missionary activities is known from different historical sources, for the contribution of every class like Kings, Ministers, Queens, Traders, Wealthy citizens and a like. In Northern India there, in the 5th century B.C., was not paramount sovereignty, and it was divided into a large number of independent states, of which were the four monarchies—–Magadha, Kosala, Vatsa and Avanti—that were important; they also fought with each other for conquering the places in the possession of the smaller states. In ancient time in India, there were many numbers of religious teachers who belonged to the different sects.

The supporters, lay people were playing in a very important role in spreading Buddha Sāsanā in ancient times and so also at present, for without their contributions it is too difficult for Buddhist monks to try to propagate it all different parts of directions. When we study the history of Buddhism in ancient time, we can clearly find how the lay devotees supported the Buddha and His disciples in their necessities of promotion and propagation of Buddha Sāsana. The supporters are from every class, Brahmans to outcastes such as Kings, Queens, Traders, Merchants and the like.

It was very good opportunity for the Buddha to spread His teachings, for Bimbisāra, King of Māgadha, invited the Buddha before becoming Buddha to visit at first his Kingdom Rājagaha, which was the capital of Māgadha after His attained Enlightenment, and also the King requested Him to expound Dhammas. The Lord Buddha agreed with him, and gave a promise to pay a visit there first.

According to His promise, when the Lord Buddha after Enlightenment visited Rājagaha, King Bimbisāra paid a visit to Him, during which the Buddha taught the sermons which were concerned with Dānakathā (talking concerning charity), Sīlakathā (talking concerning morality), the Four Noble Truths, and so forth, after which he, Bimbisāra the King of Māgadha became not only a devotee of Buddhism, but Sotāpanna (Stream Winner), and his people of Māgadha also took Buddhism. And then, King Bimbisāra heartily offered his pleasure garden of the name of Veluvana for the construction of monastery. Because of King Bimbisāra’s active participation and supporting what was needed in the propagation of Discourses and Buddhism, the Buddha achieved a great success in Māgadha.

In the 72nd year of Buddha’s life, Ajātasattu, son of King Bimbisāra, killed his own father Bimbisāra for becoming kingship in Māgadha, because he was at the instigation of Devadatta, and he also supported Devadatta to kill the Buddha in the different ways. Later He, however, did feel sad for his unwholesome done before. After that, he, under the persuading of Physician Jīvaka, visited the Buddha Who was residing in Mango Grove with His Followers. Since then, he took refuge in triple Gems, and became a Buddhist King of Māgadha. And he also supported what the Bhikkhus needed when the Pathama Sangāyanā, the First Great Council was held at Rājagaha immediately after the demise of the Buddha in 544 B.C.

King Pasedanī of Kosala was a worshipper of Brahmanism before he becoming a lay devotee in Buddhism. It was also playing very important role in the history of spread of Buddhism in the Kingdom of Kosala. At first, despite that he did not believe in Buddhism, he after the influence of his Queen by the name of Mallikā and his two sisters, became a believer of Buddhism; he also donated a monastery, the name of which was Kajakārāma which was situated near Jetavana. He gave help what was necessary for the propagation of Buddha Sāsana in his Kingdom in an active way.

It was Canda Pajjota Mahāsena or Chandra Pradyota who was converted by the son of royal priest and the nephew of sage Asita to Buddhism, and he the king of Avanti was a contemporary King of the Buddha. On the request of the King of Avanti named Canda Pajjota Mahāsena, the Lord Buddha, Who during the life-time of Him went to the Kingdom of Avanti, expounded Dhammas or Discourses to him and the people of that Kingdom. Mahākaccāyana converted both the people of that Kingdom and the King to Buddhism; he also built many monasteries for the Buddha and His disciples’ dwelling. Because their active activities in the spread of Buddhism in that Kingdom, it was one of the very important Kingdoms in ancient India.

It was Vesālī that was the capital of Licchavīs, and that was an important city of the development of being closely connected with the early propagation of Buddhism. When the Tree Disasters or Tri Kappa—–(a) Dubbhikkhantara Kappa-the disaster by famines; (b) Satthantara Kappa-the disaster by weapons; and (c) Rogantara Kappa-the disaster by epidemics— arose in Vesālī, the members of Sanghas led by the lord Buddha went to Vesālī for reciting Ratana Sutta Paritta, after which many Licchavīs became the Buddhist and built several monasteries for the residing of Buddha and His followers. Hence, His missionary works were very successful in Vesālī.

In Kosambī (Vatsa) there the King Udena, who was ruling, was uninterested in Buddhism at first. But later, he on the influence of his Queen of the name of Sāmāvatī, upasikā meaning of which was a female devotee of the Three Gems, became a Buddhist King. She was an active one in the part of spread of Buddhism in her husband Kingdom Kosambī. In Vesālī there several monasteries were constructed under the guidance of King Udena, and Buddhism was also very popular there during that time.

In the North-west and the Lower Indus Valley, there were also many Kings who were interested in Buddhism and who took part in the development of Buddha Sāsana—such as the King of Gandhāra, Pukkusati, and the King of Rudrayana of Roruka in Sovira and alike. Especially, the reason of their activities in the propagation of Buddhism in the Kingdoms was due to the benefactor and the effort of Bimbisāra, who was King of Māgadha.

In fact, it is difficult to say in detail that just only Sakyas supported Buddhism for the promotion and propagation of it in ancient India, for the contributors from all different sorts of clans that period supported Buddhism in accordance with Buddhism, in which the lay people from every class——from upper classes to lower classes—believed at that time.

The Kingdom of Sakyas fell within the limits of Kosala, Sakyas, by they were politically independent. They were the believer of Brahmanism before the Buddha Enlightenment, and they were the kinsman of the Buddha. Firstly, even when the Buddha visited Kapilavastu, the Kingdom of His father,, whose name was Suddodana, after becoming Buddha, they the Sakyas clans of His did not pay due respect, and also did not give alms-food and accommodation for Him. Anyhow, they, after the Buddha having shown His miraculous power, and having preached Dhamma talk to them, became lay devotees in Buddhism, after which they during the Buddha life-time played a great part for the propagation, introduction and development of the religion and development of Buddhism in their Kingdom.

The people of Kusināra the Mallās clans, at first, did not take refuge in Buddhism; however, they became Buddhist after the Buddha’s sermons on His compassion and loving –kindness. According to the history of India, Licchavīs were the most powerful clan in the North-east India, and occupied a prominent place in the Indian history in the life-time of the Buddha. Licchavīs were known as followers of Brahmanism, the worshipper of many gods and goddesses of the Brahmanic pantheon, and their country of Vesālī was also a very important place of Jainism. In that case, the Buddha firstly found the difficulty of the preaching of His doctrines to Licchavīs clans, yet after having made an argument with Buddha, Saccaka who was a follower of Nigantha Nātaputta and many of Licchavīs took Buddhism, and became lay devotees of the Buddha, after which Buddha’s missionary activities in the countries of Licchavīs was successful.

At the life-time of the Lord Buddha, there were many other clans such as the Bulis, the Moriyas, Koliyas, the Kālāmas and so forth. Although they especially did not believe in Buddhism at first all, they became the supporters and the followers of Buddhism after having listened what the Buddha expounded.

The contribution of Lat Men and Women Communities is very important to promote and propagate the Dhammas taught by the Lord Buddha. During the life-time of the Lord Buddha, there were man supporters from all classes, as Bankers, Queens, and Kings, Wealthy Citizens and so on so on to make the development of Buddhism. The teachings of the Buddha are not just only for the worthy of being freed from Samsarā, but be the worthy of how to live in our daily lives, of how to associate with each other among organization, and others communities, of how to live in right way, and the like. For these reasons, many people from different sorts of classes were under the guidance of the Lord Buddha, and the doctrines of the Buddha inspired many personalities of that time as Anāthapindika, Visākā, Jīvaka, etc. whose activities of making promotion and propagation of Buddhism were very remarkable in the history of Buddhism and Indian history.

Anāhapindika, who was one of the most important man devotees in the history of Buddhism for his activities in the spread of Buddhism, was a fabulous rich trader from Savatthi in the Kingdom of Kosala. After he had been a Buddhist, he donated Jetavana Vihāra to Buddha and his disciples in Savatthi. That monastery is very popular in the history of Buddhism. And he always contributes what was necessary for the welfare of Buddha Sāsana.

It was Visākhā who was a daughter of a rich merchant from Anga. She was married to the son of a rich merchant from Sāvatthi, and the whole house hold of her in-laws were the follower of Nigantha Nātaputta, and the Jainas. Despite she was expected to become a believer as her in-laws’ belief, she did never convert to her in-laws’ believing. She was in the strong belief in the Buddha. She used to offer alms-food to the five hundreds bhikkhus daily, and also she donated a monastery Pubbārāmika. According to his request of her to give robes during rainy season — bathing clothes (robes) to nuns, food to all monks and medicine to the sick, the Buddha allowed her to do so.

Jīvaka who was the illegitimate son of king Bimbisāra was brought up by prince Abhaya, to whose care king entrusted the child. He became the lay devotee of the Buddha on the 20th year of his ministry and dedicated his mango garden to the Sanghas for their residence, and he also used to supply free medical treatment to the members of Sanghas. He was instrument in brining Ajātasattu close to the Buddha and making him an ardent follower of the religion.

And other supporters in the propagation of Buddha’s teachings were Queen Khemā of Bimbisāra, King Udena’s wife named Sāmāvatī and Queen Millikā of Kosala. The supporters just mentioned above were also very activities ones in the development of Buddhism.

In accordance with why the Buddha’s teachings were more popular and why the Buddha and His disciples were success in their missionary works more than other religious teachers, we can find clearly that, because every classes from Kings to lowers contributed Buddhism and they themselves participated in the spread of Buddhism in ancient India, Buddhism was the most popular one which was believed in.


(1) Sarao, K. T. S.
The Origin and Nature of Ancient Indian Buddhism / K.T.S. Sarao.
1st ed.
Delhi, India : Eastern Book Linkers, 1989.

(2) Dutt, Sukumar, Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India, Unwin, London, 1962.

(3) Conze, Edward, Buddhism: Its Essence and Development, Cassirer, Oxford, 1951; Harper and Row reprint, New York 1975

(4) Oldenberg, Hermann, Buddha: His Life, His Doctrine, His Order, Indological Book House, Varanasi, 1971

(5) Dutt, Nalinaksha, Early History of the Spread of Buddhism and the Buddhist Schools, Rajesh, Delhi, 1980 (1st ed.,

(6) Dutt, Nalinaksha, Buddhist Sects in India, Motilal, Delhi, 1978

(7) King Asoka and Buddhism (Historical and Literature Studies) edited by Anurada Seneviratna , Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy, Srilanka, 1994


Religion Distribution in Myanmar

Posted: November 13, 2009 in My Writting

By Arakanese Indobhasa

Myanmar is situated in the Southeast Asia; its neighboring countries are Bangladesh in the West, India in the Northwest, China in the Northeast, Laos and Thailand in the East. It is well known as one of the Theravada Buddhist Countries in the world, and the population of Myanmar is over fifty million with 135 ethic groups of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhing and Shan.

Among these national races, Rakhaing, Sham, Mon and Bamar are the majority of Buddhist believers, and also it is known as a free worship country. Because it is a freedom worship country, there are many different kinds of believers based on their beliefs. The main religion is Buddhism, and it is also the majority one. The Distribution of Religious Beliefs in Myanmar is as the following:-

(a) 90 percent Buddhist,
(b) 5.06 percent Christian,
(c) 3.78 percent Muslim,
(d) 1.21 percent Animist,
(e) 0.51 percent Hindu, and
(f) 0.16 percent other religious groups.

According to our historical records (Arakan Historical Records Side), during the time of Sandasuriya King of Danyawadi Kingdom, Rakkhapura, Theravada Buddhism was introduced into Myanmar during the life time of the Lord Buddha Himself. And due to other historical records of Bbmar, Tapussa and Bhallika, two merchants from Okkalapa, Mon Kingdom (modern Rangon) was the first Upasaka (Lay men), who took refuge in Dvisaranagamana (Two Gems i.e. Buddha and Dhamma). Therefore, we can see that almost all Myanmar people have believed in Theravada Buddhism for over 2500 years.

The majority of Buddhists population are Mon, Rakhaing, Bamar and Shan. The majorities of Muslim are Bengalis, in Arakan, Myanmar Muslim in other divisions and states. In Myanmar, Buddhism has been the main religion from the time of Kings’ ruling up to now. But there were many Animists in Myanmar. The governors could not make them to become Buddhists. Christians have also been for more than 700 years since Christianity (Nestorians) reached Myanmar in 1287 A.D. The Muslim stated reaching Myanmar during the time of Bagan Dynasty, by trading. But these religions were not believed by the people of Myanmar widely.

Yet, these religions except Buddhism were not the majority in ancient time and also up to present day. The governors didn’t support others religions, except Buddhism. They also could not persuade those people who were Animists. After Myanmar was under the British Rule, the British Ruler was able to make Animists to become Christians in Myanmar, after which the Christian Population increased more and more. Hence Christian is the second majority religion in Myanmar at the present time.

We can find that the first majority Christianities are Chin ethics, the second Karen and the third Kachin. The reasons why they are the majority of Christianities in Myanmar are that they were Animist almost all before; they live in the Hill. They were lack of knowledge. So the Christianities Missionaries from the beginning of British Colonial Periods to modern time can easily make them to become Christian by giving financial supports.

Despite that there were not such amounts of Muslim population as now before British Colonial periods, the British government allowed Muslims from India and Bangladesh to come into Myanmar and also they called them for the agriculture worker. That is why Muslims population increased more and more as the second majority religion in Myanmar, especially Arakan region. In the whole Myanmar there were 51187 Monasteries, 3265 Mosques, 2266 Churches, and 759 Madrasahs, according to the records of Ministry of Defence of Myanmar 1997.

There are the Buddhist Religious buildings, especially Monasteries in Mandalay Division, and the second Sagaing Division; and the least Buddhist Religious Buildings in Kayar State. The most of Churches belong to Chin State; second Karen State; and the least belong to Mon State. The biggest religious buildings of Muslim Mosques belong to Arakan (Rakhaing or Rakhine), and the least belong to Chin State and Kayar State, only one Mosque in Chin State and only two in Kayar State.

Why Arakan region which was the one introduced by Theravada Buddhism during the Life-Time of the Buddha Himself, is the biggest Muslim population and its religious buildings is that at first almost all Monasteries were destroyed by Bamar King, Bodawphayar during the time of his invasion to Arakan. And on the other hand, during the time of British ruling Arakan the British government called and allowed many Muslims from India and Bangladesh. Nowadays, the Ruling Bamar Government can’t solve these illegal migrants Muslims from Bangladesh properly.

The main reason why the most Christianities Religious Buildings belong to Chin State is that Chin ethics were Animist. On account of being aware of that reason, the British government was easily able to make them to become Christian by helping properties.
The main reason of the major Buddhist Religious Buildings belonging to Mandalay Division is because it is the last Kingdom of Bamar. Bamar Kings generation to generation supported Buddhist, and many religious buildings found by the Kings are still remaining now.

Conclusion: Every country conquered by other religious countries is influenced by its religion. In the same way, in Myanmar the main reason of increasing the population of Muslim and Christian is because Myanmar was under the British Colonial One. Therefore, it is the bad heirs of British Colonial Rule.


(a)The Mirror Newspaper, 04 Aug. 2000
(b)U Ba Khin, “Foreign Missionaries,” Hanthawadi Press, Rangoon: 09 March 1963

By Arakanese Indobhasa

‘Why did you choose to be a Buddhist monk or a novice?’ This is a question I was asked many times. It is also a question I often ask myself. Yet I don’t really know why. I knew I was willing to become a Samanera (novice) like my friends, with whom I was studying at the monastery. Perhaps it was due to my past kamma. Perhaps in my past lives, I had entreated to become a monk in the future lives.

I was born into a poor peasant family in a small village of the name of Kyauk-roe, Kyauk-phru Township, Arakan Kingdom, where there was no government school. In the village, we depended on the monastery for our education. I thought that I was unlucky to be born into a family in the countryside where I could not receive modern education. On the other hand, I felt that I was very lucky because I was born into a Buddhist family, and I had a golden chance to become a Buddhist monk. I also had a chance to learn what the Buddha taught in the monastery school. We received basic education on writing , reading and mathematics, and the Buddha’s Teachings at the monastic school. We were taught the Five Precepts (Pancasila), Buddhawon (the brief history of the Lord Buddha), Lokaniti (a book of aphorisms pertaining to ethics), Paritta (protective chants), Mangalasutta and Ratanasutta and others. After spending two years in the monastic school, I wished to become a Samanera. Yet I was not aware of the reason why I wished to become one. My abbot knew about me and my intention. He called me in and asked if I really wanted to be a novice, I happily gave him the positive answer. But he did not let me join the novice life immediately. I did not know why. He may be observing and assessing me to see if I was suitable to be a novice or if I really wanted to be one.

Two months later, the abbot called my parents and talked to them about me. He also asked permission from them to novitiate me. However, they did not permit him for they themselves wanted to celebrate the novitiation ceremony. In Arakan, there is a tradition that all parents have to sponsor and support the ordination of their sons as samanera or bhikkhu at least once in their life. It is thus necessary for parents to save and put away money to support such event when the time comes. My parents also wished to do so. But they had difficulties finding enough money to pay for the food to be provided at such an event.

On hearing that my parents declined to give permission for me to be novitiated, I was angry and demonstrated it to them by refusing to return home for dinner. They did not know that I felt angry with them. They waited for me to return home for dinner. But they did not see me. When the time I usually came home passed, they inquired from other students with whom I lived in the monastery. They explained to my parents. When they realized what happened, they immediately came to the monastery. They asked for me to take some food and not to behave like that, and they also promised to arrange for me to be novitiated the following year. But I did not agree with them. I responded to them, “If you do not allow me to be novitiated now, I would not come home at all.” Because my parents knew that I was really determined, they allowed me to be novitiated as a Samanera that year. Thus, I was novitiated at the age of thirteen at the beginning of the raining season of 1995. My parents were also delighted that they now had a son who was a novice. As a novice, I continued my studies on basic Buddhist Teachings for three years in the monastery school in my native town.

In the waxing day of Waso in 1998, I was sent by my abbot to Okkyaung Pariyattisathondeik to continue my studies on Buddhist Scripture. Okkyaung Pariyattisathondeik is a monastery where all Buddhist monks and novices can study Buddhist Scripture for free. It is situated in Kyaukphru, Arakan State. The class had already started for two months when I got there. There I was surprised to see so many monks and novices studying Buddhist Scripture in one place. I experienced some difficulties with adjustment to the new environment and practice when I first moved there. I had to get used to their teaching methods. The difficult one I first faced was to going on alms round. Why? Because the customary practice in the town and countryside is different. In the countryside, when monks or novices go around for alms food, lay-devotees are waiting in lines to offer the foods to them. In the city and town it is not like that. In the city or town, monks or novices have to ask the devotees if it is possible for a monk to come to their house tomorrow for alms food. The monks or novices will then go to their house for alms-food the next day if they agree. The monks or novices will be invited into the guest room where the donors have prepared special place for the monks or novices to take their meals. At first, I felt shy to behave like that. I got used to the practice later.

I did not develop any particular aims or goals while I was residing and studying in the countryside. After having been in the monastery in Kyaukpru, Arakan State for a year, I became more aware of the essence of the Teachings of the Buddha, and I began to set down plans and goals to achieve the aims in my life. The first aim is to get B.A. degree (for lay people) and pass Dhammacariya Examination (special examination for monks, novices and nuns) based on Buddhist Scripture by the age of 25. The second is to study at a foreign Buddhist University or College. The third is to teach the Buddha’s Teachings to lay people, monks, novices and poor children in my native town after I finished my studies. Hence, I tried hard to achieve my aims. However, the path to achieving my first aim was not a straight one.

The year 2003 is an unforgettable one in my life. In that year, I passed Pathamagyi Examination organized specifically for Buddhist monks, novices and nuns by the Department of Religious Affairs of the Government of the Union of Myanmar. I was also ordained as a bhikkhu in that year, and my supporters for the Four Requisites were my parents (Paccayanuggaha). After the ordination, in accordance with my decision to study at a foreign university or a College I passed the Pathamagyi Examination, I prepared to begin my journey to India. But my parents requested me not to go there because it was very close to observing Buddhist Lent and I had no friends there. My abbot also requested me to train young novices and teach them Buddhist Scripture in the monastery. Even though I no longer wanted to reside there, I agreed with his suggestion. I taught young novices there for a year. Then, I decided to continue working towards going to a foreign institute. I moved to Rangoon in 2004.

In Myanmar, most of the abbots do not let monks or novices living in their temple to study English. They think that monks or novices ought not to study English and most of lay people think likewise. In my views, both monks and novices should study English, an international language which is widely used in the world. Nowadays people from western countries such as USA and UK have become more and more interested in Buddha’s Teachings. Unless the monks and novices can read and write English, they cannot serve to promote and propagate the Buddhist teachings in various parts of the world.

On arriving at Rangoon, I found that it easy to learn Buddhist Scripture but difficult to study English. I looked for a temple that allowed me to learn English, but I was not successful. By now, it was very close to Buddhist Lent, so an abbot allowed me to reside in his monastery for the rains retreat, but not for learning English and he reminded me so. But one month later, I secretly started learning English. I did my homework, and I learned vocabulary by heart quietly inside my mosquito-net every evening. In the first three months, no one knew that I was learning English. At the end of Buddhist Lent, one of monks informed the abbot that I was learning English. As soon as the abbot knew about it, I had to leave. But I was not worried. One of my supporters arranged for me to live in another temple where the abbot allowed every monk and novice to learn English. Therefore, I kept on studying English. One day, I heard that my preceptor (Upajjhaya Acariya) passed away in my village. So I stopped learning English and returned to my native town for my preceptor’s cremation ceremony.

In the summer, I returned to Rangoon and continued learning English. But soon after my return, political demonstrations led by the Sangha started in Rangoon in September, 2007. The Government then gave the order that all Sangha members except the abbots had to go back to their native towns. I returned to my village again during the Buddhist Lent. When I arrived there, my parents and my relatives asked me to change the robes because they worried about me in my monk identity. But I did not agree with them because I determined to continue on my monkhood life as usual. After the Buddhist Lent was over, I again returned to Rangoon to continue learning English. In 2008 I applied to study at IBC. Now I am here, finally achieving my aim of studying abroad in a Buddhist Studies program conducted in English medium.

I often think about my life now. I think about why I became a novice, and why I took the higher ordination. But I still don’t know the cause of my becoming a novice, except that I wished to become a Samanera like my friends when I was young. I continue to be a monk because I want to help poor children. As a Buddhist monk, I depend on the lay-people. Despite their poverty, the devotees always support and provide the Sangha with the Four Requisites. So in return, I wish to do something for the welfare of the devotees. After I finish my education, I will go back to my hometown, and I will teach the Buddha’s Teachings to poor children so that they will grow and develop to be useful citizens of my country.