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BUDDHIST DHAMMA BOOKS

 

The teaching of Buddha is available in its original form even today although he passed away about 2500 years.  The sublime teaching of Buddha which he expounded during his long and successful ministry and which he unreservedly bequeathed to humanity still exists in its pristine purity.

Tripitaka

Although Buddha had not left any written records of his teaching, his disciples preserved them, by committing to memory and transmitting them orally from generation to generation. Three months after the death of Buddha, in the eighth years of kind Ajatashatru’s reign, 500 pre-eminent Arahants concerned with preserving the purity of the doctrine held a convocation at Rajagraha to rehearse it. The venerable Thero, the Buddha’s beloved attended who had the special privilege and honor of hearing the discourses from the Buddha himself, and the Venerable Upali Thero were chosen to answer questions about the Dhamma (Doctrine) and the Vinaya (Discipline) respectively.

Such first council compiled and arranged in its present form containing teaching of Buddha and it was a book known as Tripitaka.

Second and third Council of Arahants were held 100 and 236 years later respectively wherein the teaching of the Buddha was again rehearsed to maintain the purity of the teaching of the Buddha.

During the year 83 BC, the forth council of Arahants was held during the reign of the pious Simhala King Vatta Gamani Abhaya and the Tripitaka was, for the first time in the history of Buddhism committed to writing at Aluvihara in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  Thanks to the indefatigable efforts of those noble and forsighted Arahants, there I no room either now or in the future for higher critics or progressive scholars to adulterate the pure teaching of the Buddha.

The voluminous Tripitaka which contains the essence of the Buddha’s teaching is estimated to be about eleven times the size of the Bible.

The word Tripitak means three baskets. They are the basket of Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka), the basket of discourses ( Sutta Pitaka) and the basket of Ultimate Doctroine (Abhidhamma Pitaka)

a.    Vinaya Pitaka

The Vinaya Pitaka which is regarded as the sheet anchor of Holy Order, deals mainly with the rules and regulations of the order of Bhikkhus (Monks) and Bhikkhunis (Nuns). For nearly twenty years after the enlightenment of the Buddha, no definite rules were laid down for control and discipline of Sangha (Order). Subsequently as occasion arose, the Buddha promulgated rules for the future discipline of the Sangha. The reasons for the promulgation for rules, their various implications and specific Vinaya ceremonies of the Sangha are fully described in the Vinaya Pitaka. The history of the gradual development of Sasana from its very inception, a brief account of the life and ministry of the Buddham and details of three councils are some other additional revenant contents of the Vinaya Pitaka. Indirectly it revels useful information about ancient history, Indian customs, ancient arts and sciences. One who reads the Vinaya Pitaka is impressed by the democratic constitutions of the Sangha, their holding possessions in common, the exceptionally high moral standard of the Bhikkhus, and the unsurpassed administrative ability of the Buddha who anticipated even the present parliamentary system.

 

The Vinaya Pitaka consist of the following books :-

 

1

Parajika Pali

Vibhanga

Major Offences

2

Pacittiya Pali

Minor Offences

3

Mahavagga Pali

Khandaka

Greater Section

4

Cullavagga Pali

Lesser Section

5

Parivara Palli

 

Epitome of the Vinaya

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