Council of PāṠaliputra II

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An early council mentioned only in Pāli sources and regarded by the Theravāda school as the ‘Third Council’. The council took place around 250 bce during the reign of Aśoka, and according to traditional accounts in the Mahāvaṃsa and Dīpavaṃsa the king played a leading role. The events centred on a monastery (vihāra) in Pāṭaliputra where certain residents refused to celebrate the poṣadha (Pāli, uposatha) ceremony with colleagues they regarded as lax and unorthodox. Aśoka dispatched an emissary to resolve the matter but he, misunderstanding his orders, had a number of monks executed. Aśoka then intervened and convened a council of 1000 monks under the presidency of a senior and learned monk named Moggaliputta Tissa. The orthodox teaching of the Buddha was identified as Vibhajjavāda.and one by one the monks were questioned by Aśoka and expelled if their views were non-Buddhist (e.g. if they held the doctrine of eternalism). The king then departed and the monks held their council (saṇgīti), or communal recitation of the texts. The king was thus not concerned with divergent views among the genuine Buddhist monks. Many of the unorthodox views are recorded in the Kathāvatthu. Aśoka's Edicts contain allusions to dissent in the Saṃgha.which may support the historicity of the traditional account.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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