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The Gospel of Buddha:Chapter 36: The Schism

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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While the Blessed One dwelt at Kosambi,
a certain bhikkhu was accused of having committed an offence,
and, as he refused to acknowledge it,
the brotherhood pronounced against him the sentence of expulsion. [1]

Now, that bhikkhu was erudite.
He knew the Dharma, had studied the rules of the order,
and was wise, learned, intelligent, modest, conscientious,
and ready to submit himself to discipline.
And he went to his companions and friends among the bhikkhus, saying:
"This is no offence, friends;
this is no reason for a sentence of expulsion.
I am not guilty. The verdict is unconstitutional and invalid.
Therefore I consider myself still as a member of the order.
May the venerable brethren assist me in maintaining my right." [2]

Those who sided with the expelled brother
went to the bhikkhus who had pronounced the sentence,
saying: "This is no offence";
while the bhikkhus who had pronounced the sentence replied:
"This is an offence." [3]

Thus altercations and quarrels arose,
and the Sangha was divided into two parties,
reviling and slandering each other. [4]

And all these happenings were reported to the Blessed One. [5]

Then the Blessed One went to the place where the bhikkhus were
who had pronounced the sentence of expulsion, and said to them:
"Do not think, O bhikkhus,
that you are to pronounce expulsion against a bhikkhu,
whatever be the facts of the case, simply by saying:
'It occurs to us that it is so,
and therefore we are pleased to proceed thus against our brother.'
Let those bhikkhus who frivolously pronounce a sentence
against a brother who knows the Dharma and the rules of the order,
who is learned, wise, intelligent, modest, conscientious,
and ready to submit himself to discipline, stand in awe of causing divisions.
They must not pronounce a sentence of expulsion against a brother
merely because he refuses to see his offence." [6]

Then the Blessed One rose and went to the brethren
who sided with the expelled brother and said to them:
"Do not think, O bhikkhus,
that if you have given offence you need not atone for it, thinking:
'We are without offence.'
When a bhikkhu has committed an offence, which he considers no offence
while the brotherhood consider him guilty, he should think:
'These brethren know the Dharma and the rules of the order;
they are learned, wise, intelligent, modest, conscientious,
and ready to submit themselves to discipline;
it is impossible that they should on my account
act with selfishness or in malice or in delusion or in fear.'
Let him stand in awe of causing divisions,
and rather acknowledge his offence
on the authority of his brethren." [7]

Both parties continued to keep Uposatha
and perform official acts independently of one another;
and when their doings were related to the blessed One,
he ruled that the keeping of Uposatha
and the performance of official acts
were lawful, unobjectionable, and valid for both parties.
For he said:
"The bhikkhus who side with the expelled brother
form a different communion from those who pronounced the sentence.
There are venerable brethren in both parties.
As they do not agree, let them keep Uposatha
and perform official acts separately." [8]

And the Blessed One reprimanded the quarrelsome bhikkhus
saying to them: [9]

"Loud is the voice which worldlings make;
but how can they be blamed
when divisions arise also in the Sangha?
Hatred is not appeased in those who think:
'He has reviled me, he has wronged me, he has injured me.' [10]

"For not by hatred is hatred appeased.
Hatred is appeased by not-hatred.
This is an eternal law. [11]

"There are some who do not know the need of self-restraint;
if they are quarrelsome we may excuse their behaviour.
But those who know better, should learn to live in concord. [12]

"If a man finds a wise friend who lives righteously and is constant in his character,
he may live with him, overcoming all dangers, happy and mindful. [13]

"But if he finds not a friend who lives righteously and is constant in his character,
let him rather walk alone, like a king who leaves his empire
and the cares of government behind him to lead a life of retirement
like a lonely elephant in the forest. [14]

"With fools there is no companionship.
Rather than to live with men who are selfish, vain, quarrelsome, and obstinate
let a man walk alone." [15]

And the Blessed One thought to himself:
"It is no easy task to instruct these headstrong and infatuate fools."
And he rose from his seat and went away. [16]

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