Welfare of the Buddhist Sangha

Buddha with Monks

by Jayaram V

In the seventy ninth year of his life, when the Buddha knew that the end of his corporeal existence was approaching, he made a pronouncement declaring the conditions that were ideal for the survival and welfare of the Buddhist Order.

These injunctions were meant to ensure that the monks in his absence would not deviate from the Eightfold path and degenerate into heretics. He knew that the welfare of each monk and the future of his teachings depended entirely upon the functioning of the Order and its ability to maintain strict discipline among the followers. These instructions therefore carry a great relevance for the followers of the Buddha even today.

Some of these instructions are enumerated below:

The monks:

1. Shall not delight in solitude.

2. Shall not engage themselves, take interest in or connected with any business.

3. Shall not stop on their way to Nirvana because they have attained some lesser success.

4. Shall exercise themselves in mental activity , search after truth, energy, joy, peace, earnest contemplation, and equanimity of mind.

5. Shall engage themselves in the realization of the transient nature of all phenomenal things, whether mental or physical and the absence of soul.

6. Shall spend their time, both in private and in public in the company of Arhats, practising the virtues that lead to liberation and are approved by the wise, performing outward duties without the impurity of any desire for either the future life or the faith.

7. Shall spend their time, both in private and in public, in the company of Arhats, cherishing the noble wisdom that leads to complete destruction of their sorrow.

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