Buddhist Council

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 31, 2022, 5:58

After the death of the famous spiritual leader Gautama Buddha, different assemblies got instituted to resolve doctrinal disputes, recite Buddhist texts and follow the ideologies of Gautama Buddha. The assemblies that got established are famously known as Buddhist Councils. These Buddhist assemblies were maintained under the aid of diverse monarchs and chaired by various monks.

Buddhist Councils Objective

In addition, the primary objective of these councils was to preserve Buddhism's sanctity and spread the Buddhist religion worldwide. Keep reading the article below to read more about the Buddhist councils that will help you prepare for your upcoming competitive exams.

A Brief About Buddhism

Founded by Gautama Buddha (Sakyamuni), Buddhism is an ancient religion in India practised worldwide. In addition, the teachings of Buddhism remain on the following principles:

  • Four Virtuous Truths (Arya Satya) – Samudaya, Dukkha, Naroda, and Magga.
  • Eight-Fold Course (Ashtangika Marga) – Right resolve, Right thought, Right discourse, Right effort, Right earning, Right endeavour, Right mindfulness, and Right concentration (samadhi).
  • Three Treasures (Triratnas) – the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dharma
  • Code of Conduct.
  • Belief in Nirvana.
  • Faith in Ahimsa.
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What Are the Six Buddhist Councils?

There were established six Buddhist councils in ancient times, and they are as follows:

First Buddhist Council- Established in 400 BC

  • The First Buddhist council met in Rajgriha at the Sattapanni caves, under the aid of King Ajatashatru. This Buddhist council was held just after the death of Gautama Buddha.
  • This council was headed by Buddhist monks Mahakasyapa.
  • The primary agenda of this Buddhist council was to safeguard the teachings of Gautama Buddha and set some guidelines for disciples and monks.
  • The monks' Upali and Ananda chanted Vinaya and Suttas. The monks also recited Abhidhamma Pitaka in this council.

Second Buddhist Council- Established in 383 BC

  • The second Buddhist council took place at Vaishali (Now in Bihar) under the aid of King Kalasoka of the Shisunaga Dynasty and was headed over by Sabakami.
  • The primary agenda of this second Buddhist council was to resolve the conflicts of various subdivisions.
  • This Buddhist council repudiated the Mahasangikas as canonical Buddhist literature. It is why this council holds a special place in Indian history.

Third Buddhist Council– Established in 250 BC

  • The third Buddhist council took place under the aid of renowned Emperor Ashoka at Pataliputra in the Magadha Empire and was headed over by Moggaliputta Tissa.
  • The main agenda of this Buddhist council was to examine the various Buddhism educational institute and refine them.
  • Emperor Ashoka sent different groups to different nations to spread the preachings of Buddhism after this council.

Fourth Buddhist Council- Established in 72 AD

  • The fourth Buddhist council took place in Kashmir in the era of Emperor Kanishka of the Kushan Dynasty and was headed by Asvaghosha and Vasumitra.
  • The primary agenda of this fourth Buddhist council was to intervene in various confrontations between different schools of introspection.
  • Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism sects split after this fourth Buddhist council.

Fifth Buddhist Council- Established in 1871

  • The fifth Buddhist council took place at Mandalay in Burma, now Myanmar, under the aid of King Mindon of Burma Kingdom and was headed by the Narindabhidhaja, Jagarabhivamsa, and Sumangalasami.
  • The principal plan of this Buddhist council was to chant all the Buddhism preachings by Gautama Buddha and examine them in little pieces.

Sixth Buddhist Council- Established in 1954

  • The Fifth Buddhist Council took place at Kaba Aye in Myanmar(Burma) and Yangon(Rangoon) under the aid of Prime Minister U. Nu of the Republic of Myanmar. It was headed over by Bhadanta Vicittasarabhivamsa and Mahasi Sayadaw
  • The primary agenda of the sixth Buddhist council was to maintain and conserve the genuine Vinaya and Dhamma of Buddhism.
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FAQs on Buddhist Councils

Q.1. When did the second Buddhist council take place?

The second Buddhist council took place in 383 BC under King Kalasoka.

Q.2. What was the agenda of the third Buddhist council?

The third Buddhist council planned to examine the various Buddhism educational institute and refine them.

Q.3. Which Buddhist council took place in Kashmir?

The fourth Buddhist council took place in Kashmir.

Q.4. Who headed the third Buddhist council?

Moggaliputta Tissa headed the third Buddhist council.