by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Righteous (Dhammavadi) and Unrighteous (Adhammavadi) contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Buddha’s Tenth Vassa at Pālileyyaka Forest. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
The Buddha journeyed on and eventually arrived at Jetavana monastery in Sāvatthi. Getting the news that “the Exalted One has come to Sāvatthi,” the monks of Kosambī headed for Sāvatthi to apologize to the Buddha. (What has been narrated is from the Dhammapada Commentary.)
(The following is from the Vinaya Mahāvagga Pāli:) At that time Venerable Sāriputta, the General of the Dhamma, hearing of the arrival of the Kosambī monks, approached the Buddha, paid obeisance to Him and sat down in a faultless place. He then said to the Buddha:
“It is said, Exalted Buddha, that the quarrelsome and contentious Kosambī monks are coming to Savatthi. Exalted Buddha, how should we deal with them?” The Buddha replied: “Dear son Sāriputta, in that case you should abide by the Dhamma.” “How could we know, Exalted Buddha, what is the Dhamma and what is not?” asked the Venerable Sāriputta. This led to the Buddha’s instruction of the following the eighteen characteristics of unrighteousness (adhamma) and the other eighteen characteristics of righteousness (dhamma).
Eighteen Characteristics of Unrighteousness (Adhamma-vatthu).
“Dear son Sāriputta, an unrighteous person should be known by the eighteen characteristics. Here in this dispensation, a monk indicates:”
(1) what is no Dhamma as Dhamma,
(2) what is Dhamma as no Dhamma,
(3) what is no Vinaya as Vinaya,
(4) what is Vinaya as no Vinaya,
(5) what the Buddha teaches not as the teaching of Buddha,
(6) what the Buddha teaches as no teaching of the Buddha,
(7) what the Buddha practises not as the practice of the Buddha,
(8) what the Buddha practises as no practice of the Buddha,
(9) what the Buddha prescribes not as the rule of the Buddha,
(10) what the Buddha prescribes as no rule of the Buddha,
(11) no offence as offence,
(12) offence as no offence,
(13) minor offence as major,
(14) major offence as minor,
(15) expiable offence as inexpiable,
(16) inexpiable offence as expiable, (17) gross offence as no gross, and
(18) no gross offence as gross.
“Dear son Sāriputta, by these eighteen characteristics should an unrighteous person be known.”
Eighteen Characteristics of Righteousness (Dhamma-vatthu)
“My son Sāriputta, a righteous person should be known by the eighteen characteristics. Here in this dispensation, a monk indicates:”
(1) what is no Dhamma as no Dhamma,
(2) what is Dhamma as Dhamma,
(3) what is no Vinaya as no Vinaya,
(4) what is Vinaya as Vinaya,
(5) what the Buddha teaches not as no teaching of the Buddha,
(6) what the Buddha teaches as the teaching of the Buddha,
(7) what the Buddha practises not as no practice of the Buddha,
(8) what the Buddha practises as the practice of the Buddha,
(9) what the Buddha prescribes not as no rule of the Buddha,
(10) what the Buddha prescribes as the rule of the Buddha.,
(11) no offence as no offence,
(12) offence as offence,
(13) minor offence as minor,
(14) major offence as major,
(15) expiable offence as expiable,
(16) inexpiable offence as inexpiable,
(17) gross offence as gross, and
(18) no gross offence as no gross,
“Dear son Sāriputta, by these eighteen characteristics should a righteous person be known.” Thus taught the Buddha.
(Herein, this is an instruction given by using the method of teaching with reference to individuals (puggalā-diṭṭahāna dhamma-desanā); the eighteen items, such as (1) indication of what is no Dhamma as Dhamma, (2) indication of what is Dhamma as no Dhamma,... (17) indication of gross offence as no gross, and (18) indication of no gross offence as gross, are called the eighteen characteristics of unrighteousness (adhamma-vatthu). They are also called the eighteen causes of schism in the Sangha (Bhedakaravatthu). He who possesses any of these eighteen characteristics is to be known as an unrighteous person (adhamma-vādī)
(Similarly, on the side of righteousness, the eighteen items, such as (1) indication of what is no Dhamma as no Dhamma, (2) indication of what is Dhamma as Dhamma...(17) indication of gross offence as gross, and (18) indication of no gross offence as no gross, are called the eighteen characteristics of righteousness (dhamma-vatthu). He who possesses any of these characteristics is to be known as a righteous person (dhamma-vādī). Thus the purport of the Buddha’s instruction should be understood briefly.
Distinction between Positive and Negative Items (Of these [two sets of ] eighteen items, by way of Suttanta, the ten wholesome actions (kusalakamma-patha) are the Dhamma; the ten unwholesome actions (akusalakammapatha) are no Dhamma. Likewise, the thirty-seven constituents of enlightenment (Bodhipakkhiya-dhamma), namely, the four foundations of mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna), the four right efforts (Sammappadhāna), etc. are Dhamma. (The wrongly enumerated aggregates of the above constituents, namely,) the three foundations of mindfulness, the three right efforts, the three bases of psychic powers (iddhipāda), the six faculties (indriya), the six mental powers (bala), the eight factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga), the nine constituents of the path (maggaṅga) as well as the four attachments (upādāna), the five hindrances (nīvaraṇa), the seven latent desires (anusaya) and the eight wrong views (micchādiṭṭhi), these and other aggregates are no Dhamma.
(If someone, after taking any of these false aggregates which are no Dhamma, and after discussing with others and coming to an agreement with them saying: “We shall indicate and speak of this stock of what is no Dhamma as Dhamma, if we do so, we shall belong to the higher class of teaching families and we ourselves shall become well-known in society,” declares: “This indeed is Dhamma!", (1) he indicates what is no Dhamma as Dhamma.
(Likewise, if he, taking any of these true aggregates, declares, “This indeed is no Dhamma,” (2) he indicates what is Dhamma as no Dhamma.
(In terms of Vinaya, if a person questions another’s offence, makes him realize it and takes action correctly in accordance with the latter’s confession, that is a righteous action (dhamma-kamma). If a person, without questioning, without making him realizes it and without bringing about his confession, takes action incorrectly, that is an unrighteous action (adhamma-kamma). If one speaks of a righteous action as unrighteous, then one indicates Dhamma as no Dhamma. ‘To speak of’ means ‘to indicate.’
(By way of Suttanta, elimination of lust (raga), elimination of hate (dosa), elimination of delusion (moha), the fivefold restraint (saṃvara), namely, restraint by precepts (sīlasaṃvara), restraint by mindfulness (sati-saṃvara), restraint by wisdom (ñāṇa-saṃvara), restraint by forbearance (khantī-saṃvara), restraint by energy (vīriya-saṃvara);the fivefold rejection (pahāna), namely, rejection of evil by right view (tadaṅga-pahāna), rejection by mental concentration (samādhi-pahāna), rejection by destruction (samucchedapahāna), rejection by being peaceful (patippassaddhi-pahāna), and rejection by attainment of Nibbāna (nissaraṇa-pahāna), and reflection so that there can be no happening of lust, hate and delusion. These aggregates [of elimination, restraint, rejection and reflection form discipline; reversibly. the aggregates of non-elimination, non-restraint [non-rejection], and non-reflection of lust, etc. form no discipline.
(In terms of Vinaya, completeness of the five factors, namely, candidate (vatthu), ordination-house (sīma), assembly (parisā), declaration (ñatti), and ‘text for deeds’ (kamma-vācā) is discipline; incompleteness or defectiveness of these five is no discipline.
(By way of Suttanta, the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four bases of psychic powers, the five faculties, and the eight constituents of the path, these doctrinal aggregates are what the Buddha teaches; never does the Buddha teach that there are three foundations of mindfulness, three right efforts, three bases of psychic powers, six faculties, six psychic powers, eight factors of Enlightenment, and nine constituents of the Path.
(In terms of Vinaya, there are four Pārājika rules, thirteen Sanghādisesa rules, two Aniyata rules, thirty Nisssaggiya rules, etc. are taught by the Buddha;never does the Buddha teach that there are three Pārājika rules, fourteen Saṅghādisesa rules, two Aniyata rules, thirty-one Nissaggiya rules, etc. (The set of rules taught implies the set of rules prescribed.)
(By way of Suttanta, everyday absorption in attainment of Fruition (Phala-samāpatti), absorption in attainment of Great Compassion (Mahākaruṇā-samāpatti), survey of the world of sentient beings through the Buddha-Eye (Buddha-cakkhu) consisting in both Āsayānusaya-ñāṇa and Indriya-Paropariyatti-ñāṇa, delivery of relevant discourses and relation of pertinent stories as demanded by occasion, these doings form the practice of the Buddha. No absorption in Attainment of Fruition, No absorption in Attainment of Great Compassion, etc., form no practice of His.
(In terms of Vinaya, observance of vassa-residence in a certain town or a village at the request of the devotees concerned, journey at the end of the vassa-period after informing the devotees concerned or after performing Pavarana, greeting addressed to the visiting monks with the words: “Are you keeping fit, dear sons? Are you faring well?” and so on; doings of these and other things form the practice of the Buddha. No doings of such things form no practice of His.
(In certain Vinaya rules, there are such lines as “He who unknowingly commits is not guilty; he who commits without intent to steal is not guilty; he who commits without intent to cause death is not guilty” and so on. The set of rules like these is the collocation of no offences. “He who knowingly commits is guilty; he who commits with intent to steal is guilty; he who commits with intent to cause death is guilty” and so on. The set of rules like these is the set of offences.
(Of the seven kinds of offences, namely, Pārājika offences, Saṅghādisesa offences, Thullaccaya offences, Pācittiya offences, Pātidesaniya offences, Dukkata offences and Dubbhāsī offences, the latter five are minor and no gross while the former two (Pārājika and Saṅghādisesa offences) are major and gross.
(Of these seven kinds of offences, the last six are expiable (Sāvasesa āpatti) as the offender’s monkhood still remains. (That is to say, if he commits any of the latter six kinds, his state of a monk is still valid even though he is guilty. The Pārājika offence is inexpiable. (This is to say, if he violates a Pārājika rule he totally loses that validity leaving no traces whatever of monkhood in him.)
(In this way the nine pairs of Dhamma and no Dhamma, etc should be particularly understood. This explanation is taken from the exposition of the Sangha bhedakakkhandhaka, Vinaya Cūḷa-Vagga Commentary.)
Like the Venerable Sāriputta, the Venerables Mahā Moggallāna, Mahā Kassapa, Mahā Kaccāyana, Mahā Kotthika, Mahā Kappina, Mahā Cunda, Anuruddha, Revata, Upāli, Ānanda and Rāhula, also heard of the coming of the Kosambī monks to Sāvatthi. They approached the Buddha and asked Him as the Venerable Sāriputta did. Then also did the Buddha teach them the eighteen items of righteousness and the eighteen items of unrighteousness the way He taught Venerable Sāriputta.
So did the Buddha’s aunt, Therī Mahā Pajāpati Gotamī, who learnt of the coming of the Kosambī monks and she visited the Buddha. She paid Him obeisance, stood at a proper place and put the same question as Venerable Sāriputta’s.
The Buddha then told Therī Mahāpajāpati Gotamī thus:
“In that case, Gotamī, listen to the sayings of both groups of monks. Having listened, you should prefer the view, wish, liking, and acceptance of the righteous of the two parties. All that is to be expected from the Community of Bhikkhus by the Community of Bhikkhunīs should be desirable only from the righteous.”
To them as well the Buddha said:
“Anāthapiṇḍika, (Visākhā), in that case give alms to both parties! Having given alms, listen to the sermons from both! Having listened, you should prefer the view, wish, liking and acceptance of the righteous monks!”
(This is an extract from the Vinaya Mahāvagga Text. its Commentary and Sub-Commentary.)
(The following, however, is from the Dhammapada Commentary) On hearing the news that “the quarrelsome Kosambī monks are coming to the city of Savatthi,” King Pasenadī Kosala approached the Buddha and said: “Exalted One, I would not like to grant permission to those Kosambī monks to enter my kingdom.” To this the Buddha replied: “Your Majesty, those Kosambī Monks are virtuous. It was only on account of dispute that they took no heed of what I said. Now they are coming to apologize to me. Let them come!”
“Exalted One, I would not like to let them come into the monastery,” said the King. As the Buddha rejected his desire as before, the King only kept quiet.
When the Kosambī monks arrived in Sāvatthi, the Buddha made special effort to keep the monks quiet and to provide them with accommodation at the outlying parts of the monastery. Not only other monks shunned company with them but all visiting monks of modesty asked the Buddha: “Who are the quarrelsome and contentious Kosambī bhikkhus, Exalted One?” The Buddha pointed out the monks, saying: “These are they!” As the virtuous visitors said: “We are told that the quarrelsome and contentious Kosambī monks are they. We are told that the Kosambī monks who defy the Buddha’s words are they!” and pointed their fingers at them, the Kosambī monks felt so ashamed that they dared not raise their heads but threw themselves at the feet of the Buddha and begged His pardon.
Then the Buddha said:
“Monks, you became bhikkhus under an Omniscient Buddha like Me, and although I, Myself, tried to bring about harmony, you disobey Me which was indeed a grave mistake on your part.
“A good wise Bodhisatta of ancient times once listened to the advice of his parents, who were about to be killed and following their advice, secured kingship of two
great countries later on, though the parents had been put to death.”
“In this way monks, although his parents were killed, the Bodhisatta Prince Dīghāvu gave heed to the advice of his parents and eventually won the daughter of King Brahamadatta and became ruler of the two great kingdoms of Kāsi and Kosala. You, dear sons, however, did not follow My word and committed so great a wrongdoing.”
The Buddha then uttered the following stanza:
Here in the midst of the crowded assembly of monks, those who are foolish and quarrelsome, do not realize that “We are drawing near the King of Death every minute” as they lack the eye of wisdom. In that very assembly, the wise monks who are brilliant, however, realize that they are approaching Death from moment to moment. On account of that realization do quarrels and disputes completely cease through right practice.
At the end of the verse, the monks who had assembled there became established in sotāpatti-phala and higher states.
By means of these sermons did the Buddha save and convert devas, humans and Brahmās (in the Pālileyyaka forest for the whole period beginning from the end of the tenth vassa up to the beginning of the eleventh).
Footnotes and references:
Pārājika: “Any transgressor of these rules is defeated in his purpose in becoming a bhikkhu.” The four offence of this kind are: (l) indulgence in sexual intercourse, (2) taking with intention to steal what is not given, (3) intentional deprivation of a human life, and (4) making claim to attainments which he does not really possess.
Saṅghādisesa: An offence of this kind entails formal meeting of the Sangha to decide the case and the action to be taken against the offender of the rule. The first of the 13 Sanghādisesa offences is engagement in bodily contact with a woman through immoral thoughts.
Aniyata: The nature of such offence is to be determined whether it is Pārājika, Saṅghādisesa or not so grave Pācittiya as in the case of a monk who sits in a place secluded, unseen and convenient for an immoral purpose. The other case is when he does so in a place seen and inconvenient for an immoral purpose but convenient for talking immorally to the woman.
Nissaggiya: Offences of this kind involve forfeit and repentance, the first of them occurs when a bhikkhu keeps more than permissible number of robes: he has then to surrender the extra ones and confess his offence. See U Ko Lay, Guide to Tipitaka, pp. 11-12, Burma Piṭaka Association Rangoon. 1986.
Āsayānusaya ñāṇa: The knowledge of inclinations and the latent tendercies.
Indriyaparopariyatti ñāṇa: The knowledge of the dullness and keeness of facultics such as, confidence, mindfullness, concentration, energy and wisdom. Nārada Mahāthera, The Buddha and His Teaching, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy 1980.