Story of the Chief Disciples in Buddhism     Follow

In the delegation of authority, seniority and discipline, were not the only criteria taught on Nawam Poya. 

The aspirants of asceticism, initially, were ordained by the Buddha Himself. As the sangha community grew, the Buddha introduced the principles of delegation and requested the members of the Maha Sangha to ordain the candidates. The most significant incident that took place on Navam Poya Day was the appointment of two chief disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana.   

The Exalted One with his divine eye saw what the dejected senior monks were reflecting upon and explained to them the suitability of those two appointments. In order to clarify his stand the Buddha explained that seniority was not the only decisive factor or qualification that had been considered in making those two key appointments. The Buddha’s discourse, Ovada Prathimoksha, helped monks to develop self-discipline. The above three principles are crucial features in modern management   
 The other significant incident that took place on Navam Poya Day was the holding of the first ever Buddhist congregation. On the first Navam Full Moon Poya Day after the Enlightenment of Gauthama Buddha, there were a large number of disciples in the Order of the Maha Sangha. Although there had been no problems until then the Enlightened One would have expected incidents of breach of behaviour and morality when the Sangha society grew in numbers.   

This enabled them to go into priesthood when and where they wished. The Buddha will intervene if they needed any clarifications and advice. As mentioned, the appointment of Sariputta and Moggallana as the two – “Aggrasavaka” took place on Navam Poya. Sariputta was appointed to the prestigious position of Dharmasenadipathi and Moggallana as Dharmapurohita respectively. There were discussions as to why some of the senior monks were overlooked in making these important appointments. To clear all misgivings of the monks, the Enlightened One, related the exciting story woven round Sariyuth and Mugalan in their previous birth during the time of Anomadassi Buddha. The Arahat Sariputta born during the time of Anomadassi was known as Sarada. He inherited massive wealth and became a good Samaritan who distributed wealth among the poor. Through meditation, he gained Attasamapatti - eight attainments. Sarada had a close friend by the name of Siriwardena. Buddha Anomadassi preached to him. At the end of that sermon, except Sarada, all attained Arahatship. Sarada’s goal was to be become a chief disciple of Gautama Buddha. Anomadassi Buddha gave Sarada the assurance that he would be one of the chief disciples of Gautama Buddha. His friend Siriwardena too presented alms to Anomadassi Buddha, and aspired for the second position of chief disciple.   

The First Congregation 

On Navam Full Moon Day, the first Buddhist congregation was held, under the auspicies of Maha Kassapa Thera who looked much like the Buddha. In modern management ethics, discipline play an essential role. Vinaya or discipline as taught by the Buddha two thousand five hundred years ago and established with the first Buddhist Congregation which was held at Veluwanaramaya, Rajagaha discussed an important discourse in Buddhism. They are Ovada Prathimoksha, meaning to give advice. Through this, one develops self-discipline. Buddha delivered the sermon on Ovada Prathimoksha to Sariputta and Moggallana on Navam Poya Day. It is believed that at the First Council, Upali Thera recited the vinaya while Ananda Thera recited the suttra.   

Cycles of Birth, Death and Rebirth in Buddhism and science

Buddhism speaks of cycles of birth, death and rebirth beyond time immemorial, [over Kalpas or eons]; from Anomadassi to Gauthama Buddha.   
Religion is essentially spiritual and associated with the mind, where as scientific theories are based purely on material and non-spiritual stands. Though they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum, both relate to the well being of the human race. However, Buddhism, which is based not on belief but on rationality, is always complemented by scientific theories.

The Buddha saw the impermanence of life—not only in life, but of everything in the universe. Even the universe is subject to this rule, Sabbe Sankara Anicca – All component things are transient. This is the message that the Buddha has proclaimed— that everything is changing in the universe where everything moves from one mode to another. This transition is realised only when one gets familiar with it in the evening of life. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth, a process that is in itself the best example. Birth intermingled with joy and sorrow, grief, pain, old age, despair, disease and death; again followed by rebirth in some corner in the universe according to one’s kamma.   
The term ‘Dhamma’ stands for the ethical and philosophical teachings of the Buddha. It means, “come and see” - Eahi Passiko” and not just accept it as true. Buddhism id not a religion. “I declare to you the Dhamma – in the parable of the raft, not for you to own and keep it in your possession, but utilise it as a tool to cross the stream of suffering,” The Buddha said.    As scientific exploration continue to unravel the secrets of nature the Dhamma could be expected to benefit from them. In the Dhamma, as in science there is a fundamental unwillingness to accept the existence of an Almighty as the Creator of the universe. The concept of ‘cause and effect’ is at variance with the concept of God. This truth is universally applicable like the Law of Gravity. Something cannot be made out of nothing; only from something can another thing be made. This universal truth or rationality is used in the question of our beginning -the origin of universe that leads to the “Big Bang” that is now widely considered as the only credible alternative to creation by an omnipotent God. Our universe, matter, energy and time began with that momentous event. The universe is now going through its expanding stage having already survived for about fourteen billion years, under impulsion of the incalculable energy produced at the ‘big bang’. The current belief among Astro-physicists is that the universe is envisaged to expand for a few more billion years.   

The world has been changing so rapidly the disparity between subject and object is fast fading. Everything is interconnected and interdependent between all living matter and the which are vital for our existence. In this era of rapid communications, with satellite and electronic equipments like the Internet in particular, the processes carried out in one part of the world, affects the rest of the whole world. We could attach another dimension to this system of propagation and that would be the quantum dimension. Long before the arrival of mass communications, quantum effect had been answerable for the spread of wishes of thoughts, among people. We live engrossed in force fields, of minuscule particles moving around the universe and through us at the speed of 183,000 miles per second [speed of light]. These undetectable forces carry impulses of our thoughts to long distances depending on their strengths and volume; they are bound to influence our way of thinking and judgment over a period of time.   

 Thought is the most powerful single force that we possess. If the majority were to send out impulses of thoughts of loving kindness, compassion and sympathetic joy, eventually all minds of human beings will be affected, and the fundamental shift in thinking, currently taking place, will be reinforced to achieve a lasting peace for all.   

Agganna Sutta explains it all 

In the second part of the Agganna Sutta, the Buddha relates how living beings came to reside on the planet Earth. The Buddha said that after a long lapse of time, the universe shrinks or contracts. At such times, beings are mostly born in the Abhassara Brahma world, and they dwell there feeding on delight. They are mind-made, self-luminous and move through the air. They live and exist like that for a very long periods. But sooner or later, the universe begins to expand again. During that time of expansion, the beings from the Abhassara Brahma world, after ending their lives are mostly reborn in this world. Here they dwell, feeding on delight, mind-made, self-luminous, moving through the air.And they continue like that for a very long period floating above and around the planets. At this time, the Moon and the Sun will not be visible, no night and day, no names and identity, no divisions based on race, caste religion; not even female or male: just creatures.   
May all beings be happy!


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