1st schism?

Dear all, I hope this email finds you in good health and peace of mind.

what do you think about the episode where Ven. Purana in the early texts?
could have this been the first real schism?
texts are a conditioned thing therefore, impermanent according to the Buddha´s teachings. maybe the part where he agrees that the council was well sung was a later addition?
why he wouldn't want to participate?
It might indicate that what he remembered was not the same as the council?


best wishes

Gregory Hamilton Schmidt's picture

DT Suzuki

Here is a resource that you may find helpful.
Note that Suzuki indicates that only 3 of 11 translations in Chinese include this episode regarding Purana.

Suzuki presents one translation of the event as follows:
"Purana expressed his satisfaction with the general proceedings of the Convocation, except as to the insertion of the following eight indulgences, which had been plainly approved by Buddha, and unmistakably kept in memory by himself. The eight things were: (1) Keeping food indoors; (2) Cooking indoors; (3) Cooking of one's own accord; (4) Taking food of one's own accord; (5) Receiving food when rising early in the morning; (6) Carrying food home according to the wish of a giver; (7) Having miscellaneous fruits; (8) Eating things grown in (or by?) a pond."

It is interesting that the Theravada tradition includes this event as documentation of an early division within the sangha. If we take this account as authentic, it would be the first schism as it occurred immediately following the codification of the canon and the establishment of Buddhist orthodoxy.

Note that Devadatta created the first schism, as recorded in the Cullavagga, however his followers ultimately returned to the fold under the Buddha's leadership.

Sergio Leon Candia's picture

thanks a lot for your answer

thanks a lot for your answer Gregory!
I think though that the theravada tradition dont really acount this episode as a schism, because purana is recorded to have bein in conformity with the council. at least where I have read it in the pali canon.
Good that you reminded me of devadatta :D
I do consider it interesting to think about this episode as pointing out that not everyone was agreeing to the recitation of the council as the ultimate authority regarding the teachings.

Best wishes and thanks for the link!

Gregory Hamilton Schmidt's picture


Thought you might find this paper on Devadatta, "A Condemned Saint," interesting. I came across it this evening.
It suggests that the incident of Devadatta's instigating a schism may be a later development.

"the so-called first schism within Buddhism occurred between the Sthaviras — from which the Theravāda, Dharmaguptaka, Mahīśāsaka, Sarvāstivāda, and Mūlasarvāstivāda all derive — and the Mahāsāṃghika. The fact that the Devadatta legend, including its core (episodes 13 and 14) and its elaboration (episodes 1 to 12 and 15), is common to the vinayas of the five schools deriving from the Sthavira but not found in the Mahāsāṃghika vinaya suggests that the legend arose among the Sthaviras, after they split from the Mahāsāṃghika in the fourth century B.C.E."

Sergio Leon Candia's picture

thanks again for your

thanks again for your answer!
i will look into the devadatta paper.
maybe that theory of the devadatta incident being a later development by the Sthaviras might explain the attitudo towards vegetarianism by some schools?
what do you think?

best wishes