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Book: Buddhism in Five Minutes

Chapter: 38. What Splits were there in Buddhism in the Early Centuries?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40777


Just after the Buddha’s passing away (c. 404 bce), a “communal recitation” (council) of 500 enlightened monks was held to agree the contents of the Buddha’s teachings and the monastic discipline (Vinaya) he had developed. Perhaps seventy years later, another council was held to guard against laxity among some monks, and, a further sixteen year later, the first schism in the previously unified monastic community (Sangha) occurred; other such schisms followed.

Chapter Contributors

  • Peter Harvey ( - peterharvey) 'University of Sunderland'