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348 LESSON 17 08 2011 Kalaka Sutta At Kalaka s Park FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT to attain Ultimate Bliss-Through Free Buddhist Studies for Young Students- Lesson 13 History of the Dhamma and Sangha Missionary work
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348 LESSON 17 08 2011 Kalaka Sutta At Kalaka s Park FREE ONLINE eNālandā
Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP
ELEPHANT to attain Ultimate Bliss-Through Free
Buddhist Studies for Young Students-
Lesson 13 History of
the Dhamma and Sangha Missionary work

AN 4.24

PTS: A ii 23

Kalaka Sutta: At
Kalaka’s Park

translated from the Pali

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 2002–2011

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Saketa
at Kalaka’s park. There he addressed the monks: “Monks!”

“Yes, lord,” the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: “Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with
its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives
& priests royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized,
attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in
the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their
contemplatives & priests, their royalty & common people — is seen,
heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect:
That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the

it has not been established.[2]

“If I were to say, ‘I don’t know whatever in the cosmos…
is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that would be a
falsehood in me. If I were to say, ‘I both know and don’t know whatever in the
cosmos… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the intellect,’ that
would be just the same. If I were to say, ‘I neither know nor don’t know
whatever in the cosmos… is seen, heard, sensed, cognized… pondered by the
intellect,’ that would be a fault in me.

“Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be
seen, doesn’t construe an [object as] seen. He doesn’t construe an unseen. He
doesn’t construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn’t construe a seer.

“When hearing…

“When sensing…

“When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn’t construe
an [object as] cognized. He doesn’t construe an uncognized. He doesn’t construe
an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn’t construe a cognizer.

Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all
phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is ‘Such.’ And I
tell you: There’s no other ‘Such’ higher or more sublime.

“Whatever is seen
or heard or sensed and fastened onto as true by others, One who is Such — among
the self-fettered — wouldn’t further claim to be true or even false.
“Having seen well in advance that arrow where generations are fastened
& hung — ‘I know, I see, that’s just how it is!’ — there’s nothing
of the Tathagata fastened.”

Lesson 13: History of the Dhamma and
Sangha-Missionary work

1. India

~ 528 – 483 B.C.

The Buddha began teaching the
at Isipatana (modern

Sarnath, near Varanasi), more
2500 years ago,
when he was

years old. He gave his first discourse to 5
of his old friends who

practiced asceticism. They
became his first students and the first

members of the Buddhist
Sangha. Soon more people joined the

Sangha and under the Buddha’s
guidance many became fully

enlightened (Arahants). For
the next 45 years, the Buddha and his

ordained students wandered
through Northern India teaching people

the Dhamma. By the time of
his final passing away, thousands of

people had become his
followers. The Buddha
passed away at

Kusinara, when he was 80 years old. Three months after his

500 Arahants assembled at
Rajagaha to recite the Dhamma and rules

of conduct for monks and nuns
(Vinaya) as they remembered them.

This meeting is called First Buddhist Council. All
the Arahants

belonged to the school of
elders (Theravada).

~ 483 – 274 B.C.

About 383 B.C. second Buddhist Council was
held at Vesali, where

a division occurred in the Sangha over
rules of conduct. 10 000

monks refused to follow some
rules given by the Buddha, and made

10 new proposals, which were
rejected by the Council. Hence they

formed a new sect or order,
calling themselves Mahasanghikas, or

members of the Great Order.
From then on the Buddhist Sangha not

only increased in size, but
also 18 schools of Buddhism developed.

Three most important were: 1)
the original orthodox
Theravada, who

used Pali language; 2) the Sarvastivada,
which was very similar to

the Theravada, but used Sanskrit language, that was also spoken by

Brahmins; 3) the
Mahasanghikas, who used
Sanskrit language

were much looser in
interpretation of the Buddha’s teaching than were

the other two schools.

~ 274 B.C. – 500 A.D.

About 274 B.C. North Indian
King Asokha became

Buddhist lay disciple. He
was very tolerant of other religions, and

supported Hindu and other
religious seekers, as well as Buddhist

Sangha. The orthodox
Theravada and Sarvastivada schools

particularly flourished
during his reign. The third Buddhist Council

was organised by him at
Pataliputra to review the true Buddhist

teaching or doctrine, and to
begin a
missionary activity
outside the

King Asokha’s empire.
Following this council, King Asokha sent

Buddhist missionaries to
distant foreign countries - Ceylon (Sri

Lanka), Syria, Egypt,
Macedonia and Philadelphos.

Following the King Asokha’s
reign, Buddhism continued to flourish

in India. Pali speaking
Theravada Buddhists gradually moved from the

ancient kingdoms of Kosala
and Maghda, now Utah Pradesh and

Bihar, to Southern India and
Ceylon. They did not participate in the

further Indian schisms in the
Sangha. Mahasanghikas gradually also

lost popularity in the North
and also moved to South India.

Sarvastivadins were
popular in the northern and northwestern India.

But gradually they further
separated into two schools –
Hinayana and


Hinayana (‘Lesser vehicle’)
group were Sarvastivada elders. They

held strictly to the orthodox
tradition, wishing to retain the purity of

the original teachings. From
300 to 100 B.C. they developed

which is a systematic collection of the Buddha’s

teachings, based on the
original discourses and monastic rules.

Mahayana (‘Grater vehicle’)
group were freer in interpretation of the

Buddha’s teachings, and made
adjustments to the original rules and

discipline. From the 1st to
3rd century A.D. they composed new

discourses and formed their

After 500 A.D. Buddhism
gradually declined in India. Among the

contributing factors were
unfavorable political conditions, loss of

support or opposition from
the rulers, loss of enthusiasm among the

Sangha, and increased
popularity of Hinduism and other religions.

Presently, only about 1% of
Indians are Buddhists, and most of them

follow the Mahayana tradition.

2. Asia and western countries

246 B.C. – 16th century A.D.

Buddhist missionary activity
outside of India began
after the third

Buddhist Council.
Most of the Buddhist missions from the 3rd

century B.C. until the 16th
century were to Asian countries. While

missionaries were also sent
as far as Egypt, Syria, Macedonia and

Philadelphos, due to a strong
influence of other religions, Buddhism

did not become established

The most important Theravada early mission was to Ceylon

Lanka) in 246 B.C. Buddhist
missionaries, led by the king Asokha’s

son Venerable Mahinda,
brought and established the Theravada

Buddhism there. From Ceylon,
Buddhism was introduced to Burma

between 1st and 5th
centuries, and it became prevalent there after the

11th century. From the 13th
century, Buddhism was further established

in Thailand by missionaries
from Burma and Ceylon. In the 14th

century it also became well
established in Cambodia and later in Laos,

from the nearby Buddhist

From the 1st century A.D.,
Mahayana missionaries

their tradition to many
surrounding countries. In the 1st century A.D.

Mahayana tradition was
brought to China, and many Buddhist schools

developed there. Most well
known are Chan, which emphasises

meditation, and Pure Land, which
is more devotional and popular

among most people. In the 4th
century, Mahayana Buddhism was

taken from China to Korea,
where it reached zenith from 7th to 12th

centuries. In the 6th
century, Buddhism was taken from China to

Japan, and by the 9th century
about 6 different sects existed there. The

most known is Zen, which
emphasised meditation. In the 8th century,

Mahayana was propagated from
India to Tibet, Mongolia, Himalayan

kingdoms and Siberia in
present Russia. This tradition is called

Vajrayana. It is an early Mahayana
tradition mixed with Indian

tantric practices of mystical
chants and rituals, and original religions

of the regions.

16th century – present

In the 16th century Europeans came into contact with

through Christian
missionaries. Their general impression was that

Buddhism was a primitive
religion of idol worship. Serious study of

Buddhism and its gradual
spread to the West began only in the early

19th century. By the end of
the 20th century, both Theravada and

Mahayana had spread to many
western countries. Buddhism is

becoming popular among young
people in United States, Western

Europe and Australia.

At present, Theravada
Buddhism is a major religion in Sri Lanka,

Thailand, Burma, Laos and
Cambodia. Mahayana Buddhism is a

major religion in China,
Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Tibet, Nepal and

Bhutan. Both Mahayana and
Theravada schools are growing in

popularity in the west. In
spite of various differences, both Theravada

and Mahayana traditions
treasure the Triple Gem. Both traditions

accept Gotama Buddha as the
founder of Buddhism, and the 4 Noble

Truths and the law of Kamma,
as the core teachings. Both have


monastic Sangha, but their
robes and some rules of conduct slightly


1. Use Internet or other
resources to find out more about the division

of the Sangha into Theravada,
Sarvastivada and Mahasanghikas; and

about the later division of
the Sarvastivada into Hinayana and

Mahayana traditions. What are
the main differences between them?

Why did the divisions occur?

2. Read about the King
Asokha’s life and his contributions to the

Buddhist tradition.

3. Find out about history of
Buddhism in Sri Lanka, China, Tibet or

other countries of your
choice. Prepare a short report about one of


Propagation of the Dhamma

For the first 400 years the
Buddha’s teachings was recited and

memorised by the monks and
nuns. Though writing was known in

India at that time, it was
not customary to record sacred teachings in

writing. So for 4 centuries
the Dhamma was passed on orally.

The Theravada scriptures were
first written down 100 B.C., in Ceylon

(Sri Lanka), on plant leaves.
They form the Theravada, or Pali, Canon.

It is written in Pali language. The Mahayana scriptures were written

down between 100 A.D. and 300
A.D., in
Sanskrit lanuguage.

form the Mahayana Canon. So
we have Kamma, Dhamma, and

Nibbana, in Pali; and Karma, Dharma and Nirvana, in Sanskrit.

Both Canons contain some
teachings and discourses that are very

similar, and also some that
are different. Both Canons consist of three

groups of texts called Three Baskets, or Tipitaka:

The Basket of Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka)

(Rules of conduct for monks
and nuns, an account of the

Buddha’s life, and records of
the development of the

monastic order.)

The Basket of Discourses (Sutta Pitaka)

(The recorded discourses of
the Buddha and some of his


The Basket of Higher Doctrine (Abhidhamma Pitaka)

(Systematic classification of
the terms and ideas found in the


first two collections. It was
composed after the first two


While the Theravada Basket of
Discourses contains texts (

attributed only to the Buddha
and his contemporary disciples, the

Mahayana Basket of Discourses
also contains texts (
that were

composed by the monks after
the 1st century A.D., and also

commentaries on those
discourses. Hence the whole Mahayana Canon

consists of many more texts
and volumes than the Pali Canon. But

both Canons reflect the
development of the Theravada and Mahayana

traditions over several

1. Use Internet or other resources,
to obtain more information about

the Buddhist scriptures and
complete the following tasks:

a) List names of the books in
the Theravada and Mahayana Baskets of

Discourses, and very briefly
describe their contents.

b) Name some most well know
Buddha’s discourses from the

Theravada and Mahayana
traditions. Briefly summarise what is in

each discourse.

c) Read about the
disciplinary (monastic) rules in the
Vinaya Pitaka,

and discuss why the Buddha
gave them to his students.

d) Read a few chapters from
the Dhammapada – the chapter on the

Buddha and a few other of
your choice, and discuss them with other


Development of the Sangha

As described previously, the
Sangha of the Triple Gem is a spiritual

community of the Buddha’s
followers who have realised the 4 Noble

Truths, at least to some
degree. The name Sangha is however most

commonly used to mean a
monastic community or order, of monks

and nuns. According to the
records, during the Buddha’s life this

Sangha consisted almost
entirely of the enlightened individuals, and

many of them Arahants. To
become a part of the monastic order, one

had to ask for a permission
and be accepted, or ordained, by the

Buddha or his authorised
disciples. This tradition continues to this


1. Monastic ordination

During the Buddha’s mission,
the ordination gradually developed

from a simple consent to join
the Buddhist order, to a more complex

public ceremony.

The first few hundred
students were personally ordained by the

Buddha. They simply asked him
for a permission to join the order, and

he accepted and invited them
in. Later, as the Sangha grew, it was not

possible for all students to
see the Buddha, so the Buddha instructed

his best students to ordain
some of them. The newcomers had to shave

their heads, and in the case
of men beards, and put on robes. They had

to formally take a refuge in
the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha by

reciting Three Refuges.
Later, when some less mature people wanted

to join the Order, 10
precepts were added to the Three Refuges. Later

still, after lay people
complained of the behaviour of some monks,

more detailed rules of
conduct were introduced for monks and nuns

who completed their novice
training. So the total number of rules

increased from 10 to more
than 200.

2. Daily lives of monks and nuns

After the ordination, monks
and nuns had to leave their families and

live in monasteries. They had
to become celibate, keep their heads

shaved and wear robes. This
tradition continues to this day. The

aspirant becomes a novice (samanera) first and after a period of


novice training, if he or she
wishes so, can become a fully ordained

monk or nun (bhikkhu or bhikkhuni).
However, he or she must be at

least 20 years old, and pass
a general examination on the Dhamma.

Novice training is similar to
an apprenticeship. Novices are expected

to obey 10 precepts, obtain
their food by begging, do monastic chores

and help monks and nuns,
study and recite the scriptures, and

meditate. In addition to the
duties listed for the novices, monks and

nuns are expected to obey
more than 200 rules of conduct, train

novices, teach the Dhamma to
lay students, and conduct religious


1. Use Internet or other
resources, to complete the following tasks:

a) Describe lives of some of
the Buddha’s early disciples, and their

main contributions to the
Buddhist tradition. What qualities did they

all have in common, and how
did they differ?

b) Read life stories, of your
choice, of now living Buddhist teachers,

and share them with other


a) Read the Ten Training
Precepts and The Four-fold Reflection of a

Monk (see Appendix) to
discuss daily life of novices.

b) Discuss a fifth life
requisite, necessary in a literate society -

education and teaching
materials. What are the basic materials we

need to study and teach the

3. Visit a local temple or a
monastery and ask the novices, monks or

nuns to show you around and
tell you about their daily lives. Discuss

your findings with others in
your group.

1. What parts of the Buddhist
history and scriptures did you find most

interesting and why?

2. Would you like to live
like the Buddhist novices, or monks or nuns,

do? What would you like to do
when you leave school, and why?



a) What rules of conduct do
you live by? What rules do you have at

school and at home?

b) What duties do you have
apart from your schoolwork?

c) What is your daily
routine: during the school terms; on the

weekends; during school


a) Go through your things,
separate what you don’t really need and

give it away to a charity or
friends. Then clean and tidy your room.

b) Make a small bag to hold
needles and threads. Then repair some of

your, or your sibling’s,

c) Make a Buddhist book,
using simple materials such as paper, pens,

pencils and threads.

1. Why is it important to
know the main history of the humankind?

What can we learn from it,
and how can we benefit from this

knowledge in our daily lives?

2. Why is it important to know
the main history of the Buddhism and

the oldest scriptures?

How can this knowledge help
to bring peace among the Buddhist

communities, and world wide?


1. When and where did the
Buddha pass away?

2. When did the first
division of the Sangha occur, and why?

3. When and how did the
Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana

traditions begin?

4. How long did Buddhism
flourish in India, and why did it die out?

5. Who was King Asokha and
how did he contribute to the spread of


6. When and by whom was
Buddhism introduced to Sri Lanka, China

and Tibet?

7. List the countries in
which a) Theravada, b) Mahayana and c)

Vajrayana Buddhist tradition
is a main religion.


8. How was the Dhamma
propagated during the Buddha’s life and

after he passed away?

9. What is the difference
between Canon, Scriptures and Baskets?

10. What does Tipitaka
consists of?

11. What is Sangha and when
and how did it begin?

12. What is the difference
between a novice and a monk?

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