We have already observed that after a century of the Buddha's mahaplrinirveiva, schismatic spirit undermined the internal harmony and cohesion of the Buddhist fraternity. One section of the Buddhist cenobites protested against the rigor of the monastic precepts and ordinances while the other insisted on their observance with vehemence and vigor. The nonconformists of Vigil came to be designated as Malidsatnghikas whereas the non-changer or the conventionalist received the name of Theravddins (Sthaviravddins) who elected to adhere to the old tradition preserved in the Pali canon. It is usually admitted, and not without sufficient grounds, that the Theravada school has preserved the original teachings of primitive Buddhism.
The tradition is prevalent in Ceylon, Burma, Siam and parts of Cambodia and other Buddhist countries that the first schism of primitive Buddhism resulted in the formation of two major schools, viz. the Theravada and the Mandsafpghika.
It has been narrated in the Dipavamsa that the Mahiragdsaka or better known as Mahigdsaka seceded from the primitive Theravada school, and Mahigdsaka in its turn became bifurcated into two branches viz, the Dharmagupta and the Sarydstivdda. So it turns out in the ultimate analysis of the whole position that the Sarvastivada came into existence as an offshoot of Theravada school of Buddhism.
The Chinese pilgrim It sings in his Record of the Buddhist Religion has referred to the four schools of Buddhism, viz. (1) Aryasthavira, (2) Aryamahasarfighika, (3) Aryamillasarv5stivada and (4) Aryasammitiya. The apparent plausibility of the view is undeniable that these and other subsequent schools stemmed from the two ancient schools of Buddhism.'
The history of the Sarva'stivaila school began to take a definite shape and pattern during the reign of king Agora. It was under his powerful aegis that the council of Pataliputra was held for bringing about a rapprochement amongst the different rival schools and to avert the widening of the fissure formed by the break-up of the Buddhist Church. It has been stated that Moggaliputta Tissa was elected as the representative of the pristine Theravada school to play a leading role in it. He composed the Kathavatthu by gathering its material from different authoritative sources in order to refute the heretical view advanced by the advocates of separatism. The Sarvdstivadins, however, furnished rejoinder to it in conformity to their own philosophical doctrines and their views were suspected to smack of heterodoxy.
It stands confirmed by historical evidence' that during the reign of King Agora, numerous divergent Buddhist sects were prevalent in the different parts of his far-flung empire. Amongst them, however, the Theravada and the Mah5sanighika schools were in a predominant position and they claimed greater number of their adherents. Agora was noted for his religious tolerance and liberal views and as such it is extremely uncertain whether he belonged to the Theravada or any other school of Buddhism. It is remarkable that tradition affirms conflicting accounts on this controversial point and as such their historical value is only dubious and problematic.
1. The divergence of views is bound to occur concerning the emergence of the different schools of Buddhism. But there is no gainsaying the fact that all these schools were short-lived and their appearance and disappear. acne ran side by side.
2. Cf. The Katheivatthu was written by Moggaliputta Tissa during the reign of Atoka, It is a historically attested fact that the two schools, viz, the Theravada and the Sarvastivada gained considerable eminence during the reign of Agora and Kaminski. Imperial patronage accounted for their rapid expansion in India and foreign lands. The Sarvastivada school flourished in the different areas of North India and converted Ka4mira and Mathura as its strongholds, and ultimately spread in Central Asia and China, and whereas the Theravada school held its sway over Magadha and some parts of Kaila which were the original cradle of Buddhism. It is apparent that the Sarvastivada school that emanated from the Theravada school eclipsed other sub-schools that originated from the latter and the marked parallelism between the two schools on some vital points of religion and philosophy testifies to their prolonged association.
The monks who did not align themselves with the rigorous code of morality and ethical teachings of the primitive Theravada Buddhism realized the climate of Magadha as congenial to their heretic attitude. Consequently those protestant dissidents gradually shifted their centre of missionary activity and began to propagate their new gospels in the remote corner of north-western regions of India. A brief report of this exodus has been provided by the Abhidharmanzahavibhag and the Records of the Western Land as left by Hiuen-Tsang. They succeeded to bring those areas under the spell of their new doctrines and came to be recognized as the Vaibhasikas of Gandara and Kendra.
1. The records left by the Chinese pilgrims, viz. Fashion (5th c. A. D.), Haitian-Tsang (629.645 A.D.) and I-thing have set forth the names of the different countries and as such indicated the spheres of influence and the Geographical division of the Sarvastivgda school. It became firmly ensconced in the different parts of India, particularly in KA4mira and G5ndhara, and in the course of time flourished over a wide area, including central Asia, Tibet, China, Japan and other lands of the Buddha. It spread its branches in different directions and set up numerous organizations firmly fastened together with fraternal links and community of ideal and conception. Vasubandhu has referred to the two different schools-' of the Vaiblisikas, viz. (1) Kagmira-Vaibhasika and (2) Paucity-Vaughan-Oka. It is traditionally held that in the course of time the P54calya Vaibhaeka became divided into two sub-schools designated as Mridu and Madhya.
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