Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Visuth Busyakul

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The traditional way of preserving the teaching of the Buddha in the old days was by commitment of every word into memory. It had to be refreshed by subsequent Sangāyanā (or Sangīti) Councils from time to time. This worked effectively for the Theravāda School, which employed Pali as the textual language, regardless of the geographical site of each individual Council. Records of the Councils are found scattered in the Tipitaka and other late Pali writing. In general, it may be that three Theravāda Councils were held in India, two in Ceylon, two in Burma, and two or there in Thailand. Of all these, the Chattha Sangīti Council held in Burma from 1954 to 1956 A.D. appears to be the most scholarly, except for the fact that a reliable printed edition of the resolution of the Council is hard to find. With the passage of time, the definition of the term Council has also changed. Now a Council is often identified by the judicious application of the rules of textual criticism in the edition of the Tipitaka text as appearing in manuscript and printed books. In connection with this, the Dhamma Society Fund of Lady Maniratana Bunnag is now undertaking.

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