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The Third in Council
 
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The Third in Council

The conversion of King Dharmasoka was a very great asset to Buddhism. With his loyal patronage Buddhism flourish, and the Sasana gradually grew up in importance and numbers. Tempted by worldly gain, many undesirables of alien sects joined the Order and polluted the sasana by their corrupt lives and heretical views.

The Venerable Monggaliputta Tissa, who was then the senior Arahanat, being aware of the pollution of the Order, refrained from performing the Uposatha Ceremony with the Sangha for seven years, and was living in retirement on the banks of Ahoganga.

It was at this time King Dharmasoka entertained a doubt about thoughtless act done by an irresponsible minister. He was told that Arahant Moggaliputta Tissa would be able co clear his doubt. The King sent word to the Arahant, but he would not come. Failing twice, the third time he sent a messenger inviting him to come to protect the Sasana. The Venerable Thera accepted the invitation and arrived at Pataliputra. The King received him with due honor and accommodated him in Asokarama, built by the King himself. For seven days the King stayed with him, and studied the Dhamma sitting at his feet.

The Bhikkhus were then tested with regard to their views, and the undesirables were eliminated from the Noble Order, The pure Bhikkhus that remained performed the Uposatha for the first time after seven Years. The Arahant Moggaliputta Tissa availed himself of this opportunity to hold the third Council in order to protect the Dhamma and the Sasana. One Thousand Arahants participated in the Council which was held at Asokarama, in Pataliputra (Patna) in the 18th year of King Asoka's reign, about Two hundred, and Thirty Six years after the Parinibbána of the Buddha. The Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa was the presiding Thera, and it was he who was responsible for the composition of the Kathavatthu-Pakarana, one of the seven books of the Abhidhamma, at this august Assembly.


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