(19)Rapid expansion of the Buddhist Order - outstanding disciples joined Buddha one after another.

ulverer Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

[The life of Buddha (Sakyamuni) as seen through local photographs] ⒆
 Rapid expansion of the Buddhist Order - outstanding disciples joined Buddha one after another.

Previous Article"⒅What was innovative about Buddha's teachings - a brief explanation in the context of the religious situation in India at the time."In the following section, I discussed how Buddha's teachings were revolutionary in the Indian religious world of the time.

And as I mentioned in the above article, the "First Turning of the Wheel" at Sarnath led to the birth of the Buddhist Order, and this is where the Buddha's rapid progress began.

In this article, I will briefly discuss the rapid expansion of such a buddha cult.

Ordained by Yasa, son of a great merchant (chief) and his associates

After completing his first Dharma wheel at Sarnath, Buddha stayed there for a while and spent his days in ascetic practice with his five companions.

One day, a young man happened to pass by him. He was muttering to himself, "It is bothersome, bothersome..." and his face was gloomy. Seeing him, Buddha said to the young man, "In absolute peace, there is no misfortune. Come. Come and attain bliss. The young man, who was troubled by life, was so moved by Buddha's teachings that he immediately decided to become a monk.

However, things did not go so easily. In fact, this young man was the son of a wealthy merchant (chief) in Varanasi who had run away from home and was walking aimlessly when he met Buddha. His name was Yasa. Like the young Buddha, he too was living a life without any inconvenience, but he was depressed by the emptiness of his life. He couldn't take it any longer and ran away and came here.

Parents are outraged at such a son's departure. It is natural for them to be furious. They were so furious that they came to see Buddha, but, wonder of wonders, they were so moved by Buddha's greatness that they became his followers. He was so moved by Buddha's greatness that he became a believer in Buddha's teachings.

Inspired by Yasa's ordination, his friends also became ordained. Including Yasa, the total number of members was 55! Thus, young men from wealthy families joined the Buddha Order in one fell swoop.

Old Varanasi today

Now, there are a few things worth noting about these yasa ordinations. First, they were not practitioners like Shamon, but people who lived ordinary lives. This means that Buddha's teachings already had the power to reach ordinary people.

Also important is the fact that this yasa ordination took place in Varanasi.⑾Why Buddhism spread so rapidly in India: the birth of a great power distancing itself from Brahmanism and the rise of an emerging merchant class."As I mentioned in the article "The Ganges City of Varanasi," Varanasi, a city on the Ganges River, was the center of commerce, and a large number of new merchants were born here. They were not looking for the old Brahmanism, but for a new ideology that would affirm their existence as merchants.

Yes, it is. That is why Yasa's parents were able to accept Buddha's teachings and choose to become lay believers. Although Buddhism may be thought of as an abstinence from money because it aims to be free from greed, this is actually not true. It condemns attachment to worldly desires, but does not deny money itself. Rather, it encourages sound economics, and even suggests that one can become very wealthy by honestly working hard. (This is also mentioned in Nakamura Hazime's Selected Works, Vol. 18, pp.The Social Thought of Primitive Buddhism."If you are interested, please refer to the detailed explanation in the following section.

'No, but doesn't it bother you as a parent to have the son of the heir to your business taken away from you?'

Yes, indeed it is. This is what I thought too. But what if they had a younger brother? This would not be a problem, because the younger brother would be able to take over the family business. In fact, the fact that the eldest son was ordained in the Order of Buddha would be a status symbol for the family. Later on, the Buddha Order would also receive support from major powers such as Magadha and Kosala. It would be a proud moment for the parents if their son could become a major member of such a cult. And as I mentioned earlier, the emerging merchants will also like Buddha for bringing new ideas. This is not a bad story to do business with.

So we can say that Yasa's ordination was very significant to the expansion of the Buddha Order.

The devotion of the three Kassapas - three powerful Brahmin brothers of the time, all together in the Order of Buddha.

Buddha, who had been living in the suburbs of Varanasi, finally set out on his missionary journey.

His first destination was Ulverer, where Buddha once practiced.

Zensyougaku Mountain, believed to have been located near Ulverer.

It is not known why the Buddha came to this place, but he once spent a long period of time here in ascetic practice.

And this Uluwelaar is close to the city of Gaya, which was also a sacred place for Brahminism. Therefore, it is said that many Brahmins, practitioners, and thinkers gathered in this area.

And importantly, there were three ascetics in this area, Urveera Kassapa, Nadi Kassapa, and Gaya Kassapa. They were specialists in Brahmin fire rituals and were a major force with many followers.

These three are real brothers, meaning that Ulwerer Kassapa is Kassapa in Ulwerer, Nadi Kassapa is Kassapa on the Neelanjara River, and Gaya Kassapa is Kassapa in Gaya.

Buddha had to compete with them.

Of course, the challenger is Buddha. He is only the founder of a small, as yet unnamed cult. The match was to take place in the ring of Kassapa.

Many Buddhist scriptures explain that the contest was a battle of supernatural powers . Kassapa is a fire ascetic. Therefore, he was able to cause various phenomena. I cannot be more specific because this area is mythological, but Buddha won the battle of supernatural power, and Kassapa and his followers took refuge in him.

They recognized Buddha's power and were deeply impressed by his teachings. The three Kassapa brothers decided to take their disciples and join the Order of Buddha. In this way, a thousand disciples joined the Order of Buddha at once.

By this stage, the Buddha Order had grown to more than 1,000 members, and had quickly become one of the major religious orders in East India.

Conversion of Sāriputta and Moggallāna, disciples of Sanjaya, RokushiGedo.

The Buddhist mission has grown into a huge organization, but now there is an even bigger tailwind blowing.

That was the entry of Saariputta and Moggallana.

They were high disciples of the cult of Sanjaya, which was centered in the Magadha country. Speaking of Sanjaya.⒄Buddha's powerful rival, the "Rokushigedo"-Indian freethinkers who rejected Brahmanism and advocated a new ideology."He is one of the Rokushigedo I talked about in the article

Sanjaya was famous as a thinker who preached skepticism and had many disciples. As his disciples, Sāriputta and Moggallana practiced daily.

One day, however, Sāriputta saw an almsgiver in Rajigir, the capital of Magadha. The ascetic was beautiful and had a spiritual fragrance about him. He said, "This is no ordinary person. Who is this man's master and what kind of teachings does he preach? Curious, Sāriputta asked the practitioner. And the answer that emerged was the existence of Buddha.

According to the Buddhist scriptures, this practitioner was Assaji, one of the Five Bhikkhus, Buddha's first companions. That makes sense then. He was an outstanding disciple who had spent time with the Buddha since the beginning of the Order. His behavior and aura must have been overwhelming. And Sāriputta, who instantly recognized him, is also a very good person. I think it was because they were both overwhelming personalities that they were able to communicate with each other.

Thus, Sāriputta learns of Buddha's existence and tells his partner Moggallāna about this amazing almsgiver. Moggallāna too receives teachings from Assaji and decides to join Buddha's Order.

This decision infuriated their master, Sanjaya. It was just as well, for Sāriputta and Moggallāna were such gems that they would later become the core of the Buddhist Order. Their departure was fatal to Sanjaya because they were the leaders of the Sanjaya Order. In the end, not only Sāriputta and Moggallāna, but also 250 of their adoring disciples joined the Order of Buddha. It is reported that Sanjaya "coughed up hot blood" in response to this punishment.


Soon after the Buddha's first turning of the wheel, the Buddha Order was to expand at a frightening pace.

As we have seen, this rapid expansion was due to the fact that the heads and high disciples of the Order joined the Buddha Order and absorbed the majority of its disciples as they did.

However, despite this seemingly rapid expansion, there were actually several problems.

First, the number of practitioners has increased, and the quality of the practitioners varies. Buddha's first companions, the Five Bhikkhus, the three Kassapa brothers, Sāriputta, and Moggallāna, are certainly outstanding. But what about the other 1,250 disciples? Of course, they had their good days in the Order of Buddha, but there will be some who are inferior in terms of their aspirations and abilities.

This would cause some people to engage in behavior that is undesirable to the Buddha Order. Therefore, the precepts were created to discourage such behavior. In other words, the precepts did not exist in the Buddha's teachings from the beginning, but were established one after another as necessity dictated.

Along with this, as the Order expands, it also needs to be organized accordingly. This is definitely not the same as the days when Buddha and his five companions were practicing in a small group. When the Order grows larger, it needs to be organized in a more administrative manner. Furthermore, the increase in the number of people in the Order makes it difficult for Buddha to teach each person directly. A system of practice was then formulated to determine how to teach. This was the milestone for the expansion of Buddha's cult and its later global spread.

Well, at any rate, this is how the Buddha Order achieved rapid expansion.

In the following article we will discuss the reunion of the Buddha with King Bimbisara of Magadha and the Buddha in this country. This reunion with King Bimbisara marks a further development in the Buddha cult.

Next Article.

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