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Pra_06.JPG (6306 bytes) On the day when Dona Brahmin distributed the Relics, Bhikkhus held a meeting in Kusina.gif (845 bytes)ra.gif (845 bytes) and unanimously appointed Venerable Maha.gif (845 bytes)kassapa as their chief to carry on the affairs of the Order of Sangha. On this occasion he informed the assembled Bhikkhus of the callous, heartless uttered by the aged Subhadda Bhikkhu some days ago. Refering to this incident, he proposed the assembly to collect, classify and standardize the Buddha's Teachings so they could be an invaluable heritage to posterity. His proposal accepted, 499 Arahant Bhikkhus were selected, to include Venerable aa.gif (75 bytes)nanda as the five-hundredth. Then there arose a problem. This was that Venerable aa.gif (75 bytes)nanda was not yet an Arahant. But he could not be left out by any means since he had been the Buddha's Attendant for a long time and as such was really an indispensable store-house of the Buddha's Words. So the Bhikkhus urged him to accelerate his efforts so that he could realise the Arahatship in time i.e. before the General Meeting took place. As for locality for the meeting the city of Ra.gif (845 bytes)jagaha was chosen and unanimously agreed upon.


On the first day of the Rain Retreat period, the Bhikkhus assembled in Ra.gif (845 bytes)jagaha and determined the cave called Sattapanna, by the side Mount Vebha.gif (845 bytes)ra, as the meeting place for the purpose. During this time and from the fullmoon day of the Sa.gif (845 bytes)vana month onwards, Venerable aa.gif (75 bytes)nanda was steadily and devotedly accelerating his efforts, never being negligent or heedless of what was required of him. Nevertheless, success seemed always to elude him until the day of the General Meeting. Exhausted and somewhat discouraged, he reclined, hoping to lie down for a rest. It was miraculously at this moment, while the upper part of his body was in a slanting position, not yet touching the floor, that he was enlightened into Arahatship. Such being the case, he was unique in that it cannot be said in exactly what posture of the body he became an Arahant. This was the fulfilment of the condition set down for the General Meeting, which was convened, as earlier stipulated, by 500 Arahants.

The assembled Bhikkhus agreed to have Venerable Maha.gif (845 bytes)kassapa chair the meeting, with Venerable Upa.gif (845 bytes)li to expound the Vinaya or the disciplinary rules, and Venerable aa.gif (75 bytes)nanda to be assigned the Su.gif (65 bytes)tta or Discourses and the Abhidhamma. This was the first of its kind in Buddhism. It lasted seven months and was throughout the period under the patronage of King Aja.gif (845 bytes)tasattu. This has become ever since the source of reference as far as the Buddha's Dispensation (i.e. the Norm and the Law) are concerned. It had been transmitted orally by words of mouths for some centuries before attempts were made to have it written.

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