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Home History Buddhist Councils The Sixth Buddhist Council

The Sixth Buddhist Council

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Sixth Council

The Sixth Council was held in Kaba Aye in Yangon (Rangoon) in 1954, eighty-three years after the fifth one was held in Mandalay. It was sponsored by the Burmese Government led by the Prime Minister, the Honorable U Nu. He authorized the construction of the Maha Passana Guha, "the great cave," which was an artificial cave like the one the First Buddhist Council was held. Upon its completion, the Council met on the 17th of May, 1954.

As in the preceding councils, its aim was to affirm and preserve the genuine Dhamma and Vinaya. However it was unique that the monks who joined it came from eight different countries. These 2,500 learned Elders came from Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw was appointed the noble task of asking the required questions about the Dhamma to the Venerable Bhadanta Vicittasarabhivamsa, who answered all of them learnedly and satisfactorily.

The Council took two years, and the Tipitaka and its allied literature in all scripts were painstakingly examined with their differences noted down, the necessary corrections made, and collated. Fortunately, it was found that there was not much difference in the content of any of the texts. Finally, after the Council had officially approved the texts, all of the books of the Tipitaka and their Commentaries were prepared for printing on modern presses. This notable achievement was made possible through the dedicated efforts of the 2,500 monks and numerous lay people. Their work came to an end in May, 1956, 2,500 years after the Lord Buddha's Pari nibbāna .

This Council's work was a unique achievement in Buddhism history. The version of the Tipitaka in this Council has been recognized as the pristine teachings of Buddha Gotama and the most authoritative rendering today.

After the scriptures had been examined thoroughly several times, they were put into print, covering 52 treatises in 40 volumes, or 8025 pages in total. At the end of this Council, all the participating countries had the Pali Tipitaka rendered into their native scripts, with the exception of India.

 

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The Dhammapada


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