Theravada meaning and origin


i]yaa mahaakassapaadiihi, mahaatherehi aadito
kataa saddhamma sa.mgiiti, theriyaa’ti pavuccati
eko’va theravaado so, aadivassasate ahu
a~n~naacariyavaadaatu, tato ora.m ajaayisu.m

That rehearsal of the Saddhamma arranged at the
beginning by the great theras such as
Mahaakassapa, is called the Theravaada, for the
first hundred years it was undivided. But later
arose other aacariyavaadas.

tehi sa.mgiitikaarehi, therehi dutiyehi te
niggahitaa paapabhikkhuu, sabbe dasasahassakaa
aka.msaa’cariyavaada.m te, mahaasa.mgiitinaamakaa

The evil monks, ten thousand in all, who were
censured by the theras who held the Second
Council, established the school of doctrine named
the Mahaasa.mgiiti (Greater Recital or Assembly).

tato gokulikaa jaataa, ekabbohaarikaapi ca

From that arose the Gokulikas and the Ekabbohaarikas

gokulikehi pa.n.natti-vaadaa baahulikaapi ca
cetiyavaadaa tesveva, samataasa`nghikaa cha te

From the Gokulikas arose the Pa.n.nattivaada and
the Baahulikas; from these arose the Cetiyavaada.
Thus there are six schools designated Mahaasanghika.

punaapi theravaadehi, mahi.msaasakabhikkhavo
vajjiiputtakabhikkhuu ca, duve jaataa ime khalu

And then two more arose from among the followers
of the Theravaada: the Mahi.msaasaka and the
Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus.

jaataa’tha dhammuttariyaa, bhadrayaanikabhikkhavo
channaagaaraa sammitiyaa, vajjiiputtiyabhikkhuuti

Then arose the Dhammuttariyaas, the Bhadrayaanika
monks, the Channaagaarikas, the Sammitiyas, and
the Vajjiiputtiya monks.

mahi.msaasakabhikkhuuhi, bhikkhuu sabbattha
dhammaguttiyabhikkhuu ca, jaataa khalu ime duve

From the Mahi.msaasaka monks arose these two: the
Sabbatthivaadins and the Dhammaguttiya monks.

jaataa sabbatthivaadiihi, kassapiyaa tato pana
jaataa sa`nkantikaa bhikkhuu, suttavaadaa tato

From the Sabbatthivaadins arose the Kassapiyas,
then from these arose the Sankantika monks, and
from these the Suttavaadins.

theravaadena saha te, honti dvaadasi’mepi ca
pubbe vuttachavaadaa ca, iti a.t.thaarasaa khilaa

These make twelve, together with the Theravaada;
to these are added the six schools named before,
thus making eighteen.

sattarasaapi dutiye, jaataa vasassate iti
a~n~naacariyavaadaa tu, tato oramajaayisu.m

Thus in the second century arose seventeen
schools, and the others arose afterwards.

hemataa raajagiriyaa, tathaa siddhatthikaapi ca
pubbaseliyabhikkhuu ca, tathaa aparaseliyaa

The Hemavata and the Raajagiriyaa, and likewise
the Siddhatthaka, the Pubbaseliya monks and the

vaajiriyaa cha etehi, jambudiipamhi bhinnakaa
dhammaruci ca saagaliyaa, la.mkaadiipamhi

and the Vajiriyas: these six broke away in
Jambudiipa. The Dhammaruci and the Saagaliyas
broke away on the Island of Lankaa.

aacariyakulavaadakathaa ni.t.thitaa
Concluded is the the Story of the Aacariya Schools
quote from the Katthavathuppakarana-Atthakatha (by Buddhoghosa) (p3 of Points of controversy, PTS) :
It talks about after the second council (about 100 years after Buddha parinibbana)

“Ten thousand of the of the Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus[after splitting from the good monks] seeking adherents among themselves, formed a school called the Mahasanghika [these then split several times] Thus from the school of the Mahasanghikas, in the second century only two schools seceded from the Theravada[note that the rightful monks are called Theravada by Buddhaghosa]-Mahimsinsasakas and Vajjiputtakas… [it lists more that split later]..Thus from the Theravada arose these eleven seceding bodies making 12 in all. And these 12 together the six schools of the Mahasanghikas constitute the 18 schools which arose in the second century. Of the eighteen, 17 are to be understood as schismatics,[b] the Theravadan only being non- schismatic[/b

The Theravada order has always being conservative. It is because of their great courage and wisdom that the true Dhamma is still here.

Take the case of the Abhayagiri sect which later arose as a distinct sect from the Mahavihara monks(who kept the Dhamma and Vinaya properly) which was mentioned by someone earlier in this thread

The Mahavamsa notes (p267 -268)p264 that a King helped to purify the sasana by suppression of a heresy. He seized bhikkhus dwelling in the Abhayagiri..”who had turned to the Vetulya [they followed some of the mahayana beliefs] doctrine and were like a thorn in the doctrine of the Buddha and he excommunicated them.” It then notes that the thera sanghamitta (from south India was embittered against the goo bhikkhus of the Mahavihara and bided his time until the good king died and the next one Jetthatissa died. Then his time was ripe when the younger brother of Jetthatissa (mahasena ) came to power that the Thera sanghamitta , who dwelt at the Abhayagiri told the king that the Mahavihara teach a wrong doctrine and so the King made a proclamation telling the population that they could not feed any monk from the Mahavihara. “The good monks thus abandoned it.””

These good monks underwent incredible hardship as they people were forbidden to feed them. BUT they were steadfast in refusing to conduct acts of sangha such as reciting the Patimokkha with the Abhayagiri. Eventually things changed and the good monks were again allowed to be fed. I find this example of the conservatism of the ancient Theravada heroic and inspiring.
In fact the ancient monks would stand firm no matter how unpopular their stand was. To say that Theravada is merely some later sect who made base and false claims to follow the original teachings is extraordinarily ungrateful and foolish IMO.

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