Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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khemindas
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Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by khemindas » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:59 am

It's interesting, but in the early times there was no such thing as Abbot (Viharadhipati). Rather there were people who were responsible for different kind of distribution, for example person responsible for distribution of kuti (lodging), person responsible for distribution of food, person responsible for distribution of medicine e.t.c. But later it seems some people desired for power and decided to create idea of Abbot, it's not clear yet, by who it was created by king or by monk, and how early it was created, obviously it was created not early than third buddhist council, may be even much later.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:21 pm

khemindas wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:59 am
It's interesting, but in the early times there was no such thing as Abbot (Viharadhipati). Rather there were people who were responsible for different kind of distribution, for example person responsible for distribution of kuti (lodging), person responsible for distribution of food, person responsible for distribution of medicine e.t.c. But later it seems some people desired for power and decided to create idea of Abbot
It's possible that people did not desire the power for themselves, but thought that the different responsibilities required a coordinating role.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:22 pm

I think the role of abbot evolved naturally as the early wandering monks settled in fixed monastic establishments and as these grew larger. Wandering groups would gain and lose members so often that ad hoc responsibilities would be most suitable, but a settled community would benefit from more stable leadership.
I have always thought it interesting that the monasteries of Buddhists in Asia and Christians in mediaeval Europe had so many similarities. Having an abbot is one of many.

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khemindas
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by khemindas » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:53 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:21 pm
khemindas wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:59 am
It's interesting, but in the early times there was no such thing as Abbot (Viharadhipati). Rather there were people who were responsible for different kind of distribution, for example person responsible for distribution of kuti (lodging), person responsible for distribution of food, person responsible for distribution of medicine e.t.c. But later it seems some people desired for power and decided to create idea of Abbot
It's possible that people did not desire the power for themselves, but thought that the different responsibilities required a coordinating role.
According to vinaya monks must coordinate and discuss everything together.

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khemindas
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by khemindas » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:58 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:22 pm
I think the role of abbot evolved naturally as the early wandering monks settled in fixed monastic establishments and as these grew larger. Wandering groups would gain and lose members so often that ad hoc responsibilities would be most suitable, but a settled community would benefit from more stable leadership.
I have always thought it interesting that the monasteries of Buddhists in Asia and Christians in mediaeval Europe had so many similarities. Having an abbot is one of many.

:namaste:
Kim
It does not get any benefit for leadership, because originally Buddha told that monasteries must be built for monks of four direction, and if any monk came to any monastery he does not need to ask any approval from anyone, he just need to go to person who distribute and designate lodgings and he must bring him to free kuti. But nowadays system changed differently, now monk when came to monastery must ask permission to stay at monastery from abbot

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Kim OHara
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:15 am

khemindas wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:53 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:21 pm
khemindas wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:59 am
It's interesting, but in the early times there was no such thing as Abbot (Viharadhipati). Rather there were people who were responsible for different kind of distribution, for example person responsible for distribution of kuti (lodging), person responsible for distribution of food, person responsible for distribution of medicine e.t.c. But later it seems some people desired for power and decided to create idea of Abbot
It's possible that people did not desire the power for themselves, but thought that the different responsibilities required a coordinating role.
According to vinaya monks must coordinate and discuss everything together.
That works well in small communities but gets more and more difficult as the numbers increase. Even in the Buddha's time, communities included several hundred monks.
A natural division of duties leads to increasing numbers of administrators, and then to someone to coordinate the administrators, i.e. the abbot.
You see the same thing happening everywhere, e.g. in a little country school the only teacher does all the admin, in a bigger school one of the teachers is responsible for admin but still teaches some of the children, in a bigger school the senior teacher is only an administrator, etc.

:namaste:
Kim

SarathW
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:46 am

khemindas wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:59 am
It's interesting, but in the early times there was no such thing as Abbot (Viharadhipati). Rather there were people who were responsible for different kind of distribution, for example person responsible for distribution of kuti (lodging), person responsible for distribution of food, person responsible for distribution of medicine e.t.c. But later it seems some people desired for power and decided to create idea of Abbot, it's not clear yet, by who it was created by king or by monk, and how early it was created, obviously it was created not early than third buddhist council, may be even much later.
This is a very interesting point Bhante.
I think now days monks are like lay people.
They have their own wealth to protect.
I am sure a temple can be run like a shared kitchen.
According to Sutta, Buddha stayed in a place called "Ambalama".
"Ambalama" is a community hall and you still find the ruins of them in Sri Lanka.
Anyone can stay in "Ambalma" overnight free of charge. There is no care taker.
This was originated due to many people walk from place to place.
This tradition is not in operation any more in Sri Lanka.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sr ... ORM=IQFRBA
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Antaradhana
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by Antaradhana » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:55 am

This is due to the fact that the monks began to live in one place, and almost ceased to wander. They took root, and some of them acquired property and power, which is bad, of course.
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:23 am

To add to my previous post, now days temple has taken the place of Ambalma for many pilgrims in Sri Lanka.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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gavesako
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Re: Abbot is the late concept in Buddhism

Post by gavesako » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:37 am

For a historical study of 'manager monks' see
Managing Monks: Administrators and Administrative Roles in Indian Buddhist Monasticism
Book by Jonathan A. Silk

https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/Buddhis ... 008%29.pdf

https://www.academia.edu/5589359/Review ... 2010_71-88
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

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