List Of Buddhist Councils

The history of the Buddhist tradition spans thousands of years. During this time, a number of Buddhist councils have been instrumental in forming the religion and safeguarding its teachings. In particular, the first seven Buddhist councils are very important.


Buddhist scholars and monks gather in councils to study and elucidate key points of the Dharma, or teachings of the Buddha. These councils, which seek to uphold and verify Buddha's teachings, resolve conflicts, and safeguard their purity, continue to spread Buddhism.

The First Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

A Buddhist council was held shortly after the passing of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. King Ajatasattu of Magadha patronized the event in Rajagaha, the capital city of Magadha. The primary objective of this council was to preserve and compile the Buddha's teachings, known as the Tripitaka, in a standardized format.

Venue and Attendees

The council was convened in the Sattapanni Cave in Rajagaha and was attended by 500 senior arahants (enlightened disciples) who had attained full liberation during the Buddha's lifetime. The council was led by the venerableMahakassapa, one of the Buddha's most respected disciples.

Key Discussions and Decisions

During the First Buddhist Council, the elders recited and carefully scrutinized the Buddha's teachings. They collectively compiled the Tripitaka into three divisions: the Vinaya Pitaka (rules for monastic discipline), the SuttaPitaka (discourses of the Buddha), and the Abhidhamma Pitaka (philosophical analysis and interpretation).

The council focused on preserving the teachings accurately and resolved any discrepancies that arose during the recitation process. Rigorous debates and discussions took place to ensure the teachings were recorded correctly and in line with the Buddha's original words.

Significance and Outcome

An important turning point in the development of Buddhism was the First Buddhist Council. It established the framework for the transmission and preservation of the Buddha's teachings. The compilation of the Tripitaka ensured that the Dharma would be passed down through generations, maintaining its authenticity and integrity.

By establishing a standard set of teachings, the council played a crucial role in unifying the Buddhist community and preventing the proliferation of incorrect or distorted interpretations. For future generations of monks and scholars to study and propagate the Buddha's teachings, it provided a solid foundation.

The Second Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

The Second Buddhist Council took place approximately 100 years after the passing of the Buddha. It was convened in Vaishali under the patronage of King Kalasoka. The council aimed to address and resolve a growing schism within the monastic community.

Venue and Attendees

The council was held in Vaisali, an important city in ancient India. It was attended by a gathering of 700 monks, including those from both the orthodox and non-orthodox sects. The venerable Sabbakami was appointed as the council president.

Key Discussions and Decisions

The Second Buddhist Council focused on a specific issue known as the "Ten Points Controversy." This dispute revolved around the relaxation of certain rules within the Vinaya Pitaka, which governed the monastic code of conduct. The Orthodox monks argued for strict adherence to the original rules, while the non-orthodox monks proposed amendments and modifications.

After extensive discussions and debates, the council sided with the orthodox view, maintaining the original rules and rejecting the proposed changes. This decision led to the split between the orthodox Sthavira (Theravada) school and the non-orthodox Mahasanghika school.

Significance and Outcome

The First Major Schism within the Monastic Community was caused by the Alternate Buddhist Council, which was a significant step in the history of Buddhism. Different sets, each with their own views and practices, surfaced as a result of the division between the orthodox and non-orthodox seminaries.

The council brought to light the difficulties of sustaining concinnity within the Buddhist community, indeed if it didn't have the same position of impact on tutoring preservation as the First Buddhist Council. It emphasized the necessity of ongoing exchanges and enterprise to settle controversies.

The Third Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

The Third Buddhist Council took place around 250 years after the Buddha's parinirvana. It was held in Pataliputra(present-day Patna) under the patronage of Emperor Ashoka. The council aimed to address certain deviations that had emerged within the monastic community and to reaffirm the authenticity of the teachings.

Venue and Attendees

The council was convened in the Great Stupa of Pataliputra and attended by many monks from various parts of the Buddhist world. The venerable Moggaliputta Tissa presided over the council.

Key Discussions and Decisions

During the Third Buddhist Council, the monks reviewed and discussed the teachings, particularly the Abhidhamma Pitaka. They meticulously examined the doctrines and practices to identify any deviations or incorrect interpretations. As a result, they compiled a detailed commentarial work known as the Kathavatthu, which addressed various philosophical points of contention.

The council also played a significant role in disseminating Buddhism beyond India. Emperor Ashoka's efforts to promote Buddhism led to the sending of missionaries to different parts of the world, spreading the teachings and establishing monastic communities.

Significance and Outcome

The Third Buddhist Council contributed to the purification and preservation of the teachings, ensuring their accuracy and preventing the rise of heterodox views. The compilation of the Kathavatthu provided a comprehensive guide for monks and scholars to understand and interpret the Buddha's teachings in a unified manner.

Furthermore, Emperor Ashoka's patronage and the subsequent spread of Buddhism beyond India played a pivotal role in establishing Buddhism as a major global religion. The council's efforts in clarifying and promoting the teachings contributed to the enduring influence of Buddhism in various regions.

The Fourth Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

The Fourth Buddhist Council took place in the first century BCE, roughly 400 times after the Buddha's end. It was held in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, under the patronage of King Vattagamani Abhaya. The council aimed to save and attune the different Buddhist traditions that had developed over time.

Venue and Attendees

The council was convened at the Aluvihara Monastery in Anuradhapura. It was attended by a large assembly of monks from colorful corridor of Sri Lanka. The venerable Maharakkhita was appointed as the council's chairman.

Crucial conversations and opinions

The Fourth Buddhist Council concentrated on resolving disagreements that had surfaced between different monastic fraternities in Sri Lanka. The council worked to collect an authoritative interpretation of the Tripitaka, incorporating colorful textual traditions and oral recitals.

The process involved scrupulous scrutiny and comparison of different performances to insure the delicacy and thickness of the Holy Writ. The council's sweats redounded in the preservation of the Pali Canon, the Theravada Holy Writ that is still extensively used in numerous Buddhist countries moment.

Significance and outgrowth

The Fourth Buddhist Council played a pivotal part in conserving the Theravada tradition and its canonical textbooks. The compendium of an authoritative interpretation of the Tripitaka in Pali assured the uninterrupted vacuity of the training in their original language.

The council's work also contributed to the standardization of Buddhist Holy Writ, making them more accessible to scholars and interpreters likewise. The Fourth Buddhist Council's sweat in coordinating different traditions within Sri Lanka helped strengthen the concinnity of the Sangha( monastic community) in the country.

The Fifth Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

The Fifth Buddhist Council took place in Mandalay, Myanmar (formerly Burma), in 1871. It was held under the patronage of King Mindon, who sought to reaffirm and preserve the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Venue and Attendees

The council was convened at the Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay, which houses the world's largest book, the Tipitakainscribed on stone tablets. The council attracted a gathering of prominent monks from various Theravada Buddhist countries.

Key Discussions and Decisions

The Fifth Buddhist Council aimed to recite and verify the entire Pali Canon, following the tradition of the earlier councils. Monks meticulously chanted and cross-checked the scriptures to ensure their accuracy and purity. The council also involved discussions on various doctrinal points and clarifications of Buddhist practices.

As a result of the council's efforts, the entire Pali Canon was inscribed on stone tablets and housed in the KuthodawPagoda. This monumental undertaking provided a lasting record of the Tripitaka and facilitated easy access for scholars and practitioners.

Significance and Outcome

The Fifth Buddhist Council solidified the position of the Theravada tradition in Myanmar and other Theravada Buddhist countries. The preservation of the Pali Canon on stone tablets ensured its longevity and safeguarded the teachings for future generations.

The council's efforts also helped in fostering a deeper understanding of the Buddha's teachings among monks and scholars. The discussions and clarifications during the council contributed to the continued development and refinement of Theravada Buddhism.

The Sixth Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

The Sixth Buddhist Council was held in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Myanmar, from 1954 to 1956. It was convened under the patronage of Prime Minister U Nu and aimed to revise and recite the entire Tipitaka in Burmese.

Venue and Attendees

The council took place at the Kaba Aye Pagoda in Yangon and attracted a large gathering of Buddhist scholars, monks, and dignitaries from different countries. Their collective expertise and dedication were instrumental in the council's success.

Key Discussions and Decisions

The entire Pali Canon was revised and recited in Burmese during the Sixth Buddhist Council. By translating the scriptures and presenting them in a language that the majority of people could understand, the council hoped to increase the accessibility of the teachings to a larger audience.

Monks and scholars meticulously reviewed the translations to ensure accuracy and adherence to the original teachings. The council's efforts also involved discussions on various doctrinal aspects and clarification of complex concepts.

Significance and Outcome

The Sixth Buddhist Council marked a significant milestone in the dissemination of Theravada Buddhism to a broader audience. The translation and recitation of the Pali Canon in Burmese allowed more people to engage with the teachings directly.

Additionally, the council's emphasis on maintaining the authenticity and accuracy of the teachings contributed to the preservation of the Buddhist tradition. The discussions and revisions undertaken during the council ensured that the teachings remained true to the original intent of the Buddha.

The Seventh Buddhist Council

Background and Purpose

The Seventh Buddhist Council was held in Yangon, Myanmar, from 1954 to 1956, concurrently with the Sixth Buddhist Council. It aimed to further clarify and expand upon the teachings recorded in the Tipitaka.

Venue and Attendees

The Seventh Buddhist Council took place at the Mahapasana Cave in Yangon, with many esteemed Buddhist scholars and monks in attendance. The council brought together a diverse range of perspectives and expertise.

Key Discussions and Decisions

Scholars and monks discussed in-depth topics related to Abhidhamma, commentarial literature, and different facets of Buddhism during the Seventh Buddhist Council. They aimed to clarify and elaborate on Tripitaka's teachings in order to promote comprehension.

The council produced comprehensive commentaries, sub-commentaries, and explanatory works to further illuminate the profound principles and concepts found in the Buddhist scriptures.

Significance and Outcome

The Seventh Buddhist Council made significant contributions to the scholarly and philosophical aspects of Buddhism. The commentaries and explanatory works produced during the council provided invaluable resources for scholars and practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of the teachings.

The council's efforts helped refine and expand upon the existing body of knowledge within the Theravada tradition. By shedding light on complex concepts and interpretations, it facilitated a more comprehensive exploration of the Buddha'steachings.


The history and development of Buddhism place a great deal of emphasis on the first seven Buddhist councils. These councils have been pivotal in conserving the authenticity and chastity of the Dharma, beginning with the First Buddhist Council, which handed the foundation for conserving the Buddha's training and continuing with the Seventh Buddhist Council, which added to the body of knowledge.

Each council's significance and results are different, but they all have the same thing in mind to make sure that the Buddha's training is still being transmitted and understood. The councils have made a significant donation to the preservation, explanation, and spread of Buddhism across numerous geographic and artistic surrounds through thorough conversations, debates, and compendium sweats.

The assignments learned and opinions made during these meetings will be applied as Buddhism continues to change and acclimatize to the ultramodern world.


Q. What's the purpose of Buddhist councils?
Buddhist councils are gatherings of monks and scholars aimed at conserving and clarifying the training of the Buddha. They address issues, resolve controversies, and ensure the continued transmission of the Dharma.

Q. How were opinions made during these councils?
Opinions during Buddhist councils were made through rigorous conversations, debates, and agreement- structure among the attendees. elderly and reputed monks frequently played a pivotal part in guiding the proceedings.

Q. Who attended the First Buddhist Council?
The First Buddhist Council was attended by 500 elderly arahants( enlightened votaries) who had attained full emancipation during the Buddha's continuance. They were the primary custodians of the Buddha's training.

Q. What were the crucial issues of the Alternate Buddhist Council?
The crucial outgrowth of the Alternate Buddhist Council was the split between the orthodox Sthavira( Theravada) academy and the non-orthodox Mahasanghika academy due to dissensions over monastic discipline.

Q. How did the Sixth Buddhist Council contribute to the spread of Buddhism?
The Sixth Buddhist Council made the training more accessible by rephrasing the Pali Canon into Burmese. This trouble helped in propagating Theravada Buddhism to a wider followership, both within Myanmar and beyond.

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