Seventh Buddhist Council
First Mahayana-Theravada Council
First Maitriyana Council
Indian Buddhist Federation
Maitriyana Buddhist University
Amitabha Buddhist Society
Lord Buddha Trust
Maitriyana Buddhist Temple of New Delhi
Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council
President: Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha
Vice-president: Master Yan Maitri-Shi
Executive Secretary: Amar Mane
Treasurer: Venerable Tep Vuthy
Assistant Secretary: Amar Visharat
Assistant Secretary: Sekkha Dhamma (Jose Gabriel Mercado Rangel)
Historical Precedents of the Buddhist Councils
Since the death of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha there have been six Buddhist Councils in order to maintain and transmit the original teachings under the form of a sacred Canon. However, almost all the Buddhist Councils of the last 2600 years have been partial and have never tried to incorporate the whole of the Buddhist teaching, maintaining the Canon of the Theravada tradition and excluding the teachings of the Mahayana tradition by considering them spurious, mere inventions or products of the religious imagination. At the same time, the reform groups which gave rise to the Mahayana tradition have also conducted their own Councils, as the Mahasanghika movement from the time of Ashoka and the Sarvastivada tradition in Kashmir of the first century AD. These historical precedents are a proof that it is possible and necessary to perform Councils outside the Buddhist Theravada tradition.
The Six previous Buddhist Councils have produced many achievements, such as sending Buddhist missionaries throughout Asia and even the Middle East and Europe during the third Council under the auspices by King Ashoka. There have also been traditional recitations, it has made a version of the Tipitaka to be printed and it has agreed the English translation for spreading the Buddhist Spirituality to everyone. But these previous Buddhist Councils have also perpetuated sectarian views, excluding Mahayana Sutras and not listening to the objections raised against the Vinaya monastic code.
At present, the Pali Canon of the Theravada movement is composed of the following Three Baskets (Tipitaka): Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma.
- Digha Nikaya
- Majjhima Nikaya
- Samyutta Nikaya
- Anguttara Nikaya
- Khuddaka Nikaya
There is the case where a bhikkhu says this: ‘In the Blessed One’s presence have I heard this, in the Blessed One’s presence have I received this: This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’ His statement is neither to be approved nor scorned. Without approval or scorn, take careful note of his words and make them stand against the Suttas (discourses) and tally them against the Vinaya (monastic rules). If, on making them stand against the Suttas and tallying them against the Vinaya, you find that they don’t stand with the Suttas or tally with the Vinaya, you may conclude: ‘This is not the word of the Blessed One; this bhikkhu has misunderstood it’ — and you should reject it. But if… they stand with the Suttas and tally with the Vinaya, you may conclude: ‘This is the word of the Blessed One; this bhikkhu has understood it rightly.
Mahaparinibbana Sutta (Digha Nikaya)
Seventh Buddhist Council
As from December 21, 2012, the Indian Buddhist Federation, presided by the Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha, has had the Foundational Purpose of organizing a Seventh Buddhist Council in order to make a New Buddhist Canon of vanguard. This Seventh Buddhist Council is unique in the history of Spirituality, because it is the First Mahayana-Theravada Council, since it brings together Buddhists of all traditions in order to revalidate the teachings that have been excluded from the Councils of the past, by creating a Fourth Basket named Bodhi-pitaka. At the same time, the translation in English and Spanish will be encouraged from this New Buddhist Canon. In this way, the Seventh Buddhist Council will not only perform an evolution of the old idea of Bodhisattvapitaka created by Master Asanga, but also a postmodern updating of the Storehouse of Major Scriptures (Ta-ts’ang-ching) drawn up in Chinese. The modern edition of the Chinese canon, known as Taisho Tripitaka, was written in Japan from1924-1929, reaching to make about 100 volumes with thousands of texts. This edition can be considered as a great contribution to the Seventh Buddhist Council, because it includes translations of texts and commentaries of the Agamas, Jatakas, Mahayana Sutras, Tantras, Vinaya, Abhidharma, Madhyamika and Yogacara Sastras, works of Chinese schools and even some texts found in Dunhuang. While many of these works are considered apocryphal and spurious, the Seventh Buddhist Council grants spiritual acknowledgment to some of them, which means they are the legitimate word of a Awakened One (Buddhavacana). Some of these texts have the same historical validity as the Pali Canon of Theravada, plus there is an evident spiritual connection between them. The Seventh Buddhist Council is the First Theravada-Mahayana Council, not only because Buddhists of all traditions are participating, but also because it will allow the Theravada monks to submit comments to the translations of the Mahayana Sutras in order to certify that their contents are the True Dharma. Thereby the future generations will have no doubt whatsoever that these Sutras come from the spiritual teachings of the Master Gautama Buddha. However, the Seventh Buddhist Council not only initiates a process of spiritual fusion and reconciliation between Theravada and Mahayana, but by creating a Fourth Basket called Bodhi-pitaka it is also left open the possibility for incorporating texts by other Awakened Ones (Buddhas).
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council respects and appreciates the enormous work of the previous Six Councils conducted in the past. For that reason, no text compiled in the Buddhist Canon will be removed, but that it shall be corrected and expanded. Thus, the Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council declares its commitment to an ongoing process of correction and revision of the Ancient Tipitaka which shall be continued in later councils. By starting a new turn of the Dharma Wheel, the first doctrinaire purification step that the Committee initiates is the correction of the eight conditions for a Sammasambuddha which are manifested in the Khuddaka Nikaya, Buddhavamsa:
- Manussatta: human condition.
- Lingasampatti: having male sex.
- Hetu: cause.
- Sattharadassana: the sight of the Master.
- Pabbajja: life without a home.
- Gunasampatti: the achievement of special qualities.
- Adhikara: extreme devotion.
- Chandata: the strong Desire.
Thus, the following is proclaimed:
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must have an existence but not necessarily human because the seed of Awakening is present in all living beings.
- To become a Sammasambuddha it is not necessary to be a man, because one may be a woman or having another condition of sexual identity, such as Master Dipa Ma taught.
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must have extraordinary spiritual conditions of compassionate wisdom which internally and externally cause this purpose of Self-Enlightment.
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must have a mystical encounter with a previous Sammasambuddha.
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must be detached from the ordinary family life, but not necessarily being ascetic and abandoning society, having a spiritual family of companions of Way.
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must abandon any magical or parapsychological power, only developing the intuition and the analytical existential look that emerge with the practice of meditation levels.
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must be willing to sacrifice his/her own life on behalf of the Spiritual Path.
- To become a Sammasambuddha one must have the greatest of all Desires: The Desire of Saving the World.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council recommends that the ordinations of monks in the Theravada and Mahayana are empty from sexist, discriminating and ascetic contents, which means finding a dialectical transcendence between the ordinary life of the layman and the reclusive life of the monk. This should be based on the ethics of the Middle Way, producing every necessary change in Monastic Code (Vinaya) in order to allow the transmission of the Buddhist Spirituality in the contemporary world.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council announces the creation of a Theravada-Mahayana Buddhist Canon, which may be called Catupitaka, Cattaripitaka or Catvaripitaka because in the Pali Canon there will be a Fourth Basket called Bodhi-pitaka with sutras and texts coming from different languages such as Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan and English. This Fourth Basket is not only consistent with the Bodhisattvapitaka of Master Asanga, but is also consistent with the five periods of the writing of sutras of Siddharta Gautama Buddha according to Master Zhiyi:
- Period of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Duration: 3 weeks.
- Period of the Agama Sutras (Mahayana version). Duration: 12 years teaching Hinayana.
- Period of the Vaipulya Sutras. Duration: 8 years giving priority to Mahayana teaching over the Hinayana.
- Period of the Prajnaparamita Sutras. Duration: 22 years teaching the Hinayana-Mahayana Unity.
- Period of the Lotus Sutra and Mahaparinirvana. Duration: 8 years teaching the One Way (Ekayana) of the Middle Way.
Even before the masters Zhiyi (Chih-i) and Nichiren many Buddhist created various systems of teachings periods of Gautama Buddha in order to organize and reconcile all the lessons that might seem different or contradictory. These differences were not only caused by chronological matters within the 50 years of teaching of Gautama Buddha, but were also caused because the Great Master taught according to the needs and abilities of each person. Therefore, within these five periods, four types of teaching methods may be distinguished along with different kinds of contents of teachings. The four types of methods are the abrupt method, the gradual method, the esoteric method and the undetermined method. The four types of content are the shortened content, the common content, the special content and the full and integrative content.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council confirms that this new Bodhi-pitaka will be added with texts coming from the Yogacara, Zen and Maitriyana, by including the Treaties of Asanga, the Altar Sutra of Hui Neng and the model of Purna Buddhism by Master Maitreya. The spiritual precedent for this progressive decision is the Third Buddhist Council.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council establishes the following Buddhist Canon of Theravada-Mahayana Unity.
- Sutta Pitaka
- Vinaya Pitaka
- Abhidhamma Pitaka
- Bodhi Pitaka
Agama Sutras (Sravaka Pitaka)
- a) Dirgha Agama
- b) Madhyama Agama
- c) Samyukta Agama
- d) Ekottara Agama
- e) Ksudraka Agama
- a) Vimalakirti Sutra
- b) Pure Land Sutras
- c) Mahavairocana Sutra
- d) Susiddhikara Sutra
- e) Tathagatagarbha Sutras
- f) Lankavatara Sutra
- g) Sandhinirmocana Sutra
Lotus Sutra and Mahaparinirvana Sutra
Five Treatises of Asanga
Altar Sutra by Hui Neng
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council provides spiritual support to translations in English and Spanish for this New Buddhist Canon. These translations should have comments by experts in the Theravada and Mahayana traditions.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council assumes the Supreme Compromise to frequently carry out Buddhist Councils which promulgate the evolution of Buddhist Spirituality. In this way, the Indian Buddhist Federation will support and will become involved in the co-organization of new Buddhist Councils which work on the basis of the accomplishments of the Seventh as, for example, the Eighth Buddhist Council which will be performed in 2015. This Eight Buddhist Council will be the Second Maitriyana Council and the First Buddhist Ecumenical Council, having the task of discussing and agreeing whether there were Awakened Ones (Buddhas) in other spiritual traditions. The premise of this Council shall be the words of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha: “If there is Noble Eightfold Path in other spiritual traditions there will also be Enlightened Beings into them.”
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council supports the interreligious and interspiritual dialogue as a skilful means (upaya) for the creation and maintenance of the World Peace, so that a respectful dialogue between Buddhists with other traditions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam is encouraged.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council provides spiritual support to Peace Projects, especially for Buddhist countries like Tibet and Burma. Therefore it presents a Peace Project for Tibet, which is composed of a series of pragmatic measures that are in favour of both the people of China and the people of Tibet in order to achieve harmony and Reconciliation between the two:
- Closure of the Tibetan government in exile (Dharamsala)
- Declaration of Spiritual Freedom for the Tibetan area.
- Tibet is assumed as a state belonging to China.
- Tibet shall elect their political representatives by means of democracy.
- The Dalai Lama shall not hold any political office.
- Buddhism shall not be governmentally regulated or influenced.
- The government of China shall reconstruct the thousands of Buddhist temples destroyed during the occupation.
- Tibet assumes the commitment to go towards the True Communism.
Burma Peace Project:
- Prohibiting the conflict between Buddhists and Muslims, promoting mutual coexistence of both groups (the first one being the broad majority).
- Supporting the pro-democratic activism and the political reforms aimed at establishing peace.
- Denouncing sectarianism and violent anti-Muslim activities undertaken by Buddhists as a way of False Buddhism.
- Any kind of anti-government activism on the part of Buddhist monks must be “peaceful resistance” and must never be used violence or aggressiveness.
- Every religious fanaticism or nationalist fanaticism must never be associated with Buddhism, as these ones are poisons for the mind and society.
- Facing the destruction of Buddha statues as those in Afghanistan, a genuine Buddhist must respond with detachment, since the Buddha nature cannot be destroyed. Besides, in Buddhism there must never be a ritualistic worship, but rather meditation practice.
- Assuming an international process of Buddhist ethical Judgement against the monk Wirathu and the “969 movement” in order to dictate whether they are being genuinely Buddhists.
- Support the use of Buddhist temples as refuge zones for those who are being persecuted (including Muslims).
- Claiming that the notion of “Buddhist terrorism” is an oxymoron, because the Buddhist Spirituality is pacifistic, tolerant and compassionate, being the expression of the reconciliation and the most important spiritual love in the history of humanity.
- A Buddhist cannot be involved in ethnic conflicts nor in paramilitary activities, not only for being illegal but also for being immoral.
- Denouncing to religious extremism as a “False Buddhism”, being against any incitement to violence from Buddhists, as has happened in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal, Japan and Tibet.
- Prohibiting Islam phobia within Buddhism, by encouraging the creation of an Interreligious Dialogue between Buddhism and Islam in order to promote world peace.
- Supporting the Islamic vision of Allah as “the merciful”, which has profound Buddhist connotations associated with compassion, at the same time that it helps to Muslims to achieve world peace.
- Spreading the Islamic Spirituality of Sufism as a way of synthesis and Middle Way between Buddhism and Islam.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council acknowledges India as the cradle and spiritual centre of the world Buddhism, reason why the Maitriyana tradition has granted the rank of Awakened One (Buddha) to many spiritual masters of India, as Gautama, Garab Dorje, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Bodhidharma, Padmasambhava and Ambedkar. Therefore, it is recommended that every Buddhist, at least once in a lifetime, should visit the ancient spiritual sites of India, such as, for example, the Ancient Buddhist Cave in Betwa Deogarh, Lalitpur UP, India.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council encourages the use of Buddhist symbols that have been usurped by the western culture for a misuse, such as the Swastika and the name of Maitreya. They must be used by Buddhists with the due honour they deserve, not feeling any shame, as they are a symbol of hope for building a Pure Land in the world.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council creates an International Buddhist Ethics Committee, which will be headed by experts in Law and Spirituality with the Purpose (Dharma) to analyze cases of infringements and offenses against Buddhism, which are perpetrated by supposed Buddhists throughout the world. The organization shall operate in a similar way to the Ethics Committee created by Gautama Buddha in order to deal with these cases.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council supports the Maitriyana Commandments as a way to achieve the Theravada-Mahayana Unity as well as the evolution of Buddhist Spirituality:
- Buddhism is not a religion, because it does not worship to Gautama nor any other Awakened One (Buddha). Buddhism is an Ethical Way that seeks the purification of mind, ideas and society. The Buddha-Dharma-Sangha is an Integrative and Reconciler Spirituality, being a revolutionary movement made up of an articulation of Metapsychology, Metaphilosophy and Metapolitics.
- To completely understand Buddhist Spirituality one must study all of its main Schools, by understanding the Perennial Way that underlies all of them.
- The Monk and the Layman are spiritually equal. There are only differences between the three spiritual degrees: Apprentices, Teachers and Masters.
- The Free Being (Arhat) and the Enlightened Being (Bodhisattva) are synonymous, being merely different terms for the same mental state. Freedom is not only personal enlightenment but also the pursuit of the Liberation of the fellow beings. The synthesis of the Arhat and the Bodhisattva is the basis of the unity between the Hinayana and the Mahayana.
- Thousands of Awakened Ones (Buddhas) have been existed and they will continue to exist. But the main Holy Trinity of Buddha is made by the meeting of the Analytic-Existential-Libertarian Discourse, which is the Spirituality of Maitriyana where one may distinguish three types of Self-Awakening (Samyaksambuddhahood): more wisely (prajñadhika-buddha), with more effort (viryadhika-buddha) and with more faith (sraddhadhika-buddha).
- There are two types of mystic initiation by which every human being can become an Awakened One (Buddha): the vehicle of the Awakened Apprentice (Sravakabuddha-yana) and the vehicle of the Self-Awakened One (Samyaksambuddhayana). The first possibility is the traditional Way of Lineage, which is the study and transmission with a spiritual master (Arhat or Bodhisattvas); the second possibility is the Self-Enlightment (Sammasambodhi), which was the Way of Gautama and other great spiritual masters founders of Schools.
- To completely understand Buddhist Spirituality one must study all Spiritualities of the World, and how Buddhism has influenced them. Buddhism has historically maintained a dialogue with movements like Vedanta, Yoga, Shamanism, Taoism, Confucianism, Greek Philosophy, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The result of this dialogue has been the creation of various other Schools such as Madhyamika, Yogacara, Vajrayana, Chan (Zen), Pure Land, Nichiren, Pyrrhonism, Therapeutae (Essenes) and Sufism.
- The highest expression of Spirituality in the West happened with the appearance of three main developments: Psychoanalysis, Existentialism and Socialism. The reunion of Buddhism with these disciplines is the revolutionary basis of Maitriyana as the vehicle (yana) of Universal Spirituality.
- Buddhism must maintain a profound relationship with Western science, especially with Relativism and the quantum theory. This will not only enrich the pursuit of Truth, but also it will help to flourish and strengthen the meditative science.
- Technological development is not Real Evolution. The True Evolution of Humanity can only proceed through the Spiritual Evolution of consciousness, transforming the mind and society through pacifism, social justice, wisdom and ecology. These are the four pillars of the cure for the ills of the world which are war, poverty, ignorance and pollution. Only Spirituality can Save the World, guiding the peoples towards the Awakening and Liberation from strict materialism.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council is a founding member of the World Association of Theravada as well as of the World Association of Zen, institutions to which it supports in order to achieve the Unity of Buddhism.
The Steering Committee of the Seventh Buddhist Council approves the submission of a Buddhist Project facing the global warming and climate change to be presented to every country in the world in 2015. Simultaneously, it is supported the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth created by the World Conference of the Peoples Regarding Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights, which was held in April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This spiritual support has an environmental purpose, because according to the metapolitical vision of Maitriyana the contamination is one of the major problems in the world along with war, social injustice and ignorance; but, in addition, this spiritual support is also a tribute to Mother Earth as Witness of the Awakening of Gautama Buddha.
Dear Steering Committee of the Indian Buddhist Federation,
Dear comrades of Way.
I immensely thank you for your spiritual support in organizing the Seventh Buddhist Council. Without you this would not have been possible to accomplish. We have managed to bring together much spiritual support in order to position this Council of Theravada-Mahayana Unity in the world. Performing this historical Council is not only essential to reach Unity in Buddhism, but also to clarify its Purpose (Dharma) in life, which is building a Pure Land or Kingdom of Rectitude. This involves performing a process of spiritual purification that is critical of the deviations and attacks against Buddhist ethics which usually are performed by some institutions, instructors and supporters, who tend to take advantage of the lack of spiritual unity in the modern world.
Since the foundation of the Indian Buddhist Federation a few people have discriminated against us for various superficial reasons: because we are not famous, because we do not have purchasing power, because we are revolutionary, due to our number of members, and even because of our spiritual names. Yet, despite the indifference of a number of institutions and despite the discourtesy of some people who have not appreciated our absence of profit and our spiritual endeavour, we have moved on and we have been supported by many Buddhists from India and very many other countries for establishing headquarters all around the world. Furthermore, we have carried out dozens of international projects that show how to evolve Buddhism through a New Way in the here and now, providing a psychological, philosophical, scientific, political and religious cutting edge vision for all humanity. Thus, we have not only announced the creation of the Maitriyana as an Integrative or Reconciling Buddhism, but, in addition, we have created the Seventh Buddhist Council, Zen Psychoanalysis, the Philosophical Dialogue with Zizek, the Ecumenical Dialogue about Zen Christianity, the theory of the Future of Chan, the model of Purna Buddhism, the Artistic Dialogue with Barenboim, the Buddhas Project, the theory of Perennial Buddhism, the Interreligious Dialogue with Pope Francis I, the Spiritual Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the project of the Eighth Buddhist Council, the Gautama Peace Prize, the Tribute to Mandela, the Peace Projects (Syria, India, Israel, Iraq, Ukraine, Tibet and Burma), the International Association of Buddhist Socialism, the Political Dialogue with UN, the Revolutionary Dialogue with Cuba, the Cultural Dialogue with China, the Legal Dialogue with the International Court of Justice, the Educational Dialogue with UNESCO.
We have done all this practically penniless, since only two members paid their memberships during our first year. Seeing this, therefore, we have removed membership fees and we are surviving only with the economical support of our University, which also maintains a completely free University. This lesson of humility proves that changing the world does not need money or being allied with the governmental Power, unlike what many famous institutions do. In fact, there have been important institutions which rather than forming an alliance with us and work jointly they decided to just copy some of our projects and works. There were even famous thinkers who, in order to have more fame or to sell more books, have simply plagiarized our New Buddhist Way of reconciliation and integration (Maitriyana). The cause of this is we are living in a world of pure superficiality, vanity and aggressiveness, where the only thing that exists or matters seems to be what appears in social networks and Internet. Many people believe that their learning process has finished and they are continuously closed to the Awakening of their minds, whilst others are simply mentally sick or they pretend to be Buddhists. Some people only have an academic knowledge of Buddhism but without having contemplative practice, whilst some others have meditation practice but without having wisdom and compassion. Thus the Indian Buddhist Federation does not exist to be famous or to get money or worldly Power, but rather it exists for transmitting Compassionate Wisdom, because Spirituality is the only thing that can save the world.
In the past we have received physical attacks against our integrity, but we will continue being revolutionary because we have the bravery to propose that which few dare to say. Believe me, if we remain united we will be the most inspiring force of Peace and Reconciliation in the history of humanity, being able to overcome the difficulties with love and commitment. The Seventh Buddhist Council has been a proof of this.
Always with very much Maitri,
Master Maitreya Samyaksambududdha,
President of the Indian Buddhist Federation 2014