I would like to know if the idea of having a council was something suggested by the Buddha, also I would like to know if he had any influence in the way the teachings are currently grouped.

1 Answer 1


The Buddha's final exhortation was for his monks to rely primarily upon themselves and their own memory as the means to guide them:

Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports. It is, Ananda, only when the Tathagata, disregarding external objects, with the cessation of certain feelings, attains to and abides in the signless concentration of mind, that his body is more comfortable.

Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

Maha-parinibbana Sutta, DN 16

If you tell your followers to be "islands unto yourselves," can that be construed as "after my death, gather together a council of arahants"?

It seems that the Buddha wanted no central authority at all after he was gone.

  • Good point, my interpretation of "islands unto yourself" is something like: "Only you can help yourself", it has to do with Kamma and the right effort one should make in the path to enlightment.
    – konrad01
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 0:14

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