The problem of Buddhist councils has haunted western Buddhological research through almost all of its last one hundred years. At once, we see that a twopronged approach is necessary if we are to ever have any hope of arriving at a resolution. The first of these involves a consideration of the relationship between the Vinaya council accounts and the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, this latter text preserved in the Sūtra Piṭakas of the various schools and providing a detailed account of [1] the Buddha's travels immediately prior to his death, [2] the actual passing into parinirvāṇa, and [3] the funeral arrangements. Here the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra account concludes, but the details which are associated with the next allegedly historical events, namely, the council narratives, are found in the Skandhakas of the various Vinayas. Scholars began to question why the council proceedings, logically following the Buddha's death and funeral, are preserved in a separate text.

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