Sima in the Buddha Sasana - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature


Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sima in the Buddha Sasana

            Vinayonāma sāsanassa āyu; vinaye ¥hite sāsanaµ¥hitaµ hoti.[1]
The punitive regulation is the existence of the dispensation of the Buddha. If the punitive regulation subsists, the dispensation of Buddha will subsist. In order that the Buddha sāsanā last long, there must be continuous flow of pure monks who can keep and preserve Buddha sæsanæfrom one generation to another. In addition, to ordain monk is impossible to get higher ordination without sømā. So without the sømæ the Buddha sæsanæ cannot last long, just as the trunks and branches of the tree depends on its roots to grow. When we discuss about sømæ, it should not be excluded from monks, as it was determined by monks, and also the monks can be ordained only in a sømæ. So sømæ and monks are mutually relied on each other.  
The purpose of this topic is to highlight the importance of a sømæ, to solve the problem and skeptical doubt concerning the usage of the Sømæ, to realize how difficult to create a Sømæ and to get higher ordination.

(The classification of sømæ)
(1:1) The meaning of Sømæ
The pæ¹i word 'sømæ' represents a bounded or marked place. On the other hand, Sømæ is the place nominated disjointedly where monks used to assemble and perform any saµgha kamma (Saµgha function) together.
            Having the wish to carry out any of saµgha kamma, the monks gather together in the sømæ and sit within two and half cubits apart from one another. While performing Saµgha kamma, the layman, novice, etc, should not be allowed to approach the Saµgha assembly in the sømæ within two and half cubits distance. If they do, though the Saµgha kamma is not invalidated, all monks in the Sømæ performing the Saµgha kamma will commit the fault of  wrong doing (dukka¥a æpatti).
            The other important thing is that when Saµgha kamma is in progress, no monk should be permitted to stay in the same Sømæ apart from two and half cubits. If they do, the current Saµgha kamma will be defective, because that is being a group of monks (Vagga in pæ¹i).

(1:2) Two types of Sømæ in brief
            By means of concise clarification, there are two types of Sømæ. The first one is baddha sømæ which is determined by four or more monks reciting ñatti and kammavæcæ together having demarcated into plots on the land.
            The second one, abaddha sømæ is automatically a sømæ itself without demarcating into plots on the land and without having to recite ñatti and kammavæcæ by monks.

Baddha Sømæ
            baddha sømæ has three differences, which are---
1.Kha¼ða sømæ                        A sømæ in the separated place.
2.Samænasaµvæsaka sømæ    A sømæ in which monks perform Saµgha kamma harmoniously.
3.Avippavæsa sømæ                  A sømæ in which monks who determined ticøvara adhi¥¥hæna can
stay without ticøvara robes.
(1:3)Kha¼ða Sømæ
            The word 'kha¼ða' means dividing, that is called a small sømæ and which is divided from the area of mahæsømæ. When it is appointed, it should be within mahæsømæ area, it should not be connected with mahæsømæ and it should not be mixed with mahæsømæ.[2]The reason why it is fixed within the area of mahæsømæ is in order to be convenient doing Saµgha kamma.

Sømantarika(the interval place)
            Sømantarika, defines the place between two sømæs, is placed not to connect two sømæs each other. It is called the district of village (gæmakhetta) which is the same with the area situated out of mahæsømæ, as it is located beyond or between two sømæs. Therefore when saµgha kamma is performed outside mahæsømæ, if there is any monk in the interval place, the saµgha kamma will be out of order.
            Therefore, we understand that the sømantarika is placed between two sømæs which should not be connected each another, and also, we should understand that some sømæ can be connected each other and need not sømantarika.          

(1:4)Samænasaµvæsaka sømæ
            It means the place, which is demarcated in order to perform any saµgha kamma, in which the monks harmoniously use to gather and do saµgha kamma collectively. It can be a
baddha sømæ as well as an abaddha sømæ.
(1:5)Avippavæsa sømæ
            The avippavæsa sømæ is allowed to be determined on the samænasaµvæsaka sømæ in order to allow the bhikkhus to stay without three robes in that area not including village and village-compound located within that sømæ. When such a determination has been completed, bhikkhus who take ticøvara adhi¥¥hæna (determination of three robes) and stay without the ticøvara robes in that sømæ are not regarded as staying without them.[3]

(The requirement of how to be a successful sømæ)
(2:1)The characteristics of qualified sømæ
When, having cleansed the area of sømæ would be, the sømæ is determined, it is very important to be qualified. If the sømæ determined is not qualified because of any reason, the result of it is nothing except bad result. Without knowing about the unsuccessfulness of it, if the monks perform saµghakamma thinking it is successful, that kamma will be valueless. Those monks who were ordained in that sømæ cannot become real monks. the Buddhasæsanæ also will be full of casualty. So, qualifying the sømæ is extremely important for our Buddhasæsanæ. There are three characteristics of a sømæ derived from Ka³khævitara¼ø a¥¥hakathæ. Namely-
1. Ekædasa sømæyo atikkamitvæ
 (the avoidance of eleven unqualified sømæs)
2. Tividha sampattiyuttæ         
(the completeness of three perfections or endowments)
3. Nimittena nimittaµ sambandhitvæ sammatæ
(the connection of nimittas each other when determination has been completed.)[4]

(2:2)The eleven types of unqualified sømæ
            These are derived from pariværa pæ¹i scripture. In these sømæs, if monks carry out any saµgha kamma, that kamma will be broken. The eleven sømæ are as follows.
1. Atikhuddakaµ sømaµ sammanati               the sømæ too small.
2. Atimahatiµ sømaµ sammanati                   the sømæ too big.
3. Kha¼ðanimittaµ sømaµ sammanati           the sømæ with the broken mark.
4. Chæyænimittaµ sømaµ sammanati             the sømæ with the mark of shadow.
5. Animittæ                                                      the sømæ without mark.
6. Bahisøme ¥hitasammatæ                               the sømæ determined from outside.
7. Nadiyæ sammate                                          the sømæ determined in the river.
8. Samudde sammate                                      the sømæ determined in the ocean.
9. Jætassare sammatæ                                       the sømæ determined in the lake.
10. Sømæya sømaµ sambhindantena sammatæ            the sømæ linking another sømæ.
11. Sømæya sømaµ ajjhottharantena sammatæ            the sømæ overlapping another sømæ.[5]

(2:3)The completeness of perfections
            Although avoiding eleven unqualified sømæs, if there lacks any one of three perfections or endowments, the sømæ cannot be successful. The three are:
1.Nimitta sampatti                   the perfection of mark(nimitta)
2.Parisa sampatti                     the perfection of audience(monk)
3.Kammavæcæ sampatti           the perfection of announcement.

The perfection of mark (nimitta)
            Any one of eight nimittas allowed by the Buddha should be placed and announced exactly when a sømæ is determined. It is the tradition that the determined area must be marked by various objects. In determining the area of the sømæ, the Buddha allowed the area to be marked off with materials called nimitta, which means "mark". The Pæ¹i text mentions eight kinds of materials which can be used as nimittas. The eight nimittas are as below:
1.Pabbata nimitta                     the mark of mountain or hill
2.Pæsæ¼a nimitta                      the mark of stone
3.Vana nimitta                         the mark of forest
4.Rukkha nimitta                     the mark of tree
5.Magga nimitta                      the mark of path
6.Vammika nimitta                  the mark of hill-lock
7.Nadi nimitta                          the mark of river
8.Udaka nimitta                       the mark of water.[6]

The perfection of Audience (monks)
            In determination the sømæ, the correct number of monks should be present. At least four pure and virtuous monks are needed when sømæ sammuti kamma (the determination of sømæ) is being performed; the more the better it is. Whatever saµgha kamma is performed, in a place where it is not determined as a sømæ, all monks in the district concerned should be collected into the two and half forearms-length of saµgha assembly in the place of doing saµgha kamma.
If, due to any reason, a monk cannot come in that place, he should give his consent to another monk who will convey it, or the monk should stay in a baddha sømæ which is located in his monastery-compound or in the area of district until saµghakamma is finished, or he should stay outside of the area of district. The monks who are in the river, ocean and Natural Lake located within the area of district in which saµgha kamma is being performed are not needed to bring into saµgha assembly, because not only these monks cannot make the group of monks divided into two parts but also they cannot make saµgha kammma broken.
On the other hand while performing saµgha kamma reciting kammavæcæ, no monk present should reject the kamma, otherwise the present kamma will be invalid.

The perfection of Announcement
            It means the recitation, avoiding the fault of ñatti (motion) and kammavæcæ (announcement), of samænasaµvæsaka sømæsammuti kammavæcæ and avippavæsa sømæsammuti kammavæcæ. The monks who recite or announce ñatti and kammavæcæ must be well-versed on ten kinds of Byañjanabuddhi (the understanding of consonants), and the recital monks must recite it correctly in accordance with the ten byañjana buddhis.[7]They are:
1.Sithila                       soft voice. (k, g, c, j, ¥, ð, t, d, p, b)
2.Dhanita                     hard voice. (kh, gh, ch, jh, ¥h, ðh, th, dh, ph, bh)
3.Døgha                       long voice. (æ, ø, þ, e, o)
4.Rassa                        short voice. (a, i, u)
5.Garuka                     weighty voice. (æ, ø, þ, e, o)
6.Lahuka                     light voice. (a, i, u)
7.Niggahita                  nasal voice.(µ)
8.Sambandha               the reciting preceding vowel joined with a following vowel.
                                    (yassæyasmanto= yassa+æyasmanto)

9.Vavatthita                 the reciting separately preceding vowel with following vowel.
                                    (yassa æyasmanto)
10.Vimutta                  the consonants which should be clearly recited through open
                                    mouth neither closed mouth nor produced by nostril.
                                    (su-¼æ-tu-, e-sæ-ñatti)

(2:4)The sufficiency of nimittas to be linked together 
            The nimittas must be fixed as to direction. There must be sufficient to be linked together in the desired manner. It is common to use eight nimittas in eight directions using stone nimittas. One monk points out the nimitta, beginning in the eastern direction and proceeding in order (clockwise) and also ending in the eastern direction.

(The systematic procedure of how to determine a sømæ)
 (3:1)The techniques of removal or cleanness Sømæ-place
            The monks who wish to remove the area of a sømæ should cleanse and prepare the place as smooth and even as a mirror. If there is any stump or thorn or root of the tree in that place, it should be cut off. We should land into plots on the area of sømæ would-be using the liquid of calcium or the powder of calcium enable to see in the evening or night.
            There are also several kinds of method of landing into plots, such as the method of Kalyæ¼ø stone-inscription, the method of Vinayæla³kæra treatise, the method of Theinponkyann treatise, the method of abreast, the method of bees-swarm-shaped, the method of spiral, the method of to and fro, The method of cross mark and so on.

 (3:2)The technique of the determination of Sømæ
            There are in brief two kinds of determination of sømæ; first one is the method of guarding the area to prevent other monks from entering once the Saµgha kamma has begun; the second one is the method of receiving a separated place by means of a decree of a governor concerned.

Chapter   4
(Abaddha sømæ)
 (4:1)Three kinds of Abaddha sømæ in concise      
Abaddha sømæ is the area which is not fixed as a boundary and is automatically a sømæ itself, without reciting kammavæcæ to exist as a sømæ. There are three kinds of abaddha sømæ[8]. They are:  1. Gæma sømæ                          the regional sømæ
2. Sattabbhantara sømæ            the seven bows' extent sømæ
3. Udakukkhepa sømæ             the water sømæ

(4:2)Two kinds of gæma sømæ
Among them, the gæma sømæ has two kinds which are;
1. Pakati gæma sømæ    the original regional sømæ
2. Visuµgæma sømæ    the separated sømæ

Pakatigæma sømæ
            It is not determined by saµgha, but it is fixed by harmonious monks within the regional area of village or town or city where the monks are living. Supposing that there is a village which has its own region or district in which the monastery, visuµgæma sømæ, paddy fields, cemetery, natural lake, hills and so on are located. That whole regional area is called pakatigæma sømæ except the visuµgæma sømæ and natural lake.
Visuµgæma sømæ
            It is a small area which the governor decrees as a separate village or as a part separated from the village, and gives it to someone. Because the area is separated from the gæmæsømæ, it is known as visuµgæma sømæ.  If we do any saµgha kamma in it, we need to collect the monks only within that area, and we do not need to collect the monks outside this area.
(4:3)Sattabbhantara sømæ
            It means a sømæ in uninhabited forests; the saµgha limits the area within a radius of seven bows' extent, beginning from the edge of the saµgha itself.           The diameter is therefore fourteen bows' extent. One bow's extent is equal to twenty eight cubits. Seven bows' extent is therefore one hundred and ninety six cubits, and fourteen bow's extent is equal to three hundred and ninety two cubits. If two groups of monks do any saµgha kamma in the forest regarding as a bow's extent sømæ, between these two groups there should be one interval of sømæ about one bow's extent at least.

(4:4)Udakukkhepa sømæ
            The sømæ cannot be determined on the water, but an area on the water agreed by monks can be limited to within the radius measured by the distance water or sand thrown by an average man. This is called Udakukkhepa sømæ. There are three kinds of Udakukkhepa sømæ. They are as below:
1. Nadø udakukkhepa sømæ      (the sømæ limited by water in the river)
2. Samuddaræ udakukkhepa sømæ  (the sømæ limited by water in the ocean)
3. Jætassara udakukkhepa sømæ           (the sømæ limited by water in the natural lake).

            Having studied about sømæ, we can understand how important it is that we can perform any Saµgha kamma without having any doubt dealing with the Sømæ, such as Kathinakamma, Upasampadakamma, Uposathakamma, Paværa¼ækamma and so on; we understand monks are worthy to pay adoration undoubtedly.   
If there is no sømæ, the monks cannot be ordained; if there is no monk at all, the generation of monks cannot be continued; if there is no generation of monks, the Buddha sæsanæ will be easily disappeared from this world.
In order for the Buddha sæsanæ to survive a long time, we should not remove, add and change the disciplinary rules prescribed by Buddha; we have to obey and practice all rules and regulations laid down by Buddha. The monks also should be united always in every action and activity. This is the principle duty of monks.
From the aspect of lay devotees, they should support monks with the four requisites, such as robes, alms-food, lodgings and medicines. They should always enquire from the monks what they need and which is suitable for them. then, as much as they can, they should support the monks. This is the responsible duty of lay devotees.
If monks and devotees are harmoniously carrying out the respective duties supporting the monks who are wholeheartedly performing the noble tasks and maintaining Buddhist resource including its Sømæ, then our Buddha sæsanæ will never disappear from this world. It will surely be propagated, perpetuated and promoted everlastingly.                                                                                       ************           
pæ¹i(texts) and A¥¥hakathæ(commentaries)
1.Cha¥¥ha Sa³ghæyanæ edition, Pæcittiya pæ¹i, Religious Affairs, Yangon, 1997
2.Cha¥¥ha   Sa³ghæyanæ  edition,  Pæcityædi  A¥¥hakathæ,   Religious      Affairs,                   
   Yangon, 1986
3.Cha¥¥ha   Sa³ghæyanæ   edition,   Cþ¹avaggædi A¥¥hakathæ, Religious Affairs,   
   Yangon, 1986
4.Cha¥¥ha Sa³ghæyanæ edition,  Pæræjika pæ¹i, Religious Affairs,  Yangon, 1986
5.Cha¥¥ha      Sa³ghæyanæ     edition,   Pæræjikaka¼ða     A¥¥hakathæ,   Religious
   Affairs,Yangon, 1983
6.Cha¥¥ha   Sa³ghæyanæ   edition,   Vinaya  Mahævagga  pæ¹i,  Religious Affairs,
   Yangoon, 1991
7.Cha¥¥ha Saµghæyanæ edition, Ka³khævira¼ø a¥¥hakathæ, Religious Affairs,
   Yangoon, 1986
General books
8. I.B. Horner, The book of the discipline, Vol 4&5, Humphrey milford oxford
   University  ress Amen House, London, 1942
9. Somdet Phra Mahæ Sama¼a Choa, The Entrance to the Vinaya, Vol 3, 
      Mahæmakut Ræjavidyælaya Press, Bangkok, 1973
10.Thanissaro Bhikkhu,The Buddhist Monastic Code,Valley center, U.S.A,1994
11/pE´m0&mbd0Ho(t½Sif)? M.A Course ydkUcscsufrsm;?2003/2004
13/Zeumbd0Ho? (t½Sif) ygwdarmufbmom#Dum?e,l;bm;rm;atmhzfqufyd#uykHeSdyfwdkuf? tr&yl&NrdKY?
16/oDvmeE´mbd0Ho(t½Sif)?odrfoifwef;(wwd,tBudrf) ? ckdif&nfrGefykHESdyfwkduf?&effukef?2002


[1]   Pæræjikaka¼ða     A¥¥hakathæ, vol-1 p-11

[2]  Vinaya vinicchaya ¥økæ Vol 2.  P-178-179
[3]  Somdet Phra Ñæ¼asaµvara. The entrance to the vinaya Vol.3  P-29
[4] Ka³khævitara¼ø a¥¥hakathæ P-87
[5]  Pariværa pæ¹i P-381
[6]  Ka³khævitara¼ø a¥¥hakathæ P-88

[7].Cþ¹avaggædi A¥¥hakathæ, p-247
[8].Ka³khævitara¼ø a¥¥hakathæ P-90

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