THE FOUR 

BUDDHIST CONGREGATIONS


         
Administration is the authority of Buddhism. Unity is the purpose of existence. Union makes collections peaceful. For this purpose the Buddha granted Bhikkhus (Buddhist monks), Bhikkhunis (Buddhist nuns), Upasaka (layman) and Upasika (laywoman) positions as his four congregations and he addressed to Ananda that so long as these four congregations exists, his religion also exists.

          The practical principle for these four congregations is as follows : 
Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis. have the duty to learn the Buddha's teaching and to practice mind development and spiritual insight and at the same time teach the people to understand the Buddha's teaching as good as possible. While laymen and laywomen (Upasaka and Upasika) should also study the Buddha's teaching and practice it and support Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis with the necessities of life, especially food, clothing, shelter and medicines.

          Thus, the four Buddhist congregations are regarded as the pole which is the most important support for Buddhism. Buddhism can't stand without these four congregations. So we can see that Buddhism really depends on these four congregations which are based on each other. They work as a team and consist of mutual understanding. Only so Buddhism will prosper.

          The Buddha's teaching should be applied in the family to let unity, harmony, care for each other and the wish to do favors for all arise. If all have good manners as mentioned, they all will happily live in this world, and thus the Buddha's teaching brings peace to the world!