What are Samvara Sila?

We hear monks in Sri Lanka talking about one million? (Koti) Samavara Sila.
@Brahmali @sujato @Dhammanando or anyone else could give me the source for this?


It sounds like an alternative name for the Visuddhimaggaā€™s notion of sÄ«la of unlimited purification.

Tattha anupasampannānaį¹ƒ sÄ«laį¹ƒ gaį¹‡anavasena sapariyantattā pariyantapārisuddhisÄ«lanti veditabbaį¹ƒ.


Nava koį¹­isahassāni, asÄ«tisatakoį¹­iyo,
PaƱƱāsasatasahassāni, chattiį¹ƒsā ca punāpare.

Ete saį¹ƒvaravinayā, sambuddhena pakāsitā,
Peyyālamukhena niddiį¹­į¹­hā, sikkhā vinayasaį¹ƒvare ti.

Herein, the virtue of those not fully admitted to the Order should be understood as virtue consisting in limited purification, because it is limited by the number [of training precepts, that is, five or eight or ten].

(b) That of those fully admitted to the Order is [describable] thus:

Nine thousand millions, and a hundred
And eighty millions then as well,
And fifty plus a hundred thousand,
And thirty-six again to swell.

The total restraint disciplines:
These rules the Enlightened One explains
Told under heads for filling out,
Which the Discipline restraint contains.

(Path of Purification ch. I, 132)


Thank you Bhante.
Can we write this number in figures?

Not with any certainty, for it would depend on whether koį¹­i here means ten thousand, a hundred thousand, or a million.

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I wrote this as.
That is 9 billion
Ven. Buddhaparayana of Sri Lanka said this is where the Abihamma one billon thought moment per second idea come from.

Bhante what this really means in Visuddhi Magga?
How can monk observe say one million Samvara Sila?

I donā€™t think the numbers need to be taken literally. The passage continues:

Evaį¹ƒ gaį¹‡anavasena sapariyantampi anavasesavasena samādānabhāvaƱca lābhayasaƱāti-aį¹…gajÄ«vitavasena adiį¹­į¹­hapariyantabhāvaƱca sandhāya apariyantapārisuddhisÄ«lan ti vuttaį¹ƒ.

So although limited in number, it should yet be understood as virtue consisting in unlimited purification, since it is undertaken without reserve and has no obvious limit such as gain, fame, relatives, limbs or life.


Does that mean, say even if observe only one precpets, say do not consume alcohol, will quealify for unlimited Sila?

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I think it is rather the opposite

So keeping only 1 precept, would result in very limited purification

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I donā€™t know if any commentator ever attempted to show how the figure might be arrived at, but if they did I expect it will have been done using the usual method by which Ābhidhammikas arrive at extraordinarily large numbers. For example:

The Bhikkhupātimokkha comprises 227 sikkhāpadas.

Multiply by 3 according to whether the bhikkhu is a puthujjana, sekha or asekha = 681.

Multiply by 2 according to whether the citta that caused a sikkhāpada to be observed was saį¹…khārika or asaį¹…khārika = 1,362.

Multiply by 2 according to whether the citta was Ʊāį¹‡asampayutta or Ʊāį¹‡avippayutta = 2,724.

Multiply by the three periods of time, past, present and future = 8,172.

Multiply by the two regions, Majjhimapadesa and Paccantapadesa = 16,344

Etc., etc.

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What is the meaning of this?

No this is not how I understand it.
Even if you keep one without reservation, that will amount to Koti Samvara Sila.
@Dhammanando may clarify this for us?

It is explained in the same section of the text. If one would be prepared to break a precept to save oneā€™s life but not to save oneā€™s limbs, achieve fame, etc., then oneā€™s sÄ«la is limited by oneā€™s regard for oneā€™s life. Likewise with the other items listed.

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Thank you Bhante.
So what really matters is not the quality of Sila but what is your limit to break your promise.
Though killing is a grave unwholsome action compare to stealing it is limited by your limits.
A person may steal but will not kill someone to steal.
The sameway a person may not kill but he may kill someone in self defence.
So scheme of things not killing and not stealing will be par because of the persons limit.
So what really matters is not what your Sila but what your limits are.
That is how I understand it now.
Based on that argument I would say even if you observe only one precepts it is equale to one million sila because all Sila is measured in its limits.
For instance, I am not consuming alcohol but I may consume alcohol if someone threaten to kill me. The same way I may kill someone if someone threaten to kill me if I do not commit the crime. So the limit of my Sila is my life.
Whether my precept is not consuming alcohol or not killin is not what matters but my limits.

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Koti here means ā€˜innumerableā€™, an expression of respect, rather than a given number. It means the monks were very virtuous.

I got a like for this question but not the answer.:sweat_smile: