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Present: Shaw J. and Sohneider A.J.
GUNARATNA UNNANSE v. DHARMANANDA.
57—D. 0, Kurunegala, 7,256.
Buddhist ecclesiastical law—Sisyanusisya paramparawa — Failure of• pupils in the direct line—Power of incumbent to disinherit pupilsor to alter the nUe of succession.
According to the sisyanusisya paramparawa, there is no failurein the succession so long as there remain direct pupillary successorsto any previous incumbent.
Sisyanusisya paramparawa is presumed to apply in the absenceof proof of the application-of any other rule of succession.
n ^HE facts appear from the judgment. The following evidence^ as to custom was led,' at the trial;—
Borukgamuwe Rewata, affirmed (called by the plaintiff):—I am theManager of Subadarama Pirivena at Nugegoda. I am engaged inrevising the Tripitakas. I am author and editor of books. I havebeen a priest for twenty-eight years.
I am conversant with the customs, &c., of the usages of the priests.
(The present case is stated.)
The paramparawa having ended in Attadassi, the succession is inthe branch through Somadatta, that is, the nearest heir. That is bythe rule of sisyanusisya paramparawa. **
Attadassi could not will away the sanghika property, e.gthe temple;he could the pudgalika. j
If one pupil of two pupils of a tutor dies, the qjiher succeeds. Wherethere are several pupils, unless any disqualification exists, a pupil'may not in the absence' of a pupil of his own will away the temple.
I am explaining the custom, which agrees with the ecclesiastical law.
Cross-examined.—Where sisyanusisya paramparawa exists, it does notnecessarily follow the property is sanghika.
Pudgalika property becomes sanghika the moment the owner diesand there is no one to take it.
When property is gifted to the priesthood, generally that becomessanghika.
I do not know how the original priest got the property in this case.I cannot say if it was pudgalika or sanghika. If the original owner gaveit by documents to two persons, assuming it was pudgalika, it would bepudgalika. Their successors could deal with it as they like. ' ,
If the property was sanghika, and it was gifted by deed, the' giftwould be null, as it could not have been gifted.
Sisyanusisya means from pupil to pupiL Where there is no pupilof any branch to take, the property becomes sanghika, i.e., becomesthe property of the Maha Sangha. .
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Either the high priest or a meeting of priests could then appoint.
It is customary that if two pupils own two temples, and one diesleaving no pupil, the other pupil owns both temples.
Pali Mukthaha Vinaya deals'with this branch of the law (Pali MukthahaVinaya, 239). " This refers only to pudgalika property, and not sanghiha.property. I have not come across palecode in respect of senasana.
I know Giridere Ratnajoti. %He understands .Pali. By reputationhe is learned. He is a friend of mine.
Re.-examined.—A priest cannot will away sanghiha property underany circumstance.
To the Court.—A priest has no right to appoint a fit person toofficiate in a temple to the exclusion of his pupils if he thinks the pupilsare incompetent.
G. Vf. Woobhouse, D. J.
Oiridere Ratnajoti, affirmed (called by the defendant) :~-I amPrincipal of Doronegoda Pirivena. I am a member of the Council ofOriental Studies. I have considerable experience in teaching our owndhamma for many years.
If one priest owned two temples and appointed his two pupils to thetwo temples in sisyanusisya paramparawa on a failure of one line, then. the temple in question becomes sanghiha, it' does not go to the otherbranch. I have authority for that statement.
I have here the Pali Mukthaha Vinaya Tihawa, the book in whichare the rules for the guidance of the priesthood.
It says hereunder (8) s “If the incumbent priest is old and infirm,* orsick, or wishes to take rest, and if he wishes to give over the templeto another person, or if he anticipates disputes and lawsuits after hisdeath and wishes to avoid such, or if he wishes to give the temple toa person who associates with him, he should not gift It himself alone,but should collect the priests and inform them, and considerable assist-ance given by some person or by reason of special qualifications of therecipient, such a person should be selected (looked for)."
The priests should avoid four prejudices and then make the appoint,ment. They must consider the rules at the time as set down by Buddhain the Vjnaya.*
The appointment should be made to a well-disciplined, well-conductedpriest.
This is how appointment is made on failure of succession.
I support the present defendant’s appointment, as it is in accordancewith what I have read first._
The statement which I have first read and translated can be supportedwith further authority.
“ Parikhari” includes immovable property. It is given in thePali Mukthaha Vinaya at pages 276 to 282. Here is a description ofthe valuable property in regard to parikhari. The same word appliesboth to movables and immovables.
Cross-examined.—“ Oaru ” applies to movables also.
The preaching of Buddha is in Pali. The Atuwaun is the commen-tary. Tihawa is a commentary on the commentary. I road from theTihawa, which comments on Buddha’s sayings.
In time of Buddha priests had temples and property. Sisyanu-sisya paramparawa did not exist in the time of-Buddha. That was asubsequent innovation arising when kings gave property in sanghiha.
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The resident priest is merely in charge oi a temple from the Sangha.Such temples under the sisyanueisya paramparawa went down frompupil to pupil. The system is not analogous to descent in the civil law.
According to the original rules, on the death of a priest the templebecomes sanghika every time.
It is only the Sangha that can appoint to the sanghika property.
If a priest appoint a -successor, he must appoint with the approval ofa Sangaha Sabawa.
G. W. Woodhouse, D. J.
A. St. V. Jayawardene, F. de Zoysa, E. T. de Silva, and Jaya-wickreme, for the appellant.
H. J. C. Pereira (with him Batuwantudawa), tor the respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
January 26, 1921. Shaw J.—
The plaintiff claims a declaration that he is entitled to the in-cumbencies of the Mudunna and Tammita Vihares on the groundthat the succession is governed by the dsyanusisya paramparawa,and that he is the next priest in the line of succession.
No dispute arises as to his right of succession to the TammitaVihare, but the defendant claims that he is entitled to the incum-bency of Mudunna Vihare by reason of his appointment to the*succession by the late incumbent, Attadassi, who died leaving nopupil, which appointment was confirmed by the Mahanayaka ofAsgiriya.
The evidence does not disclose the origin and early histoiyof these vihares, but in the year 1847 one Gantampola Dharmajotiwas incumbent of both vihares, he having succeeded his tutorRakkita Unnanse, who had himself succeeded his tutor Suwannajoti.The evidence seems to establish that the succession to the vihares isgoverned by the sisyanusisya paramparawa, and, indeed, this rule ofsuccession must be presumed to apply in the absence of proof o< theapplication of any* other rule of succession- Ratnapala Unnansev, Kiwitigale Unnanse}
Gantampola Dharmajoti had two pupils, Somadatta and Guna-ratne, and during his lifetime, in the year 1847, he, by talpota (P 2),assigned the incumbency of Tammita to Somadatta.
The material part of the document is as follows : “ But at presentbeing invalided and my ailments becoming very serious, 1 haveResigned over and granted the aforesaid temple and the premisesat Tammita and everything appertaining thereto unto my pupilKossawa Somadatta, whom I have from his young days adoptedand ordained as a priest, so that he may hold and possess the sameindependently,” &c. 1
1 (1879) 2S. O. Q. 28.
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After the assignment Somadatta appeals to have resided atTammita, and after the death of Gantampola Dharmajoti hecontinued to do so, paying, however, frequent visits to Mudunna.The other pupil, Gunaratna, continued to. reside at Mudunna. TheDistrict Judge has come to the conclusion that Gunaratna was thesenior pupil of Gantampola Dharmajoti, and. as such succeeded tothe vihare of Mudunna. In this view I think he is clearly wrong.In the year 1866 disputes arose between the priests at the twovihares, and the then Mananayak a of Asgiriva Vihare held an inquiryand made an award (P 3), in which it is stated that: “ It was decidedin consideration of the said Kossawa (Somadatta) of Tammita beinga senior priest of all other priests, and also in view of the fact thatthe deceased Gantampola priest had entrusted and delivered thesaid temples and premises and the pupils thereof to the said Kossawa,that the said Kossawa as a chief and elderly priest continue as suchin the usual customary manner which has prevailed before in theaforesaid two temples and premises …. and further toadhere to the usual customary tutelary succession for generationsto come uninterruptedly.”
Tfee document appears to me to show clearly that KossawaSomadatta* was the senior pupil, and that he, and not Gunaratna,succeeded to the incumbency of Mudunna.
Somadatta had a pupil, Gantampola Dewarakkita, who residedat Tammita, and succeeded his tutor there. On his death he wassucceeded by his pupil, the plaintiff.
Gunaratna, after Somadatta’s death, continued to reside at^Mudunna, and, whatever His legal rights were, he appears to have be-come recognized as incumbent, and on his death his pupil Attadassisucceeded him in the incumbency of Mudunna. Whatever theirlegal rights were, it is probable that these priests acquired a pre-sumptive right to the Mudunna Vihare. Attadassi died shortlybefore this action was instituted leaving no pupil. Some yearsbefore his death he convened a meeting of priests at Mudunna andpurported to appoint the defendant, who was a relation of his,as his successor to the Mudunna Vihare. This appointment hasbeen confirmed by the Mahanayaka of Asgiriya. The DistrictJudge has held that the document (P 2), to which I have previouslyreferred, effected a severance of the two vihares and that a new lineof succession then began, and that the plaintiff is not entitled tosucceed to the Mudunna Vihare on the failure of the direct pupillaryheirs to that vihare.
GunaratnaUnnante v.Dharma-nanda ■
In my opinion it is impossible to support this finding. It wasclearly not within the power of Gantampola Dharmajoti to alterthe rule of succession attaching to these vihares or to disinherithis pupils. Neither does the document in any way purport to do so..In fact, he did not do so. As I have pointed out, it is clear from the
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document (P 3) that Somadatta as his senior pupil succeeded himto the Muduuna Vihare.
The 'argument urged on behalf of the defendant at the hearingof the appeal was that although the succession to the MuduimaVihare is to be governed by the sisyanusisya paramparawa, thedirect line of pupils having failed by the death of Attadasai withoutpupils, the vihare became the property of the Sangha as a whole,and the right of appointment of an incumbent vested in the collegeof priests or the Mahanayaka, and did not revert to the collateralline of priests descending from a previous incumbent.
So far as the evidence as to custom which has been given in thecase is concerned, it appears to me to be clearly in favour of theplaintiff’s Claim to succeed. The • witness Giridere Ratnajoti,Principal of Derenigoda Pirivena, called on behalf of the defendant,who expressed an opinion contrary to the plaintiff’s right to succeed,appeared to base, his opinion on the Pali Mukthaka Vinaya, andto disregard the Ceylon custom of sisyanmisya paramparawa; andAmbagoswewa Ratnajoti, High Priest of Asgiriya, also called forthe defence, stated in his evidence : “ If pupils of the same tutormanage different temples and one of the lines fail, the templegoes to members of the other branch. ”!
This appears to give away entirely the case for the defendant.The right to the collateral line to succeed has been recognized bythis Court.in several cases.
In Weligama Dhammajoti Unnanae v. Wdigama SaranandeUnnanae1 Dias J. says : “ I have always understood the.rule to bethat after exhausting the descending line you must resort to the*ascending line, such as the tutor of the deceased incumbent, andfailing him the fellow-pupils of the deceased incumbent.”
In Sumana Terunnanae v. EandoppuAamy2 Lawrie C. J. says.:“ The descent is from a founder or original grantee, and the lineof his succession is not exhausted so long as there are persons alivewho descend in the pupillary line from him.”
In Sobita Terunnanae v. Sidatte Terunnanse3 'it was taken asadmitted that when a priestxdied leaving no pupils of his own,then the pupils, direct or more remote, of the tutor of the deceasedpriest would be entitled to succeed.
In the recent case Saranankara Unnanae v. Indqjoti Unnanae4the right of pupils in the collateral line to succeed on failure of thedirect line was recognized in the judgment and decree in the case,although there was no decision on the point that is raised in thepresent case. As I understand the rules of eiayanusiaya param-parawa, there is no failure in the succession so long as there remaindireot pupillary successors to any previous incumbent.
1 (1881) S S. O. O. 8.
* (1893) 3 O. L. B. 14.
*(1867) Ram. 1863 1868, 280.
(1918) 20 N. L. B. 385.
The plaintiff being the direct pupillary successor toSomadattaand Gantampola, he is, in my opinion, entitled to succeed to theincumbencies of both temples.
1 would accordingly set aside the judgment appealed from, anddirect judgment to be entered for the plaintiff as prayed for, withcosts.
The appellant is entitled to the costs of this appeal.
ScHNBiDEn A J.—I agree.
GUNARATNA UNNANSE v. DHARMANANDA