by Jotiya Dhirasekera | 1964 | 113,985 words
A study of Buddhist monastic code: its origin and development in relation to the Sutta and Vinaya Pitakas. The Vinaya forms a part of a Buddhist disciple’s training method, particularly within Theravada Buddhism. This English thesis was completed by Jotiya Dhirasekera (Now Bhikkhu Dhammavihari)...
In the preceding chapter we pointed out the basic position which sila occupies in the spiritual development of the Buddhist disciple and the manner in which sila came to be related to sikkhā and sikkhāpada. Besides these, the Suttas also know of a number of other items, which together with the above, contribute to the perfection of a disciple. In the Sāmaññaphala Sutta, for instance, we find an account of what constituted the perfect character of the good monk.
'Having thus become a recluse he dwells,
1. disciplined by the restraints of the Pātimokkha,
2. endowed with the propriety of behaviour and conduct,
3. heedful even of the slightest misdeeds,
4. disciplining himself in terms of the moral injunctions,
5. possessed of blameless word and deed,
6. virtuous in his livelihood,
7. full of moral virtue,
8. with well restrained sense organs,
9. endowed with mindfulness and awareness, and
10. full of contentment.'
(Evam pabbajito samāno
- pātimokkhasamvarasamvuto viharati,
- anumattesu vajjesu bhayadassāvi,
- samādāya sikkhati sikkhāpadesu,
- kāyakammavacikammena samannāgato kusalena,
- indriyesu guttadvāro,
- satisampajaññena samannāgato,
- D.I. 63.).
Explaining further the items which are mentioned here, the Sutta deals first with the concept of silasampanno (7), making an exhaustive analysis of its many aspects. The Sutta proceeds thereafter to indriyesu guttadvāro (8), satisampajaññena samannāgato (9) and santuṭṭho (10).
In its summing up too, the Sutta is concerned only with these four items
(So iminā ca ariyena silakkhandhena samannāgato iminā ca ariyena indriyasamvarena samannāgato iminā ca ariyena satisampajaññena samannāgato imāya ca ariyāya santuṭṭhiyā samannāgato vivittam senāsanam bhajati
- D.I. 71.).
Thus we are naturally led to associate the first six items of the above list from pātimokkhasamvarasamvuto (1) to parisuddhājivo (6) with silasampanno and consider them as subdivisions of the latter. Of these six items, the first four have already appeared together with silavā, in the difinitions of silasampanno
Idha mahānāma ariyasāvako silavā hoti pātimokkhasamvarasamvuto viharati ācāragocarasampanno anumattesu vajjesu bhayadassāvi samādāya sikkhati sikkhāpadesu
- M.I. 355.).
Buddhaghosa helps us to include the remaining two items also under the category of sila. In the Sumaṇgalavilāsini he takes these two
(kāyakammavacikammena samannāgato kusalena and parisuddhājivo)
as complementary to each other and points them out to be really amounting to one thing, namely sila
(Yasmā idam ājivapārisuddhisilam nāma na ākāse vā rukkhaggādisu vā uppajjati kāyavacidvāresu eva pana uppajjati tasmā tassa uppattidvāradassanattham hāyakammavacikammena samannāgato kusalenā ' ti vuttam.
Yasmā pana tena samannāgato tasmā parisuddhājivo.
Parisuddham ājivam ' pi kho aham thapati silasmim vadāmi ' ti vuttam
- DA.I. 181 f.).
Buddhaghosa is, no doubt, backed here by the Canonical texts. The Mandiyaputta Sutta which he quotes is none other than the Samanamandikā Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya where ājivapārisuddhi is recognised as a part of good sila.
After sila and its accessory virtues we are introduced to three further items in the spiritual development of the Buddhist disciple, viz. indriyesu guttadvāratā, satisampajañña and santuṭṭhi. These together with sila, are to be achieved and accomplished before the disciple embarks on his inner purification, commencing with the elimination of the five nivarana.
Indriyasamvara or indriyesu guttadvāratā, restraint of senses referred to above, appears to take the disciple to a stage beyond sila in that it aims at the discipline of the body as well as of the mind for the sake of further inner development. The disciple begins to regulate, in the light of the instructions of the Master, his responses
to the external world through the sense organs so as not to allow evil thoughts which result from excessive desires and dislikes to get the better of him. He needs a cultivated outlook for this purpose. He has to guard his senses with cautions neutrality
(So cakkhunā rupam disvā na nimittaggāhi hoti nā ' nubyañjanaggāhi yatv ' ādhikaranam enam cakkhundriyam asamvutam viharantam abhijjhā domanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyum tassa samvarāya paṭipajjati rakkhati cakkhundriyam
- D.I. 70 f.)
The significant part indriyasamvara thus plays in the religious life of a Buddhist disciple is amply illustrated in the Mahātanhāsaṇkhaya Sutta. It points out how unguarded senses upset the poise of mind and enslave one to his sense experiences
(So cakkhunā rupam disvā piya¨upe rupe sārajjati appiyarupe rupe vyāpajjati anupaṭṭhitakāyasati ca viharati parittacetaso tañ ca cetovimuttim paññāvimuttim yathābhutam nappajānāti yattha ' ssa te pāpakā akusalā dhammā aparisesā nirujjhanti.
- M.I. 266.).
This in turn, it is pointed out, leads to the perpetuation of the samsāric process which the Buddhist disciple strives to transcend
(Tassa tam vedanam abhinandato abhivadato ajjhosāya tiṭṭhato uppajjati nandi yā vedanāsu nandi tadupādānam tassupādānapaccayā bhavo bhapvaccayā jāti jātipaccayā jarāmaranam sokaparideva-dukkha-domanassupāyāsā sambhavanti.
Evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkandhassa samudayo hoti
Indriyasamvara or restraint over sense-faculties is also valued elsewhere as paving the way to sila. It is said that in the absence of indriyasamvara, sila would be without support
(Indriyasamvare bhikkhave asati indriyasamvaravipannassa hatupanisam hoti silam
- A.III. 360.).
Satisampajañña or mental alertness and awareness is considered to be the first and foremost in this whole process of acquiring personal discipline.
Besides this, indriyasamvara has a secondary importance in that it contributes to the successful practice of the monastic life. It is said that indriyasamvara sustains the life of brahmacariya:
Indriyasamvaro brahmacariyassa āhāro
Expressed negatively, it is implied that the lack of indriyasamvara is an impediment to it:
Indriyā ' samvaro brahmacariyassa paripantho
The lure of sensual pleasures which a pabbajita has to renounce on leaving the household life was a great force against which he had to be constantly armed. On taking to the monastic career, if the pabbajita did not acquire proper control over his senses, temptations of kāma would not only defile his mind but also wreck his whole monastic life, swallowing him up in the whirl of worldly pleasures
So tattha passati gahapatim vā gahapatiputtam vā pañcahi kāmagunehi samappitam samaṇgibhutam paricārayamānam.
- M.I. 461.).
Indriyasamvara is also sometimes spoken of as an essential monastic virtue necessary for the safeguarding of a disciple's chastity and therefore also of his whole monastic life. In the adsene of such restraint he would succumb to the temptations of the world and would be torn off the moorings of monastic life.
On the other hand, the insistence on indriyasamvara in Buddhist monasticism is given as a reason why Buddhist disciples, most of whom are described as not being mature in years, have successfully completed their monastic careers. They achieved this end through the restraint of their senses
Ayam kho mahārāja hetu ayam paccayo yen' ime daharā bhikkhu susukālakesā bhadrena yobbanena samannāgatā paṭhamena vayasā anikiÂitāvino kāmesu yāvajivam paripunnam parisuddham brahmacariyam caranti addhānañ ca āpādenti
Satisampajañña or mental alertness, which comes next, is very generally described as awareness and deliberation over all bodily activities which range from movement of limbs, bodily ablutions and acts of eating and drinking to speech and silence, sleep and wakefulness
(So abhikkante paṭikkante sampajānakāri hoti ālokite vilokite sampajānakāri hoti samiñjite pasārite sampajānakāri hoti saṇghāṭipattacivaradhārane sampajānakāri hoti asite pite khāyite sāyite sampajānakai hoti uccārapassavakamme sampajānakāri hoti gate ṭhite nisinne sutte jāgarite bhāsite tunhibhāve sampajānakāri hoti
- M.I. 181.).
Santuṭṭhi which appears as the last virtue in this list, emphasises a disciple's contentment with regard to his food and clothing, which incidentally had to be of the simplest order
So yena yen ' eva pakkamati samādāy ' eva pakkamati
- D.I. 71.).
This virtue of santuṭṭhi or contentment is also used in relation to the wider field of requirements of a Buddhist disciple, viz. the fourfold requisites or catupaccaya
(Santuṭṭho hoti itaritaracivara-pindapāta-senāsana-gilānapaccaya-bhesajjaparikkhārena
- A.III. 135.).
(Santuṭṭhā ' yam bhikkhave kassapo itaritarena....
Tasmāt ' iha bhikkhave evam sikkhitabbam santuṭṭhā bhavissāma itaritarena civarena itaritaracivarasantuṭṭhiyā ca vannavādino na ca civarahetu anesanam appaṭirupam āpajjissāma.
Aladdhā ca civaram na paritassissāma laddhā ca civaram agadhitā amucchitā anajjhāpannā ādinavadassāvino nissaranapaññā paribhuñjissāma.
Evam kātabbam .....
itaritarena senāsanena ......
Kassapena vā hi vo bhikkhave ovadissāmi yo vā kassapasadiso.
Ovaditehi ca pana vo tathattāya paṭipajjitabban ' ti
The Khaggavisāna Sutta echoes a similar refrain:
Cātuddiso appaṭigho ca hoti
parissayānam sahitā achambhi
eko care khaggavisānakappo.
Sn. v. 42.
'Moving freely in all the four quarters of the world, without any sense of cnflict or hostility, content with meagre provisions, braving all dangers without trepidation, let him wander alone like the rhinoceros.'
Santuṭṭhi also focusses light on the abstemiousness of the disciple which has been praised elsewhere as santussako ca subharo ca appakicco ca sallahukavutti. ' Contented is he and easily supportable. He is abstemious and has few things that he needs to do.' Commenting on the word santuṭṭho, Buddhaghosa does, in fact, emphasise this aspect of monastic life
(Iti imassa bhikkhuno sallahukavuttim dassento bhagavā santuṭṭho hoti kāyaparihārikena civarenā ' ti ādim āha
We also witness in the Canonical texts the elaboration of this concept of santuṭṭhi under the name of ariyavamsā. The Saṇgiti Sutta speaks of cattāro ariyavamsā or four noble traditions which according to the Commentary are characteristic of the Buddhas and their disciples.
The Sutta itself calls them ancient traditions : porānā aggaññā ariyavamsā. The Aṇguttara Nikāya also knows of the ariyavamsā. Describing them in greater detail it claims universal approval and acceptance for them. It is also claimed that they come down from hoary antiquity and have ever since held an unchallenged position. The practice of these it is said, will enable a monk to resist the temptations of the pleasures
of the world and derive sufficient inspiration to fight the spiritual lethargy that would impede his progress
(Cattāro' me bhikkhave ariyavamsā aggaññā vamsaññā porānā asamkinnā asamkinnapubbā na samkiyanti na samkiyissanti appaṭikuṭṭhā samanehi brāhmanehi viññuhi .....
Tam kissa hetu. Aratiratisaho hi bhikkhave dhiro ' ti
- A.II. 27 f.).
The first three of these ariyavamsā pertain to a disciple's contentment with regard to his clothing, food and residence respectively. The commentary on the Saṇgiti Sutta points out that being so they fall within the territory of the Vinaya Piṭaka.
It also tells us that in compressing the four requisites of the catupaccaya within the first three items of ariyavamsā, gilāna- paccayabhesajjaparikkhāra is to be taken as being implicitly included under pindapāta.
The fourth place in the list of ariyavamsā is reserved for the disciple's interest and enthusiasm in his spiritual development, both by the elimination of evil traits of his mind and by his inner culture (pahānārāmo and bhāvanārāmo). Hence the commentator suggests that the other two Piṭakas, Sutta and Abhidhamma, play their role here.
Thus it should be noted that this concept of ariyavamsā is more developed and more comprehensive than the fourfold contentment in relation to the catupaccaya which was ascribed to the venerable Mahā Kassapa.
As is evident from the text of the Sāmaññaphala Sutta, these virtues of sila, indriyasamvara, satisampajañña and santuṭṭhi undoubtedly constituted the standard pattern of early Buddhist monasticism
(Evam pabbajito samāno pātimokkhasamvarasamvuto viharati ācāragocarasampanno anumattesu vajjesu bhayadassāvi samādāya sikkhati sikkhāpadesu kāyakammavacikammena samannāgato kusalena parisuddhājivo silasampanno indriyesu guttadvāro satisampajaññena samannāgato santuṭṭho
- D.I. 63.).
We also discover in the Canonical texts another list of virtues, somewhat different from the above, which are linked with the disciple's spiritual development under sila. They are as follows:
- silavā hoti pātimokkhasamvarasamvuto viharati ācāragocarasampanno anumattesu vajjesu bhayadassāvi samādāya sikkhati sikkhāpadesu.
- indriyesu guttadvāro.
- bhojane mattaññu.
- jāgariyam anuyutto.
- satisampajaññena samannāgato.
As in the former list the cultivation of these virtues here prepares the disciple for the elimination of the five nivarana. Thus both these lists which start with sila appear to be similar in their scope. They are in fact identical as far as sila and indriyasamvara are concerned. The latter list adds thereafter two new items in bhojane mattaññutā and jāgariyānuyoga.
It leaves out santuṭṭhi of the former, but agrees with it in retaining satisampajañña.
As we examine the concept of bhojane mattaññutā, it appears as though considerations regarding the acceptance and use of food assumed, in course of time, increasing importance in Buddhist monasticism, and that it led to this special mention of moderation in eating. The broader concept of santuṭṭhi which covers all the needs of a disciple besides food is thus replaced by this narrower one of bhojane mattaññutā, perhaps with the intention of being more specific.
In its wider interpretation, however, bhojane mattaññutā was taken to be equivalent to santuṭṭhi as is evident from the comment of Buddhaghosa which says that bhojane mattaññutā brings to light such virtues like contentment:
bhojane mattaññu ' ti idam assa santosādigunaparidipam
- VibhA. 323.
Heedlessness in eating was considered a danger not only to the physical well- being but also to the mental poise and spiritual development of the disciple. In several suttas like the Kakacupama, Bhaddāli and Laṭukikopama, the Buddha speaks of the physical benefits which result from moderation and regularity in meals. A verse in the Theragāthā almost specifies the quantity of food to be consumed by a monk.
'Let him drink water after his meal while he leaves four or five mouthfuls of food yet uneaten. This is conducive to the ease and comfort of the disciple who is striving for this emancipation.'
It is suggested in the Commentaries that these bounds of propriety apply not only to the quantity of food consumed but also to the amount sought and accepted
A disciple of such virtue and wisdom, even if he were to partake of a delicious and delightful meal, would not thereby bring ruin upon his spiritual life
(Sa kho so bhikkhave bhikkhu evamsilo evamdhammo evampañño sālinañ ce ' pi pindapātam bhuñjati vicitakālakam anekasupam anekabyañjanam nev ' assa tam hoti antarāyāya
- M.I. 38.).
Thus bhojane mattaññutā became an important item of monastic discipline. True to the injunction under santuṭṭhi
(santuṭṭho hoti kucchiparihārikena pindapātena)
it not only sets the limit on the quantity of food, but also corrects the disciple's attitude to the use of food in general.
2 The disciple is advised to eat his food with the awareness that he does so in order to maintain his physical fitness, free from pain, that he may further his religious pursuit of brahmacariya. He should eschew all desires of physical perfection and adornment
(Ehi tvam bhikkhu bhojane mattaññu hohi paṭisaṇkhā yoniso āhāreyyāsi neva davāya na madāya na mandanāya na vibhusanāya yāvad ' ev ' imassa kāyassa ṭhitiyā yāpanāya vihimsuparatiyā brahmacariyānuggahāya
- M.III.). 
The Dhammapada views it from many other angles. Moderation in eating is said to be a great asset in the battle against the forces of evil. The disciple who along with other virtues possesses a sense of moderation in eating shall not easily be swayed by Māra. It is said that the disciple should take his food with the awareness that it should contribute so much to his physical well being as would be needed for the successful completion of his life of brahmacariya.
Asubhānupassim viharantam indriyesu susamvutam
bhojanamhi ca mattaññum saddham āraddhaviriyam
tam ve nappasahati māro vāto selam ' va pabbatam.
It is also listed there among the basic injunctions of the Buddhas.
Anupavādo anupaghāto pātimokkhe ca samvaro
mattaññutā ca bhattasmim panthañ ca sayanāsanam
adhicitte ca āyogo etam buddhāna sāsanam.
This added emphasis which seems to be centered on the question of food does not appear to have resulted from mere theoretical considerations. Evidence of both the Sutta and the Vinaya Piṭakas show that restrictions on food were constantly being challenged and violated by rebellious disciples even during the time of the Buddha. Bhaddāli tells the Buddha of his inability to practise the habit of one meal a day
- M.I. 437.).
The Laṭukikopama Sutta expresses through the words of Udāyi what might have been the general protest at the prohibition to the monks of the night meal and meals out of hours.
We also come across a number of supplementary rules on the acceptance and use of food which were laid down by the Buddha as a result of certain irregularities indulged in by erring disciples. Once a number of monks, fearing that they would get only a frugal meal at the house of a poor man who had invited them. collected an early meal and enjoyed it beforehand.
In the history of Pācittiya 35 we discover monks taking a second meal elsewhere after they had concluded their meal at one place. Pācittiya 37 had to be laid down as a special safeguard against eating after hours. It should here be observed that all these situations are implicitly guarded against under sila in the sikkhāpada which pertains to food, that the disciple takes only one meal a day, abstaining from the night meal and meals after hours
(Ekabhattiko hoti rattuparato virato vikālabhojanā
- D.I. 64.).
Considerig all these dangers which could possibly befall Buddhist monasticism in general and the spiritual life of the disciple in particular through an untutored attitude to food, it is little wonder that bhojane mattaññutā became a special monastic virtue. We notice further a new attitude to food being cultivated by the Buddhist disciples which came to be regarded as one among seven conditions which lead to enlightenment.
It is an acquired feeling of disgust and detachment towards food which a disciple is called upon to develop gradually, stage by stage
(Tasmim āhāre paṭikkulākāraggahanavasena uppannā saññā āhāre paṭikkulasaññā
- Vism. 341.).
What is intended thereby is that a disciple's mind may never be enslaved through his greed for food
(ahāre paṭikkulasaññā bhikkhave bhāvitā bahulikatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisamsā amatogadhā amatapariyosānā ' ti iti kho pan 'etam vuttam kiñc ' etam paṭicca vuttam. ahāre paṭikkulasaññāparicitena bhikkhave bhikkhuno cetasā bahulam viharato rasatanhāya cittam paṭiliyati paṭikuṭṭati paṭivattati na sampasāriyati upekkhā vā paṭikkulyatā vā sanṭhāti
The Visuddhimagga considers that the acquisition of this attitude would serve as a prelude to the complete eradication of lust centering on the fivefold pleasures of the senses
- Vism. 347.).
The origin of this idea of Buddhaghosa is in fact traceable back to Canonical texts. The Samyutta Nikāya (S.II. 98) records a statement by the Buddha himself where he says that once a complete mastery over one's attitude to solid food of daily consumption has been gained (kabaliṇkāra-āhāre pariññāte), one gains restraint over one's attitude to the entire range of fivefold sense pleasures or pañcakāmagunika-rāga.
Jāgariyānuyoga too, like bhojane mattaññutā, is a very specific virtue. It refers to both physical wakefulness and mental alertness through control of sleep. Satisampajañña which was referred to earlier, concerns itself with the vigilance of a disciple. But jāgariyānuyoga demands that a disciple should harness that vigilance to bring about the purge of his mind of the defiling traits.
We notice that instead of replacing satisampajaña, jāgariyānuyoga augments it by adding this active mind-culture as another important monastic virtue. Thus the second list of monastic virtues is completed with satisampajañña as the last of its items.
Out of the virtues enumerated in this second list three have come to deserve special consideration in that they are often listed together as basic virtues necessary for the successful continuance of monastic life as well as for the attainment of the final goal of Arahantship
- S.IV.103 f.).
However, we notice that no mention is made here of sila. Perhaps it is implicitly taken to be contained within the framework of these three items of indriyasamvara, bhojane mattaññutā and jāgariya. They lead to the physical and mental well-being of a disciple in this very life and pave the way for the attainment of Arahantship
(Tihi bhikkhave dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu diṭṭhe ' va dhamme sukhasomanassabahulo viharati yoni ca ' ssa āraddhā hoti āsavānam khayāya.
Katamehi tihi. Indriyesu guttadvāro hoti bhojane mattaññu jāgariyam anuyutto
- S.IV.175 f.).
The Aṇguttara reiterates this idea, declaring the infallibility of these virtues.
There is no doubt that they formed a powerful triad in the development of monastic life. However, we find at times satisampajañña appended to these as a fourth
(Kimaññatra bhikkhave nando indriyesu guttadvāro bhojane mattaññu jāgariyam anuyutto satisampajaññena samannāgato yena nando sakkoti paripunnam parisuddham brahmacariyam caritum
- A.IV. 166.).
Footnotes and references:
See also M.I. 33, 36; III. 2,134; S.V.187; A.II.14.
D.I. 70-71; M.I.179-80, 267-68, 345-46.
See also M.I.179 ff, 267 ff, 345 f.
M.I. 462. Also A.III. 95.
Sn. v. 144.
D.III. 224 f.
M.I.124, 437, 448.
Vin.IV. 76 f.
S.V.132; A.IV. 46.