Vinaya (2): The Mahavagga

by T. W. Rhys Davids | 1881 | 156,382 words

The Mahavagga (part of the Vinaya collection) includes accounts of Gautama Buddha’s and the ten principal disciples’ awakenings, as well as rules for ordination, rules for reciting the Patimokkha during uposatha days, and various monastic procedures....

1. At that time the reverend Mahā Kassapa, when going to the Uposatha from Andhakavinda to Rājagaha, and crossing a river on his way, was nearly[1] being carried away (by the river)[2]; and his robes got wet. The Bhikkhus said to the reverend Mahā Kassapa: 'How have your robes got wet, friend?' (He replied): 'As I was going, friends, to the Uposatha from Andhakavinda to Rājagaha, and crossing a river on my way, I was nearly being carried away (by the river); thus my robes have become wet.'

They told this thing to the Blessed One.

'Let the Saṃgha, O Bhikkhus, confer on the boundary which it has determined for common residence and for communion of Uposatha, the I character of ticīvarena avippavāsa[3].

2. 'And you ought, O Bhikkhus, to confer on it this character in this way: Let a learned, competent Bhikkhu proclaim the following ñatti before the Saṃgha: "Let the Saṃgha, reverend Sirs, hear me. If the Saṃgha is ready, let the Saṃgha confer on the boundary which the Saṃgha has determined for common residence and for communion of Uposatha. the character of ticīvarena avippavāsa. 'This is the ñatti. Let the Saṃgha (&c., as above). Thus I understand."'

3. At that time the Bhikkhus, considering that the Blessed One had ordained the conferring of the character of ticīvarena avippavāsa (on the boundaries), deposited their robes in a house. Those robes were lost, bumt, or eaten by rats; the Bhikkhus were badly dressed and had coarse robes. (Other) Bhikkhus said: 'How comes it that you are badly dressed, friends, and that you have coarse robes?' (They replied): 'Considering, friends, that the Blessed One had ordained the conferring (on the boundaries) of the character of ticīvarena avippavāsa, we deposited our robes in a house; the robes have been lost, burnt, or eaten by rats; therefore we are badly dressed and have coarse robes.'

They told this thing to the Blessed One.

'Let[4] the Saṃgha, O Bhikkhus, confer on the boundary which it has determined for common residence and for communion of Uposatha, the character of ticīvarena avippavāsa, excepting villages and the neighbourhood of villages[5].

4. 'And yop ought, O Bhikkhus, to confer on it this character in this way, &c.[6]

5. 'Let him who determines a boundary, O Bhikkhus, first determine the boundary for common residence and for communion of Uposatha, and afterwards decree about the ticīvarena avippavāsa. Let him who abolishes a boundary, O Bhikkhus, first abolish the decree about the ticīvarena avippavāsa, and afterwards abolish the boundary for common residence and for communion of Uposatha.

'And you ought, O Bhikkhus, to abolish the ticīvarena avippavāsa in this way: Let a learned, competent Bhikkhu proclaim the following ñatti before the Saṃgha: "Let the Saṃgha, reverend Sirs, hear me. If the Saṃgha is ready, let the Saṃgha abolish the ticīvarena avippavāsa, which the Saṃgha has decreed. This is the ñatti. Let the Saṃgha, &c."

6. 'And you ought, O Bhikkhus, to abolish the boundary in this way: Let a learned, competent Bhikkhu proclaim the following ñatti before the Saṃgha: "Let the Saṃgha, reverend Sirs, hear me. If the Saṃgha is ready, let the Saṃgha abolish the boundary for common residence and for communion of Uposatha which it has determined. This is the ñatti. Let the Saṃgha, &c."

7. 'If there is no boundary determined nor fixed, O Bhikkhus, the village boundary of that village, or the nigama boundary ofthat nigama (market town) near which village or nigama (a Bhikkhu) dwells, is to be considered as boundary for common residence and for the communion of Uposatha. If (he lives), O Bhikkhus, in a forest where no villages are, community of residence and Uposatha extends to a distance of seven abbhantaras[7] all around. A river, O Bhikkhus, cannot be a boundary, a sea cannot be a boundary, a natural lake cannot be a boundary. In a river, O Bhikkhus, or in a sea, or in a natural lake, community of residence and Uposatha extends as far as an average man can spirt water all around.'

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

'Manaṃ vuḷho ahosi.' Buddhaghosa: 'īsakaṃ appattavuḷhabhāvo ahosi.' Manaṃ is evidently the equivalent of Sanskrit manāk.

[2]:

Buddhaghosa's note on this passage contains some details regarding the way which Mahā Kassapa went. Andhakavinda is three gāvuta distant from Rājagaha. There were eighteen (? the MS. reads: aṭṭhāra mahāvihārā) great Vihāras around Rājagaha included by the same boundary which Buddha himself had consecrated. The Uposatha service for this whole district was performed in the Veḷuvana monastery. The river which Mahā Kassapa crossed on his way to the Veḷuvana was the Sappinī, which rises in the Gijjhakūṭa mountain.

[3]:

Ticīvarena avippavāsa means not parting with the three robes which belong to the usual 'parikkhārā ' (requisites) of a Bhikkhu. Bhikkhus were not allowed to part with their cīvaras, excepting under special circumstances and for a limited time (see the Pātimokkha, 29th nissaggiya dhamma). Conferring the character of ticīvarena avippavāsa on a boundary means, we believe, to determine that it should be free to Bhikkhus residing within this boundary, to keep a set of robes wherever they liked within the same boundary (excepting in a village, § 3), and that such an act should not be considered as parting with the robes.

[4]:

Buddhaghosa observes that this rule applies to Bhikkhus only, and not to Bhikkhunīs. For Bhikkhunīs reside only in villages; there would be no cīvaraparihāra at all for Bhikkhunīs, if they were to use the kammavācā given in § 4. Buddhaghosa also observes at this occasion that the boundaries of the Bhikkhusaṃgha and of the Bhikkhunīsaṃgha are quite independent from each other, and that the rules given in chap. 13 do not refer to boundaries the one of which belongs to the Bhikkhusaṃgha, the other to the Bhikkhunīsaṃgha.

[5]:

As to the extent attributed to the 'gāmūpacāra' (neighbourhood of the village), see the Vibhaṅga, quoted by Minayeff, Prātim. p. 66, l. 1.

[6]:

This formula is identical with that given in § 2. The only difference is that after the words 'the character of ticīvarena a vippavāsa,' the words 'excepting villages and the neighbourhood of villages' are inserted.

[7]:

1 abbhantara = 28 hattha (Buddhaghosa and Abhidhānappadīpikā, v. 197). See Rh. D., 'Coins and Measures,' &c., p. 15.

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