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. Then the Blessed One, after having dwelt near Rājagaha as long as he thought fit, went forth on his pilgrimage to Codanāvatthu. Going from place to place on his pilgrimage, he came to Codanāvatthu. At that time there dwelt in a certain residence many Bhikkhus, the eldest of whom was an ignorant, unlearned person: he neither knew Uposatha, nor the Uposatha service, nor the Pātimokkha, nor the recital of the Pātimokkha.

2. Now those Bhikkhus thought: 'It has been prescribed by the Blessed One that the eldest Bhikku is master of the Pātimokkha, and here the eldest of us is an ignorant, unlearned person: he neither knows Uposatha . . . nor the recital of the Pātimokkha. Well, how are we to act?'

They told this thing to the Blessed One.

“I prescribe, O Bhikkhus, that (in such a case) that Bhikkhu who is (most) learned and competent, is to be made master of the Pātimokkha.”

3. At that time there dwelt in a certain residence on the day of Uposatha many ignorant, unlearned Bhikkhus: they neither knew Uposatha . . . nor the recital of the Pātimokkha. They called upon the Thera: 'May it please the Thera, reverend Sir, to recite the Pātimokkha.' He replied: 'I am not competent to do so.' They called upon the next eldest, &c. He also replied, &c. They called upon the third eldest, &c. In this manner they called upon (all Bhikkhus) down to the youngest one: 'May it please the reverend brother to recite the Pātimokkha.' He also replied: 'I am not competent, venerable Sirs, to do so.'

They told this thing to the Blessed One.

4, 5. 'When, O Bhikkhus, in a certain residence, &c.[1]; in that case, O Bhikkhus, these Bhikkhus are instantly to send one Bhikkhu to the neighbouring residence (of Bhikkhus): "Go, friend, and come back when you have learnt the Pātimokkha abridged or in its full extent."'

6. Now the Bhikkhus thought: 'By whom is (this Bhikkhu) to be sent?'

They told this thing to the Blessed One.

“I prescribe, O Bhikkhus, that the Thera is to give order to a young Bhikkhu.”

The young Bhikkhus, having received that order from the Thera, did not go.

They told this thing to the Blessed One.

“Let no one who has been ordered by the Thera forbear to go, unless he be sick. He who does not go, commits a dukkaṭa offence.”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Here rollows an exact repetition or the story told in § 3, which is given here, of course, in the present tense.

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