Vinaya (3): The Cullavagga

by T. W. Rhys Davids | 1881 | 137,074 words

The Cullavagga (part of the Vinaya collection) includes accounts of the First and Second Buddhist Councils as well as the establishment of the community of Buddhist nuns. The Cullavagga also elaborates on the etiquette and duties of Bhikkhus....

Cullavagga, Khandaka 5, Chapter 21

1. Now the Blessed One, when he had stayed at Vesālī as long as he thought fit, set out on his journey toward Bhaggā[1]. And journeying straight on he arrived in due course at Bhaggā. And there at Bhaggā the Blessed One resided on the Dragon's Hill, in the hermitage in the Bhesakaḷā Wood[2].

Now at that time Bodhi the king's son's mansion, which was called Kokanada, had just been finished, and had not as yet been used[3] by Samaṇa, or by Brāhman, or by any human being. And Bodhi the king's son gave command to the young Brahman, the son of the Sañjika woman[4], saying, 'Come now, my friend Sañjikā-putta, go thou to the place where the Blessed One is, and when you have come there, bow down in salutation at his feet on my behalf, and enquire in my name whether he is free from sickness and suffering, and is in the enjoyment of ease and comfort and vigorous health, saying, "Bodhi the king's son, Lord, bows down in salutation at thy feet, and enquires [as I have said][5], and asks: 'May my Lord the Blessed One consent to take his to-morrow's meal with Bodhi the king's son, together with the Saṃgha of Bhikkhus.''

'Even so, Sir!' said the young Brahman Sañjikā-putta, in assent to Bodhi the king's son. And he went up to the place where the Blessed One was, and when he had come there he exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of friendship and civility. And when he had done so, he took his seat on one side, and se seated he [delivered to him the message even as me king's son had commanded]. And the Blessed One gave, by silence, his consent.

2. And when the young Brahman Sañjikā-putta had perceived that the Blessed One had consented, he arose from his seat, and went up to the place where Bodhi the king's son was. And when he had come there, he said to him: 'We have spoken, Sir, in your behalf to that venerable Gotama, saying (&c., as before), and have received the consent of the Samaṇa Gotama.'

Then Bodhi the king's son made ready at the end of that night sweet food, both hard and soft; and had the mansion Kokanada spread over with white cloths even unto the last planks in the flight of steps (at the entrance)[6]; and gave command to the young Brahman Sañjikā-putta, saying, 'Come now, my friend Sañjikā-putta, go thou up to the place where the Blessed One is; and when you have come there, announce the time, saying, "The meal, Lord, is ready, and the time has come."'

'Even so, Lord,' said Sañjikā-putta in assent [and went to the Blessed One and announced accordingly].

Now the Blessed One, having dressed himself early in the morning, went, duly bowled and robed, to Bodhi the king's son's mansion. And Bodhi the king's son stood at that time at the portico over the outer door to welcome the Blessed One. And he saw the Blessed One coming from afar; and on seeing him he went forth thence to meet him, and when he had saluted the Blessed One, he returned again to the mansion Kokanada.

Now the Blessed One stopped at the last plank on the flight of steps at the entrance. And Bodhi the king's son said to the Blessed One, 'May my Lord the Blessed One walk over the cloths. May the Happy One walk over the cloths, that the same may be to me for a long time for a weal and for a joy.'

And when he had thus spoken, the Blessed One remained silent. And a second time he [preferred the same request in the same words with the same result]. And a third time he [preferred the same request]. Then the Blessed One looked round at the venerable Ānanda.

And the venerable Ānanda said to Bodhi the king's son, 'Let them gather up, O prince, these cloths. The Blessed One will not walk on a, strip of cloth (laid down for ceremonial purposes)[7]. The Tathāgata has mercy even on the meanest thing.'

3. Then Bodhi the king's son had the cloths gathered up, and spread out a seat on the top of Kokanada. And the Blessed One ascended up into Kokanada, and sat down on the seat spread out there with the Saṃgha of Bhikkhus. And Bodhi the king's son satisfied the Bhikkhu-saṃgha with the Buddha at their head with the sweet food, both hard and soft, waiting upon them with his own hand[8]. And when the Blessed One had cleansed his bowl and his hands, he (Bodhi) took his seat on one side. And the Blessed One instructed, and roused, and incited, and gladdened him thus sitting with religious discourse. And when he had been thus instructed, and roused, and incited, and gladdened with religious discourse, Bodhi the king's son rose from his seat and departed thence.

Then the Blessed One, on that occasion and in that connection, convened an assembly of the Bhikkhu-saṃgha, and after he had delivered a religious discourse, he addressed the Bhikkhus and said:

'You are not, O Bhikkhus, to walk upon cloth laid down (for ceremonial purposes). Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkaṭa.'

4. Now at that time a certain woman who had had a miscarriage, and had invited the Bhikkhus, and spread cloths in their honour, said to them. 'Step, Sirs, over the cloth.'

The Bhikkhus, fearing to offend, would not do so.

'Step, Sirs, over the cloth, for good luck's sake.'

The Bhikkhus, fearing to offend, would not do so.

Then that woman murmured, was annoyed, and was indignant, saying, 'How can their reverences refuse to step over the cloth when they are asked to do so for good luck's sake?'

The Bhikkhus heard of that woman's murmuring, and being annoyed, and indignant. And they told this matter to the Blessed One.

'I allow you, O Bhikkhus, when asked to do so for the sake of good luck to laymen, to step over cloth laid down for ceremonial purposes.'

Now at the time the Bhikkhus were afraid to step on to a mat to be used for wiping the feet[9].

They told this matter to the Blessed One.

'I allow you, O Bhikkhus, to step on to a mat to be used for wiping the feet.'


Here ends the second Portion[10] for Recitation.

Footnotes and references:


Bhaggesu. Compare Buddhaghosa's note on a similar plural at Mahā-parinibbāna Sutta III, 5, quoted in Rh. D.'s 'Buddhist Suttas from the Pāli,' p. 24.


This place is also mentioned in the Sutta-vibhaṅga on the 55th and 56th Sekhiyas.


Anajjhāvuttho, literally, no doubt, 'dwelt in.' But it is clear that the meal afterwards taken in it by the Buddha was supposed to be the dedication, so to say, or the house-warming, after which it was ajjhāvuttho.


On this habit of naming people after the family or tribal (not the personal) name of their mothers, see Rh. D.'s note in his Buddhist Suttas,' p. 1.


So far this conversation is the stock phrase for a message from a royal personage to the Buddha. See 'Book of the Great Decease,' I, 2 (Rh. D.'s 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 2).


Sopāna-kaliṅgarā. Compare the Sanskrit Kaḍaṅkara (also written kaḍaṅgara). The correct reading is doubtless ḷ, not l.


Cela-pattikā ti cela-santharaṃ, says Buddhaghosa. See paṭṭikā in Childers, and compare pañca-paṭṭhikaṃ at V, 11, 6. Cela is not merely ordinary cloth; it is cloth regarded as a means of giving a decorative or festive appearance to a house by spreading canopies, &c. See Jātaka I, 178, and Mahā-parinibbāna Sutta VI, 26 (p. 64). On such festive occasions the whole house (or the Maṇḍapa erected in special honour of the guest) is covered with lengths of clean cotton cloth--the same as are otherwise used for ordinary apparel--white being the colour signifying peculiar respect. It is such lengths of cloth so used honoris causā that are called cela-pattikā. Compare Rh. D.'s note in 'Buddhist Suttas,' p. 122.


See the note above on Mahāvagga I, 8, 4.




There is no mention in the text of where the first such Portion (Bhāṇavāra) ends. There is also no division into Bhāṇavāras in the previous books of the Cullavagga.

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