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 6, Chapter 6

1. Now when the Blessed One had stayed as long as he thought fit at Vesālī he set out towards Sāvatthi. Now at that time the pupils of the Chabbaggiya Bhikkhus went on in front of the Bhikkhu-saṃgha which had the Buddha at its head, and occupied the rooms, and occupied the sleeping-places, saying, 'This will do for our superiors (upajjhāyas), this for our teachers (ācariyas), this for ourselves.' And the venerable Sāriputta who had followed after the Bhikkhu-saṃgha which had the Buddha at its head, since all the rooms and all the sleeping-places had been occupied, found no place to sleep in, and took his seat at the foot of a certain tree.

Now the Blessed One, at early dawn, after he had risen, coughed. The venerable Sāriputta coughed also.

'Who is this?' (said the Blessed One.)

'It is I, Lord; Sāriputta.'

'How do you come to be sitting here, Sāriputta?'

Then the venerable Sāriputta told the matter to the Blessed One.

2. Then the Blessed One on that occasion and in that connection convened a meeting of the Bhikkhu-saṃgha, and asked, 'Is it true, as I have been told, O Bhikkhus, that the pupils of the Chabbaggiya Bhikkhus have (acted in this way)?'

'It is true, Lord.'

Then the Blessed One rebuked them, saying (as usual, see Cullavagga I, 1, 2, 3), and he said to the Bhikkhus, 'Who is it, O Bhikkhus, who is worthy of the best seat, and the best water, and the best food?'

Some of the Bhikkhus said, 'One who belonged to a Kshatriya family before he entered the Order.' Others of the Bhikkhus said, One who belonged to a Brahman family before he entered the Order.' Others again said, 'One who belonged to a Gahapati[2] family before he entered the Order—one versed in the Suttas—one versed in the Rules of the Order—an expounder of the Dhamma[3]—one who has attained the first, second, third, fourth Jhāna—one who has entered the first, second, third Path—an Arahat—one who has the threefold wisdom[4]—one who has the six powers[5].'

3. Then the Blessed One addressed the Bhikkhus, and said, 'Long ago, O Bhikkhus, there was a great banyan tree on the lower slopes of the Himālaya range; and near it there dwelt three friends—a partridge, a monkey, and an elephant. And they dwelt together without mutual reverence, confidence, and courtesy[6]. Then, O Bhikkhus, it occurred to those friends, "Come now, let us find out which of us is the elder by birth; and let us agree to honour and reverence and esteem and support him, and by his counsels let us abide." So, Bhikkhus, the partridge and the monkey asked the elephant,

'"How far back can you, friend, remember?"

'"Friends! when I was little I used to walk over this banyan tree, keeping it between my thighs, and its topmost twig brushed against my stomach. So far back, friends, can I remember."

'Then, O Bhikkhus, the partridge and the elephant asked the monkey [the same question],

'"Friends! when I was little, sitting once on the ground, I gnawed at the then topmost twig of this banyan. So far back can I remember."

'Then, O Bhikkhus, the monkey and the elephant asked the partridge [the same question],

'"Friends! there was formerly a lofty banyan tree in yonder open space. One day after eating one of its fruits, I voided the seed here; and from that this banyan tree grew up. So I must be older than either of you."

'Thereupon, O Bhikkhus, the elephant and the monkey said to the partridge, "You, friend, are the oldest of us all. Henceforth we will honour and reverence and esteem and support you, and by your counsels will we abide."

'Thenceforth, O Bhikkhus, the partridge kept the monkey and the elephant in obedience to the Five Precepts, and observed them also himself. And dwelling together in mutual reverence, confidence, and courtesy, at the dissolution of the body after death they were reborn unto a happy state in heaven. And this (perfect life of theirs) became known as "the good life of the partridge[7]."

’Tis those who reverence the old
That are the men who Dhamma know,
Worthy of praise while in this life
And happy in the life to come.

4. 'So that, O Bhikkhus, since even animals can live together in mutual reverence, confidence, and courtesy, so much more, O Bhikkhus, should you so let your light shine forth[8] that you, who have left the world to follow so well taught a doctrine and discipline, may be seen to dwell in like manner together.' And when he had delivered a religious discourse (as in I, 1, 3), he said to the Bhikkhus:

'I enjoin upon you, O Bhikkhus, that paying of reverence, rising up in reverence, salutation, proper respect, and apportionment of the best seat and water and food, shall be according to seniority. But property belonging to the Saṃgha shall not be exclusively appropriated according to seniority[9]. Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkaṭa.

5. 'These ten, O Bhikkhus, are not to be saluted—a Bhikkhu afterwards admitted unto the higher grade of the Order by one previously admitted—a person not admitted—a senior Bhikkhu when he belongs to a different community, and does not speak according to the Dhamma—a woman[10]—a eunuch[11]—a Bhikkhu who has been placed under probation[12]—one who, having been so placed, is liable to be thrown back to the beginning of his probationary term[13]—one who is liable to have a penance (Mānatta) imposed upon him—one who is undergoing a penance—one who, so undergoing a penance, is fit to be rehabilitated.

'And these three, O Bhikkhus, ought to be saluted—one previously admitted into the higher grade of the Order by one afterwards admitted—the senior in a different community when he speaks according to the Dhamma—and, O Bhikkhus, throughout the worlds of men and gods, of Māras and of Brahmas, by all creatures Samaṇas and Brahmans, gods and men, the Arahat Sammāsambuddha.'

Footnotes and references:


The incident related in the following chapter is identical with the 37th Jātaka (including the Introductory Story there given) already translated by Rh. D. in the 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' pp. 310-314.


On this mention of gahapati as the name of a caste or rank, compare the passage in the Tevijja Sutta I, 47 = Sāmaññaphala Sutta, p. 133 (translated by Rh. D. in 'Buddhist Suttas from the Pāli,' S.B.E. vol. xi, p. 187), where the word is opposed to aññatarasmiṃ kule paccājāto.


Dhamma is here possibly already used in the special sense to which the term Abhidhamma was afterwards applied. So Puṇṇa, who in the Aṅguttara Nikāya I, 14, is called the chief of the expounders of the Dhamma (compare Dīpavaṃsa IV, 4), says of himself in the Apadāna abhidhammanayañño ’haṃ.


Tevijjo. See Rh. D.'s remarks in 'Buddhist Suttas,' pp. 161, 162.


This list contains one or two terms which are omitted in the Jātaka introduction.


These terms recur at Mahāvagga I, 25, 6.


Tittiriyaṃ brahmacariyaṃ. It is quite possible that a covert sarcasm is here intended to be understood against the Taittirīya Brahmans.


Taṃ sobhetha yam (one illegible word--JBH). On this idiom compare Mahāvagga X, 2, 20.


Compare chapter and also chapter 12. It would seem from these passages that the prohibition to reserve exclusively according to seniority the use of property belonging to the whole Saṃgha was held to imply that the temporary use of it was to go according to seniority. Compare X, 18.


See Cullavagga X, 3.


Compare Mahāvagga I, 61, 2.


See Cullavagga II, 1, 2.


See Cullavagga III, 14.

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