Vinaya Pitaka (1): The Analysis of Monks’ Rules (Bhikkhu-vibhanga)

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 345,334 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Bhikkhu-vibhanga: the first part of the Suttavibhanga, which itself is the first book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of rules for Buddhist monks. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (first part, bhikkhu-vibhanga) contains many...

Monks’ Expulsion (Pārājika) 4: Origin story

First sub-story

BD.1.151 Bu-Pj.4.1.1 Vin.3.87 MS.534 At one time[1] the Buddha, the Master, was staying near Vesālī in the hall with the peaked roof in the Great Wood. At that time a number of monks who were friends had entered the rains on the banks of the river Vaggumudā.[2] Just then Vajjī was short of food[3] and stricken by hunger, with crops blighted and turned to straw, and it was not easy to keep oneself going by collecting alms. Then those monks thought this:

“At present Vajjī is short of food and stricken by hunger, with crops blighted and turned to straw, and it is not easy to keep oneself going by collecting alms. By what means might we, united and in harmony, have a comfortable rains and get almsfood without problems?”

MS.535 Some said, “Well, friends, we could undertake work for the householders, and they will give something in return. In this way, being united and in harmony, we will spend the rains in comfort and have no problems getting almsfood.”

MS.536 Some said, “Friends, there is no need to undertake work for the householders. Let us instead act as messengers for them,[4] BD.1.152 and they will give something in return. In this way, being united and in harmony, we will spend the rains in comfort and have no problems getting almsfood.”

MS.537 Some said, “Friends, there is no need to undertake work for the householders, nor to act as messengers for them. Let us instead praise one anotherʼs super-human achievements[5] to the householders: ʻSuch a monk obtains the first jhāna, such a monk the second jhāna, such a monk the third, such a monk the fourth; such a monk is stream-enterer, such a monk a once-returner, such a non-returner, such an arahant; such a monk has the three true knowledges,[6] and such the six direct knowledges.ʼ[7] Then they will give to us. In this way, being united Vin.3.88 and in harmony, we will spend the rains in comfort and have no problems getting almsfood. Indeed, friends, this is the better way, that we praise one anotherʼs super-human achievements to the householders.”

MS.538 Then those monks praised one anotherʼs super-human achievements to the householders: “Such a monk obtains the first jhāna … such a monk has the six direct knowledges.” And those people thought: “It is a gain for us, it is well-gained, that such monks have come to us for the rains. Such monks as these, who are virtuous BD.1.153 and of good character, have never before entered the rains with us.” Then they gave such food and drink to those monks that they did not even eat and drink themselves, or give to their parents, to their wives and children, to their slaves, servants and workers, to their friends and companions, or to their relatives. In this way those monks were handsome, with rounded features, bright faces and clear skin.[8]

Bu-Pj.4.1.2 MS.539 Now it was the custom[9] for monks who had finished keeping the rains to go and see the Master. So when the rains was finished and the three months had elapsed, those monks put their lodging in order,[10] took their bowls and robes and departed for Vesālī. Walking by stages, they arrived at Vesālī and went to the hall with the peaked roof in the Great Wood. There they approached the Master, paid homage to him and sat down to one side.

MS.540 At that time the monks who had spent the rains in that region were thin, BD.1.154 haggard[11] and pale,[12] their veins protruding all over their limbs.[13] But the monks from the banks of the Vaggumudā were handsome, with rounded features, bright faces and clear skin. It is the custom for Buddhas, for Masters, to exchange friendly greetings with incoming monks.[14] And so the Master said to them:

“I hope you are keeping well,[15] monks, I hope you are comfortable; I hope you spent the rains at ease, in concord and harmony, without dispute, and that you had no trouble getting almsfood?”

“We are keeping well, Master,[16] we are comfortable; we spent the rains at ease, in concord and harmony, without dispute, and we had no trouble getting alsmfood.”

Tathāgatas sometimes ask knowing, Vin.3.89 and knowing sometimes do not ask … Buddhas, Masters, question the monks for two reasons, thinking, “we shall teach the Dhamma or lay down a training rule for the disciples.”[17] Then the Master said to those monks:

MS.541 “In what way, monks, did you spent the rains at ease, without having any trouble getting almsfood?” Then those monks informed the Master.

“But had you really obtained those super-human achievements?”[18]

“No, Master.”

The Buddha, the Master, rebuked them:

“It is unsuitable, foolish men, it is not becoming, BD.1.155 it is not proper, it is not fitting for a recluse, it is unallowable, it is not to be done. How could you for the sake of your stomachs praise one anotherʼs super-human achievements to householders? It would be better for your bellies to be cut open with a sharp butcherʼs knife than for you to praise one anotherʼs super-human achievements to householders. Why is that? For that reason, foolish men, you may incur death or death-like suffering, but not on that account would you at the breaking up of the body after death be reborn in the plane of misery, a bad destination, the abyss, hell.[19] But for this reason you might. This is not for the benefit of non-believers …” and having thus rebuked them and given a talk on the Dhamma, he addressed the monks:

Bu-Pj.4.1.3 MS.542 “Monks, there are these five great gangsters to be found in the world.[20] What five? A[21] certain great gangster thinks like this: ʻWhen indeed will I, with a following of a hundred or a thousand men, wander among villages, towns and the seats of kings, killing and making others kill, destroying and making others destroy, tormenting and making others torment;ʼ and after some time he does just that. Just so, monks, a certain bad monk thinks like this: ʻWhen indeed will I, with a following of a hundred or a thousand people, go on tour among villages, towns and the seats of kings, being honoured, respected, revered and worshipped by both householders and those BD.1.156 gone forth, and obtain robes, almsfood, lodgings and medicines;ʼ and after some time he does Vin.3.90 just that. This is the first great gangster found existing in the world.

MS.543 Again, a certain bad monk learns the Dhamma and training proclaimed by the Tathāgata and takes it as his own. This is the second great gangster found existing in the world.

MS.544 Again, a certain bad monk groundlessly accuses someone who lives the spiritual life in purity of not being celibate.[22] This is the third great gangster found existing in the world.

MS.545 Again, a certain bad monk takes valuable goods and requisites belonging to the Sangha—a monastery, the land of a monastery, a dwelling, the land for a dwelling, a bed, a bench, a cushion, a pillow, a brass vessel, a brass jar, a brass pot, a brass receptacle, an adze, a hatchet, an axe, a spade, a chisel, a creeper, bamboo, muñja-grass, babbaja-grass, tiṇa-grass, clay, wooden articles, earthenware articles[23]—and uses these to win over and create a following among householders. This is the fourth great gangster found existing in the world.

BD.1.157 MS.546 But in this world with its gods, its lords of death and its supreme beings, among this population with its recluses and brahmins, its gods and humans, this the greatest gangster: he who untruthfully[24] and groundlessly[25] boasts about a super-human achievement. Why is that? Monks, you have eaten the countryʼs almsfood by theft.”

MS.547 Whoever should declare himself to be other than he truly is,
Has eaten this by theft, like a cheater who has deceived,

MS.548 Many[26] yellow-necks of bad qualities, uncontrolled and
Wicked, by their wicked deeds, in hell they are reborn.

MS.549 Better to eat an iron ball heated like a blazing fire,
Than for the immoral and uncontrolled to eat the countryʼs alms.

MS.550 Then the Master, having rebuked the monks from the banks of the Yaggumudā in various ways for being difficult to maintain, difficult to support … “… And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Preliminary ruling

MS.551 If a monk falsely claims for himself a super-human achievement, knowledge BD.1.158 and vision[27] worthy of the noble ones, saying: “this I know, this I see”, but after some time—whether examined or not, but having committed the offence[28] and desiring purification—should say, ʻfriends, not knowing I said that I know, Vin.3.91 not seeing that I see; what I said was empty and false,ʼ he too is expelled and not in communion.”

MS.552 Thus the Master laid down this training rule for the monks.

Second sub-story

Bu-Pj.4.2.1 MS.553 At one time a number of monks, thinking they had seen what they had not, attained what they had not, achieved what they had not, realised what they had not, declared final knowledge[29] based on overestimation.[30] After some time their minds inclined[31] to sense desire, anger and confusion. They became anxious, thinking, “The Master has laid down a training rule; yet we … declared final knowledge based on overestimation. Could it be that we have fallen into an offence entailing expulsion? They informed Venerable Ānanda, who informed the Master. He said: “Ānanda, these monks declared final knowledge BD.1.159 based on overestimation, thinking they had seen what they had not … but this is negligible.[32]

MS.554 And so, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Footnotes and references:

1.

From here to towards the end of Bu-Pj.4.1.2 below, cf. Vin.4.23–25, where it is a pācittiya for a monk to tell of his knowledge of conditions belonging to the further-men, even if he possessed this knowledge. If he does not possess it, it is a pārājika offence to speak of it, as here at Bu-Pj.4.

2.

Mentioned at Ud.25; it is also here said that some monks spent vassa on its banks.

3.

Cf. above, Bu-Pj.1.2.1; Bu-Pj.1.5.5.

4.

dūteyyaṃ harāma.

5.

uttarimanussadhamma, on this term, see BD.1 Introduction, xxivf.

6.

tevijjo—i.e., he has knowledge of his own previous rebirths, of the arising and passing away of beings, and of the destruction of the cankers. It is a term handed down from the Upaniṣads, where it meant knowledge of the three Vedas.

7.

chaḷabhiñño—i.e., psychic power, clairaudience, knowledge of the thoughts of other beings, knowledge of previous rebirths, clairvoyance, and knowledge of destruction of the cankers. Cf. AN.iii.15; DN.i.77ff.; and see GS.iii Introduction viii for these being originally five.

8.

A stock phrase.

9.

For the beginning of this paragraph cf. Vin.1.158.

10.

senāsanaṃ saṃsāmetvā, translated at Vinaya Texts i.326, “set their places of rest in order.” I closely follow Chalmers’ “packed away their bedding” at Further Dialogues of the Buddha i.104, because I prefer “away” rather than “up” which suggests the possibility of their taking their bedding with them when vassa was over. “Places of rest” is, I think, misleading: much teaching of the laity went on during vassa, which could therefore only be regarded as a time of leisure in so far as there was no travelling from vihara to vihara.

11.

This is all stock-phrase. Dubbaṇṇa: Chalmers, Further Dialogues of the Buddha ii.65 translates “ill-looking,” while at Vinaya Texts i.186 it is translated “discoloured.”

12.

uppaṇḍuppaṇḍukajāta, Chalmers, Further Dialogues of the Buddha ii.65, “jaundiced,” and Vinaya Texts i.186, “( … his complexion has become) more and more yellow.”

13.

dhamanisanthatagatta, Chalmers, Further Dialogues of the Buddha ii.65, “their veins standing out like whipcord.”

15.

= Vin.1.59 = Vin.1.212 = Vin.1.253. Kacci khamanīyaṃ, cf. Vin.1.204, Vin.1.205, where na kkhamanīyo hoti is used of a disease which had not become better.

16.

Bhagavā.

18.

Kacci pana vo bhūtan ti.

19.

Cf. above, BD.1.36.

20.

Cf AN.i.153; AN.iii.128.

21.

idhā ti imasmiṃ sattaloke, Vin-a.482.

22.

Vin-a.484 says, suddhañ ca brahmacāriṃ is a monk whose cankers are destroyed. Parisuddhaṃ brahmacariyaṃ carantan means lead the best (highest) life free from the kilesasAmūlakena abrahmacariyena anuddhaṃseti, means he censures and blames this man for a pārājika offence.

23.

At Vin.2.170 all these items are grouped into five categories of things which are not transferable by the Order or by a group or by an individual. At Vin.2.122 a brass pot is one of the three kinds of water-vessels allowed. At Vin.2.143 all kinds of brassware are allowed to the Order except weapons, all kinds of wooden articles except divans (Vin.1.192), long-armed chairs (Vin.1.192), bowls (Vin.2.112) and shoes (Vin.1.188); all kinds of earthenware except katakas (foot scrubbers, see Vinaya Texts iii.130, n.3), and large earthen vessels to be used as huts to live in. See Vinaya Texts iii.156 for these references, This last item is the only one not mentioned in previous rules. At Vin.3.211 injunctions are given to monks setting out on a journey as to what to do with their wooden and earthenware articles. At Vin.1.190 it is a dukkaṭa offence for monks to make foot coverings of tiṇa-, muñja- or babbaja-grass.

24.

Asanta.

25.

Abhūta.

26.

From here to end of verses = Dhp.307, Dhp.308 = It.43 = It.90 (last three lines only at It.90). I follow Mrs. Rhys Davids, translated at Sacred Books of the Buddhists vii.

27.

Alamariyañanadassana. Vin-a.489 says that the highest ariyan purity is knowledge and insight. Alaṃ is explained pariyattaṃ, sufficient, enough, so that alaṃ means “intent on enough ariyan knowledge and insight for the destruction of the kilesas.”

28.

Apanna, cf. below, Old Commentary explanation, BD.1.160, and Vin-a.492, “because he has fallen (āpanno) into defeat, therefore, putting monkdom to one side, he cannot become one to arrive at musing and so forth ”—musing, etc., being given in explanation of states of further-men, see below, BD.1.159.

29.

Añña. Cf. above, BD.1.120, n.2.

30.

Adhimāna, pride, arrogance.

31.

Namati, in translation; cittaṃ is the subject. Cf. SN.i.137

32.

Tañ ca kho etaṃ abbohārikan ti. Same phrase occurs again below, BD.1.196. Because Vin-a.488 says that the phrase means that “it does not belong to the business and is not a form of offence”, I take the ti after abboharika to mean that the phrase was uttered by Gotama and not by the monks. The word seems to mean “not to the point, irrelevant.” See Points of Controversy, p.361, n.4.

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