Vinaya Pitaka (3): Khandhaka

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 386,194 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Khandhaka: the second book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of various narratives. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (third part, khandhaka) contains many Pali original words, but transliterated using a system similar to the I...

The story of five diseases

Kd.1.39.1 Now at that time five diseases were prevalent among the people of Magadha: leprosy, boils, eczema, consumption, epilepsy.[1] People, afflicted with the five diseases, having approached Jīvaka Komārabhacca,[2] spoke thus: “It were good, teacher, if you would attend us.[3]

“But I, masters, am very busy, there is much to be done, and King Vin.1.72 Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha is to be looked after by me, also the women’s quarters and the Order of monks with the awakened one at its head. I am not able to attend you.”

“All this property shall become yours, teacher, and we will be your slaves.[4] It were good, teacher, if you would attend us.”

“But I, masters, am very busy … I am not able to attend you.”

Kd.1.39.2 Then it occurred to these people: “These recluses, sons of the Sakyans, are of pleasant character, of pleasant conduct; having eaten good meals, they lie down, on beds sheltered BD.4.90 from the wind. Suppose we were to go forth among the recluses, sons of the Sakyans? In that case monks would look after us and moreover Jīvaka Komārabhacca would attend us.” Then these people, having approached (some) monks, asked for the going forth. The monks let them go forth, they ordained them. These monks looked after them and moreover Jīvaka Komārabhacca attended them.


Kd.1.39.3 Now at that time monks, looking after many ill monks, lived intent on asking, intent on hinting, saying: “Give food for the sick, give food for those who look after the sick, give medicines for the sick.”[5] And Jīvaka Komārabhacca, attending many ill monks, omitted some of his duties towards the king.

Kd.1.39.4 A certain man, afflicted with the five diseases, having approached Jīvaka Komārabhacca, spoke thus: “It were good, teacher, if you would attend me.”

“But I, master, am very busy … I am not able to attend you.”

“All this property shall be yours, teacher, and I will be your slave. It were good, teacher, if you would attend me.”

“But I, master, am very busy … I am not able to attend you.”

Kd.1.39.5 Then it occurred to that man: “Now these recluses, sons of the Sakyans are of pleasant character … Suppose I were to go forth among the recluses, sons of the Sakyans? In that case monks would look after me and moreover Jīvaka Komārabhacca would attend me; and when I am well I will leave the Order.”

Then that man, having approached (some) monks, asked for the going forth. These monks let him go forth, they ordained him. These monks looked after him and moreover Jīvaka Komārabhacca attended him. When he was well he left the Order. Jīvaka Komārabhacca saw Vin.1.73 that man who had left the Order; seeing him, he spoke thus to that man: “Had not you, master, gone forth among the monks?”

“Yes, teacher.”

“Then why have you, master, acted in this way?” Then this man told this matter to Jīvaka Komārabhacca.

Kd.1.39.6 BD.4.91 Jīvaka Komārabhacca looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying: “How can these honoured sirs let one afflicted with the five diseases go forth?” Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Jīvaka Komārabhacca spoke thus to the Lord: “It were well, Lord, if the masters did not let one afflicted with (any one of)[6] the five diseases go forth.”

Kd.1.39.7 The Lord then gladdened, rejoiced, roused, delighted Jīvaka Komārabhacca with talk on dhamma. Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca, gladdened … delighted by the Lord with talk on dhamma, rising from his seat, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping his right side towards him. Then the Lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

Monks, one afflicted with (any one of) the five diseases should not be let go forth. Whoever should let (one such) go forth, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

Footnotes and references:

1.

As at Kd.1.76.1 below. Cf. Vin.4.8 (BD.2.180, where see n.4 for further references). Mentioned also with many other diseases, at AN.v.110.

2.

See Kd.8.1.

3.

tikicchati, to treat medically, to cure.

4.

Cf. Vin.1.274.

5.

Three of the benefits that Visākhā was allowed to confer on the Order.

6.

Taken separately at Vin-a.995f. in relation to going forth.