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...

On King’s service

Kd.1.40.1 Now at that time there came to be a disturbance on the borderlands of King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha. Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha commanded the generals, the chief ministers, saying: “Go, good sirs, search[1] the borderlands.”

“Very well, sire,” the generals, the chief ministers answered King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha in assent.

Kd.1.40.2 Then it occurred to (some) very distinguished warriors: “Because we delight in battle,[2] we do evil and we engender much demerit. Now by what means could we refrain from evil and do what is good?” Then it occurred to these warriors: “These recluses, sons of the Sakyans are dhamma-farers, even-farers, Brahma-farers, they are truth-speakers, of moral habit, of good character.[3] Now, if we were to go forth among these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, thus might we refrain from evil and do what is good.” Then these warriors, having BD.4.92 approached (some) monks, asked for the going forth. The monks let them go forth, they ordained them.

Kd.1.40.3 The generals, the chief ministers, asked those in the King’s service[4]: “How Vin.1.74 is it, good sirs, that the warriors, so and so and so and so, are not to be seen?”

“Sirs,[5] the warriors, so and so and so and so, have gone forth among the monks.” The generals, the chief ministers … spread it about, saying: “How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, let one who is in the king’s service go forth?” The generals, the chief ministers told this matter to King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha. Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha asked the chief ministers of justice:

“Good sirs, what does he who lets one go forth who is in a king’s service engender[6] (for himself)?”

“Sire, a preceptor’s head should be cut off, the tongue should be torn from the announcer of a proclamation,[7] half the ribs of a (member of a) group should be broken.”

Kd.1.40.4 Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha 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, King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha spoke thus to the Lord: “There are, Lord, kings who are of no faith, not believing; these might harm monks even for a trifling matter. It were well, Lord, if the masters did not let one in a king’s service go forth.” Then the Lord gladdened … delighted King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha with talk on dhamma. Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha, 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 in a king’s service should not be let go forth. Whoever should let (one such) go forth, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Vin-a.996 says that thieves were giving trouble, but because Bimbisāra was a stream-winner he did not command: “Strike them, kill them.”

2.

Cf. Vin.4.104.

4.

rājabhaṭa.

5.

sāmi, lords, masters.

6.

pasavati, same word as used above in “engender much demerit”.

7.

anussāvaka. Vin-a.996 takes this as ācariya, teacher, which would be more in line with “preceptor” and “group”, both of which might let a person go forth. The announcer of a proclamation had not, as such, this power.