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 an thief with a “wanted” notice

Kd.1.43.1 Now at that time a certain man, having committed a theft, having run away, went forth among the monks. And in the royal palace, this was written:[1] “Wherever he may be seen, there he should be killed.” People, having seen (him), spoke thus: “This is the very thief who was written about. Come along, let us kill him.” Some spoke thus: “Do not, masters, speak thus … utter end of ill.’” People … spread it about, saying:

“These recluses, sons of the Sakyans are safe and secure; there is nothing to do against them. But how can they let a thief go forth who has been written about?” They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

Monks, a thief who has been written about should not be let go forth. Whoever should let (one such) go forth, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

Footnotes and references:

1.

likhita. Editors of Vinaya Texts vol.i, Introduction, p.xxxii take this as a passage showing “in an indisputable manner the existence of the art of writing at the time when the Vinaya Texts were put into their present shape”. Vin-a.998 appears to confirm this view by saying rājā ca naṃ paṇṇe vā potthake vālikhāpeti, the king causes it to be written on a leaf or in a book. As potthaka can also mean “modelled in clay”, we must not assume that writing was then necessarily what it is now. Then, what “writing” was done was probably on palm-leaves and metal or clay tablets, and on wood. Likh in Pali can mean draw, write, carve, turn.

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