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 Rāhula

Then the Lord, having stayed in Rājagaha for as long as he found suiting, set out on tour for Kapilavatthu. Walking on tour in due course he arrived at Kapilavatthu.[1] The Lord stayed there among the Sakyans in Kapilavatthu in the Banyan monastery.[2] Then the Lord, having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, approached the dwelling of Suddhodana the Sakyan; having approached he sat down on the appointed seat. Then the lady, Rāhula’s mother, spoke thus to the boy Rāhula: “This, Rāhula, is your father, go and ask him for your inheritance.”

Kd.1.54.2 Then the boy Rāhula approached the Lord; having approached, he stood in front of the Lord and said: “Pleasant is your shadow, recluse.” Then the Lord, rising up from his seat, departed. Then the boy Rāhula, following close behind the Lord, said: “Give me my inheritance, recluse, give me my inheritance, recluse.” Then the Lord addressed the venerable Sāriputta, saying: “Well then, do you, Sāriputta, let the boy Rāhula go forth.”[3]

“How do I, Lord, let the boy Rāhula go forth?”

Kd.1.54.3 Then the Lord on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying: “I allow, monks, the going forth for novices by the three goings for refuge. And thus, monks, should you let one go forth: first, having made him have his hair and beard cut off, having got (someone) to present him with yellow robes, having made him arrange his upper robe over one shoulder, having made him honour the monks’ feet, having made him sit down on his haunches, having made him salute with joined palms, he should BD.4.104 be told: ‘Speak thus: “I go to the awakened one for refuge I go to dhamma for refuge, I go to the Order for refuge. And a second time I go … And a third time I go … to the Order for refuge”’.[4] I allow, monks, the going forth for novices by these three goings for refuge.

Kd.1.54.4 Then the venerable Sāriputta let the boy Rāhula go forth. Then Suddhodana the Sakyan 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 Suddhodana the Sakyan spoke thus to the Lord:

“I, Lord, ask the Lord for one boon.”

“But, Gotama,[5] Truth-finders are beyond (granting) boons.”[6]

“Lord, it is what is allowable, it is what is blameless.”

“Speak on, Gotama.”

Kd.1.54.5 “Lord, when the Lord went forth there came to be not a little sorrow, likewise when Nanda[7] did; it was extreme when Rāhula did.[8] Vin.1.83 Affection for a son, Lord, cuts into the skin, having cut into the skin it cuts into the hide, having cut into the hide it cuts into the flesh … the ligaments … the bones, having cut into the bones and reaching the marrow, it abides. It were well, Lord, if the masters did not let a child to go forth without the parents’ consent.”

Kd.1.54.6 Then the Lord gladdened, rejoiced, roused, delighted Suddhodana the Sakyan with talk on dhamma. Then Suddhodana the Sakyan 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, a child who has not his parents’ consent should not be let go forth. Whoever should let (one such) go forth, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

Kd.1.55.1 BD.4.105 Then the Lord, having stayed in Kapilavatthu for as long as he found suiting, set out on tour for Sāvatthī. Walking on tour in due course he arrived at Sāvatthī. The Lord stayed there in Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the family who supported the venerable Sāriputta sent a youth to the venerable Sāriputta, saying: “May the elder let this youth go forth.” Then it occurred to the venerable Sāriputta: “A rule of training laid down by the Lord says that two novices should not attend one (monk),[9] and this Rāhula is my novice. Now what line of conduct should be followed by me?” He told this matter to the Lord. He said:

I allow, monks, two novices to attend one experienced, competent monk, or else as many to attend (him) as he is able to exhort, to instruct.

Footnotes and references:


Vin-a.1005 says it was a distance of sixty yojanas from Rājagaha; and going a yojana a day, the Lord’s journey took two months.


Story of “Rāhula’s conversion” also given at Dhp-a.i.116f.


Same method employed at Kd.1.38.2 for granting probation to former members of other sects.


Gotama was the clan or family name.


atikkaniavarā. Vinaya Texts, in translating above and parallel passages at Vin.1.280, Vin.1.292, adds “before they know what they are”. Rouse, Jātaka translation, iv.198 (= Ja.iv.315, quoting Vin.1.292) has “the Tathāgatas have boons beyond measure”; Critical Pali Dictionary “above (granting) boons”.


The Lord’s half-brother, son of Mahāpajāpatī. On Nanda’s going forth see Vin-a.1008f., Dhp-a.i.116. Verses at Thag.157. See Ud.21ff.


Vin-a.1010 says that Suddhodana thinking the family line broken because these three went forth, asked where a king could come from.


Above, Kd.1.52.1.

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