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 Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa

Kd.5.13.1 Now at that time[1] the venerable Kaccāna the Great[2] was staying among the people of Avantī[3] at Osprey’s Haunt[4] on Steep Rock mountain slope.[5] Now at that time the lay-follower, Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa[6], was a supporter of the venerable Kaccāna the Great. Then the lay-follower, Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa, approached the venerable Kaccāna the Great; having BD.4.261 approached, having greeted the venerable Kaccāna the Great, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the lay-follower, Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa, spoke thus to the venerable Kaccāna the Great:

“In so far as I, honoured sir, understand dhamma taught by the master, Kaccāna the Great, it is no easy matter for one living in a house to lead the Brahma-faring which is utterly complete, utterly pure and polished like a conch-shell. I want, honoured sir, having cut off hair and beard, having donned yellow robes, to go forth from home into homelessness. Honoured sir, may the master Kaccāna the Great let me go forth.”

Kd.5.13.2 He said: “Difficult, Soṇa, for as long as life lasts are the solitary sleeping-place,[7] the one meal (a day), the Brahma-faring. Please do you, Soṇa, being a householder as before,[8] practise the instruction of the awakened ones for a short time[9]: the solitary sleeping-place, the one meal (a day), the Brahma-faring.”

Then that abated which had been the lay follower Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa’s strong aspiration for the going forth.[10] But a second time did the lay follower Soṇa Vin.1.195 Kuṭikaṇṇa … But a third time did the lay follower Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa approach the venerable Kaccāna the Great … as in Kd.5.13.1 “… Honoured sir, may the master Kaccāna the Great let me go forth.” Then the venerable Kaccāna the Great let the lay-follower Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa go forth. Now at that time the southern region of Avantī[11] came to be short of monks. Then did the BD.4.262 venerable Kaccāna the Great at the end of three years, with difficulty, with trouble, having had convened from here and there an Order of monks consisting of ten,[12] ordain the venerable Soṇa.

Footnotes and references:


To end of Kd.5.13.10, cf. Ud.5.6, Dhp-a.iv.101ff.


At AN.i.23 called foremost of the expounders in full of what was spoken in brief. Verses at Thag.494. One of the eleven or twelve leading theras; cf. Vinaya Texts, ii.317, Vinaya Texts, ii.359, BD.2.295, GS.iii.215. See Gotama the Man, p.113.


See S. Dutt, Early History of the Spread of Buddhism, Vol.1, p.187ff. He points out that Avantī “under the guidance of Mahākaccāyana helped by Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa … became an important centre of Buddhism” (p.189). On Avantī see also B.C. Law, Geography of Early Buddhism, p.3, n.1, 22f., p.61.


Kuraraghara, the name of a town (nagara) or village where Kaccāna went for alms (gocaragāma), Vin-a.1087.


He is recorded to stay here also at SN.iii.9, SN.iii.12, SN.iv.115, AN.v.46, Ud.57. Our text reads papāte pabbate; the others pavatte (with variant readings) pabbate. At Vin-a.1087, papāta is said to be the name of a mountain slope. Cf. however SN-a.ii.258, which recognises the two readings, papāte and pavatte, and says of papāte pabbate that “it was steep (or had a precipice) on one side: it was as though one flank had been hewn off”.


Chief of those of clear utterance, AN.i.24. Verses at Thag.365. Vin-a.1087, AN-a.i.237 say he wore ornaments worth a crore (koṭi) in his ears, and also give the reading koṭikaṇṇa, which can mean equally “Crore-eared” or “Pointed-eared, Prick-eared”; see Vinaya Texts ii.32, n.3, Psalms of the Bretheren p.202, GS.i.18, n.4, Verses of Uplift, p.68.


ekaseyyā, exact significance obscure. At BD.2.196 a monk is allowed to lie down in a sleeping place for two or three nights with one who is not ordained. It seems as if he might also do so with an ordained monk, for on this occasion there is no offence if he thinks a person is ordained and he is. At BD.2.201 there is an offence if a monk so lies down with a woman.


tatth’ eva.


kālayutta. This is to show how difficult these things are. Kālayutta could also signify connected with the right time (for doing things), and would then emphasise that now is not a right time for Soṇa to go forth, being not sufficiently ready spiritually to do so.


pabbajjābhisaṅkhāra. Cf. gamikābhisaṅkhāra at Vin.1.233.


Avantīdakkhiṇāpatha, as at Vin.2.298, Ja.iii.463. See Dictionary of Pali Proper Names under Dakkhiṇāpatha, Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p.30, and B.C. Law, Geography of Early Buddhism, p.22. At the time of the Council of Vesālī, about eighty-eight monks of Avantīdakkhiṇāpatha, some of them followers of ascetic practices, dhutaṅga, are said to have collected on the Ahogaṅgā mountain slope, Vin.2.299.


Vin.1.319 says that an Order may consist of four, five, ten, twenty or more than twenty monks, and that various maximum numbers are required for carrying out various specific formal acts, ten monks being able to perform them all, except rehabilitation; but five monks were not able to ordain in the Middle Districts.

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