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 five medicines

Kd.6.1.1 BD.4.269 At that time the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time monks, afflicted by an affection occurring in the autumn, brought up the conjey they had drunk and brought up the rice they had eaten; because of this they became lean, wretched, of a bad colour, yellowish, the veins standing out on their limbs. The Lord saw these monks who were lean … standing out on their limbs; seeing them, he addressed the venerable Ānanda, saying: “Now, how is it Ānanda, that at present monks are lean … standing out on their limbs?”

“At present, Lord, monks, afflicted by an affection occurring in the autumn, bring up the conjey they have drunk and bring up the rice they have eaten; because of this they are lean … standing out on their limbs.”

Kd.6.1.2 Then as the Lord was meditating in seclusion, a reasoning arose in his mind thus: “At present monks, afflicted by an affection occurring in the autumn, bring up … standing out on their limbs. What now if I should allow medicine for monks—whatever is medicine as well as what may be agreed upon as medicine—and although it may serve as nutriment for people[1] yet could not be reckoned as substantial food?” Then it occurred to the Lord: “These five medicines, that is to say ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey, molasses, are medicines[2] and are also agreed upon as medicines, and although they serve as nutriment for people yet they cannot be reckoned as substantial food. What now if I should allow monks to make use of these five medicines at the right time, if they have accepted them at a right time?”

Kd.6.1.3 Then the Lord, having emerged from seclusion towards the evening, having given reasoned talk on this occasion, addressed the monks, saying:

BD.4.270 “Now, monks, as I was meditating in seclusion …’… yet could not be reckoned as substantial food’. Monks, concerning this, it occurred to me: ‘These five medicines, that is to say Vin.1.200 … Suppose I were to allow monks to make use of these five medicines at the right time, if they have accepted them at a right time?’ I allow you, monks, to make use of these five medicines at the right time, if you have accepted them at a right time.


Kd.6.1.4 Now at that time monks, having accepted these five medicines at a right time, made use of them at the right time. But even with these they did not digest ordinary coarse meals, much less greasy ones. And because of this they were afflicted by the affection occurring in the autumn, and in consequence there was also a loss of appetite, and as a result of both these (factors) they became increasingly lean, wretched, of a bad colour, yellowish, with the veins standing out on their limbs. The Lord saw these monks who were increasingly lean … standing out on their limbs; seeing them, he addressed the venerable Ānanda, saying:

“Now, why is it, Ānanda, that at present monks are increasingly lean … standing out on their limbs?”

Kd.6.1.5 “At present, Lord, monks, having accepted those five medicines at a right time, make use of them at the right time … and as a result of both of these (factors) they are increasingly lean … standing out on their limbs.”

Then the Lord, having given reasoned talk on this occasion, addressed the monks, saying:

I allow you, monks, having accepted these five medicines,[3] to make use of them both at the right time and also at the wrong time.[4]


Kd.6.2.1 Now at that time ill monks had need of tallows as medicines. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, to make use of tallows as medicines by using them BD.4.271 with oil: tallow from bears, tallow from fish, tallow from alligators, tallow from swine, tallow from donkeys,[5] (if each) is accepted at a right time, cooked at a right time, mixed at a right time.[6]

Kd.6.2.2If, monks, one should make use of that which is accepted at a wrong time, cooked at a wrong time, mixed at a wrong time, there is an offence of three wrong-doings. If, monks, one should make use of that which is accepted at a right time, cooked at a wrong time, mixed at a wrong time, there is an offence of two wrong-doings. If, monks, one should make use of that which is accepted at a right time, cooked at a right time, mixed at a wrong time, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If, monks, one should make use of that which is accepted at a right time, cooked at a right time, mixed at a right time, there is no offence.”[7]

Footnotes and references:

1.

lokassa.

2.

Cf. Bu-NP.23, where a monk, having accepted these five medicines may keep them in store for at most seven days. They are defined at Vin.3.251.

3.

N.B. “at a right time” does not occur here.

4.

This must refer to the right time and the wrong time for eating solid foods and soft foods. When “solid food ” is defined at Vin.4.83 by excluding “food that may be eaten during a watch of the night, during seven days, during life”, there is reason to suppose that these expressions refer to medicines, see BD.2.330, n.1, n.2, n.3.

5.

Quoted at Vin-a.714. This passage explains that tallow from the flesh of all animals which it is allowable to eat is allowed, and also, with the exception of human tallow, the tallow of the ten animals which it is not allowable to eat. These ten are prohibited at Vin.1.218ff.

6.

Quoted at Vin-a.714, which, in reference to tallow, regards “the right time” as before a meal, “the wrong time ” as after.

7.

Quoted at Vin-a.714.