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 the householder Meṇḍaka

Kd.6.34.1 Now at that time the householder Meṇḍaka[1] lived in the town of Bhaddiya.[2] He came to have this kind of eminence in psychic power: having washed his head, having had a granary swept, he sat down just outside the door, and a shower of grain, having fallen down through the air, filled the granary. His wife[3] came to have this kind of eminence in psychic power: having sat down beside only one bowl of the capacity of an āḷhaka[4] and one helping of curry and condiments, she served food[5] to slaves, workmen and servants[6]; not until she got up was it exhausted. His son[7] came to have this kind of eminence BD.4.330 in psychic power: having taken hold of only one purse containing a thousand,[8] he gave six months’ wages to (each) slave, workman and servant; not until he removed his hand was it[9] exhausted.

Kd.6.34.2 His daughter-in-law[10] came to have this kind of eminence in psychic power; having sat down beside only one basket of the capacity of four doṇas[11] she gave six months’ food[12] to (each) slave, workman and servant; not until she got up was it exhausted. His slave[13] came to have this kind of eminence in psychic power: when he ploughed with one ploughshare seven furrows came from (it).[14]

Kd.6.34.3 Kd.6.34.4 Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha heard: “They say that the householder Meṇḍaka is living in our kingdom in the town of Bhaddiya. He has this kind of eminence in psychic power … as in Kd.6.34.1, Kd.6.34.2 … when he ploughs with one ploughshare seven furrows come from (it).”

Kd.6.34.5 Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha addressed a certain chief minister who was concerned with all the affairs,[15] saying: “It is said, my good man,[16] that the householder Meṇḍaka is living in our kingdom in the town of Bhaddiya; he has this kind of psychic power: Vin.1.241 having washed his head … seven furrows come from (it). Go along, my good man, and find out. When you have seen, it will be the same as if I myself saw.”

“So be it, your majesty”, and that chief minister, having answered King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha in assent, marched forth[17] for Bhaddiya with a four-winged army.[18]

Kd.6.34.6 BD.4.331 In due course he approached Bhaddiya and Meṇḍaka the householder; having approached he spoke thus to Meṇḍaka the householder: “Now I, householder, have been enjoined by the King, saying: ‘It is said, my good man, that the householder Meṇḍaka is living in our kingdom … When you have seen, it will be the same as if I myself saw.’ Let us see, householder, your eminence in psychic power.” Then the householder Meṇḍaka, having washed his head, having had a granary swept, sat down outside the door, and a shower of grain, having fallen down through the air, filled the granary. “Your eminence in psychic power has been seen, householder. We will see your wife’s eminence in psychic power.”

Kd.6.34.7 Then the householder Meṇḍaka enjoined his wife, saying: “Well now, serve this four-winged army with food.” Then the wife of Meṇḍaka the householder, having sat down beside only one bowl of the capacity of an āḷhaka and one helping of curry and condiments, served food to the four-winged army; not until she got up was it exhausted. “Your wife’s eminence in psychic power has been seen, householder. We will see your son’s eminence in psychic power.”

Kd.6.34.8 Then the householder Meṇḍaka enjoined his son, saying: “Well now, my dear, give this four-winged army six months’ wages.” Then the son of Meṇḍaka the householder, having taken hold of only one purse containing a thousand, gave the four-winged army six months’ wages; not until he removed his hand was it exhausted. “Your son’s eminence in psychic power has been seen, householder. We will see your daughter-in-law’s eminence in psychic power.”

Kd.6.34.9 Then Meṇḍaka the householder enjoined his daughter-in-law, saying: “Well now, give this four-winged army six months’ food.” Then the daughter-in-law of Meṇḍaka the householder, having sat down beside only one basket of the capacity of four doṇas, gave six months’ food to the four-winged army; not until she got up was it exhausted. “Your daughter-in-law’s eminence in psychic power has been seen, householder. We will see your slave’s eminence in psychic power.”

“Our slave’s eminence in psychic power, sir,[19] can be seen in the field.”

BD.4.332 “Enough, householder, your slave’s eminence in psychic power has been seen.”

Then that chief minister went back again to Rājagaha with the four-winged army, and approached King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha; having approached, he told this matter to King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha. Vin.1.242


Kd.6.34.10 Then the Lord, having stayed in Vesālī for as long as he found suiting, set out on tour for Bhaddiya with the large Order of monks, together with the twelve hundred and fifty monks. Then the Lord, walking on tour, in due course arrived at Bhaddiya. The Lord stayed there in Bhaddiya in the Jātiyā Grove.[20]

Kd.6.34.11 Then the householder Meṇḍaka heard: “Verily,[21] the recluse Gotama, the son of the Sakyans, who has gone forth from a Sakyan family, has reached Bhaddiya and is staying at Bhaddiya in the Jātiyā Grove. A lovely reputation has gone forth concerning the Lord Gotama, thus: he is indeed Lord, perfected one, fully awakened one, endowed with knowledge and conduct, well-farer, knower of the worlds, unrivalled charioteer of men to be tamed, teacher of devas and mankind, the awakened one, the Lord. Having realised by his own super-knowledges, he makes known this world with its devas, with its Māras, with its Brahmās, a race with recluses and brahmins, with devas and men. He teaches dhamma, lovely at the beginning, lovely in the middle and lovely at the ending. He explains with the spirit and the letter the Brahmā-life completely fulfilled and wholly pure. Good indeed it were to see perfected ones like this.”

Kd.6.34.12 Then the householder Meṇḍaka, having had many magnificent vehicles harnessed,[22] having mounted a magnificent vehicle, went off with the magnificent vehicles from Bhaddiya to see the Lord. But many members of (other) sects[23] saw the householder Meṇḍaka coming in the distance, and seeing him they spoke thus to the householder Meṇḍaka: “Where are you going, householder?”

BD.4.333 “I am going, honoured sirs, to see the Lord, the recluse Gotama.”

“But how can you, householder, being one who asserts an ought-to-be-done,[24] go along to see the recluse Gotama who asserts an ought-not-to-be-done? For, householder, the recluse Gotama asserts an ought-not-to-be-done, he teaches a doctrine of an ought-not-to-be-done and in this he trains disciples.”

Kd.6.34.13 Then it occurred to the householder Meṇḍaka: “Undoubtedly this will be a Lord, a perfected one, a fully awakened one[25] inasmuch as these members of (other) sects are jealous of him,” and having gone by vehicle as far as the ground was (suitable) for a vehicle, having alighted from the vehicle, he approached the Lord on foot; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As Meṇḍaka the householder was sitting down at a respectful distance, the Lord talked a progressive talk[26] to him, that is to say talk on giving, talk on moral habit, talk on heaven … Then the householder Meṇḍaka, as one who had … attained without another’s help to full confidence in the teacher’s instruction, spoke thus to the Lord:

“Excellent, Lord! Excellent, Lord![27] … May the Lord accept me as a lay-follower going for refuge from this day forth for as long as life lasts; Vin.1.243 Lord, may the Lord consent to a meal with me on the morrow together with the Order of monks.” The Lord consented by becoming silent.

Kd.6.34.14 Then the householder Meṇḍaka, having understood the Lord’s consent, rising from his seat, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping his right side towards him. Then Meṇḍaka the householder towards the end of that night having had sumptuous food, solid and soft, prepared, had the time announced to the Lord, saying: “It is time, Lord, the meal is ready.” Then the Lord, having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, approached the dwelling of the householder Meṇḍaka; having approached, he sat down on the appointed seat together with the Order of monks.

Kd.6.34.15 Then the wife and son and daughter-in-law and slave of the householder Meṇḍaka approached the Lord; having BD.4.334 approached, having greeted the Lord, they sat down at a respectful distance. The Lord talked a progressive talk to these, that is to say talk on giving … Then these as ones who had … attained without another’s help to full confidence in the teacher’s instruction, spoke thus to the Lord: “Excellent, Lord! Excellent, Lord! … We, Lord, are going to the Lord for refuge and to dhamma and to the Order of monks. May the Lord accept us as lay-followers going for refuge from this day forth for as long as life lasts.”

Kd.6.34.16 Then the householder Meṇḍaka, having with his own hand served and satisfied with sumptuous food, solid and soft, the Order of monks with the awakened one at its head, when the Lord had eaten and had withdrawn his hand from his bowl, sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Meṇḍaka the householder spoke thus to the Lord:

“Lord, for as long as the Lord stays at Bhaddiya, for so long will I (supply) with perpetual food the Order of monks with the awakened one at its head.” Then the Lord, having gladdened, rejoiced, roused, delighted the householder Meṇḍaka with talk on dhamma, rising from his seat, departed.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Father of Dhanañjaya, who was Visākhā’s father. At Dhp-a.i.384 Meṇḍaka is called “householder”, atDhp-a.i.385, Vism.383 “merchant”, seṭṭhi, and he and his wife, son, daughter-in-law and slave are said to be five people of great merit. His story is told in detail at Dhp-a.iii.363ff. Cf. Dhp-a.iv.203, Dhp-a.iv.217. According to Dhp-a.iii.363 the Dhammapada verse (252) was spoken by the Lord while he was staying in the Jātiyā Grove at Bhaddiya concerning Meṇḍaka.

2.

In the Aṅga kingdom.

3.

Her name was Candapadumā (because she came to have the moon and the lotus represented on the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet), Dhp-a.i.385, Dhp-a.iii.363; or Candapadumasirī at Vism.383. Her meritorious act is noticed at Dhp-a.iii.369.

4.

āḷhakathālikā. See BD.1.103, n.1.

5.

bhatta can also mean rice, the staple dish, but here in all likelihood meaning food, for probably no implication that she served rice without the curry and condiments is intended.

6.

dāsa-kammakara-porisā. Same compound at AN.i.145, AN.i.206, AN.ii.78, AN.iii.45 (puttadārādāsa-), AN.iii.260. AN-a.ii.241 explains as “slaves as well as workmen earning a daily wage of food, and people living in dependence on (one)”, jīvamānapurisā. See definitions of “slave” and “workman” at BD.3.180.

7.

Called Dhanañjaya the merchant, seṭṭhi, at Dhp-a.i.386ff., Dhp-a.iii.363, Vism.383, and Meṇḍaka’s eldest son at Dhp-a.i.385. His psychic power is referred to at Dhp-a.iii.370. He was lent by Bimbisāra to Pasenadi; and the latter built Sāketa to house Dhanañjaya’s retinue during the night’s halt on the way to Sāvatthī, Dhp-a.i.386f. Dhanañjaya was the father of Visākhā and of her youngest sister, Sujātā, in respect of whom the Sujāta-Jātaka Ja.269 was told.

8.

The word kahāpaṇa supplied at Dhp-a.iii.370.

9.

I.e., the contents of the purse.

10.

Called Sumanādevī at Dhp-a.i.384, Sumanadevī at Dhp-a.iii.363, Vism.383. She was Dhanañjaya’s chief wife, aggamahesi, Dhp-a.i.384, and Visākhā’s mother, SN-a.i.148. Her act of psychic power referred to at Dhp-a.iii.370.

11.

A measure of capacity, generally equivalent to four āḷhakas, see BD.1.103, n..

12.

bhatta, see above, BD.4.329, n.7.

13.

Called Puṇṇa at Dhp-a.i.385, Dhp-a.iii.363, Vism.383. His psychic gift referred to at Dhp-a.iii.370.

14.

According to Dhp-a.iii.370 one in the middle and three at each side.

15.

sabbatthaka mahāmatta as at Vin.3.249.

16.

bhaṇe, as at Vin.3.249 where Bimbisāra is again recorded to be addressing a chief minister concerned with all the affairs. Bhaṇe is a common mode of address from a superior to an inferior.

17.

pāyāsi. Cf. payāta at Vin.4.105.

18.

Elephants, horses, chariots and infantry. See definition of army at Vin.4.105; and BD.2.375, n.3.

19.

sāmi.

20.

Mentioned at Vin.1.189f., Vin.3.37; AN.iii.36.

21.

To end of Kd.6.34.11 is stock and recurs at e.g. Vin.1.35, Vin.1.245, Vin.3.1. DN.i.87. For notes on above passage, see BD.1.1ff.

23.

A highly compressed version of the following incidents occurs at Dhp-a.iii.374f.

24.

As in Kd.6.31.2.

25.

As in Kd.6.31.1.

26.

As in Kd.6.31.12.

27.

Stock, as at Kd.1.7.10; Kd.6.31.10.