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 merchant’s wife

Now at that time in Sāketa a merchant’s wife had had a BD.4.383 disease of the head for seven years. Many very great, world-famed doctors who had come had not been able to cure her; taking much gold,[1] they went away. Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca, entering Sāketa, asked the people: “Who, good sirs, is ill? Whom shall I attend?”[2]

“Teacher, this merchant’s wife Vin.1.271 has had a disease of the head for seven years; go, teacher, attend this merchant’s wife.”

Kd.8.1.9 Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca went up to the dwelling of that householder, the merchant, and having gone up, he enjoined the door-keeper, saying: “Go, good door-keeper, say to the merchant’s wife, ‘Lady, a doctor is come who wants to see you’”.

“Very well, teacher,” and that door-keeper having answered Jīvaka Komārabhacca in assent, approached that merchant’s wife; having approached, he spoke thus to that merchant’s wife: “Lady, a doctor is come who wants to see you.”

“What sort of a doctor is he, good door-keeper?”

“He is young, lady.”

“That’s enough, good door-keeper. What could a young doctor do for me? Many very great, world-famed doctors who have come have not been able to cure me; they have gone away taking much gold.”

Kd.8.1.10 Then that door-keeper went up to Jīvaka Komārabhacca; having gone up, he spoke thus to Jīvaka Komārabhacca: “Teacher, the merchant’s wife speaks thus: ‘That’s enough, good door-keeper … taking much gold’.”

“Go, good door-keeper, say to the merchant’s wife: ‘Lady, the doctor speaks thus: Do not, lady, give anything beforehand; when you become well, then you may give what you like’.”

“Very well, teacher,” and that door-keeper having answered Jīvaka Komārabhacca in assent, went up to that merchant’s wife; having gone up, he spoke thus to that merchant’s wife: “Lady, the doctor speaks thus … ‘… then you may give what you like’.”

“Well then, good door-keeper, let the doctor come.”

BD.4.384 “Very well, lady,” and that door-keeper having answered the merchant’s wife in assent, went up to Jīvaka Komārabhacca; having gone up, he spoke thus to Jīvaka Komārabhacca:

“The merchant’s wife, teacher, summons you.”

Kd.8.1.11 Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca went up to that merchant’s wife; having gone up, having observed her uneasiness,[3] he spoke thus to the merchant’s wife:

“Lady, a handful[4] of ghee is wanted.”

Then that merchant’s wife had a handful of ghee given to Jīvaka Komārabhacca. Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca, cooking up that handful of ghee with various medicines, made that merchant’s wife lie down on her back on a couch and gave it (to her) through the nose. Then that ghee, given through the nose, came out through the mouth. Then that merchant’s wife, spitting it into a receptacle, enjoined a slave-woman, saying:

“Come, now, take up this ghee with cotton.”[5]

Kd.8.1.12 Then it occurred to Jīvaka Komārabhacca: “It is astonishing how stingy this housewife[6] is, in that she has this ghee, which ought to be thrown away, taken up with cotton; Vin.1.272 many of my very precious medicines went into it, and what kind of a fee[7] will she give me?”

Then that merchant’s wife, having observed Jīvaka Komārabhacca’s uneasiness, spoke thus to Jīvaka Komārabhacca: “Teacher, why are you perturbed?”

“It occurred to me in this case: it is astonishing … will she give me?”

“But, teacher, we householders know about this economy[8]; this ghee is excellent for the servants or workmen for rubbing their feet, or poured out into a lamp. Do not you, teacher, be perturbed, your fee will not be lacking.”[9]

Kd.8.1.13 Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca removed the merchant’s wife’s seven year old disease of the head by just the one treatment BD.4.385 through the nose.[10] Then that merchant’s wife, being well, gave four thousand[11] to Jīvaka Komārabhacca; her son, thinking, “My mother is well”, gave four thousand; her daughter-in-law, thinking, “My mother-in-law is well”, gave four thousand; the householder, the merchant, thinking, “My wife is well”, gave four thousand and a slave and a slave-woman and a horse-chariot. Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca, taking these sixteen thousand and the slave and the slave-woman and the horse-chariot, set out for Rājagaha; in due course he approached Abhaya, the king’s son, at Rājagaha; having approached he spoke thus to Abhaya, the king’s son:

“Sire, this is for my first work: sixteen thousand and a slave and a slave-woman and a horse-chariot. May your highness[12] accept it as a tribute for having had me cared for.”[13]

“No, good Jīvaka, let it be for you yourself; but do build a dwelling in our palace[14].”

“Very well, sire,” and Jīvaka Komārabhacca having answered Abhaya, the king’s son, in assent, built a dwelling in the palace of Abhaya, the king’s son.

Footnotes and references:

1.

hirañña.

2.

tikicchati, to treat medically, to cure.

3.

vikāra.

4.

pasata, a small measure of capacity; explained at Vin-a.1116 as ekahatthapūṭa, what is contained in one hand. See Vinaya Texts ii.178, n..

5.

picu, which Vin-a.1116 explains by kappāsapaṭala, a cotton covering.

6.

gharaṇī, see BD.2.203, n.1.

7.

deyyadhamma.

8.

saṃyama.

9.

hāyati, to waste away, to disappear, diminish, dwindle.

10.

natthukamma. Allowed to monks at Vin.1.204. Cf. Vin.3.83 and BD.1.143, n.2. At DN.i.12 called by some recluses and brahmins a low or worldly lore from which Gotama abstains.

11.

probably kahāpaṇas.

12.

deva, masculine singular here.

13.

posāvanika.

14.

antepura, not women’s quarters here.