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 of Rājagaha

Kd.8.1.16 Now at that time a merchant of Rājagaha had had a disease of the head for seven years. Many very great, world-famed doctors who had come had not been able to cure him. Taking much gold, they went away. Moreover he came to be given up by the doctors. Some doctors spoke thus: “The householder, the merchant will pass away[1] on the fifth day.” Some doctors spoke thus: “The householder, the merchant will pass away on the seventh day.” Then it occurred to the urban council of Rājagaha: “This householder, the merchant is very useful to the king as well as to the urban council, but yet he has been given up by the doctors. Some doctors speak thus: ‘The householder, the merchant will pass away on the fifth day.’ Some doctors speak thus: ‘The householder, the merchant will pass away on the seventh day.’ Now, this Jīvaka, the king’s doctor, is young and of good repute. Suppose we should ask Jīvaka, the king’s doctor, to attend the householder, the merchant?”

Kd.8.1.17 BD.4.387 Then the urban council of Rājagaha approached King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha; having approached they spoke thus to King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha:

“Sire, this householder, the merchant is very useful to your majesty as well as to the citizens; but then he is given up by the doctors … ‘… will die on the seventh day’. It were good if your majesty were to command Jīvaka, the doctor, to attend the householder, the merchant.” Vin.1.274

Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha commanded Jīvaka Komārabhacca, saying: “Go, good Jivaka, attend the householder, the merchant.”

“Very well, sire,” and Jīvaka Komārabhaccahaving answered King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha in assent, approached that householder, the merchant; having approached, having observed the uneasiness of the householder, the merchant, he spoke thus to the householder, the merchant:

“If I, householder, should make you well, what would be my fee?”

“All my property shall become yours, teacher, and I will be your slave.”

Kd.8.1.18 “Now, householder, are you able to lie down on one side for seven months?”

“I am able, teacher, to lie down on one side for seven months.”

“Now, householder, are you able to lie down on the other side for seven months?”

“I am able, teacher, to lie down on the other side for seven months.”

“Now, householder, are you able to lie down on your back for seven months?”

“I am able, teacher, to lie down on my back for seven months.”

Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca, having made the householder, the merchant lie down on a couch, having strapped him to the couch, having cut open the skin of his head, having opened[2] a suture in the skull,[3] having drawn out two living creatures,[4] showed them to the people, saying:

“Do you see, masters, these two living creatures, the one small, the other large? This large living creature was seen BD.4.388 by those teachers who spoke thus: ‘The householder, the merchant will pass away on the fifth day’; on the fifth day it would have destroyed the brain of the householder, the merchant, and when the brain had been destroyed the householder, the merchant would have passed away. It was rightly seen by those teachers. This small living creature was seen by those teachers who spoke thus: ‘The householder, the merchant will pass away on the seventh day’; on the seventh day it would have destroyed the brain of the householder, the merchant, and when the brain had been destroyed the householder, the merchant would have passed away. It was rightly seen by those teachers.” And having closed the suture of the skull, having sewn up the skin of the head, he applied an ointment.

Kd.8.1.19 Then the householder, the merchant, when seven days had passed, spoke thus to Jīvaka Komārabhacca:

“I am not able, teacher, to lie down on one side for seven months.”

“But did you not, householder, answer me in assent, saying: ‘I am able, teacher, to he down on one side for seven months’?”

“It is true, teacher, that I answered thus, but I will die, I am not able to lie down on one side for seven months.”

“Well then, householder, you lie down on the other side for seven months.”

Then the householder, the merchant, when seven days had passed, spoke thus to Jīvaka Komārabhacca: Vin.1.275

“I am not able, teacher, to lie down on the other side for seven months.”

“But did you not, householder, answer me in assent, saying: ‘I am able, teacher, to lie down on the other side for seven months’?”

“It is true, teacher, that I answered thus, but I will die, I am not able to lie down on the other side for seven months.”

“Well then, householder, you lie down on your back for seven months.”

Then the householder, the merchant, when seven days had passed, spoke thus to Jīvaka Komārabhacca:

“I am not able, teacher, to lie down on my back for seven months.”

“But did you not, householder, answer me in assent, saying: BD.4.389 ‘I am able, teacher, to lie down on my back for seven months’?

“It is true, teacher, that I answered thus, but I will die I am not able to lie down on my back for seven months.”

Kd.8.1.20 “If I, householder, had not spoken to you thus, you would not have lain down so long (as this); but I knew beforehand that the householder, the merchant would become well in three times seven days. Rise up, householder, you are well; find what is my fee.”

“All my property shall become yours, teacher, and I will be your slave.”

“No, householder, do not give me all your property and do not be my slave; give a hundred thousand to the king and a hundred thousand to me.”

Then the householder, the merchant, being well, gave a hundred thousand to the king and a hundred thousand to Jīvaka Komārabhacca.

Footnotes and references:

1.

kālaṃ karissati, will complete his time (here, in this birth), will die.

2.

vināmetvā, Vin-a.1117 explains by vivaritvā.

3.

sibbinī, cf. Ja.vi.339, sibbāni (plural).

4.

pāṇaka.

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