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 Visākhā

Kd.8.15.1 Vin.1.291 Then the Lord, having stayed at Benares for as long as he found suitable, set out on tour for Sāvatthī. Walking on tour, in due course he arrived at Sāvatthī. The Lord stayed there at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, she sat down at a respectful distance. As she was sitting down at a respectful distance, the Lord gladdened … delighted Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, with dhamma-talk. Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, when she had been gladdened … delighted by the Lord with dhamma-talk, spoke thus to the Lord:

“Lord, may the Lord consent (to accept) from me a meal on the morrow together with the Order of monks.”

The Lord consented by becoming silent. Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, having understood the Lord’s consent, rising BD.4.414 from her seat, greeting the Lord, departed keeping her right side towards him.

Kd.8.15.2 Then towards the end of that night a great cloud rained down in the four continents.[1] Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, even as it is raining in the Jeta Grove, so it is raining in the four continents. Let your bodies get wet with the rain,[2] monks, this is the last great cloud over the four continents.”

“Very well, Lord,” and these monks having answered the Lord Vin.1.292 in assent, with their robes laid aside let their bodies get wet with the rain.

Kd.8.15.3 Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, having had sumptuous food, solid and soft, prepared, commanded a woman-slave, saying:

“Go now,[3] having gone to the monastery, announce the time, saying, ‘Lord,[4] it is time, the meal is ready’.”

“Very well, lady,” and this slave-woman, having answered Visākhā, Migāra’s mother in assent, having gone to the monastery, saw the monks, their robes laid aside, letting their bodies get wet with the rain. Seeing them, she thought: “There are no monks in the monastery, naked ascetics are letting their bodies get wet with the rain.” She approached Visākhā, Migāra’s mother; having approached, she spoke thus to Visākhā, Migāra’s mother:

“Lady, there are no monks in the monastery, naked ascetics are letting their bodies get wet with the rain.” Then it occurred to Visākhā, Migāra’s mother—she being clever, experienced, wise: “But undoubtedly it is the masters, their robes laid aside, who are letting their bodies get wet with the rain; this foolish woman thinks that there are no monks in the monastery, (but) that naked ascetics are letting their bodies get wet with the rain.” She commanded the woman-slave, saying: “Go now, having gone to the monastery, announce the time, saying, ‘Lord, it is time, the meal is ready’.”

Kd.8.15.4 BD.4.415 Then these monks, having cooled their limbs, being refreshed in body, having taken up their robes, entered (each) his own dwelling-place.[5] Then that woman-slave, having gone to the monastery, not seeing the monks, thinking: “There are no monks in the monastery, the monastery is empty,” approached Visākhā, Migāra’s mother; having approached, she spoke thus to Visākhā, Migāra’s mother:

“Lady, there are no monks in the monastery, the monastery is empty.” Then it occurred to Visākhā, Migāra’s mother—she being clever, experienced, wise: “But undoubtedly the masters, having cooled their limbs, being refreshed in body, having taken up their robes, have (each) entered his own dwelling-place; this foolish woman thinks that there are no monks in the monastery, that the monastery is empty.” She commanded the woman-slave, saying: “Go now, having gone to the monastery, announce the time, saying, ‘Lord, it is time, the meal is ready’.”

Kd.8.15.5 Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying: “Monks, arrange your bowls and robes, it is time for the meal.”

“Very well, Lord,” these monks answered the Lord in assent.

Then the Lord, dressing in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, having vanished from the Jeta Grove, just as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm, or might bend back his outstretched arm, became visible in the porch belonging to Visākhā, Migāra’s mother. Then the Lord sat down on an appointed seat together with the Order of monks.

Kd.8.15.6 Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, saying: “Wonderful, good sirs, marvellous, good sirs, is the great psychic power, the great majesty of the Truth-finder, in that although the floods are rolling on knee-deep, and although the floods are rolling on waist-deep, yet neither the feet nor the robes of a single monk have become wet,” and joyful, exultant, having with her own hand served and satisfied the Order of monks with the awakened one at their head with sumptuous solid and soft food, she sat down at a respectful distance after the Lord had eaten and had removed his hand from the bowl. As she was sitting down at a respectful distance, Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, spoke thus to the Lord:

BD.4.416 “Lord, I ask eight boons of the Lord.”

“Visākhā, Truth-finders are beyond (granting) boons.”[6]

“Lord, they are those which are allowable and those which are blameless.”

“Speak on, Visākhā.”

Kd.8.15.7 “I, Lord, want to give for life to the Order cloths for the rains,[7] to give food for those coming in,[8] to give food for those going out, to give food for the sick,[9] to give food for those who tend the sick,[10] to give medicine for the sick, to give a constant supply of conjey, to give bathing-cloths for the Order of nuns.”[11]

“But having what special reason in mind,[12] do you, Visākhā, ask the Truth-finder for eight boons?”

“Now I, Lord, commanded a slave-woman, saying, ‘Go now, having gone to the monastery, announce the time, saying: Lord, it is time, the meal is ready’; but then, Lord, that slave-woman, having gone to the monastery, saw the monks, their robes laid aside, letting their bodies get wet with the rain; seeing them, she thought, ‘There are no monks in the monastery, naked ascetics are letting their bodies get wet with the rain’. She approached me, having approached, she spoke thus to me, ‘Lady, there are no monks in the monastery, naked ascetics are letting their bodies get wet with the rain’. BD.4.417 Impure, Lord, is nakedness,[13] it is objectionable’ I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order cloths for the rains.

Kd.8.15.8 “And again, Lord, an in-coming monk, not accustomed to[14] the roads, not accustomed to the resorts for alms[15] is (still) walking for alms (when he is) tired. But having eaten my food for those coming in, (then when) he is accustomed to the roads, accustomed to the resorts for alms, he will walk for alms without getting tired. I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order food for those coming in.

“And again, Lord, an out-going monk, while looking about for food for himself, may be left behind by the caravan, or if he set out tired on a journey he may arrive at the wrong time[16] at the habitation to which he wishes to go. But having eaten my food for those going out, he will not be left behind by the caravan, nor will he set out tired on a journey (and so) he will arrive at the right time at the habitation to which he wishes to go. I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order food for those going out.

Kd.8.15.9 “And again, Lord, if a monk who is ill does not obtain suitable meals, either his disease will grow very much worse, or he will pass away.[17] When he has eaten my food for the sick, Vin.1.293 the disease will not grow very much worse, he will not pass away. I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order food for the sick.

“And again, Lord, a monk who tends the sick, looking about for food for himself, will bring back[18] food for the sick after the sun is right up[19] (and) he will miss his meal.[20] But having BD.4.418 eaten my food for those who tend the sick, he will bring back food for the sick during the right time (and) he will not miss his meal. I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order food for those who tend the sick.

Kd.8.15.10 “And again, Lord, if a monk who is ill does not obtain suitable medicines, either his disease will grow very much worse or he will pass away. When he has made use of my medicines for the sick, the disease will not grow very much worse, he will not pass away. I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order medicines for the sick.

“And again, Lord, conjey was allowed by the Lord at Andhakavinda when he had its ten advantages in mind.[21] I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life to the Order a constant supply of conjey.

Kd.8.15.11 “There was a case[22] (where nuns bathed) naked together with prostitutes at the same ford of the river Aciravatī.[23] Lord, these prostitutes made fun of the nuns, saying: ‘Why in the world, ladies, is the Brahma-faring led by you while you are young? Surely the pleasures of the senses should be enjoyed? When you become old, then you can fare the Brahma-faring; thus will both extremes be experienced by you.’[24] Lord, these nuns, being made fun of by these prostitutes, became ashamed. Impure, Lord, is nakedness for women, it is abhorrent, it is objectionable. I, Lord, having this special reason in mind, want to give for life bathing-cloths for the Order of nuns.”

Kd.8.15.12 “But having what advantage in mind do you, Visākhā, ask the Truth-finder for eight boons?”

“Now, Lord, monks who have passed the rains in (various) places[25] will come to Sāvatthī so as to see the Lord; having approached the Lord, they will ask: ‘Lord, such and such a monk has passed away; what is his bourn, what his future BD.4.419 state?’[26] The Lord will explain this saying: ‘It is in the fruit of stream-attaining or it is in the fruit of once-returning or it is in the fruit of not-returning or it is in the fruit of perfection.’ I, having approached these, will ask: ‘Honoured sirs, was Sāvatthī previously visited[27] by this master?’

Kd.8.15.13 “If they say to me: ‘Sāvatthī was previously visited by this monk,’ Vin.1.294 I shall come to the conclusion that undoubtedly cloths for the rains or food for those coming in or food for those going out or food for the sick or food for those who tend the sick or medicines for the sick or a constant supply of conjey was enjoyed by this master. On my calling that to mind, delight will be born; from delight, joy will be born; because my mind is joyful my body will be calm; with the body calm I will experience ease; because I am at ease my mind will be contemplative; this will be for me growth as to the sense-organs, growth as to the powers, growth as to the factors of enlightenment. I, Lord, having this advantage in mind, am asking the Truth-finder for the eight boons.”

Kd.8.15.14 “It is very good, Visākhā, it is good that you, Visākhā, having this advantage in mind, are asking the Truth-finder for the eight boons. I allow you, Visākhā, the eight boons.” Then the Lord blessed Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, with these verses:

“Whatever (woman), much delighted, endowed with virtue,
a disciple of the well-farer, food and drink

“Gives—having overcome avarice—the gift is heavenly,[28]
dispelling sorrow, bringing happiness; (and)

“She gains a deva-like span[29]
owing to the spotless, stainless way,

“She, desiring merit, at ease, healthy,
delights long in a heavenly company.”[30]

Then the Lord, having blessed Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, with these verses, rising from his seat, departed.

Kd.8.15.15 Then the Lord, on this occasion, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

BD.4.420I allow, monks, cloths for the rains, food for those coming in, food for those going out, food for the sick, food for those who tend the sick, medicines for the sick, a constant supply of conjey, bathing-cloths for the Order of nuns.

The Portion for Repeating on Visākhā

Footnotes and references:

1.

cātuddīpiko.

2.

As at this time cloths for the rains had not been “allowed” monks could not incur the offence of wrong-doing mentioned at Vin.3.253, for letting their naked bodies get wet with the rain although they had cloths for the rains.

3.

je, often used in speaking to female slaves.

4.

bhante, or perhaps here “honoured sir”.

5.

yathāvihāra, as at Vin.4.15.

6.

Cf. above, BD.4.104, BD.4.396.

7.

Bu-NP.24 and Bu-Pc.91 are both based on the assumption that an “allowance” to use cloths for the rains had already been given. The rule in Bu-NP.24 is against putting on cloths for the rains during all but the last part of the hot weather, for these cloths had become worn out and monks had gone naked during the rains. See BD.2.134, n.1. Bu-Pc.91 is concerned with the right measurements for the rain-cloths.

8.

Cf. Vin.2.16 where the householder Citta invited in-coming monks who were elders to accept a meal with him. At Vin.2.209ff. certain regulations are laid down for the behaviour to be observed by and towards in-coming monks.

9.

At Vin.1.142 monks were allowed in the rains, as long as the business took no more than seven days, to visit ill monks; and they might look about for food for the sick, for food for those tending the sick, and for medicine for the sick.

10.

At Vin.1.303ff. qualities necessary in those who tend the sick are enumerated. Moreover they are “allowed ” to receive the bowl and robes of ill monks who have died.

11.

In the instructions given at Vin.2.272 for teaching women who wish to receive the upasampadā, it is said that the bathing-cloth, together with the bowl, three robes and vest, should be pointed out to them. At Vin.4.279 the right measurements for nuns’ bathing-cloths are prescribed.

12.

atthavasaṃ sampassamānā.

13.

Nakedness was disparaged; see below, BD.4.418, and Vin.3.212, Vin.3.252f., Vin.4.278.

14.

na kusala, not expert in, clever, skilled.

15.

gocara, literally a cow’s grazing, a pasturage, thus a place where a monk can obtain food, the houses at which food is put into his bowl.

16.

Cf. Bu-Pc.85 where monks are forbidden to enter a village at the wrong time.

17.

As above, Vin.1.120.

18.

i.e. to the monastery.

19.

ussūre, after sun-turn, mid-day. In Bu-Pc.37 eating at the “wrong time”, i.e. “after noon has passed until sunrise” (Vin.4.86 = Vin.4.166) is an offence. Cf. at AN.iii.260 the five disadvantages to a family ussūrabhatte, who eat when the sun is right up.

20.

bhattacchedaṃ karissati, literally he will make a ‘cut’ in his food. For, since eating at the wrong time was an offence, a monk who could not take his meal during the right time, would have to miss it altogether. Cf. Ja.i.156, bhattacchedaṃ katvā.

21.

Enumerated at Vin.1.221; conjey allowed at Vin.1.222.

22.

idha.

23.

As in Bi-Pc.21.

24.

This passage occurs again in Nuns’ Bi-Pc.21, where it is made an offence of expiation for nuns to bathe naked.

25.

disāsu.

26.

A conversation on these lines is recorded at DN.ii.91ff. to have taken place at Nādika.

27.

āgatapubbā.

28.

sovaggihaṃ. Vin-a.1128 says “made for the sake of heaven”.

29.

dibba āyu.

30.

saggamhi kāyamhi.