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...

Kd.17.3.11 Now at that time there was a fierce elephant in Rājagaha, a man-slayer, called Nālāgiri. Then Devadatta, having entered Rājagaha, having gone to the elephant stable, spoke thus to the mahouts: “We, my good fellows, are relations of the king. We are competent to put in a high position one occupying a lowly position and to bring about an increase in food and wages. Well now, good fellows, when the recluse Gotama is coming along this carriage road,[1] then, having let loose this elephant, Nālāgiri, bring him down this carriage road.”

“Very well, honoured sir,” these mahouts answered Devadatta in assent.

Then the Lord, having dressed in the morning, taking his BD.5.273 bowl and robe, Vin.2.195 entered Rājagaha for almsfood together with several monks. Then the Lord went along that carriage road. Then those mahouts saw the Lord coming along that carriage-road; seeing him, having let loose the elephant Nālāgiri, they brought him down that carriage-road. The elephant Nālāgiri saw the Lord coming from afar; seeing him, having lifted up his trunk, he rushed towards the Lord, his ears and tail erect. Those monks saw the elephant Nālāgiri coming in the distance; seeing him, they spoke thus to the Lord:

“Lord, this elephant Nālāgiri, coming along this carriage-road, is a fierce man-slayer; Lord, let the Lord turn back, let the well-farer turn back.”

“Wait, monks, do not be afraid; this is impossible, monks, it cannot come to pass that anyone should deprive a Truth-finder of life by aggression; monks, Truth-finders attain nibbāna not because of an attack.” And a second time … And a third time these monks spoke thus to the Lord: “Lord, this elephant Nālāgiri, … let the well-farer turn back.”

“Wait, monks, … Truth-finders attain nibbāna not because of an attack.”


Kd.17.3.12 Now at that time people, having mounted up on to the long houses and the curved houses and the roofs, waited there. Those people who were of little faith, not believing, who were of poor intelligence,[2] these spoke thus: “This great recluse is indeed lovely; he will be hurt by the bull elephant.”[3] But those people who had faith and were believing, who were wise and intelligent, these spoke thus: “Soon, good sirs, the bull-elephant will come into conflict with the elephant (among men).”

Then the Lord suffused the elephant Nālāgiri with loving-kindness of mind. Then the elephant Nālāgiri, suffused by the Lord with loving-kindness of mind, having put down his trunk, approached the Lord; having approached, he stood in front of the Lord. Then the Lord, stroking the elephant Nālāgiri’s forehead with his right hand, addressed the elephant Nālāgiri with verses:

BD.5.274

“Do not, elephant,[4] strike the elephant (among men),
for painful, elephant, is the striking of the elephant (among men),
For there is no good bourn, elephant,[5]
for a slayer of the elephant (among men) when he is hence beyond.

“Be not proud,[6] be not wanton,[7]
for the wanton reach not a good bourn;
Only that should you do by which
you will go to a good bourn.”

Then the elephant Nālāgiri, having taken the dust of the Lord’s feet with his trunk, having scattered it over his head, moved back bowing while he gazed upon the Lord. Then the elephant Nālāgiri, having returned to the elephant stable, stood in his own place; and it was in this way Vin.2.196 that the elephant Nālāgiri became tamed. Now at that time people sang this verse:

“Some are tamed by stick, by goads and whips.
The elephant was tamed by the great seer
without a stick, without a weapon.”[8]

Kd.17.3.13 People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying: “How evil is this Devadatta, how inauspicious,[9] in that he tried to murder the recluse Gotama who is of such great psychic power, of such great might,” and Devadatta’s gains and honours declined; the Lord’s gains and honours increased.

On the request for the five points

Now at that time Devadatta, gains and honours lost,[10] ate with his friends, having asked and asked among households. People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans eat, having asked and asked among households? Who is not fond of well-cooked things? Who does not like sweet things?”

BD.5.275 Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can Devadatta eat with his friends, having asked and asked among households?” They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Devadatta, ate with your friends, having asked and asked among households?”

“It is true, Lord.” Having rebuked him, having given reasoned talk, he addressed the monks, saying:

“Well now, monks, I will lay down for monks the eating by a triad (of monks)[11] among households—founded on three reasons:[12] for the restraint of evil-minded[13] individuals; for the living in comfort[14] of well behaved monks[15] lest those of evil desires should split the Order by means of a faction;[16] out of compassion for families.[17] In eating a group meal, one should be dealt with according to the rule.”[18]


Kd.17.3.14 Then Devadatta approached Kokālika,[19] Kaṭamorakatissaka, BD.5.276 the son of the lady Khaṇḍā, and Samuddadatta, having approached, he spoke thus to Kokālika, Kaṭamorakatissaka, the son of the lady Khaṇḍā, and Samuddadatta: “Come, we, your reverences, will make a schism in the recluse Gotama’s Order, a breaking of the concord.” When he had spoken thus, Kokālika spoke thus to Devadatta:

“But, your reverence, the recluse Gotama is of great psychic power, of great might. How can we make a schism in the recluse Gotama’s Order, a breaking of the concord?”

“Come, we, your reverence, having approached the recluse Gotama, will ask for five items, saying: ‘Lord, the Lord in many a figure speaks in praise of desiring little, of being contented, Vin.2.197 of expunging (evil), of being punctilious, of what is gracious, of decrease (in the obstructions), of putting forth energy. Lord, these five items are in many a way conducive to desiring little, to contentment, to expunging (evil), to being punctilious, to what is gracious, to decrease (in the obstructions), to putting forth energy.

  1. It were good, Lord, if the monks, for as long as life lasted, might be forest-dwellers; whoever should betake himself to the neighbourhood of a village, sin would besmirch him.
  2. For as long as life lasts, let them be beggars for alms; whoever should accept an invitation, sin would besmirch him.
  3. For as long as life lasts, let them be rag-robe wearers; whoever should accept a robe given by a householder, sin would besmirch him.
  4. For as long as life lasts, let them live at the root of a tree; whoever should go under cover, sin would besmirch him.
  5. For as long as life lasts, let them not eat fish and flesh; whoever should eat fish and flesh, sin would besmirch him.’

The recluse Gotama will not allow these. Then we will win over the people by means of these five items.”

“It is possible, your reverence, with these five items, to make a schism in the recluse Gotama’s Order, a breaking of the concord. For, your reverence, people esteem austerity.”

Kd.17.3.15 Then Devadatta together with his friends approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Devadatta spoke thus to the Lord:

BD.5.277 “Lord, the Lord in many a figure speaks in praise of desiring little … whoever should eat fish and flesh, sin would besmirch him.”

“Enough, Devadatta,” he said. “Whoever wishes, let him be a forest-dweller; whoever wishes, let him stay in the neighbourhood of a village; whoever wishes, let him be a beggar for alms; whoever wishes, let him accept an invitation; whoever wishes, let him be a rag-robe wearer; whoever wishes, let him accept a householder’s robes. For eight months, Devadatta, lodging at the root of a tree is permitted by me. Fish and flesh are pure in respect of three points: if they are not seen, heard or suspected (to have been killed on purpose for him).”[20]

Then Devadatta, thinking: ‘The Lord does not permit these five items,’ joyful, elated, rising from his seat with his friends, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping his right side towards him. Then Devadatta, having entered Rājagaha with his friends, taught the people by means of the five items, saying: “We, friends, having approached the recluse Gotama, asked for five items, saying: ‘Lord, the Lord in many a figure speaks in praise of desiring little … whoever should eat fish and flesh, sin would besmirch him’. The recluse Gotama does not allow these five items, but we live undertaking these five items.”

Kd.17.3.16 Those people who were there of little faith, not believing, who were of poor intelligence, these spoke thus: “These recluses, sons of the Sakyans are punctilious, are expungers (of evil), but the recluse Gotama is for abundance and strives after abundance.” But those people Vin.2.198 who had faith and were believing, who were wise and intelligent, these looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying: “How can this Devadatta go forward with a schism in the Lord’s Order, with a breaking of the concord?” Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can this Devadatta go forward with a schism in the Order, a breaking of the concord?” Then these monks told this matter to the Lord. He said:

BD.5.278 “Is it true, as is said that you, Devadatta, went forward with a schism in the Order, a breaking of the concord?”

“It is true, Lord.”

“Enough, Devadatta, do not let there be a schism in the Order, for a schism in the Order is a serious matter,[21] Devadatta. Whoever, Devadatta, splits an Order that is united, he sets up demerit that endures for an aeon;[22] he is boiled in hell for an aeon; but whoever, Devadatta, unites an Order that is split, he sets up sublime[23] merit, he rejoices in heaven for an aeon. Enough, Devadatta, do not let there be a schism in the Order, for a schism in the Order is a serious matter, Devadatta.”

Kd.17.3.17 Then the venerable Ānanda,[24] having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, entered Rājagaha for almsfood. Devadatta saw the venerable Ānanda walking in Rājagaha for almsfood; seeing him, he approached the venerable Ānanda; having approached, he spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda: “Now from this day forth will I, reverend Ānanda, carry out Observance both in contradistinction to[25] the Lord and in contradistinction to the Order of monks and will (so) carry out (formal) acts of the Order.”[26] Then the venerable Ānanda, having walked in Rājagaha for almsfood, on returning from the almsround, after his meal, approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord:

“Just now, Lord, I, having dressed in the morning, taking my bowl and robe, entered Rājagaha for almsfood. Devadatta, Lord, saw me walking in Rājagaha for almsfood; seeing me, he came up; having come up, he spoke thus to me: ‘Now from this day forth will I … (so) carry out (formal) acts of the Order.’ Today, Lord, Devadatta will split the Order.”[27]

BD.5.279 Then the Lord, having understood this matter, at that time uttered this utterance:

“Easy is good for the good, good for the evil is hard,
Evil for the evil is easy, evil for the noble ones is hard.”[28]

Told is the Second Portion for Repeating.

Footnotes and references:

1.

racchā. See BD.3.268, n.1.

2.

As at Kd.17.3.3.

3.

nāga. Cf. the matted hair ascetics’ speech at Kd.1.15.4.

4.

kuñjara. Verses also at Ja.v.336.

5.

kuñjara. Verses also at Ja.v.336.

6.

mada … pamāda, also at Snp.218.

7.

mada … pamāda, also at Snp.218.

8.

Cf. MN.ii.105, Thag.878.

9.

alakkhika. Vin-a.1275–6 says “here it means he does not discriminate, he does not know. He does not know ‘I am doing an evil deed’.” Cf. version of Vin-a given at Vinaya Texts iii.250, n.1. In interpreting the word like the corresponding Sanskrit alakaṃīka, as does Vinaya Texts iii, I prefer “inauspicious, unlucky,” to their “wretched,” with the sense of its being unlucky for donors to give alms to Devadatta.

10.

Down to “It is true, Lord” = Bu-Pc.32 where this episode is used to lead up to the framing of a rule against a group-meal, see BD.2.306f. for notes.

11.

tikabhojana, a meal to be eaten by three people, so Vin-a.1276. See also SN-a.ii.178. Just as gaṇabhojana is a group-meal, so tikabhojana is a three-party meal. It is apparently meant that a “group” is larger than three monks, since at the end of Kd.17.3.13 it is specially said that one who eats a group-meal must be treated according to the rule. On gaṇabhojana see BD.2.307, n.1.

12.

The subject of a question put by Kassapa to Ānanda at SN.ii.218.

13.

SN-a.ii.178, AN-a.ii.163 explain dummaṅkūnaṃ by dussīla, bad moral habit.

14.

phāsuvihāra, cf. Vin.1.92, etc.

15.

This and the first reason are among the ten reasons sometimes ascribed to the Lord for laying down a rule of training, as at Vin.3.21 and other Vinaya passages. Cf. also AN.i.99.

16.

SN-a.ii.178 explains that as Devadatta and his friends split the Order by means of their evil desires, so too others of evil desires, on account of their bond as a group, having begged among families, were eating having made the group increase; so it was said “Lest they split the Order by means of that faction.”

17.

AN.i.100 has gihīnaṃ anukampāya pāpicchānaṃ pakkhupacchedāya, translated at GS.i.84 “out of compassion for householders and to uproot the factions of the evilly disposed.” If “the idea is here, of course, lest any particular layman should be burdened by providing for many bhikkhus,” as stated at Vinaya Texts iii.251, n.3, it is the exact opposite of the opinion given at SN-a.ii.178 for allowing three monks to eat together among families. For this is that “having carried out the Observance and the Invitation in the Order of monks, and (the monks) being all together, people having given (them) meals by ticket and so on become bound for heaven”. So the compassion for families is in allowing them scope to give and thereby to acquire merit. AN-a.ii.164 less cogently says: “A rule of training laid down when householders complain is called “laid down out of compassion for householders.”

18.

I.e. to the rule laid down in Bu-Pc.32.

19.

Almost word for word the same as Bu-Ss.10.1.1, Bu-Ss.10.1.2 and part of Bu-Ss.10.1.3. See BD.1.296–299 for footnotes.

21.

Quoted at Vin.1.150.

22.

kappaṭṭhika. But Vin-a.1276 says that kappa is āyukappa, “for the duration of life.”

23.

brahma = seṭṭha, Vin-a.1276.

24.

This episode also appears at Ud.v.8 and Dhp-a.iii.154.

25.

aññatr’ eva.

26.

saṅghakammaṃ. Ud.v.8 reads -kammāni.

27.

Udāna adding “and will carry out Observance and (formal) acts of the Order.”

28.

Cf. Dhp.163, ascribed by Dhp-a.iii.154 to this occasion.