Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

1. The training rule on the robe-making season

Venerables, these thirty rules entailing relinquishment and confession
come up for recitation.


Origin story

First sub-story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Vesālī at the Gotamaka Shrine. At that time the Master had allowed the three robes for the monks. Knowing that this was the case, monks from the group of six entered the village in one set of three robes, stayed in the monastery in another set, and went to bathe in yet another set. The monks of few desires … complained and criticized them, “How can those monks from the group of six keep extra robes?”

After criticizing those monks in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, monks, that you keep extra robes?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them: “… Foolish men, how can you keep extra robes? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Preliminary ruling

‘If a monk keeps an extra robe(-cloth), he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

In this way the Master laid down this training rule for the monks.

Second sub-story

Soon afterwards a robe was offered to Venerable Ānanda. He wanted to give it to Venerable Sāriputta who was staying at Sāketa. Knowing that the Buddha had laid down a rule against keeping an extra robe, Ānanda thought, “What should I do in this situation?” He informed the Master, and the Master said, “How long is it, Ānanda, before Sāriputta returns?”

“Nine or ten days, Master.”

Soon afterwards the Master gave a teaching and addressed the monks: “Monks, you should keep an extra robe for ten days at the most. And so, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘When his robe is finished and the robe-making season has ended, a monk should keep an extra robe(-cloth) for ten days at the most. If he keeps it beyond that, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

When his robe is finished: the monk has made a robe, or the robe-cloth has been lost, destroyed, or burnt, or he has abandoned his expectation of receiving further robe-cloth.

The robe-making season has ended: it has ended according to one of the eight headings or the Order has ended it, whichever comes first.

For ten days at the most: it should be kept for ten days at a maximum.

An extra robe(-cloth): a robe(-cloth) that is not determined, nor transferred.

A robe(-cloth): one of the six kinds of robe-cloth, but not smaller than what can be transferred.

If he keeps it beyond that […] entailing relinquishment: entailing relinquishment at dawn on the eleventh day.


The robe(-cloth) should be relinquished to the Order, a group, or an individual. “And, monks, it should be relinquished in this way. After approaching the Order, that monk should put his upper robe over one shoulder and pay respect at the feet of the senior monks. He should then squat on his heels, put the palms of his hands together, and say, ‘Venerables, this robe(-cloth) which I have kept over ten days is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ After relinquishing it, he is to acknowledge the offense. The acknowledgment should be received by a competent and capable monk. The relinquished robe(-cloth) is then to be given back:

‘Venerables, let the Order listen to me. This robe(-cloth) which was to be relinquished by monk so-and-so has been relinquished to the Order. If it seems appropriate to the Order, the Order should give this robe(-cloth) back to monk so-and-so.’

After approaching several monks, that monk should put his upper robe over one shoulder and pay respect at the feet of the senior monks. He should then squat on his heels, put the palms of his hands together, and say, ‘Venerables, this robe(-cloth) which I have kept over ten days is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the venerables.’ After relinquishing it, he is to acknowledge the offense. The acknowledgment should be received by a competent and capable monk. The relinquished robe(-cloth) is then to be given back:

‘Let the venerables listen to me. This robe(-cloth) which was to be relinquished by monk so-and-so has been relinquished to you. If it seems appropriate to you, you should give this robe(-cloth) back to monk so-and-so.’

After approaching a single monk, that monk should put his upper robe over one shoulder, squat on his heels, put the palms of his hands together, and say, ‘This robe(-cloth) which I have kept over ten days is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to you.’ After relinquishing it, he is to acknowledge the offense. The acknowledgment should be received by that monk. The relinquished robe(-cloth) is then to be given back: ‘I give this robe(-cloth) back to you.’”

Permutations

If it is more than ten days and he perceives it as more than ten days, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is more than ten days, but he is unsure if it is, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is more than ten days, but he perceives it as less than ten days, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If it is undetermined, but he perceives it as determined, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not transferred, but he perceives it as transferred, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not given away, but he perceives it as given away, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not lost, but he perceives it as lost, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not destroyed, but he perceives it as destroyed, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not burnt, but he perceives it as burnt, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not stolen, but he perceives it as stolen, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he uses a robe(-cloth) which should be relinquished without first relinquishing it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is less than ten days, but he perceives it as more than ten days, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is less than ten days, but he is unsure if it is, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is less than ten days and he perceives it as less than ten days, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if within ten days it has been determined, transferred, given away, lost, destroyed, burnt, stolen, or taken on trust; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


At that time monks from the group six did not give back relinquished robe(-cloth). They informed the Master. “Monks, relinquished robe(-cloth) should be given back. If a monk does not give it back, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.”

The first rule, the training rule on the robe-making season, is finished.