Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

10. The training rule on kings

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time a minister who was a supporter of Venerable Upananda sent a robe fund to Upananda by messenger, saying, “Buy a robe with this fund and give it to Venerable Upananda.”

The messenger went to Upananda and said, “Venerable, I’ve brought a robe fund for you. Please accept it.”

“We don’t receive robe funds, but we do receive allowable robes at the right time.”

“Is there anyone who provides services for you?”

Just then a lay follower had come to the monastery on some business. Upananda told the messenger, “This lay follower provides services for the monks.”

The messenger instructed that lay follower and then returned to Upananda and said, “I’ve instructed the lay follower you pointed out to me. Please approach him at the right time and he’ll give you a robe.”

Later on that minister sent a message to Upananda, saying, “Please use the robe; we wish you to use the robe.” But Upananda did not say anything to that lay follower. The minister sent the same message a second time, but again Upananda did nothing. The minister then sent the message a third time.

On that occasion the townspeople were having a community meeting, and an agreement had been made that whoever came late would be fined fifty coins. Just then Upananda went to that lay follower and said, “I need a robe.”

“Venerable, please wait one day, for today there is a community meeting,” and an agreement has been made that whoever comes late gets fined fifty coins.

“Give me the robe today,” and he grabbed him by the belt.

Being pressured by Upananda, the lay follower bought him a robe, and as a consequence he was late for the meeting. People asked him, “Sir, why are you late? You’ve just lost fifty coins.”

That lay follower informed them of what had happened. And they grumbled and complained, “These Sakyan ascetics have great desires; they are not content. Even to provide them with a service isn’t easy. How can Venerable Upananda not agree when he’s asked by a lay follower to wait for a day?”

Monks heard the complaints of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Upananda not agree when asked by a lay follower to wait for a day?”

After criticizing him in many ways, they informed the Master … “Is it true, Upananda, that you acted in this way?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him: “… Foolish man, how can you not agree when asked by a lay follower to wait for a day? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a king, a king’s employee, a brahmin, or a householder sends a robe fund for a monk by messenger, saying, ‘Buy a robe with this robe fund and give it to monk so-and-so,’ and the messenger goes to that monk and says, ‘Venerable, I have brought a robe fund for you; please accept it,’ then that monk should reply, ‘We don’t receive robe funds, but we do receive allowable robes at the right time.’ If that messenger says, ‘Is there anyone who provides services for you?’, the monk, if he needs a robe, should point out a monastery attendant or a lay follower and say, ‘He provides services for the monks.’ If the messenger instructs that service-provider and then returns to the monk and says, ‘Venerable, I have instructed the service-provider you pointed out; please approach him at the right time and he will give you a robe,’ then, if that monk needs a robe, he should approach that service-provider and prompt him and remind him two or three times, saying, ‘I need a robe.’ If he then gets a robe, that is good. If he does not get it, he should stand in silence for it at most six times. If he then gets a robe, that is good. If he makes any further effort and then gets a robe, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he does not get a robe, he should go to the owner of that robe fund, or send a message: ‘Sirs, that monk hasn’t received any benefit from the robe fund you sent for him. Please take action over what’s yours; let it not be lost.’ This is the proper procedure.’”

Definitions

For a monk: for the benefit of a monk; making a monk the object of consideration, one desires to give to him.

A king: whoever rules.

A king’s employee: whoever gets food and wages from a king.

A brahmin: a brahmin by birth.

A householder: anyone apart from a king, a king’s employee, and a brahmin.

A robe fund: money, gold, a pearl, or a gem.

With this robe fund: with that which is at one’s disposal.

Buy: having exchanged.

Give: donate.

And the messenger goes to that monk and says, “Venerable, I have brought a robe fund for you; please accept it,” then that monk should reply, “We don’t receive robe funds, but we do receive allowable robes at the right time.” If that messenger says, “Is there anyone who provides services for you?”, the monk, if he needs a robe, should point out a monastery attendant or a lay follower and say, “He provides services for the monks”: he should not say, “Give it to him/he’ll put it aside/he’ll do the exchange/he’ll buy it.”

If the messenger instructs that service-provider and then returns to the monk and says, “Venerable, I have instructed the service-provider you pointed out; please approach him at the right time and he will give you a robe,” then, if that monk needs a robe, he should approach that service-provider and prompt him and remind him two or three times, saying, “I need a robe”: he should not say, “Give me a robe/get me a robe/get a robe in exchange for me/buy me a robe.”

He should say it a second and a third time.

If he gets it, that is good. If he does not get it, [he should go there and] he should stand in silence for it: he should not sit down on a seat. He should not accept a gift. He should not give a teaching. If he is asked, “Why have you come?”, he should say, “Think about it.” If he sits down on a seat, or he accepts a gift, or he gives a teaching, he loses one allowance to stand.

He should stand a second and a third time. If he prompts four times, he can stand four times. If he prompts five times, he can stand twice. If he prompts six times, he cannot stand at all.


If he makes any further effort and the robe then appears, he commits an offense of wrong conduct for the effort. When he gets the robe, it becomes subject to relinquishment.

The robe should be relinquished to the Order, a group, or an individual. “And, monks, it should be relinquished in this way. … To be expanded as in Relinquishment 1, paragraphs 13–17, with appropriate substitutions. … ‘Venerables, this robe which I got after prompting more than three times and standing more than six times is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ … the Order should give … you should give … ‘I give this robe back to you.’”


If he does not get a robe, he should go to the owner of that robe fund, or send a message: ‘Sirs, that monk hasn’t received any benefit from the robe fund you sent for him. Please take action over what’s yours; let it not be lost.’

This is the proper procedure: this is the right method.

Permutations

If he prompts more than three times and stands more than six times, and he perceives that he has done so, and he gets a robe, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he prompts more than three times and stands more than six times, but he is unsure if he has, and he gets a robe, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he prompts more than three times and stands more than six times, but he perceives that it is less, and he gets a robe, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he prompts less than three times and stands less than six times, but he perceives that it is more, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he prompts less than three times and stands less than six times, but he is unsure if he has, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he prompts less than three times and stands less than six times, and he perceives that it is less, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he prompts three times and stands six time; if he prompts less than three times and stands less than six times; if it is given without prompting; if the owners prompt and then it is given; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The tenth rule, the training rule on kings, is finished.

The first chapter on the robe-making season is finished.

This is the summary:

Three on the ended robe-making season,
And washing, receiving;
Three on those who are unrelated,
Of both, and with messenger.