Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

11. The training rule on silk

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Āḷavī at the Aggāḷava Shrine. At that time monks from the group of six approached some silk-makers and said, “Boil many silkworms and give us silk. We wish to make blankets containing silk.” The silk-makers grumbled and complained, “How can the Sakyan ascetics approach us and say such a thing? It’s our misfortune that we must cause the death of many small creatures because of our livelihood and because of our wives and children.”

Monks heard the complaints of those silk-makers, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized those monks, “How can those monks from the group of six approach silk-makers and say such a thing?”

After criticizing them in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, monks, that you approached silk-makers and said, ‘Boil many silkworms and give us silk. We wish to make blankets containing silk’?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them: “Foolish men, how can you approach silk-makers and say such a thing? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk gets a blanket made that contains silk, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

A: whoever … Monk: … The monk who has been given the full ordination by a complete Order through a formal procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements that is unchallengeable and fit to stand— this sort of monk is meant in this case.

A blanket: it is made by spreading out, not by weaving.

Gets made: in the effort of making a blanket that contains even one thread of silk, or in getting one made, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. When he gets the blanket, it becomes subject to relinquishment.


The blanket should be relinquished to an 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 blanket containing silk which I got made is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ … the Order should give … you should give … ‘I give this blanket back to you.’”

Permutations

If he finishes what he began himself, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he gets others to finish what he began himself, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he finishes himself what was begun by others, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he gets others to finish what was begun by others, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he makes one, or gets one made, for someone else, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he obtains one that was made by someone else and then uses it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he makes a canopy, a floor cover, a screen-wall, a mattress, or a pillow; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The first rule, the training rule on silk, is finished.