Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

12. The training rule on entirely black

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Vesālī in the hall with the peaked roof in the Great Wood. At that time monks from the group of six were getting blankets made entirely of black wool. People who were touring the dwellings grumbled and complained, “How can the Sakyan ascetics get blankets made entirely of black wool, just like householders who indulge in sensual pleasures?”

Monks heard the complaints of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized those monks, “How can those monks from the group of six get blankets made entirely of black wool?”

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

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them: “… Foolish men, how can you get blankets made entirely of black wool? 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 entirely of black wool, 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.

Black: there are two kinds of black: natural black and dyed black.

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

Gets made: in the act of making the blanket, or getting it 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 which I got made entirely of black wool 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 second rule, the training rule on entirely black, is finished.