Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

16. The training rule on wool

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time a certain monk who was walking through the Kosalan country on his way to Sāvatthī obtained some wool. He bound it into a bundle with his upper robe and went on. People who saw him mocked him, “Venerable, how much did this cost you? How much will the profit be?” As a result he was embarrassed.

When he arrived at Sāvatthī, he threw the wool to the ground. The monks asked him why.

“People have been mocking me because of this wool.”

“But how far have you carried it?”

“Over 40 kilometers.”

The monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can a monk carry wool more than 40 kilometers?”

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

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him: “… Foolish man, how can you carry wool more than 40 kilometers? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If wool becomes available to a monk who is traveling, he may receive it if he wishes. If he receives it and there is no one else to carry it, he may carry it himself for at most 40 kilometers. If he carries it further than that, even if there is no one else to carry it, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

To a monk who is traveling: one walking on a road.

If wool becomes available: if it becomes available from the Order, from a group, from a relative, from a friend, or if discarded wool becomes available, or if it becomes available by means of his own property.

If he wishes: if he desires, he may receive it.

If he receives it […] he may carry it himself for at most 40 kilometers: he may carry it himself no further than 40 kilometers.

There is no one else to carry it: there is no other person who can carry it, either a woman or a man, either a householder or a monastic.

If he carries it further than that, even if there is no one else to carry it: when he goes beyond 40 kilometers with the first foot, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. When he goes beyond with the second foot, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he stands within the 40 kilometer limit, but drops it beyond the 40 kilometer limit, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he places it in the vehicle or among the goods of another without their knowledge, and it goes more than 40 kilometers, it becomes subject to relinquishment.


The wool 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 wool which I have taken more than 40 kilometers is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ … the Order should give … you should give … ‘I give this wool back to you.’”

Permutations

If he takes it more than 40 kilometers and he perceives it as more, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he takes it more than 40 kilometers, but he is unsure if he has, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he takes it more than 40 kilometers, but he perceives it as less, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he takes it less than 40 kilometers, but he perceives it as more, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he takes it less than 40 kilometers, but he is unsure if he has, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he takes it less than 40 kilometers and he perceives it as less, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he carries it 40 kilometers; if he carries it less than 40 kilometers; if he carries it 40 kilometers and then carries it back; if he takes it 40 kilometers with the intention of staying there, but then takes it further; if he gets back what had been taken from him and then carries it on; if he gets back what he had given up and then carries it on; if he get someone else to carry it; if it is a finished article; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The sixth rule, the training rule on wool, is finished.