Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

17. The training rule on getting wool washed

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying in the Sakyan country at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Monastery. At that time monks from the group of six got nuns to wash, dye, and comb wool. Because of this work, the nuns neglected recitation, questioning, the higher morality, the higher mind, and the higher wisdom.

Mahāpajāpati Gotamī then approached the Master, bowed down to him, and stood to one side. And the Master said to her, “Gotamī, I hope the nuns are heedful, energetic, and diligent?”

“How, Venerable Sir, could the nuns be heedful?” And she told him what was happening.

The Master then instructed, inspired, and gladdened her with a teaching. She bowed down to him, circumambulated him with her right side towards him, and departed.

Soon afterwards the Master had the Order assembled and questioned the monks from the group of six: “Is it true, monks, that you are doing this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

“Are they your relatives?”

“No, Master.”

“Foolish men, people who are not related don’t know what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate in dealing with each other, what’s inspiring behavior and what’s not. And still you got unrelated nuns to wash, dye, and comb 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 an unrelated nun to wash, dye, or comb 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.

Unrelated: anyone who is not a descendant of one’s male ancestors going back seven generations, either on the mother’s side or on the father’s side.

A nun: she has been given the full ordination by both Orders.


If he tells her to wash it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. When it has been washed, it becomes subject to relinquishment. If he tells her to dye it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. When it has been dyed, it becomes subject to relinquishment. If he tells her to comb it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. When it has been combed, 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 got washed by an unrelated nun 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 she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to wash wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to wash and dye wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and one offense of wrong conduct. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to wash and comb wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and one offense of wrong conduct. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to wash, dye, and comb wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and two offenses of wrong conduct.

If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to dye wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to dye and comb wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and one offense of wrong conduct. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to dye and wash wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and one offense of wrong conduct. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to dye, comb, and wash wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and two offenses of wrong conduct.

If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to comb wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to comb and wash wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and one offense of wrong conduct. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to comb and dye wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and one offense of wrong conduct. If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he gets her to comb, wash, and dye wool, he commits one offense entailing relinquishment and two offenses of wrong conduct.

If she is unrelated, but he is unsure if she is … If she is unrelated, but he perceives her as related …

If he gets her to wash wool belonging to someone else, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he gets a nun who is fully ordained only on one side to do the washing, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If she is related, but he perceives her as unrelated, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If she is related, but he is unsure if she is, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If she is related and he perceives her as related, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if a related nun does the washing and an unrelated nun helps her; if a nun does the washing without being asked; if he gets a nun to wash an unused and finished article; if it is a trainee nun; if it is a novice nun; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The seventh rule, the training rule on getting wool washed, is finished.