Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

25. The training rule on taking robe(-cloth) back

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. Just then Venerable Upananda the Sakyan said to his brother’s student, “Come, let’s go wandering in the country.”

“I can’t go, Venerable, my robes are worn.”

“I’ll give you a robe.” And he gave him a robe.

Soon afterwards that monk heard that the Master was about to go wandering in the country. He thought, “Now I won’t go wandering with Venerable Upananda, but with the Master.” Then, when Upananda said, “Let’s go,” he replied, “I’m not going with you, but with the Master.”

“Well, the robe I gave you is going with me,” and angry and displeased he just took it back.

That monk informed other monks about what had happened. And the monks of few desires … complained and criticized Upananda, “How can Venerable Upananda give away a robe and then take it back, angry and displeased?”

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 give a robe to a monk and then take it back, angry and displeased? 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 himself gives a robe(-cloth) to a monk, but then, angry and displeased, takes it back or gets it taken back, 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.

To a monk: to another monk.

Himself: he himself has given it.

A robe(-cloth): one of the six kinds of robes(-cloth), but not smaller than what can be transferred.

Angry and displeased: discontent, having hatred, hostile.

Takes […] back: if he takes it back himself, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

Gets […] taken back: if he asks another, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he only asks once, then even if the other takes back many times, it becomes subject to relinquishment.


The robe(-cloth) 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 robe(-cloth) which I took back after giving it to a monk is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ … the Order should give … you should give … ‘I give this robe(-cloth) back to you.’”

Permutations

If the other monk is fully ordained and he perceives him as fully ordained, and after giving him a robe(-cloth), angry and displeased, he takes it back or gets it taken back, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If the other monk is fully ordained, but he is unsure if he is, and after giving him a robe(-cloth), angry and displeased, he takes it back or gets it taken back, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If the other monk is fully ordained, but he perceives him as not fully ordained, and after giving him a robe(-cloth), angry and displeased, he takes it back or gets it taken back, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If, after giving him another requisite, angry and displeased, he takes it back or gets it taken back, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If, after giving a robe(-cloth) or another requisite to a person who is not fully ordained, angry and displeased, he takes it back or gets it taken back, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

If the other monk is not fully ordained, but he perceives him as fully ordained, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If the other monk is not fully ordained, but he is unsure if he is, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If the other monk is not fully ordained, and he perceives him as not fully ordained, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if the other monk gives it back; if he takes it on trust from him; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The fifth rule, the training rule on taking robe(-cloth) back, is finished.