Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

27. The long training rule on weavers

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time a man who was going away said to his wife, “Weigh some thread, take it to the weavers, get them to weave robe-cloth, and put the robe-cloth aside. When I return I’ll give it to Venerable Upananda.”

A monk who was an alms-collector heard that man speaking those words. He then went to Upananda and said, “Upananda, you have much merit. In such-and-such a place I heard a man, as he was about to go away, tell his wife to get robe-cloth woven so that he could give it to you when he returned.”

“He’s my supporter.” And the weaver was Upananda’s supporter too.

Upananda then went to that weaver and said, “This robe-cloth that you’re weaving for me, make it long and wide. And make it closely woven, well-woven, well-stretched, well-scraped, and well-combed.”

“Venerable, they’ve already weighed the thread and given it to me, saying, ‘Weave the robe-cloth with this thread.’ I won’t be able to make it long, wide, or closely woven. But I’m able to make it well-woven, well-stretched, well-scraped, and well-combed.”

“Just make it long, wide, and closely woven. There won’t be any lack of thread.”

Then, when all the thread had been used up, that weaver went to that woman and said, “Madam, I need more thread.”

“But, Sir, didn’t I tell you to weave the robe-cloth with that thread?”

“You did. But Venerable Upananda told me to make it long, wide, and closely woven. And he said there wouldn’t be any lack of thread.” That woman then gave him as much thread again as she had done the first time.

Soon Upananda heard that that man had returned from his travels, and he went to his house and sat down on a prepared seat. That man approached him, bowed down to him, and sat down to one side. He then said to his wife, “Has the robe-cloth been woven?”

“Yes it has.”

“Please bring it, I’ll give it to Venerable Upananda.”

She then got the robe-cloth, gave it to her husband, and informed him of what had happened. After giving the robe-cloth to Upananda, he grumbled and complained, “These Sakyan ascetics have great desires; they’re not content. It’s no easy matter to give them robe-cloth. How could Venerable Upananda go to the weavers and specify the kind of robe-cloth he wanted without first being invited by me?”

Monks heard the complaints of that man, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized Upananda, “How can Venerable Upananda go to a householder’s weavers and specify the kind of robe-cloth he wants without first being invited?”

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

“It’s true, Master.”

“Is he a relative of yours?”

“No, Master.”

“Foolish man, people who are not related don’t know what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate in dealing with each other, what’s right and what’s wrong. And still you went to the weavers of an unrelated householder and specified the kind of robe-cloth you wanted without first being invited. This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a male or female householder is getting robe-cloth woven by weavers for an unrelated monk and, without first being invited, that monk goes to those weavers and specifies the kind of robe-cloth he wants, saying, ‘Sirs, this robe-cloth that you are weaving for me, make it long and wide; make it closely woven, well-woven, well-stretched, well-scraped, and well-combed; and perhaps I will even give you a small gift;’ then, in saying that and afterwards giving them a small gift, even if it is only a bit of almsfood, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

For a […] monk: for the benefit of a monk; making a monk the object, he wishes to give to the monk.

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 male householder: any man who lives in a house.

A female householder: any woman who lives in a house.

By weavers: by those who weave.

Robe-cloth: one of the six kinds of robe-cloth, but not smaller than what can be transferred.

Is getting […] woven: is causing to weave.

"If […] that monk: the monk for whom the robe-cloth is being woven.

Without first being invited: without it first being said, “Venerable, what kind of robe-cloth do you need? What kind of robe-cloth should I get woven for you?”

Goes to those weavers: having gone to their house or having gone wherever.

Specifies the kind of robe-cloth he wants: “Sirs, this robe-cloth that you are weaving for me, make it long and wide; make it closely woven, well-woven, well-stretched, well-scraped, and well-combed; and perhaps I will even give you a small gift.”

Then in saying that and afterwards giving them a small gift, even if it is only a bit of almsfood— Almsfood: rice-porridge, a meal, non-staple food, bath powder, a toothbrush, a piece of thread, and even if he gives a teaching.


If the weaver makes it long or wide or closely woven because of the monk’s statement, then in the act of speaking, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. When he gets the robe-cloth, 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 for which I went to the weavers of an unrelated householder and specified the kind of robe-cloth I wanted without first being invited 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 householder is unrelated and the monk perceives them as unrelated and, without first being invited, he approaches the householder’s weavers and specifies the kind of robe-cloth he wants, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If the householder is unrelated, but the monk is unsure if they are and, without first being invited, he approaches the householder’s weavers and specifies the kind of robe-cloth he wants, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If the householder is unrelated, but the monk perceives them as related and, without first being invited, he approaches the householder’s weavers and specifies the kind of robe-cloth he wants, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If the householder is related, but the monk perceives them as unrelated, he commit an offense of wrong conduct. If the householder is related, but the monk is unsure if they are, he commit an offense of wrong conduct. If the householder is related and the monk perceives them as related, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if it is from relatives; if it is from those who have given an invitation; if it is for the benefit of someone else; if it is by means of his own property; if someone wants to get expensive robe-cloth woven, but he gets them to weave inexpensive robe-cloth instead; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The seventh rule, the long training rule on weavers, is finished.