Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

3. The third training rule on the robe-making season

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time a monk had been offered robe-cloth outside the robe season. While he was making the robe, he realized there was not enough cloth. Lifting it up, he smoothed it out again and again.

While inspecting the dwellings, the Master saw that monk acting in this way. He approached him and said, “What are you doing, monk?”

“Venerable Sir, I have received this robe-cloth outside the robe season, but it’s not enough to make a robe. That’s why I lift it up and smooth it out again and again.”

“Are you expecting to receive more cloth?”

“I am.”

Soon afterwards the Master gave a teaching and addressed the monks: “Monks, I allow you to keep out-of-season robe-cloth if you are expecting to receive more.”

When they knew that the Master had given this allowance, some monks kept robe-cloth for over a month, in a bundle on a bamboo robe-rack. While inspecting the dwellings Venerable Ānanda saw that robe-cloth, and he asked the monks, “Whose robe-cloth is this?”

“It’s our out-of-season robe-cloth, which we’re keeping because we’re expecting more.”

“How long have you kept this cloth?”

“Over a month.”

Venerable Ānanda complained and criticized them, “How can these monks keep out-of-season robe-cloth for over a month?”

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

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha criticized them, “… How can these foolish men keep out-of-season robe-cloth for over a month? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘When his robe is finished and the robe-making season has ended, if out-of-season robe-cloth becomes available to a monk, he may receive it if he wishes. If he receives it, he should quickly make a robe. If there is not enough cloth, but he is expecting more, he should keep it at most one month to make up the lack. If he keeps it beyond that, even if he expects more cloth, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

When his robe is finished: the monk has made a robe, or the robe-cloth has been lost, destroyed, or burnt, or he has abandoned his expectation of receiving further robe-cloth.

The robe-making season has ended: it has ended according to one of the eight headings or the Order has ended it, whichever comes first.

Out-of-season robe-cloth: if the robe-making ceremony has not been performed, robe-cloth that becomes available during the eleven months. If the robe-making ceremony has been performed, robe-cloth that becomes available during the seven months. Also, if it is given in the robe season, but it is designated as out-of-season cloth, it is called “out-of-season robe-cloth.”

Becomes available: becomes available from the Order, from a group, from a relative, or from a friend, or if rags become available, or it becomes available by means his own property.

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

If he receives it, he should quickly make a robe: it should be made within ten days.

If there is not enough cloth: if there is not enough cloth when the robe is being made.

He should keep it at most one month: he should keep it for one month at the maximum.

To make up the lack: for the purpose of making up the lack.

But he is expecting more: he is expecting more from the Order, from a group, from a relative, or from a friend, or he is expecting to get rags, or he is expecting to get it by means of his own property.

If he keeps it beyond that, even if he expects more cloth: If he receives the expected robe-cloth on the same day as when he received the original robe-cloth, it must be made into a robe within ten days. If he receives the expected robe-cloth two days after he received the original robe-cloth, it must be made into a robe within ten days. If he receives the expected robe-cloth three days after … four days after … five days after … six days after … seven days after … eight days after … nine days after … ten days after … eleven days after … twelve days after … thirteen days after … fourteen days after … fifteen days after … sixteen days after … seventeen days after … eighteen days after … nineteen days after … twenty days after he received the original robe-cloth, it must be made into a robe within ten days. If he receives the expected robe-cloth twenty-one days after he received the original robe-cloth, it must be made into a robe within nine days. If he receives the expected robe-cloth twenty-two days after he received the original robe-cloth, it must be made into a robe within eight days. … twenty-three days after … twenty-four days after … twenty-five days after … twenty-six days after … twenty-seven days after … twenty-eight days after … If he receives the expected robe-cloth twenty-nine days after he received the original robe-cloth, it must be made into a robe within one day. If he receives the expected robe-cloth thirty days after he received the original robe-cloth, it must be determined, transferred, or given away on that very day. If he does not determine it, transfer it, or give it away, it becomes subject to relinquishment at dawn on the thirty-first day.


The robe-cloth should be relinquished to the 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 out-of-season robe-cloth which I have kept for more than a month 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.’”


If he obtains the expected robe-cloth, but it is different from the robe-cloth originally obtained, and there are days remaining, he does not have to make a robe if he does not want to.

Permutations

If it is more than a month and he perceives it as more than a month, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is more than a month, but he is unsure if it is, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is more than a month, but he perceives it as less than a month, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If it is undetermined, but he perceives it as determined, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not transferred, but he perceives it as transferred, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not given away, but he perceives it as given away, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not lost, but he perceives it as lost, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not destroyed, but he perceives it as destroyed, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not burnt, but he perceives it as burnt, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not stolen, but he perceives it as stolen, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he uses robe-cloth which should be relinquished without first relinquishing it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is less than a month, but he perceives it as more than a month, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is less than a month, but he is unsure if it is, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is less than a month and he perceives it as less than a month, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if within a month it has been determined, transferred, given away, lost, destroyed, burnt, stolen, or taken on trust; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The third rule, the third training rule on the robe-making season, is finished.