Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law
Monks’ rules and their analysis
The chapter on relinquishment
5. The training rule on receiving robe(-cloth)
At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrel sanctuary. At that time the nun Uppalavaṇṇā was staying at Sāvatthī. After dressing one morning, she took her bowl and robe and entered Sāvatthī to collect almsfood. When she had finished her almsround and had eaten her meal, she went to spend the day in the Blind Men’s Grove, where she sat down at the foot of a tree.
Just then some bandits, who had stolen a cow and slaughtered it, were taking the meat to the Blind Men’s Grove. The head bandit saw Uppalavaṇṇā sitting at the foot of that tree. He thought, “If my sons and brothers see this nun, they’ll harass her,” and he took a different path. Soon afterwards, when the meat was cooked, he took some of the best meat, tied it up in a palm-leaf packet, hung it from a tree not far from Uppalavaṇṇā, and said, “Whatever acetic or brahmin sees this gift, please take it.” And he left.
Uppalavaṇṇā had just emerged from stillness, and so she heard the head bandit making that statement. She took the meat and returned to her dwelling place. When the night was over, she prepared the meat and made it into a bundle with her upper robe. She then rose into the air and appeared in the Bamboo Grove.
When she arrived the Master had already entered a village to collect almsfood, but Venerable Udāyī had been left behind to look after the monastery. Uppalavaṇṇā approached Udāyī and said, “Venerable, where’s the Master?”
“Venerable, please give this meat to the Master.”
“You’ll please the Master with that meat. If you give me your lower robe, you’ll please me too.”
“It’s hard for women to get requisites, and this is one of my five robes. I don’t have any other. I can’t give it away.”
“Sister, just as a man giving an elephant might decorate its girth, so you giving meat to the Master should decorate me with your lower robe.”
Being pressured by Udāyī, Uppalavaṇṇā gave him her lower robe and then returned to her dwelling place. The nuns who received Uppalavaṇṇā’s bowl and robe asked her, “Venerable, where’s your lower robe?” And she told them what had happened. The nuns complained and criticized Udāyī, “How can Venerable Udāyī receive a robe from a nun? It’s hard for women to get requisites.”
“It’s true, Master.”
“Is she a relative of yours?”
“Foolish man, a man and a woman 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 received a robe from the hand of an unrelated nun. This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:
“Monks, if it is part of an exchange, I allow you to receive things from five sources: from monks, from nuns, from trainee nuns, from novice monks, and from novice nuns. And so, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:
Cīvara means both a finished robe and any cloth that can be used to make a robe. Thus I vary my translation depending on the context. Sometimes, as here, it refers to both, and I then render it as robe(-cloth). ‘If a monk receives a robe(-cloth) from the hand of an unrelated nun, unless it is an exchange, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”
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.
A robe-(cloth):The six are linen, cotton, silk, wool, jute, and hemp; see Mv.8.3.1.This means not smaller than 8 by 4 sugata finger-breadths, or 16 by 8 cm; see Kkh.94.4 and BMC I, pp.565-566. one of the six kinds of robe(-cloth), but not smaller than what can be transferred.
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 robe(-cloth) which I received from the hand of an unrelated nun 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 she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he receives a robe(-cloth) from her, unless it is an exchange, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If she is unrelated, but he is unsure if she is, and he receives a robe(-cloth) from her, unless it is an exchange, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If she is unrelated, but he perceives her as related, and he receives a robe(-cloth) from her, unless it is an exchange, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.
If he receives a robe(-cloth) from the hand of a nun who is fully ordained only on one side, 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.
There is no offense: if the nun is related; if much is exchanged with little or little is exchanged with much; if he takes it on trust; if he borrows it; if he receives any requisite apart from a robe-(cloth); if it is a trainee nun; if it is a novice nun; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.