Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

7. The training rule on more than that

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time monks from the group of six said this to the monks whose robes had been stolen, “The Master has allowed a monk whose robes have been stolen or destroyed to ask an unrelated householder for robes. You should ask for robes.”

“It’s not necessary; we have already obtained robes.”

“We’ll ask for you.”

“Do as you please.”

Then those monks from the group of six went to householders and said, “Monks have arrived whose robes have been stolen. Give robes for them.” And they asked for many robes.

Soon afterwards in the town meeting hall a man said to another, “Sir, monks have arrived whose robes have been stolen. I’ve given them robes.”

“I, too, have given robes.” And another said the same.

They grumbled and complained, “How can the Sakyan ascetics have no sense of moderation and ask for many robes? Will they start up as cloth merchants or set up shop?”

Monks heard the complaints of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized those monks, “How can those monks from the group of six not have any sense of moderation and ask for many robes?”

After criticizing those monks in many ways, they informed the Master … “Is it true, monks, that you acted in this way?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them, “… Foolish men, how can you not have any sense of moderation and ask for many robes? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If an unrelated male or female householder invites that monk to take many robes, he should accept at most one lower robe and one upper robe. If he accepts more than that, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

That monk: the monk whose robes have been stolen.

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.

Many robes: a number of robes.

Invites […] to take: saying, “Take as many as you like.”

He should accept at most one lower robe and one upper robe: if three robes are destroyed, he should accept two; if two robes are destroyed, he should accept one; if one robe is destroyed, he should not accept any.

If he accepts more than that: in the act of asking for more than that, he commit an offense of wrong conduct. When he gets the robe, it becomes subject to relinquishment.


The robe 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 which I received after asking an unrelated householder for too much is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ … the Order should give … you should give … ‘I give this robe back to you.’”

Permutations

If the person is unrelated and the monk perceives them as unrelated, and he asks them for too many robes, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If the person is unrelated, but the monk is unsure if they are, and he asks them for too many robes, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If the person is unrelated, but the monk perceives them as related, and he asks them for too many robes, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

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

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he takes too much, but with the intention of returning the remainder; if they give, saying, “The remainder is for you;” if they give, but not because his robes were stolen; if they give, but not because his robes were destroyed; if it is from relatives; if it is from those who have given an invitation; if it is by means of his own property; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The seventh rule, the training rule on more than that, is finished.