Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

8. The training rule on what is set aside

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time a certain man said to his wife, “I’ll give a robe to Venerable Upananda.”

A monk who was an alms-collector heard that man making that statement. He then went to Upananda and said, “Upananda, you have much merit. I’ve just heard a man telling his wife that he’ll give you a robe.”

“He’s my supporter.”

Upananda then went to that man and said, “Is it true that you desire to give me a robe?”

“Indeed, that’s just what I was thinking.”

“If that’s the case, give me such-and-such a robe. For what’s the point of giving a robe that I won’t use?”

That man grumbled and complained, “These Sakyan ascetics have great desires; they are not content. It’s no easy matter to give them a robe. How can Venerable Upananda come to me and specify the kind of robe he wants without first being invited by me?”

Monks heard the complaints of that man, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Upananda approach a householder and specify the kind of robe he wants without first being invited?”

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

“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 an unrelated householder and specified the kind of robe 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 has set aside a robe fund for an unrelated monk, thinking, ‘With this robe fund I will buy a robe and give it to monk so-and-so;’ and if that monk, without first being invited, approaches them and specifies the kind of robe he wants, saying, ‘It would be good if you would use this robe fund to buy such-and-such a robe and then give it to me,’ and he does so because he wants something nice, he commits and offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

For a […] monk: for the benefit of a monk; making a monk the object of consideration, one desires to give to him.

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.

A robe fund: money, gold, a pearl, a gem, a coral, a crystal, cloth, thread, or cotton wool.

With this robe fund: with that which is at one’s disposal.

I will buy: having exchanged.

I will […] give: I will donate.

If that monk: the monk for whom the robe fund has been set aside.

Without first being invited: he or she has not said beforehand: “Venerable, what kind of robe do you need? What kind of robe can I buy for you?”

Approaches him: having gone to his house or having gone wherever.

Specifies the kind of robe he wants: please make it long or wide or closely woven or soft.

This robe fund: that which is at one’s disposal.

Such-and-such: long or wide or closely woven or soft.

To buy: having exchanged.

Give: donate.

Because he wants something nice: wanting something nice, wanting something expensive.


If that householder buys a robe that is long, wide, closely woven, or soft because of the monk’s statement, then for the act of making the statement, he commits 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 approaching an unrelated householder and specifying the kind of robe 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 back to you.’”

Permutations

If the householder is unrelated and the monk perceives them as unrelated, and, without first being invited, he approaches them and specifies the kind of robe 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 them and specifies the kind of robe 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 them and specifies the kind of robe 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 another; if it is by means of his own property; if the householder wishes to buy something expensive, but the monk gets them to buy something inexpensive; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The eighth rule, the training rule on what is set aside, is finished.