Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law
Monks’ rules and their analysis
The chapter on relinquishment
9. The second training rule on what is set aside
At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time a certain man said to another man, “I“ll give a robe to Venerable Upananda.” And he replied, “I, too, will give a robe to Venerable Upananda.”
A monk who was an alms-collector heard that conversation. He then went to Upananda and said, “Upananda, you have much merit. I’ve just heard two men telling each other that they will each give you a robe.”
“They are my supporters.”
“Indeed, that’s just what we were thinking.”
“If that’s the case, then give me such-and-such a robe. For what’s the point of giving robes that I won’t use?”
Those men grumbled and complained, “These Sakyan ascetics have great desires; they are not content. It’s no easy matter to give them robes. How can Venerable Upananda approach us and specify the kind of robe he wants without first being invited?”
Monks heard the complaints of those men, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Upananda approach householders and make a suggestion about a robe without first being invited?”
“It’s true, Master.”
“Are they relatives of yours?”
“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 approached unrelated householders 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:
‘If two male or female householders have set aside separate robe funds for an unrelated monk, thinking, ‘With these separate robe funds we will buy separate robes and give them to monk so-and-so;’ and if that monk, without first being invited, approaches them and specifies the kind of robe he wants, saying,The only phrase in this rule that may be somewhat unclear is ubhova santā ekena, here translated as “put together.” It seems to me that this phrase needs to be related to the main sentence verb acchādetha, “present” or “give,” which takes the instrumental of the thing given: “present (him) with one (robe).” Ubhova santā is explained below in the word commentary as dvepi janā, “both people,” and the overall phrase then becomes, “two people present (him) with one (robe).“ This means that the funds are put together, and I translate accordingly. ‘It would be good if you would put these separate robe funds together 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.’”
If those householders buy a robe that is long, wide, closely woven, or soft because of his 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 unrelated householders 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.’”
If the householders are unrelated and he 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 householders are unrelated, but he 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 householders are unrelated, but he 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 householders are related, but he perceives them as unrelated, he commit an offense of wrong conduct. If the householders are related, but he is unsure if they are, he commit an offense of wrong conduct. If the householders are related and he perceives them as related, there is no offense.
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 householders wish to buy something expensive, but he gets them to buy something inexpensive; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.