Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Suspension

7. The training rule on building dwellings

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Kosambī in Ghosita’s Monastery. At that time a householder who was a supporter of Venerable Channa said to him, “Venerable, please find a site for a dwelling, and I’ll have one built for you.”

While Venerable Channa was clearing a site for that dwelling, he had a tree felled that had served as a shrine and that was revered by village, town, district, and kingdom. People grumbled and complained, “How can the Sakyan ascetics have such a tree felled? They are hurting life with one faculty.”

The monks heard the criticism of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized Venerable Channa in the same manner.

After criticizing Venerable Channa in various ways, they informed the Master. … He said, “Is it true, Channa, that you had a tree felled that had served as a shrine and that was revered by village, town, district, and kingdom?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him: “… Foolish man, how can you do such a thing? People perceive trees as living beings. This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘When a monk builds a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for himself, he must get monks to approve a site where no harm will be done and which has a space on all sides. If a monk builds a large dwelling on a site where harm will be done and which lacks a space on all sides, or he does not get monks to approve the site, he commits an offense entailing suspension.’”

Definitions

A large dwelling: one with a sponsoring owner is what is meant.

Dwelling: a wattle and daub dwelling.

Builds: building it himself or getting someone else to build it.

With a sponsoring owner: there is another owner, either a woman or a man, either a householder or one gone forth.

Intended for himself: for his own use.

He must get monks to approve a site:

The monk who is building a dwelling should clear a site, then approach the Order, put his robe over one shoulder, pay respect at the feet of the senior monks, squat on his heels with his palms together, and say, “Venerables, I wish to build a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for myself. I request the Order to inspect the site for the dwelling.” He should make his request a second and a third time. If the whole Order is able to inspect the site, they should all go. If the whole Order is not able to inspect the site, then those monks there who are competent and capable—who know where harm will be done and where no harm will be done, and who knows what is meant by a space on all sides and a lacks a space on all sides— should be asked and then appointed.

“And, monks, they should be appointed in this way. A competent and capable monk should inform the Order:

‘Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monk so-and-so wishes to build a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for himself. He is requesting the Order to inspect the site for the dwelling. If it seems appropriate to the Order, the Order should appoint monk so-and-so and monk so-and-so to inspect the site. This is the motion.

Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monk so-and-so wishes to build a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for himself. He is requesting the Order to inspect the site for the dwelling. The Order is appointing monk so-and-so and monk so-and-so to inspect the site. Any monk who approves of appointing monk so-and-so and monk so-and-so to inspect the site for the dwelling should remain silent. Any monk who does not approve should say so.

Monk so-and-so and monk so-and-so have been appointed by the Order to inspect the site for the dwelling of monk so-and-so. The Order approves and is therefore silent. I will remember it thus.’

The appointed monks should go and inspect the site for the dwelling to find out if any harm will be done and if it has a space on all sides. If harm will be done and it lacks a space on all sides, they should say, ‘Don’t build here.’ If no harm will be done and it has a space on all sides, they should inform the Order: ‘No harm will be done and it has a space on all sides.’ The monk who is building the dwelling should then approach the Order, put his robe over one shoulder, pay respect at the feet of the senior monks, squat on his heels with his palms together, and say, ‘Venerables, I wish to build a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for myself. I request the Order to approve the site for the dwelling.’ He should make his request a second and a third time. A competent and capable monk should then inform the Order:

‘Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monk so-and-so wishes to build a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for himself. He is requesting the Order to approve the site for the dwelling. If it seems appropriate to the Order, the Order should approve the site. This is the motion.

Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monk so-and-so wishes to build a large dwelling with a sponsoring owner and intended for himself. He is requesting the Order to approve the site for the dwelling. The Order approves the site for the dwelling of monk so-and-so. Any monk who approves of approving the site for the dwelling should remain silent. Any monk who does not approve should say so.

The site for the dwelling of monk so-and-so has been approved by the Order. The Order approves and is therefore silent. I will remember it thus.’”

Where harm will be done: it is the abode of ants, termites, rats, snakes, scorpions, centipedes, elephants, horses, lions, tigers, leopards, bears, or hyenas, or any other animals; or it is bordering on a field of grain, a field of vegetables, a slaughtering-place, a place of execution, a charnel ground, a park, a king’s property, an elephant-stable, a horse-stable, a prison, a bar, a slaughterhouse, a vehicle road, a crossroads, an assembly hall, or a cul-de-sac— this is called “where harm will be done.”

Which lacks a space on all sides: it is not possible to go around it with a yoked cart, or to go all the way around it with a ladder— this is called “which lacks a space on all sides.”

Where no harm will be done: it is not the abode of ants … it is not bordering on … a cul-de-sac— this is called “where no harm will be done.”

Which has a space on all sides: it is possible to go around it with a yoked cart, or to go all the way around it with a ladder— this is called “which has a space on all sides.”

A large dwelling: one with a sponsoring owner is what is meant.

Dwelling: a wattle and daub dwelling.

Builds: building it himself or getting someone else to build it.

Or he does not get monks to approve the site: if the site has not been approved through a formal procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements, and he then builds a dwelling or gets one built, he commits an offense of wrong conduct for the effort. When one piece is left to complete the dwelling, he commits a serious offense. When the last piece is finished, he commits an offense entailing suspension.

He commits an offense entailing suspension: … Therefore, too, it is called “an offense entailing suspension.”

Permutations

Permutations part 1

Building oneself

If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and two offenses of wrong conduct. If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has not been approved, where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has not been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension.

If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, he commits two offenses of wrong conduct. If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. If a monk builds a dwelling whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, there is no offense.

Appointing someone else to build

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling. If they build one whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension.

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling. If they build one whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, he commits two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, there is no offense.

Departing without informing of proper building procedure

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs, but he does not tell them to build it on a site which has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides. If they build a dwelling whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension.

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs, but he does not tell them to build one whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides. If they build a dwelling whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, he commits two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, there is no offense.

Departing and then hearing about wrong building procedure

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs. He tells them to build one whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, but they build one whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides. If he hears about it, he must either go there himself or send a message, and he must tell them to build one whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides. … whose site has been approved, and where no harm will be done. … whose site has been approved, and which has a space on all sides. … whose site has been approved. If he neither goes himself nor sends a message, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs. He tells them to build one whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, but they build one whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides. If he hears about it, he must either go there himself or send a message, and he must tell them to build one where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides. … This paragraph is to be expanded as in Saṅghādisesa 6, paragraphs 64–75. where no harm will be done. … which has a space on all sides. … There is no offense.

Offenses for appointed builders

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs. He tells them to build one whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides. If they build one whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, the builders commit three offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, the builders commit two offenses of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, the builders commit two offenses of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, the builders commit one offense of wrong conduct.

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs. He tells them to build one whose site has been approved, where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides. If they build one whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides, the builders commit two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, the builders commit one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, the builders commit one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, there is no offense.

Unfinished when he returns

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs. They build one whose site has not been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides. If it is unfinished when he returns, that dwelling is to be given to someone else, or it is to be demolished and rebuilt. If he does not give it to someone else, or does not demolish and rebuild it, he commits one offense entailing suspension and two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension and one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense entailing suspension.

A monk appoints someone to build him a dwelling and then departs. They build one whose site has been approved, where harm will be done, and which lacks a space on all sides. If it is unfinished when he returns, that dwelling is to be given to someone else, or it is to be demolished and rebuilt. If he does not give it to someone else, or does not demolish and rebuild it, he commits two offenses of wrong conduct. … where harm will be done, but which has a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, but which lacks a space on all sides, he commits one offense of wrong conduct. … where no harm will be done, and which has a space on all sides, there is no offense.

Permutations part 2

If he finishes what he began himself, he commits an offense entailing suspension.

If he gets others to finish what he began himself, he commits an offense entailing suspension.

If he finishes himself what was begun by others, he commits an offense entailing suspension.

If he gets others to finish what was begun by others, he commits an offense entailing suspension.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if it is an overhang shelter, if it is a cave, if it is a grass hut; if it is built for someone else; if it is anything apart from a dwelling; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.

The seventh rule, the training rule on building dwellings, is finished.