Chapter Seven

Training the Saṅgha

As we have seen, the Buddha began legislating rules for the Saṅgha early in his teaching career, beginning with his allowances for Acceptance and for monasteries. However, it wasn’t until later that he began legislating a Pāṭimokkha, a code of rules, that eventually became the backbone of the Vinaya. The events leading up to the legislation of the first rule in the Pāṭimokkha are these:

At that time, the Awakened One, the Blessed One, was dwelling in Verañjā at the foot of Naḷeru’s nimba tree with a large Saṅgha of monks, approximately five hundred monks. A Verañjā brahman heard, “Master Gotama the contemplative—a son of the Sakyans, having gone forth from the Sakyan clan—is dwelling in Verañjā at the foot of Naḷeru’s nimba tree with a large Saṅgha of monks, approximately five hundred monks. And of that Master Gotama this fine reputation has spread: ‘He is indeed a Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear-knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of people fit to be tamed, teacher of devas & human beings, awakened, blessed. He makes known—having realized it through direct knowledge—this cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās; this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people. He explains the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end; he proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely complete & pure.’ It is good to see such a worthy one.”

So the Verañjā brahman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “I have heard it said, Master Gotama, that ‘Gotama the contemplative does not raise his hands in respect to aged, venerable brahmans—advanced in years, come to the last stage of life—nor does he rise up to greet them, nor does he offer them a seat.’ Insofar as Master Gotama doesn’t raise his hands in respect to aged, venerable brahmans—advanced in years, come to the last stage of life—nor rise up to greet them, nor offer them a seat, that is simply not right, Master Gotama.”

“That’s because, brahman, I do not see in this world with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people, anyone for whom I should raise my hands in respect, rise up to greet, or offer a seat. Anyone to whom the Tathāgata would raise his hands in respect, rise up to greet, or offer a seat, that person’s head would split into pieces.”

“Master Gotama seems to have no taste.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative seems to have no taste.’ Any taste for sights, taste for sounds, taste for aromas, taste for flavors, or taste for tactile sensations: That the Tathāgata has abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump—deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative seems to have no taste.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama is anti-social.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is anti-social.’ Any sociability with sights, sociability with sounds, sociability with aromas, sociability with flavors, or sociability with tactile sensations: That the Tathāgata has abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump—deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is anti-social.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama is a teacher of inaction.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is a teacher of inaction.’ For I do teach non-doing: I teach the non-doing of bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct, and of many types of evil, unskillful actions. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is a teacher of inaction.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama is a teacher of annihilation.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is a teacher of annihilation.’ For I do teach annihilation: I teach the annihilation of passion, aversion, delusion, and of many types of evil, unskillful actions. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is a teacher of annihilation.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama is standoffish.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is standoffish.’ For I do stand off: I stand off, away from bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct, and from the attainment of many types of evil, unskillful actions. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is standoffish.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama is a subversive.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is a subversive.’ For I do teach the Dhamma for the sake of subverting: I teach the Dhamma for the sake of subverting bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct, and many types of evil, unskillful actions. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is a subversive.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama is an incendiary.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is an incendiary.’ For I do say that evil, unskillful actions—bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct—should be incinerated. Anyone in whom evil, unskillful actions that should be incinerated have been abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump—deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising: That person I call an incendiary. And in the Tathāgata, evil, unskillful actions that should be incinerated have been abandoned, destroyed their root, made like a palmyra stump—deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative is an incendiary.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.”

“Master Gotama will never find a womb to be reborn in.”

“There is, brahman, a manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative will never find a womb to be reborn in.’ Anyone for whom the entry into the womb, the production of future becoming, has been abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump—deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising: That person I call one who will never find a womb to be reborn in. And for the Tathāgata the entry into the womb, the production of future becoming has been abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump—deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. That, brahman, is the manner of speaking, rightly speaking in line with which, one could say of me, ‘Gotama the contemplative will never find a womb to be reborn in.’ But surely you weren’t speaking in reference to that.

“Suppose, brahman, that there was a hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs that she had rightly covered, rightly incubated, and rightly warmed. The first among those baby chicks to pierce its shell with the point of its claw or its beak and break through to safety: What should it be called? The eldest or the youngest?”

“It should be called the eldest, Master Gotama, because it is the eldest among them.”

“In the same way, brahman, in this generation immersed in ignorance, become like an egg, covered over, I—having pierced the shell of ignorance—am the only one in the world to have awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening. I am the eldest, the best of the world.

“Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, brahman, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. Quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, I entered and remained in the first jhāna… the second jhāna… the third jhāna… the fourth jhāna: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.

“When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. This, brahman, was my first breakthrough, like the baby chick from the eggshell.… I directed the mind to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings.… This, brahman, was my second breakthrough, like the baby chick from the eggshell.… I directed the mind to the knowledge of the ending of effluents. I discerned, as it had come to be, that ‘This is stress’ … ‘This is the origination of stress’ … ‘This is the cessation of stress’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of stress’ … ‘These are effluents’ … ‘This is the origination of effluents’ … ‘This is the cessation of effluents’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of effluents.’ My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the effluent of sensuality, released from the effluent of becoming, released from the effluent of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, ‘Released.’ I discerned that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

“This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose—as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. This, brahman, was my third breakthrough, like the baby chick from the eggshell.”

When this was said, the Verañjā brahman said, “Master Gotama is the eldest. Master Gotama is the best. Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way, has Master Gotama—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the Saṅgha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge from this day forward, for life. And may Master Gotama, together with the Saṅgha of monks, acquiesce to my [offer of a] Rains residence in Verañjā.”

The Blessed One acquiesced through silence.

Then the Verañjā brahman, understanding the Blessed One’s acquiescence, rose from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One, circumambulated him—keeping him to his right—and left.

Now at that time Verañjā was in the midst of a famine, a time of scarcity, the crops white with blight and turned to straw. It wasn’t easy to maintain oneself by gleanings & patronage. And at that time some horse dealers from the Northern Route, together with five hundred horses, had entered into the Rains residence in Verañjā. In the horse corrals, they prepared measure after measure of bran for the monks. Early in the morning, the monks—having adjusted their under robes and carrying their bowls & outer robes—went into Verañjā for alms. Not receiving any alms, they went to the horse corrals for alms and, taking measure after measure of bran back to the monastery, ate it, after pounding it again & again in a mortar. Ven. Ānanda, having crushed a measure of bran on a stone, took it to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One ate it.

The Blessed One heard the sound of the mortars. Now sometimes, when knowing, Tathāgatas ask. Sometimes, when knowing, they don’t ask. Knowing the right time they ask. Knowing the right time they don’t ask. They ask what is connected with benefit, not what is unconnected with benefit. The bridge to what is unconnected with benefit has been cut by Tathāgatas. In two ways do Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, cross-question the monks: (Thinking,) “I will teach the Dhamma” or “I will legislate a training rule for my disciples.” So the Blessed One said to Ven. Ānanda, “Ānanda, is that the sound of a mortar?”

Ven. Ānanda explained the matter to the Blessed One.

“Excellent, Ānanda, excellent is the victory won by you men of integrity. People who come after will disdain meals of rice & wheat with meat.”

Then Ven. Mahā Moggallāna went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Lord, Verañjā is now in the midst of a famine, a time of scarcity, the crops white with blight and turned to straw. It isn’t easy to maintain oneself by gleanings & patronage. Now, the underside of this great Earth is moist & fertile, with a flavor like pure honey. It would be good, lord, if I were to invert the Earth and the monks will eat what nourishes the water plants.”

“But, Moggallāna, what about the creatures that live in dependence on the Earth? What will they do?”

“Lord, I’ll conjure one hand to be like the great Earth and I’ll transport the creatures living in dependence on the Earth there. Then, with the other hand, I’ll invert the Earth.”

“Enough, Moggallāna. Don’t advocate inverting the Earth. Living beings will get discombobulated.”

“Then it would be good, lord, if the entire Saṅgha of monks went to the Northern Continent for alms.”

“But, Moggallāna, what about the monks without supranormal power? What will they do?”

“I’ll make it so that the entire Saṅgha of monks will go.”91

“Enough, Moggallāna. Don’t advocate having the entire Saṅgha of monks go to the Northern Continent for alms.”

Now at that time, as Ven. Sāriputta was alone in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in his awareness: “Of which of the Awakened Ones, the Blessed Ones, was the holy life not long-lasting? Of which of the Awakened Ones, the Blessed Ones, was the holy life long-lasting?” Then in the late afternoon, Ven. Sāriputta, arising from his seclusion, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Just now, lord, as I was alone in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in my awareness: ‘Of which of the Awakened Ones, the Blessed Ones, was the holy life not long-lasting? Of which of the Awakened Ones, the Blessed Ones, was the holy life long-lasting?’”

“Sāriputta, the holy life of the Blessed Vipassin, the Blessed Sikhin, & the Blessed Vessabhū was not long-lasting. The holy life of the Blessed Kakusandha, the Blessed Konāgamana, & the Blessed Kassapa was long-lasting.”

“What was the reason, lord, what was the cause, why the holy life of the Blessed Vipassin, the Blessed Sikhin, & the Blessed Vessabhū was not long-lasting? What was the reason, what was the cause, why the holy life of the Blessed Kakusandha, the Blessed Konāgamana, & the Blessed Kassapa was long-lasting?”

“Sāriputta, the Blessed Vipassin, the Blessed Sikhin, & the Blessed Vessabhū were disinclined to teach the Dhamma in detail to their disciples. Few were their dialogues, narratives of mixed prose & verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions. They didn’t legislate a training rule for their disciples; they didn’t expound a Pāṭimokkha. After the disappearance of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and after the disappearance of those who awakened after them, their later disciples—of various names, various clans, various births, gone forth from various families—quickly brought about the disappearance of that holy life. Just as various flowers set out on a tray but not tied together with string would get scattered, dispersed, & disbanded by the wind—why is that? Because they were not tied together with string. In the same way, after the disappearance of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and after the disappearance of those who awakened after them, their later disciples—of various names, various clans, various births, gone forth from various families—quickly brought about the disappearance of that holy life.

“But those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, were not disinclined to exhort their disciples after having encompassed the awareness of their disciples with their own awareness. Once, Sāriputta, Vessabhū the Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened, in a certain awe-inspiring forest grove, exhorted and instructed a Saṅgha of one thousand monks: ‘Think this. Don’t think that. Pay attention to this. Don’t pay attention to that. Abandon this. Enter into and dwell in this.’ And so the minds of that Saṅgha of one thousand monks—thus exhorted, thus instructed by Vessabhū the Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened—were, from lack of clinging, released from effluents. And that was in the awe-inspiring [time] of that awe-inspiring forest grove: If anyone not without passion entered into it, for the most part his hair would stand on end.

“That was the reason, Sāriputta, that was the cause, why the holy life of the Blessed Vipassin, the Blessed Sikhin, & the Blessed Vessabhū was not long-lasting.”

“But what, lord, was the reason, what was the cause, why the holy life of the Blessed Kakusandha, the Blessed Konāgamana, & the Blessed Kassapa was long-lasting?”

“Sāriputta, the Blessed Kakusandha, the Blessed Konāgamana, & the Blessed Kassapa were not disinclined to teach the Dhamma in detail to their disciples. Many were their dialogues, narratives of mixed prose & verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions. They legislated a training rule for their disciples; they expounded a Pāṭimokkha. After the disappearance of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and after the disappearance of those who awakened after them, their later disciples—of various names, various clans, various births, gone forth from various families—kept that holy life going for a long, long time. Just as various flowers set out on a tray and tied together with string would not get scattered, dispersed, or disbanded by the wind—why is that? Because they were tied together with string. In the same way, after the disappearance of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and after the disappearance of those who awakened after them, their later disciples—of various names, various clans, various births, gone forth from various families—kept that holy life going for a long, long time.

“That was the reason, Sāriputta, that was the cause, why the holy life of the Blessed Kakusandha, the Blessed Konāgamana, & the Blessed Kassapa was long-lasting.”

Then Ven. Sāriputta, getting up from his seat and arranging his upper robe over his shoulder, raised his hands palm-to-palm over his heart toward the Blessed One and said, “This is the time, O Blessed One! This is the time, O One Well-Gone, for the Blessed One to legislate a training rule for his disciples and to expound a Pāṭimokkha, so that this holy life will be enduring & long-lasting!”

“Wait, Sāriputta. Wait. The Tathāgata will know the time for that. The Teacher does not lay down a training rule for his disciples, he does not expound a Pāṭimokkha, as long as there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Saṅgha. But when there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Saṅgha, then the Teacher lays down a training rule for his disciples and expounds a Pāṭimokkha so as to counteract those very conditions.

“There are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Saṅgha as long as the Saṅgha has not become of long-standing. But when the Saṅgha has become of long-standing, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents arise in the Saṅgha, and the Teacher then lays down a training rule for his disciples and expounds a Pāṭimokkha so as to counteract those very conditions.

“There are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Saṅgha as long as the Saṅgha has not become great in size. But when the Saṅgha has become great in size, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents arise in the Saṅgha, and the Teacher then lays down a training rule for his disciples and expounds a Pāṭimokkha so as to counteract those very conditions.

“There are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Saṅgha as long as the Saṅgha has no great material gains. But when the Saṅgha has great material gains, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents arise in the Saṅgha, and the Teacher then lays down a training rule for his disciples and expounds a Pāṭimokkha so as to counteract those very conditions.92

“Free from infection, Sāriputta, is this Saṅgha of monks. Free from drawbacks, without defect, pure, bright, it stands in the heartwood. Of these five hundred monks, Sāriputta, the most backward is a stream-winner, never again destined for the lower realms, certain, headed for self-awakening.”

Then the Blessed One addressed Ven. Ānanda, “It is the custom of Tathāgatas, Ānanda, not to leave on a tour of the countryside without going to see those who invited them to dwell for the Rains. Come, Ānanda, we’ll go to see the Verañjā brahman.”

“As you say, lord,” Ven. Ānanda responded to the Blessed One.

“Then, adjusting his lower robe and taking his bowl & robe, the Blessed One, together with Ven. Ānanda as his companion, went to the Verañjā brahman’s home. On arrival, he sat down on a seat laid out. Then the Verañjā brahman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “We were invited by you to spend the Rains. We come to see you. We want to leave for a tour of the countryside.”

“It’s true, lord, that you were invited by me to spend the Rains. Nevertheless, what should have been given wasn’t given, but that wasn’t because it didn’t exist or that we didn’t want to give. But what could be done? Householders are very busy, with many things to do. May Master Gotama acquiesce to my meal tomorrow, together with the Saṅgha of monks.”

The Blessed One acquiesced with silence. Then—having instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged the Verañjā brahman with a talk on Dhamma—he got up from his seat and left.

Then the Verañjā brahman, as the night was ending—after having exquisite staple & non-staple food prepared in his own home—announced the time to the Blessed One: “It’s time, lord. The meal is ready.”

Then, early in the morning, the Blessed One—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—went together with the Saṅgha of monks to the Verañjā brahman’s home. On arrival, he sat down on a seat laid out. The Verañjā brahman, with his own hands, served & satisfied the Saṅgha of monks, with the Buddha at its head, with exquisite staple & non-staple food. Then, when the Blessed One had finished his meal and had rinsed his bowl & hands, the Verañjā brahman presented the Blessed One with a triple robe, and presented each monk with a single pair of cloths. Then the Blessed One—having instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged the Verañjā brahman with a talk on Dhamma—got up from his seat and left.

Then the Blessed One, having stayed in Verañjā as long as he liked, returning by Soreyya, Saṅkassa, & Kaṇṇakujja, went to Payāgapatiṭṭhāna. On arrival, having crossed the River Ganges at Payāgapatiṭṭhāna, he arrived at Vārāṇasī. Then, having stayed in Vārāṇasī as long as he pleased, he went on a tour toward Vesālī. Traveling by stages, he arrived at Vesālī. There he stayed near Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Forest.

Now at that time not far from Vesālī was Kalanda Village. There, a young man named Sudinna, a native of Kalanda, was the son of a moneylender. Then Sudinna, together with many friends, went to Vesālī on some business. And on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting, teaching the Dhamma, surrounded by a large assembly. Sudinna saw the Blessed One sitting, teaching the Dhamma, surrounded by a large assembly, and on seeing him, he thought, “What if I were to listen to the Dhamma?” So he approached the assembly and, on arrival, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, this thought occurred to him: “As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it’s not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from home into homelessness?”

Then the assembly—having been instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged by the Blessed One’s talk on Dhamma—rose from their seats and, bowing down to him, left, keeping him on their right.

Then Sudinna, not long after the assembly had left, approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it’s not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. Lord, I want—having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe—to go forth from home into homelessness. May I receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May I receive the Acceptance?”

“Do you have your parents’ permission, Sudinna, to go forth from home into homelessness?”

“No, lord, I don’t.”

“Sudinna, Tathāgatas do not give the Going-forth to anyone who doesn’t have his parents’ permission.”

“Lord, I will do what needs to be done so that my parents will give their permission for me to go forth from home into homelessness.”

Then Sudinna, having settled his business in Vesālī, went to his parents in Kalanda Village and, on arrival, said to them, “Mom, Dad, as I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it’s not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. I want—having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe—to go forth from home into homelessness. Please give me your permission to go forth from home into homelessness.”

When this was said, Sudinna’s parents said to him, “Sudinna, dear, you’re our only son, dear & beloved, raised in comfort, brought up in comfort. You know nothing of suffering. Even with your death we would not want to be separated from you, so how could we—while you’re alive—give our permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness?”

A second time… A third time, Sudinna said to his parents, “Mom, Dad, as I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it’s not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. I want—having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe—to go forth from home into homelessness. Please give me your permission to go forth from home into homelessness.”

A third time, Sudinna’s parents said to him, “Sudinna, dear, you’re our only son, dear & beloved, raised in comfort, brought up in comfort. You know nothing of suffering. Even with your death we would not want to be separated from you, so how could we—while you’re alive—give our permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness?”

Then Sudinna, not getting his parents’ permission to go forth from home into homelessness, lay down right there on the bare floor, (saying,) “Here will be my death or my Going-forth.” And he went without food for one day… two days… three days, four… five… six days. He went without food for seven days.

His parents said to him, “Sudinna, dear, you’re our only son, dear & beloved, raised in comfort, brought up in comfort. You know nothing of suffering. Even with your death we would not want to be separated from you, so how could we—while you’re alive—give our permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness? Get up, dear. Eat, drink, & enjoy yourself. While eating, drinking, & looking after yourself, you may enjoy yourself by indulging in sensual pleasures & making merit. We don’t give our permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness.”

When this was said, Sudinna remained silent.

A second time… A third time, Sudinna’s parents said to him, “Sudinna, dear, you’re our only son, dear & beloved, raised in comfort, brought up in comfort. You know nothing of suffering. Even with your death we would not want to be separated from you, so how could we—while you’re alive—give our permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness? Get up, dear. Eat, drink, & enjoy yourself. While eating, drinking, & looking after yourself, you may enjoy yourself by indulging in sensual pleasures & making merit. We don’t give our permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness.”

A third time, Sudinna remained silent.

Then Sudinna’s friends went to him and, on arrival, said to him, “Friend Sudinna, you are your parents’ only son.… Get up, friend Sudinna. Eat, drink, & enjoy yourself.… Your parents don’t give their permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness.”

When this was said, Sudinna remained silent.

A second time… A third time, his friends said to him, “Friend Sudinna, you are your parents’ only son.… Get up, friend Sudinna. Eat, drink, & enjoy yourself.… Your parents don’t give their permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness.”

A third time, Sudinna remained silent.

So Sudinna’s friends went to his parents and, on arrival, said to them, “Mom, Dad, Sudinna is lying there on the bare floor, (having said,) ‘Here will be my death or my Going-forth.’ If you don’t give him your permission to go forth from home into homelessness, right there will be his death. But if you do give him your permission… then even when he has gone forth, you will see him. And if he does not enjoy going forth from home into homelessness, where else will he go? He’ll return right here. So please give him permission to go forth from home into homelessness.”

“Then, dears, we give our permission for Sudinna to go forth from home into homelessness.”

Then Sudinna’s friends went to him and said, “Get up, friend Sudinna. Your parents give their permission for you to go forth from home into homelessness.”

Then Sudinna, (thinking,) “My parents give their permission for me to go forth from home into homelessness,” joyful, elated, rubbing his limbs with his hands, got up. Having regained strength, he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “I have received my parents’ permission, lord, to go forth from home into homelessness. May the Blessed One give me the Going-forth!”

Then Sudinna the clansman obtained the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence, he obtained the Acceptance. And not long afterwards, Ven. Sudinna undertook this ascetic observance: He was a wilderness dweller, one who went for alms, one who wore cast-off cloth, and one who bypassed no donors. He lived in dependence on a certain Vajjian village.

Now, on that occasion Vajji was in the midst of famine, a time of scarcity, the crops white with blight and turned to straw. It wasn’t easy to maintain oneself by gleanings & patronage. The thought occurred to Ven. Sudinna, “Vajji is now in the midst of a famine, a time of scarcity, the crops white with blight and turned to straw. It isn’t easy to maintain oneself by gleanings & patronage. Now, many are my relatives in Vesālī who are prosperous, with great treasures, great resources, with vast amounts of gold & silver, vast numbers of possessions & requisites, vast resources in grain. What if I were to live in dependence on my relatives? My relatives, in dependence on me, would give gifts and make merit. The monks would receive gains, and I wouldn’t be exhausted in going for alms.”

So, putting his lodgings in order and, carrying his bowl & robes, Ven. Sudinna set out wandering toward Vesālī. Wandering by stages, he eventually arrived at Vesālī. There he stayed near Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Forest. His relatives heard, “Sudinna the native of Kalanda, they say, has arrived in Vesālī.” They brought him 60 pots of food-offerings. Then, after sharing those 60 pots of food-offerings with the monks, Ven. Sudinna early in the morning—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—went into Kalanda Village for alms. As he went for alms from house to house in Kalanda Village without bypassing any donor, he came to his own father’s house.

Just then a slave woman belonging to one of his relatives was about to throw away some day-old porridge. So Ven. Sudinna said to her, “Sister, if that’s to be thrown away, pour it here into my bowl.” While she was pouring the day-old porridge into this bowl, she recognized his hands, feet, & voice. So she went to his mother and said, “May it please you to know, my lady, that master-son Sudinna has arrived.”

“Hey, if what you say is true, I give you your freedom!”

Now at that time Ven. Sudinna was sitting by the foot of a wall, eating the day-old porridge. His father, coming from work, saw him sitting by the foot of the wall, eating the day-old porridge, so he went to him and said, “Sudinna, my dear, isn’t there… What? You’re eating day-old porridge? Don’t you have your own home to go to?”

“We went to your house, householder, which is where we got this day-old porridge.”

Then Ven. Sudinna’s father, taking Ven. Sudinna by the arm, said to him,

“Come, dear Sudinna. Let’s go home.”

So Ven. Sudinna went to his father’s home and, on arrival, sat down on a seat laid out. Then his father said to him, “Eat, dear Sudinna.”

“Enough, householder. My meal for today is finished.”

“In that case, dear Sudinna, acquiesce to the meal for tomorrow.”

So Ven. Sudinna acquiesced in silence and—getting up from his seat—left.

Then, as the night was ending, Ven. Sudinna’s mother, after having had the floor smeared with fresh cow dung, had two heaps made—one of gold, one of silver—so large that a man standing on the near side couldn’t see a man standing on the far side, and a man standing on the far side couldn’t see a man standing on the near. Hiding them behind screens, she set out a seat between them, surrounded by a curtain. Addressing Ven. Sudinna’s former wife, she said to her, “Come, daughter-in-law. Adorn yourself in the ornaments that our son, Sudinna, used to find dear & loveable.”

“As you say, lady,” Ven. Sudinna’s former wife responded to his mother.

Then, early in the morning, Ven. Sudinna—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—went to his father’s house and, on arrival, sat down on the seat laid out. Then his father, revealing the heaps, said to him, “This, my dear Sudinna, is your mother’s inheritance, the dowry for the woman. The other is your father’s; the other, your grandfather’s.93 Come, my dear Sudinna. Revert to the lower life. Enjoy wealth and make merit!”

“I’m unable to do that, Dad. I can’t. Delighted I lead the holy life.”

A second time… A third time, Ven. Sudinna’s father said to him, “This, my dear Sudinna, is your mother’s inheritance, the dowry for the woman. The other is your father’s; the other, your grandfather’s. Come, my dear Sudinna. Revert to the lower life. Enjoy wealth and make merit!”

“Householder, I will tell you what to do with that, if you won’t take offense.”

“Speak, dear Sudinna.”

“In that case, householder, having had huge bags of hemp cloth made and having filled them with this gold & silver, have them loaded on carts and hauled away to be dumped midstream in the River Ganges. Why is that? So that any fear, terror, horripilation, or lack of protection coming from this (wealth) won’t happen to you.”

When this was said, Ven. Sudinna’s father was displeased, (thinking,) “How can my son Sudinna speak in that way?”

Then Ven. Sudinna’s father addressed Ven. Sudinna’s former wife, “In that case, daughter-in-law, dear & beloved, perhaps my son Sudinna will do as you say.”

Then, clasping Ven. Sudinna’s feet, his former wife said to him, “What are they like, dear master-son: those nymphs for whose sake you lead the holy life?”

“Sister, we don’t lead the holy life for the sake of nymphs.”

“Today he calls me ‘sister’!” And she fell down right there in a faint.

Then Ven. Sudinna said to his father, “Householder, if there’s food to be given, then give it. Don’t harass us.”

“Eat, then, my dear Sudinna.”

So, with their own hands, Ven. Sudinna’s mother & father served and satisfied him with exquisite staple & non-staple foods. When he had finished his meal and had rinsed his bowl & hands, his mother said to him, “Sudinna, dear, this family is prosperous, with great treasures, great resources, with vast amounts of gold & silver, vast numbers of possessions & requisites, vast resources in grain. Come, my dear Sudinna. Revert to the lower life. Enjoy wealth and make merit!”

“I’m unable to do that, Mom. I can’t. Delighted I lead the holy life.”

A second time… A third time, Ven. Sudinna’s mother said to him, “Sudinna, dear, this family is prosperous, with great treasures, great resources, with vast amounts of gold & silver, vast numbers of possessions & requisites, vast resources in grain. In that case, give at least your seed. Don’t let the Licchavis confiscate our heirless property!”

“That, Mom, I can do.”

“Where are you living now, Sudinna dear?”

“In the Great Forest, Mom.”

Then Ven. Sudinna got up from his seat and left.

Then Ven. Sudinna’s mother said to his former wife, “In that case, daughter-in-law, tell me when you have your period and your menstrual flow begins.”

“As you say, lady,” Ven. Sudinna’s former wife responded to his mother.

Then, not long afterwards, she had her period and her menstrual flow began. So she said to Ven. Sudinna’s mother, “I’m having my period, lady. My menstrual flow has begun.”

“In that case, daughter-in-law, adorn yourself in the ornaments that our son, Sudinna, used to find dear & loveable.”

Then Ven. Sudinna’s mother, with his former wife in tow, went to Ven. Sudinna in the Great Forest. On arrival, she said to him, “Sudinna, dear, this family is prosperous, with great treasures, great resources, with vast amounts of gold & silver, vast numbers of possessions & requisites, vast resources in grain. Come, my dear Sudinna. Revert to the lower life. Enjoy wealth and make merit!”

“I’m unable to do that, Mom. I can’t. Delighted I lead the holy life.”

A second time… A third time, Ven. Sudinna’s mother said to him, “Sudinna, dear, this family is prosperous, with great treasures, great resources, with vast amounts of gold & silver, vast numbers of possessions & requisites, vast resources in grain. In that case, give at least your seed. Don’t let the Licchavis confiscate our heirless property!”

“That, Mom, I can do.”

So, taking his former wife by the arm and plunging into the Great Forest—the training rule not having been legislated, and not seeing the drawbacks—he had sexual intercourse with her three times. From that, she became pregnant.

The Earth Devas cried out: “How free from infection was the Saṅgha of monks, how free from drawbacks! Yet infection has been brought into being, drawbacks have been brought into being, by Sudinna, the native of Kalanda!” On hearing the Earth Devas’ cry, the Devas of the Four Great Kings took up the cry… the Devas of the Thirty-three… the Devas of the Hours… the Contented Devas… the Devas Delighting in Creation… the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others… the Devas of Brahmā’s Retinue took up the cry: “How free from infection was the Saṅgha of monks, how free from drawbacks! But infection has been brought into being, drawbacks have been brought into being, by Sudinna, the native of Kalanda!”

Then Ven. Sudinna’s former wife, with the ripening of the fetus, gave birth to a son. Ven. Sudinna’s companions gave the child the name “Seed,” gave Ven. Sudinna’s former wife the name, “Seed-mother,” and gave Ven. Sudinna the name, “Seed-father.” They both [son & mother], at a later time, going forth from home into homelessness, realized arahantship.

Then Ven. Sudinna became anxious & remorseful: “What a loss for me, and not a gain! How ill gotten by me, and not well gotten!—that having gone forth into this well expounded Dhamma & Vinaya, I wasn’t able to live the holy life completely & purely!” And from that anxiety & remorse, Ven. Sudinna became thin, wretched, unattractive, & pale, his body covered with veins; melancholic, depressed, miserable, unhappy, remorseful, & brooding.

His friends said to him, “Before, friend Sudinna, you were attractive, your faculties bright, your complexion pure & clear. But now you are thin, wretched, unattractive, & pale, your body covered with veins; melancholic, depressed, miserable, unhappy, remorseful, & brooding. Could it be that you’re leading the holy life dissatisfied?”

“It’s not the case, friends, that I’m leading the holy life dissatisfied. It’s that there’s an evil deed I have done. I have indulged in sexual intercourse with my former wife. Because of that, I am anxious & remorseful: ‘What a loss for me, and not a gain! How ill gotten by me, and not well gotten!—that having gone forth into this well expounded Dhamma & Vinaya, I wasn’t able to live the holy life completely & purely!’

“Then there’s good reason for you to be anxious, good reason to be remorseful, in that you—having gone forth into this well expounded Dhamma & Vinaya—haven’t been able to live the holy life completely & purely! Friend, hasn’t the Blessed One taught the Dhamma in many ways for the sake of dispassion and not for passion; for unfettering and not for fettering; for freedom from clinging and not for clinging? Yet here, while he has taught the Dhamma for dispassion, you set your heart on passion; while he has taught the Dhamma for unfettering, you set your heart on being fettered; while he has taught the Dhamma for freedom from clinging, you set your heart on clinging.

“Friend, hasn’t the Blessed One taught the Dhamma in many ways for the fading of passion, the subduing of intoxication, the elimination of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the severing of the round, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, unbinding? Hasn’t he in many ways advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, comprehending sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual thoughts, calming sensual fevers?

“Friend, this neither inspires faith in the faithless nor increases the faithful. Rather, it inspires lack of faith in the faithless and wavering in some of the faithful.”

Then the monks, having rebuked Ven. Sudinna in many ways, informed the Blessed One of this matter. So the Blessed One—having, from this cause, from this incident, called a meeting of the Saṅgha of monks—questioned Ven. Sudinna: “So is it true, Sudinna, that you indulged in sexual intercourse with your former wife?”

“It’s true, O Blessed One.”

Then the Awakened One, the Blessed One, rebuked him: “Worthless man, it is unseemly, out of line, unsuitable, and unworthy of a contemplative; improper and not to be done. How could you, worthless man, having gone forth into this well expounded Dhamma & Vinaya, not be able to live the holy life completely & purely?

“Worthless man, haven’t I taught the Dhamma in many ways for the sake of dispassion and not for passion; for unfettering and not for fettering; for freedom from clinging and not for clinging? Yet here, while I have taught the Dhamma for dispassion, you set your heart on passion; while I have taught the Dhamma for unfettering, you set your heart on being fettered; while I have taught the Dhamma for freedom from clinging, you set your heart on clinging.

“Worthless man, haven’t I taught the Dhamma in many ways for the fading of passion, the subduing of intoxication, the elimination of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the severing of the round, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, unbinding? Haven’t I in many ways advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, comprehending sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual thoughts, calming sensual fevers?

“Worthless man, it would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a fanged snake, terrifyingly poisonous, than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into the mouth of a black viper than into a woman’s vagina. It would be better that your penis be stuck into a pit of burning embers, blazing & glowing, than into a woman’s vagina. Why is that? For that reason you would undergo death or death-like suffering, but you would not on that account, at the breakup of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell. But for this reason you would, at the breakup of the body, after death, fall into a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell.

“In doing that, worthless man, you enter into what is not true Dhamma, the act of the village, the act of the vile, a gross offense, what has to end in washing up, secrecy, the coupling of a couple.

“Worthless man, you are the first-doer, the forerunner, of many unskillful acts.

“Worthless man, this neither inspires faith in the faithless nor increases the faithful. Rather, it inspires lack of faith in the faithless and wavering in some of the faithful.”

Then the Blessed One, having in many ways rebuked Ven. Sudinna, having spoken in dispraise of being burdensome, demanding, arrogant, discontented, entangled, & indolent; in many ways having spoken in praise of being unburdensome, undemanding, modest, content, scrupulous, austere, gracious, self-effacing, & energetic; having given a Dhamma talk on what is seemly and becoming for monks, addressed the monks:

“In that case, monks, I will legislate a training rule for the monks with ten aims in mind: the excellence of the Saṅgha, the comfort of the Saṅgha, the curbing of the impudent, the comfort of well-behaved monks, the restraint of effluents related to the present life, the prevention of effluents related to the next life, the arousing of faith in the faithless, the increase of the faithful, the establishment of the true Dhamma, and the fostering of discipline.

“And this is how, monks, you should recite this training rule: ‘Should any monk engage in sexual intercourse, he is defeated and no longer in affiliation.’”

And that is how this training rule was [first] legislated by the Blessed One. Pr 1

The ideals that the Buddha cited in his rebuke of Ven. Sudinna—such as contentment, modesty, austerity, and energy—were repeated each time he legislated a rule for the Pāṭimokkha. They are important to keep in mind, for as we will see, the Buddha often legislated these rules in response to complaints from the laity or from the monks or nuns. This has given rise to the impression that his rules were determined by public opinion. This impression is mistaken because, as we will also see, there were instances where his rules went against the majority view of public opinion, and—in a few cases—even met with resistance from the monks and nuns. If we search for a constant theme in the legislation of the rules, we have to look to this list of ideals—some of which, the Buddha noted, derive from the traditions of the noble ones dating far back to ancient times.

“These four traditions of the noble ones—original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning—are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. Which four?

“There is the case where a monk is content with any old robe cloth at all. He speaks in praise of being content with any old robe cloth at all. He doesn’t, for the sake of robe cloth, do anything unseemly or inappropriate. Not getting cloth, he isn’t agitated. Getting cloth, he uses it unattached to it, uninfatuated, guiltless, seeing the drawbacks (of attachment to it), and discerning the escape from them. He doesn’t, on account of his contentment with any old robe cloth at all, exalt himself or disparage others. In this he is diligent, deft, alert, & mindful. This is said to be a monk standing firm in the ancient, original traditions of the noble ones.

[Similarly with almsfood & lodging.]

“And further, the monk finds pleasure & delight in developing (skillful qualities), finds pleasure & delight in abandoning (unskillful qualities). He doesn’t, on account of his pleasure & delight in developing & abandoning, exalt himself or disparage others. In this he is diligent, deft, alert, & mindful. This is said to be a monk standing firm in the ancient, original traditions of the noble ones.”

“These are the four traditions of the noble ones—original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning—which are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans.” AN 4:28

Here are a few examples of how the Buddha legislated rules sometimes in response to complaints, sometimes on his own initiative.

Now at that time the Buddha, the Blessed One, was dwelling near Rājagaha on Vulture Peak Mountain. And at that time the wanderers of other persuasions, gathering on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight, spoke Dhamma. The people went to them to hear the Dhamma. They gained affection for the wanderers of other persuasions, gained confidence in them, and the wanderers of other persuasions gained a following.

Then, as the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in his awareness: “At this time the wanderers of other persuasions, gathering on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight, speak Dhamma. The people go to them to hear the Dhamma, and they gain affection for the wanderers of other persuasions, gain confidence in them, and the wanderers of other persuasions gain a following. What if the masters were also to gather on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight?”

So he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Just now, lord, as I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: ‘At this time the wanderers of other persuasions, gathering on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight, speak Dhamma. The people go to them to hear the Dhamma, and they gain affection for the wanderers of other persuasions, gain confidence in them, and the wanderers of other persuasions gain a following. What if the masters were to also to gather on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight?’”

Then the Blessed One instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, with a Dhamma talk. Having been instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged by the Blessed One with a Dhamma talk, he got up from his seat and, having bowed down to the Blessed One, circumambulated him, keeping him to his right, and left.

Then the Blessed One, having given a Dhamma talk with regard to this cause, to this incident, addressed the monks: “Monks, I allow you to gather on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight.”

Now at that time the monks, (thinking,) “It has been allowed by the Blessed One to gather on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight,” gathering on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight, sat in silence. The people came to them to hear the Dhamma. They criticized & complained & spread it about: “How can these Sakyan-son monks, gathering on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight, sit in silence like dumb pigs? Shouldn’t Dhamma be spoken when they gather?”

The monks heard the people criticizing & complaining & spreading it about. So the monks reported the matter to the Blessed One. The Blessed One, having given a Dhamma talk with regard to this cause, to this incident, addressed the monks: “Monks, I allow you, having gathered on the fourteenth or fifteenth (day), and on the eighth (day) of the fortnight, to speak Dhamma.”

Then, as the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in his awareness: “What if I were to allow the monks a recitation of the Pāṭimokkha of the rules I have laid down for them? That will be their Uposatha transaction.”

When it was evening, the Blessed One rose from seclusion and—having given a Dhamma talk with regard to this cause, this incident—addressed the monks: “Monks, just now, as I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: ‘What if I were to allow the monks a recitation of the Pāṭimokkha of the rules I have laid down for them? That will be their Uposatha transaction.’

“Monks, I allow you to recite the Pāṭimokkha.” Mv 2:1–3.2

And at that time, the Rains residence had not been legislated by the Blessed One for the monks. So at that time, the monks would go on walking tours in the hot season, the cold season, & the rainy season.

People criticized & complained & spread it about, “How can the Sakyan-son contemplatives go on walking tours in the hot season, the cold season, & the rainy season—crushing green grass, harming one-facultied life, and bringing about the destruction of many small creatures? Even these wanderers of other religions with poorly expounded Dhammas settle down and stay put for the Rains residence. Even the birds, having made nests in the tops of trees, settle down and stay put for the Rains residence.

“But these Sakyan-son contemplatives go on walking tours in the hot season, the cold season, & the rainy season—crushing green grass, harming one-facultied life, and bringing about the destruction of many small creatures.”

The monks heard the people criticizing & complaining & spreading it about. Then the monks reported the matter to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One, having given a Dhamma talk with regard to this cause, this incident, addressed the monks: “Monks, I allow you to enter for the Rains.” Mv 3:1

When the Buddha legislated the Pāṭimokkha rule against eating after noon, not all the monks were happy with it.

Then, in the evening, Ven. Udāyin left seclusion and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Just now, lord, as I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: ‘So many painful things has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many pleasant things has he brought us! So many unskillful qualities has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many skillful qualities has he brought us!’ For in the past, lord, we used to eat in the morning, in the evening, and in the day at the wrong time (the afternoon). Then there was the time when the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying, ‘Monks, please discontinue that daytime meal at the wrong time.’ At the time I was upset, at the time I was sad, (thinking,) ‘The exquisite staple & non-staple foods that faithful householders give us during the day at the wrong time: even that the Blessed One has us abandon; even that the One Well-Gone has us relinquish!’ But, out of consideration for our love & respect for the Blessed One, out of consideration for shame & fear of wrongdoing, we abandoned that daytime meal at the wrong time.

“So we ate both in the evening & in the morning. Then there was the time when the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying, ‘Monks, please discontinue that evening meal at the wrong time.’ At the time I was upset, at the time I was sad, (thinking,) ‘The more exquisitely prepared of our two meals: even that the Blessed One has us abandon; even that the One Well-Gone has us relinquish!’ In the past, lord, a man—obtaining some soup during the day—would say to his wife, ‘Put this aside and we will all eat it together in the evening.’ (Almost) all food preparation is done in the evening, and almost none during the day. But, out of consideration for our love & respect for the Blessed One, out of consideration for shame & fear of wrongdoing, we abandoned that evening meal at the wrong time.

“In the past, lord, monks wandering for alms in the pitch black of the night have walked into a waste-water pool, fallen into a cesspit, stumbled over a thorn patch, or stumbled over a sleeping cow. They have encountered young hooligans on the way to or from a crime. They have been propositioned by women. Once I went for alms in the pitch black of night. A woman washing a pot saw me by a lightning flash and, on seeing me, screamed out: ‘I’m done for! A demon is after me!’ When this was said, I said to her, ‘I’m no demon, sister. I’m a monk waiting for alms.’ ‘Then you’re a monk whose daddy’s dead and whose mommy’s dead. Better for you, monk, that your belly were slit open with a sharp butcher’s knife than this prowling for alms for your belly’s sake in the pitch black of the night!” On recollecting that, lord, the thought occurred to me: ‘So many painful things has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many pleasant things has he brought us! So many unskillful qualities has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many skillful qualities has he brought us!’”

“In the same way, Udāyin, there are some worthless men who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? Over this little, trifling thing? He’s too much of a stickler, this contemplative.’ They don’t abandon it. They’re rude to me and to the monks keen on training. For them that’s a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.…

“Now there are some clansmen who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? The Blessed One has us abandon, the One Well-Gone has us relinquish this little, trifling thing?’ But they abandon it and are not rude to me or to the monks keen on training. Having abandoned it, they live unconcerned, unruffled, their wants satisfied, with their mind like a wild deer. For them that’s a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.” MN 66

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was wandering on a tour of Kāsi with a large Saṅgha of monks. There he addressed the monks: “I abstain from the nighttime meal. As I am abstaining from the nighttime meal, I sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & and comfortable abiding. Come, now. You, too, abstain from the nighttime meal. As you are abstaining from the nighttime meal, you, too, will sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & and comfortable abiding.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded to him.

Then, as he was wandering by stages in Kāsi, the Blessed One eventually arrived at a Kāsi town called Kīṭāgiri. And there he stayed in the Kāsi town, Kīṭāgiri.

Now at that time the monks led by Assaji & Punabbasu94 were residing in Kīṭāgiri. Then a large number of monks went to them and, on arrival, said to them, “The Blessed One and the Saṅgha of monks abstain from the nighttime meal. As they are abstaining from the nighttime meal, they sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & and comfortable abiding. Come now, friends. You, too, abstain from the nighttime meal. As you are abstaining from the nighttime meal, you, too, will sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & and comfortable abiding.”

When this was said, the monks led by Assaji & Punabbasu said to those monks, “Friends, we eat in the evening, in the morning, & in the wrong-time during the day. As we are eating in the evening, and in the morning, & in the wrong time during the day, we sense next-to-no illness, next-to-no affliction, lightness, strength, & and comfortable abiding. Why should we, abandoning what is immediately visible, chase after something subject to time? We will eat in the evening, in the morning, & in the wrong time during the day.”

When they were unable to convince the monks led by Assaji & Punabbasu, those monks went to the Blessed One [and told him what had happened].

Then the Blessed One told a certain monk, “Come, monk. In my name, call the monks led by Assaji & Punabbasu, saying, ‘The Teacher calls you, friends.’”

“As you say, lord,” the monk answered and went to the monks led by Assaji & Punabbasu. On arrival, he said, “The Teacher calls you, friends.”

“As you say, friend,” the monks led by Assaji & Punabbasu replied. Then they went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “Is it true, monks, that a large number of monks went to you… and you said, ‘…Why should we, abandoning what is immediately visible, chase after something subject to time? We will eat in the evening, in the morning, & in the wrong time during the day.’”

“Yes, lord.”

“Monks, have you ever understood me to teach the Dhamma in this way: ‘Whatever a person experiences—pleasant, painful, or neither-pleasant-nor-painful—his unskillful qualities decrease and his skillful qualities grow’?”

“No, lord.”

“And haven’t you understood me to teach the Dhamma in this way: ‘For someone feeling a pleasant feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities grow and skillful qualities decrease. But there is the case where, for someone feeling a pleasant feeling of that sort, unskillful qualities decrease and skillful qualities grow. For someone feeling a painful feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities grow and skillful qualities decrease. But there is the case where, for someone feeling a painful feeling of that sort, unskillful qualities decrease and skillful qualities grow. For someone feeling a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities grow and skillful qualities decrease. But there is the case where, for someone feeling a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling of that sort, unskillful qualities decrease and skillful qualities grow.’”

“Yes, lord.”

“Good, monks. And if it were not known by me—not seen, not observed, not realized, not touched through discernment—that ‘For someone feeling a pleasant feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities grow and skillful qualities decrease,’ then would it be fitting for me, not knowing that, to say, ‘Abandon that sort of pleasant feeling’?”

“No, lord.”

“But because it is known by me—seen, observed, realized, touched through discernment—that ‘For someone feeling a pleasant feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities grow and skillful qualities decrease,’ I therefore say, ‘Abandon that sort of pleasant feeling.’

“If it were not known by me—not seen, not observed, not realized, not touched through discernment—that ‘For someone feeling a pleasant feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities decrease and skillful qualities grow,’ then would it be fitting for me, not knowing that, to say, ‘Enter and remain in that sort of pleasant feeling’?”

“No, lord.”

“But because it is known by me—seen, observed, realized, touched through discernment—that ‘For someone feeling a pleasant feeling of this sort, unskillful qualities decrease and skillful qualities grow,’ I therefore say, ‘Enter and remain in that sort of pleasant feeling.’

[Similarly for painful feelings and neither-pleasant-nor-painful feelings.]

“Monks, I don’t say of all monks that they have a task to do with heedfulness; nor do I say of all monks that they have no task to do with heedfulness.

“Monks who are arahants, whose mental effluents are ended, who have reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who are released through right gnosis: I don’t say of them that they have a task to do with heedfulness. Why is that? They have done their task with heedfulness. They are incapable of being heedless. But as for monks in higher training, who have not yet reached their hearts’ goal, who still aspire for the unexcelled freedom from bondage: I say of them that they have a task to do with heedfulness. Why is that? (I think:) ‘Perhaps these venerable ones, when making use of suitable resting places, associating with admirable friends, balancing their (mental) faculties, will reach & remain in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for themselves in the here-&-now.’ Envisioning this fruit of heedfulness for these monks, I say that they have a task to do with heedfulness.

“Monks, I do not say that the attainment of gnosis is all at once. Rather, the attainment of gnosis is after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice. And how is there the attainment of gnosis after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice? There is the case where, when conviction has arisen, one visits (a teacher). Having visited, one grows close. Having grown close, one lends ear. Having lent ear, one hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, one remembers it. Remembering, one penetrates the meaning of the teachings. Penetrating the meaning, one comes to an agreement through pondering the teachings. There being an agreement through pondering the teachings, desire arises. When desire has arisen, one is willing. When one is willing, one contemplates. Having contemplated, one makes an exertion. Having made an exertion, one realizes with the body the ultimate truth and, having penetrated it with discernment, sees it.

“Now, monks, there hasn’t been that conviction, there hasn’t been that visiting, there hasn’t been that growing close… that lending ear… that hearing of the Dhamma… that remembering… that penetration of the meaning of the teachings… that agreement through pondering the teachings… that desire… that willingness… that contemplation… that exertion. You have lost the way, monks. You have gone the wrong way, monks. How far have you strayed, foolish men, from this Dhamma & Discipline!

“Monks, there is a four-phrased statement that, when it is recited, an observant man will in no long time learn the meaning through discernment. I will recite it, and you learn it from me.”

“But, lord, who are we to be learners of the Dhamma?”

“Monks, even with a teacher devoted to material things, an heir of material things, who lives attached to material things, this sort of haggling (by his students) wouldn’t be proper: ‘If we get this, we’ll do it; if we don’t, we won’t.’ So how could it be with regard to the Tathāgata, who dwells entirely detached from material things?

“For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher’s message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this: ‘The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I.’ For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher’s message & lives to penetrate it, the Teacher’s message is healing & nourishing. For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher’s message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this: ‘Gladly would I let the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if I have not attained what can be reached through manly firmness, manly persistence, manly striving, there will be no relaxing my persistence.’ For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher’s message & lives to penetrate it, one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis here & now, or—if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance—non-return.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One’s words. — MN 70

Although, as we have seen, the Buddha would sometimes lay down rules in response to criticism from the laity, there were also times when he would lay down rules forbidding behavior that many lay people liked and admired. Here are two examples of this principle. The first example illustrates an additional point as well: Even though the Buddha would sometimes display his psychic powers as a way of inspiring his listeners, he couldn’t always trust disciples with psychic powers to share his discretion as to when such powers should and shouldn’t be displayed. So he had to forbid them from displaying their powers to the laity in all situations.

Now at that time a costly block of sandalwood, from sandalwood heartwood, accrued to the Rājagaha moneylender. The thought occurred to him, “What if I were to have an alms bowl carved from this block of sandalwood? The chips will be for my own enjoyment, and I’ll give the bowl as a gift.” So the moneylender, having had a bowl carved from the block of sandalwood, having looped a string around it, having hung it from the top of a bamboo pole, having had the bamboo pole fastened on top of a series of bamboo poles, one on top of another, announced: “Any contemplative or brahman who is an arahant with supranormal powers: Fetch down the bowl and it is given to you.”

Then Pūraṇa Kassapa went to the Rājagaha moneylender and, on arrival, said to him, “Because I am a worthy one with supranormal powers, give me the bowl.”

“If, lord, you are a worthy one with supranormal powers, fetch down the bowl and it is given to you.”

Then Makkhali Gosāla … Ajita Kesakambalin … Pakudha Kaccāyana … Sañjaya Velaṭṭhaputta … Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta went to the Rājagaha moneylender and, on arrival, said to him, “Because I am an arahant with supranormal powers, give me the bowl.”

“If, lord, you are an arahant with supranormal powers, fetch down the bowl and it is given to you.”

Now at that time, early in the morning, Ven. Mahā Moggallāna & Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja—having adjusted their under robes and each taking his robe & bowl—had gone into Rājagaha for alms. Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja was an arahant with supranormal powers, and Ven. Mahā Moggallāna was an arahant with supranormal powers. Then Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja said to Ven. Mahā Moggallāna: “Go, friend Moggallāna, and fetch down the bowl. That bowl is yours.” Then Ven. Mahā Moggallāna said to Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja: “Go, friend Bhāradvāja, and fetch down the bowl. That bowl is yours.”

So Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja, rising up into the sky, took the bowl and circled three times around Rājagaha. Now at that time the Rājagaha moneylender was standing in his house compound with his wife & children, paying homage with his hands palm-to-palm over his heart, (saying,) “May Master Bhāradvāja land right here in our house compound.” So Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja landed in the moneylender’s house compound. Then the moneylender, having taken the bowl from Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja’s hand, having filled it with costly non-staple foods, presented it to Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja. Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja, taking the bowl, returned to the monastery.

People, hearing that “Master Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja, they say, has fetched down the moneylender’s bowl,” followed right after him, making a shrill noise, a great noise. The Blessed One, hearing the shrill noise, the great noise, asked Ven. Ānanda, “Ānanda, what is that shrill noise, that great noise?”

“Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja has fetched down the Rājagaha moneylender’s bowl, lord. People, hearing that ‘Master Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja, they say, has fetched down the moneylender’s bowl,’ are following right after him, making a shrill noise, a great noise. That is the shrill noise, the great noise, that the Blessed One (hears).”

Then the Blessed One, with regard to this cause, to this incident, had the Saṅgha of monks assembled and questioned Ven. Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja: “Is it true, as they say, Bhāradvāja, that you fetched down the moneylender’s bowl?”

“It’s true, lord.”

The Awakened One, the Blessed One, rebuked him: “It’s not appropriate, Bhāradvāja, not fitting for a contemplative, improper, and not to be done. How can you display a superior human state, a wonder of supranormal power, to lay people for the sake of a miserable wooden bowl? Just as a woman might expose her sexual organ for the sake of a miserable wooden coin, so too have you displayed a superior human state, a wonder of supranormal power, to lay people for the sake of a miserable wooden bowl.…

“Monks, A superior human state, a wonder of supranormal power, should not be displayed to householders. Whoever should display it: an offense of wrongdoing. Break this wooden bowl into pieces, monks, and having reduced it to splinters, give them mixed in ointment to the monks. And a wooden bowl is not to be used. Whoever should use one: an offense of wrongdoing.” — Cv 5:8

At that time, the group led by Assaji & Punabbasu were residents in Kīṭāgiri. Shameless & evil monks, they engaged in bad habits like these: … They ate from the same dish with wives of good families, daughters of good families, girls of good families, daughters-in-law of good families, female slaves of good families; drank from the same beaker, sat down on the same seat, shared the same bench, shared the same mat, shared the same blanket, shared the same mat & blanket.… They ate at the wrong time, drank strong liquor, wore garlands, scents, & cosmetics; they danced, they sang, they played instruments.… They ran in front of elephants… horses… chariots. They ran forwards & backwards. They whistled, they clapped their hands, wrestled, boxed. Having spread out their outer robes as a stage, they said to a dancing girl, “Dance here, sister.” They applauded her—and engaged in many other bad habits.

“Now at that time a certain monk, having finished his Rains residence among the people of Kāsi and on his way to Sāvatthī to see the Blessed One, arrived at Kīṭāgiri. Early in the morning—having adjusted his under robe and taking his bowl & outer robe—he entered Kīṭāgiri for alms: gracious in the way he approached and departed, looked forward and behind, drew in and stretched out (his arm); his eyes downcast, his every movement consummate. People seeing him said, “Who is this weakest of weaklings, this dullest of dullards, this most snobbish of snobs? Who, if this one approached, would even give him alms? Our masters, the group led by Assaji & Punabbasu, are compliant, genial, pleasing in conversation. They are the first to smile, saying, ‘Come, you are welcome.’ They are not snobbish. They are approachable. They are the first to speak. They are the ones to whom alms should be given.”

At the request of one of the laymen of Kīṭāgiri, the monk informed the Buddha of the situation there, and he instituted an act of banishment against the followers of Assaji and Punabbasu, on the grounds that they were “corrupting families” with their ingratiating behavior:

“The Blessed One… addressed Ven. Sāriputta & Moggallāna, “Go to Kīṭāgiri and, having gone there, impose a banishment transaction on the monks who are followers of Assaji & Punabbasu in Kīṭāgiri. They are your fellow students.”

“But, lord, how can we impose a banishment transaction on the monks who are followers of Assaji & Punabbasu in Kīṭāgiri? They are violent & rough.”

“In that case, go with many monks.”

“As you say, lord.” Sg 13

After the banishment transaction was imposed on the followers of Assaji and Punabbasu—requiring them to leave their residence—they did not comply. Instead, they cursed and reviled the monks who had imposed the transaction. So the Buddha had the monks impose a further saṅghādisesa offense on them to give them one more chance to mend their ways. The Canon does not record whether the affair was ever resolved.

The Buddha continued legislating rules, major and minor, for many years. Some of them were included in the Pāṭimokkha, many were not. Those not included there were gathered in other sections of the Vinaya, called the Khandhakas. As the rules grew in number, some of the monks found them overwhelming. In response to the honest complaint of one such monk, the Buddha affirmed that all the rules had a consistent set of principles underlying them.

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vesālī in the Great Forest. Then a certain Vajjian monk went to him and, on arrival, bowed down to him and sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Lord, this recitation of more than 150 training rules comes every fortnight. I cannot train in reference to them.”

“Monk, can you train in reference to the three trainings: the training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind, the training in heightened discernment?”

“Yes, lord, I can train in reference to the three trainings: the training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind, the training in heightened discernment.”

“Then train in reference to those three trainings: the training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind, the training in heightened discernment. As you train in heightened virtue, heightened mind, & heightened discernment, your passion, aversion, & delusion… will be abandoned. You—with the abandoning of passion, the abandoning of aversion, the abandoning of delusion—will not do anything unskillful or engage in any evil.”

Later on, that monk trained in reference to heightened virtue, heightened mind, & heightened discernment. His passion, aversion, & delusion… were abandoned. He—with the abandoning of passion, the abandoning of aversion, the abandoning of delusion—did not do anything unskillful or engage in any evil. AN 3:85

Two of the rules regarding robe cloth, not included in the Pāṭimokkha, were legislated in a way that reveals a great deal about the Buddha as a person. The first incident below is another example of a rule laid down, not in response to any event, but from the Buddha’s own inspiration.

Then the Blessed One, having stayed at Rājagaha as long as he liked, set out on a wandering tour toward the Southern Mountains. He saw the fields of Magadha, divided into rectangles, divided into rows, divided by dikes, divided by intersections. On seeing them, he addressed Ven. Ānanda, “Ānanda, do you see the fields of Magadha, divided into rectangles, divided into rows, divided by dikes, divided by intersections?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Try to design robes in this pattern for the monks.”

“I will try, Blessed One.”

Then the Blessed One, having stayed in the Southern Mountains for as long as he liked, returned to Rājagaha.

Then Ven. Ānanda, having procured robes for several monks, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “Lord, may the Blessed One look at the robes I have designed.”

Then the Blessed One, having given a Dhamma talk with regard to this cause, to this incident, addressed the monks: “Monks, Ānanda is wise. Ānanda has great discernment, in that he understands in detail the meaning of a brief statement made by me. He can make what is called a dike-piece, a half-dike piece, a field plot, a half-field plot, a central section, sections next to the central section, a throat piece, a calf piece, and arm sections.95 They will be cut, made rough by the knife, suitable for a contemplative, not envied by enemies. Monks, I allow a cut-up outer robe, a cut-up upper robe, a cut-up lower robe.” Mv 8:12

[The Buddha addresses the monks:] “As I was traveling on the road from Rājagaha to Vesālī, I saw many monks coming along loaded down with robe-cloth, having made a mattress of robe-cloth on their heads and a mattress of robe-cloth on their backs/shoulders and a mattress of robe-cloth on their hips. Seeing them, I thought, ‘All too quickly have these worthless men backslid into abundance in terms of robe-cloth. What if I were to tie off a boundary, to set a limit on robe-cloth for the monks?’

“Now at that time, during the cold winter middle-eight nights [the four nights on either side of the full moon in February, the coldest time of the year in northern India] when snow was falling, I sat in the open air wearing one robe and was not cold. Toward the end of the first watch I became cold. I put on a second robe and was not cold. Toward the end of the middle watch I became cold. I put on a third robe and was not cold. Toward the end of the final watch, as dawn rose and the night smiled, I became cold. I put on a fourth robe and was not cold. The thought occurred to me, ‘Those in this Dhamma & Vinaya who are sons of respectable families—sensitive to cold and afraid of the cold—even they are able to get by with three robes. Suppose I were to tie off a boundary, to set a limit on robe-cloth for the monks and were to allow three robes.’ Monks, I allow you three robes: a double-layer outer robe, a single-thickness upper robe, and a single-thickness lower robe [thus, four layers of cloth].” Mv 8:13

In addition to legislating rules for the Saṅgha, the Buddha continued training the monks in the Dhamma, sometimes using gentleness, sometimes strictness, and sometimes humor, as the case required.

Then Ven. Upāli went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “Lord, I want to spend time in isolated wilderness & forest lodgings.”

“Upāli, it’s not easy to endure isolated wilderness & forest lodgings. It’s not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests plunder, as it were, the mind of a monk who has not gained concentration. Whoever would say, ‘I, without having gained concentration, will spend time in isolated wilderness & forest lodgings,’ of him it can be expected that he will sink to the bottom or float away.

“Imagine, Upāli, a great freshwater lake. Then there would come a great bull elephant, seven or seven and a half cubits tall. The thought would occur to him, ‘What if I were to plunge into this freshwater lake, to playfully squirt water into my ears and along my back, and then—having playfully squirted water into my ears and along my back, having bathed & drunk & come back out—to go off as I please?’ So, having plunged into the freshwater lake, he would playfully squirt water into his ears and along his back, and then—having playfully squirted water into his ears and along his back, having bathed & drunk & come back out—he would go off as he pleased. Why is that? Because his large body finds a footing in the depth.

“Then a rabbit or a cat would come along. The thought would occur to it, ‘What’s the difference between me and a bull elephant? What if I were to plunge into this freshwater lake, to playfully squirt water into my ears and along my back, and then—having playfully squirted water into my ears and along my back, having bathed & drunk & come back out—to go off as I please?’ So, without reflecting, he jumps rashly into the freshwater lake, and of him it can be expected that he will either sink to the bottom or float away. Why is that? Because his small body doesn’t find a footing in the depth.

“In the same way, whoever would say, ‘I, without having gained concentration, will spend time in isolated wilderness & forest lodgings,’ of him it can be expected that he will sink to the bottom or float away.”96 AN 10:99

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling near Rājagaha, on Vulture Peak Mountain. And on that occasion Ven. Soṇa was dwelling near Rājagaha in the Cool Forest. Then, as Ven. Soṇa was meditating in seclusion [after doing walking meditation until the skin of his soles was split & bleeding], this train of thought arose in his awareness: “Of the Blessed One’s disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but my mind is not released from effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance. Now, my family has enough wealth that it would be possible to enjoy wealth & make merit. What if I were to disavow the training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?”

Then the Blessed One, as soon as he perceived with his awareness the train of thought in Ven. Soṇa’s awareness, disappeared from Vulture Peak Mountain—just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm—appeared in the Cool Forest right in front of Ven. Soṇa, and sat down on a prepared seat. Ven. Soṇa, after bowing down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “Just now, as you were meditating in seclusion, didn’t this train of thought appear to your awareness: ‘Of the Blessed One’s disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but my mind is not released from effluents.… What if I were to disavow the training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?’”

“Yes, lord.”

“Now what do you think, Soṇa? Before, when you were a house-dweller, were you skilled at playing the lute?”

“Yes, lord.”

“And what do you think? When the strings of your lute were too taut, was your lute in tune & playable?”

“No, lord.”

“And what do you think? When the strings of your lute were too loose, was your lute in tune & playable?”

“No, lord.”

“And what do you think? When the strings of your lute were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned [lit: established] to be right on pitch, was your lute in tune & playable?”

“Yes, lord.”

“In the same way, Soṇa, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune the pitch of the (five) faculties (to that), and there pick up your theme.”

“Yes, lord,” Ven. Soṇa answered the Blessed One. Then, having given this exhortation to Ven. Soṇa, the Blessed One—as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm—disappeared from the Cool Forest and appeared on Vulture Peak Mountain.

So after that, Ven. Soṇa determined the right pitch for his persistence, attuned the pitch of the (five) faculties (to that), and there picked up his theme. Dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, directly knowing & realizing it for himself in the here-&-now. He knew: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.” And thus Ven. Soṇa became another one of the arahants. AN 6:55

“Monks, this is a lowly means of livelihood, alms gathering. It’s a form of abuse in the world [to say], ‘You go around as an alms gatherer with a bowl in your hand!’ Yet reasonable young men of good families have taken it up for a compelling reason. They have not been forced into it by kings or robbers, nor through debt, through fear, nor through the loss of their livelihood, but through the thought: ‘We are beset by birth, aging, & death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. O, that the end of this entire mass of suffering & stress might be known!’ But this young man of good family, having gone forth in this way, might be greedy for sensual pleasures, strong in his passions, malevolent in mind, corrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness muddled, unalert, uncentered, his mind scattered, & his faculties uncontrolled. Just as a firebrand from a funeral pyre—burning at both ends, covered with excrement in the middle—is used as fuel neither in a village nor in the wilderness: I tell you that this is a simile for this person. He has missed out on the householder’s enjoyments and does not fulfill the purpose of the contemplative life.”

He’s missed out

on the householder’s enjoyment

& the purpose of the contemplative life

—unfortunate man!

Ruining it, he throws it away,

perishes

like a firebrand used at a funeral.

Better to eat an iron ball

—glowing, aflame—

than that, unprincipled &

unrestrained,

he should eat the alms of the country. Iti 91

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vārāṇasī in the Isipatana game reserve. Then, early in the morning, the Blessed One—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—went into Vārāṇasī for alms. As he was walking for alms near the fig-tree at the cattle yoke, he saw a certain monk whose delight was in what is empty, whose delight was in exterior things, his mindfulness muddled, his alertness lacking, his concentration lacking, his mind gone astray, his faculties uncontrolled. On seeing him, the Blessed One said to him: “Monk, monk, don’t let yourself putrefy! On one who lets himself putrefy & stink with the stench of carrion, there’s no way that flies won’t swarm & attack!”

Then the monk—admonished with this, the Blessed One’s admonishment—came to his senses.

So the Blessed One, having gone for alms in Vārāṇasī, after the meal, returning from his almsround, addressed the monks [and told them what had happened].

When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, “What, lord, is putrefaction? What is the stench of carrion? What are flies?”

“Greed, monk, is putrefaction. Ill will is the stench of carrion. Evil, unskillful thoughts are flies. On one who lets himself putrefy & stink with the stench of carrion, there’s no way that flies won’t swarm & attack.

“On one whose eyes & ears

are unguarded,

whose senses

are unrestrained,

flies     swarm:

resolves     dependent on passion.

The monk who is putrid,

who stinks of the stench of carrion,

is far from unbinding.

His share is          vexation.

Whether he stays

in village or wilderness,

having gained for himself no

tranquility,

he’s surrounded by flies.

But those who are consummate

in virtue,

who delight

in discernment & calm,

pacified, they sleep in ease.

No flies settle on them.” AN 3:129

There were cases in which monks misrepresented the Buddha’s teachings, and two in which they did so even to his face. Because knowledge of his teachings depended on word of mouth, the Buddha had to be especially hard on these monks in front of the Saṅgha, so as to make clear in no uncertain terms that the offending monks were, in fact, slandering him.

Now at that time this evil viewpoint [diṭṭhigata] had arisen in the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers: “As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive,97 when indulged in, are not genuine obstructions.” A large number of monks heard, “They say that this evil viewpoint has arisen in the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers: ‘As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive, when indulged in, are not genuine obstructions.’” So they went to the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers and, on arrival, said to him, “Is it true, friend Ariṭṭha, that this evil viewpoint has arisen in you—‘As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive, when indulged in, are not genuine obstructions’?”

“Yes, indeed, friends. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, and those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive, when indulged in are not genuine obstructions.”

Then those monks, desiring to pry the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers away from that evil viewpoint, quizzed him back & forth and rebuked him, saying, “Don’t say that, friend Ariṭṭha. Don’t slander the Blessed One, for it is not good to slander the Blessed One. The Blessed One would not say anything like that. In many ways, friend, the Blessed One has described obstructive acts, and when indulged in they are genuine obstructions. The Blessed One has said that sensual pleasures are of little satisfaction, much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks. The Blessed One has compared sensual pleasures to a chain of bones: of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks. The Blessed One has compared sensual pleasures to a lump of flesh… a grass torch… a pit of glowing embers… a dream… borrowed goods… the fruits of a tree… a butcher’s ax and chopping block… swords and spears… a snake’s head: of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks.”98 And yet even though he was quizzed back & forth and rebuked by those monks, the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers, through stubbornness and attachment to that very same evil viewpoint, continued to insist, “Yes, indeed, friends. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, and those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive, when indulged in are not genuine obstructions.”

So when the monks were unable to pry the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers away from that evil viewpoint, they went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they [told him what had happened].

So the Blessed One told a certain monk, “Come, monk. In my name, call the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers, saying, ‘The Teacher calls you, friend Ariṭṭha.’”

“As you say, lord,” the monk responded and went to the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers. On arrival, he said, “The Teacher calls you, friend Ariṭṭha.”

“As you say, my friend,” the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers responded. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, “Is it true, Ariṭṭha, that this evil viewpoint has arisen in you—‘As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive, when indulged in, are not genuine obstructions’?”

“Yes, indeed, lord. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, and those acts the Blessed One says are obstructive, when indulged in are not genuine obstructions.”

“Worthless man, from whom have you understood that Dhamma taught by me in such a way? Worthless man, haven’t I in many ways described obstructive acts? And when indulged in they are genuine obstructions. I have said that sensual pleasures are of little satisfaction, much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks. I have compared sensual pleasures to a chain of bones… a snake’s head: of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks. But you, worthless man, through your own wrong grasp (of the Dhamma), have slandered us as well as injuring yourself and accumulating much demerit for yourself, for that will lead to your long-term harm & suffering.”99

Then the Blessed One said to the monks, “What do you think, monks? Is this monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers even warm100 in this Dhamma & Vinaya?”

“How could he be, lord? No, lord.”

When this was said, the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers sat silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words.

Then the Blessed One, seeing that the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers was sitting silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words, said to him, “Worthless man, you will be recognized for your own evil viewpoint. I will cross-examine the monks on this matter.”

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, “Monks, do you, too, understand the Dhamma as taught by me in the same way that the monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers does when, through his own wrong grasp, he both slanders us as well as injuring himself and accumulating much demerit for himself?”

“No, lord, for in many ways the Blessed One has described obstructive acts to us, and when indulged in they are genuine obstructions. The Blessed One has said that sensual pleasures are of little satisfaction, much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks. The Blessed One has compared sensual pleasures to a chain of bones… a snake’s head: of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks.”

“It’s good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way.… But this monk Ariṭṭha Formerly-of-the-Vulture-Killers, through his own wrong grasp (of the Dhamma), has both slandered us as well as injuring himself and accumulating much demerit for himself, and that will lead to this worthless man’s long-term harm & suffering. For a person to indulge in sensual pleasures without sensual passion, without sensual perception, without sensual thinking: That isn’t possible.”101 MN 22

Given the Buddha’s background as a member of the noble warrior caste, it’s not surprising that he would use martial analogies to exhort his monks in the practice.

Greater in battle

than the man who would conquer

a thousand-thousand men,

is he who would conquer

just one—

himself.

Better to conquer yourself

than others.

When you’ve trained yourself,

living in constant self-control,

neither a deva nor gandhabba,

nor a Māra banded with Brahmās,102

could turn that triumph

back into defeat. Dhp 103–105

“Monks, there are these five types of warriors who can be found existing in the world. Which five?

“There is the case of a warrior who, on seeing a cloud of dust [stirred up by the enemy army], falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle.…

“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, but on seeing the top of the enemy’s banner, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle.…

“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust & the top of the enemy’s banner, but on hearing the tumult [of the approaching forces], he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t engage in the battle.…

“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the enemy’s banner, & the tumult, but when in hand-to-hand combat he is struck and falls wounded.…

“Then there is the warrior who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the enemy’s banner, the tumult, & the hand-to-hand combat. On winning the battle, victorious in battle, he comes out at the very head of the battle.…

“These are the five types of warriors who can be found existing in the world.

“In the same way, monks, there are these five warrior-like individuals who can be found existing among the monks. Which five?

“There is the case of the monk who, on seeing a cloud of dust, falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. What is the cloud of dust for him? There is the case of the monk who hears, ‘In that village or town over there is a woman or girl who is shapely, good-looking, charming, endowed with the foremost lotus-like complexion.’ On hearing this, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. That, for him, is the cloud of dust.…

“Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust, but on seeing the top of the enemy’s banner, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. What is the top of the banner for him? There is the case of the monk who not only hears that ‘In that village or town over there is a woman or girl who is shapely, good-looking, charming, endowed with the foremost lotus-like complexion.’ He sees for himself that in that village or town over there is a woman or girl who is shapely, good-looking, charming, endowed with the foremost lotus-like complexion. On seeing her, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. That, for him, is the top of the banner.…

“Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust & the top of the enemy’s banner, but on hearing the tumult [of the approaching forces], he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. What is the tumult for him? There is the case of the monk who has gone to the wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty building. A woman approaches him and giggles at him, calls out to him, laughs aloud, & teases him. On being giggled at, called out to, laughed at, & teased by the woman, he falters, faints, doesn’t steel himself, can’t continue in the holy life. Declaring his weakness in the training, he leaves the training and returns to the lower life. That, for him, is the tumult.…

“Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the enemy’s banner, & the tumult, but when in hand-to-hand combat he is struck and falls wounded. What is the hand-to-hand combat for him? There is the case of the monk who has gone to the wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty building. A woman approaches him and sits down right next to him, lies down right next to him, throws herself all over him. When she sits down right next to him, lies down right next to him, and throws herself all over him, he—without renouncing the training, without declaring his weakness—engages in sexual intercourse. This, for him, is hand-to-hand combat.…

“Then there is the case of the monk who can handle the cloud of dust, the top of the enemy’s banner, the tumult, & hand-to-hand combat. On winning the battle, victorious in battle, he comes out at the very head of the battle. What is victory in the battle for him? There is the case of the monk who has gone to the wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling. A woman approaches him and sits down right next to him, lies down right next to him, throws herself all over him. When she sits down right next to him, lies down right next to him, and throws herself all over him, he extricates himself, frees himself, and goes off where he will.” AN 5:75

“Endowed with four qualities, monks, a warrior is worthy of a king, an asset to a king, and counts as a very limb of his king. Which four?

“There is the case where a warrior is skilled in his stance, able to shoot far, able to fire shots in rapid succession, and able to pierce great objects. A warrior endowed with these four dhammas is worthy of a king, an asset to a king, and counts as a very limb of his king.

“In the same way, a monk endowed with four qualities is deserving of gifts, deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an unexcelled field of merit for the world. Which four?

“There is the case where a monk is skilled in his stance, able to shoot far, able to fire shots in rapid succession, and able to pierce great objects. A monk endowed with these four dhammas is deserving of gifts, deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an unexcelled field of merit for the world.

“And how is a monk skilled in his stance? There is the case where a monk is virtuous. He dwells restrained in accordance with the Pāṭimokkha, consummate in his behavior & sphere of activity. He trains himself, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults. This is how a monk is skilled in his stance.

“And how is a monk one who is able to shoot far? There is the case where a monk sees any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near—every form—as it has come to be, with right discernment as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’

[Similarly with feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness.]

“This is how a monk is one who is able to shoot far.

“And how is a monk one who is able to fire shots in rapid succession? There is the case where a monk discerns, as it has come to be, that ‘This is stress’ … ‘This is the origination of stress’ … ‘This is the cessation of stress’ … ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’ This is how a monk is one who is able to fire shots in rapid succession.

“And how is a monk one who is able to pierce great objects? There is the case where a monk pierces right through the great mass of ignorance. This is how a monk is one who is able to pierce great objects right through.

“Endowed with these four qualities, a monk is deserving of gifts, deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an unexcelled field of merit for the world.” AN 4:181

“Suppose that an archer or archer’s apprentice were to practice on a straw man or mound of clay, so that after a while he would become able to shoot long distances, to fire accurate shots in rapid succession, and to pierce great masses. In the same way, there is the case where a monk… enters and remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite—the pacification of all fabrications; the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; unbinding.’

“Staying right there, he reaches the ending of effluents. Or, if not, then—through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the five lower fetters [self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at habits & practices, sensual passion, and irritation]—he is due to arise spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world. [Similarly with the remaining jhānas and the formless attainments up through the dimension of nothingness.]” AN 9:36

The Theragāthā tells us that the Buddha’s cousin, Ānanda, took on the constant position of the Buddha’s personal attendant during the last twenty-five years of the Buddha’s life. However, in the early years a number of other monks also served in that position on a temporary basis as part of their training—with varying degrees of success.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was journeying along a road in the Kosalan country with Ven. Nāgasamāla as his junior companion. Ven. Nāgasamāla, while going along the road, saw a fork in the path. On seeing it, he said to the Blessed One, “That, lord Blessed One,103 is the route. We go that way.” When this was said, the Blessed One said, “This, Nāgasamāla, is the route. We go this way.”

A second time… A third time, Ven. Nāgasamāla said to the Blessed One, “That, Lord Blessed One, is the route. We go that way.” And for a third time, the Blessed One said, “This, Nāgasamāla, is the route. We go this way.”

Then Ven. Nāgasamāla, placing the Blessed One’s bowl & robes right there on the ground, left, saying, “This, Lord Blessed One, is the bowl & robes.”

Then as Ven. Nāgasamāla was going along that route, thieves—jumping out in the middle of the road—pummeled him with their fists & feet, broke his bowl, and ripped his outer robe to shreds.

So Ven. Nāgasamāla—with his bowl broken, his outer robe ripped to shreds—went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, bowed down to him and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “Just now, lord, as I was going along that route, thieves jumped out in the middle of the road, pummeled me with their fists & feet, broke my bowl, and ripped my outer robe to shreds.”

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

When traveling together,

mixed together

with a person who doesn’t know,

an attainer-of-wisdom,

on realizing that the person is evil,

abandons him—

as a milk-feeding104 heron,

a bog. Ud 8:7

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One, on a wandering tour among the Kosalans with a large Saṅgha of monks, arrived at a Kosalan brahman village named Icchānaṅgala. There he stayed in the Icchānaṅgala forest grove.

The brahman householders of Icchānaṅgala heard it said, “Gotama the contemplative… has arrived at Icchānaṅgala and is staying in the Icchānaṅgala forest grove. And of that Master Gotama this fine reputation has spread: ‘He is indeed a Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened…. It is good to see such a worthy one.’”

So the brahman householders of Icchānaṅgala, when the night was gone, taking many staple & non-staple foods, went to the gate house of the Icchānaṅgala forest grove. On arrival, they stood there making a loud racket, a great racket.

Now at that time Ven. Nāgita was the Blessed One’s attendant. So the Blessed One addressed Ven. Nāgita: “Nāgita, what is that loud racket, that great racket, like fishermen with a catch of fish?”

“Lord, those are the brahman householders of Icchānaṅgala standing at the gate house to the Icchānaṅgala forest grove, having brought many staple & non-staple foods for the sake of the Blessed One & the Saṅgha of monks.”

“May I have nothing to do with honor, Nāgita, and honor nothing to do with me. Whoever cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, let him consent to this slimy-excrement pleasure, this drowsiness pleasure, this pleasure of gains, offerings, & fame.”

“Lord, let the Blessed One acquiesce (to their offerings) now! Let the One Well-Gone acquiesce now! Now is the time for the Blessed One’s acquiescence, lord! Now is the time for the Blessed One’s acquiescence, lord! Wherever the Blessed One will go now, the brahmans of the towns & countryside will be so inclined. Just as when the rain-devas send rain in fat drops, the waters flow with the incline, in the same way, wherever the Blessed One will go now, the brahmans of the towns & countryside will be so inclined. Why is that? Because such is the Blessed One’s virtue & discernment.”

“May I have nothing to do with honor, Nāgita, and honor nothing to do with me. Whoever cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, let him consent to this slimy-excrement pleasure, this drowsiness pleasure, this pleasure of gains, offerings, & fame.

“Even some devas, Nāgita, cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening. When you all live together, assemble together, and live committed to dwelling with a group, the thought occurs to me: ‘Surely these venerable ones cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, which is why they live together, assemble together, and live committed to dwelling with a group.’

[1] “There is the case, Nāgita, where I see monks laughing out loud, sporting around, tickling one another with their fingers. The thought occurs to me, ‘Surely these venerable ones cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, which is why they are laughing out loud, sporting around, tickling one another with their fingers.’

[2] “Then there is the case where I see monks—having eaten as much as they want, filling their bellies—live committed to the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of sensory contacts, the pleasure of drowsiness. The thought occurs to me, ‘Surely these venerable ones cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, which is why they—having eaten as much as they want, filling their bellies—live committed to the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of sensory contacts, the pleasure of drowsiness.

[3] “Then there is the case where I see a monk sitting in concentration in a village (monastery) dwelling. The thought occurs to me, ‘Soon a monastery attendant will disturb this venerable one in some way, or a novice will, and rouse him from his concentration.’ And so I am not pleased with that monk’s village-dwelling.

[4] “But then there is the case where I see a monk sitting, nodding, in the wilderness. The thought occurs to me, ‘Soon this venerable one will dispel his drowsiness & fatigue and attend to the wilderness-perception, (his mind) unified.’ And so I am pleased with that monk’s wilderness-dwelling.

[5] “Then there is the case where I see a wilderness monk sitting unconcentrated in the wilderness. The thought occurs to me, ‘Soon this venerable one will center his unconcentrated mind or protect his concentrated mind.’ And so I am pleased with that monk’s wilderness-dwelling.

[6] “Then there is the case where I see a wilderness monk sitting in concentration in the wilderness. The thought occurs to me, ‘Soon this venerable one will release his unreleased mind or protect his released mind.’ And so I am pleased with that monk’s wilderness-dwelling.

[7] “Then there is the case where I see a village-dwelling monk who receives robes, almsfood, shelter, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick. Receiving, as he likes, those gains, offerings, & fame, he neglects seclusion, he neglects isolated forest & wilderness dwellings. He makes his living by visiting villages, towns, & cities. And so I am not pleased with that monk’s village-dwelling.

[8] “Then there is the case where I see a wilderness monk who receives robes, almsfood, shelter, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick. Fending off those gains, offerings, & fame, he doesn’t neglect seclusion, doesn’t neglect isolated forest & wilderness dwellings. And so I am pleased with that monk’s wilderness-dwelling.

“But when I am traveling along a road and see no one in front or behind me, at that time I have my ease, even when urinating & defecating.” — AN 8:103