CHAPTER NINE

Protocols

The Pali word vatta, translated here as protocol, is usually translated as duty. There are two reasons for translating it anew. The first is that there is another Pali word—kicca—that more precisely means duty, and so to avoid confusing the two, vatta needs an alternate equivalent. The second is that the word vatta covers a range of standards—dealing with etiquette, tasks to be done, and the best procedures for performing those tasks—that more closely corresponds to what we mean by the word protocol.

Cv.VIII details 14 protocols altogether, collectively called the khandhaka-vatta. These cover five major areas:

1) The protocols to be followed by a bhikkhu newly arriving at a monastery, by a host bhikkhu when a new bhikkhu arrives at his monastery, and by a bhikkhu about to leave a monastery

or Community dwelling.

2) The protocols to be followed when going to eat in a meal hall (i.e., when invited to eat at a donor’s place) and when giving anumodanā there.

3) The protocols to be followed when going for alms and when living in the wilderness.

4) The protocols to be followed in a lodging, in a sauna, and in a restroom.

5) The protocols to be followed toward one’s teacher and preceptor; those to be followed by a teacher or preceptor toward his students.

There is some overlap among the protocols. For example, the wilderness protocol includes large parts of the alms-going protocol; the protocol toward one’s teacher and preceptor overlaps with the incoming bhikkhu’s protocol as well as the lodging and sauna protocols. These points of overlap will be noted in the following passages.

The Canon does not stipulate any penalty for disobeying these protocols. The Commentary imposes a dukkaṭa if one’s reason for disobedience is disrespect. As with the other Khandhaka rules affected by changes in technology, some of these protocols have to be translated through the Great Standards in order to fit with modern technology. The restroom protocols, for instance, were designed for a very different kind of restroom than is found in monasteries today even in Asia, to say nothing of the West. Thus, if one disobeys the protocols because of changes in time and culture, that would not count as disrespect and so carries no penalty. Still, these protocols are important to know even when their precise details are dated, for the more fully a bhikkhu knows them, the better he is able to apply them in a useful way to modern situations.

Because the protocols are so detailed and require so little explanation, this chapter differs in format from the others in this volume. I have simply translated the fourteen protocols, together with a few of the origin stories describing the events that led to their formulation. Where the protocols are essentially identical to the rules of the Sekhiya section of the Pāṭimokkha, I have simply noted the fact, without listing the rules here. These may easily be found in BMC1. I say “essentially” because the Sekhiya rules are given in the first person, whereas the corresponding passages in the protocols are given in the third. (Some scholars have asserted that the Sekhiya rules were simply lifted from the protocols, but that is not the case. Sk 57-75 have no parallels here.) The protocols a student follows with regard to his teacher, and a teacher follows with regard to his student, are identical to those governing the relationship between preceptor and pupil, and so have not been repeated. Explanations from the Commentary are given in brackets and marked with a capital C; those from the Sub-commentary, in braces marked with an SC. Passages in parentheses are my own observations.

At the end of the chapter I have quoted the ruling from the Second Council dealing with the issue of whether it is proper to follow one’s preceptor’s and teachers’ customary habits. The ruling states simply that it is sometimes proper to do so, and sometimes not, without detailing how the distinction is to be drawn. The Great Standards, however, would suggest that it is proper to do so when those habits are in accordance with what the Buddha allowed, and improper when they are not. If the preceptor’s or teacher’s customary habits deal with areas neither forbidden nor allowed by the Vinaya, the wise policy would be to abide by those habits for the sake of communal harmony. This ruling should apply to all instances when Communities attempt to translate the protocols into modern situations.

Incoming Bhikkhus’ Protocol

A certain incoming bhikkhu, unfastening the bolt and pushing open the door, rushed into an unoccupied dwelling. A snake fell on his shoulder from the lintel above. Frightened, he let out a yelp.

“An incoming bhikkhu, [C: having come into the immediate area around a monastery,] thinking, ‘I will now enter the monastery,’ having taken off his sandals, having put them down (close to the ground) and beaten off the dust, having lowered his sunshade, having uncovered his head, having put his robe on his upper back/shoulder (khandha) (the wilderness protocol, below, shows that bhikkhus walking through the wilderness during the heat of the day went with their robes folded on or over their heads), should enter the monastery carefully and unhurriedly. While entering the monastery he should notice where the resident bhikkhus are gathered. Having gone where they are gathered—at the assembly hall, a pavilion, or the root of a tree—having placed his bowl to one side, having placed his robe to one side, having taken an appropriate seat, he should sit down. (From this statement, and from a similar statement in the protocol toward one’s preceptor, it would appear that in those days the bhikkhus wore only their lower robes while in their monasteries. At present, it would be considered rude for a newcomer to remove his upper robe like this.) He should ask about the drinking water and washing water, ‘Which is the drinking water? Which is the washing water?’ If he wants drinking water, he should take drinking water and drink. If he wants washing water, he should take washing water and wash his feet. When washing his feet, he should pour water with one hand and wash them with one hand. He should not wash his feet with the same hand with which he is pouring water. (In other words, he should pour with one hand and wash with the other.)

“Having asked for a sandal-wiping rag, he should wipe his sandals. When wiping his sandals, he should wipe them first with a dry rag and then with a damp rag. (The Vinaya-mukha adds that these instructions apply when one’s sandals are dusty. If they are muddy or wet, one should wipe them first with a damp rag and then with a dry one.) Having washed the sandal-wiping rag, having wrung it out (this last phrase appears only in the Thai edition of the Canon), he should put it [C: spread it out (to dry)] to one side.

“If the resident bhikkhu is his senior, he (the incoming bhikkhu) should bow down to him. If he is junior, he (the incoming bhikkhu) should have him bow down. He should ask about his lodging, ‘Which lodging is allotted to me?’ He should ask whether it is occupied or unoccupied. He should ask as to which places are in ‘alms range’ and which places are not. [C: He should ask, “Is the alms range near or far? Should one go there early or late in the morning?’ Places that are not alms range include homes where the people have wrong views or where they have limited food.] He should ask as to which families are designated as in training (see Pd 3). He should ask about the excreting-place, the urinating-place, drinking water, washing water, walking staffs. He should ask about the Community’s agreed-on meeting place (§), asking, “What time should it be entered? What time should it be left?” (“Meeting place” seems to be the clear meaning of saṇṭhāna here, as in other spots in the Canon. However, the Commentary interprets this injunction as referring to the Community’s agreements as to what time certain places, such as those that might be occupied by wild animals or non-human beings, may be entered, what time they should be left.)

“If the dwelling is unoccupied, then—having knocked on the door, having waited a moment, having unfastened the bolt, having opened the door—he should watch while standing outside [C: in case he sees the tracks of a snake or a non-human being leaving]. If the dwelling is dirty or bed is stacked up on bed, bench on bench, with the bedding and seats piled on top, then if he is able, he should clean them. [C: If unable to clean the whole dwelling, he should clean just the section he plans to live in.]

“While cleaning the dwelling he should first take out the ground covering and lay it to one side. Taking out the bed supports, he should lay them to one side. Taking out the mattress and pillow, he should lay them to one side. Taking out the sitting cloth and sheet, he should lay them to one side. Having lowered the bed, he should take it out carefully, without scraping it [C: along the floor] or knocking it against the door or door posts, and then lay it to one side. Having lowered the bench, he should take it out carefully, without scraping it [C: along the floor] or knocking it against the door or door posts, and then lay it to one side. Taking out the spittoon… the leaning board (see Cv.VI.20.2 in Chapter 6), he should lay them to one side.

“If there are cobwebs in the dwelling, he should remove them, starting first with the ceiling covering-cloth (§) (and working down). He should wipe areas around the window frames and the corners (of the room) (§). If the wall has been treated with ochre and has become moldy (§), he should moisten a rag, wring it out, and wipe it clean. If the floor of the room is treated with blackening (i.e., polished) and has become moldy (§), he should moisten a rag, wring it out, and wipe it clean. If the floor is bare ground, he should sprinkle it all over with water before sweeping it, (with the thought,) ‘May the dust not fly up and soil the room.’ He should look for any rubbish and throw it away to one side.

“Having dried the ground-covering in the sun, he should clean it, shake it out, bring it back in, and arrange it in its proper place. Having dried the supports for the bed in the sun, he should wipe them, bring them back in, and set them in their proper places. Having dried the bed… the bench in the sun, he should clean them, shake them out, lower them, bring them back in carefully without scraping them [along the floor] or knocking them against the door or door posts, and arrange them in their proper places. Having dried the mattress and pillow… the sitting cloth and sheet in the sun, he should clean them, shake them out, bring them back in, and arrange them in their proper places. Having dried the spittoon in the sun, he should wipe it, bring it back in, and set it in its proper place. Having dried the leaning board in the sun, he should wipe it, bring it back in, and set it in its proper place.

“He should put away his bowl and robes. When putting away the bowl, he should take the bowl in one hand, run his hand under the bed or bench with the other hand (to check for things on the floor that would harm the bowl), and put away the bowl (there), but should not put it away on the bare ground [C: any place where it will get soiled]. When putting away the robe, he should take the robe with one hand, stroke the other hand along the rod or cord for the robes [C: to check for any rough spots or splinters on the cord or rod that will rip the cloth], and put away the robe (over the cord or rod) with the edges away from him and the fold toward him. [C: The fold shouldn’t be placed on the side of the wall, for if there is a splinter in the wall, it may rip the robe in the middle (making its determination lapse).]

“If dusty winds blow from the east, he should close the eastern windows. If from the west, he should close the western windows. If from the north, he should close the northern windows. If from the south, he should close the southern windows. If the weather is cool, he should open the windows by day and close them at night. If the weather is hot, he should close them by day and open them at night.

“If the surrounding area (§) is dirty, he should sweep it. If the porch… assembly hall… fire hall… restroom is dirty, he should sweep it. If there is no drinking water, he should set it out. If there is no washing water, he should set it out. If there is no water in the pot for rinsing (in the restroom), he should pour it into the pot.” (These last five paragraphs are identical with the instructions on how to clean one’s preceptor’s lodging, in the protocol toward one’s preceptor, below.)

—Cv.VIII.1.2-5

Resident Bhikkhus’ Protocol

“A resident bhikkhu, on seeing an incoming bhikkhu who is his senior, should arrange a seat [C: If the resident bhikkhu is making robes or doing construction work, he should stop it to arrange a seat, etc., for the incoming bhikkhu. If he is sweeping the area around the cetiya, he should put away his broom to arrange the seat, etc. The incoming bhikkhu, if smart, should tell the resident bhikkhu to finish sweeping first. If the resident bhikkhu is making medicine for a sick bhikkhu, then if the sick bhikkhu is not seriously ill, stop making the medicine so as to perform the protocol for welcoming the incoming bhikkhu. If the sick bhikkhu is seriously ill, finish the medicine first. In either case, the incoming bhikkhu, if smart, should say, ‘Finish the medicine first.’] He should put out washing water for the feet, a foot stand, a pebble foot wiper. Going up to greet him, he should receive his bowl and robes, should ask if he needs water to drink, should ask if he needs water to wash (the last phrase is not in the PTS or Burmese versions) [C: if the incoming bhikkhu finishes the first beaker of water, ask him if he would like some more]; if he is able/willing he should wipe the incoming bhikkhu’s sandals. When wiping his sandals, he should wipe them first with a dry rag, and then with a damp rag. Having washed the sandal-wiping rag, having wrung it out, he should put it away [C: spread it out (to dry) to one side]. [C: The resident bhikkhu should fan the incoming bhikkhu first at the back of the feet, then at the middle of the body, then at the head. If the incoming bhikkhu says, ‘Enough,’ fan him more gently. If he says ‘Enough’ a second time, fan him still more gently. If he says, ‘Enough’ a third time, stop fanning him.]

“He should bow down to the senior incoming bhikkhu and arrange a lodging for him, (saying,) ‘That lodging is allotted to you.’ He should tell him whether it is occupied or unoccupied. [C: It is proper to beat the dust out of the sleeping mats, etc., before spreading them out for the incoming bhikkhu.] He should tell him which places are in ‘alms range’ and which places are not, should tell him which families are designated as in training. He should tell him where the excreting-place, the urinating-place, drinking water, washing water, walking staffs are. He should tell the Community’s agreed-on meeting place, (saying,) ‘This is the time for entering (it), this is the time for leaving.’

“If the incoming bhikkhu is his junior, then (the resident bhikkhu,) while sitting should tell him, ‘Put your bowl there, put your robes there, sit on this seat.’ He should tell him where the drinking water, the washing water, and the rag for wiping sandals are. He should have the junior incoming bhikkhu bow down to him. He should tell him where his lodging is, (saying,) ‘That lodging is allotted to you.’ He should tell whether it is occupied or unoccupied, should tell which places are in ‘alms range’ and which places are not, should tell which families are designated as in training. He should tell him where the excreting-place, the urinating-place, drinking water, washing water, walking staffs are. He should tell the Community’s agreed-on meeting place, (saying,) ‘This is the time for entering (it), this is the time for leaving.’ [C: The fact that one is in a large monastery does not exempt one from performing the appropriate protocol for greeting incoming bhikkhus.]”—Cv.VIII.2.2-3

Departing Bhikkhus’ Protocol

“A bhikkhu who is about to depart, having set the wooden goods and clay goods in order, having closed the windows and doors, may depart having taken leave (see Pc 14 & 15; the reading here follows the PTS and Burmese editions). [C: If the hut is not an appropriate place to store these goods, store them in the sauna, under an overhanging cliff, or any place that will protect them from the rain.] If there is no bhikkhu, he should take leave of a novice. If there is no novice, he should take leave of a monastery attendant. If there is no monastery attendant, he should take leave of a lay follower. If there is no bhikkhu, novice, monastery attendant, or lay follower, then having arranged the bed on four stones, having stacked bed on bed, bench on bench, having placed the (remaining) furnishings (bedding, seats, floor-coverings) in a heap on top, having set the wooden goods and clay goods in order, having closed the windows and doors, he may depart. [C: If the hut is not subject to termite attacks, there is no need to take anyone’s leave or to arrange the bed on four stones, etc. (Even if it is not subject to termite attacks, there would still be good reason to turn it over to a responsible person if such a person is available.)]

“If the dwelling is leaking, then if he is able he should roof it or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the dwelling be roofed?’ If he succeeds in this, well and good. If not, then having arranged the bed on four stones in a place where it is not leaking, having stacked bed on bed, bench on bench, having placed the furnishings in a heap on top, having set the wooden goods and clay goods in order, having closed the windows and doors, he may depart.

“If the entire dwelling is leaking, then if he is able he should convey the furnishings (bedding and other perishable goods) to a village or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the furnishings be conveyed to the village?’ If he succeeds in this, well and good. If not, then having arranged the bed on four stones in the open air, having stacked bed on bed, bench on bench, having placed the furnishings in a heap on top, having set the wooden goods and clay goods in order, having covered them over with grass or leaves, he may set out (thinking,) ‘I hope that at least parts of them will remain.’”

—Cv.VIII.3.2-3

Anumodanā Protocol

“I allow that the anumodanā (rejoicing in the merit of the donors) be given in the meal hall”…. “I allow that the anumodanā be given in the meal hall by the eldest bhikkhu.” [C: If the hosts ask another bhikkhu to give the anumodanā instead of the eldest bhikkhu, it is all right for him to do so. Neither he nor the eldest bhikkhu commits an offense, although he should inform the eldest bhikkhu first before giving the anumodanā.]… “I allow that four or five bhikkhus who are elders or near-elders stay behind in the meal hall (with the senior bhikkhu who is giving the anumodanā).” [C: If he gives them permission to leave early, however, they may go. They may also ask for permission to go.]…

Now at that time a certain elder stayed behind in the meal hall although he had to relieve himself [C: the need to relieve himself was oppressive]. Holding himself in, he keeled over in a faint…. “When there is reason, I allow you to leave after having taken leave of the next bhikkhu in line.”

—Cv.VIII.4.1

Meal-hall Protocol

“If the time is announced in the monastery, having put on the lower robe covering the three circles (the navel and kneecaps) all around (see Sk 1), having tied his waistband, having made the upper robe a lining for the outer robe (§), having put on the outer robes, having fastened the (lower) fastener, having washed (the bowl—see the protocol toward one’s preceptor), having taken the bowl, he should enter the village carefully and unhurriedly. He shouldn’t walk cutting in front of the elder bhikkhus. SEKHIYAS 1-26.

“He shouldn’t sit encroaching on the elder bhikkhus, nor should the newer bhikkhus be preempted from a seat. He shouldn’t spread out the outer robe and sit on it in inhabited areas. When water [C: for washing the bowl] is being given, he should receive the water, having grasped the bowl with both hands. Having been put down low, the bowl should be carefully washed [C: without letting the water make a sound] without scraping it (against the floor (§)). If there is someone to receive the water, having placed the bowl low he should pour the water into the water receptacle, (thinking,) ‘May the person receiving the water not be splashed, may the bhikkhus around me not be splashed, may my outer robe not be splashed.’ If there is no one to receive the water, then having placed the bowl down low, he should pour the water on the ground, (thinking,) ‘May the bhikkhus around me not be splashed, may my outer robe not be splashed.’

“When rice is being given, he should receive the rice, having grasped the bowl with both hands. A space should be made for the bean curry. If there is ghee or oil or condiments [C: or any food, even rice], the elder bhikkhu should say, ‘Arrange an equal amount for all.’ [C: If there is enough of a particular dish for only two bhikkhus, the elder bhikkhus shouldn’t say this. One or two of the bhikkhus should take what is offered even though others won’t get any.] SEKHIYAS 27-30. The elder bhikkhu shouldn’t eat as long as not everyone has been served rice. SEKHIYAS 31-55.

“The elder bhikkhu shouldn’t accept [C: rinsing] water as long as not everyone has finished his meal. When water is being given, he should receive the water, having grasped the bowl with both hands. Having been put down low, the bowl should be carefully washed without scraping it (against the floor (§)). If there is someone to receive the water, having placed the bowl low he should pour the water into the water receptacle, (thinking,) ‘May the person receiving the water not be splashed, may the bhikkhus around me not be splashed, may my outer robe not be splashed.’ If there is no one to receive the water, then having placed the bowl down low, he should pour the water on the ground, (thinking,) ‘May the bhikkhus around me not be splashed, may my outer robe not be splashed.’ SEKHIYA 56.

“When they are returning, the newer bhikkhus should return first, followed by the elder bhikkhus. [C: The newer bhikkhus should wait near the door for the elder bhikkhus, and then the bhikkhus should go in line with seniority. When walking through the village or town, they should leave room between themselves so that other people can cross their path conveniently.] (The Commentary may be wrong here, for this injunction may be related to the injunctions under the anumodanā protocol for the elders to stay behind, and the injunction under the pupil’s duty to his mentor to return first to the monastery to arrange a seat, etc., for his mentor.) SEKHIYAS 1-26.”

—Cv.VIII.4.3-6

Relevant to the above protocols is a passage in MN 91 describing how the Buddha conducted himself during and after a meal:

(Prior to the meal:) ““When receiving bowl-water, he does not raise or lower the bowl or tip it forwards or back. He receives neither too little nor too much bowl-water. He washes the bowl without making a sloshing sound. He washes the bowl without turning it over. He does not wash his hands having put the bowl on the ground. When his hands are washed, the bowl is washed. When the bowl is washed, his hands are washed. He pours the bowl-water not too near, not too far, and without splashing.

“When receiving rice, he does not raise or lower the bowl or tip it forwards or back. He receives neither too little nor too much rice. And he receives (this verb is not in the PTS edition) curry, takes curry in the proper proportion. He does not put too much curry in his mouthful. Having turned the mouthful over two or three times in his mouth, he swallows it. No unchewed rice grain enters his body; no rice grain remains in his mouth. Then he takes another mouthful. He takes his food experiencing the taste but not experiencing passion for the taste…

“When he has finished his meal and receives bowl-water, he does not raise or lower the bowl or tip it forwards or back. He receives neither too little nor too much bowl-water. He washes the bowl without making a sloshing sound. He washes the bowl without turning it over. He does not wash his hands having put the bowl on the ground. When his hands are washed, the bowl is washed. When the bowl is washed, his hands are washed. He pours the bowl-water not too near, not too far, and without tossing it around… He puts his bowl on the floor, not too near, not too far. He is not careless of the bowl, nor overly solicitous about it… He sits in silence for a moment, but does not exceed the time for the anumodanā… He gives the anumodanā, does not criticize the meal, does not expect another meal. He instructs, urges, rouses, and encourages the gathering with a talk purely on Dhamma. Having done so, he rises from his seat and departs.”

Alms-going Protocol

A certain bhikkhu going on alms round entered a house compound without observing. Mistaking an inner door for an outer door, he entered an inner chamber. And in that inner chamber a naked woman was lying on her back. The bhikkhu saw the naked woman lying on her back, and on seeing her, the thought occurred to him, “This isn’t an outer door. This is an inner chamber.” He got out of the inner chamber. The woman’s husband saw her lying naked on her back, and on seeing her he thought, “My wife has been raped by this bhikkhu.” Seizing the bhikkhu, he gave him a good beating. Then the woman, awakening at the noise, said to the man, “Why, master, are you beating this bhikkhu?”

“You were raped by this bhikkhu.”

“I wasn’t raped by this bhikkhu. He’s innocent.” And she made him let the bhikkhu go.

“A bhikkhu going for alms, thinking, ‘Now I will enter the village,’ having put on the lower robe covering the three circles all around, having tied his waistband, having made the upper robe a lining for the outer robe (§), having put on the outer robes, having fastened the (lower) fastener, having washed (the bowl), having taken the bowl, he should enter the village carefully and unhurriedly. ODD-NUMBERED SEKHIYAS 1-25.

“When entering a house compound (§) he should observe, ‘I will enter by this way and leave by this way.’ He shouldn’t enter quickly, shouldn’t leave quickly. He shouldn’t stand too far away, shouldn’t stand too near. He shouldn’t stand for too long a time, shouldn’t turn away too soon. While standing, he should observe whether they want to give alms or not. If (the potential donor) puts down his/her work or rises from his/her seat or grabs (§) a spoon, grabs a dish, or sets one out, he should stay, (thinking,) ‘He/she wants to give.’ When alms are being given, he should receive the alms having raised the outer robe with his left hand, having stretched out (§) the bowl with his right hand, having grasped the bowl with both hands. He shouldn’t look up at the face of a female alms-giver (§). [C: This injunction applies to male alms-givers as well.] He should then observe, ‘Do they want to give bean curry or not?’ If the donor grabs a spoon, grabs a dish, or sets one out, he should stay, (thinking,) ‘He/she wants to give.’ When alms have been given, he should leave carefully and unhurriedly, having concealed the bowl under his outer robe. ODD-NUMBERED SEKHIYAS 1-25.

“Whoever returns first from alms-going in the village should arrange the seat(s), should put out washing water for the feet, a foot stand, a pebble foot wiper. Having washed the left-over food container, he should set it out. He should set out drinking water and washing water. Whoever returns last from alms-going in the village, if there is left-over food and he wants it, he may eat it. If he doesn’t want it, he should throw it away where there are no crops to speak of or drop it in water where there are no living creatures to speak of (so as not to foul the water and kill the creatures). He should take up the seat(s) and set the washing water for the feet, the foot stand, and the pebble foot wiper in order. Having washed the left-over food container, he should put it away. He should set the drinking water and washing water in order. He should sweep the meal hall. Whoever sees that the vessel for drinking water, the vessel for washing water, or the vessel (for rinsing water) in the restroom is empty should set out water. If he cannot do this, then inviting a companion by signaling with his hand, they should have the water set out by joining hands (§), but shouldn’t for that reason break into speech.”

—Cv.VIII.5.2-3

Wilderness Protocol

At that time a number of bhikkhus were living in the wilderness. They neither had drinking water set out nor washing water set out nor fire set out nor fire-generating sticks set out. They did not know the zodiac asterisms (the major stars used to mark the progress of the moon through the sky), they did not know the cardinal directions. Thieves, on coming there, said to them, “Is there drinking water, venerable sirs?”

“No, friends.”

“Is there washing water… fire, venerable sirs? Are there fire-generating sticks, venerable sirs?”

“No, friends.”

“With what (constellation) is there a lunar conjunction today, venerable sirs?”

“We don’t know, friends.”

“Which direction is this, venerable sirs?”

“We don’t know, friends.”

Then the thieves, (thinking,) “These people have neither drinking water nor washing water nor fire nor fire-generating sticks; they don’t know the zodiac asterisms, they don’t know the cardinal directions; these are thieves, not bhikkhus,” gave them a good beating and left.

(In the following passage, the protocols that differ from the ordinary alms-going protocol are given in italics.) “A bhikkhu living in the wilderness, getting up early, having inserted his bowl in a bag, having slung it over his shoulder, having placed his robe(s) over his shoulder/upper back, having put on his sandals, having set his wooden goods and clay goods in order, having closed the windows and doors, may come down from his lodging. Thinking, ‘I will now enter the village,’ having taken off his sandals, having put them down (close to the ground) and beaten off the dust, having inserted them in the bag and slung them over his shoulder, having put on the lower robe covering the three circles (navel and kneecaps) all around, having tied his waistband, having made the upper robe a lining for the outer robe (§), having put on the outer robe, having fastened the (lower) fastener, having washed (the bowl), having taken the bowl, he should enter the village carefully and unhurriedly. ODD-NUMBERED SEKHIYAS 1-25. (Notice that the protocol mentions adjusting one’s robes to the standard pattern only when about to enter the village. From this passage it would appear that, while in the wilderness, one is allowed to wear one’s robes in any fashion so long as one is not exposing oneself. This would indicate that the Commentary to Sk 1 & 2 is wrong in insisting that those rules be followed in the wilderness as well as in inhabited areas. The protocol for returning to the wilderness after one’s alms (see below) shows that bhikkhus walking through the wilderness in the Buddha’s time went with their robes folded on or over their heads.)

“When entering a house compound (§) he should observe, ‘I will enter by this way and leave by this way.’ He shouldn’t enter quickly, shouldn’t leave quickly. He shouldn’t stand too far away, shouldn’t stand too near. He shouldn’t stand for too long a time, shouldn’t turn away too soon. While standing, he should observe whether they want to give alms or not. If (the potential donor) puts down his/her work or rises from his/her seat or grabs (§) a spoon, grabs a dish, or sets one out, he should stay, (thinking,) ‘He/she wants to give.’ When alms are being given, he should receive the alms having raised the outer robe with his left hand, having stretched out (§) the bowl with his right hand, having grasped the bowl with both hands. He shouldn’t look up at the face of a female alms-giver (§). He should then observe, ‘Do they want to give bean curry or not?’ If the donor grabs a spoon, grabs a dish, or sets one out, he should stay, (thinking,) ‘He/she wants to give.’ When alms have been given, he should leave carefully and unhurriedly, having concealed the bowl under his outer robe. ODD-NUMBERED SEKHIYAS 1-25 [C: If there is no water in the wilderness area, one may have one’s meal in the village, wash up, and then return to one’s dwelling. If there is water in the wilderness area, one should take one’s meal outside of the village.]

“Having left the village, having inserted the bowl in the bag and slung it over his shoulder, having folded up his robe and placed it on (over?) his head, having put on his sandals, he may continue on his way.

“A bhikkhu living in the wilderness should set out drinking water, should set out washing water, should set out fire (keep at least embers burning), should set out fire-generating sticks (at present, matches or lighters would take the place of fire-generating sticks and would make it unnecessary to keep embers burning at all times), should set out a walking staff (staffs apparently were used to intimidate wild animals), should memorize the zodiac asterisms, in whole or in part (in order to be able to calculate the date of the uposatha); should be skilled in the cardinal directions (in order to find his way if he gets lost). [C: If there are not enough vessels, one may have one vessel for drinking water (which would then also be used for washing water). If one has fire-generating sticks, there is no need to set out fire.]”

—Cv.VIII.6.2-3

Lodging Protocol

Now at that time a number of bhikkhus were making robes in the open air. Some group-of-six bhikkhus were beating their lodgings in a clearing upwind. Those (the other) bhikkhus were covered with dust.

“In whatever dwelling one is living, if the dwelling is dirty and one is able, one should clean it. (As in the incoming bhikkhus’ protocol, plus two insertions:)

After “Look for any rubbish and throw it away to one side”: “Furnishings are not to be beaten in the vicinity of bhikkhus… dwellings… drinking water… washing water. And furnishings are not to be beaten in a clearing upwind. Furnishings are to be beaten downwind.”

After, “If there is no water in the pot for rinsing in the restroom, pour it into the pot”: “If one is staying in a dwelling with a more senior bhikkhu, then—without asking the senior—one shouldn’t give a recitation, give an interrogation, shouldn’t chant, shouldn’t give a Dhamma talk, shouldn’t light a lamp, shouldn’t put out a lamp, shouldn’t open windows, shouldn’t close windows. [C: There is no need to ask permission before opening or closing doors. The junior bhikkhu may ask in advance for permission to do any of these things at any time. Also, there is no need to ask if the senior bhikkhu is on congenial terms.] If doing walking meditation on the same meditation path with the senior, one should turn when the senior turns but should not hit him with the corner of one’s outer robe.”

—Cv.VIII.7.2-4

Sauna Protocol

Now at that time some group-of-six bhikkhus, hindered from (entering) the sauna by some elder bhikkhus, out of disrespect stacked up a large number of sticks, set them on fire, closed the door, and sat in the door. The elder bhikkhus, oppressed by the heat, unable to get out the door, keeled over in a faint….

“Being hindered from (entering) the sauna by elder bhikkhus, one should not, out of disrespect, bring up a large number of sticks and set them on fire. Whoever should set them on fire: an offense of wrong doing. Having closed the door, one shouldn’t sit in the door. Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing.”—Cv.VIII.8.1

“Whoever goes first to the sauna, if ashes have accumulated, should throw out the ashes. If the sauna is dirty, he should sweep it. If the outside ledge (§)… the surrounding area… the porch… the sauna-hall is dirty, he should sweep it. He should knead the powder for bathing (see Chapter 1), moisten clay, pour water into the small water trough. One entering the sauna may do so after smearing his face with clay and covering himself front and back. (Apparently this means that a bhikkhu on his way to and from the sauna does not have to worry that his lower robe covers the three circles (the navel and kneecaps) all around, as long as it covers his private parts front and rear; Cv.V.16.2 shows that he could remove the robe while in the sauna.) He should sit not encroaching on the senior bhikkhus and not preempting the junior bhikkhus from a seat. If he is able/willing, he may perform a service for the elder bhikkhus in the sauna [C: e.g., stoking the fire, providing them with clay and hot water]. One leaving the sauna may do so after taking the sauna-bench and covering oneself front and back. If he is able/willing, he may perform a service for the elder bhikkhus even in the water [C: e.g., scrubbing them]. He shouldn’t bathe in front of the elder bhikkhus or upstream from them. When coming out of the water after bathing, he should make way for those entering the water.

“Whoever is the last to leave the sauna, if the sauna is splattered/muddy, should wash it. He may leave after having washed the small clay-trough, having set the sauna-bench(es) in order, having extinguished the fire, and having closed the door.”

—Cv.VIII.8.2

Restroom Protocol

Now at that time a certain bhikkhu, a brahman by birth, didn’t want to rinse himself after defecating, (thinking,) “Who would touch this vile, stinking stuff?” A worm took up residence in his anus. So he told this matter to the bhikkhus. “You mean you don’t rinse yourself after defecating?” (they asked). “That’s right, my friends.” Those bhikkhus who were of few wants… criticized and complained and spread it about, “How can a bhikkhu not rinse himself after defecating?” They reported this matter to the Blessed One….

“If there is water, one should not not rinse after having defecated. Whoever does not rinse: an offense of wrong doing.”—Cv.VIII.9 [C: If there is no vessel to dip in the water, that counts as “there being no water.”]

“One should not defecate in the restroom in order of seniority. Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that one defecate in order of arrival.”—Cv.VIII.10.1

“Whoever goes to a restroom should, while standing outside, clear his throat. The one sitting inside should also clear his throat. Having put aside the (upper) robe on a bamboo pole or a cord, one should enter the restroom carefully and unhurriedly. (At present, there is no need to remove one’s upper robe before entering a public restroom.) One shouldn’t enter too quickly, shouldn’t pull up one’s lower robe while entering (§). One should pull up one’s lower robe while standing on the restroom-footrests (§). One shouldn’t groan/grunt while defecating. One shouldn’t defecate while chewing tooth-wood. [C: This rule applies wherever one may be defecating, and not just in a restroom.] (At present this protocol would also apply to defecating while brushing one’s teeth.) One shouldn’t defecate outside of the toilet (literally, the “excrement trough”). One shouldn’t urinate outside of the urinal trough. One shouldn’t spit into the urinal trough. One shouldn’t wipe oneself with a rough stick. One shouldn’t drop the wiping stick into the cesspool. One should cover oneself (with one’s lower robe) while standing on the restroom-footrests (§). One shouldn’t leave too quickly. One shouldn’t leave with one’s lower robe pulled up (§). One should pull it up while standing on the rinsing-room footrests (§). One shouldn’t make a smacking sound (§) while rinsing. One shouldn’t leave any water remaining in the rinsing dipper. [C: It is all right to leave water in the rinsing dipper in a restroom for one’s private use or if one has to go to the toilet repeatedly, as after taking a purgative.] (At present, the Canon’s rules around emptying the water in the rinsing dipper would apply to flushing the toilet, although the Commentary’s exemptions for not emptying the water would not seem to apply.) One should cover oneself (with one’s lower robe) while standing on the rinsing-room footrests (§).

“If the restroom is soiled (with excrement) it should be washed. If the basket/receptacle for wiping sticks is full, the wiping sticks should be thrown away. If the restroom is dirty it should be swept. If the outside ledge (§)… the surrounding area… the porch is dirty, it should be swept. If there is no water in the rinsing pot, water should be poured into the rinsing pot.”

—Cv.VIII.10.3

Protocol toward one’s Preceptor

“Having gotten up early, having taken off his sandals, having arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, the pupil should provide tooth wood (see Pc 40) and water for washing the face/rinsing the mouth. [C: On the first three days when one is performing these services, one should provide the preceptor with three lengths of tooth wood—long, medium, and short—and notice which one he takes. If he takes the same length on all three days, provide him only with that length from then on. If he is not particular about the length, provide him with whatever length is available. A similar principle holds for the water: On the first three days, provide him with both warm and cold water. If he consistently takes either the warm or the cold, provide him only with that kind of water from then on. If not, provide him with whatever water is available.] (The Commentary suggests that in “providing” these things, one need only set them out, rather than hand them to the preceptor. Once they have been set out, one should proceed to sweep out the restroom and its surrounding area while the preceptor is using the tooth wood and water. Then, while the preceptor is using the restroom, one should proceed to the next step.)

“Arrange a seat. If there is conjey, then having washed a shallow bowl, offer the conjey to the preceptor. When he has drunk the conjey, then having given him water, having received the bowl, having lowered it (so as not to let the washing water wet one’s robes), wash it carefully without scraping it [C: knocking it against the floor] and then put it away. When the preceptor has gotten up, take up the seat. If the place is dirty, sweep it.

“If the preceptor wishes to enter the village for alms, give him his lower robe, receiving the spare lower robe (he is wearing) from him in return. (This is one of the few passages showing that the practice of having spare robes was already current when the Canon was being compiled.) Give him his waistband; give him his upper and outer robe arranged so that the upper robe forms a lining for the outer one (§). Having rinsed out the bowl, give it to him while it is still wet (i.e., pour out as much of the rinsing water as possible, but don’t wipe it dry).

“If the preceptor desires an attendant, one should put on one’s lower robe so as to cover the three circles all around (see Sk 1 & 2). Having put on the waistband, having arranged the upper robe as a lining for the outer one and having put them on, having fastened the (lower) fastener, having washed and taken a bowl, be the preceptor’s attendant. Do not walk too far behind him; do not walk too close. [C: One to two steps behind him is appropriate.] Receive the contents of the preceptor’s bowl. [C: If the preceptor’s bowl is heavy or hot to the touch, take his bowl and give him one’s own bowl (which is presumably lighter or cooler to the touch) in return.] (In a Community where the bowls are carried in their bowl bags during alms round, one may receive the preceptor’s bowl.)

“Do not interrupt the preceptor when he is speaking. If he is bordering on an offense [C: e.g., Pc 4 or Sg 3], one should stop him. [C: Speak in an indirect way so as to call him to his senses. These two protocols apply everywhere, not only on alms round.] {SC: Unlike the other protocols toward one’s preceptor, these must also be observed even when one is ill.}

“Returning ahead of the preceptor, one should arrange a seat. Put out washing water for the feet, a foot stand, and a pebble foot wiper. Having gone to meet him, receive his bowl and robe. Give him his spare lower robe; receive the lower robe [C: that he has been wearing] in return. If the upper and outer robes are damp with perspiration, dry them for a short time in the sun’s warmth, but do not leave them in the sun’s warmth for long. Fold up the robes {SC: separately}, keeping the edges four fingerbreadths apart so that neither robe becomes creased in the middle. (This, the Vinaya-mukha notes, helps extend the life of the cloth.) Place the waistband in the fold of the robe. (From these statements it would appear that when bhikkhus were in their dwelling places they wore only their lower robes, even while eating.)

“If there is almsfood, and the preceptor wishes to eat, give him water and offer the almsfood to him. Ask if he wants drinking water. [C: If there is enough time before noon, one should wait by the preceptor while he is eating, in order to offer him drinking water, and eat one’s own meal only when he is finished. If there is not enough time for this, one should simply set out the water and proceed to one’s own meal.]

“When he has finished his meal, then having given him water, receive the bowl, lower it, and wash it carefully without scraping it. Then, having dried it, set it out for a short time in the sun’s warmth, but do not leave it in the sun’s warmth for long.

“Put away his bowl and robes. When putting away the bowl, one should take the bowl in one hand, run one’s hand under the bed or bench with the other hand (to check for things on the floor that would harm the bowl), and put away the bowl (there), but should not put it away on the bare ground [C: any place where it will get soiled]. When putting away the robe, one should take the robe with one hand, stroke the other hand along the rod or cord for the robes [C: to check for any rough spots or splinters on the cord or rod that will rip the cloth], and put away the robe (over the cord or rod) with the edges away from one and the fold toward one. [C: The fold shouldn’t be placed on the side of the wall, for if there is a splinter in the wall, it may rip the robe in the middle (making its determination lapse).]

“When the preceptor has gotten up, take up the seat. Put away the washing water for the feet, the foot-stand, and the foot wiper. If the place is dirty, sweep it.

“If the preceptor wishes to bathe, prepare a bath. Prepare a cold bath if he wants a cold one, a hot bath if he wants a hot one.

“If the preceptor wishes to enter the sauna, knead the powder for bathing, moisten the bathing clay, take a sauna-bench, and follow closely behind him. Give him the bench, receive his robe in return, and lay it to one side [C: where there is no soot or smoke]. Give him the (moistened) powder for bathing and clay. If one is able to, enter the sauna. When entering the sauna, one should do so having smeared one’s face with the bathing clay and covering oneself front and back (i.e., one shouldn’t expose oneself, but there is no need to cover the three “circles”).

“Sit so as not to encroach on the senior bhikkhus, at the same time not preempting the junior bhikkhus from a seat. Perform services for the preceptor [C: stoking the fire, providing him with clay and hot water]. When leaving the sauna, one should do so taking the sauna-bench and having covered oneself front and back. Perform a service for the preceptor even in the bathing water. Having bathed, the pupil should come out of the water first, dry himself, and put on his lower robe. Then he should rub the water off his preceptor, give him his lower robe and then his outer robe.

“Taking the sauna-bench, the pupil should return first, arrange a seat, put out washing water for the feet, a foot stand, and a pebble foot wiper. (When the preceptor has sat down,) ask him if he wants drinking water.

“If the preceptor wants one to recite [C: memorize passages of Dhamma or Vinaya], one should recite. If he wants to interrogate one [C: on the meaning of the passages], one should answer his interrogation.

“If the place where the preceptor is staying is dirty, the pupil should clean it if he is able to. First taking out the bowl and robes, he should lay them to one side. Taking out the sitting cloth and sheet, he should lay them to one side. Having lowered the bed, he should take it out carefully, without scraping it [C: along the floor] or knocking it against the door or doorposts, and then lay it to one side. Having lowered the bench, he should take it out carefully, without scraping it [C: along the floor] or knocking it against the door or doorposts, and then lay it to one side. Taking out the spittoon… the leaning board, he should lay them to one side. Taking note of how the ground-covering is arranged, he should take it out and lay it to one side.

“If there are cobwebs in the dwelling, he should remove them, starting first with the ceiling covering-cloth (§) (and working down). He should wipe areas around the window frames and the corners (of the room) (§). If the wall has been treated with ochre and has become moldy (§), he should moisten a rag, wring it out, and wipe it clean. If the floor of the room is treated with blackening (polished), he should moisten a rag, wring it out, and wipe it clean. If the floor is bare ground, he should sprinkle it all over with water before sweeping it, (with the thought,) ‘May the dust not fly up and soil the room.’ He should look for any rubbish and throw it away to one side.

“Having dried the ground-covering in the sun, he should clean it, shake it out, bring it back in, and arrange it as it was arranged before. Having dried the supports for the bed in the sun, he should wipe them, bring them back in, and set them as they were set before. Having dried the bed… the bench in the sun, he should clean them, shake them out, lower them, bring them back in carefully without scraping them [along the floor] or knocking them against the door or doorposts, and arrange them as they were arranged before. Having dried the mattress and pillow… the sitting cloth and sheet in the sun, he should clean them, shake them out, bring them back in, and arrange them as they were arranged before. Having dried the spittoon in the sun, he should wipe it, bring it back in, and set it as it was set before. Having dried the leaning board in the sun, he should wipe it, bring it back in, and set it as it was set before.

“If dusty winds blow from the east, he should close the eastern windows. If from the west, he should close the western windows. If from the north, he should close the northern windows. If from the south, he should close the southern windows. If the weather is cool, he should open the windows by day and close them at night. If the weather is hot, he should close them by day and open them at night.

“If the surrounding area (§) is dirty, he should sweep it. If the porch… assembly hall… fire hall… restroom is dirty, he should sweep it. If there is no drinking water, he should set it out. If there is no washing water, he should set it out. If there is no water in the pot for rinsing (in the restroom), he should pour it into the pot.

“If dissatisfaction (with the holy life) arises in the preceptor, one should allay it or get someone else to allay it or one should give him a Dhamma talk. If anxiety (over his conduct with regard to the rules) arises in the preceptor, one should dispel it or get someone else to dispel it or one should give him a Dhamma talk. If a viewpoint (diṭṭhigata) arises in the preceptor, one should pry it away or get someone else to pry it away, or one should give him a Dhamma talk. (Diṭṭhigata has two meanings in the Canon: either a firmly held view on a question not worth asking (see MN 72); or an out-and-out wrong view, such as the idea that an obstructive act is not a genuine obstruction (see both Pc 68 and MN 22).

“If the preceptor has committed an offense against a heavy (saṅghādisesa) rule and deserves probation, the pupil should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the Community grant my preceptor probation?’ If the preceptor deserves to be sent back to the beginning… deserves penance… deserves rehabilitation, the pupil should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the Community grant my preceptor rehabilitation?’

“If the Community wants to carry out a transaction against the preceptor—censure, demotion, banishment, reconciliation, or suspension—the pupil should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the Community not carry out that transaction against my preceptor or else change it to a lighter one?’ But if the transaction—censure… suspension—is carried out against him, the pupil should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my preceptor behave properly, lower his hackles, mend his ways, so that the Community will rescind that transaction?’

“If the preceptor’s robe should be washed, the pupil should wash it or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my preceptor’s robe be washed?’ If the preceptor’s robe should be made, the pupil should make it or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my preceptor’s robe be made?’ If the preceptor’s dye should be boiled, the pupil should boil it or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my preceptor’s dye be boiled?’ If the preceptor’s robe should be dyed, the pupil should dye it or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my preceptor’s robe be dyed?’ While dyeing the robe, he should carefully let it take the dye properly (while drying), turning it back and forth (on the line), and shouldn’t go away until the drips have become discontinuous (§).

“Without having taken the preceptor’s leave, the pupil should not give an alms bowl to anyone [C: on bad terms with the preceptor] nor should he receive an alms bowl from that person. He shouldn’t give robe- cloth to that person or receive robe- cloth from that person, shouldn’t give a requisite to that person or receive a requisite from that person. He shouldn’t cut that person’s hair or have his own hair cut by that person. He shouldn’t perform a service for that person or have that person perform a service for him. He shouldn’t act as that person’s steward or have that person act as his own steward. He shouldn’t be that person’s attendant or take that person as his own attendant. He shouldn’t bring back almsfood for that person or have that person bring back almsfood for him.

“Without having taken the preceptor’s leave, he shouldn’t enter a town, shouldn’t go to a cemetery, shouldn’t leave the district. (Mv.II.21.1 adds (translating from the Burmese edition): “There is the case where a number of inexperienced, incompetent bhikkhus, traveling to distant locations, ask leave of their teachers and preceptors. They should be asked by their teachers and preceptors, ‘Where will you go? With whom will you go?’ If those inexperienced, incompetent bhikkhus name other inexperienced, incompetent bhikkhus, the teachers and preceptors should not give them permission. If they give permission: an offense of wrong doing. And if those inexperienced, incompetent bhikkhus, not having received permission, go anyway: an offense of wrong doing (for them).)

“If the preceptor is ill, he (the pupil) should tend to him as long as life lasts; he should stay with him until he recovers.”

—Cv.VIII.11.2-18

Protocol toward one’s Pupil

“The pupil should be helped, assisted, with recitation, interrogation, exhortation, instruction. If the preceptor has a bowl but the pupil does not, the preceptor should give the bowl to the pupil, or he should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can a bowl be procured for my pupil?’ If the preceptor has robe-material… a requisite but the pupil does not, the preceptor should give the requisite to the pupil, or he should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can a requisite be procured for my pupil?’

“If the pupil is ill, the preceptor should (perform services that the pupil performs for him, from attending to him in the morning to cleaning the room and grounds, except that he does not have to remove his sandals or arrange his robe over his shoulder before performing the services before the alms round, does not have to go as the pupil’s attendant on the alms round, and is not forbidden from interrupting the pupil while the latter is speaking.)

“If dissatisfaction (with the holy life) arises in the pupil, the preceptor should allay it or get someone else to allay it or he should give him a Dhamma talk. If anxiety [C: over his conduct with regard to the rules] arises in the pupil, the preceptor should dispel it or get someone else to dispel it or he should give him a Dhamma talk. If a viewpoint (see above) arises in the pupil, the preceptor should pry it away or get someone else to pry it away or he should give him a Dhamma talk.

“If the pupil has committed an offense against a heavy (saṅghādisesa) rule and deserves probation, the preceptor should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the Community grant my pupil probation?’ If the pupil deserves to be sent back to the beginning… deserves penance… deserves rehabilitation, the preceptor should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the Community grant my pupil rehabilitation?’

“If the Community wants to carry out a transaction against the pupil—censure, demotion, banishment, reconciliation, or suspension—the preceptor should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can the Community not carry out that transaction against my pupil or else change it to a lighter one?’ But if the transaction—censure… suspension—is carried out against him, the preceptor should make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my pupil behave properly, lower his hackles, mend his ways, so that the Community will rescind that transaction?’

“If the pupil’s robe should be washed, the preceptor should tell him, ‘This is how it should be washed (§),’ or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my pupil’s robe be washed?’ If the pupil’s robe should be made, the preceptor should tell him, ‘This is how it should be made (§),’ or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my pupil’s robe be made?’ If the pupil’s dye should be boiled, the preceptor should tell him, ‘This is how it should be boiled (§),’ or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my pupil’s dye be boiled?’ If the pupil’s robe should be dyed, the preceptor should tell him, ‘This is how it should be dyed (§),’ or make an effort, (thinking,) ‘How can my pupil’s robe be dyed?’ While dyeing the robe, he should carefully let it take the dye (while drying), turning it back and forth (on the line), and shouldn’t go away until the drips have become discontinuous (§).

“If the pupil is ill, the preceptor should tend to him as long as life lasts; he should stay with him until he recovers.”

—Cv.VIII.12.2-11

Cullavagga XII.2.8

Is the permission for what is customary permissible?

What is the permission for what is customary?

“(Thinking,) ‘This is customarily done by my preceptor, this is customarily done by my teacher,’ it is permissible to behave accordingly.”

That is permissible in some cases, not permissible in others.