Vipassana Fellowship © 2012
      Home
Vipassana Fellowship - Calm and Insight meditation inspired by the early Buddhist tradition.
Mindfulness meditation from the Theravada tradition for the spiritual development of people of all faiths & none. Online courses & support since 1997
BACK

The Duties of Bhikkhus Living in the Wilderness

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 firesticks set out. They did not know the zodiac, 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 ... firesticks?'

'No, friends.'

'With what is there a conjunction today?'

'We don't know, friends.'

'Which direction is this?'

'We don't know, friends.'

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

Note: The italicized passages below describe duties that are peculiar to the forest monks. The other rules apply to all monks.

"A bhikkhu living in the wilderness, getting up early, having placed his bowl in a bag, having slung it over his shoulder, having put on his sandals, having packed away his wooden goods and clay goods, having closed the windows and doors, may leave 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 placed them in the bag and slung them over his shoulder, having put on the under robe wrapped all around him, covering the three circles (navel & knees), having tied his waistband/belt, having made the upper robe a lining for the outer robe (§), having put on the outer robe, having fastened the fastener, having washed (the bowl -- see student's duties for preceptor), having taken the bowl, he should enter the village properly & 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 should not enter quickly, should not leave quickly. He shouldn't stand too far away. He shouldn't stand too near. He shouldn't stand for too long a time. He shouldn't stand for too short a time. 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 wipes a spoon, wipes a dish, or sets one out, he should remain, (thinking,) 'It looks like he/she wants to give.' When alms are being given, having raised the outer robe with his left hand, having uncovered the bowl with his right hand, having grasped the bowl with both hands, he should receive the alms. While alms are being given he should not look (the donor) in the face. He should then observe, 'Do they want to give bean curry or not?' If the donor wipes a spoon, wipes a dish, or sets one out, he should remain, (thinking,) 'It looks like he/she wants to give.' When alms have been given, having concealed the bowl under his outer robe, he should leave carefully and unhurriedly. . [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 set out from the village, having placed the bowl in the bag and slung it over his shoulder, having folded up his robe and placed it on 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 a fire going), should set out fire sticks, should memorize the zodiac, the whole or a part; should be skilled in the cardinal directions." [C: If there are not enough vessels, one may have one vessel for both drinking water and washing water. If one has no fire sticks, no need to set out fire.]

[Cv.VIII.6.2-3]


Lodging Duties

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 yard upwind. Those (the other) bhikkhus were covered with dust.

"In whatever dwelling one is living in, if the dwelling is dirty and one is able, one should clean it." (As in student duties, plus:

After "Look for any rubbish and throw it away": "Lodgings are not to be beaten near bhikkhus ... near dwellings ... near drinking water ... near washing water. Lodgings are not to be beaten in the yard upwind. Lodgings are to be beaten downwind."

After, "If there is no water in the pitcher for rinsing in the restroom, pour it into the pitcher": "If one is staying in a dwelling with a more senior bhikkhu, then -- without asking the senior -- one should not give a recitation, give an interrogation, should not chant, should not give a Dhamma talk, should not light a lamp, should not put out a lamp, should not open windows, should not close windows. [C: 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, no need to ask if the senior bhikkhu is a close friend.] 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 Duties

Now at that time some group-of-six bhikkhus, blocked from the sauna by some elder bhikkhus, out of disrespect brought up a large number of sticks, set them on fire, closed the door, and sat in the door. The elder bhikkhus, oppressed with the heat, unable to get out the door, keeled over stiff.

"Being blocked from 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 wrongdoing. Having closed the door, one should not sit in the door. Whoever should do so: an offense of wrongdoing."

[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 outer corridor ... the yard ... the porch ... the sauna-hall is dirty, he should sweep it. He should knead the chunam, moisten clay, pour water into the water tank. One entering the sauna may do so after smearing the face with clay and covering oneself front and back (with cloth?). One should sit not encroaching on the elder bhikkhus and not depriving the newer bhikkhus of a seat. If one is able/willing, one may look after the needs of 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-chair and covering oneself front and back. If one is able/willing, one may look after the needs of the elder bhikkhus even in the water [C: e.g., scrubbing them]. One should not bathe in front of the elder bhikkhus or upstream from them. When coming out of the water after bathing, 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 clay-tub, having put away the sauna chair(s), having extinguished the fire, and having closed the door."

[Cv.VIII.8.2]


Toilet Duties

"If there is water, one should not not rinse after having defecated. Whoever should not rinse: an offense of wrongdoing." [C: If there is no vessel to dip in the water, that counts as 'there being no water.']

[Cv.VIII.9 ]


"One should not defecate in the toilet in order of seniority. Whoever should do so: an offense of wrongdoing. I allow that one defecate in order of arrival."

[Cv.VIII.10.1]


"Whoever goes to a toilet 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 toilet properly and unhurriedly. One should not pull up one's lower robe while entering (§). One should pull up one's lower robe while standing on the toilet shoes (§). One should not groan/grunt while defecating. One should not defecate while chewing tooth-wood. [C: This rule applies wherever one may be defecating, and not just in a restroom.] One should not defecate outside of the toilet, one should not defecate outside of the urinal. One should not spit into the urinal. One should not wipe oneself with a rough stick. One should not drop the wiping stick into the cesspool. One should cover oneself (with one's lower robe) while standing on the toilet-shoes (§). One should not leave hurriedly. One should not leave with one's lower robe pulled up (§). One should pull it up while standing on the rinsing-room shoes (§). One shouldn't make a smacking sound (§) while rinsing. One should not leave any water remaining in the rinsing vessel. [C: OK to leave water in the rinsing vessel if it's in a toilet for one's private use or if one is suffering from frequent diarrhea attacks.] One should cover oneself (with one's lower robe) while standing on the rinsing-room shoes (§).

"If the toilet is splattered it should be washed. If the basket/receptacle for wiping sticks is full, the wiping sticks should be thrown away. If the toilet is dirty it should be swept. If the outer corridor ... the yard ... the porch is dirty, it should be swept. If there is no water in the rinsing jar, water should be poured into the rinsing jar."

[Cv.VIII.10.3]


Pupils' Duties

"Having gotten up early, having taken off his sandals, having arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, the pupil should provide tooth-cleaning sticks (see Pacittiya 40) and washing water for the face." [C: On the first three days when one is performing these services, one should provide the mentor with three lengths of tooth-cleaning sticks -- 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 mentor. Once they have been set out, one should proceed to sweep out the bathroom and its surrounding area while the mentor is using the tooth-cleaning sticks and water. Then, while the mentor is using the bathroom, one should proceed to the next step.)

"Make a seat ready. If there is conjey, then having washed a bowl, place the conjey near the mentor. When he has drunk the conjey, then9 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 properly without scraping it [C: knocking it against the floor] and then put it away. When the mentor has gotten up, remove the seat. If the place is soiled, sweep it.

"If the mentor wishes to enter the village for alms, give him his lower robe, receiving the 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 belt; 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 mentor desires an attendant, one should put on one's lower robe so as to cover the three circles all around (see Sekhiyas 1 & 2). Having put on the belt, having put the upper and outer robes together and having put them on, having fastened the ties, having washed and taken a bowl, be the mentor'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 mentor's bowl and its contents. [C: If the mentor's bowl is heavy or hot to the touch, take his bowl and give him one's own bowl (which is presumably lighter or less hot to the touch) in return.]

"Do not interrupt the mentor when he is speaking. If he is bordering on an offense [C: e.g., Pacittiya 4 or Sanghadisesa 3], one should speak in an indirect way so as to call him to his senses. [C: These two duties apply everywhere, not only on alms round.] (The Sub-commentary adds that, unlike the pupil's other duties, these must also be observed even when one is ill.)

"Returning ahead of the mentor, one should make a seat ready. Set out washing water for the feet, a foot stand, and a towel for drying the feet. Having gone to meet him, receive his bowl and robe. Give him his 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 there long in the sun. Fold up the robes {SC: separately}, keeping the edges four fingerbreadths apart so that neither robe becomes creased in the middle. (One should follow the same practice in folding and hanging one's own robes.) Place the belt in the fold of the robe. (From these statements it would appear the bhikkhus in those days wore only their lower robes while inside their dwellings.)

"If there is alms food, and the mentor wishes to eat, give him water and place the alms food near him. Offer him drinking water. [C: If there is enough time before noon, one should wait by the mentor 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 eating, then having given him water, receive the bowl, lower it, and wash it properly without scraping it. Then, having wiped away the water, dry it for a short time in the sun's warmth, but do not leave it there long.

"Put away the bowl and robes. When putting away the bowl, take the bowl in one hand, feel under the bed or bench with the other hand, and place the bowl there, but do not place it on the bare ground [C: any place where it will get soiled]. When putting away the robe, 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], place the robe over the cord or rod with the edges away from one and the fold towards one. [C: The fold should not 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).] (Again, one should follow these same practices in putting away one's own robe and bowl.)

"When the mentor has gotten up, remove the seat. Put away the washing water for the feet, the foot-stand, and the foot wiper. If the place is soiled, sweep it.

"If the mentor 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 mentor wishes to enter the sauna, knead the chunam (bathing powder), moisten the bathing clay, take a chair for the sauna, and follow closely behind him. Give him the chair, receive his robe in return, and lay it to one side [C: where there is no soot or smoke]. Give him the chunam and clay. If one is able to, enter the sauna, having smeared one's face with the bathing clay and covering oneself front and back.

"Sit so as not to encroach on the senior bhikkhus, at the same time not depriving the junior bhikkhus of a seat. Look after the mentor's needs [C: stoking the fire, providing him with clay and hot water]. When he is leaving the sauna, take the chair and, covering oneself front and back, leave the sauna. Look after the mentor's needs in the bathing water. When both have bathed, the pupil should come out of the water first, dry himself, and put on his lower robe. Then he should dry off his mentor, give him his lower robe and then his outer robe.

"Taking the chair, the pupil should return first, make ready a seat, put out washing water for the feet, a foot stand, and a foot wiper. When the mentor has sat down, offer him drinking water.

"If the mentor 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 mentor is staying is soiled, the pupil should clean it if he is able to. First take out the bowl and robe and lay them to one side. Take out the sitting cloth and the sheet and lay them to one side. Then take out the mattress and pillow and lay them to one side.

"Having lowered the bed [C: from its supports], take it out properly, without scraping it [C: along the floor] or knocking it against the door or door posts, and then lay it to one side. Lower the bench, take it out properly, without scraping it [C: along the floor] or knocking it against the door or the door posts, and lay it to one side. Take out the supports for the bed...the spittoon...the reclining board (a board or stone for resting the head, arms or elbows) and lay them to one side. Take out the ground-covering, after observing how it was laid down, and put it to one side.

"If there are cobwebs, sweep them out, starting from the ceiling and working down. Wipe the windows, the doors, and the corners. If the wall or floor have become moldy (§), moisten a rag, wring it out, and wipe them with it. If the floor of the room is treated with blackening (polished), then he should moisten a rag, wring it out, and wipe the floor with it. If the floor is bare ground, sprinkle it all over with water before sweeping it, so that the dust does not fly up and soil the room. Look for any rubbish and throw it away.

"Having dried the ground-covering in the sun, clean it, shake it out, bring it back in, and lay it down as it was laid down before. Having dried the supports for the bed in the sun, wipe them, bring them back, and place them where they were before. Having dried the bed...the bench in the sun, clean them, shake them out, lower them, bring them back in properly without scraping them [C: against the floor] or knocking them against the door or door posts, and place them where they were placed before. Having dried the mattress and pillow...the sitting cloth and sheet in the sun, clean them, shake them out, bring them back in, and place them where they were before. Having dried the spittoon in the sun, wipe it, bring it back in, and place it where it was before. Having dried the reclining board in the sun, wipe it, bring it back in, and place it where it was before. (One should follow these same procedures in cleaning one's own room.) Put away the bowl and robes (as above).

"If dusty winds blow from the east, close the eastern windows. If from the west, close the western windows. If from the north, close the northern windows. If from the south, close the southern windows. If the weather is cool, open the windows by day and close them at night. If the weather is hot, close them by day and open them at night. (Again, one should follow these same procedures in looking after one's own room.)

"If a courtyard is dirty, sweep it (§). If a porch...attendance hall...fire hall (sauna)...restroom is dirty, sweep it. If there is no drinking water, provide it. If there is no washing water, provide it. If there is no water in the pitcher for rinsing [C: in the restroom], pour it into the pitcher.

"If dissatisfaction (with the celibate life) arises in the mentor, 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 mentor, one should dispel it or get someone else to dispel it or one should give him a Dhamma talk. If wrong view arises in the mentor, one should dissuade him or get someone else to dissuade him or one should give him a Dhamma talk.

"If the mentor has committed an offense against a heavy (sanghadisesa) rule and deserves probation, the pupil should make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can the community grant my mentor probation?' If the mentor 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 mentor rehabilitation?'

"If the community wants to carry out a transaction against the mentor -- censure, guidance, banishment, reconciliation, or suspension -- the pupil should make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can the community not carry out that transaction against my mentor 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 mentor behave properly, lower his hackles, mend his ways, so that the community will rescind that transaction?'

"If the mentor's robe should be washed, the pupil should wash it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my mentor's robe be washed?' If the mentor's robe should be made, the pupil should make it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my mentor's robe be made?' If the mentor's dye should be boiled, the pupil should boil it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my mentor's dye be boiled?' If the mentor's robe should be dyed, the pupil should dye it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my mentor's robe be dyed?' While dyeing the robe, he should dye it properly, turning it again and again (in the dye water), and he shouldn't go away until, (after hanging the mentor's dyed robe out to dry,) the drips have ceased.

"Without having taken the mentor's leave, the pupil should not give an alms bowl to anyone [C: on bad terms with the mentor] nor should he receive an alms bowl from that person. He should not give/receive a robe/robe-material ... a requisite to/from that person. He should not cut that person's hair nor have his own hair cut by that person. He should not look after that person's needs or have that person look after his own needs. He should not act as that person's agent or have that person act as his own agent. He should not be that person's attendant or take that person as his own attendant. He should not bring back alms food for that person or have that person bring back alms food for him.

"Without having taken the mentor's leave, he should not enter a town, should not go to a cemetery, should not leave the district.

"If the mentor is ill, he should tend to him as long as life lasts; he should stay with him until he recovers.

[Cv.VIII.11.2-18]


Mentors' Duties

"The pupil should be helped, assisted, with recitation, interrogation, exhortation, instruction. If the mentor has a bowl but the pupil does not, the mentor should give a bowl to the pupil, or he should make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can a bowl be procured for my pupil?' If the mentor has a robe/robe-material ... requisite but the pupil does not, the mentor should give a 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 mentor should (perform services that pupil performs for him, from attending to him in the morning to cleaning the room and grounds, except that he does not go as the pupil's attendant on the alms round, and he is not forbidden from interrupting the pupil while the latter is speaking.)

"If dissatisfaction (with the celibate life) arises in the pupil, the mentor 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 mentor should dispel it or get someone else to dispel it or he should give him a Dhamma talk. If wrong view arises in the pupil, the mentor should dissuade him or get someone else to dissuade him or he should give him a Dhamma talk.

"If the pupil has committed an offense against a heavy (sanghadisesa) rule and deserves probation, the mentor 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 mentor 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, guidance, banishment, reconciliation, or suspension -- the mentor 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 mentor 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 mentor should wash it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my pupil's robe be washed?' If the pupil's robe should be made, the mentor should make it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my pupil's robe be made?' If the pupil's dye should be boiled, the mentor should boil it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my pupil's dye be boiled?' If the pupil's robe should be dyed, the mentor should dye it or make an effort, (thinking,) 'How can my pupil's robe be dyed?' While dyeing the robe, he should dye it properly, turning it again and again [C: in the dye water], and he shouldn't go away until (after hanging the dyed robe out to dry) the drips have ceased.

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

[Cv.VIII.12.2-11]

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
Tolerance and Diversity by Bhikkhu Bodhi


Meditation | Resources | Pali Canon | Training | Parisa
Audio | Links | Books | Newsletter | Feedback | Donate
to know - to shape - to liberate


Site Copyright © 2017, Vipassana Fellowship Ltd.     [Terms of Service]