The First Khandhaka Sections 11–15
Admission to the Order of Bhikkhus

The First Khandhaka is the first part of the Mahavagga.
The Mahavagga is the first part of the Khandhaka.
The Khandhaka is the second part of the Vinaya Pitaka ("Basket of Discipline").
The Vinaya Pitaka is the first part of the Tipitaka ("Three Baskets"), a.k.a. the Pali Canon.
The Tipitaka is the major religious text of Theravada Buddhism.

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The First Khandhaka (Pali for "Expositions") is quite a long piece (the longest of the four Khandhakas in the Mahavagga), divided into seventy-nine parts, containing stories concerning the origin of the rules of the Patimokkha by giving an account of what the Buddha did following his enlightenment. This excerpt gives the account of the Buddha giving bhikkhus (monks) permission to ordain other bhikkhus, tells of the Holy Triad, and tells of the Buddha's first wonder.

The text was translated by T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg in 1881; the translation is in the public domain. It was taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe13/index.htm. Text in [square brackets] (and all pipelinks) was added and does not appear in the translation; text in (parentheses) does appear in the translation.


11

1 And the Blessed One said to the Bhikkhus: 'I am delivered, O Bhikkhus, from all fetters, human and divine. You, O Bhikkhus, are also delivered from all fetters, human and divine. Go ye now, O Bhikkhus, and wander, for the gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, for the gain, and for the welfare of gods and men, Let not two of you go the same way [this is not considered a general rule, as solitude is not emphasized in the precepts for wondering monks], Preach, O Bhikkhus, the doctrine which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, glorious at the end, in the spirit and in the letter; proclaim a consummate, perfect, and pure life of holiness. There are beings whose mental eyes are covered by scarcely any dust, but if the doctrine is not preached to them, they cannot attain salvation. They will understand the doctrine. And I will go also, O Bhikkhus, to Uruvelâ, to Senâninigama, in order to preach the doctrine.'

2 And Mâra the wicked One went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he addressed the Blessed One in the following stanza: 'Thou art bound by all fetters, human and divine. Thou art bound by strong fetters. Thou wilt not be delivered from me, O Samana.'

Buddha replied: 'I am delivered from all fetters, human and divine. I am delivered from the strong fetters. Thou art struck down, O Death.'

(Mâra said): 'The fetter which pervades the sky, with which mind is bound, with that fetter I will bind thee. Thou wilt not be delivered from me, O Samana.'

(Buddha replied): 'Whatever forms, sounds, odours, flavours, or contacts there are which please the senses, in me desire for them has ceased. Thou art struck down, O Death.'

Then Mâra the wicked One understood: 'The Blessed One knows me, the perfect One knows me,' and, sad and afflicted, he vanished away.

Here ends the story of Mâra.

12

1 At that time the Bhikkhus brought (to Buddha), from different regions and different countries, persons who desired to obtain the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations, thinking: 'The Blessed One will confer on them the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations.' Thus both the Bhikkhus became tired (from the journey), and also those who desired to obtain the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations. Now when the Blessed One was alone and had retired into solitude, the following consideration presented itself to his mind: 'The Bhikkhus now bring to me from different regions and different countries persons who desire to obtain the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations, thinking: "The Blessed One will confer on them the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations." Now both the Bhikkhus become tired, and also those who desire to obtain the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations. What if I were to grant permission to the Bhikkhus, saying: "Confer henceforth, O Bhikkhus, in the different regions, and in the different countries, the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations yourselves (on those who desire to receive them)."'

2 And the Blessed One, having left the solitude in the evening, in consequence of that, and on this occasion, after having delivered a religious discourse, thus addressed the Bhikkhus: 'When I was alone, a Bhikkhus, and had retired into solitude, the following consideration, &c. What if I were to permit, . . . .' (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 12:1]).

3 'I grant you, O Bhikkhus, this permission: Confer henceforth in the different regions and in the different countries the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations yourselves (on those who desire to receive them). And you ought, O Bhikkhus, to confer the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations in this way: Let him (who desires to receive the ordination), first have his hair and beard cut off; let him put on yellow robes, adjust his upper robe so as to cover one shoulder, salute the feet of the Bhikkhus (with his head), and sit down squatting; then let him raise his joined hands and tell him to say:

4 '"I take my refuge in the Buddha, I take my refuge in the Dhamma, I take my refuge in the Sangha. And for the second time I take (&c. . . . . Sangha). And for the third time I take my refuge in the Buddha, and for the third time I take my refuge in the Dhamma, and for the third time I take my refuge in the Sangha."

'I prescribe, a Bhikkhus, the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations consisting in the three times repeated declaration of taking refuge (in the holy triad).'

End of the account of the upasampadâ ordination by the threefold declaration of taking refuge.

13

1 And the Blessed One, after having kept the vassa residence, thus addressed the Bhikkhus: 'By wise contemplation, O Bhikkhus, and by wise firmness of exertion have I attained the highest emancipation, have I realised the highest emancipation. Attain ye also, O Bhikkhus, the highest emancipation, realise the highest emancipation, by wise contemplation and by wise firmness of exertion.'

2 And Mâra the wicked One went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he addressed the Blessed One by the following stanza: 'Thou art bound by Mâra's fetters, human and divine. Thou art bound by strong fetters. Thou wilt not be delivered from me, O Samana.'

(Buddha replied): 'I am delivered from Mâra's fetters, human and divine. I am delivered from the strong fetters. Thou art struck down; O Death.'

Then Mâra the wicked One understood: 'The Blessed One knows me, the perfect One knows me;' and, sad and afflicted, he vanished away.

14

1 And the Blessed One, after having dwelt at Benares as long as he thought fit, went forth to Uruvelâ. And the Blessed One left the road and went to a certain grove; having gone there, and having entered it, he sat down at the foot of a tree. At that time there was a party of thirty friends, rich young men, who were sporting in that same grove together with their wives. One of them had no wife; for him they had procured a harlot. Now while they did not pay attention, and were indulging in their sports, that harlot took up the articles belonging to them, and ran away.

2 Then those companions, doing service to their friend, went in search of that woman; and, roaming about that grove, they saw the Blessed One sitting at the foot of a tree. Seeing him they went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, they said to the Blessed One: 'Pray, Lord, has the Blessed One seen a woman passing by?'

'What have you to do, young men, with the woman?'

'We were sporting, Lord, in this grove, thirty friends, rich young men, together with our wives. One of us had no wife; for him we had procured a harlot. Now, Lord, while we did not pay attention, and were indulging in our sports, that harlot has taken up the articles belonging to us, and has run away. Therefore, Lord, we companions, doing service to our friend, go in search of that woman, and roam about this grove.'

3 'Now what think you, young men? Which would be the better for you; that you should go in search of a woman, or that you should go in search of yourselves?'

'That, Lord, would be the better for us, that we should go in search of ourselves.'

'If so, young men, sit down, I will preach to you the Truth (Dhamma).'

The rich young companions replied: 'Yes, Lord,' and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, and sat down near him.

4 Then the Blessed One preached to them, . . . . (&c., as [1st Khandhakha 8:2], or [1st Khandhaka 8:2]).

5 And having seen the Truth, . . . . (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 9:4] down to:). Thus these venerable persons received the upasampadâ ordination.

Here ends the story of the thirty rich young companions.

End of the second Bhânavâra.

15

1 And the Blessed One, wandering from place to place, came to Uruvelâ. At that time there lived in Uruvelâ three Gatilas ["ascetics wearing matted hair"], Uruvelâ Kassapa, Nadî Kassapa (Kassapa of the River, i.e. the Nerañgarâ), and Gayâ Kassapa (Kassapa of the village Gayâ). Of these the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa was chief, leader, foremost, first, and highest over five hundred Gatilas; Nadî Kassapa was chief . . . . (&c., down to "highest over") three hundred Gatilas, Gayâ Kassapa was chief (&c., down to "highest over") two hundred Gatilas.

2 And the Blessed One went to the hermitage of the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa; having gone there, he said to the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa: 'If it is not disagreeable to you, Kassapa, let me spend one night in the room where your (sacred) fire is kept.'

'It is not disagreeable to me, great Samana, but there is a savage Nâga (or Serpent) king of great magical power, a dreadfully venomous serpent; let him do no harm to you.'

And a second time the Blessed One said to the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa: 'If it is not disagreeable,' &c. . . . .

'It is not disagreeable,' &c.

And a third time the Blessed One said: 'If it not disagreeable,' &c. . . . .

'It is not disagreeable,' &c. . . . .

'He is not likely to do any harm to me. Pray, Kassapa, allow me a place in the room where your fire is kept.'

'Stay there, great Samana, as you wish it.'

3 Then the Blessed One entered the room where the fire was kept, made himself a couch of grass, and sat down cross-legged, keeping the body erect and surrounding himself with watchfulness of mind. And the Nâga saw that the Blessed One had entered; when he saw that, he became annoyed, and irritated, and sent forth a cloud of smoke. Then the Blessed One thought: 'What if I were to leave intact the skin, and hide, and flesh, and ligaments, and bones, and marrow of this Nâga; but were to conquer the fire, which he will send forth, by my fire.'

4 And the Blessed One effected the appropriate exercise of miraculous power and sent forth a cloud of smoke. Then the Nâga, who could not master his rage, sent forth flames. And the Blessed One, converting his body into fire, sent forth flames. When they both shone forth with their flames, the fire room looked as if it were burning and blazing, as if it were all in flames. And the Gatilas, surrounding the fire room, said: 'Truly, the countenance of the great Samana is beautiful, but the Nâga will do harm to him.'

5 That night having elapsed, the Blessed One, leaving intact the skin and hide and flesh and ligaments and bones and marrow of that Nâga, and conquering the Nâga's fire by his fire, threw him into his alms-bowl, and showed him to the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa (saying), 'Here you see the Nâga, Kassapa; his fire has been conquered by my fire.' Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, in that he is able to conquer by his fire the fire of that savage Nâga king, who is possessed of magical power, that dreadfully venomous serpent. He is not, however, holy as I am.'

64 Near the Nerañgarâ river the Blessed One said to the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa: 'If it is not disagreeable to you, Kassapa, let me dwell this moonlight night in your fire room.'

'It is not disagreeable to me, great Samana, but in your own behalf I warn you off. There is a savage Snake king there possessed of magical power, a dreadfully venomous serpent; let him do no harm to you.'

'He is not likely to do any harm to me; pray, Kassapa, allow me a place in your fire room.'

When he saw that Kassapa had given his permission, fearlessly He, who had overcome all fear, entered. When the chief of Serpents saw that the Sage had entered, he became irritated, and sent forth a cloud of smoke. Then the chief of men [literally "the snake among men"], joyful and unperplexed, also sent forth a cloud of smoke. Unable to master his rage, the chief of Serpents sent forth flames like a burning fire. Then the chief of men, the perfect master of the element of fire, also sent forth flames. When they shone forth both with their flames, the Gatilas looked at the fire room (saying), 'Truly the countenance of the great Samana is beautiful, but the Nâga will do harm to him.'

7 And when that night had elapsed, the flames of the Nâga were extinguished, but the various-coloured flames of Him who is possessed of magical powers remained. Dark blue and red, light red, yellow, and crystal-coloured flames of various colours appeared on the Angirasa's [The Gotama tribe belonged to the Angirasa tribe] body. Having put the chief of Serpents into his alms-bowl, he showed him to the Brâhmana (saying), 'Here you see the Nâga, Kassapa; his fire has been conquered by my fire.'

And the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa, having conceived an affection for the Blessed One in consequence of this wonder, said to the Blessed One: 'Stay with me, great Samana, I will daily provide you with food.'

End of the first Wonder.

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