The First Khandhaka Sections 16–20
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 deals mainly with a few of the many miracles (translated below as "wonders") that the Buddha performed or were performed by other deities for the Buddha.

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.


16

1 And the Blessed One resided in a certain grove near the hermitage of the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa. And on a beautiful night the four Mahârâgas [see 1st Khandhaka 4:4], filling the whole grove with light by the brilliancy of their complexion, went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, they stood in the four directions like great firebrands.

2 And when that night had elapsed, the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he said to the Blessed One: 'It is time, great Samana, the meal is ready. Who were they, great Samana, who came, this beautiful night, filling the whole grove with light by the brilliancy of their complexion, to the place where you were, and having approached you and respectfully saluted you, stood in the four directions like great firebrands?'

'They were the four Mahârâgas, Kassapa, who came to me in order to hear my preaching.'

Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since even the four Mahârâgas come to hear his preaching. He is not, however, holy like me.'

And the Blessed One ate the food offered by the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa, and continued to stay in that same grove.

End of the second Wonder.

17

1 And on a beautiful night Sakka (Sakra or Indra) the king of the devas, filling the whole grove with light by the brilliancy of his complexion, went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him and respectfully saluted the Blessed One, he stood near him like a great firebrand, surpassing in beauty and brilliancy the splendour of the former appearances.

2 And when that night had elapsed (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 16:2]).

End of the third Wonder.

18

And on a beautiful night Brahmâ Sahampati (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 17]).

End of the fourth Wonder.

19

1 At that time a great sacrifice which the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa used to celebrate was approaching, and all the people of Anga and Magadha wished to go to that sacrifice carrying abundant food, both hard and soft. Now the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Presently my great sacrifice is approaching, and all the people of Anga and Magadha will come and bring with them abundant food, both hard and soft. If the great Samana should perform a wonder before that great assembly, gain and honour would increase to the great Samana, and my gain and honour would diminish. Well, the great Samana shall not appear here to-morrow.'

2 Then the Blessed One, understanding by the power of his mind this reflection which had arisen in the mind of the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa, went to Uttara Kuru; having begged alms there, he took the food (he had received) to the Anotatta lake; there he took his meal and rested during the heat of the day at the same place.

And when the night had elapsed, the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he said to the Blessed One: 'It is time, great Samana, the meal is ready. Why did you not come yesterday, great Samana? We have thought of you: "Why does the great Samana not come?" and your portions of food, both hard and soft, were served up for you.'

3 (Buddha replied): 'Did you not think, Kassapa: "Presently my great sacrifice (&c., as above down to:). Well, the great Samana shall not appear here tomorrow?"

4 'Now I understood, Kassapa, by the power of my mind this reflection which had arisen in your mind, and I went to Uttara Kuru; having begged alms there, I took the food to the Anotatta lake; there I took my meal and rested during the heat of the day at the same place.'

Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since he is able to understand by the power of his mind the thoughts of other people. He is not, however, holy like me.' And the Blessed One ate (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 16:2]).

End of the fifth Wonder.

20

1 At that time the Blessed One had rags taken from a dust heap (of which he was going to make himiself a dress). Now the Blessed One thought: 'Where shall I wash these rags?' Then Sakka the king of the devas, understanding in his mind the thought which had arisen in the mind of the Blessed One, dug a tank with his own hand, and said to the Blessed One: 'Lord, might the Blessed One wash the rags here.'

And the Blessed One thought: 'What shall I rub the rags upon?' Then Sakka the king of the devas, understanding, &c., put there a great stone and said: 'Lord, might the Blessed One rub the rags upon this stone.'

2 And the Blessed One thought: 'What shall I take hold of when going up (from the tank)?' Then a deity that resided in a Kakudha tree, understanding, &c., bent down a branch and said: 'Lord, might the Blessed One take hold of this branch when going up (from the tank).'

And the Blessed One thought: 'What shall I lay the rags upon (in order to dry them)?' Then Sakka the king of the devas, understanding, &c., put there a great stone and sald: 'Lord, might the Blessed One lay the rags upon this stone.'

3 And when that night had elapsed, the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he said to the Blessed One: 'It is time, great Samana, the meal is ready. What is this, great Samana? Formerly there was here no tank, and now here is this tank. Formerly no stone was put here; by whom has this stone been put here? Formerly this Kakudha tree did not bend down its branch, and now this branch is bent down.'

4 'I had rags, Kassapa, taken from a dust heap; and I thought, Kassapa: "Where shall I wash these rags?" Then, Kassapa, Sakka the king of the devas, understanding in his mind the thought which had arisen in my mind, dug a tank with his hand and said to me: "Lord, might the Blessed One wash the rags here." Thus this tank has been dug by the hand of a non-human being.

'And I thought, Kassapa: "What shall I rub the rags upon?" Then, Kassapa, Sakka, &c. Thus this stone has been put here by a non-human being.

5 'And I thought, Kassapa: "What shall I take hold of when going up (from the tank)?" Then, Kassapa, a deity, &c. Thus this Kakudha tree has served me as a hold for my hand.

'And I thought, Kassapa: "Where shall I lay the rags upon (in order to dry them)?" Then, Kassapa, Sakka, &c. Thus this stone has been put here by a non-human being.'

6 Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since Sakka the king of the devas does service to him. He is not, however, holy like me.'

And the Blessed One ate (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 16:2]).

7 And when that night had elapsed, the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him, he announced to the Blessed One that it was time, by saying, 'It is time, great Samana, the meal is ready.'

(Buddha replied): 'Go you, Kassapa; I will follow you.'

Having thus sent away the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa, he went to pluck a fruit from the gambu tree after which this continent of Gambudîpa (the Gambu Island, or India) is named; then arriving before Kassapa he sat down in the room where Kassapa's (sacred) fire was kept.

8 Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa saw the Blessed One sitting in the fire room; seeing him he said to the Blessed One: 'By what way have you come, great Samana? I have departed before you, and you have arrived before me and are sitting in the fire room.'

9 'When I had sent you away, Kassapa, I went to pluck a fruit from the garnbu tree after which this continent of Gambudîpa is named; then I arrived before you and sat down in the fire room. Here is the gambu fruit, Kassapa, it is beautiful, fragrant, and full of flavour; you may eat it, if you like.'

'Nay, great Samana, to you alone it is becoming to eat it; eat it yourself.'

And the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since he is able, having sent me away before him, to go and pluck a fruit from the gambu tree after which this continent of Gambudîpa is named, and then to arrive before me and to sit down in the fire room. He is not however, holy like me.'

And the Blessed One ate (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 16:2]).

10 And when that night had elapsed (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 20:7], down to:). Having thus sent away the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa, he went to pluck a fruit from a mango tree growing near the gambu tree after which this continent of Gambudîpa is named, &c. He went to pluck a fruit from an emblic myrobalan tree, &c., from a yellow myrobalan tree growing near the gambu tree, &c. He went to the Tâvatimsa heaven to pluck a pârikkhattaka (or pârigâtaka) flower; then arriving before Kassapa he sat down in the fire room. Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa saw (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 20:8]).

11 'When I had sent you away, Kassapa, I went to the Tâvatimsa heaven to pluck a pârikkhattaka flower; then I arrived before you and sat down in the fire room. Here is the pârikkhattaka flower, Kassapa; it is beautiful and fragrant; you may take it, if you like.'

'Nay, great Samana, to you alone it is becoming to keep it; keep it yourself.'

And the Gatila (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 20:9]). 'He is not, however, holy as I am.'

12 At that time one day the Gatilas, who wished to attend on their sacred fires, could not succeed in splitting fire-wood. Now these Gatilas thought:

'Doubtless this is the magical power and the high faculty of the great Samana that we cannot succeed in splitting fire-wood.' Then the Blessed One said to the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa: 'Shall the fire-wood be split, Kassapa?'

'Let it be split, great Samana.'

Then in a moment the five hundred pieces of fire-wood were split. And the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since even the fire-wood splits itself (at his command). He is not, however, holy like me.'

13 At that time the Gatilas who wished to attend on their sacred fires, could not succeed in lighting up the fires (&c., as in the preceding story [the Buddha lights the fires]).

14 At that time the Gatilas, after having attended on their sacred fires, could not succeed in extinguishing the fires (&c., as above [the Buddha extinguishes the fires]).

15 At that time in the cold winter nights, in the time between the ashtakâ festivals [celebrations at the moon's wane during the winter months], when snow falls, the Gatilas plunged into the river Nerañgarâ, and emerged again, and repeatedly plunged into the water and emerged. And the Blessed One created five hundred vessels with burning fire; at those the Gatilas coming out of the river warmed themselves. And the Gatilas thought: 'Doubtless this is the magical power and the high faculty of the great Samana that these vessels with fire have been caused to appear here.' And the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since he can create such great vessels with fire. He is not, however, holy like me.'

16 At that time a great rain fell out of season; and a great inundation arose. The place where the Blessed One lived was covered with water. Then the Blessed One thought: 'What if I were to cause the water to recede round about, and if I were to walk up and down in the midst of the water on a dust-covered spot.' And the Blessed One caused the water to recede round about, and he walked up and down in the midst of the water on a dust-covered spot.

And the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa, who was afraid that the water might have carried away the great Samana, went with a boat together with many Gatilas to the place where the Blessed One lived. Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa saw the Blessed One, who had caused the water to recede round about, walking up and down in the midst of the water on a dust-covered spot. Seeing him, he said to the Blessed One: 'Are you there, great Samana?'

'Here I am, Kassapa,' replied the Blessed One, and he rose in the air and stationed himself in the boat.

And the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa thought: 'Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties, since the water does not carry him away. He is not, however, holy like me.'

17 Then the Blessed One thought: 'This foolish man will still for a long time think thus: "Truly the great Samana possesses high magical powers and great faculties; he is not, however, holy like me." What if I were to move the mind of this Gatila (in order to show him my superiority).'

And the Blessed One said to the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa: 'You are not holy (arahâ), Kassapa, nor have you entered the path of Arahatship, nor do you walk in such a practice as will lead you to Arahatship, or to entering the path of Arahatship.'

Then the Gatila Uruvelâ. Kassapa prostrated himself, inclining his head to the feet of the Blessed One, and said to the Blessed One: 'Lord, let me receive the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations from the Blessed One.'

18 (Buddha replied): 'You, Kassapa, are chief, leader, foremost, first, and highest of five hundred Gatilas; go first and inform them of your intention, and let them do what they think fit.'

Then the Gatila Uruvelâ Kassapa went to those Gatilas; having gone to them, he said to those Gatilas: 'I wish, Sirs, to lead a religious life under the direction of the great Samana; you may do, Sirs, what you think fit.'

(The Gatilas replied): 'We have conceived, Sir, an affection for the great Samana long since; if you will lead. Sir, a religious life under the great Samana's direction; we will all lead a religious life under the great Samana's direction.'

19 Then the Gatilas flung their hair, their braids, their provisions, and the things for the agnihotra sacrifice into the river, and went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him and prostrated themselves before him, inclining their heads to the feet of the Blessed One, they said to the Blessed One: 'Lord, let us receive the pabbaggâ and upasampadâ ordinations from the Blessed One.'

'Come, O Bhikkhus,' said the Blessed One, 'well taught is the doctrine; lead a holy life for the sake of the complete extinction of suffering.'

Thus these venerable persons received the upasampadâ ordination.

20 And the Gatila Nadî Kassapa saw the hair, the braids, the provisions, the things for the agnihotra sacrifice, which were carried down by the river; when he saw that, he became afraid that some misfortune might have befallen his brother. He sent some Gatilas, saying, 'Go and look after my brother,' and went himself with his three hundred Gatilas to the venerable Uruvelâ Kassapa; having approached him, he said to the venerable Uruvelâ Kassapa: 'Now, Kassapa, is this bliss?'

(Uruvelâ Kassapa replied): 'Yes, friend, this is bliss.'

21 And the Gatilas (who had come with Nadî Kassapa) (&c., as in st Khandhaka 20:19]).

22 And the Gatila Gayâ Kassapa saw (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 20:20[); when he saw that, he became afraid that some misfortune might have befallen his brothers. He sent some Gatilas, saying, 'Go and look after my brothers,' and went himself with his two hundred Gatilas to the venerable Uruvelâ Kassapa (&c., as above).

23 And the Gatilas (who had come with Gayâ Kassapa) (&c., as in [1st Khandhaka 20:19]).

24 At the command of the Blessed One the five hundred pieces of fire-wood could not be split and were split, the fires could not be lit up and were lit up, could not be extinguished and were extinguished; besides he created five hundred vessels with fire. Thus the number of these miracles amounts to three thousand five hundred.

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