told to Buddha, he answered as follows : " You ought
not, Bhikkhus, to tell the resources to the candi-
dates before their ordination. He who does so is
guilty of a dukkata offense. 2 I prescribe, Bhik-
ilbid, I, 30, 4.
a A slight offense for which no penance was required except confession.
THE BUDDHIST ORDER OF MONKS. 137
khus, that you tell the resources to the newly
ordained Bhikkhus immediately after their upa-
RULES FOR THE DIRECTION OF THE MONKS.
The Patimokkha is one of the oldest of all the
Buddhist text-books. The name seems to have owed
its origin to the ancient Indian custom of holding
sacred two periods in each month the times of the
new and the full moon. The Saiigha fraternity made
use of the gatherings at these meetings for confession.
It was at these periods that each monk confessed to
the assembled Order the faults he had committed and
received penance therefor. The directions found in
the Patimokkha include not only penalties for lying,
stealing and other immoralities, but the most trivial
affairs of life are given a great degree of importance.
For instance, the whole of the second section is
devoted to directions concerning the rugs of the
monks, and the following rules are a sample of
others: "Whatsoever Bhikkhu shall have a rug made
of pure black wool or goat's hair that is an offense
involving forfeiture. In case a Bhikkhu is having a
new rug made, two parts should be taken of black
wool, the third part of white, and the fourth brown.
When a Bhikkhu is having a new rug made, a piece
which is a span's width, should be taken from around
the old one. If he has one made without taking a
span's width from all round the old one that is an
offense involving forfeiture. Whatsoever Bhikkhu shall
get a goat's wool washed or dyed, or combed out by a
i Maha-v., 1,31, 3.
138 PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
Bhikshuni (or nun) who is not related to him that
is an offense involving forfeiture/' 1
Many pages are devoted to the proper time for
receiving robes, the way they should be made, the
length of time they should be worn, and many other
particulars. They should be made of rags from a dust
heap or a cemetery, or if of new cloth it must be torn
into rags and sewn together. "A Bhikkhu who re-
ceives a new robe must choose one of three modes of
disfigurement either making a part of it dark blue,
or marking it with black mud, or making part of it
black." 2 Many pages are also devoted to the rules in
relation to the shoes or slippers.
In relation to women the rules were very strict,
the monks not being allowed to touch a woman's
hand or walk along the road with her (except under
certain conditions), or to preach the Dhamma to her
in more than five or six words, "without the pres-
ence of a man who had arrived at the years of
discretion." The grossest breach of morality, however,
was ranked with the offense of having* a needle-case
made of the wrong material each one being a Pakit-
tiya. 3 These offenses range in their gravity with the
dukkata, and require only simple confession. 4
It must be confessed that, in some respects, the
law of Buddha was very far from being sanitary.
1 Patimokkha, Sec. iii, 17.
2 Ibid, Sec. vi, 58.
a Compare Aniyata Dhamma, 2, and Pakittiya Dhamma, 45 and 44, with 86.
4See Kulla-vagga, XI, 1, 10.
THE BUDDHIST ORDER OF MONKS. 139
For instance, the following statement is made in the
Maha-vagga: "Now, at that time, a certain Bhikkhu
had a disease not human. He went to a place where
swine were slaughtered, and ate the raw flesh and
drank the blood. Thereby his sickness was abated.
They told this thing to the Blessed One, and he re-
plied : * I allow, Bhikkhus, in the case of disease
not human, the use of raw flesh and blood/" 1
" Now, at that time," again says the Maha-vagga,
"a certain Bhikkhu had jaundice." On this occasion
the Buddha prescribed as a medicine an article too
revolting for description. 2
Although the killing of any animal or insect was
strictly forbidden, still there is frequent mention of
the eating of flesh, and on one occasion it was charged
that " Siha has killed a great ox and has made a
meal for Gautama ; the Gautama knowingly eats of
the meat of an animal killed for this very purpose,
and has thus become virtually the author of that deed
(of killing the animal)/' The offense seemed to con-
sist in eating animals when the monks knew that they
had been killed purposely for them.
"Let no one, Bhikkhus, knowingly eat meat of
an animal killed for that purpose. ... I pre-
scribe, Bhikkhus, that fish is pure to you, if you
have not seen, if you have not heard, if you do not
suspect, that it has been caught specially to be given
"At that time the king's elephants died . . .
when the Bhikkhus came and asked for alms they
i Maha-v., VI, 10, 2. Ibid, VI, 14, 7. a ibid, VI, 31, 13-14.
140 PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
gave them elephant's flesh. The Bhikkhus ate that
elephant's flesh. The people were annoyed and be-
came angry. ' How can they eat elephant's flesh ?
Elephants are an attribute of royalty. If the king
knew that, they would not be in favor/ They told
this thing to the Blessed One. 'Let no one, Bhik-
khus, eat elephant's flesh ; he who does so commits a
At that time the king's horses died, and when the
Bhikkhus asked for alms they gave them horse flesh.
Then the people were annoyed . . , and asked :
" How can they eat horse flesh ? Horses are an attri-
bute of royalty. If the king knew that, they would
not be in favor." Then they told this thing to the
Blessed One : " Let no one, Bhikkhus, eat horse
flesh. He who does so commits a dukkata offense." 1
It will be noted that in these cases there is no sug-
gestion that it was not healthful or proper to eat the
flesh of animals that had died a natural death, but the
offense is placed upon the ground that the king would
be displeased if he knew that they had eaten of ani-
mals which "are an attribute of royalty." It is further
stated that they ate dog's flesh, and, again, that they
ate serpent's flesh.
"And the serpent king went to the place where
the Blessed One was . . . and said to him : ' There
are, Lord, unbelieving serpents who are disinclined (to
the faith), these might do harm to the Bhikkhus,
even on trifling occasions. Pray, Lord, let not their
reverences eat serpent's flesh.' In consequence of that
l Maha, VI, 23. 10.
THE BUDDHIST ORDER OF MONKS. 141
the Blessed One thus addressed them : ' Let no one,
Bhikkhus, eat serpent's flesh. He who does so com-
mits a dukkata offense." 1
"They ate lion's flesh, then the lions, attracted by
the smell of lion's flesh, fell on them in the forest.
. . . Let no one, Bhikkhus, eat lion's flesh. The
same thing is repeated in the case of a tiger, panther,
bear and hyena. In each case they are admonished
not to eat the food, not because it was an offense
against the law, but because the animals, attracted by
the smell of their kind, attacked the monks. There
is also, in these sacred Pali texts, a story of a monk
who was sick, and wanted some broth when there was
no meat to be had. Whereupon, a devoted lay woman
cut off a portion of her own flesh, and had a broth
made of it for the sick man. 2 In case of snake-bite,
the monks were given "ashes, manure, urine and clay."
Again, when a certain monk had taken poison,
Buddha prescribed a most loathsome decoction to be
taken into the stomach. 3
They were allowed the fat of bears, of fish, of alli-
gators, of swine and other animals, provided it was
received, mixed and cooked at the proper time. "If
the fat be received, Bhikkhus ! at the wrong time,
cooked at the wrong time, mixed at the wrong time,
and then taken, the Bhikkhu is guilty of three duk-
Not only did they at times use the flesh of animals
which had died a natural death, and take the most
i Maha, VI, ?3, 13. 2 Maha-v., VI, 23, 3. 3 Ibid, VI, 14, 0.
142 PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
disgusting compounds of filth for medicine, but they
were allowed to go to cemeteries for their robes. The
whole of section four, in the eighth Khandhaka, is
devoted to the proper conduct of monks toward each
other during their visits to the cemetery for that pur-
pose. At that time a party of monks went into a
cemetery to get robes, and the others did not wait for
their return. Therefore, they refused to divide the
robes with those who did not wait for them, but the
Buddha ordered them to divide with them. At an-
other time, two parties went to the cemetery, but
only those who arrived first were fortunate enough to
obtain robes, and they refused to divide with the less
fortunate party. On this occasion Buddha's decision
was as follows : "I prescribe, Bhikkhus ! that you
are not obliged to give a part against your will to
those who have gone to the cemetery later than your-
selves/' 1 Not only were they allowed unsanitary food
and clothing, but they were forbidden to bathe at
intervals of less than half a month, except on special
PROTECTION FROM VENOMOUS SERPENTS.
As a safeguard against the bite of the venomous
serpents which infest India, Buddha instructed his
monks to repeat a formula in which they declared
their great love for the four breeds of royal serpents.
"Now at that time a certain Bhikkhu died of the
bite of a snake. They told this matter to the Blessed
One. 'Now, surely, that Bhikkhu, Bhikkhus, had
Ubid, VIII, 1,2,4; 1,5.
THE BUDDHIST ORDER OF MONKS. 143
not let his love flow out over the four royal breeds of
serpents ! Had he done so he would not die of the
bite of a snake. ... I allow you, Bhikkhus, to
make use of a safeguard for yourselves, for your
security and protection, by letting your love flow out
over the four royal breeds of serpents. And thus,
Bhikkhus, are you to do so:
"I love (here follow the names of the four royal
breeds of snakes).
"I love live things that have no feet; the bipeds,
too, I love.
"I love four-footed creatures, and things with many
"Let no footless thing do hurt to me, nor thing
that has two feet. . . . Made is my safeguard,
made is my defense. Let living things retreat whilst
1 revere the Blessed One, the Buddhas, seven, su-
This early statement has been expanded also into
Jataka, in which all the verses which are here given,
and some others, are used as a snake charm. 2 In
another place they were allowed supports to their beds
as a protection from snakes, but they were forbidden
to have them more than eight inches high. 3
THE SERPENT WHO JOINED THE ORDER.
"At that time there was a serpent who was
aggrieved at and ashamed of having been born as a
serpent. Now he thought : ' What am I to do in
1 Kulla-vagga, v, 6, 1.
2 Khandha-vatta Jataka, No. 203, in Prof. Pausboll's edition, Vol. JI, pp.
3 Kulla-vagga, yi, ?, 5.
144 PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
order to become released from being a serpent and
quickly to obtain human nature. ... If I could
obtain pabba^a I should be released from being a
serpent and quickly obtain human nature/
"Then that serpent, in the shape of a youth, went
to the Bhikkhus and asked them for the pabba^a
ordination ; the Bhikkhus conferred on him the pab-
ba^a and upasampada ordinations.
"At that time the serpent dwelt with a certain
Bhikkhu who arose at dawn, and was walking up and
down in the open air. When the Bhikkhu had left,
the serpent thought he was safe from discovery, and
fell asleep in his natural shape. The whole Vihara
was filled with the snake's body ; his windings jutted
out of the window. Then the Bhikkhu thought : ' I
will go back to the Vihara/ and opening the door he
saw the whole Vihara filled with the snake's body and
the windings jutting out of the window. Then he
was terrified and cried out, bringing his friends to the
"Then the serpent awoke in the noise, and sat
down upon a seat. The Bhikkhus asked him who he
was, and he answered : ' I am a serpent, reverend sirs/
and told them the whole story, and they told it to
the Blessed One. The Blessed One ordered the fra-
ternity of Bhikkhus to assemble, and then said to the
serpent : ( You serpents are not capable of spiritual
growth in this doctrine and discipline. However, ser-
pent, go and observe fast on the fourteenth, fifteenth
and eighth day of each half month ; thus will you be
released from being a serpent and quickly obtain
THE BUDDHIST ORDER OF MONKS. 145
" Then the serpent shed tears, and made an outcry
and went away. Then the Blessed One said to the
Bhikkhus : ' Let an animal that has not received the
upasampada ordination not receive it ; if it has re-
ceived it, let it be expelled from the fraternity.'" 1
Important Buddhistic authorities 2 agree that women
were indebted to the good offices of Ananda for
the privilege of taking holy vows. Gautami, who
had faithfully nursed the Buddha after the death of
his mother, besought him repeatedly to allow women
to enter the order, but he constantly refused. Such
was her devotion that she succeeded in gathering
together five hundred women, who shaved their
heads, put on bhikshuni's clothing and followed him
into the Natika country, coming into his presence
wearied, ragged and covered with dust.
Here the faithful Gautami again presented her
plea, but only to be refused as on other occasions.
She, therefore, took her seat outside of the house and
wept. It was there that Ananda saw her, and kindly
inquired the cause of her grief. Upon learning it he
went immediately to Buddha. and presented a plea in
"Ananda," replied Buddha, "ask not that women
be admitted to the order; for if women enter, the
rules of the order will not last long. ... If a
field of sugar cane is blighted, it is worthless, good for
nothing ; so will it be, Ananda, if women enter the
i Maha-vagga, 1, 63, 1. a Kulla-vagga, X, 1, 3; also Vinaya-pitaka.
146 PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
order, the rules of the order will not last long." 1 He
also compared women to the five kinds of dangerous
serpents, the angry, the spiteful, the hating, the un-
grateful, and the venomous. 2 Nevertheless, in response
to Ananda's repeated pleadings he gave Gautami per-
mission to enter the order if she complied with the
following rules :
1. She must thoroughly understand the nature of
a bhikshuni (or nun).
2. A bhikshuni being near bhikshus (or monks)
shall be taught twice a month.
3. A bhikshuni shall not pass the period of was 3
in a place where there are no bhikshus.
4. A bhikshuni during was shall be sufficiently sep-
arated from the bhikshus, so as not to hear them or
5. A bhikshuni by words reviving recollections shall
not damage the morals of a bhikshu.
6. A bhikshuni shall not be wrathful, abusive, nor
do anything sinful.
7. A bhikshuni shall confess her sins to a bhikshu
8. A bhikshuni, though she has been ordained a
hundred years, shall always speak kindly to a bhikshu,
even if he be recently ordained. She shall honor him,
rise up before him, reverence him, and bow down to
Gautami accepted these conditions, and she and
1 Vinaya-pitaka, f. 330a.
2 Tibetan Dulva, X, f . 1276.
3 The period called "*0as" is, in Ceylon, the finest part of the year. It
includes the four rainy months from June to October.
4 Dulva, f. 331. Also Kulla-v., 10, 1, 4.
THE BUDDHIST ORDER OF MONKS. 147
others were permitted to take the vows. Afterward,
however, Ananda was bitterly reproached for his
agency in the matter of having an order of nuns
founded. Kasyapa is represented as saying to him :
" Ananda, thou wast the Blessed One's close attendant
. . . but if thou sayest that thou hast done no
wrong to the congregation, how comes it that when
the Blessed One said that women were as dangerous
as snakes, and said it would be wrong to admit them
to the order, thou didst ask that they might be
allowed to enter it ? "
"Bear with me awhile," replied Ananda. "I
thought of all that Gautami had endured, and how it
was she that had nursed the Blessed One when his
mother died. I only asked that women who are rela-
tives and friends might enter the order surely that
was no subject of shame."
Although he had given permission for women to
take the vows in compliance with the constant en-
treaty of Ananda and the woman to whom he was
indebted for his continued existence after the death of
his mother, still Buddha also censured Ananda for his
part in the matter, and it was upon this occasion that
Buddha uttered the memorable prophecy that his doc-
trine would continue only five hundred years.
" If, Ananda, women had not received permission to
go out from the household life and enter the homeless
state under the doctrine and discipline of the Tatha-
gata, then would the pure religion have lasted long,
148 PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
the good law would have stood fast for a thousand
years. But since, Ananda, women have now received
that permission, the pure religion, Ananda, will not
now last so long, the good law will now stand fast for
only five hundred years." 1
RESULTS OF MONKHOOD.
It must be confessed that Buddha was a woman-
hater as well as a hater of the marriage covenant, and
his Order of Monks resulted to a great extent in moral
disaster. In herding men together and depriving them
of the society of womanhood for life, he did violence
to every instinct of nature and invited the worst of
"Of course an immediate result was that, although
according to Buddha's ordinance, any one who aimed
at perfect sanctity was bound to live a celibate life, the
rule against marriage was admitted to be inapplicable
to the majority of human beings living in the world.
The mass of people, in short, were necessarily offenders
against the primary law of Buddhism. Though called
lay-Buddhists, they were not 'wise men' in the Bud-
dhist sense of the term. There is evidence that among
certain monkish communities, in northern countries,
the law against marriage was soon relaxed. It is well
known that at the present day Lamaseries in Sikkim
and Tibet swarm with the children of the monks,
though called their nephews and nieces. And far
worse than this, Buddhism ultimately allied itself with
Tantrism, or the worship of the female principle
i Kulla-vagga, X, 1. ft
THE BUDDHIST ORDEK OF MONKS. 149
(sakti), and under its sanction encouraged the grossest
violations of decency and the worst forms of prof-
Scholars have called attention to the "collection of
moral horrors existing in some parts of the Parajika
books the disgusting detail of every conceivable form
of revolting vice, supposed to be perpetrated or perpe-
trable by the monks." 2
"It is, indeed," says Williams, "one of the strange
phenomena of the present day that even educated peo-
ple are apt to fall into raptures over the precepts of
Buddhism, attracted by the bright gems which its
admirers delight in culling out of its moral code, and
in displaying ostentatiously, while keeping out of
sight all its dark spots, all its trivialities and senseless
repetitions; not to speak of all those evidences of deep
corruption beneath a whited surface all those signifi-
cant precepts and prohibitions in its books of disci-
pline, which, indeed, no Christian could soil his lips by
i Williams, B., p. 152.
a Ibid, n. p. 543. Also Columbo, " Nineteenth Century," July, 1888.
EARLY BUDDHIST LITERATURE.
LITERARY ACTIVITY IN THE EAST THE ART OF
WRITING EXTENT OF THE BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES
THE DATE OF THE CANON THE TRI-PITAKA
THE VINAYA TEXTS CARE OF THE BOWLS TOOTH
STICKS THE WONDERS OF BUDDHA GREAT EFFI-
CACY OF RECITATION INTEGRITY OF THE TEXT.
rriHERE was a period of great intellectual activity in
A- the East about five hundred years before Christ.
Within a few decades, before and after this date, we
find many prominent teachers and also kings, who
were the patrons of letters.
Persia had her Zoroaster, and under Darius a col-
lection of texts in the Aryan language was made and
promulgated throughout the empire. The Hebrews had
their Daniel, whose influence was felt at the court of
the king, who held him captive ; and China had Con-
fucius, who was the exponent of her laws. Greece
had her Pythagoras and her Socrates, while, according
to Mitford, no Grecian state had its laws put in writ-
ing until about the same period.
In India this period was marked by the formation
of the Upanishads, which contain the doctrinal portion
of the Vedas, and it also witnessed the reformation of
EARLY BUDDHIST LITERATURE. 151
Buddha, who led the reaction against the tyranny of
the Brahmanic priesthood. Here were the beginnings
of a literature radically different from the hymns of
the Vedas, although Buddhism is largely indebted to
the philosophy of the Brahmans.
There is a sublimity in the early Vedic hymns
which is lacking in most of the later productions, and
the genuine eloquence which is sometimes found in
the extravagant description of Buddhist writers too
often degenerates into coarse or commonplace expres-
sions. Still, there are beautiful thoughts, which are
worthy of a place in any school of letters, and we find
also many admonitions to purity of thought and life,
which, although not original with Buddha, belong to
the universal code of ethics.
Various portions of the early literature of Bud-
dhism have been considered in the foregoing pages ; l
there should be, however, some classification of the
books belonging to the sacred canon.
It will be remembered that no claim of inspiration
is made for these writings. This would have been in-
consistent with the whole tenor of the teaching of a
man who recognized no God higher than himself.
The fact that these maxims and traditions were taught
for generations, by recital only, may account for the
constant repetitions which everywhere meet the eye,
and were, perhaps, introduced as aids to the memory.
THE ART OF WRITING.
Max Muller claims that the practice of writing
"came in toward the latter part of the Sutra period," 2
l See pp. 45, 77, 85, 104. a Sutra period, about 500 B.C.
18% PRIMITIVE BUDDHISM.
while Oldenberg and Rhys Davids 1 argue that the art
was unknown in India during the age of Buddha,
and for a long time afterward. This statement is
questioned by Williams 2 and others ; still it is certain
that for some time after writing was known, it was
considered desecration to make use of it for the pres-
ervation of the sacred books. 3
Although writing may not have been commonly
practiced by the Hindus at this time, still it had
been known in India, for, during the reign of Ahasu-
erus, king of Persia (who has been identified as
Xerxes I), the king sent a written proclamation to
the Jews who were in his dominions, and also to
"the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are
from India unto Ethiopia." This imperial decree
was written in various languages, so that every people,
including the Jews and Hindus, received it in their
own language and according to the writing of their
own province. 4
The Buddhists claim that their scriptures were re-
duced to writing in the first century before Christ, 5
but much of their literature has been produced since
then, and Fa Hian says that even in his time (about
four hundred years after Christ), the various masters
handed down the doctrines by word of mouth through
the whole of Northern India, and had no written
iSa. Bks. E. Vol. XI, p. xxii.
a "The art of writing was not common in India at this time, but it is diffi-
cult to accept the theory of those who claim that it had not been invented."
Williams, B.,p. 19.
3 "Those who sell the Vedas," says the Maha-bharata, " and even those
who write them, shall go to hell."
4Esth. viii, 8-11.
5 See note top. 43.
EARL? BUDDHIST LITERATURE. 153
copies of them. 1 It is well known that among the
Semitic races the art of writing was understood for
hundreds of years before it became common in India. 2
EXTENT OF THE BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES.
It is claimed that the bulk of this literature has
been largely overestimated. Rhys Davids has made so
thorough an examination of the subject that he has
even counted the words in a portion of the Sutras,
and based his conclusion upon a careful calculation of
the whole. "The Buddhist scriptures/' he says, "in-
cluding all repetitions and all those books which
contain extracts from the others, contain rather less
than twice as many words as are found in our Bible,