This skandhaka provides information about posadha, the fortnightly recitation of precepts. Specifics are provided for how, when, and where to recite the precepts. Other important themes include territories, taking leave, handling offenses, travelling on posadha day, and exceptional circumstances.
This chapter provides an account of events that nearly led to a split in the Sangha, as well as the reactions of clergy, laity, and the Buddha. It also contains useful advice from the Buddha for dealing with such cases. This chapter is named after the city of Kauśāmbī, the location of the dispute between two groups of monks. One side held that a certain monk had committed an offense, while the other insisted that he had not. The Buddha intervened, encouraging them to resolve their differences by telling the story of two ancient kings who were able to reconcile after a vendetta that had lasted many generations. Despite this, the monks continued their dispute and headed toward a schism. Resolution did not occur until the monk in question decided that he should refer to the sūtras and Vinaya. After doing so, he realized that his actions indeed constituted an offense and repented, allowing restoration of harmony to occur.
This is the fifth and final portion of the Ordination skandhaka. In this portion, the Buddha gives instructions for the ordination procedure, notably including instruction on the thirteen possible hindrances to ordination, the four parajayikas, and the four supports. Numerous other cases arise in which the ordinand is disqualified for moral or procedural reasons.
First published 12-2-2015
During the time of the Buddha, it was customary for lay Buddhists to donate robes to the Sangha at the conclusion of the summer rains retreat. This relationship was strengthened when the Sangha formally receives the robe of merit, or kathina robe, the topic of the present chapter. By receiving the robe of merit, the resident Sangha enjoys temporary exemption from several precepts regarding robes and meals. This allowed the monastics to accept extra robes and share meals with lay donors without inconvenience. These exemptions normally last for five months, although individual monks or nuns would forfeit their privileges if they moved away from the monastery or committed other specified acts.
First published: 7/3/2015
As the Buddha’s original Sangha grew, incidents occurred which made it necessary to create new guidelines and regulations. The fourth part of the Ordination chapter deals with two major themes: matters concerning younger bhiksus, and criteria for admission. The relationship of dependence (nisraya) is explained, which provides necessary supervision for younger clergy. The procedure for the sramanera (postulant) ordination is explained as well as the ten sramenera precepts. Of historical note is the account in which Rahula meets the Buddha for the first time. As we move to the second major theme, various events are described which resulted in the prohibition of various categories of people (such as criminals and officials) from joining the Sangha.
First published: 5/1/2015
In the third part of the Ordination chapter, the Buddha converts his first 1,250 disciples: Uruvilva Kasyapa and his 500 disciples, Nadi Kasyapa and his 300 disciples, Gaya Kasyapa and his 200 disciples, and Sanjaya Vairati and his 250 disciples. King Bimbisara also becomes a follower of the Buddha, and donates Venuvana to him.
First published: 1/6/2014
The Bhiksuni skandhaka contains the account of Ananda asking the Buddha to allow ordination for women and describes the ordination procedure for nuns. It also lists the eight guru-dharmas, as well as the sramaneri(ka) and siksamana precepts. Both parts of the chapter are included in a single file.
Updated 1/24/2015 – With thanks to Ven. Tathaaloka and Ven. Chodron for helpful comments!