WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

441

 

 


 

 

I 99. The Admission of Women to the Order

Translated from the Culla-Vagga (x.1.1)

At that time The Buddha, The Blessed One, was dwelling among the Sakkas at Kapilavatthu in Banyan Park. Then drew near Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid to where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near and greeted The Blessed One, she stood respectfully at one side. And standing respectfully at one side, Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"Enough, O Gotamid, do not ask that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

And a second time Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"Enough, O Gotamid, do not ask that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

And a third time Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"Enough, O Gotamid, do not ask that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

Then thought Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid, "The Blessed One permitteth not that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata;" and she was sorrowful, sad, [442] and tearful, and wept. And saluting The Blessed One, and keeping her right side toward him, she departed.

Then The Blessed One, after dwelling at Kapilavatthu as long as he wished, departed on his wanderings toward Vesali and wandering from place to place, he came to where Vesali was. And there The Blessed One dwelt at Vesali in Great Wood, in Pagoda Hall.

Then Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid had her hair cut off, put on yellow garments, and with a number of Sakka women departed towards Vesali and going from place to place, she drew near to where Vesali was, and Great Wood, and Pagoda Hall. And Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid with swollen feet, and covered with dust, sorrowful, sad, and tearful, stood weeping outside in the entrance porch.

Now the venerable Ananda saw Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid with swollen feet, and covered with dust, sorrowful, sad, and tearful, stand weeping outside in the entrance porch. And he spoke to Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid as follows:

"Wherefore dost thou, O Gotamid, with swollen feet, and covered with dust, sorrowful, sad, and tearful, stand weeping outside in the entrance porch?"

"Because, alas! O Ananda, reverend sir, The Blessed One permitteth not that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"In that case, O Gotamid, stay thou here a moment, and I will beseech The Blessed One that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

Then the venerable Ananda drew near to where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near and greeted The Blessed One, he sat down respectfully at one side. And seated respectfully at one side, the venerable Ananda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Reverend Sir, here this Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid with swollen feet, and covered with dust, sorrowful, sad, and tearful, stands weeping outside in the entrance porch, and says that The Blessed One permitteth not that women retire [443] from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata. Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"Enough, Ananda, do not ask that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

And a second time the venerable Ananda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"Enough, Ananda, do not ask that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

And a third time the venerable Ananda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"Enough, Ananda, do not ask that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

Then thought the venerable Ananda, "The Blessed One permitteth not that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata; what if now, by another route, I beseech The Blessed One that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata?"

Then the venerable Ananda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Are women competent, Reverend Sir, if they retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to the fruit of once returning, to attain to the fruit of never returning, to attain to saintship?"

[444] "Women are competent, Ananda, if they retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to the fruit of once returning, to attain to the fruit of never returning, to attain to saintship."

"Since, then, Reverend Sir, women are competent, if they retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata, to attain to the fruit of conversion, to attain to the fruit of once returning, to attain to the fruit of never returning, to attain to saintship, consider, Reverend Sir, how great a benefactress Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid has been. She is the sister of the mother of The Blessed One, and as foster-mother, nurse, and giver of milk, she suckled The Blessed One on the death of his mother. Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata."

"If, Ananda, Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid will accept eight weighty regulations, let it be reckoned to her as her ordination: --

"A priestess of even a hundred years' standing shall salute, rise to meet, entreat humbly, and perform all respectful offices for a priest, even if he be but that day ordained. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"A priestess shall not keep residence in a district where there are no priests. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"On each half-month a priestess shall await from the congregation of the priests the appointing of fast-day, and some one to come and administer the admonition. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"At the end of residence a priestess shall invite criticism in both congregations in regard to what has been seen, or heard, or suspected. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, [445] revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"If a priestess be guilty of serious sin, she shall undergo penance of half a month toward both the congregations. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"When a female novice has spent her two years in the practice of the six rules, she shall seek ordination from both the congregations. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"A priestess shall not revile or abuse a priest in any manner. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"From this day on the priestesses shall not be allowed to reprove the priests officially, but the priests shall be allowed to reprove the priestesses officially. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"If, Ananda, Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid will accept these eight weighty regulations, let it be reckoned to her as her ordination."

Then the venerable Ananda, when he had received from The Blessed One these eight weighty regulations, drew near to Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid; and having drawn near, he spoke to Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid as follows:

"If now, O Gotamid, you will accept eight weighty regulations, it shall be reckoned to you as your ordination: --

"A priestess of even a hundred years' standing shall salute, rise to meet, entreat humbly, and perform all respectful offices for a priest, even if he be but that day ordained. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"A priestess shall not keep residence in a district where there are no priests. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

[446] "On each half-month a priestess shall await from the congregation of the priests the appointing of fast-day, and some one to come and administer the admonition. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"At the end of residence a priestess shall invite criticism in both congregations in regard to what has been seen, or heard, or suspected. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"If a priestess be guilty of serious sin, she shall undergo penance of half a month toward both the congregations. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"When a female novice has spent her two years in the practice of the six rules, she shall seek ordination from both the congregations. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"A priestess shall not revile or abuse a priest in any manner. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"From this day on the priestesses shall not be allowed to reprove the priests officially, but the priests shall be allowed to reprove the priestesses officially. This regulation shall be honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped, and is not to be transgressed as long as life shall last.

"If now, O Gotamid, you will accept these eight weighty regulations, it shall be reckoned to you as your ordination."

"Just as, O Ananda, reverend sir, a woman or a man, youthful, young, and fond of ornament, having bathed his head, and obtained a wreath of blue lotuses, or a wreath of jasmine flowers, or a wreath of atimuttaka flowers, would take it up with both hands, and place it on the head, the noblest part of the body; in exactly the same way do I, O Ananda, reverend sir, take up these eight weighty regulations, not to be transgressed as long as life shall last."

[447] Then the venerable Ananda drew near to where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near and greeted The Blessed One, he sat down respectfully at one side. And seated respectfully at one side, the venerable Ananda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

"Maha-Pajapati the Gotamid, Reverend Sir, has accepted the eight weighty regulations; the sister of the mother of The Blessed One has become ordained."

"If, Ananda, women had not retired from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata, religion, Ananda, would long endure; a thousand years would the Good Doctrine abide. But since, Ananda, women have now retired from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathagata, not long, Ananda, will religion endure; but five hundred years, Ananda, will the Good Doctrine abide. Just as, Ananda, those families which consist of many women and few men are easily overcome by burglars, in exactly the same way, Ananda, when women retire from household life to the houseless one, under a doctrine and discipline, that religion does not long endure. Just as, Ananda, when the disease called mildew falls upon a flourishing field of rice, that field of rice does not long endure, in exactly the same way, Ananda, when women retire from household life to the houseless one, under a doctrine and discipline, that religion does not long endure. Even as, Ananda, when the disease called rust falls upon a flourishing field of sugar-cane, that field of sugar-cane does not long endure, in exactly the same way, Ananda, when women retire from household life to the houseless one, under a doctrine and discipline, that religion does not long endure. And just as, Ananda, to a large pond a man would prudently build a dike, in order that the water might not transgress its bounds, in exactly the same way, Ananda, have I prudently laid down eight weighty regulations, not to be transgressed as long as life shall last."

 


[ Contents ]
[ Back ]
[ Next: A Family of Magicians ]