WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

441

 

 


 

 

Ī 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 Mahā-Pajāpatī 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, Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Tathāgata."

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

And a second time Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Tathāgata."

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

And a third time Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Tathāgata."

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

Then thought Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Tathāgata;" 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 Vesālī and wandering from place to place, he came to where Vesālī was. And there The Blessed One dwelt at Vesālī in Great Wood, in Pagoda Hall.

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

Now the venerable Ānanda saw Mahā-Pajāpatī the Gotamid with swollen feet, and covered with dust, sorrowful, sad, and tearful, stand weeping outside in the entrance porch. And he spoke to Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Ānanda, 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 Tathāgata."

"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 Tathāgata."

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

"Reverend Sir, here this Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Tathāgata. Pray, Reverend Sir, let women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathāgata."

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

And a second time the venerable Ānanda 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 Tathāgata."

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

And a third time the venerable Ānanda 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 Tathāgata."

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

Then thought the venerable Ānanda, "The Blessed One permitteth not that women retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathāgata; 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 Tathāgata?"

Then the venerable Ānanda 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 Tathāgata, 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, Ānanda, if they retire from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathāgata, 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 Tathāgata, 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 Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Tathāgata."

"If, Ānanda, Mahā-Pajāpatī 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, Ānanda, Mahā-Pajāpatī the Gotamid will accept these eight weighty regulations, let it be reckoned to her as her ordination."

Then the venerable Ānanda, when he had received from The Blessed One these eight weighty regulations, drew near to Mahā-Pajāpatī the Gotamid; and having drawn near, he spoke to Mahā-Pajāpatī 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 Ānanda, 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 Ānanda, reverend sir, take up these eight weighty regulations, not to be transgressed as long as life shall last."

[447] Then the venerable Ānanda 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 Ānanda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:

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

"If, Ānanda, women had not retired from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathāgata, religion, Ānanda, would long endure; a thousand years would the Good Doctrine abide. But since, Ānanda, women have now retired from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and Discipline announced by The Tathāgata, not long, Ānanda, will religion endure; but five hundred years, Ānanda, will the Good Doctrine abide. Just as, Ānanda, those families which consist of many women and few men are easily overcome by burglars, in exactly the same way, Ānanda, when women retire from household life to the houseless one, under a doctrine and discipline, that religion does not long endure. Just as, Ānanda, 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, Ānanda, when women retire from household life to the houseless one, under a doctrine and discipline, that religion does not long endure. Even as, Ānanda, 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, Ānanda, when women retire from household life to the houseless one, under a doctrine and discipline, that religion does not long endure. And just as, Ānanda, 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, Ānanda, have I prudently laid down eight weighty regulations, not to be transgressed as long as life shall last."

 


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