Thursday, July 7, 2011


Translated from the Pali
Kandy Sri Lanka


1. [59] Now while a meditator is engaged in the pursuit of virtue, he
should set about undertaking the ascetic practices in order to perfect
those special qualities of fewness of wishes, contentment, etc., by which
the virtue of the kind already described is cleansed. For when his virtue
is thus washed clean of stains by the waters of such special qualities as
fewness of wishes, contentment, effacement, seclusion, dispersal, en-
ergy, and modest needs, it will become quite purified; and his vows will
succeed as well. And so, when his whole behaviour has been purified by
the special quality of blameless virtue and vows and he has become
established in the [first] three of the ancient noble ones' heritages, he
may become worthy to attain to the fourth called * delight in develop-
ment' (A.ii,27). We shall therefore begin the explanation of the ascetic
2. Thirteen kinds of ascetic practices have been allowed by the Blessed
One to clansmen who have given up the things of the flesh and, regard-
less of body and life, are desirous of undertaking a practice in conform-
ity [with their aim]. They are:
i. the refuse-rag-wearer's practice,
ii. the triple-robe-wearer's practice,
iii. the alms-food-eater's practice,
iv. the house-to-house-seeker's practice,
v. the one-sessioner's practice,
vi. the bowl-food-eater's practice,
vii. the later-food-refuser's practice,
viii. the forest-dweller's practice,
ix. the tree-root-dweller's practice,
x. the open-air-dweller's practice,
xi. the charnel-ground-dweller's practice,
xii. the any-bed-user's practice,
xiii. the sitter's practice.
3. Herein:
(1) As to meaning, (2) characteristic, et cetera,
(3) The undertaking and directions,
And then the grade, and breach as well,

And benefits of each besides,
(4) As to the profitable triad,
(5) 'Ascetic' and so on distinguished,
(6) And as to groups, and also (7) singly,
The exposition should be known. [60]
4. 1. Herein, as to meaning, in the first place.
i. It is 'refuse' (pamsukula) since, owing to its being found on
refuse in any such place as a street, a charnel ground, or a midden, it
belongs, as it were, to the refuse in the sense of being dumped in any one
of these places. Or alternatively: like refuse it gets to a vile state (PAMSU
viya KUcchitabhdvam ULAti), thus it is 'refuse' (pamsukula); it goes to
a vile state, is what is meant. The wearing of a refuse-[rag], which has
acquired its derivative name
in this way, is 'refuse-[rag-wearing]'
(pamsukula). That is his habit, thus he is a 'refuse-[rag-wear-]er'
(pamsukulika). The practice (ahga) of the refuse-[rag-wear-]er is the
*refuse-[rag-wear-]er's practice' (pamsukulikanga). It is the action that is
called the 'practice'. Therefore it should be understood as a term for that
by undertaking which one becomes a refuse-[rag-wear-]er.
ii. In the same way, he has the habit of [wearing] the triple robe
(ti-civara)—in other words, the cloak of patches, the upper garment, and
the inner clothing—, thus he is a *triple-robe-[wear-]er' (tecivarika). His
practice is called the 'triple-robe-wearer's practice'.
5. iii. The dropping (pdta) of the lumps (pinda) of material suste-
nance (dmisa) called alms (bhikkhd) is 'alms food' (pindapdta); the fall-
ing (nipatana) into the bowl of lumps (pinda) given by others, is what is
meant. He gleans that alms food (that falling of lumps), he seeks it by
approaching such and such a family, thus he is called an 'alms-food [eat-]
er' (pindapdtikd). Or his vow is to gather (patitum)
the lump (pinda),
thus he is a 'lump-gatherer' (pindapdtin). To 'gather' is to wander for.
A 'lump-gatherer' (pindapdtin) is the same as an 'alms-food-eater'
(pindapdtikd). The practice of the alms-food-eater is the 'alms-food-
eater's practice'.
6. iv. It is a hiatus (avakhandana) that is called a 'gap' (ddna).
It is
removed (apeta) from a gap, thus it is called 'gapless' (apaddna); the
meaning is, it is without hiatus. It is together with (saha) what is gapless
(apaddna), thus it is 'with the gapless' (sapaddna); devoid of hiatus—
from house to house—is what is meant. His habit is to wander on what-
is-with-the-gapless, thus he is a 'gapless wanderer' (sapaddna-cdrin).
A gapless wanderer is the same as a * house-to-house-seeker' (sapaddna-
cdrika). His practice is the 'house-to-house-seeker's practice*.
7. v. Eating in one session is 'one-session'. He has that habit, thus he
is a 'one-sessioner'. His practice is the 'one-sessioner's practice'.

vi. Alms (pinda) in one bowl (patta) only because of refusing a
second vessel, is 'bowl-alms' (patta-pinda). Now, making 'bowl-alms'
(patta-pinda) the name for the taking of alms food in the bowl: bowl-
alms-food is his habit, thus he is a 'bowl-food-eater' (pattapindika). His
practice is the 'bowl-food-eater's practice'.
8. vii. 'No' (khalu) is a particle in the sense of refusing. [61] Food
(bhatta) obtained later by one who has shown that he is satisfied is
called 'later-food' (pacchd-bhatta). The eating of that later food is 'later-
food-eating'. Making 'later-food' (pacchd-bhatta) the name for that later-
food-eating: later-food is his habit, thus he is a *later-food-[eat-]er'
(pacchdbhattika). Not a later-food-eater is a *no-later-food-[eat-]er' (khalu-
pacchdbhattika), [that is, a 'later-food-refuser']. This is the name for one
who as an undertaking refuses extra food. But it is said in the commen-
-'Khalu is a certain kind of bird. When it has taken a fruit into its
beak and that drops, it does not eat any more. This [bhikkhu] is like
that'. Thus he is 'a later-food-refuser' (khalu-pacchd-bhattika). His prac-
tice is the 'later-food-refuser's practice'.
9. viii. His habit is dwelling in the forest, thus he is a 'forest-dweller'.
His practice is the 'forest-dweller's practice'.
ix. Dwelling at the root of a tree is 'tree-root-dwelling'. He has
that habit, thus he is a 'tree-root-dweller'. The practice of the tree-root-
dweller is the 'tree-root-dweller's practice'.
x., xi. Likewise with the open-air-dweller and the charnel-ground-
10. xii. Only what has been distributed (yad eva santhata) is 'as dis-
tributed' (yathdsanthata). This is a term for the resting place first allot-
ted thus 'This one falls to you'. He has the habit of dwelling in that as
distributed, thus he is an 'as-distributed-user' (yathdsanthatika), [that is,
an 'any-bed-user']. His practice is the 'any-bed-user's practice'.
xiii. He has the habit of keeping to the sitting [posture when rest-
ing], refusing to lie down, thus he is a 'sitter'. His practice is the 'sitter's
11. All these, however, are the practices (ahga) of a bhikkhu who is
ascetic (dhuta) because he has shaken off (dhuta) defilement by under-
taking one or other of them. Or the knowledge that has got the name
'ascetic' (dhuta) because it shakes off (dhunana) defilement is a practice
(anga) belonging to these, thus they are 'ascetic practices' (dhutanga).
Or alternatively, they are ascetic (dhuta) because they shake off (niddhun-
ana) opposition, and they are practices (ahga) because they are a way
This, firstly, is how the exposition should be known here as to

12. 2. All of them have as their characteristic the volition of undertak-
ing. For this is said [in the commentary]: 'He who does the undertaking
is a person. That whereby he does the undertaking is states of conscious-
ness and consciousness-concomitants. The volition of the act of under-
taking is the ascetic practice. What it rejects is the instance'. All have the
function of eliminating cupidity, and they manifest themselves with the
production of non-cupidity. For their proximate cause they have the
noble states consisting of fewness of wishes, and so on. [62] This is how
the exposition should be known as to characteristic, etc., here.
13. 3. As regards the five beginning with the undertaking and direc-
tions: during the Blessed One's lifetime all ascetic practices should be
undertaken in the Blessed One's presence. After his attainment of nib-
bana this should be done in the presence of a principal disciple. When
he is not available it should be done in the presence of one whose
cankers are destroyed, of a non-returner, of a once-returner, of a stream-
enterer, of one who knows the three Pitakas, of one who knows two of
the Pitakas, of one who knows one of the Pitakas, of one who knows one
of a teacher of the Commentaries. When he is not available
it should be done in the presence of an observer of an ascetic practice.
When he is not available, then after one has swept out the shrine terrace
they can be undertaken seated in a reverential posture as though pro-
nouncing them in the Fully Enlightened One's presence. Also it is per-
mitted to undertake them by oneself.
And here should be told the story of the senior of the two brothers
who were elders at Cetiyapabbata and their fewness of wishes with re-
spect to the ascetic practices (see MA. ii, 140).
This, firstly, is what applies to all [the practices].
14. Now we shall proceed to comment on the undertaking, directions,
grade, breach and benefits, of each one [separately].
i. First, the refuse-rag-wearer's practice is undertaken with one of
these two statements: * I refuse robes given by householders' or 'I under-
take the refuse-rag-wearer's practice'. This, firstly, is the undertaking.
15. One who has done this should get a robe of one of the following
kinds: one from a charnel ground, one from a shop, a cloth from a street,
a cloth from a midden, one from a childbed, an ablution cloth, a cloth
from a washing place, one worn going to and returning from [the charnel
ground], one scorched by fire, one gnawed by cattle, one gnawed by
ants, one gnawed by rats, one cut at the end, one cut at the edge, one
carried as a flag, a robe from a shrine, an ascetic's robe, one from a
consecration, one produced by supernormal power, one from a highway,
one borne by the wind, one presented by deities, one from the sea.
Taking one of these robe cloths, he should tear off and throw away the

weak parts, and then wash the sound parts and make up a robe. He can
use it after getting rid of his old robe given by householders.
16. Herein, 'one from a charnel ground' is one dropped on a charnel
'One from a shop' is one dropped at the door of a shop.
'A cloth from a street' is a cloth thrown into a street from inside a
window by those who seek merit.
'A cloth from a midden' [63] is a cloth thrown onto a place for
'One from a childbed' is a cloth thrown away after wiping up the
stains of childbirth with it. The mother of Tissa the Minister, it seems,
had the stains of childbirth wiped up with a cloth worth a hundred
[pieces], and thinking 'The refuse-rag wearers will take it', she had it
thrown onto the Talaveli Road.
Bhikkhus took it for the purpose of
mending worn places.
17. 'An ablution cloth' is one that people who are made by devil doctors
to bathe themselves, including their heads, are accustomed to throw
away as a 'cloth of ill luck'.
'A cloth from a washing place' is rags thrown away at a washing
place where bathing is done.
'One worn going to and returning from' is one that people throw
away after they have gone to a charnel ground and returned and bathed.
'One scorched by fire' is one partly scorched by fire; for people
throw that away.
'One gnawed by cattle', etc., are obvious; for people throw away
such as these too.
'One carried as a flag': Those who board a ship do so after hoisting
a flag. It is allowable to take this when they have gone out of sight. Also
it is allowable, when the two armies have gone away, to take a flag that
has been hoisted on a battlefield.
18. 'A robe from a shrine' is an offering made by draping an ant-hill [in
'An ascetic*s robe' is one belonging to a bhikkhu.
'One from a consecration' is one thrown away at the king's conse-
cration place.
'One produced by supernormal power' is a 'come-bhikkhu' robe.
'One from a highway' is one dropped in the middle of a road. But
one dropped by the owner's negligence should be taken only after wait-
ing a while.
'One borne by the wind' is one that falls a long way off, having
been carried by the wind. It is allowable to take it if the owners are not
in sight.

'One presented by deities' is one given by deities like that given to
the Elder Anuruddha (see DhA.ii, 173-74).
'One from the sea' is one washed up on dry land by the sea waves.
19. One given thus 'We give it to the Order' or got by those who go out
for alms-cloth is not a refuse-rag. And in the case of one presented by a
bhikkhu, one given after it has been got [at a presentation of robes by
householders] at the end of the Rains, or a 'resting-place robe' [that is,
one automatically supplied by a householder to the occupant of a certain
resting place] is not a refuse-rag. It is a refuse-rag only when given after
not having been so obtained. And herein, that placed by the donors at a
bhikkhu's feet but given by that bhikkhu to the refuse-rag wearer by
placing it in his hand is called pure in one way. That given to a bhikkhu
by placing it in his hand but placed by him at the [refuse-rag wearer's]
feet is also pure in one way. That which is both placed at a bhikkhu's
feet and then given by him in the same way is pure in both ways. [64]
One obtained by being placed in the hand and [given by being] placed
in the hand too is not a strict man's robe. So a refuse-rag wearer should
use the robe after getting to know about the kinds of refuse-rags. These
are the directions for it in this instance.
20. The grades are these. There are three kinds of refuse-rag wearers:
the strict, the medium, and the mild. Herein, one who takes it only from
a charnel ground is strict. One who takes one left [by someone, think-
ing] 'One gone forth will take it' is medium. One who takes one given
by being placed at his feet [by a bhikkhu] is mild.
The moment any one of these of his own choice or inclination
agrees to [accept] a robe given by a householder, his ascetic practice is
broken. This is the breach in this instance.
21. The benefits are these. He actually practises in conformity with the
dependence, because of the words 'The going forth by depending on the
refuse-rag robe' (Vin.i,58, 96); he is established in the first of the noble
ones' heritages (see A.ii,27); there is no suffering due to protecting; he
exists independent of others; there is no fear of robbers; there is no
craving connected with use [of robes]; it is a requisite suitable for an
ascetic; it is a requisite recommended by the Blessed One thus 'val-
ueless, easy to get, and blameless' (A.ii,26); it inspires confidence; it
produces the fruits of fewness of wishes, etc.; the right way is cultivated;
a good example is set
to later generations.
22. While striving for Death's army's rout
The ascetic clad in rag-robe clout
Got from a rubbish heap, shines bright
As mail-clad warrior in the fight.
This robe the world's great teacher wore,

Leaving rare KAsi cloth and more;
Of rags from off a rubbish heap
Who would not have a rot?e to keep?
Minding the words he did profess
When he went into homelessness,
Let him to wear such rags delight
As one in seemly garb bedight.
This, firstly, is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades,
breach, and benefits, in the case of the refuse-rag-wearer's practice.
23. ii. Next there is the triple-robe-wearer's practice. This is under-
taken with one of the following statements: * I refuse a fourth robe* or 'I
undertake the triple-robe-wearer's practice'. [65]
When a triple-robe wearer has got cloth for a robe, he can put it by
for as long as, owing to ill-health, he is unable to make it up, or for as
long as he does not find a helper, or lacks a needle, etc., and there is no
fault in his putting it by. But it is not allowed to put it by once it has
been dyed. That is called cheating the ascetic practice. These are the
directions for it.
24. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict should, at the
time of dyeing, first dye either the inner cloth or the upper garment, and
having dyed it, he should wear that round the waist and dye the other.
Then he can put that on over the shoulder and dye the cloak of patches.
But he is not allowed to wear the cloak of patches round the waist. This
is the duty when in an abode inside a village. But it is allowable for him
in the forest to wash and dye two together. However, he should sit in a
place near [to the robes] so that, if he sees anyone, he can pull a yellow
cloth over himself. But for the medium one there is a yellow cloth in the
dyeing room for use while dyeing, and it is allowable for him to wear
that [as an inner cloth] or to put it on [as an upper garment] in order to
do the work of dyeing. For the mild one it is allowable to wear, or put
on, the robes of bhikkhus who are in communion (i.e. not suspended,
etc.) in order to do the work of dyeing. A bedspread that remains where
it is
is also allowable for him, but he must not take it about him. And it
is allowed for him to use from time to time the robes of bhikkhus who
are in communion. It is allowed to one who wears the triple robe as an
ascetic practice to have a yellow shoulder-cloth too as a fourth; but it
must be only a span wide and three hands long.
The moment any one of these three agrees to [accept] a fourth robe,
his ascetic practice is broken. This is the breach in this instance.
25. The benefits are these. The bhikkhu who is a triple-robe wearer is
content with the robe as a protection for the body. Hence he goes taking
it with him as a bird does its wings (see M.i,180); and such special

qualities as having few undertakings, avoidance of storage of cloth, a
frugal existence, the abandoning of greed for many robes, living in ef-
facement by observing moderation even in what is permitted, production
of the fruits of fewness of wishes, etc., are perfected. [66]
26. No risk of hoarding haunts the man of wit
Who wants no extra cloth for requisite;
Using the triple robe where'er he goes
The pleasant relish of content he knows.
So, would the adept wander undeterred
With naught else but his robes, as flies the bird
With its own wings, then let him too rejoice
That frugalness in garments be his choice.
This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach,
and benefits, in the case of the triple-robe-wearer's practice.
27. iii. The alms-food-eater
s practice is undertaken with one of the
following statements: * I refuse a supplementary [food] supply' or 'I
undertake the alms-food-eater's practice'.
Now this alms-food eater should not accept the following fourteen
kinds of meal: a meal offered to the Order, a meal offered to specified
bhikkhus, an invitation, a meal given by a ticket, one each half-moon
day, one each Uposatha day, one each first of the half-moon, a meal
given for visitors, a meal for travellers, a meal for the sick, a meal for
sick-nurses, a meal supplied to a [particular] residence, a meal given in a
principal house,
a meal given in turn.
If, instead of saying 'Take a meal given to the Order', [meals] are
given saying *The Order is taking alms in our house; you may take alms
too', it is allowable to consent. Tickets from the Order that are not for
actual food,
and also a meal cooked in a monastery, are allowable as
These are the directions for it.
28. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict takes alms
brought both from before and from behind, and he gives the bowl to
those who take it while he stands outside a door. He also takes alms
brought to the refectory and given there. But he does not take alms by
sitting [and waiting for it to be brought later] that day. The medium one
takes it as well by sitting [and waiting for it to be brought later] that day;
but he does not consent to [its being brought] the next day. The mild one
consents to alms [being brought] on the next day and on the day after.
Both these last miss the joy of an independent life. There is, perhaps, a
preaching on the noble ones' heritages (A.ii,28) in some village. The
strict one says to the others 'Let us go, friends, and listen to the Dhamma'.


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