1. Now the Blessed One, when he had stayed at Kusinârâ as long as he thought fit, went on, on his pilgrimage to Âtumâ, with a great company of the Bhikkhus, with two hundred and fifty Bhikkhus. And at that time there was dwelling at Âtumâ a certain man, who had entered the Order in his old age, and who had previously been a barber 1. He had two sons, handsome 2, skilled in discourse 3, able, fully educated in all the arts which belonged to the barbers' craft handed down to them by their teachers 4.
2. Now this dotard 5 heard the news: 'The Blessed One, they say, is coming to Âtumâ with
a great company of the Bhikkhus, with two hundred and fifty Bhikkhus.' Then that dotard spake thus to his sons: 'They say the Blessed One is coming, my children 1, to Âtumâ with a great company of Bhikkhus, with two hundred and fifty Bhikkhus. Go, therefore, my children, and taking your barbers' lad 2 with you, collect in quart pots from house to house, salt, and oil, and rice, and meal. And we will prepare congey for the Blessed One when he has arrived.'
3. Very good, Father, said they, and (did so). And when people saw those young men, of pleasing appearance, and skilful in discourse, so acting, then even those who were not willing to be led into joining in the act were led to join in it; and being so led, they gave abundantly. So the young men collected a great quantity of salt, and oil; and rice, and meal.
4. And the Blessed One in due course arrived in his journey at Âtumâ; and there at Âtumâ the Blessed One stayed at the Threshing floor. And that dotard, when the night was far spent, had much congey made ready, and offered it to the Blessed One, saying, 'May the Blessed One accept the congey at my hands.'
Now the Tathâgatas sometimes ask about what they know; sometimes they do not ask about what they know. They understand the right time when to ask, and they understand the right time when not to ask. The Tathâgatas put questions full of
sense, not void of sense: to what is void of sense, the bridge is pulled down for the Tathâgatas. For two purposes the blessed Buddhas put questions to the Bhikkhus--when they intend to preach the Truth, and when they intend to institute a rule of conduct to their disciples 1. And the Blessed One spake thus to that dotard, 'Whence, O Bhikkhu, is this congey?'
Then that dotard informed the Blessed One of the whole matter.
5. The Blessed Buddha rebuked him, saying, 'This is improper, O foolish one, not according to rule, unsuitable, unworthy of a Samana, unbecoming, and ought not to be done. How can you, O foolish one, having gone forth (from the world into the Order), instigate others to do what is unlawful. This will not conduce, O foolish one, to the conversion of the unconverted.'
And when he had rebuked him, and had delivered a religious discourse, he addressed the Bhikkhus, and said: 'One who has gone forth ought not, O Bhikkhus, to instigate others to an unlawful act 2. Whosoever does so, is guilty of a dukkata. And one, O Bhikkhus, who has formerly been a barber is not to keep a barber's boy. Whosoever does so, is guilty of a dukkata.'
140:1 This man is identified by the tradition with the Subhadda mentioned in the accounts of the Great Decease, and of the First Council. See Rh. D.'s note on Mahâ-parinibbâna Sutta VI, 40.
140:2 Buddhaghosa understands this word, which he reads differently, as meaning 'sweet-voiced.' Mañkukâ (sic) ti madhura-vakanâ. We follow the ordinary meaning of mañgu.
140:3 Here again Buddhaghosa gives a technical meaning to the word, unsupported by the derivation. He says, Patibhâneyyakâ ti sake sippe patibhâna-sampannâ. This agrees with Childers's rendering (sub voce) of Gâtaka I, 60; but compare Sigâlovâdâ Sutta, ed. Grimblot, p. 309.
140:4 On the idiomatic phrase sakam âkariyakam, compare Mahâparinibbâna Sutta III, 7, 8 (text ed. Childers, pp. 24 and following).
140:5 Literally, 'this man who had gone forth (from the household state into the homeless life of the Order) in his old age.' But it is impossible to repeat this long phrase throughout the narrative as is done in the Pâli, where the meaning of the phrase is 'expressed by one compound. As the Pâli word vuddha-pabbagito connotes contempt, and even censure (men entering the Order in their old age being often represented as incapable of appreciating even the simplest principles of the 'doctrine and discipline'), the use of the word 'dotard' in our translation seems to retain the spirit of the Pâli epithet, while avoiding the inconvenient length of a literal version.
141:1 Tâta, not tâtâ. It will be seen that Childers is wrong in supposing that the plural form is always used when more than one person is addressed.
141:2 Khura-bhandam; not 'shaving materials;' compare hatthi-bhando and assa-bhando at Mahâvagga I, 61, and below, § 5.
142:1 See Mahâvagga I, 31, 5.
142:2 Unlawful, because one Bhikkhu may not beg for others, and it is unlawful for those others to accept things thus procured.