1. Now at that time the Setthi of Râgagaha had acquired a block 2 of sandal-wood of the most precious sandal-wood flavour. And the Setthi of Râgagaha thought, 'How would it be if I were to have a bowl carved out of this block of sandal-wood, so that the chips 3 shall remain my property, and I can give the bowl away?' And the Setthi of Râgagaha had a bowl turned out of that block of sandal-wood, and put it in a balance, and had it lifted on to the top of a bamboo 4, and tying that bamboo at the top of a succession of bamboos, he let it be known, saying, 'If any Samana or Brahman be an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi, let him get down the bowl. It is a gift to him!'
Then Pûrana Kassapa went to the Setthi of Râgagaha, and said to him, 'I, O householder, am
an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi. Give me the bowl.'
'If, Sir, you are an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi, let your reverence get down the bowl!'
Then Makkhali Gosâla, and Agita Kesa-kambalî, and Pakudha Kakkâyana, and Sañgaya Belatthiputta, and Nigantha Nâta-putta went severally to the Setthi of Râgagaha, [and preferred the same request, and received the same reply.]
Now at that time the venerable Mahâ Moggallâna and the venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, having dressed themselves early in the morning, went into Râgagaha, duly bowled and robed, for alms. And the venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga said to the venerable Mahâ Moggallâna: 'The venerable Mahâ Moggallâna is both an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi. Go, friend Moggallâna, and fetch down this bowl, for this bowl belongs to thee.'
'The venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga also is both an Arahat and possessed of Iddhi. Go, friend Bhâradvâga, and fetch down the bowl, for this bowl belongs to thee.'
Then the venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, rising up in the air, took the bowl, and went thrice round Râgagaha (in the air). And at that time the Setthi of Râgagaha stood in his dwelling-place with his wife and children, and holding up his clasped hands in reverent salutation, he exclaimed, 'May the venerable Bhâradvâga be pleased to descend upon our dwelling-place.' And the venerable Bhâradvâga descended into his dwelling-place. Then the Setthi of Râgagaha took the bowl from the hands of the venerable Bhâradvâga, and filled it with costly food, and presented it to the venerable Bhâradvâga. And
the venerable Bhâradvâga took the bowl, and departed to his Ârâma.
2. Now the people heard, 'The venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, they say, has got down the Râgagaha Setthi's bowl.' And those people, with shouts loud and long, followed in the steps of Pindola Bhâradvâga. And the Blessed One heard the shouts loud and long, and on hearing them he asked the venerable Ânanda, 'What now, Ânanda, does this so great shouting mean?'
The venerable Pindola Bhâradvâga, Lord, has got down the Râgagaha Setthi's bowl; and the people thereof are following in his steps with shouts loud and long.'
Then the Blessed One, on that occasion and in that connection, convened a meeting of the Bhikkhu-Samgha, and asked Pindola Bhâradvâga, 'Is it true, as they say, that you, Bhâradvâga, have got down the Râgagaha Setthi's bowl?'
'It is true, Lord.'
The Blessed Buddha rebuked him, saying, 'This is improper, Bhâradvâga, not according to rule, unsuitable, unworthy of a Samana, unbecoming, and ought not to be done. How can you, Bhâradvâga, for the sake of a miserable wooden pot, display before the laity the superhuman quality of your miraculous power of Iddhi? Just, Bhâradvâga, like a woman who displays herself for the sake of a miserable piece of money 1, have you, for the sake of a miserable
wooden pot displayed before the laity the superhuman quality of your miraculous power of Iddhi. This will not conduce, Bhâradvâga, either to the conversion of the unconverted, or to the increase of the converted; but rather to those who have not been converted remaining unconverted, and to the turning back of those who have been converted.'
And when he had rebuked him, and had delivered a religious discourse 1, he addressed the Bhikkhus, and said: 'You are not, O Bhikkhus, to display before the laity the superhuman power of Iddhi. Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkata 2. Break to pieces, O Bhikkhus, that wooden bowl; and when you have ground it to powder, give it to the Bhikkhus as perfume for their eye ointments 3. And you are not, O Bhikkhus, to use wooden bowls. Whosoever does so, shall be guilty of a dukkata 4.'
78:1 A Burmese version of the following legend is translated by Bishop Bigandet in his 'Legend of the Burmese Buddha,' vol. ii, pp. 212-216 (Third Edition).
78:2 Kandana-ganthî uppannâ hoti ti kandana-ghattikâ uppannâ hoti (B.). Compare ganthikâ at Gâtaka I, 150 = gandikâ at ibid. II, 124, and our note below on that word at V, 29, 3.
78:3 Lekham. It is clear from V, 9, 2, below, and Buddhaghosa's note there, that likhitum is used in the sense of 'to plane' or 'to adze' wood or metal; and the Sinhalese MSS. read here likham instead of lekham. It cannot be 'to turn,' as the turning lathe is quite a modern invention.
78:4 A similar proceeding is related of a Bhikkhu at 24, 1.
80:1 Mâsaka-rûpassa. On the mâsaka, see Rh. D.'s 'Ancient Coins and Measures, &c.,' p. 13. It is evident from the use of the word rûpa here that stamped pieces of money were known in the valley of the Ganges as early as the time when the Kullavagga p. 81 was composed. The word occurs also below at Kullavagga XII, 1, X.
81:1 See Kullavagga I, 1, 2.
81:2 Compare the 4th Pârâgika.
81:3 The use of sandal-wood for this purpose is allowed by the closing words of Mahâvagga VI, 11.
81:4 This injunction is repeated below in the summary at V, 37.