Acharanga Bhasyam ► Chapter II — Pondering Over The Nature Of The World ► Section — 5 ► Sūtras 104-120 : Non-Attachment To Food

Posted: 24.11.2010

2.104 jamiṇaṃ virūvarūvehiṃ satthehiṃ logassa kamma-samāraṃbhā kajjaṃti taṃ jahā—appaṇo se puttāṇaṃ dhūyāṇaṃ suṇhāṇaṃ ṇātῑṇaṃ dhātῑṇaṃ rāῑṇaṃ dāsāṇaṃ dāsῑṇaṃ kammakarāṇaṃ kammakarῑṇaṃ āesāe, puḍho paheṇāe, sāmāsāe, pāyarāsāe.

The various acts of violence to fire-bodied beings that one commits are: looking for the sake of oneself, sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, kinsmen, wet-nurses, kings, male and female slaves, servants and maid servants and for hospitality, festival gifts, supper and breakfast.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 104

A man indulges in sinful activities related to the world of fire-bodied beings[1] by means of various kinds of weapons. For instance, such acts are lone for oneself, for sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, relations, wet-nurses, kings, male and female slaves, male and female labourers, for hospitality,[2] for festival sweets, for evening meals, for morning meals.

    2.105 sannihi-sannicao kajjai ihamegesiṃ māṇavāṇaṃ bhoyaṇāe.

    Stocking and hoarding are done for entertaining others.

    Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 105

    For the sake of relatives and for entertaining other people, stocking and hoarding of goods are made.[3] The instinct to accumulate is a basic instinct.

    The family is the field of application of such instinct. Human beings amass huge possessions for the prosperity of the family.

    2.106 samuṭṭhie aṇagāre ārie āriyapaṇṇe āriyadaṃsῑ 'ayaṃ saṃdhῑ'tti adakkhu.

    The self-disciplined ascetic who is noble, endowed with noble wisdom and noble vision discovered and identified the pitfall (saṃdhi).

    Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 106

    For the practice of non-violence and conquering taste, the self-disciplined monk who is noble endowed with noble wisdom and noble vision found out that stocking and hoarding were pitfalls.

    Here saṃdhi means aperture or hole. The accumulation of a huge quantity of food by a monk from a particular house, though he ought to get alms from different houses is a dangerous pit that augments the lust for food.

    In those days some monks were used to collect food from a particular house. In order to counter the addiction to food, Lord Mahāvῑra prescribed getting alms from different houses.

    2.107  se ṇāie, ṇāiāvae, ṇa samaṇujāṇai.

    A monk should not accept, nor make others accept, nor approve of others accepting the food that stimulates attachment.

    Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 107

    One should not accept himself or make others accept or approve of such acceptance in respect of stocked or hoarded food.

    2.108 savvāmagaṃdhaṃ pariṇṇāya, ṇirāmagaṃdho pariwae.

    One should comprehend and give up addiction to all kinds of food and live an unaddicted life of an ascetic.

    Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 108

    The acceptance of special food prepared and stocked for close relatives, such as sons and daughters is despicable. Therefore, the monk should discern and avoid the despicable food,[4] comprehend it as addiction to food and source of possession. Thus being unaddicted to food, he should live a life of non-possession.[5]

    2.109 adissamāṇe kaya-vikkaesu. se ṇa kiṇe, ṇa kiṇāvae, kinaṃtaṃ ṇa samaṇujāṇai.

    Not indulging in buying and selling, one should neither buy nor make others buy nor approve of the act of buying.

    Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 109

    The monk, free of the sense of 'mine'-ness, should keep away from buying and selling, that is, he should not engage himself in such acts. He does not buy anything for food, nor make others to do so, nor approve of such act of buying by others. Buying and selling are related to possession. Therefore, such activity is undesirable for a monk who is free of all kinds of possession. This follows easily from the Sūtra.

    2.110 se bhikkhū kālaṇṇe balaṇṇe māyaṇṇe kheyaṇṇe khaṇayaṇṇe viṇayaṇṇe samayaṇṇe bhāvaṇṇe, pariggahaṃ amamāyamāṇe, kaleṇuṭṭhāῑ, apaḍῑṇṇe.

    The monk should comprehend the proper time for the alms-round, the condition of his health, the quantity of food, the proper place of begging, proper behaviour while begging, discipline of begging, the doctrine and the attitude of the giver. He should not have any attachment to alms. He should practise the discipline in proper time and should be free of selfish motive and prejudice.

    Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 110

    On his alms-round, the monk, guarding his vow of non-possession, should be conversant with the various details of the alms-tour. These details are articulated in this Sūtra. For instance —

    1. He knows the time-schedule — he should know the proper time for alms-round of the particular locality. The exertion of one who begs in time becomes fruitful. Untimely begging becomes futile. Says the Daśavaikālika,[6] "You are on begging tour untimely, you do not abide by the proper time, and thereby you are torturing yourself and blaming the area."
    2. He knows his own physical strength. When excessively tired, he does not feel like eating. Therefore, he goes out for alms, judging his own physical strength.
    3. He knows the quality of food he needs. At ordinary times, the measure is distributed as: out of four parts, two parts for solid food; one for liquid, one for air. The measure of food is not the same in all the seasons. It differs from season to season. The measure is also determined by the nature of food-material, it changes according to the nature of foods stuff. For instance, in a balanced diet, there is discrimination of measures.
    4. He knows the place fit for begging. He knows the proper place where the food is to be obtained from.
    5. He knows the proper moment for begging. He knows what to speak and what not to speak, when the proper moment for begging arrives.
    6. He is familiar with the code of conduct. He does not tresspass; he duely controls his senses and does not intently look at the private parts and ornaments of the donors.
    7. He knows the doctrine. He knows the doctrines of his own and those of the heretics. A monk, not properly conversant with the doctrines cannot clarify the question asked by the donors.
    8. He knows the donor's intention. He knows the favourable and unfavourable dispositions of the donor.
    9. He does not have any sense of 'mine'-ness[7] for the alms.
    10. The monk exerts himself for the discipline enthusiastically at the proper time. Under item one, the proper time for begging was identified. Here the proper time for exertion is intended.[8]
    11. The monk is free of all selfish motives and prejudices. He does not accept alms only for himself, but for the order as a whole.

    In the Cūrṇi (pp.79,80), the phrase 'free of selfish motives and prejudies' is explained thus: 'I shall not use the alms alone but share it with the fellow monks'. He does not beg only for himself. This is freedom from prejudices.

    'Free of prejudices' also means freedom from any pre-meditation about the selection of houses for the alms tour.

    In this connection, the case of the monk wandering alone is also mentioned in the Cūrṇi. Such monk is also free of any selfish motives and prejudices, but begs for a life of self-restraint devoted to increasing his knowledge, fortifying his faith and so on.

    The sūtras that follow illustrate the application of the above principle by the monks in his begging tour.

      2.111  duhao chettā niyāi.

      Desisting from both lust and hatred, the monk rightly leads a self-disciplined life.

      Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 111

      The ascetic controls both attachment and aversion and lives a disciplined life. The love and hate for the agreeable and the disagreeable is the cause of accepting the unacceptable. Therefore, the abstinence from both attachment and aversion is prescribed here.

      2.112 vatthaṃ paḍiggahaṃ, kaṃbalaṃ pāyapuṃchaṇaṃ,  uggahaṃ ca kaḍāsa-ṇaṃ. etesu ceva jāejjā.

      He should only beg for clothes, pots, blankets, dusters, shelter, strawmats.

      Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 112

      The ascetic should beg only for such articles that are necessary for sustenance of life, viz., clothing, pot,[9] blanket, duster, shelter and strawmat.[10] He should control his inclination to beg for anything else.

        2.113  laddhe āhāre aṇagāre māyaṃ jāṇejjā, se jaheyaṃ bhagavayā paveiyaṃ.

        He should know the proper quantity of food obtained, as prescribed by the Lord.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 113

        The monk should know the quantity of food needed by him. As regards the quantity, the monk should obey the prescription of the Lord, says the Sūtra. The following quantity is prescribed in the Bhagavati (7.24):

        'The consumer of eight morsels of food each morsel no bigger than a hen-egg, is the eater of the least. The consumer of twelve morsels is the eater of less than what fills his half stomach; The consumer of sixteen morsels is the eater of what fills half stomach. The consumer of twenty-four morsels eats what fills less than the full stomach; The consumer of thirty-two morsels eats what fills his full stomach. The monk consuming even one morsel less than thirty-two is not considered greedy of palate'.[11]

        2.114 lābho tti na majjejjā.

        He should not be infatuated with the gain of food.

        2.115 alābho tti ṇa soyae.

        Nor should he feel depressed for lack of gain.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtras 114,115

        On getting alms, one should not be proud of it. Nor should one feel sorry for lack of gain. One should preserve equanimity, whether one gets or not. The pride finds vent in judgements like: 'I get sufficient food, but others do not'. The judgment of depression is I am unfortunate, and so I do not get enough food'. The Cūrṇi explains the resistence to depression in the verse:

        'If it is obtained, well and good. If not, even then it is good. If not obtained there is increase in the penance; if obtained there is sustenance of life'.[12]

        2.116 bahuṃ pi laddhuṃ ṇa ṇihe.

        He should not lay up on getting excess.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 116

        The houseless wanderer should not lay up food even if it is available in abundance. This rule holds good in respect of clothes, pots etc.

        2.117 pariggahāo appāṇaṃ avasakkejjā.

        Keep yourself away from possessions.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 117

        The houseless wanderer should not hold them as possession when he gets food, clothes, etc.
        The sense of "mine'-ness' like "I myself alone shall consume this food and shall not share it with others" is a kind of possessiveness. "These articles, food, etc., belong to the preceptor"—thinking thus he should avoid falling a prey to possessiveness. He should not become attached or have a sense of "mine'-ness' to such articles.[13]

        2.118 aṇṇahā ṇaṃ pāsae pariharejjā.

        The seer should use the articles in manner different from that of the common people.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 118

        The homeless wanderer perceives himself, and also the ultimate truth. This is why he is called a 'seer'. Such wanderer should use things in quite a different manner. He should not receive them as a possession like the householder. Understanding that these things are religious materials belonging to the preceptor, he should receive them without any kind of attachment or sense of 'mine'-ness to them.

        The principle of impersonal use of articles is worthy of being followed even by the householder engaged in the practice of spiritual discipline. Unlike the householder who uses the articles out of excessive clinging to them on account of his ignorance about the essence of spirituality; the householder who understands spirituality does not do so. There is bondage of karma on account of excessive clinging, whereas the bondage is loose when the clinging grows thin.[14]

        2.119 esa magge āriehiṃ paveie.

        This is the way declared by Jinas.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 119

        This way of non-possessiveness related to the articles like food has been declared by the noble ones. Here the expression 'noble one' refers directly to Lord Mahāvῑra, and indirectly to other ford-makers.

        2.120 jahettha kusale ṇovaliṃpijjāsi tti bemi.

        The way how the prudent should avoid getting bogged down in the mire of possession is declared by me.

        Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 120

        The word 'way' in the Sūtra 119 refers to the way of non-possession. Mere accumulation of things is not possession. The clinging to those things is also possession. When his clinging grows thin the person is not proud of his gain, nor is he depressed in the absence of gain. He does not stock or hoard when he gets in excess. Such person is the seer. His entire behaviour is unlike that of the person under the sway of clinging. In conclusion, it is shown how a prudent ascetic, following this path, avoids getting bogged down in the mire of possessiveness.

        Footnotes:
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        [2]
        [3]
        [4]
        [5]
        [6]
        [7]
        [8]
        [9]
        [10]
        [11]
        [12]
        [13]
        [14]

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