Buddhism: How the Vinaya Shockingly Ends

The actual ending of the book of monastic rules, the Vinaya, has been lost to us. A recent a bit of luck and research allowed for its restoration. The results are shocking. The story follows:

At that time Lord Buddha was staying in Sāvatthi in the Jetavana Grove. A group of monks came to him, complaining that other monks did not wash their feet properly. The monks said: “O Lord, monks are visiting our monastery but they did not remove their sandals before coming in and when they later washed their feet they did not use one hand for sprinkling and the other hand for washing. Also, they smell like turnips and their robes are one inch too long.” Lord Buddha rose to his feet and exclaimed (anachronistically): “Jesus! Day after day you guys keep coming to me whining about this and that. Do I really need to spell out everything in minute details? Do I have to tell you how to chew your food?” A monk interjected: “O Lord, you do not need to tell us how to chew our food because you already told us yesterday. On the left side, we are to chew f…” Buddha interrupted him: “Oh, so yesterday you, Ānanda, were actually listening to what I was saying, for a change! Listen, when I give you advice on how to regulate the monastery, you should understand the spirit of my advice and figure out the details for yourself. Do I really need to tell you that you should eat your food without drooling all over yourself.” Another monk interjected: “O Lord, drooling over oneself while eating is an unforgivable offense. So it has been ordained by you.” Buddha replied: “I was joking when I said that!!! If you drool, just wipe your mouth.” Another monk said, with a glitter of hope in his eyes: “O World Venerated One, what about sex? Were you joking too?” The Buddha replied: “No, I was serious… and this is another thing. When I said no sex, I meant no sex. I did not imply that sex with a corpse was fine, because ‘well, it’s not a real woman’ or some other nonsensical reason. And no, there is no form B231-8A which you can fill to get a dispensation allowing sex. This is just something Devadatta made up.”

The Buddha took a deep breath and declared: “Ok, from now on, I’m no longer giving you advice on how to manage your affairs. I’ve noticed how you’ve already compiled all of my responses to your incessant whining. That thing is more than a thousand pages long, big enough for you to beat each other senseless with it.” As he was leaving, he stopped mid-stride and added: “You know what? Forget all those rules I gave you. Just use some common sense and you’ll be fine. Have sex if you must.” Upon saying these words, he retired to his hut.

Here ends the Vinaya. The Pāli manuscript has a line running across the entire excerpt translated above. A line in the margin says: “Mahāsāṃghika heresy. Do not copy.”

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