Re: [Pali] Samghati
- Dear Rett,
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I had always understood the sanghaatii to be
the "patchwork cloak" -- indeed, I used to wear (and still have neatly
stored) one when I was a monk in Japan but the name used is different.
I'll deal with your other points in combination with a reply to Bhikkhu
PS: My study is awash with dictionaries inc the PED
- Dear Bhante,
Your description of the sa.mghaatii conforms to what I understood it to
be -- it was the PED's "waist cloth" that I found bizarre.
As I have intimated, I am working on the Mahayana-parinirvana-sutra
(MPNS) -- an extremely important text that gives some new insights into the
origins of Mahayana and the socio-monastic conditions prevailing in India
around the time it was compiled, circa CE200 - 250. It is very critical of
the state of the sangha of the time -- the section where sa.mghaatiis etc
are mentioned is preceded by a description of poseur ascetics who think they
can impress folk with their attempts to look the part of an other-worldly
sage in their soiled rags and hunger-pinched faces. It then moves on to a
long attack on the vinaya-modifiers -- most likely the Mula-sarvastivadins.
Gregory Schopen, who I recommended recently, has been a great help in
understanding what the MPNS is criticizing. What comes across in his work is
that most viharas were by then thriving business centres, which also
functioned as warehouses, money-lending banks, trading-posts for
commodities, tourist attractions etc etc. All very similar to the big
thriving medieval European monasteries.
> Accepting meat and fish is, of course, allowable for monks as long asYes, but what the MPNS is talking about is monks accepting raw meat and
> it is not the result of slaughtering an animal specifically to offer
> alms to the monks.
fish, storing it, and cooking themselves. The next bit in my quote mentions
sa.mghaatiis. I think what is being criticized here is monks accumulating
whole wardrobes of garments, having them tailor-made, made of improper
cloth, trading in them with other monks etc. That's my straight-forward
interpretation of the mention here. However, there might be an alternative.
PaliYahoo might not be the best place to discuss the delights of decoding
Tibetan but, as with Pali texts, scribal errors and misprints occur. The
Tibetan for sa.mghaatii is "snams-sbyar" but "snums-sbyar" would mean
something like "prepared / cooked with fat", or it could be a misreading of
the original but lost Skt, since the Chinese of the same section refers
specifically to "doing cooking oneself".
> The Mahaayaanists tried to find fault.As a life-long vegetarian, I favour the Mahayana reasons for abstention, but
let's not get involved in this here since it is a rancorous and divisive
> Sesame oil is allowableBut when the MPNS talks about pots of sesame oil, we should be thinking of
vihara warehouses full of them stored for trading as well as monastic use.
So, it's not the oil that's the problem here but the stock-piling and
Finally, I think my puzzling "boiled medicinal ghee" (or perhaps "oil" is
better) is referring to body massage oil (a bit like aromatherapy massages
?), which I believe is not permitted in the conservative Vinayas, as it
comes in a section on items concerned with monks preening themselves, thus:
"who apply themselves to cosmetic preparations, song and dance; who possess
garlands of flowers, betel nut mixtures, boiled medicinal/ herbal oil,
incense and unguents; who learn ways of improving their comportment and who
busy themselves with entertainments."
Sounds like fun ! If all these kinds of things and others had explicit or
tacit approval, little wonder that the Mula-sarvastivadin Vinaya became the
predominant Vinaya in northern India.
- Dear Stephen,
The sa.nghaa.ti is usually worn over the left shoulder by a monk when he is "in
between houses". In Thailand, I remember we would then use a waistcloth to secure it
As such, "shoulder-piece" might be what the word you are looking for.
Stephen Hodge wrote:
> Can anybody improve on "waist-cloth" for sanghaa.tii ? It seems a bit
> misleading to me.
> Best wishes,
> Stephen Hodge
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Thanks for bringing up this interesting subject. So you were
ordained? Hope you find time to tell us all about it (at least in
connection with something having to do with Pali). I love stories,
memoires, reflections etc :-) The same invitation goes to everyone.
> However, there might be an alternative.If I remember from your earlier post, the term occurs in the middle
>PaliYahoo might not be the best place to discuss the delights of decoding
>Tibetan but, as with Pali texts, scribal errors and misprints occur. The
>Tibetan for sa.mghaatii is "snams-sbyar" but "snums-sbyar" would mean
>something like "prepared / cooked with fat", or it could be a misreading of
>the original but lost Skt, since the Chinese of the same section refers
>specifically to "doing cooking oneself".
of a section of the list all pertaining to foodstuffs (from cereals
to sesame oil):
"Moreover, noble son, there will also be those who accept raw cereals, meat
and fish, waist-cloths, pots of sesame oil; who frequent leather-makers,
parasol-makers and royalty, who engage in soothsaying and pharmacology; etc
How much would you weigh in the surrounding context in deciding
between it being an article of clothing or yet another food/cooking
term as in the Chinese (and where the Tibetan might be corrupt)? Does
the rest of the list tend to group things by topic? The continuation
in your translation above does seem to, moving on to accessories and
then occupations. If the list tends to be organized that way, it
would seem to strongly speak for the Chinese. I can see why you'd
like to find the long lost Skt.
Also after reading the varioius responses, I realize I might have
misrepresented Walshe by saying he translated as 'inner robe'. Since
the cpd he translates contains both sanghaatii and ciivaram, and
since he rearranges the order of cpd in his translation, he might
just as well have meant sanghaatii= outer robe and ciivaram means
inner-robe. I just assumed the opposite because of the stock phrase
- Dear Stephen,
My name will probably be unfamiliar to you and most other members of the
list. I have, however, already been a member of this group for some time,
but have not contributed to the discussions so far. Anyway, a short time
ago I acquired an old publication (1975) entitled "A Dictionary of Early
Buddhist Monastic Terms" by C.S. Upasak, and in this dictionary I found the
following information about the
"San.ghaat.ii" which may be of interest to you and the other members of the
"San.ghaat.ii: The upper robe of a member of the Buddhist Order to cover up
the body. It is one of the three main robes (ciivaras) of the Buddhist
monks. (Mv., p. 305)
If the material is new, it is usually made of two layers (Ibid. p. 305).
And in case the material is old, it may be made of four layers; and if the
material is the Pam.sukuula (rag), the layers may be of any
number as according to the need (Khuddakasikkhaa (M), Gaathaa Nos. 52, 53).
The size of the Sam.ghaatii should not be equal or more than that of the
Ciivara of the Buddha (Sugataciivarappamaan.a); i.e. it must be less than
nine Sugata-spans in length and six Sugata-spans in breadth (as this was
the size of the Buddha's Sam.ghaat.ii). If it is so, an offence of
Paacittiya is committed. (Bhikkhu Rule No. 92; Bhikkunii Rule No. 166;
Paac. p. 231; Pm (B), pp. 10 and 52).
In the Khuddakasikkhaa (Gaathaa No. 45) it is mentioned that the
Sam.ghaat.ii and Uttaraaasan.ga
are of equal sizes. The smallest size as given there is four full-stretched
arms and one close-fisted-arm in length; and in breadth it is two
full-stretched arms and one close-fisted-arm.
A Bhikkhu is not allowed to live by keeping away any of the three
Ciivaras (viz. Sanghaat.i, Uttaraasan.ga, and Antaravaasaka) even for a
night. If one does so, he commits an offence of Nissaggiya Paacittiya (Rule
Nos. 2 and 14; Paaraa. pp. 291-295); Pm. (B), pp. 6 and 14; Pari. p.16).
When entering into a village, it is laid down by the Buddha that the
San.ghaatii must be carried along with the other two ciivaras (the
uttaraasan.ga and antaravaasaka); otherwise the offence of Dukkat.a is
committed (Mv. p. 313). Certain exceptions are also mentioned. E.g., when
the monk is sick; or when it is 'rainy season'; or when crossing a river;
or if the Vihaara is safe and well-protected; or when the Bhikkhu has
received the Kat.hina.
As it was the thickest robe of the monks, it was probably used mostly
during the winter season for covering up the whole body from all sides
(paarupana); and the Uttaraasan.ga was mostly used during the summer and
rainy seasons, although the Sanghaat.i was also kept.
The San.ghaat.ii must be dyed with the Kasaaya (yellow colour) and then
'disfigured' (dubban.n.akaran.a) at one of its ends. (Ibid., p. 302).
The San.ghaat.ii should be used very carefully. It should not be used
for sitting in the Pallatthikaa
(squatting) posture. If one did so, he committted the offence of Dukkat.a.
(Cv, p. 306)".
You and the other members will, I suppose, be familiar with the
abbreviations of the references given in the above text, but for
completeness I am giving them here as follows:
Mv = Mahavagga
Cv = Cullavagga
Pari = Parivaara
Paac = Paacittiya
Pm = Paatimokkha
In the Preface of the dictionary the author says that the Vinaya Pit.aka
texts utilised by him are the Naalaandaa Devanaagarii edition (ed. by
Bhikku J. Kashyap). He also used some Pali texts in the Burmese characters
of the Chat.t.ha San.gaayanaa edition and some in the Roman characters of
the P.T.S. where he found this necessary.
This is what this dictionary said about this subject (I especially like the
method of giving its size, i.e. the "full-stretched" and
"close-fisted-arms"). I hope this information will be of some help: I only
wanted to supplement the information already given in the former emails
about this subject.
>Can anybody improve on "waist-cloth" for sanghaa.tii ? It seems a bit[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>misleading to me.
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- A word of warning about studying the Vinaya.
The purpose of Vinaya is to train oneself to abandon defilements. If used
skilfully it is an excellent tool for training oneself in renunciation.
Even a lay person can derive benefit from studying it for this purpose.
However, all of the sectarian divisions and disputes have arisen over
different interpretations of the Vinaya, with each sect doing their utmost
to discredit the other. One should bear in mind the simile of the snake in
the Alagaduuppama Sutta.
"Here, monks, some misguided men learn the Dhamma, but they do not examine
the meaning properly. They learn the Dhamma only for the sake of
criticising others and for winning debates. Those teachings, being wrongly
grasped, conduce to their harm and suffering for a long time. If a man
needs a snake he should catch it with a cleft stick and pick it up behind
In the beginning there was no Mahaayaana or Theravaada. There was only one
Dhamma-Vinaya taught by the Buddha. The right way to study Vinaya is by
practising it as a bhikkhu, and living it day by day. It is a gradual
training, and not something one can perfect until one gains Arahantship.