from The Chapters on Monastic Discipline (Vinayavastu, འདུལ་བའི་གཞི།)
The Chapter on Going Forth is the first of the seventeen chapters making up The Chapters on Monastic Discipline, a vast work that outlines the statutes and procedure governing life in a Buddhist monastic community, filling the first four volumes of the Kangyur. The focus of this first chapter is the development of the rite by which postulants were admitted into the monastic order, from its informal beginnings to the more elaborate “Present Day Rite.” The posts of preceptor and instructor are introduced, their responsibilities defined, and reliable monks contrasted with immature novices. Interwoven with this nominal theme is a rich bricolage of varied literary elements. These include narrative asides on the follies committed by untrained and unsupervised apprentices, illustrating the need for a formal system of tutelage, and on the problems that arose when nāgas were admitted into the saṅgha. A particular feature within this first chapter, as the first episode of an epic account of the life of the Buddha and his disciples that runs through all the remaining chapters, is a long and fascinating account of the lives of Śāriputra and Maudgalyāyana as young seekers in the spiritual ferment of the north Indian region of Magadha of their time, and what finally led them to meet the Buddha and become his disciples.
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