What are eight requisites?
Eight requisites which are also known as eight fold offerings or Ata Pirikara have eight items encompassed in them. Eight requisites pack includes basic eight necessities of Buddhist monks and nuns which are allowed to have as their personal properties to keep the life simple and free like birds. Monks and Nuns are expected to take their ownings wherever they go as birds only take their wings as they fly.
These are the items included in Eight Requisites pack
- An outer robe (Uttarasanga)
- An inner robe (Antaravasaka)
- A thick double robe for winter (Sanghati)
- An alms bowl for gathering food
- A razor blade for shaving
- A needle and thread
- A belt
- A water strainer for removing impurities or insects from drinking water
History of Eight Fold Offerings
According to the Buddhist history the first ever pack of eight requisites was offered to the Gothama bodhisattva by Ghatikara Maha Brahma at the banks of River Anoma. According to the Saddharmaratnavaliya, when the bodhisattva left his castle and family behind and cut his hair in order to become an ascetic realized that his clothing is not suitable for an ascetic, Ghatikara, a friend of the Bodhisattva in the Sasana of Kasyapa Buddha, who attained Anagami and born in a Suddhawasa, learnt the idea of the Bodhisattva and offered a pack of eight requisites.
Why are the items in eight fold offering necessities of Buddhist monks?
The Lord Buddha had approved 9 types of robes for Buddhist monks to use in their day today lifestyle. There are the three main robes of those approved Buddhist monk robes which are also included in eight requisites.
Uttarasanga (Upper robe) which is the outer cloth as well as the most prominent part of the Buddhist monk robe and usually entire left shoulder is wrapped using Uttarasanga and leaves the right shoulder open.
Antaravasaka (inner robe) which is the inner robe and worn under the Uttarasanga to cover the lower body and Sanghati (double robe for winter) is a large rectangular extra two fold robe which is used to cover upper body for warmth.
In Buddha’s time the monk’s main source of food was whatever received during morning alms rounds. Buddha preached that the purpose of morning alms rounds was to prevent monks from being too isolated from the community and to remind the interdependence between Buddhist monks and devotees.
It is mentioned in Vinaya-pitaka thatShaving the head is one of the rules that Lord Buddha imposed on monks and nuns. Monks and nuns are shaving their heads as a symbol of giving up worldly attachments. Hair is one of the most egoist attachments on human body so shaving head is one way of practicing letting go of attachments. So a razor blade is one of the necessities of Buddhist monks.
Needle and Thread
Buddhist Monks repair their damaged robes by themselves. Needle and threads are must needed to repair Buddhist monk robes.
Robe bet is called “Kaya Bandanaya” and it is a piece of simple cloth which is used to wrap around the waist to keep the inner robe not loosened. Buddha has preached that Buddhist monks should not use fancy belts.
In the Old days monks used to live in isolated places and sometimes they did not have clean water. Water was polluted with invisible creatures and dirt. So Lord Buddha advised his monks only to drink filtered water. Filter is used to filter out dirt from water before using water for drinking.
Merits of Donating Eight Requisites to Buddhist Monks
Offering a pack of eight requisites is one of the eight great meritorious deeds.
- Lord Jothi received immense wealth because he had offered Eight folded offerings in the past
- Would be able to receive Ehi Bhikkhu Mahana Upasampada. The Samantha Pasadika Vinaya Atuva states that 28850 monks had been able to receive Ehi Bhikkhu Mahana Upasampada.
- Women such as Banduls Mallika, Visakha and Sujatha who offered ata pirikara received innumerable worldly resourses, such as large precious ornaments known as the mahaliya ornaments.
- Arahath Bahiya Daruchiriya had to find robes for ordination as he did not offer Ata Pirikara to Arahant in the past. A cow with a young calf attacked Arahath Bahiya and killed him. Such things do not happen to a person who offers Ata pirikara.
Where to buy a pack of eight requisites?
There are many online stores that sell eight fold offerings. Most of the trusted sellers are on EBay and Etsy. If you are looking for a trusted seller to buy a pack of eight requisites follow bellow links to find reputed sellers from Sri Lanka.