It goes without saying that knowing where Sakyamuni spent the rain retreat in each ofthe forty-five years following his enlightenment is useful for reconstructing Sakyamuni's actionsas recorded in the early Buddhist scriptures along a time frame. The only source material that givesthis information is what we refer to as "traditions concerning locations of the rain retreats", whichtell how many times a retreat was held at a particular place. However, because these traditionsfirst emerged in commentaries made a considerable time after the early scriptures were edited, it isundeniable that they were products of later ages.In order to evaluate these traditions as source material, it is essential that we know what they werebased on and how they were formed. Obviously the leading contender as such a source is the earlyscriptures. If the traditions correspond to information there, we could draw the conclusion that theywere written based on those scriptures, and so are reliable. If on the other hand they do not agree,we must inquire again into their origins and formative process.
In Article 5, we arranged variations of the traditions to look at the relationship between thedifferent location names, and gathered together all the accounts in the early scriptures describingthe places where the Buddha spent the rainy season. By comparing them, we suggested that anylink between them was of doubtful probability. Nevertheless, the records of rain retreats found inthe early scriptures are themselves not necessarily consistent. For example, descriptions in the Palitexts and the Chinese translations of the same episode may vary, according to a particular writing:the location of the rain retreat may not be mentioned, or different sources give different names.Therefore we feel there is a great necessity to examine descriptions of the rain retreats in the earlyscriptures very closely.
In order to collect all the descriptions of the rain retreat in the early scriptures without any omission,we have refined our research to reexamine the style that forms their underlying basis. In thiscollection of source material, we have identified the following patterns:
1. The place where Sakyamuni spent the rain retreat is clearly specified
2. Where Sakyamuni spent the confessional ceremony at the end of the rain retreat (pavāraṇā) at acertain place, this place is where he spent the rain retreat.
3. When Sakyamuni was at a certain place, certain bhikkhus spent the rain retreat at that place
4. When Sakyamuni was at a certain place, certain bhikkhus made robes (kathina)
5. When Sakyamuni was at Place A, a certain person invited him to spend the rain retreat at Place B,and he accepted: in that case, Place B is the location of the rain retreat
6. A certain bhikkhu, wanting to enter the rain retreat, went to meet Sakyamuni who was theresiding at a certain place
7. A certain bhikkhu came to visit Sakyamuni at a certain place after the end of the rain retreat
8. Sakyamuni stayed in a particular place for three or four months, or even longer (for example,seven months)
9. When Sakyamuni was at a certain place, certain bhikkhus stayed at the place for three or fourmonths
10. Items concerning the pavāraṇā ceremony
11. When Sakyamuni spent the komudī (the full-moon day in the month of Kattika), that was wherehe spent the rain retreat that year
12.Where Sakyamuni spoke the following words to a certain bhikkhu who had come to visit him:"Do things go well with you, Bhikkhu? Do you get enough to support your life? Have you madeyour journey with not too great fatigue?"（ kacci bhikkhu khamanīyaṃ, kacci yāpanīyaṃ, kacciappakilamathena addhānaṃ āgato, kuto ca tvaṃ bhikkhu āgacchasi). This is a set expression thatis found often. It is also connected with the "custom of the Tathāgatas". (Note: "The Tathāgatassometimes ask about what they know; sometimes they do not ask about what they know. Theyunderstand the right time when to ask, and they understand the right time when not to ask. . . . Fortwo purposes the blessed Buddhas put questions to the Bhikkhus, when they intend to preach thedoctrine or when they intend to institute a rule of conduct to their disciples.")
13. A certain bhikkhu comes to where Sakyamuni is and asks nanda (or another disciple): "Friend nanda, it is long, since we heard the Teaching from the Blessed One. Good it would be if we couldhear a discourse from the Blessed One" (cirassutā kho no . . . bhagavato sammukhā dhammī kathā).
14. When Sakyamuni is at a certain place, certain bhikkus come wanting to enter the rainy seasonretreat
15. When Sakyamuni had nanda assemble the bhikkhus in the vicinity in a lecture hall and hear adiscourse
The information thus received can be classified into five cases (see Contents)
(1) Features held in common between the Pali materials and the Chinese materials: Both the Paliand the Chinese sources give identical accounts about what happened during, or before and after,the rain retreat. They also give identical identification of all associated retreat locations. We havetreated Pubbārāma Migāramātupāsāda to be the same as Savatthi, and the Veluvana Park and theVulture Peak to be the same as Rājagaha.
(2) Features held partially in common between the Pali materials and the Chinese materials: BothPali and Chinese texts give the same rain retreat accounts. However, locations are partially orcompletely different.
(3) Features passed down in the Pali materials alone: The rain retreat account has been found onlyin the Pali text. The Chinese texts either do not refer to it specifically, or fail to include the episodeas a whole.
(4) Features passed down in the Chinese materials alone: The rain retreat account has been foundonly in the Chinese text. The Pali texts either do not refer to it specifically, or fail to include theepisode as a whole.
(5) Others: Formats associated with the episodes may appear, but it is doubtful they referred to therain retreat. Reasons for this evaluation are given in a note below the material. Here we can findmaterial from all the above four classifications.These documents are not presented, as in Article 5, according to place name. Rather, rain retreatepisodes have been arranged according to content so that differences and similarities may be seenat a glance. Reference can also be made to materials which do not mention the rain retreat. Also, wehave ordered the patterns we have employed as an aid to judging the reliability of a description, sothat even if the location of a retreat is not mentioned we can make a hypothesis about it.