But at that time a certain monk was sick with a disorder of the bowels, and lay sprawling in his own urine and dung. Now the Exalted One, with Venerable Ananda as attendant monk, wandering from place to place in search of lodging, approached the dwelling-place of that monk. The Exalted One saw that monk lying sprawling in his own urine and dung. Seeing, he approached that monk, and having approached, said this to that monk: "Monk, what ails you?" "Disorder of the bowels, Exalted One." "But have you a monk to wait upon you?" "I have not, Exalted One." "Why do not the monks wait upon you?" "I, Reverend Sir, am of no use to the monks; therefore the monks do not wait upon me."
Then the Exalted One addressed Venerable Ananda: "Go, Ananda, fetch water; we will bathe this monk." "Very well," said Venerable Ananda to the Exalted One, and in obedience to his command fetched water. The Exalted One poured the water; Venerable Ananda bathed the man. The Exalted One grasped him by the head; Venerable Ananda lifted him by the feet; they laid him on a bed.
Then the Exalted One, employing this incident as the source, the subject, of a lesson, convoked the Assembly of Monks and asked the monks one question after another:
"Monks, is there a sick monk in yonder dwelling-place?" "There is, Exalted One."
"Monks, what ails that monk?" "That monk, Reverend Sir, is sick with a disorder of the bowels."
"But, monks, has that monk anyone to wait upon him?" "He has not, Exalted One."
"Why do not the monks wait upon him?" "That monk, Reverend Sir, is of no use to the monks; therefore the monks do not wait upon him."
"Monks, you have no mother, you have no father, to wait upon you. If you, monks, will not wait upon each other, then who, pray, will wait upon you? Monks, he that would wait upon Me, let him wait upon the sick."