Buddhist Monastic Discipline

by Jotiya Dhirasekera | 1964 | 113,985 words

A study of Buddhist monastic code: its origin and development in relation to the Sutta and Vinaya Pitakas. The Vinaya forms a part of a Buddhist disciple’s training method, particularly within Theravada Buddhism. This English thesis was completed by Jotiya Dhirasekera (Now Bhikkhu Dhammavihari)...

Chapter X - Penalties and Punishments

In Buddhist monasticism disciplinary action against offenders proceeds primarily from the authority of the Pātimokkha which was promulgated to regulate the life of the monk. However, four different types of situations which necessitate disciplinary action or legal proceedings (referred to as adhikarana) are recognised both in the Sutta and Vinaya Piṭakas

(Caṭtār ' imāni ānanda adhikaranāni. Katamāni cattāri. Vivādādhikaranam anuvādādhikaranam āpattādhikaranam kiccādhikaranam. Imāni kho ānanda cattāri adhikaranāni

- M. II. 247.)


(Adhikaranam nāma cattāri adhikaranāni vivādhikaranam anuvādādhikaranam āpattādhikaranam kiccādhikaranam

- Vin. III. 164. See further Vin. II. 88 ; IV.126.)

They are Vivādādhikarana, Anuvādādhikarana, apattādhikarana and Kiccādhikarana. Of these, the apattādhikarana includes offences which come under the transgressions listed in the Pātimokkha. The Khandhakas speak of this as consisting of the fivefold and the sevenfold groups of apatti or offences which are essentially the burden of the Pātimokkha

(Tattha katamam āpattādhikaranam. Pañca ' pi āpattikkhandhā āpattādhikaranam satta ' pi āpattikkhandhā āpattādhikaranam. Idam vuccati āpattādhikaranam

- Vin. II. 88.).

This, more than the others, has relevance to the personal, moral well-being of the disciple. The rest are Vivādādhikarana or disputes arising within the community pertaining to matters of the Dhamma or the Vinaya, Anuvādādhikarana or accusation of fellow-members and Kiccādhikarana or disturbances resulting from the failure to observe proper procedure in all monastic acts. These latter three adhikarana appear to show greater concern fot the solidarity of the monastic community and the concord among its members.

It has already been observed that the Vinaya Piṭaka takes cognizance of both these aspects of discipline, of the individual as well as of the group, and provides for the correction of offences and omissions which violate its injunctions. Nevertheless, its claim to discipline the Buddhist disciple is only in terms of word and deed.

Thus it emphasises the point that in the achievement of monastic discipline the Vinaya with its additional power of prosecution does not replace the contents of the Dhamma but only helps to augment it. For, it is the Dhamma which takes into its domain the discipline of the mind. Buddhaghosa records for us a definition of the Vinaya which corroborates this

(Kāyikavācasika-ajjhācāranisedhanato c ' esa kāyam vācañ ca vineti tasmā vividhanayattā visesanayattā kāyavācānañ ca vinayanato vinayo ' ti akkhāto

- VinA.I.19.).

Thus all disciplinary action contemplated in the Vinaya would naturally be expected to proceed against transgressions through word and deed. The only notable exception to this assumption seems to be the Ukkhepaniya-kamma or the Act of Suspension, which besides being intended for the offences of not admitting and not atoning for one's transgressions, is also recommended for holding fast to a heresy .(... pāpikāya diṭṭhiyā appaṭinissagge - Vin.II. 26).

This latter consideration, however, is to be placed under the category of verbal offences, for it comes to be declared an offence under Pācittiya 68 only after the wrong view is stated and affirmed and the offender refuses to desist from doing so.[1]

Even at this stage, when the wrong view is challenged by the rest of the community, if the offender is willing to give it up, he is absolved of the guilt, It is his unwillingness to give up his view and desist from saying so which brings upon him the specific accusation under Pācittiya 68.[2]

Under the imposition of Ukkhepaniya-kamma too, the miscreant is first asked to refrain from giving expression to false views and thereby make groundless charges against the Buddha

(Mā ' vuso ariṭṭha evam avaca mā bhagavantam abbhācikkhi na hi sādhu bhagavato abbhakkhānam na hi bhagavā evam vadeyya

- Vin.II. 25. Also Vin.IV.134.).

If the offender continues to do so inspite of these requests then he is punished with an Ukkhepaniya-kamma. For when members of the monastic community hold fast to such views and give public expression to them it would be damaging to the beliefs of the rest.

It would also discredit the community in the eyes of the public. Buddhaghosa appears to see in this Act of Suspension a relevance to the maintenance of monastic concord. The term diṭṭhi which occurs in the clause pāpikāya diṭṭhiyā appaṭinissagge under the Ukkhepaniya-kamma is defined by Buddhaghosa as views which would lead to factions and disturbances in the Saṇgha

(Bhandana-kārako ' ti ādisu yam diṭṭhim nissāya bhandanādini karoti tassā appaṭinissagge y ' eva kammam kātabbam

- VinA.VI.1159.).

Although this offence of holding fast to a heresy is included in the Pātimokkha under the lighter category of Pācittiya offences, yet it is clear from the evidence of the Pātimokkha itself that it was treated with greater concern than the rest.[3]

The Pātimokkha makes no mention of the Ukkhepaniya-kamma in this connexion. However, it is clear from Pācittiya 69 which follows the incident of holding fast to a heresy that the offender is subjected to the Ukkhepaniya-kamma and is punished with a total boycott

(Yo pana bhikkhu jānam tathāvādinā bhikkhunā akatānudhammena tam diṭṭhim appaṭinissaṭṭhena saddhim sambhuñjeyya vā saha vā seyyam kappeyya pācittiyam

- Vin.IV.137.).

In effect, this is what comes out of the Ukkhepaniya-kamma.

The Old Commentary in the Suttavibhaṇga, on the other hand, uses the word ukkhitto with reference to the offender who has been so punished

(Akatānudhammo nāma ukkhitto anosārito

- Ibid.).

This is further corroborated by the Ukkhittānuvattaka Pārājika rule of the Bhikkhunis which refers to the offending Bhikkhu who is not to be followed by the Bhikkhunis as ukkhitta which means that he has been punished under the Ukkhepaniya-kamma.[4]

All these make it quite clear that as a form of punishment the Ukkhepaniya seems to have been in vogue fairly early in the history of the Sāsana.[5]

Buddhaghosa readily indentifies what is alluded to in the Pātimokkha under Pācittiya 69 with the punishment of Ukkhepaniya kamma

(Akatānudhammenā ' ti anudhammo ' ti vuccati āpattiyā adassane vā appaṭikamme vā pāpikāya diṭṭhiyā appaṭinissage vā dhammena vinayena ukkhittassa anulomavattam disvā katosaranā so osaranasaṇkhāto anudhammo yassa na kato ayam akatānudhammo nāma

- Kkvt. 127.).

The code of the Pātimokkha itself, in its details of disciplinary procedure, recommends certain forms of penalties for the categories of major offences. The Pārājika, being the gravest of the monastic offences, admits of no remedies or atonements. The penalty for Pārājika offences being complete ex-communication and loss of monastic status, it is spontaneously brought about by the commission of the crime.

Thus, the disciplinary action on the Pārājika offences requires no details of procedure. The Saṇgha has only to take note of the fact that the offender is no more one of their fold and that they have no dealings with him:

na labhati bhikkhuhi saddhim samvāsam yathā pure tathā pacchā pārājiko hoti asamvāso

- Vin.III.109.

The Vinaya appears to refer to this briefly as the process of destruction or extermination

(So ce bhikkhave cudito bhikkhu pārājikam ajjhāpanno ' ti paṭijānāti nāsetvā saṇghena pavāretabbam

- Vin.I.173.).

All offences other than the Prājika are remediable in that every offender, barring one who is guilty of a Pārājika offence, who submits himself to the specified penalties and punishments and behaves himself in accordance with the law is considered as being purged of his guilt. The Saṇghādisesas include a host of offences for which specified penalties are to be imposed by the Saṇgha,

taking into consideration the circumstances attendant on the commission of the crime.[6]

The Cullavagga draws a definite distinction between Saṇghādisesa offences which are confessed forthwith on the day of commission and those which have been concealed from the Saṇgha for any length of time. They are termed apaṭicchanna and paṭicchanna respectively.[7]

Buddhaghosa reckons this period of concealment as extending, theoretically, to over sixty years

(Tato param atirekasamvaccharam dvisamvaccharam evam yāva saṭṭhisamvaccharam atirekasaṭṭhisamvaccharapaṭicchannan ' ti

- Kkvt. 49.).

However, the code of the Pātimokkha makes no special mention of the former group of apaṭicchanna or offences which are confessed soon after commission.

The Cullavagga which discusses the details of disciplinary procedure in relation to Saṇghādisesa offences recommends different disciplinary measures for the two categories mentioned above.[8]

The penalty that is prescribed for a Saṇghādisesa offence which has not been concealed is a very direct one. The Saṇgha is called upon to impose on the offender, at his request, the penalty of Mānatta for a period of six days

(Vyattena bhikkhunā paṭibalena saṇgho ñāpetabbo. Sunātu me bhante saṇgho.

Ayam udāyi bhikkhu ekam āpattim āpajji sañcetanikam sukkavissaṭṭhim apaṭicchannam.

So saṇgham ekissā āpattiyā sañcetanikāya sukkavissaṭṭhiyā apaṭicchannāya chārattam mānattam yācati.

Yadi saṇghassa pattakallam saṇgho udāyissa bhikkhuno ekissā āpattiyā sañcetanikāya sukkavissaṭṭhiyā apaṭicchannāya chārattam mānattam dadeyya.

Esā ñatti

- Vin. II. 38.).

Commenting on these injunctions Buddhaghosa states that irrespective of the considerations of confession or concealment, the miscreant incurs this penalty of Mānatta by the mere commission of the offence

(Tattha apaṭicchanna-mānattam nāma yam apaṭicchannāya āpattiyā parivāsam adatvā kevalam āpattim āpannabhāven ' eva mānattārahassa mānattam diyyati

- VinA.VI.1171.).

This penalty of Mānatta is also recommended as the concluding phase of the disciplinary action taken against Saṇghādisesa offences which have been concealed and for which the penalty known as Parivāsa is first imposed on the offender

(Parivutthaparivāsena bhikkhunā uttarim chārattam bhikkhumānattāya paṭipajjitabbam

- Vin.III.186.)


(So' ham parivutthaparivāso saṇgham ekissā āpattiyā sañcetanikāya sukkavissaṭṭhiyā ekāhapaṭicchannāya chārattam mānattam yācāmi

- Vin.II. 41.).

In the case of a Saṇghādisesa offence which has been deliberately concealed, disciplinary action commences with the penalty of Parivāsa which is imposed for the same number of days up to which the offence had been concealed. The concealment of an offence committed by oneself was a disconcerting breach of monastic decorum and it was seen in the study of the Pātimokkha how every precaution was taken to safeguard against such situations

(Saramāno santim āpattim n ' āvikareyya sampajānamusāvād'assa hoti

- Vin.I.103.). [9]

Pācittiya 64 declares it an offeence even to aid and abet in such a situation

(Yo pana bhikkhu bhikkhussa jānam duṭṭhullam āpattim paṭicchādeyya pācittiyam

- Vin.IV.127.).

No monk shall knowingly shield an offender who is guilty of a duṭṭhullā āpatti, i.e. a Pārājika or Saṇghādisesa offence. The concern with which attempts to conceal such offences are treated is witnessed in this penalty of Parivāsa. According to the Cullavagga, a monk who is guilty of concealing a Saṇghādisesa offence which he has committed, must go before the Saṇgha and confess to them his error.

He must then request the Saṇgha to impose on him first the Parivāsa penalty for the number of days the offence had been concealed. It is only after the offender has behaved himself perfectly well under the penalty of Parivāsa for concealing his offence, that Mānatta, the penalty for the actual Saṇghādisesa offence, would be imposed.[10]

The injunctions of the Pātimokkha regarding this penalty of Parivāsa make it clear that as a manual of disciplinary procedure the Pātimokkha maintained an authoritative enforcement of penalties and punishments, even though on an impersonal note. This is clearly recognised in the Gopakamoggallāna Sutta where it is stated that punishment is meted out not on the authority of persons but solely on the authority of the Dhamma

(Tasmiñ ce bhaññamāne hoti bhikkhussa āpatti hoti vitikkamo tam mayam yathādhammam ythāsattham kāremā ' ti.

Na kira no bhavanto kārenti dhammo no kāreti ' ti.

- M.III.10.).

The monk who has concealed the Saṇghādisesa offence he has committed must, according to the Pātimokkha, submit himself to the penalty of Parivāsa. even if it were not to his liking

(Uddiṭṭhā kho āyasmanto terasa saṇghādisesā dhammā nava paṭhamāpattikā cattāro yāvatatiyakā yesam bhikkhu aññataram vā aññataram vā āpajjitvā yāvatiham jānam paṭicchādeti tāvatiham tena bhikkhunā akāmā parivatthabbam

- Vin.III.186.).

The injunctions of the Pātimokkha introduce this penalty with a note of compulsion. This attitude is also held by schools besides the Theriya. The Prātimokshasutra of the Mulasarvāstivādins records the same idea

(Uddishtā mayāyushmantastrayodasa saṇghāvasheshā dharmāh...
tena akāmatah paryushitavyam

- IHQ.vol. 29. 2. p.174.).

The Prātimokshasutra of the Mahāsaṇghikas puts it in the following form:

....tena bhiksunā akāmaparivāsam parivasitavyam. [11]

The Vinaya Piṭaka knows of two forms of Parivāsa, one as a period of punishment and the other as a period of probation. As a form of punishment it pertains, as was shown above, to the members of the Buddhist Order and is recommended as a penalty for a Bhikkhu who is guilty of a Saṇghādisesa offence and had knowingly concealed it from the Saṇgha.

Thus it is known by the name of Paṭicchannaparivāsa, the term Apaṭicchannaparivāsa consequently being used for the period of probation applicable to members of other heretic groups. Hence it is also called Titthiyaparivāsa. The Paṭicchannaparivāsa is to be imposed even against the will of the offender for the number of days the offence had been concealed.

This is followed by the further penalty of Mānatta for six more days. Both these penalties being satisfactorily concluded the monk who has been subjected to them is reinstated by the Act of Abbhāna by the properly constituted body of twenty monks. If the number were to be less even by one, then this reinstatement would be rendered invalid

(cinnamānatto bhikkhu yattha siyā visatigano bhikkhusaṇgho tattha so bhikkhu abbhetabbo.

Ekena' pi ce uno visatigano bhikkhusaṇgho tam bhikkhum abbheyya so ca bhikkhu anabbhato te ca bhikkhu gārayhā

- Vin.III.186.)

The Khandhakas make further provision for new situations where a monk may lapse into error again during the period of his sentence. If, at the time of his second offence which he confesses forthwith, he is still serving his period of Parivāsa for the first offence which he had concealed, or has just finished the period of Parivāsa but not started on his Mānatta, then he is called upon to serve his period of Parivāsa over again.

But if the second ofence is committed during the period of Mānatta or when he is about to be reinstated on the completion of it, then he shall serve only the full period of Mānatta again. If on the other hand, the second offence is concealed for any length of time, irrespective of the time of its commission, whether during the period of Parivāsa or Mānatta, the penalty of Parivāsa is to be gone through over again for which ever is the longer period of concealment.

This is called the combined penalty or Samodhānaparivāsa, as the periods of punishment for the different offences are to run concurrently and not successively.[12]

This renewal of punishment to serve a sentence again either under Mānatta or under Parivāsa is known as Mulāya-paṭikassana or 'being dragged to the begnning'. The Khandhakas deal with several such situations of diverse complexity. But it is not within the scope of the present study to go into a detailed analysis of these. Hence the reader is referred to the Cullavagga for fuller details.[13]

Both these penalties of Parivāsa and Mānatta are characterised by the humiliation to which they subject the offender. Under the proper behaviour recommended (sammā vattanā) for those serving a period of Parivāsa or Mānatta (parivāsika and mānattacārika) [14], it is repeatedly mentioned that he who is guilty and is placed under a penalty should make it known to the rest of the Bhikkhus.

The parivāsika and the mānattaārika should as both guest and host inform the other Bhikkhus of their position

(Parivāsikena bhikkhunā āgantukena ārocetabbam āgantukassa ārocetabbam

- Vin.II. 32.).

They should also announce it at the regular assemblies of Uposatha and Pavāranā. Even in case of illness

when personal attendance may not be possible, they should communicate it through a messenger, who according to the Commentary should be a full-fledged monk and not an anupasampanna.[15]

The mānattacārika has the additional burden of announcing the fact of his being under a penalty each day.[16]

The Khandhakas also decree against all attempts of a parivāsika or mānattacārika to evade informing the fellow members that he is under a penalty. It is said, for instance, that during this period he should not take to the vow of forest-residence in order to avoid meeting others who come to his residence,[17] or take to the vow of begging for his meals so that he may avoid occupying the last of the seats which he would have to accept in the alms-hall as a part of the penalty.[18]

(Na araññikaṇgam ' ti āgatāgatānam ārocetum harāyamānena araññikadhutaṇgam na samādātabbam ....

tathā bhattaggādisu āsanapariyante nisajjāya harāyamānena pindapātikadhutaṇgam ' pi na samādātabbam

- VinA.VI.164.).

In brief, no person who is under these penalties of Parivāsa or Mānatta should make a secret of it to felow-members

(Mā mam jānimsu ' ti mā mam ekabhikkhu pi jānātu ' ti iminā ajjhāsayena vihāre sāmanerehi pacāpetvā bhuñjitum ' pi na labhati gāmam pindāya pavisitabbam eva

- VinA.VI.1165.).

All these considerations discussed above are listed under the ninetyfour observances which are laid down as the pattern of conduct (catunavuti-parivāsikavatta) [19] for the Bhikkhu under the penalty of Parivāsa and are more or less identical with those for the mānattacārika. As in most other forms of disciplinary action in Buddhist monasticism, here too, under these penalties, a number of privileges which a monk is normally entitled to enjoy are withdrawn from him.

His authority is reduced and his freedom of action is curtailed. We reproduce below the first 18 items of catunavuti-parivāsikavatta which are common to both the penalties of Parivāsa and Mānatta as well as to all acts of punishment or dandakamma, viz. Tajjaniya, Nissaya, Pabbājaniya, Paṭisāraniya and Ukkhepaniya for not giving up a heresy.[20]

The Ukkhepaniya kamma for the refusal to recognise one's transgressions, and the failure to make amends for them has 25 more conditions added to these, thus bringing up the total to 43


Vin. II. 25.).

  1. Not act as the preceptor of another for the conferment of upasampadā : na upasampādetabbam.
  2. Not undertake to offer tutelage to another: na nissayo dātabbo.
  3. Not take in a sāmanera anew or accept the services of another who has been with him: na sāmaero upaṭṭhāpetabbo.
  4. Not allow himself to be elected to give counsel to the Bhikkhunis: na bhikkhuniovādasammuti sāditabbā.
  5. Not avail himself of that opportunity even if it has been assigned to him: sammatena ' pi bhikkhuniyo na ovaditabbā.
  6. Not be guilty of an offence of the type for which he has been put under the particular penalty : yāya āpattiyā saṇghena parivāso dinno hoti sā āpatti na āpajjitabbā.
  7. Not be guilty of another offence similar to it: aññā vā tādisikā.
  8. Not be guilty of anything worse: tato vā pāpiṭṭhatarā.
  9. Not despise or challenge the validity of the disciplinary action taken against him: kammam na garahitabbam.
  10. Not despise those who did it: kammikā na garahitabbā.
  11. Not suspend the Uposatha of another monk who is better than himself: na pakatattassa bhikkhuno uposatho ṭhapetabbo.
  12. Not suspend the Pavāranā of such a monk: na pavāranā ṭhapetabbā.
  13. Not assume authority to issue orders on disciplinary matters to such a monk : na savacaniyam kātabbam. This explanation of savacaniyam kātabbam is derived from the Commentary (VinA.VI.1163) to which the Sub-commentary adds this further note: evam attano ānāya pavattanakakammam na kātabban ' ti adhippāyo.Vimativinodani Tikā 449.
  14. Not assume leadership at monastic functions : na anuvādo paṭṭhapetabbo. For this explanation too, we lean on the Commentary: (na anuvādo ' ti vihārajeṭṭhakaṭṭhānam na kātabbam pātimokkhuddesakena vā dhammajjhesakena vā na bhavitabbam) - VinA.VI.1163.
  15. Not ask another monk who is better than himself for an opportunity to accuse him of an offence : na okāso kāretabbo.
  16. Not aaccuse another monk who is better than himself of an offence : na codetabbo.
  17. Not remind anoter monk who is better than himself of his offence : na sāretabbo.
  18. Not quarrel with members of the community nor incite them against one another: (na bhikkhuhi sampayojetabbam. See Commentary: VinA.VI.1156,1163.)

These conditions may broadly be classified as follows:

1-5 involve a considerable reduction in the power and prestige enjoyed by the monks in their normal daily life. A monk must, during the term of the penalty, renounce his authority over his pupils and decline the services offered to him by them. He is not only deprived of his power and position but according to the Commentary is also made to inform his pupils and the nuns who come to him about the penalty to which he is subjected

(Upajjham datvā gahitasāmanerā ' pi vattabbā aham vinayakammam karomi. Mayham vattam mā karotha mā mam gāmappavesanam āpucchathā ' ti...

āgatā ca bhikkhuniyo saṇghassa santikam gacchatha saṇgho vo ovādadāyakam jānissati ' ti vā aham vinayakammam karomi asukabhikkhussa nāma santikam gacchatha so ovādam dassati ti vā vattabbā

- VinA.VI.1162.).

6-8 reiterate the old ideal in monastic discipline of āyati samvara or the safeguard against the recurrence of an offence which has once been committed.

9 and 10 provide that the machinery which regulates the discipline of monastic life would not be thrown out of gear by the miscreants who have been brought under punishment. The power of prosecution must thus be maintained unimpaired.

11-17 concern themselves with the proper and responsible exercise of disciplinary powers by those whose conduct is beyond reproach, so that it may command from those who are subordinated to it the highest respect as being fair and just. Thus a monk who is subjected to a penalty or punishment is barred from exercising such powers.

18 serves as a perfect safeguard against possible onslaughts on the communal harmony of the Saṇgha by embittered offenders who are subjected to penalties and punishments.[21]

We have shown above that the penalty of Paṭicchannaparivāsa which is imposed on a monk who is guilty of concealing a Saṇghādisesa offence is followed by a further penalty of six days of Mānatta

(Parivutthaparivāsena bhikkhunā uttarim chārattam bhikkhumānattāya paṭipajjitabbam

- Vin.III.186.).

This, according to the commentarial tradition, is intended for the purpose of reconciliation of the miscreant with the fellow-members

(Bhikkhumānattāyā ' ti bhikkhunam mānanabhāvāya ārādhanatthāya iti vuttam hoti

- Kaṇkhāvitarani 51.).

This clearly shows that the offender loses favour with the members of the community by his violation of monastic regulations. It also shows the degree of collective responsibility for the maintenance of discipline. The community as a whole would be slighted by such a breach of discipline.

This point is further emphasised in the text of the Mulasarvāstivāda Prātimokshasutra which has saṇghamānatva corresponding to bhikkhumānatta of the Pali text, thus addressing the amends and atonements which the miscreant is called upon to make to the collective organisation.[22]

The Mulasarvāstivāda Prātimokshasutra has also these additional words in this context which are not found in the Pali text:[23]

K¨tānudharmah bhikshusaṇghasya ārādhitacitto.

These seem to be supporting the Pali commentarial explanation of Mānatta as bhikkhunam mānanabhāvāya ārādhanatthāya.[24]

The Mahāsaṇghika Prātimokshasutra has only k¨tānudharmah and leaves out the words Bhikshusaṇghasya ārādhitacitto of the Mulasarvāstivāda version. But it speaks of mānatva as bhikshusaṇghe mānatvam caritavyam.[25]

Parivāsa as a period of probation pertains to persons who, having been previously members of any other heretic group, latterly seek admision to the Buddhist order. Every such person is put under probation for a specified period of four months during which he must conduct himself honourably to the satisfaction of the Bhikkhus in authority

(Yo kho seniya aññatitthiyapubbo imasmim dhammavinaye ākaṇhkati pabbajjam ākaṇkhati upasampadam so cattāro māse parivasati catunnam māsānam accayena āraddhacittā bhikkhu pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya

- M.I. 391.).

In the text of the Khandhakas, the Aggika Jaṭilas or fire-worshipping matted-hair ascetics are exempted from this on consideration of their religious views

(Ye te bhikkhave aggikā jaṭilakā te āgatā upasampādetabbā na tesam parivāso dātabbo.
Tam kissa hetu.
Kammavādino ete bhikkhave kiriyavādino

- Vin.I. 71.).

It is recorded that the Sākiyas also are exempted. The Buddha, according to the Commentary, held the view that the Sākiyas, out of respect for the founder as their greatest kinsman, would do nothing to discredit the religion.

(Te hi titthāyatane pabbajitā ' pi sāsanassa avannakāmā na honti.
Amhākam ñātiseṭṭhassa sāsanan ' ti vannavādino ' va honti.
Tasmā evam āha

- VinA.V. 995.).

The commentary also insists that this Titthiya-parivāsa applies only to the naked ascetics

(Ayam titthiyaparivāso nāma apaṭicchannaparivāso ' ti ' pi vuccati. Ayam pana naggaparibbājakass ' eva ājivakassa vā acelakassa vā dātabbo ...

Tattha titthiyaparivāso niganṭhajātikānam y ' eva dātabbo na aññesam

- Ibid. 990 f.). [26]

According to the Khandhakas the newcomer is made to don the yellow robe after his head and beard have been shaven and is admitted to the order as a sāmanera by the act of professing faith thrice in the Buddha, Dhamma and the Saṇgha.[27]

Showing respect to the accepted monastic tradition, he is made to request the Saṇgha to put him under four months probation so that he may qualify for upasampadā or higher monastic status.[28]

During this period the noviciate must satisfy the Saṇgha (ārādhako hoti ) by his conduct, efficiency and loyalties and convince them that he deserves the higher monastic status in the Buddhist Saṇgha. For this he should qualify himself in terms of eight considerations which are referred to as aṭṭhavatta. He should acquire habits which are acceptable to the monastic life such as going out to and returning from the village at proper times. As a celibate he should maintain his chastity. He should adapt himself to perform with interest and efficiency the various monastic duties that devolve on him as a member of the Saṇgha.

He should not be lacking in interest and enthusiasm for the development of his religious life. The next four out of the eight duties which he is called upon to perform seem to concern themselves with the clash of loyalties between the old and the new faiths. If the new comer still feels angered when his former faith or its propounder is criticised and is happy when the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṇgha are subjected to ridicule, then he is deemed unworthy of full membership in the Buddhist Order.

On the other hand, if he rejoices at the praise of his old faith and frowns at the eulogy of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṇgha the same verdict is pronounced on him. When the noviciate has thus satisfied the Saṇgha

(ārādhitacittā ' ti aṭṭhavattassa puranena tuṭṭhacittā

- MA.III.106)

and qualified himself in terms of these basic requirements for Buddhist monastic life, upasampadā is conferred upon him without further delay

(Evam ārādhako kho bhikkhave aññatitthiyapubbo āgato upasampādetabbo

- Vin.I. 71.).

The Sutta Piṭaka refers in more than one place to the prevalence of this practice of imposing Titthiyaparivāsa in Buddha's own time. The Kukkuravatika Sutta records that the Buddha himself informs Seniya who was a naked ascetic practising the 'canine way' of the general Buddhist practice of Titthiyaparivāsa when he sought admission to the Buddhist monastic life

(Yo kho seniya aññatitthiyapubbo imasmim dhammavinaye ākaṇkhati pabajjam ākaṇkhati upasampadam so cattāro māse parivasati.

Catunnam māsānam accayena āraddhacittā bhikkhu pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya.

Api ca m ' ettha puggalavemattatā viditā

- M.I. 391.).

A similar incident occurs in the Mahāvacchagotta Sutta[29] with reference to the Paribbājaka Vacchagotta and in the Māgandiya Sutta[30] with reference to the Paribbājaka Māgandiya. In the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta[31] we come across the story of Subhadda, the last disciple of the Buddha who as an aññatitthiyapubba was treated similarly by him.

The Samyutta Nikāya gives us the story of Acela Kassapa who receives similar treatment in the hands of the Buddha.[32] However, the Buddha admits in all these cases that the persons concerned are not of the general type contemplated, and that he would hence exempt them from the general requirement. On the other hand, we find Seniya and the rest expressing their willingness to stand the trial and go under probation, not only for four months but even for four years, in order to be admitted to the Buddhist Order.

Buddhaghosa, who presents them as recognising the purpose of this test, stresses thereby the fact already witnessed in the Khandhakas that this was a safeguard against the entry into the Order of men of fickle faith who change their former beliefs and seek new ones without much conviction

(Tato seniyo cintesi aho acchariyam buddhasāsanam yattha evam ghamsitvā koṭṭetvā yuttam eva ganhanti ayuttam chaddenti ' ti

- MA.III. 106).

The Vinaya Piṭaka records instances of men who on the slightest provocation revert back to their old order

(Tena kho pana samayena yo so aññatitthiyapubbo upajjhāyena sahadhammikam vuccamāno upajjhāyassa vādam āropetvā tam y ' eva titthāyatanam samkami

- Vin.I. 69.).

On a careful examination of the above two versions of the Titthiyaparivāsa as they appear in the Sutta and Vinaya Piṭakas, we notice a considerable difference between them. The statements in the Suttas clearly state that he who seeks admission to the Buddhist Order and higher monastic sgatus therein (pabbajjā and upasampadā) must go under probation for four months, after which the Bhikkhus in authority who are satisfied with his conduct admit him into the Order and confer on him the higher monastic status.

Thus he is made a Bhikkhu only at the end of this period of probation

(Catunnam māsānam accayena āraddhacittā bhikkhu pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya

- M.I. 391.).

This statement of the Sutta version is clear enough on the point that both pabbajjā and upasampadā come after the period of Parivāsa. But this passage, which occurs in identical words both in the Majjhima and in the Samyutta Nikāyas, seems to cause the commentator no small degree of embarrassment. This is unavoidably so because the tradition preserved in the Khandhakas on the imposition of Titthiyaparivāsa is at variance with that of the Suttas which is presumably of pre- Khandhaka origin.

The details of the Khandhakas on this point place the Parivāsa on the newcomer after his admission as a sāmanera.[33]

Here Parivāsa is a qualifying test for the conferment of higher monastic status or upasampadā and not for admission to recluseship as it is in the Sutta versions

(... pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya.).

Hence Buddhaghosa, commenting on the above statements of the Suttas which place both pabbajjā and upasampadā after Parivāsa, attempts to dismiss the word pabbajjā out of the context as having no meaning of its own

(Tattha pabbajjan ' ti vacanasiliṭṭhatāvasena vuttam

- MA.III. 106; SA.II. 36f.).

At the same time he explains the statements in the Suttas in the light of the Vinaya tradition. In his comments on the Suttas he quotes the version of the Khandhakas

(Atha bhagavā yo so khandhake titthiyaparivāso paññatto yam aññatitthiyapubbo sāmanerabhumiyam ṭhito ...

cattāro māse parivāsam yācāmi ' ti ādinā nayena samādiyitvā parivasati tam sandhāya yo kho seniya aññatitthiyapubbo ' ti ādim āha

- Ibid.).

He states categorically that the aññatitthiyapubba receives his ordination without serving the period of probation under Parivāsa. It is only after being ordained as a sāmanera that he undertakes to serve the period of Parivāsa in order to qualify for the conferment of upasampadā

(Aparivasitvā y ' eva hi pabbajjam labhati. Upasampadatthikena pana na atikālena gāmapavesanādini aṭṭhavattāni purentena parivasitabbam

- Ibid.).

In this attempt to read into the Suttas an apparently subsequent tradition of the

Khandhakas, we see the commentator striving to accord with the tradition of the Vinaya which, in course of time, seems to have overstepped some of the traditions of the Suttas on these monastic matters. However, even in the Khandhakas, all details which pertain to the imposition of Parivāsa on an aññatitthiyapubba who wishes to join the Buddhist Order seem to follow from a statement which reads more or less the same as in the Suttas.

Sutta Vinaya
Yo kho seniya aññatitthiyapubbo imasmim dhammavinaye ākaṇkhati pabbajjam ākaṇkhati upasampadam so cattāro māse parivasati.[34]

Yo bhikkhave añño pi aññatitthiyapubbo imasmim dhammavinaye ākankhati pabbajjam ākankhati upasampadam tassa cattāro māse parivāso dātabbo.[35]


Nevertheless, in the matter of details, we see a divergence in these two accounts.

Sutta Vinaya
Catunnam māsānam accayena āraddhacittā bhikkhu pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya. [36]

Evañ ca pana bhikkhave dātabbo. Paṭhamam kesamassum oharāpetvā kāsāyāni vatthāni acchādāpetvā ekamsam uttarāsaṇgam kārāpetvā... Aham bhante itthannāmo aññatitthiyapubbo imasmim dhammavinaye ākaṇkhāmi upasampadam. So ' ham bhante saṇgham cattāro māse parivāsam yācāmi. [37]


As against the fossilised traditions of the Suttas which refer to monastic practices, the Vinaya Piṭaka, specially the Khandhakas, reveal a more active and living spirit. As such, it provides within its framework for new situations and changing conditions. This tendency becomes abundantly clear when we study in the Khandhakas the history of the acts of pabbajjā and upasampadā.

In the early history of the Sāsana, all new converts to the faith who wished to enter the monastic life were admitted by the Buddha himself at their request. They express their desire in the stereotyped formula which states that they seek pabbajjā and upasampadā under the Buddha

(Labheyyā ' ham bhante bhagavato santike pabbajjam labheyyam upasampadan ' ti

- Vin.I.12.).

The Buddha then merely invites them to come and live the monastic life, practising the Dhamma which is open to all, so that they may make a perfect end of all suffering

(Ehi bhikkhu cara brahmacariyam sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāyā ' ti

- Ibid.).

That invitation alone,says the text, constituted the conferment of full monastic status

(Sā ' va tassa āyasmato upasampadā ahosi

- Ibid.)

But as Buddhism spread over wider territories and the new converts who sought the monastic life increased in numbers, the authority for admission could no longer be centralised in the person of the Buddha. Considering the practical difficulties of time and distance involved, the Buddha deems it fit to transfer this authority to his disciples

(Etarahi kho bhikkhu nānā disā nānā janapadā pabbajjāpekkhe ca upasampadāpekkhe ca ānenti bhagavā ne pabbājessati upasampādeasati ' ti.

Tattha bhikkhu c ' eva kilamanti pabbajjāpekkhā ca upasampadāpekkhā ca. Yannunā ' ham bhikkhunam anujāneyyam tumh ' eva ' dāni bhikkhave tāsu tāsu disāsu tesu tesu janapadesu pabbājetha upasampādethā ' ti

- Vin.I. 22.)

Henceforth, by a simple avowal of faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṇgha the new converts are to gain both pabbajjā and upasampadā

(Anujānāmi bhikkhave imehi tihi saranagamanehi pabbajjam upasampadan ' ti

- Ibid.).

But the power vested in the disciples, as individuals, for the conferment of upasampadā in the above manner was soon withdrawn and the collective organization of the Saṇgha made the sole authority for that. This change, no doubt, must have come about with the growing importance of upasampadā as the hallmark of full membership in the monastic Order and the possible indiscreet conferment of it according to individual whims and fancies.

Upasampadā is now to be conferred by a formal resolution before the Saṇgha, informing the members of the Saṇgha of the identity of the applicant and his preceptor

(Yā sā bhikkhave mayā tihi saranagamanehi upasampadā anuññātā tā ' ham ajjatagge paṭikkhipāmi. Anujānāmi bhikkhave ñatticatutthena kammena upasampādetum Evañ ca pana bhikkhave upasampādetabbo.

Vyattena bhikkunā paṭibalena saṇgho ñāpetabbo sunātu me bhante saṇgho ayam itthannāmo itthannāmassa āyasmato upasampadāpekkho.

Yadi saṇghassa pattakallam saṇgho itthannāmam upasampādeyya itthannāmena upajjhāyena.

Esā ñatti

- Vin.1.56.).

The Samantapāsādikā, in explaining the circumstances which brought about this change, says that the Buddha wished to attach greater dignity to the conferment of upasampadā by bringing it under the authority of the collective organization of the Saṇgha

(Rādhabrāhamanavatthusmim kinñcā ' pi āyasmā sāriputto bhagavatā bārānasiyam tihi saranagamanehi anuññātam pabbajjañ c ' eva upasampadañ ca jānāti bhagavā pana tam lahukam upasampadam paṭikkhipitvā ñatticatutthakammena garukam katvā upasampadam anuññātukāmo.

Atha ' ssa thero ajjhāsayam viditvā kathā ' ham bhante tam brāhmanam pabbājemi upasampādemi ' ti āha

- VinA.V. 983.).

On the other hand, we find the earlier act of pabbajjā by the avowal of faith in the tisarana which was coupled with the act of upasampadā reaffirmed in isolation under the new name of sāmanerapabbajjā

(Anujānāmi bhikkhave imehi tihi saranagamanehi sāmanerapabbajjan ' ti

- Vin. I. 82.)

This apparently reflects the phase of monasticism in which young converts were being admitted into the Order as noviciates or sāmanera with no immediate thoughts of upasampadā. Here, the Samantapāsādikā suggests that this reaffirmation was necessary because of the possible misunderstanding regarding the performance of the act of pabbajjā after the act of upasampadā was isolated from it.

Arguing that in the past pabbajjā and upasampadā were closely identified, the monks would be in doubt, it is said, whether the pabbajjā should now be performed like the upasampadā by the method of kammavācā or by the threefold avowal of faith in the original manner.[38]

The details of procedure in the imposition of Titthiyaparivāsa as are described in the Khandhakas thus seem to follow from this distinction between the sāmanerapabbajjā and upasampadā and hence the consequent deflection of the tradition in the Vinaya Piṭaka which now stands in marked contrast to the fossilised version of the Sutta Piṭaka.

Footnotes and references:






See Pāc. 69 :Vin.IV.137.




Note Oldenberg's remarks : ' It deserves to be noticed that in the same way as the Pabbājaniyakamma is not mentioned in the Pātimokkha, neither is there any mention of the similar proceedings of the Ukkhepaniyakamma, etc., however much occasion for it might appear.' - Vin. I. p.xix. But this does not mean that these two forms of punishment, banishment (Pabbājaniya) and Suspension (Ukkhepaniya) were not known to the Pātimokkha. Saṇgh.13 uses the term pabbājenti with obvious familiarity. Note : ...... tādisikāya āpattiyā ekaccam pabbājenti ekaccam na pabbājenti - Vin.III.184. Likewise, Pārājika 7 of the Bhikkhuni Pātimokkha (Pārājika 3 of the Bhikkhunivibhaṇga) knows not only of Bhikkhus who have been suspended (ukkhittam bhikkhum) but knows also the fact that such disciplinary action has been taken by the collectively responsible body of the Saṇgha (samaggena saṇghena ukkhittam bhikkhum - Vin.IV.218.). It should also be pointed out here that in the Bhikkhu Pātimokkha where disciplinary action in terms of Banishment and Suspension appears to be evident it is still left informally in the hands of the Bhikkhus. The responsibility does not seem to be vested in the Saṇgha (So bhikkhu bhikkhuhi evamassa vacaniyo .... pakkamat ' āyasmā imamhā āvāsā. Alan te idha vāsenā ' ti - Vin.III.184. Also Vin.IV.135.).


Vin.III. 118.


Vin.II. 38 f.


Ibid. 38 ff.


Supra p.100.


Vin.II. 40.


Gangānāth Jhā Research Institute Journal Vol. X. Appendix.p. 13.


Vin.II. 48 ff.


Ibid. 43 ff.


Ibid. 32.


VinA.VI.1166 on Vin.II. 32.


Vin. II. 35.


Ibid. 32.




Ibid. 32-33.


Ibid. pp. 5, 8, 14,19 and 27 respectively.


In interpreting the condition bhikkhuhi na sampayojetabbam in the manner given above we choose to agree with Miss Horner who translates it as ' He should not quarrel with monks '. This translation is, in fact, supported by the Commentary. Oldenberg renders it as ' ought not to associate with the bhikkhus '. Vinaya Texts II. [ SBE. XVII.] p. 339.


IHQ. Vol.29. No. 2. p.174.




Kkvt. 51.


Journal of the Gangānāth Jhā Research Institute, Vol. X. Appendix p.13.


For a closer examination of these views the reader is referred to S.Dutt's Early Buddhist Monachism, p.147 f.


Vin.I. 82.


Ibid. 69.


M.I. 494.


Ibid. 512.


D.II. 152.


S.II. 21.


Vin.I. 69.


D.II.152 ; M.I. 391, 494, 512 ; S.II. 21.


Vin.I. 69.


D.II.152 ; M.I. 391, 494, 512 ; S.II. 21.


Vin.I. 69.


VinA.V. 1009.

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