Guide to Tipitaka

Canonical Pâli Buddhist Literature of the Theravâda School

by U Ko Lay | 48,543 words

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Book 2 - Pacittiya Pali

The Pacittiya Pap which is Book II of the Vinaya Pitaka deals with the remaining sets of rules for the bhikkhus, namely, the Pacittiya, the Patidesaniya, Sekhiya, Adhikaranasamatha and the corresponding disciplinary rules for the bhikkhunis. Although it is called in Pali just Pacittiya, it has the distinctive name of 'Suddha Pacittiya', ordinary Pacittiya, to distinguish it from Nissaggiya Pacittiya, described above.

(a) Ninety-two Pacittiya offences and penalties

There are ninety-two rules under this class of offences classified in nine sections. A few examples of this type of offences:

  1. Telling a lie deliberately is a Pacittiya offence.
  2. A bhikkhu who sleeps under the same roof and within the walls along with a woman commits a Pacittiya offence.
  3. A bhikkhu who digs the ground or causes it to be dug commits a Pacittiya offence.

A Pacittiya offence is remedied merely by admission of the offence to a bhikkhu.

(b) Four Patidesaniya offences and penalties

There are four offences under this classification and they all deal with the bhikkhu's conduct in accepting and eating alms-food offered to him. The bhikkhu transgressing any of these rules, in making admission of his offence, must use a special formula stating the nature of his fault

The first rule of Patidesaniya offence reads, should a bhikkhu eat hard food or soft food having accepted it with his own hand from a bhikkhuni who is not his relation and who has gone among the houses for alms-food, it should be admitted to another bhikkhu by the bhikkhu saying, "Friend, I have done a censurable thing which is unbecoming and which should be admitted. I admit having committed a Patidesaniya offence".

The events that led to the laying down of the first of these rules happened in Savatthi, where one morning bhikkhus and bhikkhuni s were going round for alms-food. A certain bhikkhuni offered the food she had received to a certain bhikkhu who took away all that was in her bowl. The bhikkhunf had to go without any food for the day. Three days in succession she offered to give her alms-food to the same bhikkhu who on all the three days deprived her of her entire alms-food. Consequently she became famished. On the fourth day while going on the alms round she fainted and fell down through weakness. When the Buddha came to hear about this, he censured the bhikkhu who was guilty of the wrong deed and laid down the above rule

(c) Seventy-five Sekhiya rules of polite behaviour

These seventy-five rules laid down originally for the proper behaviour of bhikkhus also apply to novices who seek admission to the Order Most of these rules were all laid down at Savatthi on account of mdisciplined behaviour on the part of a group of six bhikkhus. The rules can be divided into four groups. The first group of twentysix rules is concerned with good conduct and behaviour when going into towns and villages The second group of thirty rules deals with polite manners when accepting alms-food and when eating meals. The third group of sixteen rules contains rules which prohibit teaching of the Dhamma to disrespectful people The fourth group of three rules relates to unbecoming ways of answering the calls of nature and of spitting.

(d) Seven ways of settling disputes, Adhikaranasamatha

Pacittiya Pali concludes the disciplinary rules for bhikkhus with a Chapter on seven ways of settling cases, Adhikaranasamatha.

Four kinds of cases are listed:

  1. Vivadadhikarana: Disputes as to what is dhamma, what is not dhamma; what is Vinaya, what is not Vinaya; what the Buddha said, what the Buddha did not say, and what constitutes an offence, what is not an offence.
  2. Anuvadadhikarana: Accusations and disputes arising out of them concerning the virtue, practice, views and way of living of a bhikkhu.
  3. Apattadhikarana: Infringement of any disciplinary rule
  4. Kiccadhikarana: Formal meeting or decisions made by the Samgha.

For settlement of such disputes that may arise from time to time amongst the Order, precise and detailed methods are prescribed under seven heads:

  1. Sammukha Vinaya: before coming to a decision, conducting an enquiry in the presence of both parties in accordance with the rules of Vinaya.
  2. Sati Vinaya: making a declaration by the Samgha of the innocence of an Arahat against whom some allegations have been made, after asking him if he remembers having committed the offence.
  3. Amulha Vinay: making a declaration by the Samgha when the accused is found to be insane.
  4. Patinnata Karana: making a decision after admission by the party concerned
  5. Yebhuyyasika Kamma: making a decision in accordance with the majority vote.
  6. Tassapapiyasika Kamma: making a declaration by the Samgha when the accused proves to be unreliable, making admissions only to retract them, evading questions and telling lies.
  7. Tinavattharaka Kamma: 'the act of covering up with grass' exonerating all offences except the offences of Parajika, Samghadisesa and those in connection with laymen and laywomen, when the disputing parties are made to reconcile by the Samgha.

(e) Rules of Discipline for the bhikkhunis

The concluding chapters in the Pacittiya Pali are devoted to the rules of Discipline for the bhikkhums. The list of rules for bhikkhunis runs longer than that for the bhikkhus. The bhikkhuni rules were drawn up on exactly the same lines as those for the bhikkhus, with the exception of the two Aniyata rules which are not laid down for the bhikkhuni Order.

  Bhikkhu Bhikkhuni
(1) Parajika 4 8
(2) Sariighadisesa 13 17
(3) Aniyata 2 -
(4) Nissaggiya Pacittiya 30 30
(5) Suddha Pacittiya 92 166
(6) Patidesanfya 4 8
(7) Sekhiya 75 75
(8) Adhikaranasamatha 7 7
  227 311

These eight categories of disciplinary rules for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis of the Order are treated in detail in the first two books of the Vinaya Pitaka. For each rule a historical account is given as to how it comes to be laid down, followed by an exhortation of the Buddha ending with "This offence does not lead to rousing of faith in those who are not convinced of the Teaching, nor to increase of faith in those who are convinced." After the exhortation comes the particular rule laid down by the Buddha followed by word for word commentary on the rule. 

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