The Bhikkhus Rules

A Guide for Laypeople

by Bhikkhu Ariyesako | 1998 | 50,970 words

The Theravadin Buddhist Monk's Rules compiled and explained by: Bhikkhu Ariyesako Discipline is for the sake of restraint, restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse, freedom from remorse for the sake of joy, joy for the sake of rapture, rapture for the sake of tranquillity, tranquillity for the sake of pleasure, pleasure for the sake of conce...

The meaning of one of the Confession rules is uncertain — as can be seen by the different translations below — but it might explain why visiting bhikkhus may be reluctant to intrude into a familys space.

The Forty third Confession Rule (Paac. 43) arose from Ven. Upanandas visit to a man and his wife who were sitting in their bedroom together. The husband told his wife to give Ven. Upananda a meal and when that was finished requested him to leave. The wife noticed that her husband was becoming sexually excited, and not wishing to participate, asked Ven. Upananda to stay. He stayed. This happened three times after which the husband stormed out of the house indignant at Ven. Upanandas behavior.

The Rule has been understood in rather different ways:

"Should any bhikkhu intrude upon and sit down in (the bedroom of) a family with both persons, (the man and the wife, present, one of whom does not agree to his remaining), it entails Confession."

(Paac. 43; Paat. 1969 Ed. p.163)

"To sit down intruding on a man and a woman in their private quarters — when one or both are sexually aroused, and when another bhikkhu is not present — is [an offence of Confession.]"

(Summary Paac. 43; BMC p.385)

"If a bhikkhu sits down, intruding on a family while they are taking food, it is [an offence of Confession.]"

(Paac. 43; NVp19)

"A monk who intrudes into and sits down in a house where husband and wife are by themselves enjoying each others company, commits [an offence of Confession.]"

(Paac. 43; BBC p.128)