Vinaya Pitaka (1): The Analysis of Monks’ Rules (Bhikkhu-vibhanga)

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 345,334 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Bhikkhu-vibhanga: the first part of the Suttavibhanga, which itself is the first book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of rules for Buddhist monks. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (first part, bhikkhu-vibhanga) contains many...

Monks’ Formal Meeting (Saṅghādisesa) 10

BD.1.296 Bu-Ss.10.1.1 Vin.3.171 … at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding place. And then Devadatta[1] came up to Kokālika,[2] and to Kaṭamorakatissaka, and to the son of the lady Khaṇḍā, and to Samuddadatta, and having eome up he said to Kokālika, Kaṭamorakatissaka, and the son of the lady Khaṇḍā, and to Samuddadatta: “Now we, your reverences, will make a schism in the Order of the recluse Gotama, a breaking of the concord.”[3]

When he had spoken thus Kokālika said to Devadatta: “Your reverence, the recluse Gotama has great psychic power, and great might. How can we make a schism in the Order of the recluse Gotama, a breaking of the concord?”

“Now we, your reverence, having approached the recluse Gotama, will beg for five items: ‘Lord, the lord in many ways speaks in praise of desiring little, of being contented, of expunging (evil), of being punctilious, of what is gracious, of decrease (of the obstructions), of putting forth energy.[4] Lord, these five items are conducive in many ways to desiring little, to contentment, to expunging (evil), to being punctilious, to what is gracious, BD.1.297 to decrease (of the obstruction), to putting forth energy.

  1. It were good, lord, if the monks for as long as life lasted, should be forest-dwellers; whoever should betake himself to the neighbourhood of a village, sin[5] would besmirch[6] him.
  2. For as long as life lasts let them be beggars for alms;[7] whoever should accept an invitation, sin would besmirch him.
  3. For as long as life lasts let them be wearers of robes taken from the dust-heap; whoever should accept a robe given by a householder, sin would besmirch him.[8]
  4. For as long as life lasts let them live at the foot of a tree;[9] whoever should go under cover, sin would besmirch him.
  5. For as long as life lasts let them not eat fish and flesh;[10] whoever should eat fish and flesh, sin would besmirch him.”

“The recluse Gotama will not allow these things. Then we will win over the people by means of these five items.”

“It is possible, your reverence, with these five items, to make a schism in the Order of the recluse Gotama, a breaking of the concord. For, your reverence, people esteem austerity.”[11]


Bu-Ss.10.1.2 Then Devadatta together with his friends went up to the lord, and having gone up and greeted the lord, he sat down to one side. As he was sitting to one side, Devadatta said to the lord: “Lord, the lord in many BD.1.298 ways speaks in praise of desiring little … who should eat fish or flesh, sin would besmirch him.”

“Enough, Devadatta,” he said. “Whoever wishes, let him be a forest-dweller; whoever wishes, let him dwell in the neighbourhood of a village; whoever wishes, Vin.3.172 let him be a beggar for alms; whoever wishes, let him accept an invitation; whoever wishes, let him wear rags taken from the dust-heap; whoever wishes, let him accept a householder’s robes. For eight months, Devadatta, lodging at the foot of a tree is permitted by me.[12] Fish and flesh are pure in respect of three points: if they are not seen, heard or suspected (to have been killed for him[13]).”

Then Devadatta thinking: “The lord does not allow these five items,” was joyful and exultant.[14] He rose from his seat, and having greeted the lord, and paid homage to him keeping him on his right side, he departed together with his friends. Then Devadatta, entering Rājagaha, taught the people by means of the five items: “We, your reverences, having approached the recluse Gotama, begged for five items: ‘Lord, the lord in various ways speaks in praise of desiring little … whoever should eat fish and flesh, sin would besmirch him.’ The recluse Gotama does not BD.1.299 allow these. But we live in conformity with these five items.”


Bu-Ss.10.1.3 Then those who were men of no faith, not virtuous, and of poor enlightenment, said: “These recluses, sons of the Sakyans, are punctilious[15] and practise the expunging of evil; but the recluse Gotama is luxurious and strives after abundance.”

Then those who were faithful, virtuous, clever, enlightened people became vexed, annoyed, angry and said: “How can this Devadatta go forward with a schism in the Order of the lord, with a breaking of the concord?”

Then the monks heard these people who were vexed, annoyed, angry. Those who were modest monks were … angry, and said: “How can this Devadatta go forward with a schism, with a breaking of the concord?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord.

He said: “Is it true, as is said, Devadatta, that you went forward with a schism in the Order, with a breaking of the concord?”

“It is true, lord,” he said.

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked him, saying: “How can you, foolish man, go forward with a schism in the Order, with a breaking of the concord? It is not, foolish man, for the benefit of unbelievers … Thus, monks, this course of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should go forward with a schism of the Order which is harmonious, or should persist in taking up some legal question leading to a dissension: that monk should be spoken to thus by the monks: ‘Do not, venerable one, go forward with a schism of the Order which is harmonious, or persist in taking up some legal question leading to a dissension. Let the venerable BD.1.300 one be associated with the Order; for the Order is harmonious, on friendly terms, not quarrelsome, it dwells comfortably under a single rule.’[16] And if that monk, after he has been spoken to thus by the monks, Vin.3.173 should persist, that monk should be admonished up to three times by the monks together concerning his giving up such a course. Should he give it up after being admonished up to three times, this is good. Should he not give it up, there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order.”


Bu-Ss.10.2.1 Whatever means: he who …

Monk means: … in this meaning is monk to be understood.

Harmonious means: an Order belonging to the same community[17] is established within the same boundary.[18]

Should go forward with a schism means: saying, “How should these folk be separated, how should they be separated, how should they be at variance?” seeking a faction, he gets a group together.

A legal question leading to a dissension means: the eighteen ways of causing a division.[19]

Taking up means: taking.

Leading to means: kindling.

BD.1.301 Should persist means: should not give up.

That monk means: that schismatic monk.

By the monks means: by other monks, whoever see, whoever hear; these should say: “Do not, venerable one, go forward with a schism of the Order which is harmonious, nor persist in taking up a legal question leading to a dissension. Let the venerable one be associated with the Order. The Order, harmonious, on friendly terms, not quarrelsome, dwells comfortably under a single rule.” A second time they should say … A third time they should say … If he gives it up, this is good. If he does not give it up, it is an offence of wrong-doing. If having heard, they do not speak, there is an offence of wrong-doing. That monk, having been pulled to the middle of the Order, they are to say: “Do not, venerable one, go forward with a schism of the Order, which is harmonious, nor persist in taking up a legal question leading to a dissension. Let the venerable one be associated with the Order. The Order, harmonious … comfortably under a single rule.” A second time they should say … A third time they should say … If he gives it up, that is good. If he does not give it up, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

That monk should be admonished. Thus, monks, should he be admonished: the Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk: “Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. This monk, so and so, proceeds with a schism of the Order which is harmonious. He does not give up this course. If it is the right time for the Order, let the Order admonish this monk, so and so, so that he may give up his course. This is the motion. Honoured sirs, let the Order hear me. This monk, so and so … does not give up his course. The Order Vin.3.174 together admonishes the monk, so and so, that he may give up his course. If it seems good to the venerable ones, together admonishing this monk, so and so, that he should give up his course, be silent; if it does not seem good, then you should speak. A second time I speak this matter … A third time BD.1.302 I speak this matter … then you should speak. It has been said by the Order that the monk, so and so, should give up his course. It seems good to the Order … Thus do I understand.”

According to the motion there is an offence of wrong-doing; according to the two resolutions[20] there are grave offences;[21] according to the end of a resolution there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. If he is committing an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order, the offence of wrong-doing according to the motion and the grave offences according to the two resolutions, subside.[22]

An offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order means: … because of this it is called an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order.


Bu-Ss.10.3.1 Thinking a legally valid act[23] to be a legally valid act, he does not give it up, there is au offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. Being in doubt as to whether it is a legally valid act, he does not give it up, there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. Thinking an act which is not legally valid to be an act which is legally valid, he does not give it up, there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. Thinking an act which is legally valid to be an act which is not legally valid, is an offence of wrong-doing. Being in doubt as to whether it is not a legally valid act, is an offence of wrong-doing. Not thinking an act which is legally valid to be an act which is not legally valid, is an offence of wrong-doing.[24]


Bu-Ss.10.3.2 BD.1.303 There is no offence if he has not been admonished, if he gives it up, if he is mad, out of his mind, in pain, a beginner.[25]

Told is the Tenth Offence entailing a Formal Meeting of the Order: that of a schism in the Order

Footnotes and references:

1.

This story is given almost word for word at Vin.2.196ff.

2.

These schismatics appear again in Bu-Ss.11. Mentioned at Vin.4.66, Vin.4.335. At SN.i.149 = AN.v.170 = Snp.p.123, Kokālika tried to defame the two chief disciples.

3.

Vinaya Texts iii.251, “let us stir up a division in the samaṇa Gotama’s saṅgha and in the body of his adherents,” with note that “in cakka-bhedaṃ the first word no doubt connotes ‘kingship, lordship’ as in dhamma-cakka, cakkavatti, etc.” But it can also mean breaking a wheel, and symbolically cakkabheda has special meaning of “breaking up the peace, sowing discord.”

5.

vajja.

6.

phuseyya from phusati to touch, not from phusati to sprinkle. Vin-a.603, “let hatred touch that monk, let the lord deal with him for the offence.”

7.

Those who only eat the alms received in the begging-bowl.

8.

At Vin.1.280 it is laid down that the monks may wear either the paṃsukula robes or accept lay robes, as they please.

9.

At Vin.1.152 monks are forbidden to spend vassa out in the open.

10.

At Vin.1.238 and below, BD.1.298, it is laid down that fish and meat are pure for the monks if they do not see, hear or suspect that it has been killed for them. Cf. BD.1.98, BD.1.99 above, where there seems to be no offence in eating meat.

11.

lūkhappasanna, cf. AN.ii.71, where this is one of the four types of persons who estimate by and esteem outward form. Each type is explained at Pp.53.

12.

I.e., not in the four months of the rains.

13.

Vin-a.604, “not seen means, having killed deer and fish for the benefit of the monks, their being caught was not seen; not heard means, having killed … of the monks, the taking (of them) was not heard”; not suspccted means, if the monks see men going from a village to the jungle with nets and snares in their hands; and if on the next day they receive fish and flesh with their alms in the village they suspect: “Was not this done for the benefit of the monks?” They ask the men, who deny it, and say it was done for their own benefit. Or the monks may hear it said that men are going out to the jungle with nets and snares, or they may neither see the hunters nor hear it said they that have gone out, but simply receive fish and flesh in their begging-bowls. The same doubts assail them, and they ask if the killing took place for their benefit. But if it was not done expressly for the monks’ benefit, inasmuch as there is no doubt as to this, everything is quite in order.

14.

Vin-a.606, says he was joyful and exultant because he now thought he could cause a schism.

15.

Vin-a.607, they are dhuta because they are endowed with the paṭipadā which shakes off the kilesas; they are sallekhavuttī because their course of life (vutti) reduces the kilesas.

16.

I.e., not Gotama’s authority, but that of the Pātimokkha rules. This word, ekuddesa, occurs in the Pārājikas in definition of saṃvāsa, communion.

17.

Vin-a.607. There is no separation as to mind.

18.

Vin-a.607. There is no separation as to body. Belonging to the same community means that there are none living together holding various heretical views or various religious proceedings; that there is no mental separation from those of the same mind. Within the same boundary means there is no bodily separation from those in bodily concord. For these expressions see also Vin.1.321.

19.

These are given at Vin.2.204 and are the same as the eighteen things by which you may conclude that a monk is a speaker of what is not dhamma, Vin.1.354. The first ten are also given at AN.i.19.

20.

kammavācā, resolution; ñatti, motion, cf. Vin.1.317 and Vinaya Texts i.169, n.2; Vinaya Texts ii.265, n.2.

21.

Vin-a.609. He to whom these three offences do not seem good, should speak.

22.

= below, BD.1.307, BD.1.313

23.

Vin-a.609, “a legally valid act, an act which has been repeated together.” An unlawful act is explained at Vin.1.317f. It is connected with ñatti and kammavācā.

24.

= below, BD.1.307, BD.1.313.

25.

= below, BD.1.308, BD.1.313.