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) 12

BD.1.309 Bu-Ss.12.1.1 … at Kosambī in Ghosita’s park. At that time the venerable Channa[1] indulged in bad habits. The monks said: “Reverend Channa, do not do that, it is not suitable.”[2]

He said: “What do you, your reverences, think should be said to me? It is I who should tell you.[3] The enlightened one is for us, dhamma is for us, dhamma is realised for us by a master.[4] Just as a great wind blowing would raise up grass, sticks, ferns and rubbish together; or just as a mountain-born[5] river would raise up various water plants[6] together, so you, having gone forth from various names, from various clans, from various lineages, from various families, are raised up together. What do you, your reverences, think should be said to me? It is I who should tell you. The enlightened one is for us, dhamma is for us, dhamma is realised for us by a master.”

Then those who were modest monks were … angry, and said: “How can the venerable Channa, himself BD.1.310 being spoken to by the monks in accordance with dhamma, reckon himself as one not to be spoken to?”

Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as they say, Channa, that you, yourself being spoken to by the monks in accordance with dhamma, reckon yourself as one not to be spoken to?”

“It is true, lord,” he said.

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked him, saying:

“How can you, foolish man, yourself being spoken to by the monks in accordance with dhamma, reckon yourself as one not to be spoken to? It is not, foolish man, Vin.3.178 for the benefit of unbelievers … Thus, monks, this course of training should be set forth:

If a monk is one who is difficult to speak to,[7] and if himself being spoken to by the monks according to dhamma[8] concerning the courses of training included in the exposition,[9] he reckons himself as one not to be spoken to, saying: ‘Do not say anything to me, venerable ones, either good or bad, and I will not say anything to the venerable ones, either good or bad; refrain, venerable ones, from speaking to me (then) that monk should be spoken to thus by the monks: ‘Do not, venerable one, reckon yourself as one not to be spoken to; let the venerable one reckon himself as one to be spoken to; let the venerable one speak to the monks in accordance with dhamma,[10] and then the monks will BD.1.311 speak to the venerable one in accordance with dhamma. Thus is the multitude increased for the lord, that is to say by speaking with one another, by assisting one another.[11] And if that monk when he has been spoken to by the monks should persist as before, then that monk should be admonished up to three times by the monks together for giving up his course. And if after being admonished up to three times by the monks together, he gives up his course, that is good; if he does not give it up, there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order.”


Bu-Ss.12.2.1 If a monk is one who is difficult to speak to means: he is difficult to speak to, endowed with qualities which make him difficult to speak to,[12] intractable,[13] incapable of being instructed.[14]

In the courses of training included in the exposition means: in the courses of training included in the Pātimokkha.

By the monks means: by other monks.

According to dhamma means: that course of training made known by the lord, this is called according to dhamma.

Himself being spoken to he reckons himself as one not to be spoken to, saying : “Do not, venerable ones, say BD.1.312 anything to me, either good or bad, and I will not say anything to the venerable ones, either good or bad; refrain, venerable ones, from speaking to me ”—(then) that monk means: that monk who is difficult to speak to.

By the monks means: by other monks, these see, these hear. He should be spoken to by these, saying: “Venerable one, do not reckon yourself as one not to be spoken to, let the venerable one reckon himself as one to be spoken to, let the venerable one speak to the monks in accordance with dhamma, and then the monks will speak to the venerable one in accordance with dhamma. Thus is the multitude increased for the lord, that is to say by speaking to one another, by assisting one another.” A second time he should be spoken to … A third time he should be spoken to … If Vin.3.179 he gives it up, that is good; but if he does not give it up, there 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 into the middle of the assembly, should be told: “Do not, venerable one, reckon yourself as one not to be spoken to … by ordaining one another.” A second time he should be told … A third time he should be told … 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. And thus, monks, should he be admonished. The Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk: “Honoured sirs, let the Order hear me. This monk, so and so, being remonstrated with by the monks in accordance with dhamma, reckons himself as one not to be spoken to: he does not give up this course. If it is the right time for the Order, let the Order admonish this monk so that he may give up this course. That is the motion. Honoured sirs, let the Order hear me. This monk, so and so … Thus do I understand.”

According to the motion there is an offence of wrong-doing; according to the two resolutions there are grave offences; at the end of a resolution there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. If he is com BD.1.313 mitting 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.[15]

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


Bu-Ss.12.3.1 Thinking a legally valid act to be a legally valid act, he does not give it up, there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. Being in doubt as to whether it is a legally valid act … Not thinking an act that is legally valid to be an act that is not legally valid is an offence of wrong-doing.[16]


Bu-Ss.12.3.2 There is no offence if he has not been admonished, if he gives it up, if he is mad, if he is a beginner.[17]

Told is the Twelfth Offence entailing a Formal Meeting of the Order: that concerning one to whom it is difficult to speak

Footnotes and references:

2.

Also in Bu-Ss.7.

3.

Vin-a.612, “I am worthy to say to you: ‘Do this, do not do that. For when, as our enlightened one, mounting Kanthaka (his horse), Ieft the household life with me, I went forth into homelessness.’”

4.

Vin-a.612, “The fourfold true things having been penetrated for us by a master (ayyapatta), dhamma is for us. But thinking that the Order was hostile to him, he did not say, ‘The Order is for us.’”

5.

pabbateyya, Vin-a.612, “Its source is on a mountain.”

6.

saṅkha-sevāla-paṇaka: saṅkha, a water-plant, probably unidentified; sevāla = Blyxa octandra moss; paṇaka or paṇṇaka a name of a water-plant, most likely a fern (so Pali-English Dictionary). Vin-a.612, “saṅkha is called the leaf and the moss, with a long root; sevāla is dark sevāla (moss); the rest are water-plants, sesame plants and seeds; and everything that is to be styled a water-plant.”

7.

Dubbacajātika. Vin-a.612, says that dubbaca means that it is impossible to speak to him. Editors Vinaya Texts i.12 get nearer to this in their note than in their translation, which reads: “refuses to listen to what is said to him.” I follow translation at GS.2.151 (of AN.ii.147) and at KS.ii.137 (of SN.ii.206). But at GS.3.133 (AN.iii.178) the reading is, “they are speakers of ill,” and at GS.5.104 (AN.v.152), “of foul speech.” But Channa, above, has given no indication that his speech was evil. Chalmers, Further Dialogues of the Buddha 1.69 (MN.i.95), has “unruly,” but MN-a.2.66 explains: so dukkhena vattabbo hoti, with which cf. SN-a.ii.173, dukkhaṃ vattabbā.

8.

Sahadhammikaṃ, here adverbial. Vin-a.613, “according to the courses of training made known by the enlightened one.” For similar use, see Vin.1.60; Vin.4.141.

9.

I.e., in the Pātimokkha, see below, Old Commentary.

10.

Saha dhammena.

11.

Aññamañña-vuṭṭhāpanena, translated at Vinaya Texts i.12, “by mutual help.” Vuṭṭhāpeti is also to ordain, to rehabilitate, cf. Vin.4.226, Vin.4.317, where vuṭṭhāpeti = upasampādeti in Old Commentary.

12.

Vin-a.612, “endowed with these conditions, they make a man difficult to talk to.” There are nineteen such conditions enumerated here; sixteen at MN-a.2.66.

13.

Akkhama, Vin-a.613, “he does not submit to, does not endure the exhortation.”

14.

Appadakkhiṇaggāhī anusāsaniṃ, literally a left-handed (i.e., unskilled, clumsy) taker of the teaching. They do not take the teaching with deference, but disrespectfully (cf. Vin-a.613 and MN-a.2.66), possibly also referring to the fact that they do not (depart) keeping the right side towards the teacher, which is padakkhiṇaṃ karoti. This whole phrase is stock, occurring at, e.g., SN.ii.201; AN.ii.147; AN.iii.178; AN.v.152; MN.i.95.

15.

= above, BD.1.302, BD.1.307; below, BD.1.327.

16.

Cf. above, BD.1.302, BD.1.307; below, BD.1.327.

17.

Cf. above, BD.1.303, BD.1.308; below, BD.1.327.