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’ Forfeiture (Nissaggiya) 7

Bu-NP.7.1.1 BD.2.50 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time the group of six monks having come up to monks whose robes had been stolen, said: “Your reverences, one whose robe has been stolen or one whose robe has been destroyed is allowed by the lord to ask for a robe from a man or woman householder who is not a relation[1]; your reverences, ask (them) for a robe.”

They said: “No, we don’t want[2] (one), your reverences, a robe has been obtained by us.”

“We are asking for the venerable ones,” they said.

“Do ask (them), your reverences.”

Then the group of six monks, having approached householders, said:

“Sirs, monks are coming whose robes have been stolen; give them robes,” (and) they asked for many robes. At that Vin.3.214 time a certain man who was sitting in a village assembly hall[3] said to another man:

“Master,[4] monks are coming whose robes have been stolen; I gave them a robe.”

Then he said: “I also gave (to them).”

Then another man said: “I also gave (to them).”

These men … spread it about, saying: “How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, not knowing moderation,[5] ask for many robes? Will the recluses, sons of the Sakyans, deal in the cloth trade[6] or will they set up a shop[7]?”

The monks heard these men who … spread it about.

BD.2.51 Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can the group of six monks, not knowing moderation, ask for many robes?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, not knowing moderation, asked for many robes?”

“It is true, lord,” they said.

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

“How can you, foolish men, not knowing moderation, ask for many robes? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

If a man or a woman householder who is not a relation, asking (a monk), should invite[8] him (to take material for) many robes, then at most (material for) an inner and an upper robe[9] should be accepted as robe-material by that monk; if he should accept more than that, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bu-NP.7.2.1 Him means: the monk whose robe has been stolen.

A man who is not a relation means: See Bu-NP.6.3.1 … she who lives in a house.

(For) many robes[10] means: (for) abundant robes.[11]

Asking, should invite means: he says, “Take just as much as you want.”

At most (material for) an inner and an upper robe BD.2.52 should be accepted as robe-material by that monk means: if the three (robes) come to be destroyed, two may be accepted; if two are destroyed, one may be accepted; if one is destroyed nothing may be accepted.

If he should accept more than that means: if he asks for more than that there is an offence of wrong-domg in the action. It is to be forfeited on acquisition; it should be forfeited to the Order, or to a group, or to an individual. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Honoured sirs, having gone up to a householder who is not a relation, this robe material asked for by me more than that (which I should ask for), Vin.3.215 is to be forfeited. I forfeit it to the Order.’ … ‘… the Order should give back … let the venerable ones give back … I will give back this robe to the venerable one.’


Bu-NP.7.2.2 If he thinks that a man is not a relation when is he not a relation (and) asks for robe-material more than that (which he should ask for), there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he is in doubt as to whether he is not a relation … See Bu-NP.6.2 … is no offence.


Bu-NP.7.2.3 There is no offence if, saying: ‘I will take the remainder,’ taking it he goes away; if they give the remainder, saying: ‘Let it be only for you’; if they do not give because (a robe was) stolen[12]; if they do not give because (a robe was) destroyed; if they belong to relations[13]; if they are invited; if it is by means of his own property[14]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

2.

alaṃ.

3.

sabhāyaṃ nisinno.

4.

ayyo, not ayye, indicates affection and familiarity along with respect.

5.

They do not care for moderation, do not think of it, or have forgotten it.

6.

This is simply a rebuke.

7.

Cf. below, BD.2.113, and Vin.2.291.

8.

abhihaṭṭhuṃ pavādreyya. See Vinaya Texts ii.440 for note on this phrase. It is there found that abhihaṭṭhuṃ (in spite of the spelling with -ṭṭh-) is a gerund from abhi-har, like Prakrit abhihaṭṭuṃ. This is confirmed by Vin-a.668, MN-a.2.264 (on MN.i.222) = AN-a. (on AN.v.350) = SN-a.iii.54 (on SN.iv.190) which explain abhihaṭṭhuṃ by abhiharitvā. The phrase abhihaṭṭhuṃ pavāreti is followed by the instrumental, the sense of pavāreti being to “present with, to supply with, to invite with.” Here “to invite” seems the best translation, as the choice of the amount is made to rest with the monk. Also Vin-a.668 says that the term means “to make to like,” as well as nimanteti, to request, or invite. Critical Pali Dictionary suggests that abhiharati + pavāreti means to bring out and offer (food, etc.).

9.

santaruttara; see above, BD.2.12, n.1.

10.

bahūhi … bahukehi.

11.

bahūhi … bahukehi.

12.

Vin-a.669, “they give on account of his being learned and so on” (and not because he was robbed).

13.

Cf. above, BD.2.49.

14.

Cf. above, BD.2.27, BD.2.49.

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