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) 8

Bu-NP.8.1.1 BD.2.53 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time[1] a certain man said to his wife: “I will present[2] master Upananda[3] with a robe.” A certain monk who was going for alms heard the words of this man as he was speaking. Then this monk approached the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, and having approached he said to the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans:

“You, reverend Upananda, are of great merit[4]; on a certain occasion a certain man said to his wife: ‘I will present master Upananda with a robe.’”

“Your reverence, he is my supporter,” he said.

Then the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, approached this man, and having approached he said to this man:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, sir, desire to present me with a robe?”

“Did I not also think, master: I will present master Upananda with a robe?”

“If you, sir, desire to present me with a robe, present me with a robe like this. What shall I do with one presented that I cannot make use of?”

Then that man … spread it about, saying: “These recluses, sons of the Sakyans, have great desires, they are not contented. It is not easy to present them with a robe. How can master Upananda, before being invited by me, approaching me, put forward a consideration[5] with regard to a robe?”

BD.2.54 Monks heard that man who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can the venerable Upananda, the son of the Sakyans, before being invited, approaching a householder, put forward a consideration with regard to a robe?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. Vin.3.216 He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Upananda, before being invited, approaching a householder, put forward a consideration with regard to a robe?”

“It is true, lord,” he said.

“Is he a relation of yours, Upananda, or not a relation?”

“He is not a relation, lord,” he said.

“Foolish man, one who is not a relation[6] does not know what is suitable or what is unsuitable, or what is right or what is wrong for one who is not a relation.[7] Thus you, foolish man, before being invited, approaching a householder who is not a relation, will put forward a consideration with regard to a robe. It is not, foolish man, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

In case a robe-fund[8] comes to be laid by for a monk by a man or a woman householder who is not a relation (of his), thinking: ‘I will present the monk so and so with a robe, having got the robe in exchange for this robe-fund’—then if that monk, out of desire for something fine, approaching before being invited, should put forward a consideration with regard to a robe, saying: ‘Indeed it would be well; do let the venerable one,[9] BD.2.55 having got a robe like this or like that in exchange for this robe-fund, present it to me,’ there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bu-NP.8.2.1 For a monk[10] means: for the good of a monk, making a monk an object, being desirous of presenting to a monk.

A man who is not a relation means: one who is not related on the mother’s side or on the father’s side back through seven generations.[11]

A householder means: he who lives in a house.[12]

A woman householder means: she who lives in a house.

Robe-fund means: gold or a gold coin[13] or a pearl or a jewel or a coral or a ploughshare[14] or a (piece of) cloth[15] or thread or cotton.

For this robe-fund means: for what is present.[16]

Having got in exchange means: having bartered.[17]

I will present means: I will give.

Then if that monk means: that monk for whom the robe-fund comes to be laid by.

Before being invited means: before it was said (to him): ‘What kind of robe do you want, honoured sir? What kind of robe shall I get in exchange for you?’

Approaching means: going to the house, approaching (him) anywhere.

Should put forward a consideration with regard to a robe BD.2.56 means: ‘Let it be long or wide or rough[18] or soft.’ Vin.3.217

For this robe-fund means: for what is present.

Like this or like that means: long or wide or rough or soft.

Having got in exchange means: having bartered.

Present (it) means: give (it).

Out of desire for something fine means: wanting what is good, wanting what is costly.

If according to what he says, he gets in exchange one that is long or wide or rough or soft, there is an offence of wrong-doing 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, before I was invited (to take) this robe, approaching a householder who was not a relation, I put forward a consideration with regard to a robe; it 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.8.2.2 If he thinks that a man is not a relation when he is not a relation, (and) before being invited, approaching a householder, puts forward a consideration regarding a robe, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he is in doubt as to whether the man is not a relation, (and) before being invited, approaching a householder, puts forward a consideration with regard to a robe, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that a man is a relation when he is not a relation, (and) before being invited, approaching a householder, puts forward a consideration with regard to a robe, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that a man is not a relation when he is a relation, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether a man is a relation, there BD.2.57 is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that a man is a relation when he is a relation, there is no offence.


Bu-NP.8.2.3 There is no offence if they belong to relations,[19] if they are invited; if it is for another; if it is by means of his own property; if he gets something of small value in exchange while he desires to get something costly in exchange; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. Bu-NP.9

2.

acchādeti has sense of to give so as to clothe or cover.

3.

See also Bu-NP.6.

4.

Same thing said to Upananda at Vin.1.300, and Vin.3.217, Vin.3.257 (BD.2.58, BD.2.145, below).

5.

vikappaṃ āpajjissati. Cf. below, BD.2.145, where again Upananda is greedy about robes.

6.

Cf. below, BD.2.147.

7.

Cf. above, BD.2.39, BD.2.44, and below, BD.2.59, BD.2.147.

8.

cīvaracetāpana. A robe-fund consisted of things for barter. This passage is complicated by the various meanings, brought out by the Old Commentary, (see below), which appear to be attached to the cognate forms, °cetāpana, °cetāpanena, and °cetāpetvā. Vin-a.670, cīvaracetāpanan ti cīvaramūlaṃ.

9.

āyasmā, perhaps here “gentleman”—or “lady”; certainly it is an honorific title. Cf. below, BD.2.148

10.

Cf. this portion of the Old Commentary, with that on Bu-NP.8 and Bu-NP.27.

11.

See above, BD.2.31, BD.2.47.

12.

Cf. above, BD.2.47.

13.

For one on hirañña, unwrought gold, and suvaṇṇa, wrought gold, see BD.1.28.

14.

phāla. At SN.i.169, Snp.p.13 and Snp.77, this means “plough-share.” Cf. Vin.1.225.

15.

paṭaka seems connected with paṭa.

16.

paccupaṭṭhita, present, ready, at hand.

17.

parivatteti; also means to turn over, to deal with, to change. Cf. pārivattakacīvara, exchange of robes, at BD.2.39, above. At Vin.2.174 monks are allowed to barter valuable woollen garments and valuable cotton garments, or cloths, kambala and dussa, for increasing (the accessories of lodgings).

18.

appitaṃ, of a close weave, solid. But, as opposed to “soft,” it must here mean harsh or rough. Vin-a.727 explains it by ghana, solid, compact, massive. Cf. below, BD.2.145.

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