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) 13

Bu-NP.13.1.1 BD.2.76 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time the group of six monks said: “It is forbidden by the lord to have a rug made of pure black sheep’s wool.”[1] And these, taking only a little white for the seam,[2] all the same[3] had a rug made of pure black sheep’s wool. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can this group of six monks, taking only a little white for the seam, all the same have a rug made of pure black sheep’s wool?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, taking only a little white for the seam, all the same had a rug made of pure black sheep’s wool?”

“It is true, lord,” they said.

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

“How can you, foolish men, taking … pure black sheep’s wool? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

When a new rug is being made for a monk, two portions of pure black sheep’s wool may be taken, the third of white, the fourth of reddish brown colours.[4] BD.2.77 If a monk should cause a new rug to be made not taking two portions of pure black sheep’s wool, the third of white, the fourth of reddish brown colours, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bu-NP.13.2.1 New means: it is so called with reference to the making.

A rug means: it is made “having spread,” not woven.[5]

Is being made means: making or causing to be made.

Two portions of pure black sheep’s wool may be taken means: being brought, two tulā weights[6] may be taken.

The third of white means: a tulā weight of white.

The fourth of reddish brown colours means: a tulā weight of reddish brown colours. Vin.3.227

If a monk … not taking two portions of pure black sheep’s wool, the third of white, the fourth of reddish brown colours means: if he makes or causes a new rug to be made not taking a tulā, weight of white, a tulā, weight of reddish brown colours, there is an offence of wrong-doing in the action; it should be forfeited on acquisition. It should be forfeited to … an individual. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Honoured sirs, this rug which I caused to be made not taking a tulā weight of white, a tulā weight of reddish brown colours, is to be forfeited. I forfeit it to the Order.’‘… the Order should give back … let them give back … I will give back this rug to the venerable one.’

If what was incompletely executed by himself, he has finished by himself … See Bu-NP.11.2.2 … he makes use of it, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

There is no offence if he makes it taking a tulā weight of white, a tulā weight of reddish brown colours; if he BD.2.78 makes it taking more of white, more of reddish brown colours; if he makes it taking only of white, only of reddish brown colours; if he makes a canopy or a ground-covering or a screen-wall or a mattress or a squatting-mat[7]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

[2]:

anta. Vin-a.684, “applying (or bringing) white to it, making as it were a border at the edge (anta) of the sheet.”

[3]:

tath’ eva, or “as before.”

[4]:

gocariyānan ti kapilavaṇṇānaṃ, Vin-a.684, which seems to indicate “the colour of oxen,” although cariya does not mean vaṇṇa, colour. Vinaya Texts i.25, n.2, says, “This is deliberately chosen as an ugly mixture, which would lessen the commercial value of the rug.” It might also be a preventive of unsuitable pride in a fine article. But I think that this rule should be regarded as a continuation of the previous one (Bu-NP.12), expanding it, and giving the detail necessary for carrying it out properly. The monks had nothing to do with the “commercial value” of things, but it was important that they should not behave like those leading the household life.

[5]:

See above, BD.2.72, note, and BD.2.75.

[6]:

tulā, literally balance, a measure of weight.

[7]:

Cf. above, BD.2.73, and notes.

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