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) 14

BD.2.79 Bu-NP.14.1.1 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time monks had a rug made every year. They were intent on begging, intent on hinting,[1] saying: “Give sheep’s wool, we want sheep’s wool.” People … spread it about, saying: “How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, have a rug made every year? How can they be intent on begging, intent on hinting, saying: ‘Give sheep’s wool, we want sheep’s wool’? For, (although) our children soil and wet them[2] and they are eaten by rats, our rugs once made last for five or six years. But these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, have a rug made every year; they are intent on begging, intent on hinting, saying: ‘Give sheep’s wool, we want sheep’s wool.’”

Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can monks have a rug made every year? How can they be intent on begging, intent on hinting, saying: ‘… we want sheep’s wool’?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. Vin.3.228 He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, have a rug made every year, that you are intent on begging, intent on hinting, saying: ‘… we want sheep’s wool’?”

“It is true, lord,” they said.

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying: “How, monks, can these foolish men have a rug made every year? How can they be intent on begging, intent on hinting … ‘… we want sheep’s wool’? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“A new rug which a monk has had made should be BD.2.80 used for six years. If, within the six years, whether he has got rid of or has not got rid of that (former) rug, he should have a new rug made, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”

And thus this rule of training for monks came to be laid down by the lord.


Bu-NP.14.2.1 Now at that time a certain monk became ill in Kosambī. Relations sent a messenger to this monk, saying: “Let the revered sir[3] come, we will nurse (him).” Monks spoke thus: “Go, your reverence, relations will nurse you.” He said:

“Your reverences, a rule of training laid down by the lord is that a new rug which a monk has had made should be used for six years; but I am ill, I am not able to set out taking a rug, and without a rug there comes to be no comfort for me. I will not go.”

They told this matter to the lord. Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, to give a monk who is ill the agreement as to a rug.[4] And thus, monks, should it be given: That monk who is ill, approaching the Order, arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, honouring the feet of the senior monks, sitting down on his haunches, saluting with joined palms, should speak thus: ‘I, honoured sirs, am ill; I am not able to set out taking a rug. Thus I, honoured sirs, request the Order for the agreement as to a rug.’ A second time it should be requested, a third time it should be requested. The Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk, saying: ‘Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. This monk so and so is ill. He is not able to set BD.2.81 out making a rug. He requests the Order for the agreement as to a rug. If it seems right to the Order, let the Order give this monk so and so the agreement as to a rug. This is the motion. Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. Vin.3.229 This monk … requests the Order for the agreement as to a rug. The Order gives to the monk so and so the agreement as to a rug. If the giving to the monk so and so of the agreement as to a rug is pleasing to the venerable ones, let them be silent; if it does not seem right, they should speak. Agreement as to a rug is given by the Order to the monk so and so; it is pleasing … So do I understand this.’ And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

A new rug which a monk has had made should last for six years. If, within the six years, whether he has got rid of or has not got rid of that (former) rug, he should have a new rug made, except on the agreement of the monks, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bu-NP.14.3.1 New means: … not woven.

Has had made means: making or causing to be made.

Should be used for six years means: it should be used for six years at the minimum.

If within six years means: in less than six years.

Getting rid of … that (former) rug means: giving it to others.

Not getting rid of means: not giving it to anyone.

Except on the agreement of the monks means: setting aside the agreement of the monks, if he makes or causes another new rug to be made, 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, this rug, which I had made for me less than six years ago without the agreement of the monks, is to be forfeited. I forfeit it to the Order.’‘… should give back … let the BD.2.82 venerable ones give back … I will give back this rug to the venerable one.’

If what was incompletely executed by himself, he has finished by himself, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture … if he makes others finish what was incompletely executed by others, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.[5]

There is no offence if he makes one after six years; if he makes one after more than six years; if he makes it or causes it to be made for another; if, acquiring what was made for another, he makes use of it; if he makes a canopy or a ground-covering or a screen-wall or a mattress or a squatting-mat[6]; if there is the agreement of the monks; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer. Vin.3.230

Footnotes and references:

2.

Cf. Vin.4.129.

3.

bhaddanto. Cf. above, BD.2.13ff., where an ill monk is allowed to travel without his three robes, if he has the formal agreement of the Order to be regarded as not away, separated from them.

4.

santhata-sammuti. Vin-a.685 says that he may have a new rug made at the place to which he goes (thereby not waiting for the six years to elapse). Cf. Bu-NP.2.

5.

Cf. above, BD.2.72.

6.

Cf. above, BD.2.73.

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