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) 16

Bu-NP.16.1.1 BD.2.90 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time as a certain monk was in the country of the Kosalas[1] going to Sāvatthī, (some) sheep’s wool[2] accrued[3] (to him) on the way. Then that monk went along tying up that sheep’s wool into a bundle with his upper robe.[4] People, seeing this monk, made fun of him, saying: “For how much have you bought (it), honoured sir, how great will the profit become?”

This monk, being made fun of by these people, became ashamed.[5] Then that monk, going to Sāvatthī, threw down[6] the sheep’s wool even as he was standing.[7] Monks said to this monk: “Why do you, your reverence, throw down this sheep’s wool even as you are standing?”

“Because I, your reverences, was made fun of by (some) people on account of this sheep’s wool.”

“But from how far have you, your reverence, conveyed this sheep’s wool?”

“For more than three yojanas,[8] your reverences,” he BD.2.91 said. Then those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can this monk convey sheep’s wool for more than three yojanas?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monk, conveyed sheep’s wool for more than three yojanas?”

“It is true, lord,” he said.

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

“How can you, foolish man, convey sheep’s wool for more than three yojanas? It is not, foolish man, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Sheep’s wool may accrue to a monk as he is going along a road. It may be accepted by that monk, if he likes; but having accepted it, it should be conveyed in his (own) hands for three yojanas at the utmost, if there are no carriers. If he should convey it further than that, even if there are no carriers, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.” Vin.3.234


Bu-NP.16.2.1 To a monk as he is going along a road means: as he is going on a roadway.[9]

Sheep’s wool may accrue means: it may accrue from the Order or from a group or from a relation or from a friend or as rag-robes or by means of his own property.[10]

If he likes means: if he wishes.

It may be accepted … but having accepted it, it should be conveyed in his (own) hands for three yojanas at the utmost means: it should be conveyed in his (own) hands for three yojanas at the maximum.

If there are no carriers means: if there is no one who is a carrier, neither a woman nor a man, nor a householder nor one who has gone forth.

If he should convey it further than that, even if there are no carriers means: if he makes the first foot go beyond three yojanas, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he makes the second foot go beyond, there is an BD.2.92 offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If standing within three yojanas he lets it drop beyond the three yojanas, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he makes it go beyond three yojanas, placing it in a vehicle or a bundle of another (person) without (his) knowing it, it is to be forfeited. It should be forfeited … to an individual. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Honoured sirs, this sheep’s wool, made by me to go beyond three yojanas, 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 sheep’s wool to the venerable one.’

If he makes it go beyond more than three yojanas thinking them to be more, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If, being in doubt, he makes it go beyond more than three yojanas, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he makes it go beyond more than three yojanas thinking them to be less, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that it is less than three yojanas when it is more, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is less than three yojanas, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is less than three yojanas when it is less, there is no offence.

There is no offence if he conveys it for three yojanas; if he conveys it for less than three yojanas; if he conveys it for three yojanas and conveys it back; if desiring a habitation, going three yojanas, he conveys it beyond that[11]; if he conveys something stolen that he has got back[12]; if he conveys something destroyed that he has BD.2.93 got back; if he makes another convey goods tied up in a bundle[13]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Sāvatthī was the capital of the Kosala country.

2.

eḷakalomāni.

3.

uppajjiṃsu; uppajjati is usually “arises, is produced, is born”; cf. above, BD.2.4, BD.2.24, below, BD.2.99, BD.2.153.

4.

Cf. above, BD.2.37.

5.

maṅku, literally staggered or shocked. See AN.v.5.

6.

āsumbhi.

7.

ṭhitako ’va. Vin-a.687 says, “as men bringing a large burden of wood from the jungle, being weary, let it drop (pātenti) even as they are standing (ṭhitakā ’va), so he let it drop.”

8.

See Rhys Davids, Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, etc., p.16, for “Tabulated Statement of Passages on the length of the Yojana.” His tentative conclusion is that in fifth-century Pali literature the yojana means between seven and eight miles. Childers reckoned twelve miles to a yojana. See also E.J. Thomas, Life of Buddha as Legend and History, 1927, p.17. An ascending scale of measures of length is given at Vb-a.343.

9.

pantha.

10.

Cf. above, BD.2.27.

11.

Vin-a.688 says, “going where he is unable to receive the recitation and interrogation (of the Pātimokkha) or necessities and so on, he goes elsewhere beyond that. Elsewhere beyond that means, there is no offence in so conveying it for a hundred yojanas.”

12.

Vin-a.688, “thieves stealing it (from him), knowing its uselessness give it back.” This means that thieves took his sheep’s wool when he had done perhaps two and a half yojanas; he retraces his steps and they return him the wool as it is of no value for them; he goes a yojana in order to reach his vihāra. Thus he would have done three and a half yojanas, but the part of the journey due to the robbing incident does not count.

13.

katabhanṇḍa; cf. below, BD.2.98. Vin-a.689 says “goods tied up (kataṃ bhaṇḍam) in a blanket, fleecy cover, sheet and so on, anything even if it is tied up only with a thread.”