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) 21

Bu-NP.21.1.1 BD.2.113 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six monks made a hoard of many bowls.[1] People, engaged in touring the dwelling-place[2] and seeing (this hoard), looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, make a hoard of many bowls? Will these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, do a trade in bowls or will they set up an earthenware shop?[3]” Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can this group of six monks keep an extra bowl?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, keep an extra bowl?”

“It is true, lord.” The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying:

“How can you, foolish men, keep an extra bowl? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … Vin.3.243 And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should keep an extra bowl, 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.21.2.1 BD.2.114 Now at that time[4] an extra bowl had accrued to[5] the venerable Ānanda, and the venerable Ānanda became desirous of giving this bowl to the venerable Sāriputta; but the venerable Sāriputta was staying at Sāketa. Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda: “A rule of training laid down by the lord is that an extra bowl should not be kept. And this extra bowl has accrued to me, and I am desirous of giving this bowl to the venerable Sāriputta, but the venerable Sāriputta is staying at Sāketa. Now what line of conduct should be followed by me?” Then the venerable Ānanda told this matter to the lord. He said:

“But, how long, Ānanda, before Sāriputta will come (here)?”

“On the ninth or tenth day, lord,” he said.

Then the lord, on that occasion, in that connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, to keep an extra bowl for at most ten days. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

An extra bowl may be kept for at most ten days. For him who exceeds that (period), there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”[6]


Bu-NP.21.3.1 For at most ten days means: it may be kept for ten days at the maximum.[7]

An extra bowl means: one that is not allotted, not assigned.[8]

BD.2.115 A bowl[9] means: there are two kinds of bowls: an iron bowl, a clay bowl.[10] There are three sizes[11] for a bowl: a large bowl, a medium-sized bowl, a small[12] bowl. A large bowl means that it takes half an āḷhaka measure[13] of boiled rice, a quarter of that quantity of uncooked rice, a suitable curry.[14] A medium-sized bowl means that it takes a nāḷika measure of boiled rice, a quarter of that quantity of uncooked rice, a suitable curry. A small bowl means that it takes a pattha measure of boiled rice, a quarter of that quantity of uncooked rice, a suitable curry. (A bowl) greater than that[15] is not a bowl, (a bowl) smaller (than that) is not a bowl.

For him who exceeds (that period), there is an offence involving forfeiture means: it is to be forfeited on the eleventh day at sunrise. It should be forfeited to … an individual. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: That monk, approaching the Order, arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, honouring the feet of the senior monks, sitting down on his haunches, saluting with BD.2.116 joined palms, should speak thus: ‘Honoured sirs, Vin.3.244 this bowl is to be forfeited by me, the ten days having elapsed. I forfeit it to the Order.’ Having forfeited it, the offence should be confessed. The offence should be acknowledged by an experienced, competent monk; the bowl forfeited should be given (back with the words): ‘Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. This bowl of the monk so and so, which had to be forfeited, is forfeited (by him) to the Order. If it seems right to the Order, the Order should give back this bowl to the monk so and so.’

That monk, approaching two or three monks … See Bu-NP.1.3Bu-NP.1.4 … ‘… I will give back this bowl to the venerable one.’ …

… If he thinks that one is destroyed when it is not destroyed, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that one is broken[16] when it is not broken, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that one is stolen when it is not stolen, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. Not forfeiting the bowl which had to be forfeited, if he makes use of it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that the ten days have elapsed when they have not elapsed, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether the ten days have not elapsed, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that the ten days have not elapsed when they have not elapsed, there is no offence.

There is no offence if within ten days it is allotted, assigned, bestowed, lost, destroyed, broken, if they tear it from him, if they take it on trust; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.[17]


Bu-NP.21.4.1 Then the group of six monks did not give back a bowl that had been forfeited. They told this matter BD.2.117 to the lord. He said: “Monks, a bowl that has been forfeited is not not to be given back. Whosoever should not give it back, there is an offence of wrong-doing.”[18]

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. Vin.4.243.

2.

vihāra. The laity visited the special vihāras which they themselves supported. This form of interest in the Order’s well-being must have given an added reason for visiting vihāras, like our own way of visiting some charitable or other institution in which we are interested.

3.

Cf. above, BD.2.50.

4.

Cf. Bu-NP.1, where the same story is told in the same words about keeping an extra robe. See above, BD.2.4.

5.

uppanno hoti.

6.

At Vin.4.243 the rule is that a hoard of bowls should not be made. There the group of six nuns, as here the group of six monks, are recorded to have made a hoard. There seems some discrepancy between a hoard and an extra bowl. The rule in this Bu-NP.21 may have been altered from “a hoard” to “an extra bowl” to balance that against wearing an extra robe, Bu-NP.1.

7.

Cf. above, BD.2.6.

8.

= definition of “extra robe” at BD.2.7 above, and of sannicayaṃ kareyya at Vin.4.244.

9.

This definition of patta = Vin.4.123, Vin.4.243.

10.

At Vin.2.112 these two kinds of bowls are “allowed” (anujānāmi). Whoever uses a wooden bowl, a golden or a silver one or one of eight other kinds mentioned there, commits a dukkaṭa offence.

11.

vaṇṇā ti pamāṇāni, Vin-a.702.

12.

omaka, inferior, insignificant. Rhys Davids, Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, p.19, calls these “high, middle and low bowls.”

13.

For these measures, āḷhaka, nāḷika and pattha, see Rhys Davids, Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, pp.18–20, and BD.1.12, n.2; BD.1.103, n.1.

14.

tadupiya vyañjana. On tadupiya see Trenckner, Journal of the Pali Text Society 1908, p.131ff., Commentary, on Mil.9. He says it is “perhaps properly a Vinaya word.” But it occurs, as he mentions, at SN.iii.146, tadupiyañca sūpeyyaṃ, translated KS.iii.124 “broth for seasoning thereto.” At MN.ii.54 we get the same phrase, translated Further Dialogues of the Buddha 2.28 “with curry-stuffs to match.” MN-a.3.287 explains it as tadanurūpa-telaphāṇitadīni, while Vin-a.703 says: tassa odanassa anurūpaṃ maccha-maṃsa-saka-phala-kaḷīrādi byañjanaṃ, curry of fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, bamboo-tips suitable to this boiled rice. At Ja.2.160 there is the expression na ca pañña tadupikā, which is explained to mean, ‘But your wisdom does not match (tadupikā), does not correspond to (anucchavikā) your body’ (which was large).

15.

tato ukkaṭṭho apatto, omako apatto. On apattaka, see below, BD.2.123.

16.

In Bu-NP.1, Bu-NP.2, Bu-NP.3, Bu-NP.28 we get “burnt,” of a robe.

17.

Cf. Bu-NP.1, Bu-NP.2, Bu-NP.3, Bu-NP.28 (“burnt”), and Vin.4.245 (“broken”).

18.

See Bu-NP.1, where a similar story is told of a robe that had been forfeited; and Vin.4.245, again a bowl.