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) 26

Bu-NP.26.1.1 BD.2.142 … at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding-place. At that time the group of six monks, at the time of robe-making, asked for much yarn,[1] so that when the robe-material was made much yarn came to be over. Then it occurred to the group of six monks: “Now then, your reverences, let us, asking for more yarn, have robe-material woven by weavers.” Then the group of six monks, asking for more yarn, had robe-material woven by weavers, but when the robe-material was woven much yarn came to be over. A second time did the group of six monks, asking for more yarn, have robe-material woven by weavers, but when the robe-material was woven much yarn came to be over. A third time did the group of six monks, asking for more yarn, have robe-material woven by weavers. People … spread it about, saying:

“How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, themselves asking for yarn, have robe-material woven by weavers?”

Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can the group of six monks, themselves asking for yarn, have robe-material woven by weavers?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, yourselves asking for yarn, had robe-material woven by weavers?”

“It is true, lord,” they said.

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

“How can you, foolish men, yourselves asking for BD.2.143 yarn, have robe-material woven by weavers? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, himself asking for yarn, should have robe-material woven by weavers, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bu-NP.26.2.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Himself means: himself asking.

Yarn means: the six (kinds of) yarn[2]: linen, cotton, silk, wool,[3] coarse hempen cloth,[4] canvas.[5]

By weavers[6] means: if he has it woven by weavers[7] there is an offence of wrong-doing in the action. It is BD.2.144 to be forfeited on acquisition; it should be forfeited to … an individual. Vin.3.257 And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Honoured sirs, this robe caused by me to be woven by weavers, having myself asked for the yarn, 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.’

If he thinks that it was caused to be woven when it was caused to be woven, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he is in doubt as to whether it was caused to be woven, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that it was not caused to be woven when it was caused to be woven, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that it was caused to be woven when it was not caused to be woven, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it was not caused to be woven, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it was not caused to be woven when it was not caused to be woven, there is no offence.


It is no offence to sew a robe[8] to a binding,[9] to a belt,[10] to a shoulder-strap,[11] to a bag for carrying the bowl in,[12] to a water-strainer[13]; if it belongs to relations; if they are invited; if it is for another; if it is by means of his own property[14]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

sutta, yarn or thread.

2.

These are the six kinds of thread for making the six kinds of robe-materials that are allowable to monks. These latter are given in this order at e.g. Vin.1.58 = Vin.1.96, and especially see Vin.1.281, where they are allowed. The six kinds of robe-materials or robes are referred to at e.g. Vin.3.210, Vin.3.213.

3.

Vin-a.724, yarn of sheep’s wool.

4.

The wearing of sāṇa was one of the practices adopted by wanderers belonging to other sects, DN.i.166, DN.iii.41, AN.i.240, MN.i.78, Pp.55. The commentaries explain sāṇa by using the word itself, as either sāṇavākasutta (Vin-a.724, yarn of the bark of sāṇa), sāṇa-vākacelāni (DN-a.356 = AN-a.2.354, garments of …), sāṇavāka-mayaṃ (SN-a.i.159, made of …). Sāṇa was probably a plant, see next note below. At SN.ii.202 Kassapa insisted on wearing, and at SN.ii.222 accepted from the lord his own, sāṇāni paṃsukūlāni, coarse hempen rag-robes.

5.

bhaṅga. Vin-a.724, Vin-a.1119 give two meanings: (1) thread made of bark, (2) thread mixed with these five other threads. See Joges Chandra Ray, Indian Historical Quarterly xv.2, 1939, p.197, “the inner bark of the plant yields a strong fibre, fit for strings and ropes, and a coarse cloth, canvas, is woven.” In identifying Bhaṅgā with Soma, the relation of bhaṅga to sāṇa is also brought out, for, according to the lexicographers quoted by Chandra Ray, they also are identical; and the commentarial explanations, that sāṇāni are said to be of bark, are illuminated. I am indebted to this article for the suggestion that “canvas” is a possible translation of bhaṅga.

6.

tantavāya.

7.

pesakāra. Cf. Vin.4.7. Monier-Williams: “peśaskārī, f., Ved. a woman who weaves artistically or embroiders.”

8.

Vin-a.727 says that there is no offence in asking for thread (or yarn) to sew a robe.

9.

Āyoga. At Vin.2.135 the use of āyoga is allowed to monks. The word is translated at Vinaya Texts iii.141 as “handicraft.” But I think that because the monks ask how an āyoga should be made (omitted at Vinaya Texts iii.141), and are allowed the apparatus belonging to a loom, āyoga should be rendered “bandage” or “binding” in that passage. Cf. Vv.33 (p.30), where āyogapaṭṭa (preceded by aṃsavaṭṭaka and that by kāyabandhana) means “strip, bandage.”

10.

kāyabandhana. At Vin.2.136 belts or waist-bands were allowed to monks.

11.

aṃsabandhaka. At Vin.1.204, Vin.2.114 shoulder-straps are allowed to monks.

12.

pattatthavikā; allowed at Vin.2.114.

13.

Allowed at Vin.2.118. These five articles are mentioned together again as not giving rise to an offence at Vin.4.170.