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) 29

Bu-NP.29.1.1 BD.2.156 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time monks who had finished keeping the rains were staying in lodgings in the jungles. Thieves (of the kind who attack monks in the month) of Kattika[1] attacked them, saying: “The monks have received possessions.”[2] 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, when staying in lodgings in the jungles, to lay aside one of the three robes inside a house.”[3]


Bu-NP.29.1.2 Now at that time monks thought: “It is allowed by the lord when staying in lodgings in the jungles Vin.3.263 to lay aside one of the three robes inside a house.” These, laying aside one of the three robes inside a house, were away for more than six nights. These robes were lost and destroyed and burnt and eaten by rats. The monks became badly dressed, wearing shabby robes. (Other) monks spoke thus:

“How is it that you, your reverences, are badly dressed, wearing shabby robes?” Then these monks told this matter to the monks. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can these monks, laying aside one of the three robes inside a house, be away for more than six nights?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that monks laying aside BD.2.157 one of the three robes inside a house were away for more than six nights?”

“It is true, lord,” they said.

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

“How, monks, can these foolish men, laying aside one of the three robes inside a house, be away for more than six nights? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Having spent the rains up to the full moon of Kattika,[4] in case a monk who is staying in such lodgings as those jungle lodgings which are held to be dangerous and frightening, so desires, he may lay aside one of his three robes inside a house; and should there be any reason for that monk to be away, separated from that robe, that monk may be away, separated from that robe for at most six nights. Should he be away, separated (from it) for longer than that, except on the agreement of the monks,[5] there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bu-NP.29.2.1 Having spent the rains means: when they have finished (keeping) the rains.

The full moon of Kattika means: it is called the (night of) Kattika-cātumāsinī.[6]

Those jungle lodgings means: the last lodging called “jungle” is five hundred dhanu measures[7] (away from the village).[8]

BD.2.158 Dangerous[9] means: if, in a monastery, in the precincts of a monastery, a place where thieves are halting is seen, a place where they are resting[10] is seen, a place where they are sitting down is seen, a place where they are lying down is seen.

Frightening[11] means: if, in a monastery, in the precincts of a monastery, people injured by thieves are seen, (people) plundered are seen, (people) beaten down are seen.

In case a monk is staying in such lodgings means: a monk staying in lodgings like these. Vin.3.264

Desires means: wanting.

One of his three robes means: the outer cloak or the upper robe or the inner robe.[12]

May lay aside inside a house means: he may lay it aside in the neighbourhood in a food-village.[13]

And should there be any reason for that monk to be away, separated from that robe means: should there be a reason, should there be (something) to be done.[14]

That monk may be away, separated from that robe for at most six nights means: he may be away, separated (from it) for six nights at the maximum.

Except on the agreement of the monks means: setting aside the agreement of the monks.

Should he be away, separated (from it) for longer than that means: it is to be forfeited at sunrise on the seventh day. It should be forfeited to … an individual. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Honoured sirs, having been away, separated from this robe of mine, for more than six nights, except on the agreement of the monks, it 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 is more when it is more than six BD.2.159 nights, (and) is away, separated, except on the agreement of the monks, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he is in doubt as to whether it is more than six nights, and is away, separated, except on the agreement of the monks, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that it is less when it is more than six nights, (and) is away, separated, except on the agreement of the monks, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If he thinks that (the robe) is taken away when it is not taken away[15] … If he thinks that it is bestowed when it is not bestowed … If he thinks that it is lost when it is not lost … If he thinks that it is destroyed when it is not destroyed … If he thinks that it is burnt when it is not burnt … If he thinks that it is stolen when it is not stolen, (and) is away except on the agreement of the monks, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. Not forfeiting the robe which had to be forfeited, if he makes use of it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is more, when it is less than six nights, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is less than six nights, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is less when it is less than six nights, there is no offence.

There is no offence if he is away, separated for six nights; if he is away, separated for less than six nights; if, being away, separated for six nights, entering the village-boundary and staying (there) he departs again; if, within six nights, the (robe) is taken away, bestowed, lost, destroyed, burnt, if they tear it from him, if they take it on trust; if there is the agreement of the monks; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.[16] Vin.3.265

Footnotes and references:

1.

kattikacorakā. Vin-a.730, kattikamāse corā—i.e., after the distribution of the robes.

2.

laddhalābhā.

3.

So as to be guarded, Vin-a.730. Cf. Bu-NP.2 above, and notes, where an ill monk may be away without his set of three robes for more than a night, if he has the agreement of the monks.

4.

Kattikapuṇṇamā, see Old Commentary, below. This is the next full moon to that meant in the last Nissaggiya—i.e., it is the last full moon of Kattika (and of the rains); see Vin-a.658, Vin-a.730 and above, BD.2.153, n.2.

5.

Probably the same kind of agreement as in Bu-NP.2—i.e., the agreement to be regarded as not away, separated from the robe, although in fact the monk was away from it.

6.

See above, BD.2.153, n.2. Vinaya Texts i.324 says: “the epithet cātumāsinī refers to the Vedic Cāturmāsya festival, which falls upon that day” (i.e., the full moon day in the month of Kattika). This day, or night, “is called Komudī (from kumuda, a white water-lily), because that flower is supposed to bloom then,” Dialogues of the Buddha 1.66, note.

7.

dhanus is a measure of length; according to Monier-Williams it is equivalent to four hastas, or 1/2000 gavyūti.

8.

So Vin-a.731.

9.

Cf. below, BD.2.290, and MN-a.2.109.

10.

ṭhitokāsa.

11.

Cf. below, BD.2.290, and MN-a.2.109.

12.

See above, BD.2.1, n.2.

13.

gocara-gāma, Vin-a.731 says: “in the neighbourhood of his jungle lodging.” Cf. Pv-a.12.42. It is a village where food is given to monks; gocara meaning pasturage or grazing.

14.

karaṇīya.

15.

Cf. above, BD.2.22, n.3.

16.

Cf. above, BD.2.23.

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