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’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 7

Bu-Pc.7.1.1 BD.2.203 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the venerable Udāyin frequented families, and he approached many families. Then the venerable Udāyin, dressing in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, went up to a certain family. Now at that time the house-wife[1] was sitting at the entrance-door,[2] and the daughter-in-law of the house[3] was sitting at the door of the living-room.[4] Then the venerable Udāyin went up to the house-wife, and having gone up he gave dhamma privately[5] to the house-wife. Then the daughter-in-law of the house thought thus:

“What now, is this recluse the mother-in-law’s lover, or is he speaking offensively?”

Then the venerable Udāyin, having given dhamma privately to the house-wife, approached the daughter-in-law of the house, and having approached he gave dhamma privately to the daughter-in-law of the house. Then the house-wife thought:

“What now, is this recluse the lover of the daughter-in-law of the house, Vin.4.21 or is he speaking offensively?”

Then the venerable Udāyin, having given dhamma privately to the daughter-in-law of the house, departed. Then the house-wife said to the daughter-in-law of the house:

“Well now, what did this recluse say to you?”

“Lady, he taught dhamma to me[6]; but what did he say to the lady?”

“He also taught dhamma to me,”[7] she said.

BD.2.204 These (women) looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can master Udāyin teach dhamma privately? Should not dhamma be given clearly[8] and openly?”

Monks heard these women who looked down upon, criticised, spread it about. Those who were modest monks looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can the venerable Udāyin teach dhamma to women?”[9]

Then these monks told this matter to the lord …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Udāyin, taught dhamma to women?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish man, teach dhamma to women? It is not, foolish man, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“Whatever monk should teach dhamma to women, there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.7.2.1 Now -at that time female lay-followers, seeing monks, spoke thus:

“Please, masters, teach dhamma.”

“Sisters, it is not allowable to teach dhamma to women.”

“Please, masters, teach dhamma in five or six sentences,[10] it is possible to learn dhamma in a few (sentences).”

BD.2.205 “Sisters, it is not allowable to teach dhamma to women,” and being scrupulous, they did not teach. The female lay-followers looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can these masters, being asked by us, not teach dhamma?”

Monks heard these female lay-followers who looked down upon, criticised, spread it about. Then these monks told this matter to the lord. Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, I allow you to teach dhamma to women in five or six sentences. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“Whatever monk should teach dhamma to women in more than five or six sentences, there is an offence of expiation.” Vin.4.22

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


Bu-Pc.7.3.1 Now at that time the group of six monks thought: “It is allowed by the lord to teach dhamma to women in five or six sentences”; and these, making an unlearned man[11] sit down near by, taught dhamma to women in more than five or six sentences. Those who were modest monks looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can the group of six monks, making an unlearned man sit down near by, teach dhamma to women in more than five or six sentences?”

Then these monks told this matter to the lord …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks … to women?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish men … to women? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) BD.2.206 pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should teach dhamma to women in more than five or six sentences, except a learned man[12] (be present), there is offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.7.4.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Woman means: a human woman, not a female yakkha, not a female departed one, not a female animal, one who is learned, competent to know good speech and bad speech, what is lewd and what is not lewd.[13]

In more than five or six sentences means: exceeding five or six sentences.

Dhamma means: spoken by the enlightened one, spoken by disciples, spoken to holy men, spoken by devatās, connected with the goal, connected with dhamma.[14]

Should teach means: if he teaches by line, for every line there is an offence of expiation. If he teaches by syllable, for every syllable there is an offence of expiation.[15]

Except a learned man (be present) means: setting aside a learned man.

A learned man means: one who is competent to know good speech and bad speech, what is lewd and what is not lewd.


Bu-Pc.7.4.2 If he thinks that it is a woman[16] when it is a woman (and) teaches dhamma in more than five or six sentences, except a learned man (be present), there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is a woman (and) … except a learned man (be present), there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it BD.2.207 is not a woman when it is a woman … except a learned man (be present), there is an offence of expiation. If he teaches dhamma in more than five or six sentences to a female yakkha or to a female departed one or to a eunuch Vin.4.23 or to an animal in woman’s form, except a learned man (be present), there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is a woman when it is not a woman, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not a woman, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not a woman when it is not a woman, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.7.4.3 There is no offence if a learned man (be present); if he teaches dhamma in five or six sentences; if he teaches dhamma in less than five or six sentences; if he teaches having risen, having sat down again; if the woman having risen sits down again, and he teaches at that (moment)[17]; if he is teaching a different woman; if she asks a question; if (she) having asked a question, he speaks; if talking for the good of another, a woman hears[18]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Seventh

Footnotes and references:

1.

gharaṇī = gharasāminī, Vin-a.750 = Pv-a.174. Cf. kulagharaṇī at SN.i.201; gharaṇī at Vin.1.271, Pv.3.1.9.

2.

nivesanadvāre ti nivesanassa mahādvāre, Vin-a.750.

3.

gharasuṇhā.

4.

āvasathadvāre ti ovarakadvāre, Vin-a.750.

5.

upakaṇṇake, literally into the ear.

6.

me the first time, mayhaṃ the second.

7.

me the first time, mayhaṃ the second.

8.

vissattkena, which Pali-English Dictionary, quoting Vin.2.99 (vissaṭṭhena), calls “in confidence.” Vin-a.750 says, vissaṭṭhenā ti suniggatena saddena.

9.

Note how the emphasis is shifted from “privately” to “to women”; probably such a shifting bears the mark of a later editorial hand, when women no longer occupied the comparatively high place that was theirs under early Buddhism.

10.

vācā, or word, saying, speech.

11.

aviññuṃ purisaviggahaṃ.

12.

viññunā purisaviggahena. Vin-a.750 says, “not a yakkha, not a departed one, not an animal.”

14.

= above, BD.2.192.

15.

Cf. above, BD.2.192, where there is the same explanation for vāceyya as here for deseyya.

16.

Cf. above, BD.2.202, below, BD.2.358.

17.

tasmiṃ deseti; Vin-a.751, tasmiṃ khaṇe deseti.

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