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) 10

Bu-Pc.10.1.1 BD.2.223 … at Āḷavī in the chief shrine at Āḷavī. Now at that time the monks of Āḷavī, making repairs, dug the ground and had it dug. People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, dig the ground and have it dug? These recluses, sons of the Sakyans, are harming life that is one-facultied.”[1]

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

“How can these monks of Āḷavī dig the ground and have it dug?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, dug the ground and had it dug?”

“It is true, lord,” they said.

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

“How can you, foolish men, dig the ground and have it dug? For, foolish men, people having consciousness as living beings Vin.4.33 are in the ground. 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 should dig the ground or have it dug, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.10.2.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Ground means: there are two (kinds of) ground: natural ground and artificial ground.[2] Natural ground means: pure soil, pure clay, (with) few stones, (with) BD.2.224 few pebbles, (with) few potsherds, (with) little gravel,[3] (with) little sand, almost all soil, almost all clay. Natural ground is also called not burnt.[4] And whatever heap of soil or heap of clay is (left) damp[5] for more than four months, this too is called natural ground. Artificial ground means: pure stone, pure pebbles, pure potsherds, pure gravel, pure sand, little soil, little clay, almost all stones, almost all pebbles, almost all potsherds, almost all gravel, almost all sand. Artificial ground is also called burnt. And whatever heap of soil or heap of clay is (left) damp for less than four months, this too is called artificial ground.

Should dig means: if he himself digs, there is an offence of expiation.

Should have (it) dug means: if he commands another, there is an offence of expiation. Commanding once, if he then digs many times, there is an offence of expiation.


Bu-Pc.10.2.2 If he thinks that it is ground when it is ground (and) digs it or has it dug or breaks it or has it broken or burns it or has it burnt,[6] there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is ground (and) digs it … or has it burnt, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is not ground when it is ground (and) digs it … or has it burnt, there is no offence. If he thinks that it is ground when it is not ground, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not ground, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not ground when it is not ground, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.10.2.3 There is no offence if he speaks, saying: “Find[7] this, give this, convey this, this is wanted, make this BD.2.225 allowable”; if it was unintentional,[8] if (he was) not thinking, if he did not know, if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.[9]

The Tenth

This is its key:

Lying, insulting speech, slander, lines, then two on lying down,
Except a learned man (be present), facts, very bad offence, digging.

The First Division Vin.4.34

Footnotes and references:

2.

jātā ca pathavī ajātā ca pathavī.

3.

marumbā, or perhaps coarse sand. At Vin.2.121 monks are allowed to spread marumbā, in a damp or swampy cell. Cf. Vin.2.142, Vin.2.153; also Mil.197.

4.

By the potter.

5.

ovaṭṭha; Vin-a.756 ovaṭṭa with variant readings ovuṭṭa, ovuṭṭha, ovaṭṭha.

6.

Even by making a fire for cooking a bowl, Vin-a.758.

7.

jāna; Vin-a.758 reads jānāhi, and indicates that these four activities refer to holes dug for stakes, to heavy clay, clay for chaff (thusamattikā) and soil.

8.

= Below, BD.2.229, BD.2.262, and Vin.4.125, Vin.4.185, and cf. Vin.3.78 (BD.1.136).

9.

Cf. below, end of Bu-Pc.11.