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) 18

Bu-Pc.18.1.1 BD.2.254 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that Vin.4.46 time two monks (were) in a lofty cell with an upper part,[1] in a dwelling-place belonging to the Order; one lived below, one above. The monk above sat down suddenly on a couch with removable feet.[2] The foot of the couch, falling off,[3] hit[4] the lower monk on the head, (and) this monk uttered a cry of distress. Monks, running up, said to this monk:

“Why do you, your reverence, utter a cry of distress?”

Then that monk told this matter to the monks. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can a monk, in a lofty cell with an upper part, in a dwelling-place belonging to the Order, sit down suddenly on a couch with removable feet?”

Then these monks told this matter to the lord…

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monk, in a lofty cell with an upper part, in a dwelling-place belonging to the Order, sat down suddenly on a couch with removable feet?” …

BD.2.255 “… 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, in a lofty cell with an upper part, in a dwelling-place belonging to the Order, should sit down[5] or lie down on a couch or chair with removable feet, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.18.2.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Dwelling-place belonging to the Order means: it comes to be given to the Order, handed over to it.[6]

Lofty cell means: it does not touch the head[7] of a man of medium height.

Couch with removable feet means: having perforated[8] the legs, it stands.

Chair with removable feet means: having perforated the legs, it stands.

Should sit down on means: if he sits down on it, there is an offence of expiation.

Should lie down on means: if he lies down on it, there is an offence of expiation.


Bu-Pc.18.2.2 If he thinks that it belongs to the Order when it belongs to the Order, (and) sits down on or lies down on a couch or a chair with removable feet in a lofty cell with an upper part, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it belongs to the Order … If he thinks that it belongs to an individual BD.2.256 when it belongs to the Order … with an upper part, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it belongs to the Order when it belongs to an individual, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it belongs to an individual, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it belongs to an individual when it belongs to an individual (but) to another individual, there is an offence of wrong-doing; if it belongs to the individual himself, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.18.2.3 There is no offence if he is in a cell that is not lofty[9]; if he is in one that touches the head; if the one below comes to be not in use; if there comes to be an accumulation of boards[10]; if a pin is provided[11]; if standing on it he takes down from or hangs up on[12]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Eighth

Footnotes and references:

1.

upari-vehāsa-kuṭī. Meaning is obscure. For vehāsa as “above ground,” see BD.1.79. Vehāsa-kuṭī seems to be a lofty cell, as Old Commentary, says it is one which will not knock the head of a man of medium height. Pali-English Dictionary gives “air-hut, airy room.” Probably means the cell was so high that there was room for an “upper berth” (see Dickson, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1876, 128, n.1), not a single-roomed cell. Vin-a.782 says uparivehāsakuṭī is a two or three storeyed cell without a roof (acchannatala).

2.

āhaccapādaka, see above, BD.2.240, in definition of “couch” and “chair.” Āhaccapādaka mañca allowed at Vin.2.149.

3.

nippaṭtivā = nipatitvā, nikkhamitvā, Vin-a.782.

4.

avatthāsi. Cf. BD.1.138, BD.1.140 = Vin.3.79, Vin.3.81.

5.

Note that sahasā, suddenly, hastily, is omitted in the Rule; it is put in at Vinaya Texts i.34. Cf. this for translation of uparivehāsakuṭī; also Gogerly’s version, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1862, p.443, and Dickson’s, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1876, p.111. The latter also puts sahasā (“hurriedly”) into the Rule, and it would seem more logical to do so; for if no couch or chair with removable legs were to be sat or lain on in an upper storey, there was little point in allowing these objects there at all.

7.

asīsaghaṭṭā. Vin-a.782, none of the lower beams or rafters touch (or knock) the head of a man of medium (middle or average, majjhima) measure.

8.

cf. above, BD.2.240, and Vin-a.774.

9.

avehāsakuṭīya. Vin-a.782, made among sāl-leaves on the ground, for it is not possible to hurt another person there.

10.

padara-sañcitaṃ hoti. Vin-a.783 (the cell) of which the upper-most floor (tala) is spread over thickly with sticks and planks.

11.

paṭāṇi dinnā hoti. This means the pin or peg which must be inserted in a couch or chair whose feet are removable in order that the foot will not fall off when the chair is sat upon; Vin-a.783, and cf. Vin-a.774.

12.

Vin-a.783, “standing on a couch or chair whose feet are removable, he says, ‘take down a robe or anything hung up on a peg (nāgadanta)’ or hangs up another, there is no offence for him.”