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) 19

Bu-Pc.19.1.1 BD.2.257 Vin.4.47 … at Kosambī in Ghosita’s monastery. Now at that time a chief minister, the venerable Channa’s supporter, was having a dwelling-place built for the venerable Channa.[1] Then the venerable Channa again and again had the finished dwelling-place roofed, again and again had it plastered. The overloaded dwelling-place fell down. Then the venerable Channa, collecting grass and sticks, despoiled the cornfield of a certain brahmin. Then that brahmin looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can the revered ones despoil our cornfields?” Monks heard this brahmin who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can the venerable Channa again and again have a finished dwelling-place roofed, again and again have it plastered (so that) the overloaded dwelling-place falls down?” Then these monks told this matter to the lord…

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Channa, again and again had a finished dwelling-place roofed … so that the overloaded dwelling-place fell down?”

“It is true, lord,” he said.

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

“How can you, foolish man, again and again have a finished dwelling-place roofed, again and again have it plastered, (so that) the overloaded dwelling-place falls down? It is not, foolish man, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

When a large dwelling-place is being built for a monk, BD.2.258 an enclosure[2] of two or three roofings may be determined upon for placing the door-bolts, for making the window-holes[3] as far as the door-way,[4] in establishing it where there are no crops.[5] If, though established where there are no crops, he should determine upon (something) more than that, there is an offence of expiation.”[6]


Bu-Pc.19.2.1 Large means: it is so called if it is a dwelling-place having a benefactor.[7]

Dwelling-place means: it comes to be smeared inside or smeared outside or smeared inside and outside.

Is being made means: making or causing to be made.[8]

As far as the door-way[9] means: a reach of the hand from all round the door-posts and lintel.[10]

For placing the door-bolts means: for placing the door-way.

For making the window-holes means: for making BD.2.259 windows[11]: whitewash,[12] black colouring, the use of red chalk,[13] wreath-work,[14] creeper-work, sword-fish design,[15] cupboards.[16] Vin.4.48

An enclosure of two or three roofings should be determined upon, in establishing it where there are no crops means: crops mean: grain and pulses.[17] If it is established where there are crops (and) he determines upon (some alteration), there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is roofing with a way, having determined upon two ways, commanding a third way, he may depart.[18] If he is roofing with an enclosure, having determined upon two enclosures, commanding a third enclosure, he may depart.

If, though established where there are no crops, he should determine upon (something) more than that[19] means: if he is roofing with tiles, for every tile there is an offence of expiation. If he is roofing with stones, for every stone there is an offence of expiation. If he is roofing with plaster, for every lump there is an offence of expiation. If he is roofing with grass, for every wisp there is an BD.2.260 offence of expiation. If he is roofing with leaves, for every leaf there is an offence of expiation.[20]


Bu-Pc.19.2.2 If he thinks that it is more when it is more than two or three enclosures (and) determines upon,[21] there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is more than two or three enclosures (and) determines upon, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is less when it is more than two or three enclosures (and) determines upon, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is more when it is less than two or three enclosures, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is less than two or three enclosures, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is less when it is less than two or three enclosures, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.19.2.3 There is no offence if there are two or three enclosures; if there are less than two or three enclosures; if it is in a cave, if it is in a hut, if it is in a tiṇa-grass hut; if it is for another; if it is by means of his own property[22]; except it be as a house there is no offence in any other circumstances; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.[23]

The Ninth

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. BD.1.266, where a householder was building a dwelling-place for him.

2.

paryāya. Vin-a.784 says pariyāyaṃ vuccati parikkhepo. Parikkhepo is closing round, surrounding, enclosure. Paryāya can also mean method.

3.

ālokasandhi, small holes for light and air.

4.

dvārakosa. Dvāra is “the aperture and not that by which the aperture could be closed.” This is called kavāṭa. See Vinaya Texts iii.160, n.3. Kosa is a cavity or enclosure containing something.

5.

appaharita, “little or no grass” (Critical Pali Dictionary), but Old Commentary points to “crops.”

6.

My translation of this rule differs considerably from that given at Vinaya Texts i.35, where editor says, “This rule … is somewhat obscure, owing to our want of information as to the mode in which such dwellings should be put up.” Vinaya Texts i.35 has “rectified” for adhiṭṭhātabbaṃ, which I have translated as “determined upon.” For the point of this rule is that when the vihāra is built and everything is ṭhito, fixed, established, a monk must not ask the dāyaka, benefactor, donor, to change the positions of doors and windows or make any additions or rectifications. If he does so, he incurs a pācittiya offence.

9.

Vin-a.783 says that here dvārakosa means a space (okāsa) the measure of the door’s breadth from all round the door-posts and lintel; it quotes other authorities giving different measures. Apparently doors and windows must not be made nearer than this distance to the doorway.

10.

piṭṭhasaṃgāṭa. Allowed at Vin.2.120, Vin.1.148. See Vinaya Texts iii.105, n.2.

11.

vātapāna. Three kinds allowed at Vin.2.148, but not the kinds given above. Vin-a.784 takes it as vātapānakavāṭa, shutters, which perhaps makes more sense here.

12.

All these items are allowed, in other connections, at Vin.2.121, also at Vin.2.117 with two more not occurring above. Cf. Vin.2.172. “Whitewash” is setavaṇṇa, or plaster; “black colouring” is kāḷavaṇṇa, or blacking.

13.

gerukaparikamma, red colouring. These three colourings are allowed to be used in vihāras at Vin.2.150.

14.

These four kinds of design are allowed in another connection at Vin.2.152.

15.

makaradantaka. The meaning is not at all clear, but “a design in painting or carving” (Pali-English Dictionary).

16.

pañcapaṭṭhika. For lack of better translation, I follow Vinaya Texts iii.97, q.v. n.3. But the meaning is very doubtful.

18.

Vin-a.785, having had it roofed in two ways, magga, but because it was badly done he may have it roofed again in a third way—doubtless he may choose three of the five ways mentioned immediately below.

19.

Vin-a.785 says, “upon a fourth way or enclosure over and above the three ways and enclosures.”

20.

These five kinds of roofing are allowed at Vin.2.154. It is meant here that once the building is finished he must not add one tile or stone and so forth.

21.

Presumably more roofings or enclosures.

22.

I was told in Ceylon that this means that a monk gives something—rice, paddy, fruit—to a family, which then uses it in preparing a meal for him.

23.

Cf. Vin.3.155, and BD.1.264, notes.

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