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) 21

Bu-Pc.21.1.1 BD.2.263 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time monks who were elders, exhorting nuns, came to receive[1] requisites of robes, alms-food, lodgings, medicines for the sick.[2] Then it occurred to the group of six monks:

“Your reverences, at present monks who are elders, exhorting nuns, come to receive requisites … for the sick. Come, your reverences, let us too exhort nuns.”

Then the group of six monks, approaching nuns, spoke thus:

“Now, Vin.4.50 approach us, sisters, then we will exhort (you).”

Then those nuns approached the group of six monks, and having approached and greeted the group of six monks, they sat down at a respectful distance. Then the group of six monks, giving the nuns merely inferior talk on dhamma, spending the day in worldly talk,[3] dismissed them, saying: “Go, sisters.”

Then these nuns approached the lord, and having approached and greeted the lord, they stood at a respectful distance. As they were standing at a respectful distance, the lord spoke thus to these nuns:

“I hope, nuns, that the exhortation was effective?”[4]

“Lord, how could the exhortation be effective? The masters, the group of six monks, giving merely inferior talk … dismissed us, saying, ‘Go, sisters.’”

Then the lord gladdened, roused, pleased, delighted these nuns with talk on dhamma. Then these nuns, gladdened … delighted by the lord with talk on BD.2.264 dhamma, greeting the lord, departed, keeping their right sides towards him. Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having had the Order of monks convened, questioned the group of six monks, saying:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, giving nuns merely inferior talk … ‘Go, sisters’?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish men, giving nuns merely inferior talk on dhamma … dismiss them, saying: ‘Go, sisters’? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased …” And having rebuked them, and given reasoned talk, he addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, I allow (you) to agree upon[5] an exhorter of nuns. And thus, monks, should he be agreed upon. First, a monk should be requested, and having been requested, the Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk, saying: ‘Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. If it seems right to the Order, let the Order agree upon the monk so and so as exhorter of nuns. This is the motion. Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. The Order agrees Upon the monk so and so as exhorter of nuns. If it pleases the venerable ones, let the monk so and so be agreed upon as exhorter of nuns … they should speak. And a second time I tell this matter … And a third time I tell this matter. Let the Order listen to me … they should speak. The monk so and so is agreed upon by the Order as exhorter of nuns, and it is right … Thus do I understand this.’

Then the lord, having rebuked the group of six monks in many a figure Vin.4.51 for their weakness … “… And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, not agreed upon, should exhort nuns, there is an offence of expiation.”

BD.2.265 And thus this rule of training for monks came to be laid down by the lord.


Bu-Pc.21.2.1 Now at that time monks who were elders, (and who had been) agreed upon, exhorting nuns, came to receive, as before,[6] requisites of robes, alms-food, lodgings, medicines for the sick. Then it occurred to the group of six monks:

“Your reverences, at present, the monks who are elders, (and who have been) agreed upon, exhorting nuns, are receiving, as before, requisites … for the sick. Come, your reverences, let us, going outside the boundary,[7] agreeing upon one another as exhorter of nuns, exhort the nuns.”

Then the group of six monks, going outside the boundary, agreeing upon one another as exhorter of nuns, approaching the nuns, said:

“Now we, sisters, are agreed upon, so approach us and we will exhort (you).”

Then these nuns … etc., as above Bu-Pc.21.1.1 … having rebuked them, and given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, to agree upon a monk endowed with eight qualities as exhorter of nuns: one who is virtuous,[8] who lives restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha,[9] who is possessed of good behaviour and lawful resort,[10] who sees danger in the slightest faults,[11] who undertaking, trains himself in the rules of training,[12] who has become very learned, who knows the learning BD.2.266 by heart,[13] who is a store of learning.[14] Those things which, lovely at the beginning, lovely at the middle, lovely at the ending, declare with the spirit, with the letter[15] the Brahma-life completely fulfilled, wholly purified—such things[16] come to be much learned by him, learnt by heart,[17] repeated out loud, carefully pondered over, well penetrated by vision[18]; both the Pātimokkhas come to be properly handed down[19] to him in detail, well sectioned, well regulated, well investigated rule by rule,[20] as to the linguistic form.[21] He comes to be of charming speech, of charming delivery[22]; as a rule he becomes dear to nuns, liked (by them), he becomes competent to exhort nuns, he does not come to be one who, on going forth for the sake of the lord, on being clad in the yellow robes, has previously committed (some offence) against an important rule[23]; he comes to be one of twenty years’ standing[24] or of BD.2.267 more than twenty years’ standing. Monks, I allow you to agree upon a monk endowed with these eight qualities[25] as exhorter of nuns.” Vin.4.52


Bu-Pc.21.3.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Not agreed upon means: not agreed upon by an (official) act at which the motion is put three times and then followed by the decision.[26]

Nuns means: ordained by both Orders.[27]

Should exhort means: if he exhorts concerning the eight important rules, there is an offence of expiation. If he exhorts concerning another rule,[28] there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he exhorts one who has been ordained by one (Order only), there is an offence of wrong-doing.

When that monk has been agreed upon, sweeping the cell, providing drinking water and water for washing, making ready a seat, taking a colleague,[29] they should sit down.[30] The nuns going there, greeting that monk, should sit down at a respectful distance. They should be asked by that monk: ‘Sisters, are you all come?’[31] If they say: ‘Master, we are all come,’ he says: ‘Sisters, are the eight important rules[32] being kept up?’ If they say: ‘Master, they are being kept up,’ he, saying: ‘This, sisters, is the exhortation,’ should deliver it. If they BD.2.268 say: ‘Master, they are not being kept up,[33]’ he should expound them[34]:

A nun who has been ordained (even) for a century[35] must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day. This rule is to be honoured, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed during her life.

A nun must not spend the rains in a residence where there is no monk.[36] This rule is to be honoured … her life.

Every half month a nun should desire[37] two things from the Order of monks: the asking (as to the date) of the Observance day,[38] and the coming for the exhortation.[39]. The 58th Bhikkhunī Pācittiya is that it is an offence for a nun not to go for exhortation. This rule is to be honoured … her life.

After the rains, a nun must keep the ceremony held at the end of the rains[40] before both Orders, in respect BD.2.269 of three matters: what was seen, what was heard, what was suspected. This rule is to be honoured … her life.

A nun, offending against an important rule, must undergo the mānatta discipline[41] for half a month[42] before both Orders.[43] This rule … her life.

When, as a novice, she has trained in the six rules[44] for two years, she should seek ordination from both Orders.[45] This rule … her life.

A monk is not to be reviled[46] or abused in any way[47] by a nun.[48] This rule … her life.

From today, admonition[49] of monks by nuns is forbidden, admonition of nuns by monks is not forbidden. This rule is to be honoured, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed during her life.

If, saying, ‘Master, we are all come,’ he speaks another rule, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If, saying, ‘Master, we are not all come,’[50] he speaks the eight important rules, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If, not delivering[51] the exhortation, he speaks another rule, there is an offence of wrong-doing. Vin.4.53


Bu-Pc.21.3.2 If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act[52] when it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it BD.2.270 is not all come when the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of expiation.

If he is in doubt as to whether it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is not all come … If he is in doubt as to whether it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether the Order of nuns is not all come … thinking that they are all come … there is an offence of expiation.

If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is not all come … (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether it is not all come … (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of expiation.

If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is all come … (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether it is not all come … (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is all come, there is an offence of expiation.

If he is in doubt as to whether it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is all come … (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether it is not all come … (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is all come, there is an offence of expiation.

If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is all come … (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether it is not all come … (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is all come, there is an offence of expiation.

BD.2.271 If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is not all come … (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether it is not all come … (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

If he is in doubt as to whether it is a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come … being in doubt … thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come … being in doubt … thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is not all come, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is all come … is in doubt … thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is all come, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

If he is in doubt as to whether it is a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is all come when the Order of nuns is all come … there is an offence of wrong-doing.

If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act (and) exhorts, thinking that it is not all come when the Order of nuns is all come, there is an offence of wrong-doing … (and) exhorts, being in doubt as to whether the Order of nuns is all come, there is an offence of wrong-doing … thinking that the Order of nuns is all come when it is all come, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.21.3.3 There is no offence (in) giving an exposition,[53] giving an interrogation[54]; if he expounds being called upon: BD.2.272 ‘Expound, master[55] if she asks a question[56]; if, having, asked a question, he speaks; if, talking for the good of another, nuns hear; if it is to a female probationer, if it is to a female novice; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.[57]

The First

Footnotes and references:

1.

lābhino honti, literally came to be receivers of.

3.

tiracchānakathā. Various species of this, talk of kings, robbers, and so on, given at Vin.4.164; DN.i.7, DN.i.179; MN.i.513; SN.v.419; AN.v.128, etc.

4.

iddha. Cf. Vin.4.313.

5.

Cf. above, BD.2.14, BD.2.81, BD.2.157 for other “agreements,” sammuti.

6.

tath’ eva.

7.

Of their particular āvāsa, doubtless with the idea of setting up as a saṅgha on their own and carrying out their own formal acts.

8.

= Vin.2.95 to “linguistic form” below; and = AN.ii.22 …to “vision” below.

9.

Cf. DN.i.63 = AN.ii.14 = AN.iv.140 = MN.i.33 = It.118 = Vism.1.15 = Vb.244.

10.

References as in n.4 above. Translation of ācāragocarasampanna as at Path of Purity 1.20. Vin-a.788 says families possessed of faith are gocara, “lawful resort.”

11.

Cf. DN.i.63 = AN.ii.14 = AN.iv.140 = MN.i.33 = It.118 = Vism.1.15 = Vb.244.

12.

Cf. DN.i.63 = AN.ii.14 = AN.iv.140 = MN.i.33 = It.118 = Vism.1.15 = Vb.244.

13.

suta-dhara, literally “a bearer of the heard,” all teaching being at that time oral.

14.

suta-sannicaya.

15.

See Vinaya Texts iii.50, n.2.

16.

dhammā.

17.

dhatā. At Vin.2.95, Vin-a.788 dhatā.

18.

diṭṭhiyā = paññāya, Vin-a.788.

19.

svāgatāni = suṭṭhu āgatāni, Vin-a.790. See also AN.iv.140, GS.4.95, translated: “properly handed down,” and Vinaya Texts iii.51, “completely handed down.” Passage also occurs Vin.1.65, where it is the fifth of the five necessary qualities in a monk who is to ordain a nun. At Vin.1.68 a sixth quality is added. See also Vin.2.249.

20.

suttaso or suttato. See Vinaya Texts i.xxix, BD.1.x, for sutta in such contexts meaning “rule,” or “clause,” rather than “discourse.” Translated as “rule” at Vinaya Texts iii.317.

21.

anubyañjanaso. Vin-a.790 explains: akkharapadapāripūriyā, as to the completion of line and syllable.

22.

Vin-a.790, madhurassara, sweet-toned, sweet-voiced. Cf. AN.ii.97, AN.iii.114.

23.

garudhamma, esteemed or principal rule. Vinaya Texts iii.322 translates garudhammā as “chief rules,” GS.4.183 as “cardinal rules.” Given in detail below and also at Vin.2.255; AN.iv.276. See also Vinaya Texts i.35, n.2. These “important rules” were recited to Mahāpajāpatī when Gotama told her that women might become nuns, and they were to count as her ordination. Vin-a.790 says that in his time as a householder, he (i.e., the monk agreed upon) had not committed unchastity with nuns, female novices or probationers.

24.

Vin-a.791, since his upasampadā ordination.

25.

The eight qualities are summarised at Vin-a.791.

26.

ñatticatuttha kamma. Cf. below, BD.2.275.

27.

Cf. above, BD.2.32.

28.

aññena dhammena.

29.

dutiya. Vin-a.792 says this means that a dutiya should be wanted for setting him free from offence in teaching dhamma; cf. above, BD.2.206, where in teaching dhamma to women a learned man should also be present.

30.

nisīditabbaṃ. Vin-a.792, “they should all sit down at the place of arrival, not at the outskirts of or in the middle of the vihāra, not at the door of the uposatha-hall or of the refectory.”

31.

samagga ‘ttha bhaginiyo. Samagga also means “in unity, harmonious,” but Vin-a.792 explains by sabbā āgaman’ attha, ‘are you all come?’

32.

garudhamma, see above, BD.2.266.

33.

Vattanti = āgacchanti, Vin-a.792.

34.

osāretabbā, but Vin-a.792 reads osāretabbo.

35.

See Horner, Women under Primitive Buddhism, p.120, where the eight garudhammā, their infringements and remodelling are set out in some detail. These eight principal rules occur again at Vin.2.255.

36.

abhikkhuke āvāse. GS.4.183, “where there is no resident monk.” Vin-a.792 says, “if the monks giving exhortation do not live within half a yojana of the nunnery (or nuns’ quarters), this means a residence without monks (ayaṃ abhikkhuko āvāso nāma).” For then she could not go for the exhortation. This rule is the same as the 56th Bhikkhunī Pācittiya, Vin.4.313.

37.

paccāsiṃsitabbā, expect or ask for. Vin-a.794 gives icchitabbā, desire.

38.

I.e., whether it is to be held on the fourteenth or fifteenth day of the month, see Vinaya Texts iii.323, n.2, and Vin-a.794.

39.

ovādupasaṃkamana. Nuns should ask for this. Cf. Vin.4.315 and Vin-a.795. The vicissitudes which led to a monk going to the nuns, instead of the nuns to a monk, are set out at Vin-a.794f., quoting Vin.2.263ff. This rule is the same as the 59th Bhikkhunī Pācittiya, Vin.4.315

40.

pavāretabbaṃ. At this ceremony, the pavāraṇā, monks and nuns were mutually invited to avow offences seen, heard, or suspected. GS.4.183 translates “Invitation Festival.” See GS.4.183, n.3. Failure of a nun to keep this rule is a pācittiya for her, Vin.4.314 (= Bi-Pc.57). Nuns’ shortcomings with regard to the pavāraṇā are told at Vin.2.275, together with the means of carrying it out properly. Cf. Vin.1.159

42.

pakkhamānatta.

43.

Eventually only nuns were allowed to carry out a formal act (kamma) against nuns, Vin.2.260, though not here specifically the mānatta.

44.

I.e., for novices. Referred to, Bi-Pc.63Bi-Pc.67.

46.

akkositabbo. Cf. akkosa, “mode of address,” at BD.2.171 above.

47.

kenaci pariyāyena.

49.

vacanapatha. Ed. Vinaya Texts iii.324 says, “the reference is, no doubt, to the various kinds of official admonitions given in detail in chapter 20 below” = Vin.2.276. Vin-a.800 says she should not exhort or instruct a monk; while Commentary on AN.iv.277 says that vacanapatha is ovādanusāsanadhammakathā, talk on dhamma and instruction and exhortation.

50.

vagga. See Vinaya Texts i.36, n.2 (from BD.2.35), where it is said that “vagga is vyagra, the opposite of samagga.”

51.

aniyyādetvā is according to Vin-a.800 avatvā.

52.

The (legal) act is here the formal act (kamma) appointing the exhorter, Vin-a.800.

53.

Cf. Vin.1.75, Vin.2.219. Vin-a.808, “reciting the text of the eight important rules.”

54.

paripucchā. Cf. below, BD.2.275, BD.2.278, BD.2.395, and Vin.1.70, Vin.2.219. Vin-a.800, “speaking an explanation on the text of the important rules.”

55.

Vin-a.800, the important rules.

56.

Vin-a.801, “if a nun asks a question about the eight important rules or about the khandhas, whatever the monk says to that is no offence for him.”