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) 27

Bu-Pc.27.1.1 BD.2.288 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six monks, having arranged together with nuns, were going along the same high-road.[1] People … spread it about, saying:

“Just as we tour with our wives, so do these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, tour together with nuns.”

Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can this group of six monks, having arranged together with nuns, go along the same high-road?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks … the same high-road?”

“It is true, lord.” The enlightened one, the lord rebuked them, saying:

“How can you, foolish men … same high-road? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of trailing should be set forth:

“Whatever monk, having arranged together with a nun, should go along the same high-road, even among villages,[2] there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.27.2.1 Now[3] at that time several[4] monks and nuns Vin.4.63 came to be going along the high-road from Sāketa BD.2.289 to Sāvatthī. Then these nuns spoke thus to these monks:

“We will go along with the masters.”

“Sisters, it is not allowable, having arranged together with a nun, to go along the same high-road. Either you go first, or we will go (first).”

“Honoured sirs, the masters are the highest men,[5] so let the masters go first.”

Then as those nuns were going last thieves robbed them on the way and assaulted them. Then these nuns, having arrived at Sāvatthī, told this matter to the nuns. The nuns … to the monks. The monks … to the lord. Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, to go along the same high-road, having arranged together with a nun, if it is on a road agreed upon as dangerous, frightening,[6] (where) one must go with a weapon.[7] And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, having arranged together with a nun, should go along the same high-road, even among villages, except at the right time, there is an offence of expiation. In this case this is the right time: if a road becomes agreed upon as dangerous, frightening, (where) one must go with a weapon. This is the right time in this case.”


Bu-Pc.27.2.3 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Nun means: one ordained by both Orders.

Together with means: together.

BD.2.290 Having arranged[8] means: if one arranges, saying, ‘We are going, sister, we are going, master, we are going, master, we are going, sister, we are going either today or tomorrow[9] or the next day,’[10] there is an offence of wrong-doing.

Even among villages means: in a village close enough for a cock (to walk),[11] among every (such) village,[12] there is an offence of expiation. For every half yojana[13] in what is not a village, in a jungle,[14] there is an offence of expiation.[15]

Except at the right time means: setting aside the right time.[16]

A road where one must go with a weapon means: it comes to be impossible to go without a weapon.

Dangerous[17] means: if, on this road, a place where thieves are halting is seen, a place where they are eating is seen, a place where they are resting is seen, a place where they are sitting down is seen, a place where they are lying down is seen.

Frightening[18] means: if on this road people injured by thieves are seen, (people) plundered are seen, (people) beaten down are seen. Vin.4.64

Having gone to a frightening (place), having seen that it is not frightening, they should be dismissed, with the words, ‘Go, sisters.’


Bu-Pc.27.3.1–2 BD.2.291 If he thinks that it was arranged when it was arranged, (and) goes along the same high-road even among villages, except at the right time, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it was arranged … If he thinks that it was not arranged when it was arranged … there is an offence of expiation. If a monk arranges (and) a nun does not arrange, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it was arranged when it was not arranged, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it was not arranged, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it was not arranged when it was not arranged, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.27.3.3 There is no offence if it is at the right time; if he goes not having arranged; if the nun arranges (and) the monk does not arrange; if they go without (making) a rendezvous[19]; if there are dangers[20]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.[21]

The Seventh

Footnotes and references:

2.

gāmantaraṃ.

3.

Cf. below, BD.2.292.

4.

sambahulā, usually in Vinaya “two or three,” a gaṇa.

5.

aggapurisa, or foremost, chief among men.

6.

Cf. above, BD.2.158, for these two words; and cf. MN.i.134.

7.

satthagamanīya. I follow rendering of Vinaya Texts i.37: “when the road is so insecure and dangerous that travellers on it have to carry arms,” and not the “caravan-road” of Pali-English Dictionary. For Old Commentary’s definition would, in conjunction with this phrase, make nonsense if “caravan-road” were meant. Sattha may be, more specifically, “knife,” cf. Bu-Pj.3

8.

Cf. below, BD.2.293, and Vin.4.131.

9.

hiyyo, usually “yesterday.” Cf. Hindustani kāl, meaning both “yesterday” and “tomorrow.”

10.

pare, or it can mean “in the future.”

11.

kukkuṭasampāte gāme. Vin-a.806 says, “setting out from a village a cock goes on foot to another village.” Cf. kukkuṭasampātika at AN.i.159, and GS.1.142, and n.2; DN.iii.75, and Dialogues of the Buddha 3.72 and n.2. The whole phrase seems to mean it is an offence to walk to a village that is so close that a cock could walk to it.

12.

gāmantare gāmantare.

13.

See Rhys Davids, Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, p.16.

14.

See definition of “jungle” at BD.1.74, BD.1.85.

15.

Cf. below, BD.2.294, and Vin.4.131.

16.

To here from “together with” above, cf. below, BD.2.293, and Vin.4.131.

17.

Cf. above, BD.2.158, and MN-a.2.109.

18.

Cf. above, BD.2.158, and MN-a.2.109.

19.

visaṃketena. Vin-a.807, “If they say: we will go before the meal, and they go after the meal; if they say: we will come today, and they go on the morrow, thus as it is not at the time of the rendezvous (kālavisaṃkete) there is no offence.” Cf. asaṃketena above, BD.2.239, n.3.

20.

Vin-a.807, “when there is dissension in the kingdom and the country people mount their carts and drive away”; a stock phrase, cf. AN.i.178, AN.iii.66, AN.iii.104.

21.

Cf. below, BD.2.294, and Vin.4.132, Vin.4.133.