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) 31

Bu-Pc.31.1.1 BD.2.303 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time, not far from Sāvatthī, alms-food came to be prepared in a public rest-house[1] by some guild. The group of six monks, dressing in the morning, taking their bowls and robes, entering Sāvatthī for alms-food, (but) not obtaining alms-food, went to the public rest-house. People, saying: “At last the revered ones are come,” duly waited upon them. Then the group of six monks also on the second day … also on the third day, dressing in the morning … going to the public rest-house, ate (a meal). Then it occurred to the group of six monks:

“What difference do we make?[2] Having gone to the monastery, then tomorrow[3] it will be right to return just here.”[4] Staying on and on[5] just there, Vin.4.70 they ate alms-food at the public rest-house. Followers of other sects went away. People … spread it about, saying:

“How can the recluses, sons of the Sakyans, staying on and on, eat alms-food at the public rest-house? The alms-food at the public rest-house is not prepared merely[6] for them, the alms-food at the public rest-house is prepared simply for everybody.”

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

“How can the group of six monks, staying on and on, eat alms-food at a public rest-house?” …

BD.2.304 “Is it true, as is said, that you, monks … rest-house?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

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

“One meal at a public rest-house may be eaten. If he should eat more than that, there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.31.2.1 Now at that time the venerable Sāriputta, going to Sāvatthī through the Kosalan country, approached a certain public rest-house. People saying: “At last the elder is come,” duly waited upon (him). Then when the venerable Sāriputta had eaten, a painful affliction arose, he was not able to leave that public rest-house. Then on the second day these people spoke thus to the venerable Sāriputta: “Eat, honoured sir.” Then the venerable Sāriputta, thinking: “It is not allowed by the lord, staying on and on, to eat alms-food at a public rest-house,” and being scrupulous, he did not accept; he became famished. Then the venerable Sāriputta, having gone to Sāvatthī, told this matter to the monks. The monks told this matter to the lord. Then the lord in this connection, on this occasion, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, when a monk is ill, staying on and on, to eat alms-food at a public rest-house. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

One meal in a public rest-house may be eaten by a monk who is not ill. If he should eat more than that, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.31.3.1 Not ill means: he is able to leave that public rest-house. Ill means: he is not able to leave that public rest-house. Vin.4.71

BD.2.305 Meal in a public rest-house means: any one meal of the five (kinds of) meals[7]; as much as is wanted[8] is prepared, not specially for him,[9] in a hall or in a hut[10] or at the foot of a tree or in the open air.

By a monk who is not ill means: (a meal) may be eaten once (only). If he accepts more than that, thinking: “I will eat,” there is an offence of wrong-doing; for each mouthful, there is an offence of expiation.[11]


Bu-Pc.31.3.2 If he thinks that he is not ill when he is not ill, (and) eats more than a meal at a public rest-house, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether he is not ill … If he thinks that he is ill when he is not ill … offence of expiation. If he thinks that he is not ill when he is ill, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether he is ill, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that he is ill when he is ill, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.31.3.3 There is no offence if he is ill; if he eats once when he is not ill; if he eats going out or coming in; if the proprietors, having invited him, offer him food, if it is specially[12] prepared (for him); if what is prepared is not as much as is wanted[13]; setting aside the five (kinds of) meals there is no offence in (eating) any others[14]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The First

Footnotes and references:

1.

āvasathapiṇḍa. See Vinaya Texts i.37, n.3, for information and references. Cf. āvasathāgāra, above, BD.2.198.

2.

kiṃ mayaṃ karissāma.

3.

hiyyo. Vin-a.810 reads bhīyyo pī ti sve pi.

4.

idh’eva āgantabbaṃ bhavissati.

5.

anuvasitvā anuvasitvā.

6.

eva.

7.

Cf. above, BD.2.298; below, BD.2.330.

8.

yāvadattho. Vin-a.810, “such a lot of food not being allotted.”

9.

anodissa. Vin-a.810, “prepared for all.”

10.

maṇḍapa.

11.

Cf. above, BD.2.298.

12.

odissa, thus disproving Pali-English Dictionary’s “only in negative”.

13.

Vin-a.811, “and he takes very little.”

14.

Cf. above, BD.2.299; below, BD.2.314, BD.2.320.