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) 39

Bu-Pc.39.1.1 BD.2.341 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six monks, having asked for sumptuous foods[1] for themselves,[2] ate them. People … spread it about, saying:

“How can the recluses, sons of the Sakyans, having asked for sumptuous foods for themselves, eat them? Who is not fond of well-cooked things? Who does not like sweet things?”[3] 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 asked for … eat them?” Vin.4.88

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, having asked for … ate them?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

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

Whatever are sumptuous foods, that is to say, ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey, molasses,[4] fish, meat, milk, curds—whatever monk, having asked for sumptuous foods such as these for himself, should eat them, there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.39.2.1 Now at that time monks became ill. Monks, enquiring after the ill ones, spoke thus to the ill monks:

BD.2.342 “We hope that your reverences are better, we hope that you are keeping going.”

“Formerly, your reverences, we, having asked for sumptuous foods for ourselves, ate them. Therefore there came to be comfort for us. But now it is forbidden by the lord, and being scrupulous, we do not ask, therefore there comes to be no comfort for us.”[5]

They told this matter to the lord. Then the lord, on this occasion,[6] having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, when a monk is ill, having asked for sumptuous foods for himself, to eat them. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever are sumptuous foods, that is to say, ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey, molasses, fish, meat, milk, curds—whatever monk who is not ill, having asked for sumptuous foods such as these for himself, should eat them, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.39.3.1 Whatever are sumptuous foods[7]: ghee[8] is called ghee from cows or ghee from she-goats or ghee from buffaloes, ghee from those whose meat is allowable.[9] Fresh butter means fresh butter from just these. Oil means sesamum oil, oil of mustard seeds, oil containing honey, oil of the castor-oil plant, oil from tallow. Honey means honey of bees. Molasses means what is produced from sugar-cane. Fish means it is called one that lives in water. Meat means the meat of those whose meat is allowable. Milk means milk of cows or milk of she-goats or milk of buffaloes, milk of those whose meat is allowable. Curds means curds from just these. Vin.4.89

BD.2.343 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Sumptuous foods such as these means: sumptuous foods like these.

Not ill means: for whom there comes to be comfort without sumptuous foods. Ill means: for whom there does not come to be comfort without sumptuous foods. Not ill, asks for himself, for every request,[10] there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he accepts (alms) thinking, “I will eat on acquisition,” there is an offence of wrong-doing. For every mouthful, there is an offence of expiation.


Bu-Pc.39.3.2 If he thinks that he is not ill when he is not ill, (and) having asked for sumptuous foods for himself, eats them, 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 … 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.39.3.3 There is no offence if he is ill; if having become ill, having asked, one who is not ill eats (the alms); if he eats the remainder of an ill (monk’s meal);[11] if they belong to relations; if they are invited; if it is for the good of another; if it is by means of his own property; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Ninth

Footnotes and references:

1.

paṇītabhojanānī ti uttamabhojanam, Vin-a.840.

2.

attano atthāya.

4.

The five standard medicines.

5.

Cf. above, BD.2.277; below, BD.2.399, BD.2.402.

6.

etasmiṃ pakaraṇe, “in this connection,” omitted here.

7.

Vin-a.840 says that besides these (nine)—i.e., ghee and so on—sumptuous foods are also those prepared from the seven kinds of grain. Cf. Vinaya Texts ii.133, n.3.

8.

From here to “sugar-cane” = Vin.3.251. See above, BD.2.131.

9.

Various kinds of meat which, if eaten, give rise to dukkaṭa offences are given at Vin.1.218f.

10.

payoge payoge; each time he asks there is an offence.

11.

Cf. above, BD.2.331.

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