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) 47

Bu-Pc.47.1.1 BD.2.368 … among the Sakyans in Kapilavatthu at the Banyan monastery. Now at that time Mahānāma the Sakyan[1] had abundant medicine. Then Mahānāma the Sakyan approached the lord, and having approached, having greeted the lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Mahānāma the Sakyan spoke thus to the lord:

“I want, lord, to invite the Order (to accept) medicine for four months.”

“Very good, Mahānāma; well then, you, Mahānāma, invite the Order (to accept) medicine for four months.”

The monks, being scrupulous, did not consent. They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, to accept[2] an invitation (to accept) a requisite for four months.”


Bu-Pc.47.1.2 Then monks asked Mahānāma the Sakyan for a little medicine, (although) Mahānāma the Sakyan had abundant medicine as before.[3] A second time did Mahānāma the Sakyan approach the lord … spoke thus to the lord:

“I want, lord, to invite the Order (to accept) medicine for an additional four months.”

“Very good, Mahānāma; well then, you, Mahānāma, invite the Order (to accept) medicine for an additional four months.”

BD.2.369 The monks, being scrupulous, did not consent. They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, to accept a renewed invitation.”[4]


Bu-Pc.47.1.3 Then monks asked Mahānāma the Sakyan for just[5] a little medicine, (although) Mahānāma the Sakyan had abundant medicine as before. A third time Vin.4.102 did Mahānāma the Sakyan approach the lord … spoke thus to the lord:

“I want, lord, to invite the Order (to accept) medicine for life.”[6]

“Very good, Mahānāma; well then, you, Mahānāma, invite the Order (to accept) medicine for life.”

The monks, being scrupulous, did not consent. They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, to accept a permanent invitation.”[7]


Bu-Pc.47.1.4 Now at that time the group of six monks had become improperly dressed, improperly clothed, not decently attired.[8] Mahānāma the Sakyan became a speaker[9]:

“Why are you, honoured sirs, improperly dressed, improperly clothed, not decently attired? On going forth, should not one become properly dressed, properly clothed, decently attired?”

The group of six monks grumbled at Mahānāma the BD.2.370 Sakyan. Then it occurred to the group of six monks: “Now, in what way could we bring shame[10] to Mahānāma the Sakyan?” Then it occurred to the group of six monks: “The Order is invited by Mahānāma the Sakyan (to accept) medicine. Come, your reverences, let us ask Mahānāma the Sakyan for ghee.” Then the group of six monks approached Mahānāma the Sakyan, and having approached they spoke thus to Mahānāma the Sakyan:

“Sir, we want a doṇa[11] measure of ghee.”

“Honoured sirs, wait this day (only)[12]; people are going to the cattle-pen to get ghee; you may fetch it in the morning.”

A second time … A third time did the group of six monks speak thus: … “… in the morning.”

“Do you, sir, not give what you invited (us to accept) because you do not desire to give what you invited (us to accept)?”

Then Mahānāma the Sakyan looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can these revered sirs, being told: ‘Wait this day (only), honoured sirs,’ not wait?”

Monks heard Mahānāma the Sakyan as he … spread it about. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can this group of six monks being told by Mahānāma the Sakyan, ‘Wait this day (only), honoured sirs,’ not wait?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, being told … did not wait?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish men, being told by Mahānāma the Sakyan … not wait? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

When a monk is not ill, an invitation (to accept) a BD.2.371 requisite[13] for four months may be accepted, Vin.4.103 unless there be a renewed invitation, unless there be a permanent invitation. If one should accept for longer than that, there is an offence of expiation.


Bu-Pc.47.2.1 When a monk is not ill, an invitation (to accept) a requisite for four months may be accepted means: an invitation (to accept) a requisite may be accepted by one who is ill.[14]

And a renewed invitation may be accepted means: if he thinks, ‘When I become ill, then I will ask.’

And a permanent invitation may be accepted means: if he thinks, ‘When I become ill, then I will ask.’

If one should accept for longer than that means: there is an invitation limited to medicines, not limited to nights[15]; there is an invitation limited to nights, not limited to medicines; there is an invitation limited to medicines and limited to nights; there is an invitation neither limited to medicines nor limited to nights.

Limited to medicines means: if he says, “I invite (them to accept) just these medicines,” medicines come to be taken up.

Limited to nights means: if he says, “I invite (them to accept) on just these nights,” nights come to be taken up.

Limited to medicines and limited to nights means: if he says, “I invite (them to accept) just these medicines on just these nights,” medicines come to be taken up and nights come to be taken up.

Neither limited to medicines nor limited to nights means: BD.2.372 there come to be medicines that are not taken up and there come to be nights that are not taken up.

In “limited to medicines,” if, setting aside those medicines which he came to be invited (to accept), he asks for other medicines, there is an offence of expiation. In “limited to nights,” if, setting aside those nights for which he came to be invited (to accept), he asks for other nights, there is an offence of expiation. In “limited to medicines and limited to nights,” if setting aside those medicines which he came to be invited (to accept), if setting aside those nights for which he came to be invited (to accept), he asks for other medicines for other nights, there is an offence of expiation. In “neither limited to medicines nor limited to nights” there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.47.2.2 If he asks for medicine that is not to be used as medicine,[16] there is an offence of expiation. If he asks for one medicine that may be used as a different medicine,[17] there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is for longer than that when it is for longer than that (and) asks for medicine, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is for longer than that … If he thinks that it is not for longer than that -when it is for longer than that … offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is for longer than that when it is not for longer than that, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not for longer than that, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not for longer than that when it is not for longer than that, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.47.2.3 There is no offence if he asks for those medicines which he came to be invited (to accept); if he asks for BD.2.373 those nights for which he came to be invited (to accept); if he asks, Vin.4.104 explaining, ‘Of those medicines which we were invited by you (to accept) we need this and that medicine’; if he asks, explaining, ‘Those nights for which we were invited by you have passed and we need medicine’; if they belong to relations; if they are invited; if it is for the sake of another; if it is by means of his own property; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Seventh

Footnotes and references:

1.

Mahānāma Sakka, a cousin of Gotama, and belonging to a Sakyan family of Kapilavatthu. He had not entered the Order, or he would have been called Sakyaputtiya, literally son of the Sakyan(s), a distinction which should therefore be preserved in translations. Referred to at AN.i.26 as an upāsaka, chief of those who give choice things. Cf. AN-a.1.393.

2.

sādituṃ, to consent to, to permit.

3.

tath’ eva.

4.

punapavāraṇā, or a further, additional offer or invitation. Cf. AN-a.1.393, where, after a year, the teacher does not consent to Mahānāma’s giving for any further period.

5.

yeva.

6.

One of the boons conferred on Visākhā was that she might give medicines for the sick for life, Vin.1.292ff.

7.

niccapavāraṇā.

8.

dunnivatthā duppārutā anākappasampannā. Cf. Vin.1.44, where monks went for alms like this, and Vin.2.212, where they went to the refectory like this, and spread out their outer cloaks (saṅghāṭi). See Vinaya Texts i.152, Vinaya Texts iii.285 for slightly different translations, and see above, BD.2.32, n.3, n.4, on nivattha and pāruta. Rules for going properly clad and with decent deportment into houses for alms are given at Vin.2.213, Vin.2.215, and Bu-Sk.31Bu-Sk.55 = Vin.4.191ff. The word ākappasampanna occurs at AN.iii.78, “it is hard to find one gone forth when old who is ākappā°.”

9.

vattā hoti. Cf. vattar at AN.i.32, AN.v.79; DN.i.139.

10.

maṅkuṃ kareyyāma. Cf. above, BD.2.178.

12.

Cf. Vin.3.220f. = above, BD.2.64.

13.

Or requisites.

14.

Vin-a.857 says, if at that time he is not ill, it (i.e., the invitation) should not be rejected; if he becomes ill, he says, ‘I will ask.’

15.

bhesajjapariyantā na rattipariyantā. Cf. above, BD.2.220, āpattipariyantā na kulapariyantā. Cf. also Vin.2.59, āpattipariyantā ca rattipariyantā ca. Vinaya Texts ii.416 translates for the latter, “the duration of the times,” while Pali-English Dictionary gives “limitation of the probationary period.” Here the limitation to nights (the Indian way of saying “days”) seems to refer to the length of time or to particular nights for which the invitation would hold good.

16.

Vin-a.858 says that if he can keep himself going on mixed food, it is not called “used as medicine.”

17.

Vin-a.858 says that if offered ghee he asks for oil, if offered an āḷhaka measure (he asks for) a doṇa measure.

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