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) 51

Bu-Pc.51.1.1 BD.2.382 … touring for alms in the Cetiya country,[1] set out for Bhaddavatikā.[2] Cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers, travellers saw the lord coming from afar, and seeing him they spoke thus to the lord: “Do not, lord, let the lord go to Ambatittha[3]; lord, in Ambatittha a serpent[4] lives in a matted-haired ascetic’s hermitage; he has psychic potency, he is a terribly venomous snake; do not let him hurt the lord.”[5] When they had spoken thus, the lord became silent. And a second time … And a third time cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers, travellers spoke thus to the lord:

“Do not, lord, let the lord go to Ambatittha; … do not let him hurt the lord.” And a third time the lord became silent. Then the lord, touring for alms, in the course of time arrived at Bhaddavatikā. The lord stayed there at Bhaddavatika. Vin.4.109 Then the venerable Sāgata[6] approached the hermitage of the matted-hair ascetic of Ambatittha, and having approached, having entered the fire-room,[7] having made ready the grass mat,[8] he sat down cross-legged, the BD.2.383 back erect, having caused mindfulness to be present in front of him. Then that serpent, seeing that the venerable Sāgata had entered, bad at heart,[9] blew forth smoke. And the venerable Sāgata blew forth smoke. Then that serpent, not conquering anger, blazed up, and the venerable Sāgata, having attained to the condition of heat,[10] blazed up. Then the venerable Sāgata, having mastered by heat that serpent’s heat, approached Bhaddavatika. Then the lord, having stayed at Bhaddavatikā for as long as he found suitable, departed on an alms-tour to Kosambī. Lay-followers of Kosambī heard:

“They say that master Sāgata came into conflict with the serpent of Ambatittha.”

Then the lord, touring for alms, in the course of time arrived at Kosambī.

Then the lay-followers of Kosambī, having met the lord, approached the venerable Sāgata; having approached, having greeted the venerable Sāgata, they stood at a respectful distance. As they were standing at a respectful distance, the lay-followers of Kosambī spoke thus to the venerable Sāgata:

“Honoured sir, what is hard for the masters to obtain, and liked (by them)? What may we give?”

When they had spoken thus, the group of six monks spoke thus to the lay-followers of Kosambī:

“There is, your reverences, a spirituous liquor called white spirits[11]; it is hard for the monks to obtain, and liked (by them). Give that.”

Then the lay-followers of Kosambī having given the BD.2.384 spirituous liquor, white spirits, in house after house, seeing that the venerable Sāgata had entered for alms-food, spoke thus to the venerable Sāgata:

“Honoured sir, let master Sāgata drink the spirituous liquor, white spirits; honoured sir, let master Sāgata drink the spirituous liquor, white spirits.”

Then the venerable Sagata, having drunk the spirituous liquor, white spirits, in house after house, as he was departing from the town fell down at the town-gate. Then the lord, departing from the town with a great company of monks, saw the venerable Sāgata fallen down at the town-gate; seeing him, he addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, take up Sāgata.”

“Yes, lord,” and these monks having answered the lord, having led the venerable Sāgata to the monastery, made him lie down with his head towards the lord. Then the venerable Sāgata, having turned round, went to sleep[12] with his feet towards the lord. Then the lord addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, formerly was not Sāgata respectful, deferential towards the Tathāgata?” Vin.4.110

“Yes, lord.”

“But monks, is Sāgata respectful, deferential towards the Tathāgata now?”

“No, lord.”

“Monks, did not Sāgata come into conflict with the serpent of Ambatittha?”

“Yes, lord.”

“But, monks, is Sāgata able to come into conflict with the serpent of Ambatittha now?”

“No, lord.”

“But, monks, could he become unconscious, having drunk that which may be drunk?”

“No, lord.”

“Monks, it is not fitting for Sāgata, it is not becoming, it is not suitable, it is not worthy of a recluse, it is not allowable, it is not to be done. How, monks, can BD.2.385 Sāgata drink strong drink?[13] It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

In drinking fermented liquor[14] and spirits[15] there is an offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.51.2.1 Fermented liquor means: if it is fermented liquor from flour, fermented liquor from cakes, fermented liquor from cooked rice, if it is worked-up yeast,[16] if it is mixed with ingredients.[17]

Spirits means: if it is an extract from flowers,[18] an extract from fruits, an extract from honey,[19] an extract from sugar,[20] if it is mixed with ingredients.[21]

Should drink means: if he drinks even (as much as) with a blade of grass, there is an offence of expiation.


Bu-Pc.51.2.2 If he thinks that it is strong drink when it is strong drink, (and) drinks it, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is strong drink … If he thinks that it is not strong drink when it is strong drink, (and) drinks it, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is strong drink when it is not strong BD.2.386 drink, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not strong drink, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not strong drink when it is not strong drink, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.51.2.3 There is no offence if he drinks that which is not strong drink though it comes to be the colour of strong drink, the smell of strong drink, the taste of strong drink; if it is in a concoction of broth, in a concoction of meat, in a concoction of oil, in molasses and emblic myrobalam[22]; if he drinks a distilled liquor[23] that is not strong drink; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The First

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cetiyesu. Dictionary of Pali Proper Names 1.911 says that “the people of Ceti seem to have had two distinct settlements,” and thinks that the one referred to here is probably the later colony, lying to the east of the earlier one.

2.

A market-town near Kosambī. Dictionary of Pali Proper Names 2.351.

3.

A village.

4.

nāga.

5.

For this passage cf. Vin.1.24f. and Ja.1.360. The Surāpāna-jātaka is founded on this story.

6.

No verses in the Theragāthā are ascribed to him. But at AN.i.25 he is called chief of those good at the heat-condition. See AN-a.1.324ff. At Vin.1.179 he is called the lord’s attendant at that time, and performed some feats of psychic potency.

7.

Cf. MN.i.501. Agyāgāra called at Further Dialogues of the Buddha 1.353 “fire-hut,” at GS.5.162 (= AN.v.234) “fire-house.” Dictionary of Pali Proper Names article on “Ambatittha” speaks of a “fire-place.”

8.

tiṇasanthāraka.

9.

dummano.

10.

tejodhātu; cf. BD.1.273, where Dabba attained this same condition.

11.

kāpotikā nāma pasannā. Called in the Surāpānajātaka, Ja.1.360, kāpotikā surā, pasannā kāpotikā and kāpotikā pāsanna, translated in Cambridge edition, Jātaka vol.i, p.207, as “white spirits, clear white spirit.” Vin-a.859 says kāpotikā is a shining red colour like pigeons’ feet; and pasannā is a synonym for surāmaṇḍa, the finest fermented liquor.

12.

seyyaṃ kappesi, or “lay down in a sleeping-place.”

13.

majja. At Vin.1.205 majja was allowed to be put into oil in cases of illness. The six monks put in too much and became drunk. They were to be dealt with according to the rule (i.e., this pācittiya ). And the amount of majja allowed for the oil was such that neither its colour, smell nor taste was perceptible. At DN.iii.62, DN.iii.63 it is said that majja should not be drunk—one of the five sīlas. Cf. also Snp.398Snp.400.

14.

surā.

15.

meraya. At the Council of Vesālī, Vin.2.294, it was affirmed that it was not allowable to drink jalogi, unfermented toddy; to do so would be to infringe the “surāmerayapāne pācittiya” (Vin.2.307). MN.i.238 states that the acelaka, naked ascetic, leaders do not drink surā or meraya.

16.

kiṇṇapakkhitta.

17.

sambhārasaṃyuttā. At DN-a.944, Vv-a.73, Kp-a.26, Vb-a.381 these are given as the fivefold surā.

18.

pupphāsava. Referred to at Ja.4.117 as a meraya.

19.

madhvāsava. Pali-English Dictionary says, “wine from the flower of Bassia latifolia.”

20.

guḷāsava.

21.

= DN-a.944 = Vv-a.73 = Kp-a.26. At Vb-a.381 these are called five āsavā or extracts.

22.

āmalaka, Phyllanthus erablica (Pali-English Dictionary). One of the fruits allowed as medicine, Vin.1.201. Mentioned again as a medicine at Vin.1.278.

23.

ariṭṭha, “a kind of liquor” (Critical Pali Dictionary).