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) 56

Bu-Pc.56.1.1 BD.2.398 … was staying in the Bhagga country at Crocodile Hill[1] in Bhesakala grove[2] in the deer-park. Now at that time monks, kindling in the winter time a fire of large hollow logs, warmed themselves.[3] And in that hollow a dark poisonous snake[4] was scorched by the fire; issuing forth, he pursued the monks. The monks ran about here and there.[5] Those who were modest monks looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can these monks, kindling a fire, warm themselves?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, kindling a fire, warmed yourselves?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can these foolish men, kindling a fire, warm themselves? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, desirous of warming himself, should kindle or should cause a fire to be kindled, there is an offence of expiation.”

BD.2.399 And thus this rule of training for monks came to be laid down by the lord.


Bu-Pc.56.1.2 Now at that time monks became ill. Monks, inquiring after the ill ones, spoke thus to the ill monks: “We hope that your reverences are better, we hope that you are keeping going.”

“Formerly, your reverences, we, kindling a fire, used to warm ourselves; thus there came to be comfort for us. But now it is forbidden by the lord, (and) being scrupulous, we do not warm ourselves; thus there comes to be no comfort for us.”[6]

They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, when a monk is ill, kindling or causing a fire to be kindled, to warm yourselves. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, not being ill, desirous of warming himself, should kindle Vin.4.116 or should cause a fire to be kindled, there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.56.2.1 Now at that time monks, being scrupulous, did not light a lamp in the fire-room[7] or in the bath-room.[8] They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, to kindle or to cause a fire to be kindled when there is a sufficient reason for it.[9] And thus … should be set forth:

Whatever monk, not being ill, desirous of warming himself, should kindle or should cause a fire to be kindled, unless there is sufficient reason for it, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bu-Pc.56.3.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

BD.2.400 Not being ill means: he for whom there comes to be comfort without a fire.

Ill means: he for whom there does not come to be comfort without a fire.

Desirous of warming himself means: wishing to heat himself.[10]

A fire[11] means: what is called a fire.[12]

Should kindle means: if he himself kindles, there is an offence of expiation.

Should cause to be kindled means: if he commands another, there is an offence of expiation. When once commanded, if he kindles much, there is an offence of expiation.

Unless there is a sufficient reason for it means: setting aside a sufficient reason for it.[13]


Bu-Pc.56.3.2 If he thinks that he is not ill when he is not ill, (and) desirous of warming himself, kindles or causes a fire to be kindled, unless there is a sufficient reason for it, 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 picks up a fallen fire-brand,[14] there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that he is not ill when 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.56.3.3 There is no offence if he is ill; if he warms himself at one made by another; if he warms himself over raked-out embers[15]; if at a lamp, in a fire-room, in a bath-room; if there is a sufficient reason for it; if there are dangers[16]; if he is mad; if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Sixth

Footnotes and references:

1.

Suṃsumāragiri. Vin-a.862 says it is the name of a town. It was probably the capital. Here were formulated two other Vinaya rules: Vin.2.127, Vin.4.198; cf. Vin.5.145. Anumāna Sutta, MN.i.95, Māratajjaniya Sutta, MN.i.332, Bodhirājakumāra Sutta, MN.ii.91, uttered here.

2.

Called after the yakkhinī who presided there, SN-a.ii.249.

3.

visibbesuṃ, from visibbeti = visīveti, to thaw, to warm oneself; another visibbeti means to sew. Cf. visibbesuṃ at Vin.1.31–32, where the Jaṭilas “warmed themselves” at vessels of burning fire after emerging from the cold river. Cf. visīvetvā at Mil.47; and visīvetuṃ twice, at Ja.2.68 with variant readings, one being visibbituṃ.

4.

kaṇhasappa. Cf. Vin.3.20.

5.

tahaṃ tahaṃ. Cf. Ja.1.384.

6.

Cf. above, BD.2.277, BD.2.342, below, BD.2.402.

7.

jotika, according to Vin-a.862, a fire for the purpose of sweating: pattapacanasedakammādīsu jotikaraṇe.

8.

See Vinaya Texts i.157, n.2; Vinaya Texts iii.103.

9.

Cf. above, BD.2.375.

10.

tappitukāma.

11.

joti.

12.

aggi.

13.

Vin-a.862 says, “setting aside lamps and so on, there is no offence in kindling (a fire) when there is another suitable reason for it.”

14.

paṭilātaṃ ukkhipati. Vin-a.862 says ḍayhamānaṃ alāṭaṃ patitaṃ (variant reading patati taṃ) ukkhipati, if he picks up a glowing fire-brand that has fallen.

15.

vitacchitaṅgāra.

16.

Vin-a.862—i.e., from nasty beasts of prey and beings other than human.

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