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) 57

Bu-Pc.57.1.1 BD.2.401 … at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding-place. Now at that time monks used to bathe in the Tapodā.[1] Now at that time King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha, thinking: “I will bathe (my) head,” Vin.4.117 having gone to the Tapodā, waited for (them) at a respectful distance, thinking: “(I will wait) as long as the masters bathe.” The monks bathed until the dark of the night. Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha, bathing (his) head at the wrong time, staying outside the town because the town gate was closed, when it was early morning[2] approached the lord, anointed,[3] perfumed[4]; having approached, having greeted the lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the lord spoke thus to King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha:

“Why do you, sire, come in the early morning, anointed, perfumed?”

Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha told this matter to the lord. Then the lord roused … delighted King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha with dhamma-talk. Then King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha, having been roused … delighted by the lord with dhamma-talk, rising from his seat, greeting the lord, departed keeping his right side towards him. Then the lord on this occasion, in this connection, having had the Order of monks convened, questioned the monks, saying:

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that monks, though having seen the king, not knowing moderation, bathed?”

BD.2.402 “It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can these foolish men, though having seen the king, not knowing moderation, bathe? 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 should bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month, there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.57.2.1 Now at that time monks, being scrupulous, did not bathe in the hot weather, in the fever weather; they lay down[5] with limbs covered with sweat; robes and lodgings got soiled. They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, in the hot weather, in the fever weather, to bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month, except at a right time, there is an offence of expiation. This is a right time in this case: thinking, ‘a month and a half of the summer remains,’ (and) ‘the first month of the rains’—these are the two and a half months when there is hot weather, when there is fever weather. In this case this is a right time.” Vin.4.118

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


Bu-Pc.57.3.1 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 used to bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month; thus there came BD.2.403 to be comfort for us. But now it is forbidden by the lord, (and) being scrupulous, we do not bathe; 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, to bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month, except at a right time, there is an offence of expiation. This is a right time in this case … when there is fever weather, at a time of illness. In this case this is a right time.”

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


Bu-Pc.57.4.1 Now at that time monks making repairs, being scrupulous, did not bathe; they lay down with limbs covered with sweat; robes and lodgings got soiled. They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, at a time of work,[7] to bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month, except at a right time, there is an offence of expiation …”

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


Bu-Pc.57.5.1 Now at that time monks, having gone on a journey, being scrupulous, did not bathe; they lay down with limbs covered with sweat … They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, at a time of going on a journey, to bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month, except at a right time, there is an BD.2.404 offence of expiation. This is a right time in this case: …”

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


Bu-Pc.57.6.1 Now at that time several monks, making robes in the open air, became assailed[8] by a dusty wind, and the god was raining little by little.[9] The monks, being scrupulous, did not-bathe; they lay down with damp limbs; robes and lodgings Vin.4.119 got soiled. They told this matter to the lord. He said:

“I allow you, monks, at a time of wind and rain,[10] to bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should bathe (at intervals of) less than half a month, except at a right time, there is an offence of expiation. In this case this is a right time: thinking, ‘a month and a half of the summer remains,’ (and) ‘the first month of the rains’—these are the two and a half months when there is hot weather, when there is fever weather; at a time of illness, at a time of work, at a time of going on a journey, at a time of wind and rain. This is a right time in this case.”


Bu-Pc.57.7.1 Whatever means: … is monk to be understood in this case.

Less than half a month[11] means: less than half a month.[12]

Should bathe means: if he bathes with chunam or with clay,[13] in each action there is an offence of wrong-doing; when the bathing is completed there is an offence of expiation.

Except at a right time means: setting a right time to one side.

BD.2.405 Hot weather means: a month and a half of the summer remains. Fever weather means: the first month of the rains. Thinking, ‘these are the two and a half months when there is hot weather, when there is fever weather,’ there may be bathing.

Time of illness means: if there comes to be no comfort for one without bathing; thinking, ‘it is a time of illness,’ there may be bathing.

Time of work means: even a cell comes to be cleaned; thinking, ‘it is a time of work,’ there may be bathing.

Time of going on a journey means: saying, ‘we will go half a yojana,’ there may be bathing; there may be bathing when going, there may be bathing when gone.[14]

Time of wind and rain means: if monks become assailed by a dusty wind, if two or three drops of rain come to be fallen on the body, thinking, ‘it is a time of wind and rain,’ there may be bathing.


Bu-Pc.57.7.2 If he thinks that it is less when it is less than half a month, (and) bathes, except at a right time, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is less than half a month … If he thinks that it is more when it is less than half a month … offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is less when it is more than half a month, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is more than half a month, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is more when it is more than half a month, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.57.7.3 There is no offence if it is at a right time; if he bathes at (intervals of) the half-month; if he bathes (at intervals of) more than half a month; if he bathes going to the further bank[15]; if he is in nothing but bordering districts[16]; if there are accidents[17]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Seventh Vin.4.120

Footnotes and references:

1.

A lake, and also a river; literally the hot waters. The lake was cool, but the river flowing from it was hot; see Vin.3.108 (BD.1.188), quoted at DN-a.1.35, Ud-a.110.

2.

Cf. above, BD.2.274.

3.

asambhinnena. Pali-English Dictionary says that this at the above passage is the “name of a kind of ointment.”

4.

vilepanena.

5.

sayanti, or, went to sleep.

6.

Cf. above, BD.2.277, BD.2.342, BD.2.399.

7.

Or, of building, kammasamaya; see the Old Commentary’s definition below.

8.

okiṇṇā.

9.

devo ca thokaṃ thokaṃ phusāyati. Cf. SN.i.184, Ud.5, devo ekaṃ ekaṃ phusāyati.

10.

vātavuṭṭhi. Cf. AN.iii.378; Snp-a.34.

11.

oren’ addhamāsaṃ.

12.

ūnakaddhamāsaṃ.

13.

Cf. Vin.1.202, where monks with affections of the skin are allowed to use cuṇṇa, chunam, while those who are in health are permitted mattikā, clay. Cf. also Vin.1.47 = Vin.1.52, and see notes at Vinaya Texts i.157; Vin.2.120, Vin.2.220, Vin.2.224.

14.

Cf. above, BD.2.312.

15.

pāraṃ gacchanto nhāyati. Cf. above, BD.2.392.

16.

sabbapaccantimesu janapadesu. Buddhaghosa gives no explanation.

17.

Such as being pursued by bees, Vin-a.863.