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...

Translator’s Introduction

BD.3.v This volume of the Book of the Discipline concludes the translation of the Suttavibhaṅga of the Vinaya and covers vol.4 of Oldenberg’s edition of the Vinayapiṭakaṃ, p.124 to the end. It thus includes the last thirty-two Pācittiyas for monks, Bu-Pc.61Bu-Pc.92, the four Pāṭidesaniyas or offences which ought to be confessed, the seventy-five Sekhiyas or rules for training or of etiquette, and the seven Adhikaraṇasamathā dhammā or ways for settling legal questions. This ends the Mahāvibhaṅga portion of the Suttavibhaṅga, that portion devoted to the Pātimokkha rules of restraint and training for monks. The nuns’ portion, the Bhikkhunivibhaṅga, follows immediately, the rules being classified on the same lines as those for monks: Pārājika, Saṅghādisesa, Nissaggiya, Pācittiya, Pāṭidesaniya, Sekhiya, Adhikaraṇasamathā dhammā. There is, however, no Aniyata, or undetermined class of offence, for nuns.

The Monks’ Pācittiya Group (Bu-Pc.61Bu-Pc.92)

Sāvatthī is given as the locus or provenance of twenty-eight of these thirty-two rules, Rājagaha of two, Kosambī and Kapilavatthu of one each. It is not uninstructive to look at these four rules in which the lord is recorded to have been elsewhere than in Sāvatthī. Bu-Pc.65, whose locus is given as Rājagaha, recounts the choice of young Upāli’s parents of a monk’s career for him, apparently mainly on the grounds that recluses are pleasant in their conduct and live in a certain amount of ease. The episode occurs again in the Mahāvagga (Vin.1.77), but there, because at the end it is stated that he who ordains a person who is under twenty years of age “must be dealt with according to the rule,” the existence of this Pācittiya is evidently presupposed. Both accounts assert that Upāli and his young friends were in Rājagaha and also show the lord to have been here too.[1] Thus there would appear to be some tradition associating the boy Upāli with this place.

Bu-Pc.81 has as its central figure Dabba the Mallian. In Bu-Ss.8 he is appointed distributor of lodgings and meals to the Order. In Bu-Pc.13 he is accused of showing favouritism in the discharge of his duties. These three contexts all lay the scene in Rājagaha, as does Bu-Ss.9, where this same monk is falsely charged with seducing Mettiyā. Although he was not born at Rājagaha, there is a consistent propensity to regard this as the scene of many of his activities.

Similarly, Channa is a monk traditionally connected with Kosambī. In Bu-Ss.12, Bu-Pc.54, and again in Bu-Pc.71, we hear of him indulging in bad habits, always when the lord is said to be at Kosambī. Also while he was here, Channa is reputed to have cut down a tree at a shrine (Bu-Ss.12) and to have damaged a brahmin’s barley field when building a dwelling-place given him by his supporter (Bu-Pc.19).

The introductory story of Bu-Pc.86 is developed on exactly the same lines as the first story in Bu-NP.22, the only differences being that (1) the Nissaggiya story ends in the formulation of a dukkaṭa offence, and the Pācittiya in the formulation of a sikkhāpada, a rule; and (2) the people who offer to supply the monks’ needs are potters in the Nissaggiya and ivory-workers in the Pācittiya. In both these stories the lord is said to have been residing at Kapilavatthu, his birthplace. I have already put forward various reasons to support my view that Bu-NP.22 represents some specially ancient fragment of the Pātimokkha.[2] Now the form in which Bu-Pc.86 exists would appear to support this probability. It looks like a mere copy of Bu-NP.22, and in narrating its story may be said to utilise BD.3.vii material already at hand. For it cannot well be earlier than the Nissaggiya, since the articles in respect of which the offence was committed were needle-cases, whereas in the Nissaggiya they were bowls, requisites doubtless allowed to monks before they felt the lack of needle-cases. These latter were not essential in the daily round, merely an adjunct to it, a means of preserving the needles, themselves one of the eight necessities, and through them other necessities: robes, belts, shoulder-straps and so on. In taking over an older setting, older because the articles with which it deals were earlier accretions to the monks’ property, the story of Bu-Pc.50 imitates the one it copies so closely as to create the impression that it was borrowing this older setting because there existed no special story which could be used to introduce the formulation of its own rule.

Some of the twenty-eight rules whose provenance is given as Sāvatthī, for example Bu-Pc.63, Bu-Pc.69, Bu-Pc.73, Bu-Pc.79, Bu-Pc.80, by dealing with the internal polity of a saṅgha, are portraying an organisation no longer in its infancy. For they presuppose a time when the saṅgha had been in existence long enough to have developed a working constitution of a certain complexity. They speak of such technical institutes as “formal acts” and their carrying out (Bu-Pc.63, Bu-Pc.79, Bu-Pc.80), of the giving of chanda, or an absentee member’s consent by proxy to a fellow monk to attend a business meeting of the Order on his behalf (Bu-Pc.79, Bu-Pc.80), and of “legal questions” together with a ban on reopening these once they had been settled “according to rule” (Bu-Pc.63). Thus, as Bu-Pc.63 shows, the attempt to safeguard the validity and finality of legal questions that had already been settled implies work still going forward in regard to legal questions, although perhaps the procedure which was gradually adopted was brought to its conclusion in this Pācittiya. Two Pācittiyas, Bu-Pc.79 and Bu-Pc.81 (locus: Rājagaha), also seek to prevent a monk from making criticisms, khīyadhammaṃ āpajjati, after he has taken part in some constitutional proceedings. He must abide by the BD.3.viii decisions that were taken then and in his presence, just as by Bu-Pc.63 he must abide by whatever verdict had been given on a legal question.

Other Pācittiyas in this volume also show signs of being relatively late. Bu-Pc.70 refers to the material of Bu-Pc.5, and Bu-Pc.77 to that of Bu-Pc.65, hence both must be later than the Pācittiyas to which they refer. Bu-Pc.73 speaks of “a rule being handed down in a clause, contained in a clause,” dhammo suttāgato suttāpariyāpanno, and due to be recited at every half-monthly recitation of the Pātimokkha rules, as though the rule referred to were to this extent fixed and stable. The sikkhāpada of this Pācittiya has a late ring about it, the language and thought depicting a time that had progressed some way beyond the archaic.

In my Introduction to Book of the Discipline vol.2 I took up the question[3] raised by Oldenberg and Rhys Davids of the comparative age of those Pācittiyas noticed by them as “formulated with the utmost brevity.” After an examination of these Pācittiyas I came to the tentative conclusion that they may mark some relatively late stage in the growth of the disciplinary code. I remarked that Bu-Pc.72 and Bu-Pc.73 “conform to” this brief type. Now the internal evidence of these two Pācittiyas suggests references to times when constitutionally the saṅgha was fairly well developed. Therefore such evidence may be regarded as contributing to the validity of the hypothesis that the Pācittiyas which are briefly stated, as well as those which conform to this type, belong to a comparatively late date.

But yet I think it unsafe to attempt any correlation of rules which seem to be late with Gotama’s protracted residence at Sāvatthī towards the end of his life. For other rules which bear the stamp of earlier formulation are said to have been set forth when the lord was here, while still others which might appear to emanate from later days were promulgated when he is said to have been elsewhere.

BD.3.ix This same feature, the great preponderance of sayings and discourses said to have been delivered at Sāvatthī by the lord, is to be found in the Saṃyutta.[4] In this Collection, the phrase Sāvatthī nidānaṃ sometimes occurs as well as a “condensed opening formula”;[5] and it is this that has led to the suggestion of nidāna here referring “to the source of the deposited and transmitted record … and not to the original scene of the original utterance.”[6] Although the word nidāna does not occur in such a connection in the Vinaya, future historians will have to bear in mind the possibility of names of places, Sāvatthī as well as the others, referring to the centres where “repeaters” met when the canon was being established, instead of to the scene where the discourse was reputed to have been given or the rule laid down. Against this, however, we have to set the small villages, the hill-tops and mountain-sides spoken of throughout the Suttas as the places where the lord or his disciples were staying, but which were too small or remote ever to have reached eminence as centres of learning, repeating or codifying.

We may now consider various peculiarities manifest in some of the Pācittiyas already referred to as well as in others. Bu-Pc.72, for example, contains at least three further points which require some analysis. In the first place, in speaking of “mastering discipline under Upāli,” discipline, Vinaya, is incidentally shown to have acquired complexity and magnitude sufficient to attract expert study. Thus to understand it properly, in detail and in its various aspects and ramifications, the help of some competent person, such as Upāli, the great expert on discipline, was needed. According to the Vinaya tradition, this monk played a leading part at the first Council. There are also records showing him to have been with Gotama since relatively early days of his ministry.[7] This will mean, in the first place, that BD.3.x Upāli will have had good opportunity to study the rules as they came into being and grew into a body; but that, in the second, had this body not attained an appreciable size, it could not have formed a worthy subject for any disciple’s study and mastery. Therefore the desire of the monks in Bu-Pc.72 to learn discipline under Upāli (because the lord, as they are recorded to say, in praising discipline praises Upāli again and again), may be ascribed to some indefinite time subsequent to the establishment of this monk’s reputation as the most eminent exponent of this branch of study

Again, Bu-Pc.72 in referring to “the lesser and minor rules of training,” khuddānukkhudakāni sikkhāpadāni, does so in a way suggestive of some attempt at classification already made for these.[8] This was a matter, as Vin.2.287 asserts, on which those elders who attended the first Council were themselves at variance. The Old Commentary on Bu-Pc.72 is silent on the subject. It is very possible, as B.C. Law points out,[9] and in fact it is almost certain, that the rules themselves had existed in a classified form since the earliest times. It would therefore be fallacious to find in any mention of “the lesser and minor rules of discipline” a pointer to some particular epoch of early Buddhist monastic history. At the same time, such a reference cannot belong to a time before there were sufficient rules and sufficient types of rules to merit classification.

Besides the term khuddānukkhudakāni sikkhāpadāni, Bu-Pc.72 also contains the term abhidhamma. So, too, does Nuns’ Bi-Pc.95. The meaning of this term is debatable, since the term must have gone through several fluctuations before coming to stand as the title of the third Piṭaka. Thus the particular meaning ascribed to it in any one context must depend largely on the sense, linguistic style and terminology of that whole context, which should therefore be considered on its own merits. I think that, not counting parallel passages, the word abhidhamma does not appear more than ten times in BD.3.xi the first two Piṭakas, three of these being in the Vinaya.[10] I will here confine myself to the two occasions when the word occurs in Vin.4. These are at Vin.4.144 and Vin.4.344.

Now Oldenberg[11] and Max Müller,[12] by basing their arguments on the Vinaya accounts, have established that the Abhidhamma as a Piṭaka was not known by the time of the first Council. Thus the term abhidhamma when found in the Vinayapiṭaka and the Suttapiṭaka should not be taken to refer to the third Piṭaka, at least not to it in its finished closed form, unless the term can be regarded on such occasions as a later interpolation. Rather it should be taken as referring to some material or method in existence prior to the compilation of this Piṭaka, and out of which it was gradually elaborated and eventually formed.

The importance of the term cannot be appreciated unless the meaning be understood. This will to a large extent depend upon the meaning or meanings attributed to the great word dhamma. Since an investigation of this has been undertaken by others,[13] let us see dhamma as “doctrine,” as what had been and as what was being taught to disciples both by the lord and by his fellow workers, as religious views, precepts, sayings, which before being codified into an external body of doctrine were as yet appealing direct to the conscience, dhamma, in man, and to the deity, ātman and dhamma, which in the sixth century B.C. in India was held to be immanent in him.

Abhi- prefixed to a noun has in general an intensive meaning of higher, super, additional; and it can also mean “concerning,” “pertaining to.” Thus for the compound abhidhamma, we get some such phrase as BD.3.xii “the higher doctrine,” “further, extra doctrine” or “what pertains to the doctrine”. It is possible that the cleavage between these two is not very great.

At both Vin.4.144 and Vin.4.344, abhidhamma is associated with Vinaya and also with suttanta, the words which gave the titles to the first and second Piṭakas. But in the former passage these three terms are also associated with gāthā, metric verses, songs, poems. This quartet is as unique in Pali canonical literature as is the perfect, unadulterated triad of vinaya suttanta abhidhamma at Vin.4.344. Yet the very presence of the word gāthā, is enough to preclude the term abhidhamma from standing for the literary exegesis of that name, for no reference to the third Piṭaka as such would have combined a reference to part of the material, verses, which one of the Piṭakas finally came to include. Moreover, with verses being made since very early days, there is no reason to suppose the reference to the word gāthā in Monks’ Bu-Pc.72 to stand for any completed collection or collections of verses, as Oldenberg suggests.[14]

As already mentioned, Monks’ Bu-Pc.72 purports to refer to the time when Upāli was alive. But since he could not long have survived the first Council, in the Vinaya accounts of which there is no mention of the Abhidhamma, this as a Piṭaka could not well have been compiled and completed, until after his death. There is thus no justification for seeing here in abhidhamma the title of the third Piṭaka, in spite of its proximity to words which were used as the titles of the two earlier Piṭakas.

Although we can say fairly confidently what abhidhamma does not mean here, it is by no means so easy to assess what it does mean. A monk may say to another, “Master suttantas or verses (gāthā) or abhidhamma and afterwards you will master discipline.” To make this the chief aim is only suitable in a disciplinary compilation. It may be objected that, since for the purpose of mastering Vinaya, mastery of the BD.3.xiii suttantas is put forward as an alternative to mastery of abhidhamma, there might be some redundancy; for the suttantas are the repositories of dhamma. But if abhidhamma be taken to intensify the meaning of dhamma, or to refer to some method of teaching or learning it—by catechism, by analysis of terms, or by an almost lexicographical arrangement of synonyms—this difficulty would to a large extent fall away. Any one of these would imply something “extra” to dhamma, not in the sense of the addition of any fresh material, so much as of the contrivance of a new and systematised method of presenting some of the obscurer and more fundamental terms and concepts which it comprises.

If this be conceded, there would result for the monk who wants to master Vinaya a choice of two approaches to dhamma, which considering its immense importance to Gotama and his early followers is not out of proportion. Either, since the Vinaya itself contains no broad principles of ethics, he would study dhamma as handed down in the Suttas or as spoken in his hearing, in order to convince himself of the moral ground and the ideal which inspire the discipline and command adherence to its mass of particular rules. Or he would take the more austere way of approaching Vinaya through abhidhamma, an intellectual exercise perhaps, devoid of all extraneous matter, in which the meaning of dhamma terms and concepts is to be grasped through their grouping, through their classified relations of identity and dependence and so on, instead of through the more picturesque, personal and ortatory methods, often made intelligible by homely parable and simile, which is the Suttanta way of presenting dhamma.

As in the mastery of dhamma, so in the mastery of gāthā, the disciple anxious to master Vinaya would find in them an inspiration to urge him, as the song-makers themselves had found elsewhere their own inspiration, to lead, to fulfil and to exult in brahmacariya, the godly life or faring. The gāthā, provide as it were a human approach, often a record of human experience, their value as spurs to mastering Vinaya lying in their appeal BD.3.xiv to the more emotional type of disciple, to the one who wants some personal example to emulate; whereas the mastery of abhidhamma would provide a field to attract the more intellectual type, while mastery of suttantas would stir the normally virtuous man of average mental equipment to act unremittingly in thought, word and deed from the dictates of an awakened conscience.

The abhidhamma passage in Nuns’ Bi-Pc.95 is stated by Oldenberg to be “the only passage in the Vinaya which really presupposes the existence of an Abhidhamma Piṭaka,”[15] and in which “we can unhesitatingly assume” these “words” to be an interpolation. Which exact “words “he means is not quite clear, since he only italicises abhidhamma. But probably he means no more than abhidhamma vā (or). A nun, according to this Pācittiya, having obtained a monk’s permission to ask him about suttanta, commits an offence of expiation if she asks him instead about Vinaya or abhidhamma; and it is the same with the two variations on this theme.

Although I think that Oldenberg is very likely indeed to be right, and there is no internal evidence to suggest that he is wrong, or indeed to suggest anything helpful at all, I cannot feel myself so entirely convinced as he appears to be that the Abhidhamma Piṭaka was in existence by the time of the formulation of this passage. The main reason why I think he may be right is that this triad, appearing once only in the canon, supplies the names of what at some time came to be constituted as the three Piṭakas. Where, as in other contexts, abhidhamma is associated with only one but not with both of the words Vinaya and suttanta, then it is far less likely to have this reference.

On the other hand, although it is true that in the Nuns’ Pācittiya group, Bi-Pc.95 is the last but one of the rules there formulated, we should not be too much swayed by this consideration. For the position of a rule in the class in which it is placed affords no sure guide to its BD.3.xv comparative date. For example, in the Monks’ Pācittiya group, some of the rules towards the end have a much earlier aspect than some of those which precede them and which presume certain constitutional developments such as are capable of having arisen only when the Order had reached some degree of long-standing. In a word, since the rules cannot with certitude be said to survive in the order in which they were formulated, they can thus yield no reliable evidence for the historical sequence of their promulgation.

Another interesting Pācittiya among the thirty-two for monks contained in this volume is Bu-Pc.68. The chief person concerned is the “monk called Ariṭṭha.” He is not referred to as “the venerable Ariṭṭha,” āyasmā Ariṭṭho, in accordance with the usual narrative practice of the Vinaya. This indicates an atmosphere of disapproval surrounding him; and indeed he is a monk said to have held “pernicious views.” The whole Ariṭṭha episode occurs again at Vin.2.25Vin.2.26, with the difference that here at the end, instead of a rule being set forth, the Order is enjoined to carry out an act of suspension against Ariṭṭha. The episode is also given at MN.i.130–132. There is a comparable incident at SN.iii.109, where to Yamaka, sometimes referred to as “monk,” sometimes as “the venerable,” is attributed a different set of “pernicious views,” and where monks, unable to dissuade him from these themselves, asked Sāriputta to go to him “out of compassion for him.”

Other Pācittiyas which contain material found in the Suttas are Bu-Pc.83, where the passage on the ten dangers of entering a king’s harem has its parallel at AN.5.81ff.; and Bu-Pc.85, whose stock enumeration of the various kinds of “low,”[16] “worldly,”[17] “childish”[18] or intellectually inferior talk, tiracchānakathā, occurs at several places in the Suttas.

In the Ariṭṭha Pācittiya there is a noteworthy absence BD.3.xvi of the stereotyped phrase that “the modest monks looked down upon, criticised, spread it about,” and that having thus complained they told the lord. Here “several monks” tried, so it is recorded, to dissuade Ariṭṭha from his pernicious views by repeating to him the ten similes of the sense-pleasures. It was only when they failed in their object that they told the lord. In accordance with his usual practice, as given in the Vinaya, the lord then asked the offender, here Ariṭṭha, if what the monks said was true. But Ariṭṭha, instead of giving a meek affirmative answer, defended his views, or rather reiterated them, so that the lord is reputed to have upbraided him in exactly the same terms as those used by the “several monks.” It is true that some passages in this Pācittiya, such as that including the similes of the sense-pleasures, portray a literary skill and a knowledge of other Piṭakan contexts as only a relatively late “editing” could achieve. Yet the unusual development of the story, its omission of stereotyped phrases, may possibly indicate its derivation from some early source, in which was retained a tradition of an actual sequence of events strong enough to prevent the narrative, on the three occasions when it appears, from falling into the standardised and monotonously recurring Vibhaṅga mould.

The sikkhāpada of this Pācittiya, Bu-Pc.68, is not so much in accord with Pācittiya formulation as with wording found in the type of Saṅghādisesa sikkhāpada, where the offender is to be admonished by his fellows up to the third time so as to give up his course. A Nuns’ Pācittiya, Bi-Pc.36, also incorporates into its sikkhāpada the kind of material more usually associated with Saṅghādisesa formulation. Such anomalies probably do not arise through pure chance or pure carelessness, for in fact the early “editors” left little to chance, and were not nearly so careless as is sometimes thought. So that we have to attempt to account for the existence of these peculiarities in other ways. And it may be that the offences to which they refer and which now stand in the Pācittiya groups, were at one time BD.3.xvii counted as Saṅghādisesa offences[19]; or that these offences only arose after the Saṅghādisesa group had been closed, and it was thus not possible to include them in it; or that, because the sikkhāpadas decree that the admonition was to be made by “monks” and “nuns” respectively, tacitly meaning a saṅgha—i.e., five or more monks or nuns—and do not give the alternatives of its being made by a “group” or by “one person,” these Pācittiyas automatically assume a Saṅghādisesa complexion.

Bu-Pc.76 recalls Bu-Ss.8, although in another way. For where in the latter there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order for defaming a monk with an unfounded charge of having committed an offence involving defeat, in Bu-Pc.76 it is an offence of expiation to defame a monk with an unfounded charge of having committed an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order.

We have also seen that in its story Bu-Pc.86 closely follows Bu-NP.22. Likewise Bu-Pc.82 recalls Bu-NP.30. In the former the offence is to appropriate for another person, puggala, benefits given to the Order, while in the latter it is to appropriate for oneself any such benefits. A great point in monastic life was communal ownership. The community should not be deprived for any individual, whoever he might be, of anything to which it had a rightful claim. But naturally, in the Pācittiya, the offending monk cannot as part of his penalty forfeit the article wrongfully appropriated by him, for presumably he had handed it over to another monk. I think it just as much this practical consideration as the fact that, of two evils, it is less bad to appropriate for another than for oneself, which was instrumental in determining the classification and hence the seriousness of these two comparable offences. To my mind the work of the early “editors” was so careful and rationally based that latter-day strictures such as S. Dutt’s, that “there is no reason why rule 82 of Pācittiya should be placed under that BD.3.xviii category while rule 30 of the Nissaggiyas (comes) under another category,”[20] must often with a fuller understanding of Vinaya outlook fall to the ground.

The last of the Monks’ Pācittiyas, Bu-Pc.92, is noticeable for containing the word sugata, often translated “well-farer.” As an epithet it is usually assigned to Gotama, but occasionally also to his disciples.[21] Its appearance in the Vibhaṅgas is very rare.[22] This Pācittiya also suggests the growth of a legend already springing up round the Founder, for in it it seems as though his robe, called sugata-cīvara, was of a special size, rather larger than that permitted to the disciples.

The use of sugata in such a compound is all the more remarkable, for the context itself rules out the meaning of “standard “or “accepted,” which is what sugata appears to mean in the compounds sugataṅgula (Vin.1.297, Vin.4.168), standard finger-breadth, and sugatavidatthi, standard span, a word which occurs at Vin.3.149 and also in the rule of Bu-Pc.92 itself, in explanation of the correct measurement of a sugatacīvara. The Founder, who reckoned himself a man amongst men, had at one time, as other records show, been content with robe-material picked piecemeal from the rag-heap. Moreover, it is recorded that “he exchanged robes with Mahā-Kassapa. Of the two sets of robes brought by Pukkusa, one was given to Ānanda, and one was reserved for the Buddha himself; and no one can read the account in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta without feeling that both are supposed to be of the same size.”[23] It is also recorded that the brahmin Piṅgiyānin, having been presented with five hundred robes by the Licchavis, handed these on to the lord.[24]

Although the narrative part of this Pācittiya appears to refer to the lifetime of the Founder, it is not easy to believe in view of these records that before his death, by which time moreover, as the Mahāparinibbāna-suttanta shows, he was lonely and deserted, his disciples BD.3.xix would have signified their admiration of him by ascribing to him a physical superiority. And for the purpose of this Pācittiya there was no need to do this. For had the Vinaya compilers wished to say that a robe in excess of a proper measure was not to be worn by monks, they could have found other means to do so more in line with their usual ways of expressing themselves.

On the other hand, if it were not giving utterance to some growing legend in which physical size was looked upon as a fitting accompaniment to mental strength, Bu-Pc.92 may possibly be looking back to the theory of the thirty-two marks of the Great Man,[25] which as Rhys Davids says is pre-Buddhist.[26] But in this, the noble proportions by which the Great Man was marked were deemed to be perfect rather than specially large. This Pācittiya therefore remains something of a mystery and something of a misfit, while showing some unmistakable signs of late “editing.”

The last seven Pācittiyas form a group in which the penalty of expiation is combined with some other form of penalty. As in the class of offences of expiation involving forfeiture, Nissaggiyaṃ Pācittiyaṃ, we have here “offences of expiation involving cutting down,” chedanakaṃ pācittiyaṃ (Bu-Pc.87, Bu-Pc.89Bu-Pc.92, and also Nuns’ Bi-Pc.22); “involving breaking up,” bhedanakaṃ pācittiyaṃ (Bu-Pc.86); “involving tearing off,” uddālanakaṃ pācittiyaṃ (Bu-Pc.88).

These Pācittiyas are concerned with prescribing the right measurements, and to a lesser degree the right materials, for some of the articles allowable to monks and used by them. They therefore do not belong to the earliest days of the Order’s history, but to a time subsequent to the “allowance” of those articles for whose proper measurement and so on they prescribe. I cannot agree with S. Dutt that “rules Bu-Pc.86Bu-Pc.92 (except one) hang together,”[27] in view of the fact that rules Bu-Pc.86Bu-Pc.92 form a special class entailing an BD.3.xx extra penalty, and into which rules Bu-Pc.83 and Bu-Pc.24 no more fit than does rule Bu-Pc.85, the one to which he takes exception.

It may be noted that the Old Commentary does not define sūcighara in Bu-Pc.86, although it does so in Bu-Pc.60. This omission cannot be definitely ascribed to any feeling that the word did not need to be explained again. For the Old Commentary on several occasions defines the same words—for example, “robe,” “householder,” “he knows,” “nun,” in exactly the same terms; or, guided by circumstances, it defines the same words—for example, “sleeping-place” and, again, “householder,” in different terms. Its omissions must be due either to carelessness or to some studied purpose or presupposition to which we have not as yet the clue. In Book of the Discipline vol.2, I have drawn attention to some of these commentarial omissions.[28] In this volume the Old Commentary fails to define udāka, water, in Bu-Pc.62; nihata, settled, in Bu-Pc.63; puggala, person, individual, in Bu-Pc.65; ekaddhānamagga, the same high-road, in Bu-Pc.66, Bu-Pc.67; chandaṃ datvā, having given leave of absence, in Bu-Pc.79; and chandaṃ datvā and also vattamānāya, being engaged in, in Bu-Pc.80. Neither does the Old Commentary attempt any explanation of words contained in some sikkhāpadas but said to have been spoken by the offending monks, as for example in Bu-Pc.68, Bu-Pc.70, Bu-Pc.72, Bu-Pc.73, Bu-Pc.77, Bu-Pc.78. But the reason for this is understandable: these sentences are clear enough for all ordinary purposes, nor are they attributed to the lord. They therefore do not merit the meticulous care and attention usually bestowed on words said to have been used by him in formulating the rules, and which the Old Commentary generally aims at rendering as lucid as possible by synonyms or by some more reasoned form of interpretation.

Because these thirty-two Pācittiyas deal with the corporate as well as with the individual behaviour of BD.3.xxi monks, it is not surprising to find in them no more than three records of lay people’s complaints of monks’ behaviour; while on the other hand “modest monks” are recorded to have complained as many as twenty-four times, monks who were elders once (Bu-Pc.92) and “several monks” twice (Bu-Pc.68, Bu-Pc.70). Yet on many occasions, as the narratives show, this large conventual source of criticism might, if taken by itself, give a somewhat misleading notion of the amount of association between the monks and lay people which these same Pācittiyas portray. That such association was easy and unrestricted needs no labouring at this stage in Pali studies. Examples of it may be found in Bu-Pc.66, Bu-Pc.67, Bu-Pc.83Bu-Pc.86, Bu-Pc.88.

In addition, twice Gotama is reputed to formulate a rule as the result of some piece of direct evidence observed by him and not because someone had grumbled. Thus, in Bu-Pc.87, it is recorded how the lord, having come to Upananda’s abide, himself takes exception to this disciple’s body which evidently was too high. Again, the lord is recorded, in Bu-Pc.65, to hear the noise made by boys who had been ordained before they were twenty years old, and himself to raise objections to ordaining a person, puggala, into the Order before he was of an age to stand the physical hardships of monastic life.

It is a little curious that this is put as high as twenty, but it was doubtless to allow an entrant to develop sufficient stamina to render improbable his return to the “low life of a layman,” for any such withdrawal from the Order was a blur on its reputation. In other connections, notably in the Jātaka, the “age of discretion” is said to be reached when a boy becomes sixteen. Nuns’ Bi-Pc.74 makes it an offence for a nun to ordain a girl, a maiden, kumāribhūta, which the Old Commentary explains by sāmaṇerī, a novice, who was less than twenty. This therefore seems a kind of recognised age at which or over which to receive the upasampadā ordination. For pabbajjā, going forth into the Order, although not into BD.3.xxii full membership, clearly is not meant. Monks’ Bu-Pc.65 uses the word upasampādeti, and Nuns’ Bi-Pc.61Bu-Pc.83 vuṭṭhāpeti, which the Old Commentary consistently explains by upasampādeti as though these two words mean the same thing.

In Monks’ Bu-Pc.65 the boy Upāli and his young friends are recorded to have obtained the consent of their parents to “go forth.” It was necessary for a boy, putta, to obtain this sanction[29] for a measure which the Vinaya states must not be accorded a youth, dāraka, if he were less than fifteen years of age.[30] The mistake of the monks, in Bu-Pc.65, seems to have been to let these youths go forth and simultaneously to confer the upasampadā on them, pabbājesuṃ upasampādesuṃ, while they were still under twenty years old. It was the latter step which was here made to entail an offence of expiation, not for the ordinand but for the ordaining monks; elsewhere it is stated that a monk incurs an offence of wrong-doing if he allows a youth under fifteen to go forth.[31] It would therefore seem as if the six boys of whom the Theragāthā and its Commentary speak as each one having gone forth, with his parent’s consent, at the age of seven,[32] must antedate the Vinaya ruling, unless some other hypothesis to explain this discrepancy be found. It is tenable to suppose that in the early days of the Order a person might be admitted to its ranks by being ordained at the same time as he was allowed to go forth. The splitting of this early double process into two parts—allowing to go forth and ordination, as well as the minimum age clauses governing the legality of carrying out either process—was doubtless a later introduction into the growing monastic machinery.

In the sikkhāpadas of Monks’ Bu-Pc.65 and Nuns’ Bi-Pc.71Bi-Pc.73, the two words puggala and kumāribhūtā, respectively used to designate the kind of person not to be ordained if he or she were not yet twenty, are striking enough to arrest attention. Puggala is most BD.3.xxiii unfortunately not noticed by the Old Commentary on Monks’ Bu-Pc.65. But I suspect it here to have a monastic intention, as it has when it occurs as the third member of the triad saṅgha, gaṇa, puggala, Order, group, individual (monk). Another form of this triad is saṅgha, sambahulā bhikkhū, eka bhikkhu, where eka bhikkhu balances puggala and sambahulā bhikkhū balances gaṇa. The feminine equivalent of this triad supplies additional evidence for the merging of puggala and bhikkhu. For those parts of the legislative apparatus affecting nuns provide no exact counterpart to puggala, since the one word, ekabhikkhunī, one nun, does duty in the nuns’ triad for the two words, puggala and eka bhikkhu, of the monks’ triads. Moreover, Nissaggiya regulations for forfeiture make it clear that the use of these two words, puggala and eka bhikkhu, is derived more from some convention than from any desire to discriminate between the meaning, status or functions of the subject denoted by either.

Although the term puggala thus to some extent acquired the technical sense of “monk” in monastic terminology, it continued to be in vogue among the laity and also to be widely used by monks in talking of them. In addition lay life had the words purisa, man, male, and kumāra, boy. Monks also made use of these words, but perhaps more for the purpose of addressing or referring to men and boys (or girls, kumāriyo), still “in the world”[33] than for addressing or referring to members of the Order. Purisa and kumāraka are defined respectively at Vin.4.334 as having attained and as not having attained to twenty years of age. But at Vin.4.269, Vin.4.316 purisa is defined as “a human man (or male person manussapurisa), not a yakkha, not a peta, not an animal.”

If a purisa or kumāra went forth he was no longer distinguished by these appellations, which savoured BD.3.xxiv of the world; he became known as a bhikkhu, a monk, and as such might be further differentiated, for example as an elder, a teacher, a preceptor, a pupil, a novice, or a puggala. Regarded as puggala in its technical sense of individual (monk), a monk called puggala for any special purpose or reason would have certain rights and duties in the monastic structure, even before he received the upasampadā, ordination. After this had been conferred on him, and he had entered on to the different rights and duties of a full member of the Order, he yet remained liable to be designated as either bhikkhu or puggala.

With the absence from the monks’ terminology of the word kumāra as a description applicable to a monk while under twenty,[34] and therefore before he was ripe for full ordination, it is odd to find kumāribhūtā, a feminine form, of kumāra, applied to maidens under twenty, but who, because they are represented as having the upasampadā conferred on them, must already have gone forth and so be in some way members of the Order: probably, novices, sāmaṇerī, as the Old Commentary states, or probationers.

That the admissibility of using puggala, monkish man, instead of bhikkhu, monk, was not unknown to the Aṅguttara compilers, is apparent from AN.iii.269, where their fellows in the godly life, sabrahmacārī, might engage in criticism, a Vinaya expression,[35] if they “lived in communion,” also a Vinaya expression, with such men puggalehi, as are cemetery-like. Here the word puggala, from its association with sabrahmācarī, is at once marked as having a monastic reference. Similarly at AN.iii.270 the dangers of becoming devoted to one person, puggala, show that person to be conceived of as a monk. And at AN.i.33 the word puggala turns out to be used of Makkhali Gosāla, the leader of a rival sect, but still a recluse who has renounced the world, not a householder.

BD.3.xxv Conversely both the Devadūta Sutta and Vagga[36] show Yama, the lord of death, addressing ekacco, “a certain one,” as purisa in a context which clearly indicates ekacco to be not a monk but a person in the world. Again, AN.iii.171–172, in speaking of a “good man,” a donor, meaning a man “in the world,” calls him sap-purisa; and examples could be multiplied.

Now to suggest that the Vinaya and sometimes other parts of the canon use puggala to designate a man who is a monk, is not to say that the term, as applying to male persons in general, vanished from either the monastic or the lay vocabularies. The Aṅguttara alone provides plenty of evidence to the contrary, with its mantra occurring thirteen times: “There are in the world three sorts of) men,” and thirty-six times “four (sorts of) men,”[37] puggala. Nor can it be said that the use of purisa as referring either to man as homo or as “man in he world” (as against in the houseless state), entailed to complete lapse from the monks’ vocabulary as a arm applying to monks. At the same time it may be marked that when so used there is a tendency for it to appear in a compound with another word affixed to it.

For example, mahā-purisa occurs as an honorific title ascribed to Gotama, the great recluse; and a monk endowed with certain factors[38] or engaged on certain high mental work[39] is called uttama-purisa, the highest man. At Vin.4.63, Vin.4.65 nuns are recorded to address monks obliquely as agga-purisa, the chief, topmost men. Yet although people, human kind, are often denoted by the term manussa, it is not unreasonable to see purisa in these two Vinaya passages as equivalent to homosapiens, man and woman. For the nuns, I think, were not saying that the monks were the chief of all males, but only of the present company; and that consisted of monks and nuns.

There is also the interesting compound purisa-puggala, BD.3.xxvi “male person,”[40] which in various Vinaya passages seems to be useful when reference is intended at one and the same time to men of the world and men of the cloister. In Nuns’ Pārājika Bi-Pj.5, Bi-Pj.8 and Bi-Ss.5, purisapuggala is defined in the same way as is purisa in their Bi-Pc.11, Bi-Pc.12 and Bi-Pc.60. The first word in this definition is manussapurisa, a human male. This will embrace monks and non-monks. For however much nuns may be shown on these six occasions to have behaved unsuitably with men in the world, called purisapuggala and purisa, the legislation on such behaviour was extended to cover the conduct of nuns towards monks in similar circumstances. I think it highly probable that in Nuns’ Bi-Pj.5, Bi-Pj.8 and Bi-Ss.5, the monkish puggala was added to the worldly purisa, and that in Bi-Pc.11, Bi-Pc.12, and Bi-Pc.60 the worldly purisa was defined as manussapurisa, human male, so as to leave the nuns no grounds for arguing that these rules did not apply to their behaviour equally with monks as with men leading the household life. Thus the word purisapuggala was used to place beyond all doubt the need for nuns to refrain from acting undesirably either with men in the world or with monks and recluses. But when this word was not used, the same sense was achieved by the Old Commentary’s definition of purisa as manussa-purisa. For both this and purisapuggala express the male of the human species under the double aspect of householder and monk.

The same line of argument could doubtless be applied to the eight purisapuggala mentioned at AN.iii.212. Here the Order is not called the Order of monks, bhikkusaṅgha, but the Order of disciples, sāvakasaṅgha, which at once enlarges the scope of saṅgha to include lay as well as monastic disciples. For by the eight purisapuggala are meant those on the four ways and those who have attained the fruits of the ways, achievements, BD.3.xxvii as many records testify, not confined to monks alone, but won too by lay disciples. Very likely the force of purisapuggala is here to include potentially both male lay disciples and monks; but to exclude women, both female lay disciples and nuns, not necessarily through a desire to depreciate them, for many are recorded to have gained the ways and the fruits, but merely because the sight of the “white-frocked householder,” Anāthapiṇḍika, inspired the lord to address Sāriputta with his mind focussed on men.

My conclusion, however tentative it may be, is that for Vinaya interpretation, the question of whether man became “lessened in worth as man, as homo, by the word puggala, male, being used for purisa, the older form”[41] is beside the point, for with Vinaya we are in the region of technicalities. Whatever the intrinsic meaning of these two words, whatever their age, their worth, both were needed in the monastic scheme and idiom, the one, puggala, acquiring a special and technical meaning equivalent to “monk”; and the other, purisa, being used both as a term of honour among monks and also as carrying particular reference to men who were not monks.

The Sekhiyas

The rules for training, sekhiyā dhammā, numbering seventy-five, are the same for monks and nuns. Several interesting points arise. In the first place, the provenance for all except Bu-Sk.51, Bu-Sk.55, Bu-Sk.56 is given as Sāvatthī. Secondly, the principal actors in the stories leading up to each “training to be observed” are invariably said to be the group of six monks, and then in the Nuns’ Sekhiyas, the group of six nuns. Thirdly, an offence of wrong-doing is incurred by any monk or nun who, out of disrespect, yo()anādariyaṃ paṭicca, flies in the face of the training promulgated. These two items: “out of disrespect” and offence of wrong-doing, are common to all the trainings to be observed. Fourthly, the BD.3.xxviii trainings fall into three groups:

  1. Bu-Sk.1Bu-Sk.56 are concerned with such etiquette and decent, polite behaviour as is to be shown by a monk or nun when visiting houses for almsfood;
  2. Bu-Sk.57Bu-Sk.72 are concerned with a regard to be accorded dhamma, for they rule that it should not be taught to people who, because of this circumstance or that, would be shutting the door to both a respectful giving and a respectful hearing of dhamma,
  3. Bu-Sk.73Bu-Sk.75 are concerned with unsuitable ways of obeying the calls of nature and of spitting.

These matters would no doubt have lost some of their first importance once Buddhism became triumphantly established, although their force as a guide to good manners has been in no way diminished by the passage of time. But when in its infancy early Buddhism was groping its way, seeking to attract adherents in a very critical world which had a big choice of teachings and opinions before it, when it was in fact competing with other sects, it was necessary for it to do all in its power to make itself acceptable and to arrange its external features in such a way as not to jeopardise any chances of a fair hearing for its message.

According to the early Buddhist way of thinking, no attempt should be made to kindle faith in this message unless people showed they were ready to listen in humility to what would be taught. A very interesting example occurs in the Saṃyutta.[42] A monk, Udayin,[43] is shown refusing to speak dhamma to a brahmin lady so long as she sat down on a high seat,[44] put on her sandals,[45] and muffled up (veiled) her head.[46] We here get a monk scrupulously keeping three of the “rules for training.” He is shown as willing to speak dhamma to a woman, but not until she learns of the respect due to it, and which her pupil eventually tells her about. And when at last he is portrayed as teaching dhamma to this woman, even then, in compliance with Bu-Pc.7, he BD.3.xxix does not use more than six sentences[47]: arahants point out pleasure-pain when there is eye, when there is tongue, when there is mind, but do not point it out when there is not eye, tongue or mind. No doubt Udayin regarded the brahmin lady’s pupil as the “learned man” whose presence was required by the rule of Bu-Pc.7 when a monk was teaching dhamma to a woman.[48]

A striking parallel to the Sekhiya rules for training in manners is to be found in Clement of Alexandria’s Paedagogus (Instructor).[49] Clement was apparently beset by the same kind of preoccupations and faced by the same kind of bad manners as were those who drew up the Sekhiyas. His own code of polite, civilised behaviour which he vigorously hoped his fellow Christians would adopt has been put in a nutshell by T.R. Glover,[50] whom I cannot do better than quote. He says: “Clement of Alexandria has much to say to Christians about the minutiae of manners; they must not scratch themselves or spit in public; they should not guffaw, nor twitch, nor crack their fingers, nor fidget; they must not eat or drink in uncouth styles. Very trifling? No, not at all trifling; for these little things annoy the people to whom you have to appeal, to whom Christ has sent you with a message which it is important for them to hear.” Thus India in the sixth and fifth centuries before Christ, and Egypt in the second century after, had the acumen to perceive the value of decorum and good manners in facilitating the growth of friendly interest, even faith, in the new religious ventures experienced by each of these two richly endowed countries.

Nuns’ Pātimokkha Rules

The whole of the Bhikkhunivibhaṅga, the framework together with the statement of the Pātimokkha rules for nuns, falls within this volume. The rules themselves, the sikkhāpada, although in isolation from their framework, have been translated by B.C. Law in two of his works.[51] The list of rules which he gives, telescoping here and there those which have the same tendency, is as useful as a swift guide to the discipline for nuns as is Rhys Davids’s and Oldenberg’s corresponding treatment of the discipline for monks.[52] Waldschmidt has made a comparison of the Pali text of the nuns’ rules with the Sanskrit, Chinese and Tibetan texts obtaining among various of the schools.[53] This study naturally necessitated a translation of each rule (into German), although a complete translation of the whole of the nuns’ Vibhaṅga, that is of the introductory stories, the Old Commentarial material as well as of the rules themselves, would have been beside the point for his purpose. Such a translation occurs, I believe, for the first time in the present volume of the Book of the Discipline.

Both in regard to its grouping and its arrangement of the material surrounding each rule, the Nuns’ Vibhaṅga is planned on exactly the same lines as the Monks’. There is thus a Pārājika group, a Saṅghādisesa, a Nissaggiya Pācittiya, a Pācittiya, a Pāṭidesaniya, a Sekhiya and an Adhikaraṇasamathā dhammā group. The contents of these last two appear to be exact copies, substituting “nun “for “monk,” of the corresponding groups for monks. The nuns have no Aniyatas or undetermined offences.

The Pali Bhikkhuni-vibhaṅga, as it has come down to us, is somewhat misleading in appearance. For the four Pārājikas, the ten Saṅghādisesas, the twelve Nissaggiyas, the ninety-six Pācittiyas and the eight Pāṭidesaniyas there set forth for nuns do not represent, except in the last case, the total number of rules which, according to the Vibhaṅga’s reckoning, fall into these various classes. They represent only those which have BD.3.xxxi to be observed solely by nuns, and which are therefore not included in the discipline laid down for monks. The introductory sentence and the concluding paragraph attached to each class of rules in the Bhikkhuni-vibhaṅga refer respectively to eight Pārājika, seventeen Saṅghādisesa, thirty Nissaggiya, a hundred and sixty-six Pācittiya and eight Pāṭidesaniya rules for nuns, and state that all of these come up for recitation. In effect, therefore, the nuns have not fewer but as many as eighty-four more rules to keep than have the monks. Traditionally those which do not appear in the Nuns’ Vibhaṅga are held to be comprised in the Monks’ Vibhaṅga; and they are also held to be as binding on nuns as they are on monks in spite of their being recorded in the Monks’ Vibhaṅga only.

We may therefore regard the Nuns’ Vibhaṅga in its present form as an abridged version of some more complete Vibhaṅga for nuns. This hypothesis is to some extent strengthened by a surviving fragment of a few lines belonging to the Tibetan Bhikṣunī Prātimokṣa. This fragment has been published by Finot.[54] It contains only the end of one article and the beginning of another, but these can be easily identified as Saṅghādisesas for nuns corresponding to Monks’ Bu-Ss.8 and Bu-Ss.9. The survival of this fragment tempts us to presume as not impossible a time when a Nuns’ Pātimokkha existed in full, and when it was not cut down, as it now is in the Pali Vibhaṅga, to include no more than those rules held to be incumbent only on nuns, and to exclude those others which, while being preserved only in the Vibhaṅga for monks, which naturally shows that monks should observe them, are also traditionally held to form part of the authorised discipline for nuns.

The rules which the Nuns’ Vibhaṅga assumes to exist and to be binding on nuns, but which are not now to be found in that Vibhaṅga, have been identified by Buddhaghosa with various rules in the Monks’ Vibhaṅga. And, BD.3.xxxii in various parts of his Vinaya Commentary,[55] he has named such rules as he holds to be observable by both sides of the Order. With the exception of Finot’s fragment, this great commentator is our sole authority for those rules for nuns which are supposed to be included in the Monks’ Vibhaṅga, and which, although they are not incorporated in the existing form of the Pali Bhikkhunivibhaṅga, are traditionally held to be operative not only for monks but for nuns as well.

If we accept Buddhaghosa’s opinions, the nuns’ eight Pārājikas appear to consist of those four laid down in the Nuns’ Pārājika class in addition to those four laid down in the Monks’ Pārājika class. While therefore the nuns have four Pārājika rules peculiar to themselves, and hence four in excess of the number laid down for monks, there are on the other hand no Pārājikas peculiar to monks, since their complete set of four is also regarded as binding on nuns.

This is farther borne out by the occurrence of the word pi (too, also), in the sikkhāpada not only of the last three but also of the first of the Nuns’ Pārājikas: ayam pi pārājikā hoti, “she too becomes one who is defeated,” which means, according to the Old Commentary, that “she is so called in reference to the former (or preceding).” The presence of the word pi in the text of the “rule” of Nuns’ Bi-Pj.5 is significant. The Reference which it implies is to all foregoing Pārājikas. Among the total of eight Pārājikas, pi is absent only from Monks’ Bu-Pj.1, where the corresponding phrase merely runs pārājiko hoti. Thus each of the remaining seven rules is held to concur, through its use of pi, in connecting itself with whatever may be the number, one to seven, of Pārājika rales which has preceded it. Had pi been absent from Nuns’ Bi-Pj.5, then where it occurs in their Bi-Pj.6Bi-Pj.8, it would no doubt normally have been taken to refer to their Bi-Pj.5 only, as the BD.3.xxxiii beginning of a series. But its occurrence in Bi-Pj.5 itself pushes this beginning further back still: to the Monks’ Pārājika class.

The Nuns’ Pārājika rules further exhibit a curious and unparalleled feature, in that each rule is, in the “rule” itself, named after the woman who does the action giving rise to the particular offence which the rules severally aim at checking. This name is not commented upon by the Old Commentary because, as Buddhaghosa says (Vin-a.901), “It is only the name of the one who is defeated.” She may be one who touched (a man) above his knees (Bi-Pj.5); one who conceals a fault (Bi-Pj.6); one who imitates a monk who has been suspended (by the Order) (Bi-Pj.7); or one who does eight things (Bi-Pj.8), that is, indulges in the eight kinds of dealings with men enumerated in the “rule “of Bi-Pj.8. These are the offences against which the Nuns’ Pārājikas legislate.

It should be noticed that, just as part of the Old Commentary’s definition of a monk who is defeated is that he is not a son of the Sakyans, asakyaputtiya, so part of its definition of a nun who is defeated is that she is not a daughter of the Sakyans, asakyadhītā. This latter appellation occurs again in Nuns’ Bi-Ss.10, but in the positive, sakyadhītā.

In their Saṅghādisesa class the nuns are said to have seventeen rules of this type, although only ten are there set forth. The monks have thirteen. According to Buddhaghosa, six out of these thirteen rules are applicable to monks only, the remaining seven being observable by nuns as well. He indicates these latter to be Monks’ Bu-Ss.5, Bu-Ss.8, Bu-Ss.9, all of which become offences at once (paṭhamāpattika), and Monks’ Bu-Ss.10Bu-Ss.13, which constitute the whole of the subdivision where offences become so on the third admonition of a monk or nun by other monks or nuns respectively (yāvatatiyaka).

The wording of the Monks’ Saṅghādisesa “rules” offers an interesting contrast to that of the Nuns’ Saṅghādisesa “rules.” For each of the monks’ rules names the penalty incurred in the briefest possible way, BD.3.xxxiv simply by using the one word saṅghādiseso, “there is an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order.” This holds good of the two groups into which the Saṅghādisesa offences are divided: those where the offences are so at once, and those where they are so on the third (and unsuccessful) admonition. The monks’ rules do not explicitly mention these two groups by name, but their existence is recognised by the internal evidence of the “rules” themselves, especially in the case of the second group, that comprising Monks’ Bu-Ss.10Bu-Ss.13; and also by the paragraph which, in concluding the Monks’ Saṅghādisesa Section, places nine of these offences under group (1) and four under group (2). In the Nuns’ Saṅghādisesa “rules” the nature of the offence is stated more explicitly and therefore at greater length than in the monks’. In fact, not one word, but a sentence is used: ayam pi bhikkhunī paṭhamāpattikaṃ (yāvatatiyakaṃ) dhammaṃ āpannā nissāraṇiyaṃ Saṅghādisesaṃ, that nun also has fallen into a matter that is an offence at once (on the third admonition), entailing a formal meeting of the Order involving being sent away.

Now this sentence contains several interesting points. In the first place, the pi, although occurring unfailingly in Bi-Ss.2Bi-Ss.13, does not occur in the “rule” of Bi-Ss.1, so that this cannot be held to pay any reference to preceding, that is, on the analogy of the Pārājikas, to the Monks’ Saṅghādisesas, or in particular to those seven of them which Buddhaghosa asseverates to be operative for both sides of the Order: Monks’ Bu-Ss.5, Bu-Ss.8Bu-Ss.13. The absence of pi from this context raises the question whether, when the Saṅghādisesa standing first in the nuns’ class was drawn up, those others now found only in the monks’ class, but said to be observable also by nuns, were in actual fact not already framed, and hence incapable of forming a point of reference for Nuns’ Bi-Ss.1.

We have no conclusive evidence one way or the other on which to base an answer to this question. All that can be said is that there is nothing inherent in Nuns’ Bi-Ss.1 to lead us to assign its formulation to a date, BD.3.xxxv posterior to the formulation of those seven which are posited by Buddhaghosa as common to both sides of the Order. In fact, had it not been that Monks’ Bu-Ss.12 were included in this list,[56] there would have been certain grounds for regarding Nuns’ Bi-Ss.1 as belonging to a date earlier than any of these others, with the possible exception of one of them, and therefore as a matter of history unable to refer to them. For Monks’ Bu-Ss.8 and Bu-Ss.9 speak of a “legal question,” Bu-Ss.10 and Bu-Ss.11 of a schism, both of which, in order to come into being, needed a certain amount of time to elapse after the inception of the Order. Bu-Ss.13, without our looking further than the length at which its “rule” is stated, suggests comparative lateness in formulation. Bu-Ss.5, that against being a go-between, is alone of these rules non-committal as to its possible date.

We thus get one rule (Bu-Ss.5) from which nothing can be gleaned as to its comparative age, one which suggests comparative earliness (Bu-Ss.12), and five which suggest comparative lateness (Bu-Ss.8Bu-Ss.11, Bu-Ss.13). Yet this evidence, which is in any case no more than tentative, is in addition neither sufficiently sound nor consistent to warrant our definitely ascribing to these Saṅghādisesas a date later in time than that of Nuns’ Bi-Ss.1, that penalising a nun for speaking in envy of householders or recluses. Thus the absence of pi here must remain something of a mystery, unless we care to subscribe to the hypothesis which I have just advanced.

In the second place, each rule of the Saṅghādisesas set forth in the nuns’ class states precisely the type to which belongs the Saṅghādisesa offence into which the nun has fallen, whether it is that where an offence becomes one at once or after the third admonition. It is not uninteresting to note in passing, although it is not important, that the word for offence, āpatti, is comprised in the name of the first type of Saṅghādisesa offence, called paṭhamāpattika, but not in the second, BD.3.xxxvi called yāvatatiyaka, where therefore it has to be understood.

In the third place, the Saṅghādisesa offence, because it is grammatically constructed as that into which a nun has fallen, takes the accusative case, as against the nominative in the Monks’ class. Moreover it is associated with the word nissāraṇīya, also in the accusative. The phrase nissāraṇīyaṃ saṅghādisesaṃ, meaning “(an offence) entailing a formal meeting of the Order involving being sent away,” should be compared with the similar construction: Nissaggiyaṃ Pācittiyaṃ, “(an offence) of expiation involving forfeiture.” In the Monks’ Saṅghādisesas there is no mention of nissāraṇīyaṃ. Waldschmidt translates the last sentence of the Nuns’ Saṅghādisesa rules as[57]: “diese Nonne wird schuldig des 3-Vergehens muss auf(ge)geben (werden) (nissāraṇīyam) saṅghāvaśeṣa.” This does not say what it is that “must be caused to be sent away.” But Buddhaghosa (Vin-a.908) states that it is the nun who must be caused to be sent away from the Order (ablative) and not the offence. Oldenberg’s suggestion that the correct reading at Old Commentary on Bi-Ss.12 (where the offence is attributed to nuns, plural) is nissāriyanti, is therefore doubtless right, and the Mahīśāsaka version, quoted by Waldschmidt[58]: “diese Nonne 3 Ermahnungs-Vergehen, saṅghāvaśesa, muss remütig bekannt werden,” wrong.

The phrase “involving being sent away” does not at all imply that the offending nun is to be sent away from the Order for good, nor did the Order let go of its erring members so lightly. It would seem to mean that she would be sent away for the time being probably because admonition, although it had been tried, had failed, and that during this time she would cease to be regarded as a full member of the Order. As the Old Commentary explains: “The Order imposes the mānatta discipline for her offence, it sends her back to the beginning BD.3.xxxvii (of her probationary course as nun, not as probationer) and (then) it rehabilitates her.” This definition of Saṅghādisesa is identical with that of this same word in the Monks’ Saṅghādisesa section. Lapse in full membership is of a temporary nature and lasting only a fortnight[59] while the offender is undergoing the mānatta discipline before, in the case of a nun, both Orders, as part of her penalty for having committed an offence entailing a formal meeting of the Order. Nissāraṇīya, involving being sent away, adds nothing new to the penalty. It is not something extra to the Saṅghādisesa penalty incurred by a nun, and hence marks no difference in the penalty imposed on monks and nuns for having committed such an offence. Only the word, as found in each “rule” of the Nuns’ Saṅghādisesas, is extra.

Wrong and right kinds of nissāraṇā, “the causing to be sent away,” are expounded at Vin.1.321, with an implied opposition to osāraṇā, “the causing to be restored,” at Vin.1.322. Vin-a.1147 concerns itself with two kinds of nissāraṇā, the one appearing to be by an act of banishment, and the other by an act imposing certain disabilities.

In the Bhikkhuni-vibhaṅga, there are twice stated to be thirty Nissaggiya rules for nuns (the same number as for monks) although only twelve are there recorded. For these twelve are peculiar to nuns and are not regarded as operating for monks. From Buddhaghosa we learn that eighteen Nissaggiya rules pertained to both Orders; therefore there are also twelve peculiar to the monks. Buddhaghosa arrives at the eighteen common to both sides of the Order by a process of exclusion. They are as follows: Bhikkhu Bu-NP.1Bu-NP.3, Bu-NP.6Bu-NP.10, Bu-NP.18Bu-NP.20, Bu-NP.22, Bu-NP.23, Bu-NP.25Bu-NP.27, Bu-NP.30. At the same time he explains the composition of the Vaggas (divisions of the rules usually into groups of ten each) in the Nissaggiya Section for nuns. These, comprising the twelve rules peculiar to nuns and the eighteen to be observed by nuns as well as by monks, although these latter are BD.3.xxxviii stated only in the Monks’ Vibhaṅga, work out as follows:

Bhikkhunī Nissaggiya, Vagga 1 = Bu-NP.1, Bu-NP.2, Bu-NP.3, Bu-NP.6, Bu-NP.7, Bu-NP.8, Bu-NP.9, Bu-NP.10 (8) + Bi-NP.2, Bi-NP.3 (2).
Bhikkhunī Nissaggiya, Vagga 2 = Bu-NP.18, Bu-NP.19, Bu-NP.20 (3) + Bi-NP.4, Bi-NP.5, Bi-NP.6, Bi-NP.7, Bi-NP.8, Bi-NP.9, Bi-NP.10 (7).
Bhikkhunī Nissaggiya, Vagga 3 = Bu-NP.22, Bu-NP.23, Bu-NP.25, Bu-NP.26, Bu-NP.27, Bu-NP.28, Bu-NP.30 (7) + Bi-NP.1, Bi-NP.11, Bi-NP.12 (3).

Of the hundred and sixty-six Pācittiyas which tradition computes for the nuns, ninety-six are set forth in their section. These ninety-six with the ninety-two set forth for monks together amount to a hundred and eighty-eight. Buddhaghosa works out that twenty-two Pācittiya rules, which he enumerates, are incumbent on monks only. The remaining seventy therefore, which are applicable to members of both Orders, bring the nuns’ given total of ninety-six up to their actual total of a hundred and sixty-six.

In the nuns’ Pāṭidesaniya section, eight rules are stated, and since eight is given as the total number, not one is here suppressed. Thus monks and nuns share no Pāṭidesaniya rules, the nuns having these eight and the monks their four.

A comparison of the monks’ rules and those for nuns will show these together to contain:

  1. Rules which owing to their subject matter could apply to one side of the Order only and not to both, as for example Monks’ Bu-Ss.1; and also Bu-Ss.6, Bu-Ss.7 and Bu-NP.29 which, doubtless because nuns were not supposed to dwell alone or go about singly (Bi-Ss.3), could not be taken to apply to them. For this same reason their Bi-Ss.3 would have no point as a rule incumbent on monks;
  2. Monks’ rules which could apply to nuns but which do not, for example Bu-NP.11Bu-NP.15, Bu-NP.16, Bu-NP.24;
  3. Nuns’ rules which could apply to monks but which BD.3.xxxix do not, for example Bi-Ss.10Bi-Ss.13, and all of their Nissaggiyas.

Moreover, the position is even more intricate than it might appear. For example, Nuns’ Bi-NP.1 has an affinity with Monks’ Bu-NP.21 (not held in common); Bi-NP.3 is similar to Monks’ Bu-NP.25 (held in common); and Bi-NP.6 and Bi-NP.8 resemble Monks’ Bu-NP.30 (held in common). Further, Nuns’ Bi-Ss.11 may be compared with Monks’ Bu-Pc.63 and Bu-Pc.79, for although they are not exactly similar, all three concur in their mention of some dissatisfaction evinced by a monk or nun after the settlement of a legal question or after the carrying out of a formal act by the Order. Again, there is a very marked correspondence between Nuns’ Bi-Ss.12 and Monks’ Bu-Pc.64, with both of which Nuns’ Bi-Pj.6 may also be compared. Why the monks should incur a lesser penalty than the nuns for a similar kind of offence is a problem not yet solved, but it is an occurrence of some frequency, of which an instance is noticed by Buddhaghosa at Vin-a.902.

The reduction of the rules to the three categories mentioned above seems to me to strengthen the view that rules were not promulgated in advance of the commission of offences, but as a result, their formulation thus in the main depending upon conduct which had actually taken place. This hypothesis would account for the inclusion of identical rules entailing identical penalties in the Pātimokkha of both Orders; for the resemblance, but without actual identity, of rules found in one Pātimokkha to those found in the other; for the not negligible degree of overlapping where similar or comparable offences entail dissimilar penalties in the case of each Order; and for the non-appearance in one Pātimokkha or the other of rules which, from the point of view of their subject matter, might suitably have found a place in it. To ascribe the inclusion or exclusion of such rules to pure chance is no explanation. Had the rules been drafted in advance of the commission of offences, it would have been a comparatively simple matter for the early “editors” to have kept apart all of those, and not merely BD.3.xl a selection of them, which could have only a one-sided application, and to have set forth all the remainder as observable by members of both branches, of the Order. But because the drafting of rule and penalty follows a less simple, and less obvious course, we may justifiably consider the composition of the Pātimokkhas to have been determined by the compelling hand of historical event and happening.

The critics, whose complaints of the nuns’ behaviour is shown to result in the formulation of rules for nuns, are for the most part the “modest nuns.” Seventy-four times they are recorded to be vexed and annoyed. “People” are recorded to have made criticisms thirty-two times. To these must be added the complaints of a man, of a Licchavi, of the keeper of a field, of prostitutes, of parents and husband, of a family, once each; of a brahmin and of a guild, twice each; of nuns, three times; and of monks, four times. Only once, in Bi-Pc.21, are no criticisms recorded, the nuns concerned telling other nuns, these the monks, and these the lord.

The locus of the introductory stories to all the rules in the Bhikkhuni-vibhaṅga is, with seven exceptions only, given as Sāvatthī. Four stories, Bi-Pc.10, Bi-Pc.39, Bi-Pc.40, Bi-Pc.81, are set in Rājagaha, two, Bi-Pc.5 and Bi-Pc.58, in Kapilavatthu, and one, Bi-Pc.52, in Vesālī. Without attempting to draw any inference as to why such a huge majority are attached to Sāvatthī, it may not be uninteresting to look at those stories and their rules which are said to emanate from other places.

Bi-Pc.10, which opens in the same way as Monks’ Bu-Pc.37, had to be set in Rājagaha because of its need to refer to a festival which used to be held on a mountain top nearby. This was made the occasion in the Monks’ Pācittiya for the prohibition of eating at the wrong time; while in the Nuns’ Pācittiya it gave rise to the ban on their seeing (dassana, also able to mean “perceiving, noticing”) dancing, singing and music.[60]

BD.3.xli Bi-Pc.39 and Bi-Pc.40 are concerned with nuns’ conduct during and after the rains. Similar events, connected with monks, are recorded in the Mahāvagga[61] when again the lord is said to have been in Rājagaha. This town therefore, besides its other claims to fame, may be regarded as a source of rules for the rains.

In Bi-Pc.81, Thullanandā, although herself not particularly connected with Rājagaha, is shown in association with the schismatic monks headed by Devadatta. Now these, in Monks’ Bu-Ss.10, Bu-Pc.11 and Bu-Pc.29 for example, are the leading personages in narratives which purport to refer to times when the lord was staying in Rājagaha, and thus themselves seem to have frequented this place. Because this Pācittiya needed to make use of them, a good reason is forthcoming to account for its locus being given as Rājagaha.

Nuns’ Bi-Pc.58 appears to be complementary to Monks’ Bu-Pc.23, the one rebuking nuns for not going to monks for exhortation, and the other rebuking monks for going to a nunnery to exhort nuns. Since Monks’ Bu-Pc.23 is for some reason set in Kapilavatthu, although the other exhortation rules belong to Sāvatthī, it is consistent to set the complementary rule for nuns also in Kapilavatthu. It may in fact have been the source of these two rules, for the legislation on exhortation went through several vicissitudes before being finally settled.

The motive ascribing Bi-Pc.5 to a time when the lord was likewise said to be staying at his birthplace, although less obvious, is more interesting. For here we may be up against a rule the need of which began to be felt at a comparatively early date. Mahāpajāpati, one of the very few nuns shown to have direct access to the lord, is present, as recorded, and in converse with him. Yet, since she was his aunt, she could not have been much with him towards the end of his life when he came to reside more and more at Sāvatthī. Moreover, this Pācittiya is very unusual in leading up to a rule through an BD.3.xlii “allowance.” Perhaps in early days it may have been guidance enough to prescribe allowances, but later a number of causes led to their abuse and hence to the need for a stricter type of regulation, framed in rules and penalties. At all events allowances not seldom appear in contexts which may reasonably be considered to show the influence of some older tradition. I think, too, Indians loving personal cleanliness as they do, the question of the nuns washing themselves—the subject of this Pācittiya—would have required legislation reasonably soon after the inception of the female Order.

The rather elaborate introduction in Bi-Pc.52, whose locus is given as Vesālī, has no counterpart anywhere in the canon, nor is there any tradition specially connecting the group of six nuns with this place. In regard to the two monks mentioned, Kappitaka and Upāli, it is true that the Petavatthu associates Kappitaka with Vesālī, or more exactly with Kapinaccanā, a locality probably nearby, even perhaps the cemetery where according to Bi-Pc.52 this monk was staying. But with no other canonical reference to Kappitaka, it seems very likely that the Petavatthu and its Commentary[62] placed him in Vesālī on the authority of this Vinaya story; and that this placed him here because it veritably was the place where the enraged nuns tried to murder him. He is rather a shadowy monk who fades from the picture, attention being diverted instead to Upāli, whom the nuns are recorded to have abused. Neither the Pācittiya nor its Commentary elucidates the identity of this Upāli, but the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names takes him to be the Vinaya expert. The offence for which the rule legislates is abuse of a monk by a nun. Had the rule been concerned with attempted murder, it would have appeared in the Pārājika section, and Kappitaka might then have been more to the fore as the peg on which to hang the rule.

The group of six nuns, more frequently heard of when BD.3.xliii the lord is not recorded to have been in Vesālī, are often present on occasions when he is said to have been in Sāvatthī.[63] Thus there is no particular reason to expect Vesālī to be the scene when the activities of these nuns are being recounted, any more than there is when the thera Upāli’s name is mentioned. His journeyings must have been as extensive as any of the great disciples’.

The group of six nuns formed a useful body to which to fasten misdemeanours. The Dictionary of Pali Proper Names is of the opinion that the group of six monks was so named because of its six leaders, and that these had nuns also in their following: those referred to as the group of six. Certainly in Bi-Pc.58 (cf. Monks’ Bu-Pc.23) the two groups are depicted in connection with one another.

Whether these nuns numbered six, or were the followers of six leaders, or were so called because six was not reckoned among the “lucky “numbers, there are some cases where offences clearly could not have been perpetrated by nuns acting singly but only in concert; for example, when they went to see play-acting (Bi-Pc.10), when they went to see a picture gallery (Bi-Pc.41), when they travelled in a vehicle (Bi-Pc.85), and when they bathed naked at a public ford (Bi-Pc.2, Bi-Pc.21). For nuns were not allowed to go about alone (Bi-Ss.3); therefore such offences had to be attributed to a group acting together. But other offences for which they are made responsible could have been committed as easily within the monastery precincts as in the world outside, and as easily by one nun as by several. In such conventual seclusion as existed, a nun would not have needed associates in order to spin yarn (Bi-Pc.43); to learn worldly knowledge (Bi-Pc.49), although if she wanted to teach it (Bi-Pc.50) she would require other nuns as pupils; to wear women’s ornaments (Bi-Pc.87); to use perfume and paint (Bi-Pc.88); to bathe with scented ground sesamum (Bi-Pc.89); or to make a hoard of bowls (Bi-NP.1).

BD.3.xliv The group of six monks is also recorded to have made, a hoard of bowls (Monks’ Bu-NP.21), so that a certain balance is visible here, although the resulting rule is differently stated in the ease of the two Orders.

I think it as valid to contend that one group did in fact copy the other in this acquisitive behaviour, or even unwittingly behaved in the same way, as it is to hold that the story leading up to the framing of the nuns’ rule was copied, by the recensionists, from that of the monks’. For I think that had the group of six nuns been merely fictitious as a group, the “editors” would not have ascribed to them both various offences which could have been as easily attached to “a certain nun” without prejudicing the resulting rule, as well as various offences which had to be shown capable of perpetration only by a number of nuns acting together. That this course was not adopted appears to me to go to attest the historical reality of a group of nuns, for some reason numbered as six, and their position as the veritable authors of the offences imputed to them.

Ordination.—Two whole divisions, one consisting of ten and the other of thirteen Pācittiyas, Bi-Pc.61Bi-Pc.70, Bi-Pc.71Bi-Pc.83, are devoted to the topic of ordination. No other subject in the Bhikkhuni-vibhaṅga receives a comparable degree of attention. Hence ordination appears to be of outstanding interest and importance. The ceremony itself is not discussed. Of the twenty-four disqualifications precluding the admission of a woman into full membership of the Order, as laid down at Vin.2.271, only two, her age and training, are considered in the Pācittiyas. Together with these two points, the Pācittiyas on ordination are, among other matters, concerned with legislating for or against the admission of women in special circumstances: expectant and nursing mothers, married girls, maidens and probationers; with laying down the kind of treatment to be accorded newly ordained women; with insisting on the necessity to obtain the Order’s “agreement” to train and the “agreement” to receive ordination, and also the “agreement” to confer it; with emphasising BD.3.xlv the necessity to keep one’s promise to ordain; and with regulating the number of times that each nun might ordain annually, and also the number of candidates whom she might ordain. The whole treatment is very thorough.

The word used throughout these Pācittiyas for “to ordain” is vuṭṭhāpeti, meaning literally “to raise up,” but always explained by the relevant parts of the Old Commentary as upasampādeti, to confer the upasampadā ordination. The first step in joining the Order, pabbajjā, going forth (from home into homelessness), is not discussed, its occurrence being assumed already to have taken place.

But a complication as to the meaning of vuṭṭhāpeti arises through the use of this word in the rule of Nuns’ Bi-Ss.2. This, an ad hoc rule, makes it an offence for a nun to vuṭṭhāpeti a female thief who merits death if she has not obtained permission to do so, on the worldly side, from either a rajah, a guild or a company (seṇi); or on the religious side, from either an Order or a group, unless the woman seeking admission to the Order is one who is “allowable.” The Old Commentary explains that there are two ways in which a woman is “allowable”: either because she has gone forth among other sects or because she has gone forth among other nuns. These latter presumably mean those already attached to Gotama’s Order, but belonging to some residence or boundary other than that to which the woman may be subsequently seeking admission.

Although the Old Commentary on Bi-Ss.2 fails to explain vuṭṭhāpeti,[64] in the “rule” of this Saṅghādisesa it would appear to mean neither upasampādeti nor pabbajati, to go forth. This latter word and its causative form, pabbājeti, to let go forth, although used throughout the introduction to this rule, are dropped by the rule itself. In their place it employs the term vuṭṭhāpeti, a word which, however, does not occur in the introductory BD.3.xlvi story. There are other occasions when the word used in a rule is more precise, more restricted or more inclusive in its scope than that used in the introduction to the rule. This too is a case where the word of the rule is more precise for its purposes, more technically correct than the word of the story.

For here vuṭṭhāpeti is meant to be synonymous neither with upasampādeti nor with pabbājeti. For whatever vuṭṭhāpeti may mean in the Pācittiyas, and the phrase upasampadaṃ yāci, she asked for the upasampadā ordination (to be conferred on her), occurring in Bi-Pc.77 and Bi-Pc.78, strongly supports the Old Commentary’s regular and undeviating Pācittiya interpretation of it by upasampādeti, the internal evidence of Bi-Ss.2 suggests nothing to imply that vuṭṭhāpeti stands there for receiving or conferring the upasampadā ordination. The woman thief, who eventually asked Thullanandā to let her go forth, had just run away from her husband and hoped to find sanctuary from his wrath among the nuns. But she had not reached a stage in the monastic career when she might be ordained as a full member. She is represented as asking for no more than to be allowed to go forth; and it was only in the very early stages of the monastic venture that those who wanted to adopt the religious life asked, and it was always the lord himself whom they are shown as asking, to go forth and to be ordained at one and the same time.

Moreover, in Bi-Ss.2 it seems as if vuṭṭhāpeti cannot mean the same as pabbājeti, to let go forth. It is used in connection with a woman thief in circumstances where, if an entrant were going forth for the first time, pabbājeti would be expected. A trace of the other meaning of vuṭṭhāpeti may therefore linger here, “to raise up” to a higher level of morality and spirituality, to admit a woman to conditions where she might come to see the error of her former ways.

But the usage of vuṭṭhāpeti here is also likely to depend I think on the exception which the rule makes legal: that of “receiving” (vuṭṭhāpeti) and without having BD.3.xlvii to get permission to do so from either the world or the cloister, a woman-thief who had already gone forth. It is I think because of this, because the woman whom the exception has in mind is envisaged as one already gone forth, some person or some Order having already allowed her to do so, pabbājeti, that were this word, pabbājeti, used in the rule a technical difficulty would arise. For a word having a technical sense would then be used not precisely in that sense. No one could go forth twice, unless in the meantime he had returned to the household life[65]; but the point of the exception to the rule is that such an action has not taken place. Hence in order to show that a nun was not allowing a woman-thief to go forth, as it were for the first time, a word which did not technically imply this had to be chosen. Thus the vuṭṭhāpeti of the rule is used in place of the pabbājeti of the introductory story.

We must further conclude that there is a difference in the technical significance of vuṭṭhāpeti as used in Bi-Ss.2 and as used in the Pācittiyas. In the former it has, because providing for the possibility that someone has already “gone forth,” of necessity to bear some meaning that is different from this admittedly technical term. To “receive” or to “accept” into an Order is perhaps the nearest rendering for which there is any justification, especially if we take it to cover receiving or accepting a woman of doubtful character, with a view to her spiritual regeneration. This interpretation might be compared with the meaning the verb ullumpati apparently bears at Vin.1.57Vin.1.95. Here it is said that a man asking the monks for ordination should say, “may the Order, out of compassion for me, raise me up,” ullumpatu. The Commentary, Vin-a.984, explains this as, “having made me arise from, what is bad may they BD.3.xlviii (i.e., the Order) establish me in what is good; or, having raised me from the status of a novice may they establish me in the status of a monk.”

In the Pācittiyas, on the other hand, vuṭṭhāpeti appears to be closely connected with the business of ordaining, on the part of the nuns, a woman who had served her term as a probationer in an Order into full membership of that same Order. A fairly frequent definition of “nun” in Vin.4 is “one ordained by both Orders.” First, a woman had to be “ordained” by the nuns; then she had to pass a similar examination before the monks so as to complete her full ordination. Therefore two words were needed to distinguish these two parts of a woman’s ordination ceremony. The nuns raised her up, vuṭṭhāpeti; the monks ordained her fully, upasaṃpādeti, finishing what the nuns had begun. But the actual process of ordination was the same for the candidate, and the same questions were put to her, whether she was being examined by a body of nuns or by a body of monks.

Besides the word vuṭṭhāpeti, which is a key-word in Bi-Pc.61Bi-Pc.83, several other terms of interest come to the fore in the course of these regulations for ordination, a few of which may now be considered.

In the first place, there is the word sikkhāmanā. This, as meaning probationer, refers only to members of the female sex. It is a technical term for a female entrant of a certain standing and with certain duties to fulfil, and has no masculine counterpart. In this it differs from “novice.” For sāmaṇera and sāmaṇerī both figure in their respective sides of the Order.

Technically a sāmaṇera is different in status from a bhikkhu, and a sāmaṇerī from both a sikkhāmanā and a bhikkhuni. For these sometimes appear together as the five classes of people among whom it is legitimate to effect certain transactions,[66] for example giving or accepting robes in exchange (Monks’ Bu-NP.5, Bu-Pc.25. BD.3.xlix Further, the five are differently defined.[67] That is to say, the definition of “nun “balances and resembles that of “monk”; the definition of “female novice” balances and resembles that of “male novice,”[68] “probationer” alone having no opposite number. Again, “male wanderer” is defined by excluding monk and male novice; “female wanderer” by excluding nun, probationer and female novice.[69] There is too the women’s testimony, in Bi-Pc.64, that having been ordained, they are not probationers but nuns, and therefore are not to be ordered about by other nuns.

I should say that these five classes of persons represent a fundamental classification of the monastic personnel, and as such will be to some extent inclusive of other and differently divided classes, which may then be regarded as so many subdivisions: a monk (or nun) who is a junior, nava, one of middle standing, an elder; a teacher, pupil, preceptor one who shares a cell, and so forth.

In the second place, two other words of interest which occur in the ordination groups of rules are gihigatā, married girl, and kumāribhūtā, maiden. Gihigatā, meaning literally “one going (or gone) to a householder.” and thus meaning a married girl or woman, or one who has intercourse with a man, is defined in the Old Commentary on Bi-Pc.65 as purisantaragatā, “one gone (or going) among men.” Kumāribhūtā, “being a girl,” must I think, as standing in antithesis to gihigatā, mean an unmarried woman, a maiden, or virgin. Kumāribhūtā is rather confusingly defined by the Old Commentary as sāmaṇerī, a woman novice. For although, as I have said, in the Vinaya “female novice” is differently defined from “probationer,” yet in Bi-Pc.72 and Bi-Pc.73 it is clear that the “maiden” is thought of in terms more appropriate to a probationer than to a novice.

BD.3.l Bi-Pc.65 makes it an offence for a nun to ordain “a gihagatā under twelve.” But the question is, what exactly does this phrase mean? Does it mean a married girl less than twelve years old, or a girl who has been married for less than twelve years? Waldschmidt adopts the latter view,[70] apparently taking his stand on a phrase given by Bendall: strī dvādaśavarsagṛhayuktā. If a girl were married at eight, which is still customary in parts of India, betrothal having taken place earlier, but if she were under twenty when she sought ordination, then she would not have been married for as many as twelve years, and this would seem to be her age as considered from the point of view of the legislation laid down in Bi-Pc.65Bi-Pc.67.

Certainly a passage in Bi-Pc.65, which describes the hardships young people were not able to endure, is used also in Monks’ Bi-Pc.65 to show why persons under twenty, not under twelve, should not be ordained. Again when the age for ordaining “maidens” is being considered (Bi-Pc.71), twenty years is given as the minimum. I bring forward this internal evidence in support of Waldschmidt’s view, which I think merits serious consideration. Against it may be set Buddhaghosa’s remarks at Vin-a.941 that, having given the “agreement as to ordination” to a married girl of ten, the upasampadā may be conferred when she has completed twelve years of age. This shows that Buddhaghosa at least was puzzled by the word gihigatā.

A main point concerning the ordination of a probationer, a married girl and a maiden is the illegality of conferring the upasampadā on her unless she has trained, under a nun, for two years in six rules: the first five sīlas and abstention from eating at the wrong time.

Three Pācittiyas govern the ordination of a married girl and three that of a maiden: neither must be ordained (1) if she has not attained the minimum age prescribed (2) even if she is old enough but has not trained for two years in the six rules; and (3) even if she is old enough and has done the required training, but has not been agreed upon by the Order (as a suitable person to be ordained). The second and third clauses of each of these two groups have parallels in Bi-Pc.63, Bi-Pc.64 which, although omitting any reference to age, prohibit the ordination of a probationer, first, if she has not trained for two years in the six rules, and secondly if, even although she has trained, she is not agreed upon by the Order. Beyond the clause in Bi-Pc.80 prohibiting ordination if she has not the consent of her parents or husband, only these two rules, as against the three each for the married woman and the maiden, concern themselves with a probationer’s eligibility for ordination.

A reason for omitting to lay down a maximum age at which a probationer would be entitled to receive the upasampadā, is that this might be conferred on her, as on a married woman, however old she might be, there being no limit at the top end of the scale. But at the lower end, neither a maiden nor, or so it would appear, a married girl might be ordained while still under twenty. Now a probationer must be either married or not married. A widow, not being specially catered for in the ordination regulations, was perhaps regarded as ranking as a married woman for legislation purposes. And any woman, whether married or single, when she entered on the training (which is of course different from entering the Order) became technically a probationer. The deduction may therefore be made that a probationer must not be ordained if she were less than twenty, this assumption being tacitly conveyed by the legislation on the minimum age at which married and unmarried girls might receive the ordination. It is the same as the minimum age at which a boy might be ordained. And at Vin.2.271 it is said that she on whom the upasampadā is being conferred, without however specifying more fully what is to be understood by “she,” must be asked if she has completed twenty years of age.

In all cases, whether a woman was specifically called a probationer, married woman or maiden, before she began the two years’ training in the six rules she had to BD.3.lii obtain the Order’s consent to enter upon this training (Bi-Pc.63, Bi-Pc.66, Bi-Pc.72), which was carried out under the guidance of some nun. This consent is called the “agreement as to training,” sikkhāsammuti. At the end of her training when the probationer, married woman or maiden wanted to be ordained, she had to obtain from the Order a further agreement sanctioning this step, called the “agreement as to ordination,” vuṭṭhānasammuti. If a woman was ordained before she had fully trained, there was an offence for the nun who ordained her. To guard against such a contingency, that part of the Order to which the ordaining nun belonged was made responsible for weighing the candidate’s claims; it was the Order, and not a group or one nun, whom the candidate must ask for the agreement as to ordination. But if this were refused, and she were not agreed upon by the Order, saṅghena asammatā, even though she were of the right age and had trained properly, and a nun were to ordain her, that nun incurred an offence of expiation.

Another interesting word is ūnadvādasavassā, appearing to mean “one who is under twelve.” She may not ordain (Bi-Pc.74). But I do not think that “being under twelve” refers to her actual age, any more than I think that the same condition refers to the married girl’s actual age. Since the minimum age for ordination has been laid down for married girls and for maidens, and since these together form a comprehensive class embracing every kind of probationer, for had widows been separately considered they would have been separately legislated for, to specify as twelve the minimum actual age at which a woman or girl, though described as neither probationer, married nor unmarried, might ordain, would betray such a gross inconsistency with those rules which speak of ordination age as being twenty as to reduce the legislation on these matters to an absurdity.

And I think that it was neither absurd nor careless enough to throw us back on the old argument of its composition being patchwork because it seems to entail BD.3.liii contradictory statements, an easy line to take when we are baffled, but unfair to the work of the early compilers. This I am convinced was more often subtle, delicate and reasonable than we sometimes give it credit for. Here, for example, before we condemn their work as invalid because of its seeming inconsistencies, it is necessary, in order to comprehend the gist and implications of Bi-Pc.74, to study it both in conjunction with those Pācittiyas which legislate for the age at which a candidate might be ordained, and which appear to concur in their view of this being twenty, and also in conjunction with the next Pācittiya, Bi-Pc.75.

Two words used here (Bi-Pc.75) provide a useful clue to support the conjecture that ūnadvādasavassā does not mean a girl under twelve years of age, but a nun who has not been ordained for as many as twelve years. These two words are bhikkhunī and vuṭṭhāpanasammuti. The first is used in connection with paripuṇṇadvādasavassā, and clearly means a nun who has completed twelve years (as an ordained nun). This apposition of bhikkhunī and paripuṇṇadvādasavassā is very revealing, the more so since we do not find probationer, married girl or maiden described by the term bhikkhunī.

The second clue word is vuṭṭhāpanasammuti. This is an agreement which a nun who has, technically speaking, completed twelve years has to ask for from the Order if she wishes to carry out a monastic function for which, in regard to her standing in the Order, she is eligible. She does not have to ask, as do the probationer, married girl and maiden, for the vuṭṭhānasammuti, the agreement as to ordination, that is to be ordained. She has to ask instead for the vuṭṭhāpanasammuti, the “agreement to ordain.” For vuṭṭhāpana, causative, with sammuti, means the agreement to cause ordination in others, to confer ordination on them, to ordain them before an Order of nuns. This Pācittiya shows this to be a privilege of a nun, but one which it is not legally valid to exercise if the nun who wishes to ordain has not herself completed twelve years as BD.3.liv an ordained nun. It is interesting to find at Vin.1.59 a ruling which makes it an offence of wrong-doing for a monk to ordain if he is of less than ten years’ standing, which means the lapse of less than ten years since his own ordination, combined with an “allowance” for a monk to ordain if he is of ten years’ standing or more. This difference of two years, ten since ordination for a monk, twelve for a nun, not only indicates the detailed care lavished upon the ordination regulations. It also suggests the greater length of time that nuns were, at the time of the compilation of the Vinaya, supposed to need in order to qualify themselves for the office of ordaining other nuns.

The next Pācittiya, Bi-Pc.76, suggests that the agreement to ordain must be asked for by a nun each time she wishes to ordain a probationer. Caṇḍakālī is recorded to ask for this agreement, but to be refused it. She is called, as in her case is usual, “the nun Caṇḍakālī,” although in Bi-Pc.79 she is, exceptionally, referred to as a probationer. One can only suppose this latter Pācittiya to refer to a time previous to that referred to by Bi-Pc.76 and the other passages where Caṇḍakālī is called a “nun.”

In addition, there is no clause connected with the ūnadvādasavassā corresponding to that for the probationer, married girl and maiden, stressing the need for her to have trained for two years in the six rules. This indicates that this, for the “one under twelve years,” will have been a thing of the past, carried out by her before her own ordination, and for which she will have had to obtain from the Order first the agreement to train and then the agreement to be ordained, vuṭṭhānasammuti.

It would thus appear that on the two occasions when the word ūnadvādasavassā is used in the Bhikkhunivibhaṅga, it does not refer to the woman’s actual age, but to the number of years she had followed a certain calling: either that of a married woman or that of an ordained nun. To prohibit a nun, on pain of a penalty, to ordain others unless she herself had attained to twelve years’ standing as a nun, is to give time to test her integrity, her sense of responsibility and her value to the Order. To prohibit the ordination of a married girl unless she had completed twelve years of married life is to preserve and not to destroy domestic life; it calls to mind the four stages in a brahmin’s career and the due regard paid there to his stage as a householder.

While a woman was still a probationer it would not appear compulsory for her to sever her ties with the world. Caṇḍakālī is recorded to have kept company with men and boys while she was a probationer. The disapprobation which was felt for her, although she herself was not censured, was transferred to the nun who ordained her, and it was made an offence for a nun to ordain a probationer who had behaved in this fashion (Bi-Pc.79). Nuns it would therefore seem had no power sufficient to shut off intending nuns from the world; and neither should they in respect of these disregard it entirely.

In spite of Pasenadi’s dictum[71] that once a woman had (so much as) gone forth, there was nothing (for those in the world) to do in regard to her, there was nevertheless the offence of ordaining a probationer if she had not the consent of her parents or husband. Since probationers could be ordained however old, so long as they were over twenty, this clause would appear to have young probationers in mind, and may perhaps be regarded as pointing to the practice of child-marriage.[72] In any case it provides one more instance of the care taken by the Order not lightly to ordain anyone still having duties to the world, which is also shown by the questions put to women, and to men too, at the time of their ordination in respect of their freedom from debt and their employment in a king’s service.[73]

BD.3.lvi Besides the two divisions comprising the twenty-three rules for ordination, there are other occasions where the nuns’ rules in treating of a similar kind of subject-matter are for the most part placed in proximity to one another.

There are, for example, the seven Nissaggiyas, Bi-NP.4Bi-NP.10, formulated to deter nuns from getting in exchange something which they fancied more than the commodity specified and earmarked by the donors as gifts now for an Order, now for a group, or now for one nun. Two rules, Bi-Pc.39 and Bi-Pc.40, legislate for almstouring during and after the rains; while two more concerned with the rains, Bi-Pc.56, Bi-Pc.57, cut into a small group of rules (Bi-Pc.56Bi-Pc.59) where, for the official carrying out of various transactions, such as the exhortation and the Pavāraṇā, nuns are shown to be dependent on monks. These four rules are the same as four of the eight garudhammā,[74] the chief, cardinal or important rules for nuns, so that the infringement of any of these four garudhammā is here shown to entail a penalty of expiation. A fifth “important rule” is repeated at Bi-Pc.52, which makes it an offence of expiation for a nun to abuse or revile a monk.

In assessing the significance of this rule, it must be remembered that monks incurred offences if they insulted or slandered other monks (Monks’ Bu-Pc.2, Bu-Pc.3), while for nuns there was a rule against cursing themselves or others, “others” being defined by the Old Commentary as “ordained” (Bi-Pc.19), and also a rule against abusing a group (Bi-Pc.53). Thus two rules against “abusing” stand together (Bi-Pc.52, Bi-Pc.53). Monks had also to be restrained from striking one another or using a threatening gesture (Monks’ Bu-Pc.74, Bu-Pc.75). Clearly violence of speech or gesture was not exclusively a feminine trait.

If Bi-Pc.52 is connected on the one hand with Bi-Pc.53 through the word “abuse,” it is connected no less on the other with Bi-Pc.51 through the word “monk.” BD.3.lvii This rule recounts nuns’ difficulties in entering a monastery not knowing whether monks were in it or gone out, their object apparently being to sweep the monastery and to put ready for the monks’ use water for washing and drinking. The offence here was in entering a monastery without having obtained permission to do so. It was not in rendering these services to monks, which apparently, unlike washing a monk’s robe for him (Monks’ Bu-NP.4) or standing close to him with drinking water and a fan while he was eating (Nuns’ Bi-Pc.6), remained permissible. It is noticeable in Bi-Pc.6 that the rule is not formulated on the lines of the complaints made by the modest nuns—that a nun struck a monk with a fan, but on the lines of the situation postulated—that she was standing near him with a fan and drinking water while he was eating. This was made into the offence.

Bi-Pc.94 and Bi-Pc.95 make a kind of pair. The former prohibits a nun from sitting down in front of a monk without having asked for permission, the latter from asking him a question without having asked for permission. “Question” is taken by the Old Commentary to mean a question on the Suttantas, Vinaya or Abhidhamma. The difficulty arising from this last term has been discussed above.[75]

Other rules for nuns which may be classified together are the four against standing and talking with a man (Bi-Pc.11Bi-Pc.14); the three against impolite behaviour when visiting at lay-people’s houses (Bi-Pc.15Bi-Pc.17); the one against bathing naked followed by the one prescribing the right measurement for bathing-cloths (Bi-Pc.21, Bi-Pc.22); the eight dealing with various points connected with robes (Bi-Pc.23Bi-Pc.30); the two about sharing a couch and a cover-and-cloak with another nun (Bi-Pc.31, Bi-Pc.32); the three covering ordinary decent behaviour towards other nuns (Bi-Pc.33Bi-Pc.35); the two against walking for alms in a dangerous district without a weapon BD.3.lviii (Bi-Pc.37, Bi-Pc.38); the four against indulging in various practices which were not censurable in laywomen: amusing oneself by visiting picture galleries, reposing in comfort, spinning yarn, doing domestic tasks[76] (Bi-Pc.41Bi-Pc.44); the two restraining greed over food (Bi-Pc.54, Bi-Pc.55); and another group of ten rules also against doing things, chiefly for comfort and adornment, like women in the world (Bi-Pc.84Bi-Pc.93).

In view of these groupings, it would seem as if little support from the Bhikkhunivibhaṅga itself were forthcoming for Miss Bhagvat’s statement that this treatise is patchwork, “a work done in a hurry, and signs of carelessness are obvious.”[77] To take only one point: the grouping of offences of a related character is as thorough, if not more so, than is the case in the Monks’ Vibhaṅga. I have attempted to show how thorough it is, although it is true that sometimes offences “which would naturally come together are found scattered in quite different parts of the same class.”[78] This, however, is comparatively rare. A fairly good example is supplied by the last Pācittiya, Bi-Pc.96, which is a rule against a nun’s going to a village without wearing a bodice, saṃkacchika, and which more naturally belongs to the group of rules on robes than to the isolated position which it occupies. Many of the rules which appear in isolation do so however because there are no others to which they are related in character.

The eight Pāṭidesaniyas form a complete group of related offences, being word for word the same as one another, except for the particular commodity which each names: ghee, oil, honey, molasses, fish, meat, milk, curds. If a nun who was not ill asked for any of these and ate them, there resulted an offence to be confessed by her. The offence did not He in having BD.3.lix these things or in eating them, but in asking for them so as to eat them. The same notion is apparent in Nuns’ Bi-Pc.7. “Asking for” would probably mean obtaining the articles of diet without waiting for them to be offered, and it was a greedy thing to do. There is no Pāṭidesaniya offence for Thullanandā in Bi-NP.4 where the lay follower, as recorded, offers her something and she chooses ghee; or for this same nun in Bi-NP.5 when she decides to have oil for the kahāpaṇa which a lay follower says he will deposit in a shop for her to get what she likes with it. For on neither of these occasions is she recorded to “ask for” anything, but merely to choose something in response to an offer freely made.

I.B. Horner

Manchester, 1942.

Footnotes and references:


All the incidents in Vin.1.35Vin.1.80 are imputed to a time when the lord was making a long stay in Rājagaha.


KS.3, Introduction, p.xff., KS.4, Introduction, p.xivf.


KS.3, Introduction, p.xi.


KS.4, Introduction, p.xv.


See Mrs. Rhys Davids, Manual of Buddhism, p.216f.


See below, BD.3.41, n.1.


History of Pali Literature, i.19.


Vin.1.64 = Vin.1.68, Vin.4.144, Vin.1.344. References in the admittedly later Parivāra—e.g., Vin.5.2, Vin.5.86—are not counted among the “ten times” that abhidhamma appears.


Vin.1, Introduction, p.xff.


Dhammapada (Sacred Books of the East X), 1st edition 1881, 2nd edition 1898, 1924, Introduction, p.xlff.


Mrs. Rhys Davids, in several recent books, and W. Geiger, Pali Dhamma, 1920.


Vin.1, Introduction, p.xii, n.2.


Vin.1, Introduction, p.xii, n.2.


Dialogues of the Buddha i.13; Further Dialogues i.362 (“low and beastly”).


Dialogues of the Buddha i.245; Vinaya Texts ii.20.


Dialogues of the Buddha iii.33; KS.v.355.


Early Buddhist Monachism, p.97.


AN.i.217ff.; SN.iv.252f.


Vinaya Texts i.54, n.3.




DN.ii.16; MN.i.136, MN.i.137.


Dialogues of the Buddha i.110, n.2.


Early Buddhist Monachism, p.97.


Psalms of the Bretheren 37f., 60f., 73, 220, 231f., 233f.


Cf. AN.1.136f., where Hatthaka of Āḷavī is addressed by the lord as kumāra; and AN.3.37 where the lord addresses girls newly joining their husbands’ families as kumāriyo.


Cf. definition of kumāra at Vin.4.334.


MN.130 and AN.i.138.


See GS.ii, Introduction, p.xi.


AN.v.16; SN.iii.61.




So translated, GS.iii.156, and see also GS.iii.274 n. See Mrs. Rhys Davids, “Vanished Sakyan Window,” Wayfarer’s Words, ii.622, for further references.


GS.ii, Introduction, p.xi; Cf. GS.iii.247, n.




There were three of this name, see KS.iv.77, n.2.




Translated in Ante-Nicene Christian Library, vol.iv; Clement of Alexandria, vol.i., Edinburgh, 1871.


The Disciple, Cambridge, 1941, p.33.


Women in Buddhist Literature, p.80ff., and History of Pali Literature, i.72ff., which corrects the omission of a “not” in the former, in item (10).


Sacred Books of the East XIII.


E. Waldschmidt, Bruchstücke des Bhikṣunī-Prātimokṣa der Sarvāstivādins, Kleinere Sanskrit-Texte, Heft iii, Leipzig, 1926.


Le Prātimokṣasūtra des Sarvāstivādins, Appendix, Journal Asiatique, 1913, p.548.


Vin-a.906, Vin-a.915, Vin-a.947, Vin-a.948. Failure to appreciate this important point invalidates most of Miss D.N. Bhagvat’s argument in her Early Buddhist Jurisprudence, p.164ff.


See BD.1, Introduction, p.xv for this Saṅghādisesa, possibly representing some specially ancient fragment of the Pātimokkha.


E. Waldschmidt, Bruchstucke des Bhikṣunī-pratimokṣa der Sarvāstivādins, p.91.


Bruchstucke des Bhikṣunī-pratimokṣa der Sarvāstivādins, p.91.


Vin.4.242; see below, BD.3.212.


Possibly in Ancient India, as in old Malabar, singing and music took on the character of miming and acting. If so, “seeing” would be as apt a term as “hearing.”


Pv.49; Pv-a.230.


Cf. BD.2, Introduction, p.xxv, for some other examples of the Old Commentary’s omissions, and above, BD.3.xx.


See Vin.2.279; if a woman has left the Order she is not a nun, and if she has joined other sects, and then comes back again and asks for the upasampadā to be conferred on her, she may not receive it. Cf. Vin.1.69, where a similar ruling is made in regard to men who were formerly members of other sects.


See Vin.4.122, Vin.4.343, and definitions of “monk” and “nun” in the Old Commentary—e.g., on the Pārājikas, and of “nun” constantly in Vin.3 and Vin.4 as “one ordained by both Orders.”


Bruchstücke des Bhikṣunī-Prātimokṣa der Sarvāstivādins, p.138.


Vin.4.226. Cf. Vin.1.75, where this same view (in regard to men who have gone forth) is put into Bimbisāra’s mouth.


Sec my Women under Primitive Buddhism, p.27ff.


Given at Vin.2.255, Vin.4.52 (see BD.2.268).


There are other occasions where nuns are rebuked for behaving like women still leading a household life.


Early Buddhist Jurisprudence, p.164.


Vinaya Texts i.Introduction xiv (referring to Monks’ Vibhaṅga).