Vinaya Pitaka (1): The Analysis of Monks’ Rules (Bhikkhu-vibhanga)

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 345,334 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Bhikkhu-vibhanga: the first part of the Suttavibhanga, which itself is the first book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of rules for Buddhist monks. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (first part, bhikkhu-vibhanga) contains many...

Monks’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 71

Bu-Pc.71.1.1 BD.3.36 … at Kosambī in Ghosita’s monastery. Now at that time the venerable Channa indulged in bad habits.[1] Monks spoke thus: “Reverend Channa, do not do that, it is not allowable.” He spoke thus:

“Your reverences, I will not train myself in this rule of training until I have inquired about it of another monk, experienced, expert in discipline.”[2]

Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can the venerable Channa, being spoken to by monks regarding a rule,[3] speak thus: ‘Your reverences, I will not train myself … expert in discipline’?”

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Channa, being spoken to by monks regarding a rule, spoke thus: ‘Your reverences, I will not train myself … expert in discipline’?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish man, being spoken to by monks regarding a rule, speak thus: ‘Your reverences, I will not train myself … expert in discipline’? It is not, foolish man, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

BD.3.37Whatever monk, being spoken to by monks regarding a rule, should speak thus: ‘Your reverences, I will not train myself in this rule of training until I have inquired about it of another monk, experienced, expert in discipline,’ there is an offence of expiation. Monks,[4] it should be learnt,[5] it should be inquired into, it should be investigated[6] by a monk who is training.[7] This is the proper course here.


Bu-Pc.71.2.1 Whatever means: … monk is to be understood in this case.

By monks means: by other monks.

Regarding a rule means: whatever is a rule of training laid down by the lord, this is called regarding a rule.[8]

Being spoken to … should speak[9] thus[10]: ‘Your reverences, I will not train myself until I have inquired[11] … expert in discipline’ means: if he says, “I am inquiring about it of a wise, experienced, clever, learned speaker on the rules,”[12] there is an offence of expiation.


Bu-Pc.71.2.2 If he thinks that he is ordained when he is ordained (and) speaks thus, there is an offence of expiation. BD.3.38 If he is in doubt as to whether he is ordained … If he thinks that he is not ordained when he is ordained Vin.4.142 (and) speaks thus, there is an offence of expiation. If, being spoken to about what is not laid down, he speaks thus, “This does not conduce to expunging (evil), nor to punctiliousness, nor to graciousness, nor to decreasing (the obstructions), nor to putting forth energy,”[13] (and) says: “Your reverences, I will not train myself in this rule of training until I have inquired about it of another monk, experienced, expert in discipline, one who is a wise, experienced, clever, learned speaker on the rules,”[14] there is an offence of wrong-doing. If being spoken to by one who is not ordained about what is laid down or about what is not laid down, he speaks thus: “This does not conduce to expunging (evil) … nor to putting forth energy,” (and) says, “Your reverences, I will not train myself in this rule of training until I have inquired about it of another monk, experienced, expert in discipline, one who is a wise, experienced, clever, learned speaker on the rules,” there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that he is ordained when he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that he is not ordained when he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing.[15]

Is training means: is desiring to train.

It should be learnt means: it should be known.[16]

BD.3.39 It should be inquired into means: he says, “This, honoured sir, what is the meaning[17] of this?”[18]

It should be investigated means: it should be thought about, it should be examined.[19]

This is the proper course here means: this is the appropriate course here.


Bu-Pc.71.2.3 There is no offence if he says, “I will know (about it and) I will train”; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The First

Footnotes and references:

1.

= Vin.3.177 = Vin.4.113. At Vin.2.9ff. = Vin.3.179ff. the act of banishment was to be carried out against monks who indulged in the long list of bad habits specified there. In view of this penalty it must be presumed that such bad habits were “not allowable.”

2.

vinayadhara. At AN.i.25 Upāli is said to be chief of those monks who are vinayadhara, proficient, skilled in discipline, who know it by heart; see BD.1.60, n.4. To be a vinayadhara is one of the ten qualities which make a monk altogether charming and complete in every attribute, AN.v.10ff., while the qualities for making one a vinayadhara are given at AN.iv.140ff.

3.

sahadhammikaṃ; cf. BD.1.310, where translation should have been as above.

4.

bhikkhave. Cf. Nissaggiya pācittiya 10, where this form of address also occurs in the sikkhāpada, rule.

5.

aññātabbaṃ, or should come to be known. Cf. aññātāvindriya. See my Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected, p.162ff.

6.

paripañhitabbaṃ. See Old Commentary’s definition below. Vin-a.871 substitutes upaparikkhitabbaṃ. Vinaya Texts i.50 has “settle in his own mind.” Cf. AN.v.16 for inquire+investigate.

7.

This is the present participle medium, as also at DN.ii.241. More frequently occurring as a feminine noun, sikkhāmanā, meaning a probationer, a woman undergoing a two years’ training; see below, Vin.4.319f., Vin.4.332ff.

9.

Text and Siamese edition, vadeti; Sinhalese edition, vadeyya.

10.

Sinhalese edition adds ti, “means”.

11.

Omitted by Oldenberg and Siamese edition, but present in Sinhalese edition

12.

dhammakathika. Here dhamma most probably in its Vinaya meaning of a “rule” or rules. There would be no point if, wanting to find out about the vinaya, the discipline, he were to ask someone who was an expert in dhamma in its Suttanta meaning of doctrine.

13.

Standing dhamma-talk. See BD.1.37, n.6 for references.

14.

Following the Sinhalese and Siamese editions, I omit Oldenberg’s text’s ti after byattiṃ vinayadharaṃ, “experienced, proficient in discipline.” The verb paripucchāmi, inquire, occurs once only in this sentence, at the end, thus governing the whole of it. As we have seen above in Bu-Pc.71.2.1 the second clause, “a wise, experienced …” is given as the definition of the first, “experienced, proficient in discipline,” and hence should not be treated as a separate sentence spoken by the offending monk.

15.

No variant reading given. Probably should read anāpatti, no offence, although the next seven Pācittiyas in parallel passages read anupasampanne anupasampannasaññī, āpatti dukkaṭassa, as above.

16.

jānitabbaṃ.

17.

attha, or “use.”

18.

Text inserts , or, after imassa, of this, but Sinhalese and Siamese editions omit.

19.

tulayitabbaṃ, literally “should be weighed.”

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