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) 79

Bu-Pc.79.1.1 BD.3.58 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six monks, having indulged in bad habits, protested when a (formal) act[1] was being carried out[2] against each one. Now at that time the Order came to be convened on some business or other. The group of six monks, making robes, gave (their) consent[3] to one. Then the Order, saying:

“Your reverences, this monk of the sixfold group is come alone; come, let us carry out a (formal) act against him,” carried out a (formal) act against him. Then that monk approached the group of six monks. The group of six monks spoke thus to that monk: “What did the Order do, your reverence?”

“The Order carried out a (formal) act against me, your reverences.”

“Your reverence, we did not give the consent for this, that it would carry out a (formal) act against you. If we had known that it would carry out a (formal) act against you, we should not have given the consent.”

Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can the group of six monks, having given BD.3.59 (their) consent for legitimate (formal) acts,[4] afterwards engage in criticism?”[5]

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, Vin.4.152 having given (your) consent for legitimate (formal) acts, afterwards engage in criticism?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish men, having given (your) consent … afterwards engage in criticism? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, having given (his) consent for legitimate (formal) acts, should afterwards engage in criticism, there is an offence of expiation.”[6]


Bu-Pc.79.2.1 Whatever means: … monk is to be understood in this case.

Legitimate (formal) act means: a (formal) act for which leave ought to be asked,[7] a (formal) act at which a motion is put,[8] a (formal) act at which a motion is put and followed by one proclamation,[9] a (formal) act BD.3.60 at which a motion is put and is followed by three proclamations[10]; carried out according to rule, according to discipline, according to the teacher’s instruction,[11] this is called a legitimate (formal) act.

Having given (his) consent, if he criticises,[12] there is an offence of expiation.[13]


Bu-Pc.79.2.2 If he thinks that it is a legally valid act[14] when it is a legally valid act (and), having given (his) consent, criticises, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is a legally valid act … offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act … no offence. If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not a legally valid act, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act, there is no offence.


Bu-Pc.79.2.3 There is no offence if he criticises, knowing, “The (formal) act was carried out according to what is not the rule or by an incomplete assembly or against one not suitable for a (formal) act”[15]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Ninth

Footnotes and references:

1.

kamma. Cf. Vin.1.49, Vin.1.143, Vin.1.316f., etc.; Vin.2.93, and Bu-Pc.63.

2.

Cf. Vin.1.115, where leave is given to protest if an act that is not legally valid is being performed; also Vin.2.93, and Vinaya Texts iii.46.

3.

chandaṃ adaṃsu. Cf. below, BD.3.61. Chanda here, as in other parts of Vinaya, used in a technical sense. It is the declaration of consent of an absentee member; he sends his consent by proxy. The rules of chanda are given at Vin.1.121, Vin.1.122; every member of an āvāsa had to attend the performance of (official) acts either in person or by proxy. See also Vin.2.93; Vinaya Texts i.277, n.1, and S. Dutt, Early Buddhist Monachism, p.126, p.146.

4.

dhammika kamma. Explained in Old Commentary below. Cf. dhammakamma at e.g. Vin.3.174, Vin.3.177, Vin.3.179.

5.

khīyadhammam āpajjati, literally attained the point of humiliation, devaluation. Cf. same expression at Bu-Pc.81, Bi-Pc.76; AN.iii.269, AN.iv.374. At Bu-Pc.13 it is an offence if a monk criticises, khīyati, and this offence is called khīyanaka, see Vin.4.38. In Bu-Pc.79 khīyadhammaṃ āpajjati may have a quite technical meaning of “falling into the rule against criticism”—dhamma in Vinaya often meaning a rule, āpajjati being the word used for falling into an offence, and khīya being devaluation, falling away from, deterioration, and hence criticism. But I think that it means “incline to criticism” or engage in it, for in Vinaya an offence does not usually arise from committing another offence: offences lead to penalties, not to other offences.

6.

Referred to at Vin.2.94ff.

7.

apalokana-kamma. See commentarial exegesis on Vin.2.89 at Vinaya Texts iii.37.

8.

ñattikamma. On this and the next two terms see Vinaya Texts i.169, n.2.

9.

= ñattidutiyakamma. Cases where this is carried out not according to the rule given at Vin.1.317.

10.

ñatticatutthakamma. See Vin.1.317. At Vin.2.89 these four acts comprise legal questions arising out of obligations, kiccādhikaraṇa. Cf. MN-a.4.43. See also Vin.2.90, Vin.2.91ff., Vin.5.116, Vin.5.167, Vin.5.220. Vin-a.879 refers to these as four saṅghakammas, (formal) acts of the Order.

11.

At Vin.4.126 these last three phrases occur as definition of yathādhammaṃ, according to the rule. See DN.ii.124ff.; AN.ii.168.

12.

khīyali. Cf. Vin.2.94, Vin.4.38.

13.

Vin-a.879, “for each sentence.”

14.

dhammakamma.

15.

Cf. Vin.4.37, Vin.4.126, and below, BD.3.63.