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) 84

Bu-Pc.84.1.1 BD.3.77 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time a certain monk was bathing in the river Aciravatī. And a certain brahmin, having put down a purse of five hundred (pieces) on the dry ground, having forgotten it while bathing in the river Aciravatī, went away. Then that monk, thinking, “Do not let this purse of that brahmin be lost,” took hold of it. Then that brahmin, having remembered, having run back quickly, spoke thus to that monk: “Good sir, did you not see my purse?” Saying, “Here (it is), brahmin,” he gave it back (to him).

Then it occurred to that brahmin: “Now by what device can I not give[1] an ample reward[2] to this monk?” Saying, “Good sir, I did not have five hundred (pieces), I had a thousand (pieces),” having obstructed him, he set him free.[3] Then that monk, having gone to the monastery, told this matter to the monks. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying:

“How can this monk pick up treasure?”[4]

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monk, picked up treasure?”

“It is true, lord,” he said.

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

“How can you, foolish man, pick up treasure? It is not, foolish man, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“Whatever monk should pick up or should cause (another) to pick up treasure or what is considered as[5] treasure, there is an offence of expiation.”[6]

BD.3.78 And thus this rule of training for monks came to be laid down by the lord.


Bu-Pc.84.2.1 Now at that time there came to be a festival in Sāvatthī. People, having adorned themselves with ornaments,[7] went to the pleasure ground. Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, thinking: “Having adorned myself with ornaments, I will go to the pleasure ground,” Vin.4.162 having departed from the village, thinking: “Having gone to the pleasure ground, what shall I do? What now if I should pay homage[8] to the lord?” having taken off the jewelry, having tied it up into a bundle with an upper robe,[9] she gave it to a slave-woman, saying: “Come along, take this bundle.” Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, approached the lord; having approached, having greeted the lord, she sat down at a respectful distance. As she was sitting down at a respectful distance, the lord gladdened … delighted Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, with talk on dhamma. Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, gladdened … delighted by the lord with talk on dhamma, rising up from her seat, having greeted the lord, departed keeping her right side towards him. Then the slave-woman, having forgotten that bundle, went away. A monk, having seen it, told this matter to the lord. He said:

“Well then, monk, having picked it up, lay it aside.” Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying: “I allow you, monks, having picked up or having caused (someone) to pick up treasure or what is considered as treasure that is within a monastery, to lay it aside, thinking, ‘It will be for him who will take it.’[10] And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“Whatever monk should pick up or should cause (someone) to pick up treasure or what is considered as BD.3.79 treasure, except within a monastery, there is an offence of expiation.”

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


Bu-Pc.84.3.1 Now at that time in the Kāsi country there came to be a village in which there was business[11] for the householder, Anāthapiṇḍika, so that an inmate[12] came to be enjoined by the householder, saying: “If the revered sirs come, you should make a meal (for them).” Now at that time several monks, walking on alms-tour in the Kāsi country, came up to the village in which there was business for the householder, Anāthapiṇḍika. That man saw these monks coming from afar, and seeing them, he approached these monks; having approached, having greeted these monks, he spoke thus:

“Honoured sirs, let the masters consent to the householder’s meal for tomorrow.” The monks consented by becoming silent. Then that man, at the end of that night, having had sumptuous solid foods and soft foods prepared, having had the time announced, having taken off a finger-ring,[13] having served these monies with the meal, said: “Having eaten, let the masters go away, and I will go back to business,” and having forgotten the finger-ring, he went away. The monks, Vin.4.163 having seen it, saying: “If we go away, this finger-ring will be lost,” sat still just there. Then that man, returning from business, having seen these monks, spoke thus :

“Honoured sirs, why are the masters sitting still just there?” Then these monks, having told this matter to that man, having arrived at Sāvatthī, told this matter to the monks. The monks told this matter to the lord. Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

BD.3.80 “I allow you, monks, having picked up or having caused (someone) to pick up treasure or what is considered as treasure, that is within a monastery or within a house, to lay it aside, thinking, ‘It will be for him who will take it.’ And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should pick up or should cause (someone) to pick up treasure or what is considered as treasure, except within a monastery or within a house, there is an offence of expiation. But if a monk, having picked up or caused (someone) to pick up treasure or what is considered as treasure, that is within a monastery or within a house, it should be laid aside, thinking, ‘It will be for him who will take it.’ This is the proper course here.”


Bu-Pc.84.4.1 Whatever means: … monk is to be understood in this case.

Treasure means: pearl, crystal, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, quartz, coral, gold, silver, ruby, cat’s-eye.[14]

What is considered as treasure means: that which is of profit, of use[15] to people, this is called what is considered as treasure.

Except within a monastery or within a house means: setting aside within a monastery, within a house. Within a monastery means: inside a monastery when the monastery is fenced in; the precincts when it is not fenced in.[16] Within a house means: inside the house when a house is fenced in; the precincts when it is not fenced in.

Should pick up means: if he himself picks it up, there is an offence of expiation.

Should cause (someone) to pick up means: if he makes another pick it up, there is an offence of expiation.

But if a monk, having picked up or having caused BD.3.81 (someone) to pick up treasure … it should be laid aside means: having made a mark[17] by a form[18] or by a sign,[19] having laid it aside, it should be pointed out,[20] saying: ‘Let him come whose goods are lost.’ If he comes there, it should be said to him, ‘Sir, what are your goods like?’ If he succeeds in obtaining[21] them by the form or by the sign, they should be given (to him). If he does not succeed in obtaining them, it should be said (to him), ‘Examine them, sir.’ In setting out from that residence he may set out, having deposited them in the hand(s) of those who there are suitable monks. But if the monks are not suitable, he may set out,[22] having deposited them in the hands of those who there are suitable householders. Vin.4.164

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


Bu-Pc.84.4.2 There is no offence if, having picked up or having caused (someone) to pick up treasure or what is considered as treasure that is within a monastery or within a house, he lays it aside thinking: ‘It will be for him who will take it’; if he takes on trust what is considered as a jewel; if he takes it for the time being; if he thinks it is rag-robes; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Second

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. Vin.4.112.

2.

puṇṇapatta, literally a full bowl; cf. Ja.3.535.

3.

Cf. Vin.4.131.

4.

ratana.

5.

ratanasammata. Sammata is the word used for “agreed upon” by the monks.

6.

The monk seems to have been hoodwinked by the brahmin into believing that he took some of the contents of the purse. He only took up the purse temporarily and with no intention of stealing it, and it is not said that he looked at the contents; none of these aspects is considered here.

7.

Cf. Vin.4.18.

9.

Cf. Vin.3.208.

11.

kammantagāma.

12.

antevāsin. Vin-a.881 says paricārako, an attendant, servant.

13.

Cf. Vin.2.106.

14.

Same list occurs at Vin.2.238. Cf. also list of jewels at Mil.267, and for notes see Buddhist Suttas, Sacred Books of the East XI, 2nd edition, p.249; also on veḷuriya, perhaps cat’s-eye or beryl, see Vinaya Texts ii.82, n.1.

15.

upabhogaparibhoga.

16.

= below, BD.3.118

17.

saññāṇaṃ katvā, or perhaps “having made it recognisable”; cf. cīvaraṃ saṃjānitvā, at Vin.4.120.

18.

rūpena. Vin-a.882 says: “Having freed the goods, having computed them, thinking, ‘There are so many kahāpaṇas or there is gold and silver,’ he should examine them.” Cf. rūpaṃ sikkhati at Vin.1.77, Vin.4.129, perhaps some form of money-changing.

19.

nimitta. Vin-a.882, in explaining this, uses the word lañchana, stamp, impress, seal; the goods are stamped or sealed with clay or with lac.

20.

I.e., to the owner if he comes, but if he (the monk) does not see the owner, he should do what is suitable; so Vin-a.882.

21.

sampādeti. Word occurs at Vin.1.217, Vin.2.214.

22.

The idea seems to be that he should set out in search of the owner, having left the goods with some reliable persons.

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