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) 89

Bu-Pc.89.1.1 BD.3.94 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time a piece of cloth to sit upon[1] was allowed to monks by the lord.[2] The group of six monks, thinking: “A piece of cloth to sit upon is allowed by the lord,” used pieces of cloth to sit upon that were not of a (proper) measure[3]; they made (these) hang down in front of and at the back of a couch and a chair. Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can this group of six monks use pieces of cloth to sit upon that are not of a (proper) measure?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, use pieces of cloth to sit upon that are not of a (proper) measure?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, foolish men, use pieces of cloth to sit upon that are not of a (proper) measure? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

When a piece of cloth to sit upon is being made for a monk, it must be made to a (proper) measure. This is the (proper) measure here: in length two spans[4] according to the accepted span,[5] in breadth one and a half spans. In exceeding this (measure), there is an offence of expiation involving cutting down.”

BD.3.95 And thus this rule of training for monks came to be laid down by the lord. Vin.4.171


Bu-Pc.89.2.1 Now at that time the venerable Udāyin became very fat.[6] He, having made ready a piece of cloth to sit upon before the lord, pulling it out[7] all round, sat down. Then the lord spoke thus to the venerable Udāyin:

“Why do you, Udāyin, pull out the piece of cloth to sit upon, just as if it were an old skin?”[8]

“It is because, lord, the piece of cloth to sit upon allowed by the lord is very small.”

Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, a border[9] of a span for a piece of cloth to sit upon. And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

“When a piece of cloth to sit upon is being made for a monk, it must be made to a (proper) measure. This is the (proper) measure here: in length two spans according to the accepted span, in breadth one and a half spans, the border a span. In exceeding this (measure), there is an offence of expiation involving cutting down.”


Bu-Pc.89.3.1 A piece of cloth to sit upon means: it is so-called if it has a border.[10]

Is being made means: making or causing to be made.

BD.3.96 It must be made to a (proper) measure. This is the (proper) measure here : in length … the border a span means: if he makes it or causes it to be made having exceeded this (measure), in the business there is an offence of wrong-doing; having cut it down on acquisition, an offence of expiation is to be confessed.[11]

If what was incompletely executed by himself he has finished by himself[12] … If he makes others finish what was incompletely executed by others, there is an offence of expiation. If he makes it or causes it to be made for another, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If having acquired what was made for another, he makes use of it, there is an offence of wrong-doing.


Bu-Pc.89.3.2 There is no offence if he makes it to the (proper) measure; if he makes it less than the (proper) measure; if having acquired what was made for another (but) exceeding the (proper) measure, having cut it down, he makes use of it;[13] if he makes a canopy or a ground-covering or a screen-wall or a mattress or a squatting-mat[14]; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Seventh

Footnotes and references:

1.

nisīdana. See BD.2.87, n.2.

2.

At Vin.1.295, referred to by Vin-a.884. Cf. Bu-NP.15. At Vin.1.297 nisīdana are allowed to be kept for oneself and not assigned to another.

3.

appamāṇa. They were evidently too big, and the right measure is laid down in the resulting sikkhāpada.

4.

vidatthi.

5.

sugata-vidatthi. Cf. Bu-NP.15, and BD.1.253.

6.

mahākāya, literally a “great body.”

7.

samañcamāno. Pali-English Dictionary gives “to bend together.”

8.

purāṇāsikoṭṭha. Pali-English Dictionary gives “sheath” for asi-koṭṭha, and would therefore presumably read this passage, “Why do you bend together this piece of cloth, like an old sheath?” I take the commentarial explanation by cammakāra to refer to leather-worker; Vin-a.884 says that “as the-leather-worker says, ‘I will make this hide wide,’ and pulls it out (samañchati, with variant reading samañchatichaviṃ, a skin), tugs it out (kaḍḍhati) from here and there, so he (does) to that piece of cloth to sit upon.” The meaning is confused because asi-camma means “sword and shield” (Vin.2.192; AN.iii.93), and kaḍḍhati with khagga means “to draw the sword,” as at Ja.1.273.

9.

dasā, border or fringe.

11.

= above, BD.3.91.

13.

= above, BD.3.91.

14.

Cf. Vin.3.225, Vin.3.227, Vin.3.229, Vin.3.233; Vin.4.171, and Vin.4.279, which = this paragraph.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: