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) 92

Bu-Pc.92.1.1 BD.3.100 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the venerable Nanda,[1] the son of the lord’s aunt, was beautiful, good to look upon, charming, four finger-breadths less (in height[2]) than the lord. He wore a robe the measure of a well-farer’s robe.[3] Monks who were elders saw the venerable Nanda coming from afar; seeing him, saying: “The lord is coming,” they rose from their seats. These, recognising him when he had come, looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying:

“How can the venerable Nanda wear a robe the measure of a well-farer’s robe?” They told this matter to the lord. Then the lord questioned the venerable Nanda, saying:

“Is it true, as is said, that you, Nanda, wore a robe the measure of a well-farer’s robe?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How can you, Nanda, wear a robe the measure of a well-farer’s robe? It is not, Nanda, for pleasing BD.3.101 those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should have a robe made the measure of a well-farer’s robe, or more, there is an offence of expiation involving cutting down. This is the (proper) measure here of a well-farer’s robe for a well-farer: in length nine spans of the accepted span, in breadth six spans; this is the (proper) measure of a well-farer’s robe for a well-farer.”


Bu-Pc.92.2.1 Whatever means: … monk is to be understood in this case.

Well-farer’s robe means: in length it is nine spans of the accepted span, in breadth six spans.

Should have made means: if he makes it or causes it to be made, in the business … see Bu-Pc.89 … If, having acquired what was made for another, he makes use of it, there is an offence of wrong-doing.


Bu-Pc.92.2.2 There is no offence if he makes it less; if having acquired what was made for another, Vin.4.174 having cut it clown, he makes use of it; if he makes a canopy … or a squatting-mat; if he is mad, if he is the first wrongdoer.[4]

The Tenth rule of training: that on Nanda

The Ninth Division: that on treasure[5]

Concluded is the Minor (Class)[6]

This is its key:

And of a king, treasure, if he be there,
a needle, and a couch, on cotton,
And a piece of cloth to sit upon,
and the itch, for the rains, and on a well-farer.

BD.3.102 Venerable ones, recited are the ninety-two rules for offences of expiation. Concerning them, I ask the venerable ones: I hope that you are quite pure in this matter? And a second time I ask: I hope that you are quite pure in this matter? And a third time I ask: I hope that you are quite pure in this matter? The venerable ones are quite pure in this matter, therefore they are silent, thus do I understand this. Vin.4.175

Footnotes and references:

1.

Chief of the disciples who guard the doors of the faculties, AN.i.25. At SN.ii.281 he put on robes that had been dressed (or pressed) on both sides, anointed his eyes, and taking a bright bowl, went up to Gotama. According to the Commentary he did this so as to evoke some comment from his cousin—either approval or censure. Dictionary of Pali Proper Names ii.11, n.6 suggests that perhaps above Vinaya story is another version of the Saṃyutta story. See also KS.ii.191, n.1.

2.

caturaṅgulomaka. Vin-a.885 says catuhi aṅgulehi ūnakappamāṇo, less as to measure (height) than four finger-breadths.

3.

sugata-cīvara-ppamāṇa. Here sugata cannot mean, as it does in sugata-vidatthi, prescribed, accepted or standard span, or there would have been no offence in wearing such a robe. See Vinaya Texts i.54, n.3 for view that Gotama’s robe was not specially large. But here Nanda is mistaken for Gotama, but perhaps only because he was nearly the same height. Buddhaghosa is silent. See BD.3, Introduction, p.xviii.

4.

Cf. BD.3.96 above.

5.

Like the seventh Division, the title here is taken not from the first but from the second rule in the Division.

6.

khuddakaṃ samattaṃ, a minor or lesser class of rules; cf. khuddakaṃ niṭṭhitaṃ at end of Nuns’ Pācittiyas.

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