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’ Training (Sekhiya) 69

Bu-Sk.69.1.1 … in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six monks, having sat down on a low seat, taught dhamma to (someone) sitting on a high seat.[1] Those who were modest monks … spread it BD.3.147 about, saying: “How can this group of six monks … teach dhamma to (someone) sitting on a high seat?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, … taught dhamma to (someone) sitting on a high seat?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

How can you, foolish men, … teach dhamma to (someone) sitting on a high seat? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased …” And having rebuked them, having given reasoned talk, he addressed the monks, saying:


“Formerly, monks, in Benares, the wife of a certain low class man[2] came to be pregnant. Then, monks, this low class woman spoke thus to this low class man: ‘Sir,[3] I am pregnant; I want to eat a mango.’

‘There are no mangoes, it is not the mango season,’ he said.

Now at that time the king had a mango tree with a perpetual crop of fruit. Then, monks, that low class man approached that mango tree; having approached, having climbed up that mango tree, he remained hidden. Then, monks, the king together with the brahmin priest, approached that mango tree; having approached, having sat down on a high seat, he learnt a mantra. Vin.4.204 Then, monks, it occurred to that low class man:

‘How unrighteous[4] is this king, inasmuch as he learns a mantra, having sat down on a high seat. This brahmin also is unrighteous, inasmuch as he, having sat down on a low seat, teaches a mantra to (someone) sitting on a high seat. I too am unrighteous, I who for the sake of a woman, steal the king’s mangoes. But all this is quite gone,’[5] (and) he fell down just there.

BD.3.148 Neither knows the goal,[6]
neither sees dhamma,[7]
Neither he who teaches the mantra,
nor he who learns according to what is not the rule.[8]

My food[9] is pure conjey
of rice flavoured with meat,[10]
I do not therefore fare on dhamma,[11]
dhamma praised by the noble.

Brahmin,[12] shame on that gain of wealth,
(that) gain of fame;
That conduct (leads) to falling away[13]
or to walking by what is not the rule.[14]

Go forth,[15] great brahmin,
for other creatures boil,[16]
Do not you, following what is not the rule,
from that break like a pot.[17]


At that time,[18] monks,[19] to teach[20] a mantra, having sat down on a low seat, to (someone) sitting on a high BD.3.149 seat, was not liked by me. So, however could it now be not not[21] liked to teach[22] dhamma, having sat down on a low seat, to (someone) sitting on a high seat? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

‘I will not teach dhamma, having sat down on a low seat, to (someone) sitting on a high seat (and) who is not ill,’ is a training to be observed.”

Dhamma should not be taught, having sat down on a low seat, to (someone) sitting on a high seat (and) who is not ill. Whoever out of disrespect, having sat down on a low seat, teaches dhamma to someone sitting on a high seat (and) who is not ill, there is an offence of wrong-doing.

There is no offence if it is unintentional … if he is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Ja.no.309 (= Ja.3.27.) is based on this story, and should be compared with it, especially for variant readings.

2.

chapaka. Vin-a.896 explains by caṇḍāla, which is the word used in the Jātaka.

3.

ayyaputta. At Vin.3.17, the monk Sudinna’s former wife addresses him as ayyaputta.

4.

adhammika.

5.

parigata. Reading seems confused. Vinaya Texts iv.364 gives variant reading camarikatan ti (°ṇatan ti B); Vin-a.896, variant reading carimakatan ti; Ja.3.28 carimavataṃ, with variant readings carivamataṃ, carimaṃ kataṃ. “Done long ago”—i.e., carimaṃ kataṃ, makes sense for the Jātaka version.

6.

attha. Vin-a.896 says, “These two people do not know the meaning (attha) of the text (pāli).”

7.

Vin-a.896 says, “they do not see the text”; Ja.3.29, “the two people do not see that the rule of old (porāṇakadhamma) is worthy of respect,” and adds:

“First the rule came to appear,
afterwards what is not the rule arose, in the world.”

Or dhamma may here be in its wider sense, to balance “goal,” and not in its more specialised Vinaya sense of “rule.”

8.

adhammena. The “rule “against which these two, had they been monks, would be transgressing, is the one laid down in this Sekhiya.

9.

bhutta. According to Ja.3.29 and Vin-a.896 the brahmin says this verse.

10.

For this line, cf. also Ja.3.144, Ja.4.371.

11.

Or “the rule.”

12.

This verse, also found at Ja.2.422, Ja.3.32, is here, according to Vin-a.896, spoken by the low-class man.

13.

vinipāta, often combined with apāya and duggati, sometimes plus niraya, as one of the ways of woeful rebirth—e.g., Vin.1.227; DN.i.82, DN.i.162; MN.i.73, AN.i.29, AN.i.48.

14.

adhammacaraṇena; or unrighteousness, what is not dhamma.

15.

I.e., into homelessness.

16.

pacanti, cook or boil, here in one of the hells.

17.

asmā kumbhaṃ iva bhida.

18.

According to Ja.3.30, the bodhisattva was the low-class man.

19.

Cf. Vin.4.6.

20.

vāceti.

21.

na amanāpa; at Vin.4.6, manāpa, liked.

22.

deseti.