Vinaya Pitaka (2): The Analysis of Nun’ Rules (Bhikkhuni-vibhanga)

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 66,469 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Bhikkhuni-vibhanga: the second 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 acollection of rules for Buddhist nuns. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (second part, bhikkhuni-vibhanga) contain...

Nuns’ Forfeiture (Nissaggiya) 6

Bi-NP.6.1.1 BD.3.228 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time lay-followers, having made a voluntary collection[1] for robe-material[2] for an Order of nuns, having laid aside what was necessary[3] in a certain cloak-seller’s[4] house, having approached the nuns, spoke thus: “Ladies, in such and such a cloak-seller’s house what is necessary for robe-material is laid aside. Having had that robe-material brought from there, distribute it.”

The nuns, having got medicine in exchange for what was necessary, made use of it. The lay-followers, having found out … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns get something[5] in exchange for what was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined BD.3.229 for another thing,[6] belonging to an Order?” Nuns heard these lay-followers who … spread it about. Those who were modest nuns Vin.4.251 … spread it about, saying:

“How can these nuns get something in exchange … belonging to an Order?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns got something in exchange … belonging to an Order?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can nuns get something in exchange … belonging to an Order? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should get something in exchange for that which was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing, (and) belonging to an Order, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Bi-NP.6.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

For what was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing means: for what was given for another thing.

Belonging to an Order[7] means: it is for an Order, not for a group, not for one nun.

Should get something in exchange means: having set aside that for which it was given, if she gets another thing in exchange, there is an offence of wrong-doing in the action; it is to be forfeited on acquisition. It should be forfeited to an Order or to a group or to one nun. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Ladies, this thing got in exchange for that which was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing, (and) belonging to an Order, BD.3.230 is to be forfeited by me. I forfeit it to the Order.’“… the Order should give back, … let the ladies give back … I will give back (this thing) to the lady.”


Bi-NP.6.2.2 If she thinks that it was appointed for another thing when it was appointed for another thing, and gets something else in exchange, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If she is in doubt … If she thinks that it was not appointed for another thing … there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. Having acquired what was forfeited, it may be taken as, so to speak, a gift.[8] If she thinks that it was appointed for another thing when it was not appointed for another thing, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether it was not appointed for another thing, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that it was not appointed for another thing when it was not appointed for another thing, there is no offence.


Bi-NP.6.2.3 There is no offence if she takes[9] a remainder; if she takes having obtained the owner’s permission[10]; if there are’ accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

chandakaṃ saṃharitvā. This is Pali-English Dictionary’s suggestion.Vin-a.918 says, “saying, ‘Let us do a dhamma-duty, give what you are able,’ thus having produced desire and pleasure in others, it is a synonym for a requisite that is taken up” (gahitaparikkhāra).

2.

cīvararatthāya, instrumental; it therefore looks as if they did not collect robe-material itself, but some medium of exchange with which the nuns could obtain the material.

3.

parikkhāra, the usual technical term for the four, or eight, requisites allowed to a monk. But in view of the construction cīvaratthāya, it is likely that parikkhāra here stands not for a “requisite” itself, but for the means, perhaps some deposit of a medium of exchange, for obtaining it. This hypothesis is strengthened by Bu-NP.8, where a voluntary collection for conjey, yāgu, was to be made. Conjey is not a specific “requisite” at all, at Vin.4.93 e.g., being mentioned separately and in addition to solid food and soft food. There is in English the vulgarism “the needful,” which I think parikkhāra in this and the following Nissaggiyas most nearly means.

4.

pāvārika. Pali-English Dictionary suggests above translation. Pāvāra as cloak or mantle occurs at Vin.1.281, Ja.5.409.

5.

aññaṃ.

6.

aññadatthikena parikkhārena aññuddisikena, literally for the good of another, for the advantage of another, Cf. attuddesaṃ at Vin.3.149.

7.

Another definition occurs at Vin.3.266 and Vin.4.43.

8.

yathādāne upanetabbaṃ.

9.

upaneti.

10.

I.e., saying it was given for the sake of robe-material, but they have this and need oil, Vin-a.918.