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) 8

Bi-NP.8.1.1 BD.3.233 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns dwelling in cells[1] belonging to a certain guild were going short of conjey. Then that guild, having made a voluntary collection for conjey for the nuns, having laid aside what was necessary in a certain shop-keeper’s house, having approached the nuns, spoke thus: “Ladies, in such and such a shopkeeper’s house what is necessary for conjey is laid aside. Having had husked rice brought from there, having had the conjey boiled, make use of it.”

The nuns, having got medicine in exchange for what was necessary, made use of it. Then that guild, having found out … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns get something in exchange for what was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing, belonging to a company[2]?”

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

“It is true, lord.” Vin.4.253

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying: “How, monks, can nuns get something in exchange … belonging to a company? It is not, BD.3.234 monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

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


Bi-NP.8.2.1 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 a company means: it is for a group, not for an Order, not for one nun.

Should get something in exchange means: see Bi-NP.6.2.1Bi-NP.6.2.3. Instead of belonging to an Order read belonging to a company … if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

pariveṇavāsikā. They were not a complete Order, merely a number of nuns.

2.

mahājanikena. Mahājana usually means “people, a crowd, the populace.” Here it does not mean the guild regarded as a company, but the nuns for whom the conjey was collected. The word is explained in the Old Commentary, and at Vin-a.918 by gaṇa, the technical term for “group” (two to four monks or nuns). This rule is in contrast on the one hand to Bu-NP.6 and Bu-NP.7, which speak of saṅghikena, belonging to an Order; and on the other to Bu-NP.10, which speaks of belonging to an individual, puggalikena. It is because of this frequent triad, saṅgha, gaṇa, puggala (= ekā bhikkhunī) that mahājana must here be taken as equivalent to gaṇa, group, in its technical and monastic meaning.