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’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 6

Bi-Pc.6.1.1 BD.3.252 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time Ārohanta, a chief minister,[1] had gone forth among the monks (and) his former wife had gone forth among the nuns. Now at that time that monk participated in a meal in the presence of that nun. Then that nun enticed[2] that monk, standing near him with drinking water and with a fan as he was eating.[3] Then that monk upbraided that nun, saying: “Do not, sister, do this, it is not allowable.”

“Formerly you did this and that to me, now you do not put up with this much,” and having thrown down the drinking cup on his head, she struck him with the fan. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying:

“How can this nun strike a monk?’ …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that a nun struck a monk?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can a nun strike a monk? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should stand with drinking water or BD.3.253 with a fan close to a monk while he is eating, there is an offence of expiation.”


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

To a monk means: to one who is ordained.

Is eating means: is eating any one meal of the five (kinds of) meals.[4]

Drinking water means: whatever is drinkable.[5]

Fans means: whatever is a fan.[6]

Should stand close means: if she stands within a reach of the hand, there is an offence of expiation. Vin.4.264


Bi-Pc.6.2.2 If she thinks that he is ordained when he is ordained (and) stands close with drinking water or with a fan, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether he is ordained … If she thinks that he is not ordained when he is ordained … there is an offence of expiation. If she stands close having left a reach of the hand, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she stands close while he is eating solid food, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she stands close to one who is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that he is ordained when he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that he is not ordained when he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing.[7]


Bi-Pc.6.2.3 BD.3.254 There is no offence if she gives[8]; if she causes (another) to give; if she commands one who is not ordained[9]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Mentioned, I think, nowhere but here.

2.

accāvadati; in sense of “to talk down,” at Vin.4.224. Here, according to Vin-a.922, she spoke to him as though they were still leading the household life, saying that she used to stand close to him thus while he ate. Note that nuns had access to the monks quarters.

3.

bhuñjati is the verb used for partaking of soft foods, those which constitute the five kinds of meals (see Vin.4.83) referred to below. To stand close to a monk eating solid food is a dukkaṭa offence (below).

4.

See Vin.4.83.

5.

For pāniya, drinking water, also has this meaning of a beverage. Vin-a.922 says that it may be pure water, or buttermilk, curds, milk and so on.

6.

vidhūpanavījanī, Vin-a.922 saying, “even the corner of a robe.” Vidhūpana allowed to monks at Vin.2.130. Vv-a.147 calls it caturassavījanī, a four-cornered vījanī. Three kinds of vījanī allowed at Vin.2.130, in addition to the “mosquito-fan,” makasavījanī. Vinaya Texts iii.131f. translates as both fan and fly-whisk.

7.

Cf. previous clause but two.

8.

I.e., the curry or water to the monk to drink, or the fan for him to fan himself with, Vin-a.922.

9.

Vin-a.922, if she commands a novice to stand near a monk (and minister to him as he is eating), there is no offence.