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) 19

Bi-Pc.19.1.1 BD.3.279 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns, not seeing their own things, spoke thus to the nun Caṇḍakālī[1]: “Has the lady not seen our things?” The nun Caṇḍakālī … spread it about, saying:

“What, am I a thief then? What, am I just shameless? That these ladies, not seeing their own things, spoke thus to me: ‘Has the lady not seen our things?’ If indeed, ladies,[2] I take your things I am not a true recluse, I am falling away from the Brahma-life, I rise up in hell. But whoever speaks thus of me when it is not a fact, let her too be not a true recluse, let her fall away from the Brahma-life, let her rise up in hell.”

Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying:

“How can the lady Caṇḍakālī curse herself as well as another with hell as well as with the Brahma-life?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the nun Caṇḍakālī cursed herself … with the Brahma-life?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the nun Caṇḍakālī curse herself as well as another with hell as well as with the Brahma-life? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should curse herself or another with hell or with the Brahma-life, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.19.2.1 BD.3.280 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Herself means: herself (individually).[3]

Another means: one who is ordained.

If she curses with hell or with the Brahma-life, there is an offence of expiation. Vin.4.277


Bi-Pc.19.2.2 If she thinks that she is ordained when she is ordained (and) curses (her) with hell or with the Brahma-life, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether she is ordained … If she thinks that she is not ordained when she is ordained … offence of expiation. If she curses (her) with animal birth or with the realm of the departed or with human misfortune, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she curses one who is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that she is ordained when she is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether she is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that she is not ordained when she is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing.[4]


Bi-Pc.19.2.3 There is no offence if she is aiming at (explaining) the goal, if she is aiming at (explaining) a rule, if she is aiming at (explaining) the teaching[5]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

2.

sacā h’ayye. Oldenberg says, Vin.4.367, that this may be sace ahaṃ ayye, and refers us to Vin.1.88, sacāca, with variant reading and interpretation given by Buddhaghosa, appearing at Vin.1.372.

3.

attānan ti paccattaṃ = below, BD.3.281. This explanation will have been necessary if in early Buddhist thought attā was prevalently held to stand for Ātman, transcendental self. But here it has no such reference, meaning simply a person, an individual, pacca- = paṭi- throwing back the emphasis away from Ātman on to an individual or particular self X, as contrasted with Y. Paccattaṃ at AN.i.156 is explained by sāmaṃ at AN-a.2.256.

4.

This is the Sinhalese and Siamese reading. Oldenberg’s edition reads: “if she thinks that she is ordained …,” as in sentence but one before. Offence of wrong-doing “should probably read no offence.”

5.

Vin.3.130 (BD.1.218, and see n.2)= Vin.4.11 (BD.2.185)= Vin.4.309 (below, BD.3.345).