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) 21

Bi-Pc.21.1.1 BD.3.283 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time several nuns bathed naked with prostitutes at the same ford of the river Aciravatī.[1] The prostitutes made fun of the nuns, saying: “Why in the world, ladies, is the Brahma-life led by you when you are young? Surely the pleasures of the senses should be enjoyed. When you are old, then you can lead the Brahma-life; thus will both extremes be experienced[2] by you.” The nuns, being made fun of by these prostitutes, became ashamed.[3] Then these nuns, having gone to a dwelling, told this matter to the nuns. The nuns told this matter to the monks. The monks told this matter to the lord. Then the lord on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

“Because of this, monks, I will lay down a rule of training for nuns founded on ten reasons: for the excellence of the Order … for following the discipline.[4] And thus, monks, the nuns should set forth this rule of training:

Whatever nun should bathe naked, there is an offence of expiation.”

Bi-Pc.21.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

BD.3.284 Should bathe naked means: if she bathes not clothed, not dressed,[5] there is an offence of expiation.

Bi-Pc.21.2.2 There is no offence if she is one whose robe is stolen[6] or if she is one whose robe is destroyed[7]; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Vin.1.293 and above, BD.3.247. Other regulations as to the foods to be used by nuns when bathing given at Vin.2.280.


pariggahita, literally taken up.


At Vin.1.293 this is the story said to have been told by Visākhā to the lord when she was asking him to confer the eight boons, and of which the giving of bathing cloths for the nuns was the last.


nivattha and pāruta, the words used above, are also those that together cover the putting on of the three robes; see BD.2.32, n.2, n.3.


These words are defined (for monks) at BD.2.48—i.e., in Monks’ Bu-NP.6 which, as is to be gathered from Vin-a.919, holds good for nuns as well as for monks.


See previous note.