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) 23

Bi-Pc.23.1.1 BD.3.287 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time a certain nun’s robe of costly robe-cloth was badly made, badly sewn. The nun Thullanandā Vin.4.280 spoke thus to that nun: “Lady, this robe-cloth of yours is lovely, but the robe is badly made, badly sewn.”

“If I unsew it, lady, will you sew it?”

“Yes, lady, I will sew it.”

Then that nun, having unsewn that robe, gave it to the nun Thullanandā. The nun Thullanandā, thinking: “I will sew it, I will sew it,” neither sewed it nor made an effort[1] to get it sewn. Then that nun told this matter to the nuns. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can the lady Thullanandā, having had a nun’s robe unsewn, neither sew it nor make an effort to get it sewn?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the Thullanandā, having had a nun’s robe unsewn, neither sewed it nor made an effort to get it sewn?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the nun Thullanandā … nor make an effort to get it sewn? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun, having unsewn or having made (another) unsew a nun’s robe, if she is not afterwards prevented should neither sew it nor should make an effort to get it sewn, except on the fourth and fifth days, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.23.2.1 BD.3.288 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

A nun’s means: another nun’s.

Robe means: any one robe of the six (kinds of) robes.

Having unsewn means: herself having unsewn.

Having made (another) unsew means: having made another unsew.

If she is not afterwards prevented means: if there is not an obstacle.[2]

Should neither sew means: should not herself sew.

Nor should make an effort to get it sewn means: should not command another.[3]

Except on the fourth and fifth days means: having excluded the fourth and fifth days. If she thinks, “I will neither sew it nor make an effort to get it sewn,” in the mere throwing off of the responsibility, there is an offence of expiation.[4]


Bi-Pc.23.2.2 If she thinks that she is ordained when she is ordained, having unsewn or having made (another) unsew a robe, and if she is not afterwards prevented, neither sews it nor makes an effort to get it sewn, except on the fourth and fifth days, 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, having unsewn or having made (another) unsew another requisite … except on the fourth and fifth days, there is an offence Vin.4.281 of wrong-doing. If, having unsewn or made (another) unsew a robe or another requisite of one who is not ordained … except on the fourth and fifth days, 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.


Bi-Pc.23.2.3 BD.3.289 There is no offence if there is an obstacle[5]; if, having looked about, she does not get the chance[6]; if she, working,[7] lets the fourth and fifth days pass; if she is ill; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

ussukkaṃ karoti, or “to find energy.” Cf. below, BD.3.309, BD.3.330.

[2]:

= below, BD.3.331.

[3]:

Cf. below, BD.3.310, BD.3.331.

[4]:

Cf. below, BD.3.331.

[5]:

antarāya; ten are enumerated at Vin.1.112, Vin.1.169.

[6]:

On analogy of Bi-Pc.34, Bi-Pc.45 below and following the Sinhalese version, I have adopted a different punctuation from that occurring in Oldenberg’s text of Bi-Pc.23, hence altering the sense. Cf. also below, BD.3.310, BD.3.331.

[7]:

Taking the Sinhalese and Siamese karontī as against Oldenberg’s karontaṃ.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: