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) 24

Bi-Pc.24.1.1 BD.3.290 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time[1] nuns, having entrusted robes[2] to the hands of (other) nuns, set out on a tour of the country with (only) the inner and the upper robes. Those robes, deposited for a long time, became soiled; nuns dried them in the sun. Nuns spoke thus to these nuns: “Ladies, whose are these robes that are soiled?” Then these nuns told this matter to the nuns. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can nuns, having entrusted robes to the hands of (other) nuns, set out on a tour of the country with (only) the inner and the upper robes?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns … with (only) the inner and the upper robes?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can nuns … with (only) the inner and the upper robes? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should miss going about in an outer cloak for five days,[3] there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.24.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

BD.3.291 Should miss going about in an outer cloak for five days means: if on the fifth day she neither dresses in nor puts on nor dries in the sun the five robes, (but) lets the fifth day pass, there is an offence of expiation.


Bi-Pc.24.2.2 If she thinks that five days are passed when they are passed, there is an offence of expiation.[4] If she is in doubt as to whether five days are passed, there is an offence of expiation. Vin.4.282 If she thinks that five days are not passed when they are passed, there is an offence of expiation. If she thinks that five days are passed when they are not passed, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether five days are not passed, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that five days are not passed when they are not passed, there is no offence.


Bi-Pc.24.2.3 There is no offence if, on the fifth day, she dresses in or puts on or dries the five robes in the sun; if she is ill; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. Monks’ Bu-NP.2 (BD.2.12).

2.

Merely called cīvara here. The sikkhāpada makes it clear that the saṅghāti, outer cloak, is meant; Vin-a.652 says that this is the case with the monks’ cīvara mentioned in Bu-NP.2. At some time the nuns came to be allowed five robes, mentioned below. For these see BD.2, Introduction, p.xix. It is therefore quite possible to say here that the nuns went with “only” their inner and upper robes, if we think of these with the outer cloak as constituting the regular set of three robes, to which the other two were merely added as extras for the nuns.

3.

pañcāhikaṃ, what consists of five days

4.

Some material left out here. These clauses should state that the offence also depends on her not dressing in, putting on or drying the five robes. Vin-a.929 says that for each robe there is an offence, thus for the five (robes) there are five (offences).

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