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) 29

Bi-Pc.29.1.1 BD.3.300 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the family who supported the nun Thullanandā spoke thus to the nun Thullanandā: “If we, lady, are able, we will give robe-material for the Order of nuns.” Now at that time nuns, having kept the rains-retreat, collected together wishing to distribute robe-material. The nun Thullanandā spoke thus to these nuns: “Wait, ladies, there is for the Order of nuns an expectation of robe-material.” The nuns spoke thus to the nun Thullanandā: “Do go, lady, and find out about this robe-material.” The nun Thullanandā approached that family; having approached she spoke thus to the people: “Sirs, do give robe-material for the Order of nuns.” They said: “Lady, we are not able to give robe-material for the Order of nuns.” The nun Thullanandā told this matter to the nuns. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying:

“How can the lady Thullanandā, when an expectation of robe-material is not sure,[1] let the robe-season[2] pass?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the nun Thullanandā … let the robe-season pass?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the nun Thullanandā … let the robe-season pass? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun, when an expectation of robe-material is not sure, should let the robe-season pass, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.29.2.1 BD.3.301 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

When an expectation of robe-material is not sure means: if they say, “If we are able, we will give, we will make,” (but their) word becomes broken.

Robe-season means: the last month of the rainy season when the kaṭhina cloth is not (formally) made, Vin.4.287 the five months when it is (formally) made.[3]

Should let the robe-season pass means: if she lets pass the last day of the rainy season when the kaṭhina cloth is not (formally) made, there is an offence of expiation. If she lets the day pass for removing the kaṭhina (privileges),[4] there is an offence of expiation.


Bi-Pc.29.2.2 If she thinks that the robe-material is not sure when it is not sure (and) lets the robe-season pass, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether the robe-material is not sure … offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that the robe-material is sure[5] when it is not sure … no offence. If she thinks that the robe-material is not sure when it is sure, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether the robe-material is sure, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that the robe-material is sure when it is sure, there is no offence.


Bi-Pc.29.2.3 There is no offence if she hinders having pointed out an advantage[6]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

dubbala, not strong, weak; uncertain, not sure, low or poor.

3.

= definition of “time of giving robes” at Vin.4.74, Vin.4.100 (BD.2.311, BD.2.366), and cf. Vin.3.204.

4.

Cf. Vin.3.196 (BD.2.5 and notes).

5.

adubbala.

6.

= above, BD.3.295.