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) 33

Bi-Pc.33.1.1 BD.3.307 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the nun Thullanandā was very learned, she was a repeater, she was wise, she was skilled in giving dhamma-talk.[1] Bhaddā Kāpilānī[2] also was very learned … she was skilled in giving dhamma-talk, she was esteemed as being eminent.[3] People, thinking: “Bhaddā Kāpilānī is very learned … she is skilled in giving dhamma-talk, she is esteemed as being eminent,” having first visited[4] Bhaddā Kāpilānī afterwards visited the nun Thullanandā. The nun Thullanandā, overcome by envy,[5] thinking: “Those who are said to have few wants, to be content, detached, not living in company, these are intent on convincing,[6] intent on hinting,” walked up and down and stood still and sat down and lay down on a sleeping-place and recited and made (another) recite and studied[7] in front of Bhaddā Kāpilānī. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can the lady Thullanandā intentionally cause discomfort to the lady Bhaddā Kāpilānī?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the nun Thullanandā intentionally caused discomfort to Bhaddā Kāpilānī?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the nun Thullanandā intentionally BD.3.308 cause discomfort to Bhaddā Kāpilānī? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should intentionally cause discomfort to a nun, there is an offence of expiation.”[8]


Bi-Pc.33.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

To a nun means: to another nun.

Intentionally means: a transgression committed knowingly, consciously, deliberately.[9]

Should cause discomfort means: if thinking, “Because of this there will be discomfort for her,” she walks up and down or stands still or sits down or lies down on a sleeping-place or recites or makes (another) recite or studies in front of (her) without asking (for permission),[10] there is an offence of expiation.


Bi-Pc.33.2.2 If she thinks that she is ordained when she is ordained (and) intentionally causes discomfort, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether she is ordained … Vin.4.291 If she thinks that she is not ordained when she is ordained (and) intentionally causes discomfort, there is an offence of expiation. If she intentionally causes discomfort to 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.[11]


Bi-Pc.33.2.3 There is no offence if she, not desiring to cause discomfort (and) having asked (for permission), walks up and down … or studies in front of (her); if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

As in Nuns’ Bi-NP.10, Bi-NP.11, Bi-Pc.28.

2.

Cf. above, BD.3.186, n.1.

3.

uḷārasaṃbhāvitā.

4.

payirupāsati also means to honour.

5.

issāpakatā, as at SN.ii.260, Vin.3.107. Buddhaghosa at Vin-a.932 takes it as issāya pakatā, envious by nature, with the variant reading apakatā, not having done away with envy.

6.

saññattibahulā.

7.

For these last two cf. BD.2.192 (Vin.4.15).

8.

Cf. Monks’ Bu-Pc.77.

10.

This appears to be a gloss, limiting the scope of the rule.

11.

Should doubtless be “no offence.”