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) 40

Bi-Pc.40.1.1 BD.3.322 … at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding place. Now at that time nuns, as before,[1] spent the rains in Rājagaha, the cold weather there, the hot weather there. People … spread it about, saying: “The (four) quarters are blocked,[2] confused with nuns; because of them the (four) quarters are not seen.”[3] Nuns heard these people who … spread it about. Then these 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 founded on ten reasons: for the excellence of the Order[4] … And thus, monks, let the nuns set forth this rule of training:

Whatever nun, having kept the rains, should not set out on almstour, even for (a distance of) five or six yojanas, there is an offence of expiation.”

Bi-Pc.40.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Having kept the rains means: having kept the first three months or the last three months.[5]

If she thinks “I will not set out on almstour, even for (the distance of) five or six yojanas,” in throwing off the responsibility, there is an offence of expiation.

Bi-Pc.40.2.2 BD.3.323 There is no offence if there is an obstacle; if, having looked about for a nun as a companion,[6] she does not get the chance; if she is ill; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.[7]

The Fourth Division: that on sharing Vin.4.298

Footnotes and references:


tatth’ eva—i.e., as in Bi-Pc.39.


āhundarika. See Morris, Journal of the Pali Text Society 1884, p.73.


Cf. Vin.1.79 for a corresponding paragraph, and DN.ii.99, AN.iii.69 for the last phrase. The meaning clearly is that the nuns were too many for the place. It seems that the lay people were complaining on their own account and not on that of the nuns, as the dative (bhikkhunīnaṃ, imāsaṃ) might suggest.


As at BD.1.37, BD.2.87.


It was an offence for a nun to go about singly.