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) 42

Bi-Pc.42.1.1 BD.3.326 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns made use of a sofa[1] and of a divan.[2] People, engaged in touring the dwelling place, having seen (them) … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns make use of a sofa and of a divan, like women householders who enjoy pleasures of the senses?” Nuns heard these people who … spread it about. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns make use of a sofa and of a divan?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns made use of a … divan?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can nuns make use of a sofa and of BD.3.327 a divan? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should make use of a sofa or of a divan, there is an offence of expiation.”[3]

Bi-Pc.42.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Sofa means: it is called of exceeding measure.

Divan means: it is made having brought hair (stuffing).[4]

Should make use of means: if she sits down on it or lies down on it, there is an offence of expiation.

Bi-Pc.42.2.2 There is no offence if, having cut down the legs of the sofa, she makes use of it; if, having cut out the hair (stuffing) from the divan, she makes use of it[5]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:


āsandī. This is the first of the high seats, the large seats which the group of six monks used, thereby incurring a dukkaṭa offence, Vin.1.192. The same list occurs at Vin.2.163, where monks are allowed to sit down on all but āsandī, pallaṅka (see next note) and tūlika, but to lie down on none; also at AN.i.181, and DN.i.7 as being among the seats which Gotama is said to refrain from using. At Vin.2.142–143 āsandī and pallaṅka, with bowls and shoes, are the only wooden articles not allowed to monks.
See Dialogues of the Buddha, 1.11, n.4, where Rhys Davids is of the opinion that height and not length is referred to. The fact that in this Pācittiya it is “no offence” to use an āsandī if the legs have been cut down, also points this way, as does the allowance given monks at Vin.2.169–170 to use āsandi if the legs have been broken, bhinditvā. On the other hand, at DN.i.55 = MN.i.515 = SN.iii.207 an āsandi is used as a bier—i.e., as something long, SN-a.ii.339 = MN-a.3.227, calling it a couch for lying down on, with (MN-a.) variant reading “for sitting down on.” Old Commentary, below speaks of sitting down on and lying down on. Chalmers Jātaka translation 1.10, translates as “couch” (in a cart); it is therefore not “clear from Ja.1.108” that āsandi is a “cushion” as stated at Vinaya Texts ii.27, n.2.


pallaṅka. See above, BD.3.271, n.3.


A dukkaṭa for nuns to sit on a divan at Vin.2.280, a half-(aḍḍha-) pallaṅka being allowed instead.


vāla at MN-a.2.45 is explained as assavāla, horse-hair.


Cf. Vin.2.169–70, where these articles are allowed to monks if the legs of the former are broken, bhinditvā, and the horse-hair of the latter destroyed, bhinditvā. Above the reading is in both cases chinditvā, cut.