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) 43

Bi-Pc.43.1.1 BD.3.328 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six nuns spun yarn. Vin.4.300 People, engaged in touring the dwelling place, having seen (them) … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns spin yarn, 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 this group of six nuns spin yarn?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the group of six nuns spin yarn?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the group of six nuns spin yarn? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should spin yarn, there is an offence of expiation.”

Bi-Pc.43.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Yarn means: the six (kinds of) yarn: linen, cotton, silk, wool, coarse hempen cloth, canvas.[1]

Should spin means: if she herself spins, in the action there is an offence of wrong-doing; for every running up[2] there is an offence of expiation.

Bi-Pc.43.2.2 There is no offence if she spins spun yarn[3]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:


= Vin.3.256. The same as the six kinds of robe-material; see BD.2.143 for notes.


ujjavujjave; a term used in spinning, found I think only here. Vin-a.935 seems to say “if whatever was rolled by hand (hatthena, Pali-English Dictionary giving the reading patthena, by measure) is twisted round on that spindle (? takka), there is one offence.”


kantitasutta; kantita can also mean “cut off.” Vin-a.935 explains by saying, “if she spins having bound together loose yarn (dasikasutta), or if she unspins what was badly spun, there is no offence.”