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) 45

Bi-Pc.45.1.1 BD.3.330 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time a certain nun, having approached the nun Thullanandā, spoke thus: “Do come, lady, and settle this legal question.” The nun Thullanandā, having answered, “Very good,” neither settled it nor made an effort to get it settled.[1] Then that nun told this matter to the nuns. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can the lady Thullanandā, being spoken to by a nun, saying: ‘Do come, lady, and settle this legal question,’ and having answered, ‘Very good,’ neither settle it nor make an effort to get it settled?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the nun Thullanandā … to get it settled?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the nun Thullanandā … nor make an effort to get it settled? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun, being spoken to by a nun, saying: ‘Do come, lady, and settle this legal question,’ and having answered: ‘Very good,’ (yet) if she is not afterwards prevented, should neither settle it nor should make an effort to get it settled, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.45.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

By a nun means: by another nun.

Legal question means: there are four (kinds of) legal questions: legal questions arising out of disputes, legal BD.3.331 questions arising out of censure, legal questions arising out of transgressions, legal questions arising out of obligations.[2]

Do come, lady, and settle this legal question means: Do come, lady, and decide this legal question. Vin.4.302

If she is not afterwards prevented means: if there is not an obstacle.[3]

Should neither settle it means: should not herself settle it.[4]

Nor should make an effort to get it settled means: should not command another.[5]

If she thinks, “I will neither settle it nor make an effort to get it settled,” in throwing off the responsibility, there is an offence of expiation.[6]


Bi-Pc.45.2.2 If she thinks that she is ordained when she is ordained (and) neither settles a legal question nor makes an effort to get it settled, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether she is ordained … If she thinks that she is not ordained when she is ordained … offence of expiation. If she neither settles a legal question nor makes an effort to get it settled for 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 … If she thinks that she is not ordained when she is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing.[7]


Bi-Pc.45.2.3 There is no offence if there is an obstacle; if having looked about, she does not get the chance[8]; if she is ill; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

[3]:

= above, BD.3.288.

[4]:

= above, BD.3.288, BD.3.310.

[5]:

= above, BD.3.288, BD.3.310.

[6]:

= above, BD.3.288, BD.3.310.

[7]:

Last clause should probably read “no offence.”

[8]:

= above, BD.3.289, BD.3.310, and below, BD.3.336, BD.3.355.

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