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) 52

Bi-Pc.52.1.1 BD.3.343 … at Vesālī in the Great Grove at the Hall of the Gabled Pillars. Now at that time the venerable Kappitaka,[1] the venerable Upāli’s preceptor,[2] lived in a cemetery. Now at that time an older[3] nun of the group of six nuns had passed away. The group of six nuns, taking out that nun, having cremated her not far from the venerable Kappitaka’s dwelling place, having made a tomb, having gone (there), wept at that tomb. Then the venerable Kappitaka, troubled by that noise, having destroyed that tomb, scattered (the materials). The group of six nuns took counsel,[4] saying: “Our lady’s tomb is destroyed by this Kappitaka, come, let us kill him.” A certain nun told this matter to the venerable Upāli. The venerable Upāli told this matter to the venerable Kappitaka. Then the venerable Kappitaka, having gone out from that dwelling place, lay in hiding. Then the group of six nuns approached the venerable Kappitaka’s dwelling place, having approached, having had the venerable Kappitaka’s dwelling place covered over[5] with stones and clods of earth, they departed, saying, “Kappitaka is dead.” Then the venerable Kappitaka at the end of that night having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, entered Vesālī for almsfood. The group of six nuns saw the venerable Kappitaka walking for almsfood; seeing him, they spoke thus: “This Kappitaka is alive, how ever did he foil our plan?”[6] The group of six nuns BD.3.344 heard it said: “Our plan was foiled by master Upāli.” These reviled[7] the venerable Upāli, saying: “How can this barber,[8] a shampooing low-birth (person),[9] foil our plan?” Those who were modest nuns … Vin.4.309 spread it about, saying: “How can this group of six nuns revile master Upāli?” …

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

“It is true, lord.”

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

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

Whatever nun should revile or should abuse a monk,[10] there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.52.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Monk means: one who is ordained.

Should revile means: if she reviles with the ten ways of reviling[11] or with any one of these, there is an offence of expiation.

Or should abuse means: if she makes him afraid,[12] there is an offence of expiation.


Bi-Pc.52.2.2 If she thinks that he is ordained when he is ordained (and) reviles or abuses him, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether he is ordained … If she thinks that he is not ordained when he is ordained … offence of expiation. If she reviles or abuses one who is not ordained, there is an offence of BD.3.345 wrong-doing. If she thinks that he is ordained when he is not ordained … If she is in doubt as to whether he is not ordained … If she thinks that he is not ordained when he is not ordained, there is an offence of wrong-doing.


Bi-Pc.52.2.3 There is no offence if she is aiming at (explaining) the goal, if she is aiming at (explaining) a rule, if she is aiming at (explaining) the teaching[13]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Cf. Pv.49Pv.50. Vin-a.937, Pv-a.230 say that he was an elder among the thousand matted hair ascetics.

2.

Cf. Pv-a.230.

3.

mahatarā, perhaps a leading nun.

4.

mantesuṃ. Pali-English Dictionary says “perhaps ‘plotted’” here.

5.

ottharāpetvā; see BD.1.137, n.4.

6.

mantaṃ saṃharati.

7.

akkosiṃsu; see BD.2.269 and BD.2.171, n.3.

8.

kasāvaṭa; see Psalms of the Bretheren. 168, Tha-ap.37ff., and Dictionary of Pali Proper Names 410 for view that Upāli was born a barber in this Buddha age.

9.

kasāvaṭo malamajjano nihīnajacco; cf. Ja.3.452 hīnajacco malamajjano nahāpita (putto).

10.

Cf. the seventh of the eight important rules, garudhammā, given at Vin.4.52 (BD.2.269), BD.2.255, AN.iv.277.

12.

bhayaṃ upadaṃseti, causes fear to appear.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: