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) 58

Bi-Pc.58.1.1 BD.3.356 … among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan monastery. Now at that time[1] the group of six monks, having approached a nunnery, exhorted the group of six nuns. Nuns spoke thus to the group of six nuns: “Come, ladies, we will go for exhortation.”

“Well, ladies, we would go for the sake of exhortation, (but) the group of the six masters exhort us, having come to this place itself.” Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can this group of six nuns not go for exhortation?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that the group of six nuns do not go for exhortation?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can the group of six nuns Vin.4.315 not go for exhortation? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should not go for exhortation or for communion, there is an offence of expiation.”[2]

Bi-Pc.58.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Exhortation means: the eight important rules.[3]

Communion means: one (formal) act, one recitation, an equal training.[4] If she thinks, “I will not go for BD.3.357 exhortation or for communion,” in throwing off the responsibility, there is an offence of expiation.

Bi-Pc.58.2.2 There is no offence if there is an obstacle; if, having looked about for a nun as a companion, 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.[5]

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Monks’ Bu-Pc.23, where the offence is for a monk to exhort a nun in a nunnery except at a right time. Clearly the trend is for nuns to go to monks. Other regulations for exhortation set out at Vin.2.263ff.


Cf. Vin.2.263; a nun who does not go for exhortation is to be dealt with according to the rule.


Cf. Monks’ Bu-Pc.21Bu-Pc.24.


Cf. Old Commentary’s explanation of asaṃvāsa in each Pārājika (BD.1), and definition of “ill nun” at BD.2.278.


= above, BD.3.323, below, BD.3.380, and cf. BD.3.289, BD.3.310, BD.3.331, BD.3.336.