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) 64

Bi-Pc.64.1.1 BD.3.367 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns ordained a probationer who had trained for two years in the six rules (but) who was not agreed upon by the Order.[1] Nuns spoke thus: “Come, probationers,[2] find out about this, give this, convey this, make this allowable.” These spoke thus: “Ladies, we are not probationers, we are nuns.” Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns ordain a probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules (but) who is not agreed upon by the Order?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns ordained … not agreed upon by the Order?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can nuns ordain … not agreed upon by the Order? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … and having rebuked them, having given reasoned talk, he addressed the monks, saying:

“I allow you, monks, to give the agreement as to ordination[3] to a probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules. And thus, monks, should it be given: That probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules, having approached the Order … Bi-Pc.63.1 … should speak thus: Vin.4.321 ‘Ladies, I, so and so, a probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules under the lady so and so, request the Order BD.3.368 for the agreement as to ordination.’ And a second time … Bi-Pc.63.1 instead of probationer read probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules instead of agreement as to training for two years in the six rules read agreement as to ordination. … So do I understand this.’

Then the lord, having rebuked the nuns in many a figure for their weakness in maintaining themselves … “… this rule of training:

Whatever nun should ordain a probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules (but) who is not agreed upon by the Order,[4] there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.64.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Two years means: two years.[5]

Has trained means: has trained in the six rules.[6]

Not agreed upon means: the agreement as to ordination is not given by a (formal) act at which the motion is followed by one proclamation.[7]

Should ordain means: Bi-Pc.61.2.1

There is no offence if she ordains a probationer who has trained for two years in the six rules and who is agreed upon by the Order; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

See previous Bi-Pc.63 where in order to carry out the training ao as to have a legal right to be ordained, a probationer had to receive the agreement of the Order.

2.

Note use of plural here, and cf. previous and following Pācittiyas: also Bi-Pc.73.

3.

vuṭṭhānasammuti. See above, BD.3.364, for other “agreements.”

4.

The probationer has to get the agreement, but the nuns have to abide by it.

5.

As above, BD.3.366.

6.

= below, BD.3.374, BD.3.383.

7.

= below, BD.3.374, BD.3.383. On ñattidutiya kammas see Vin.1.319, and on Saṅghakammas (formal acts) generally, S Dutt, Early Buddhist Monachism, 146ff.