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) 65

Bi-Pc.65.1.1 BD.3.369 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns ordained a girl[1] married for less than twelve years.[2] These[3] were not able to endure cold, heat, hunger, thirst, contact with gadflies, mosquitoes, wind and sun, creeping things, abusive hurtful language; they were not able to endure bodily feelings which arising are painful, acute, sharp, shooting, disagreeable, miserable, deadly.[4] Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can nuns ordain a girl married for less than twelve years?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns ordained … married for less than twelve years?”

“It is true, lord.”

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying: Vin.4.322

“How, monks, can nuns ordain a girl married for less than twelve years? Monks, a girl married for less than twelve years is not able to endure cold … bodily feelings … miserable, deadly. It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should ordain a girl married for less than twelve years, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.65.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

BD.3.370 Less than twelve years means: not attained to twelve years.[5]

Girl married means: one cohabiting with a man.[6]

Should ordain means: Bi-Pc.61.2.1 … and an offence of wrong-doing for the group and for the woman teacher.


Bi-Pc.65.2.2 If she thinks that it is less than twelve years when it is less than twelve years (and) ordains her, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether it is less than twelve years … offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that twelve years are completed when it is less than twelve years … no offence. If she thinks that it is less than twelve years when twelve years are completed, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether twelve years are completed, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that twelve years are completed when twelve years are completed, there is no offence.[7]


Bi-Pc.65.2.3 There is no offence if she ordains one (married) for less than twelve years thinking that twelve years are completed; if she ordains one who has completed twelve years thinking that they are completed[8]; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

gihigatā, one gone to a layman (as his wife or co-wife).

2.

See BD.3, Introduction, p.xlix, and I.B. Horner, Women under Primitive Buddhism, p.27ff.

3.

As in previous Pācittiyas, plural used here, meaning that an indefinite number of nuns had each ordained a “married girl,” or child-wife.

4.

Cf. Monks’ Bu-Pc.65.1, that in which monks are forbidden to ordain a man under twenty.

5.

Cf. above, BD.3.13.

6.

purisantaragatā. This is the definition of itthi, woman, at MN-a.2.209; DN-a.78. Cf. Ja.1.290; MN.i.77; AN.i.295, AN.ii.206.

7.

Cf. above, BD.3.13.

8.

This occurs in the preceding paragraph.