Vinaya Pitaka (2): Bhikkhuni-vibhanga (the analysis of Nun’ rules)

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) 69

Bi-Pc.69.1.1 BD.3.377 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns for two years did not wait upon an ordained woman instructor.[1] These[2] were ignorant, inexperienced, they did not know what was allowable or what was not allowable. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns for two years not wait upon an ordained woman instructor?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns … woman instructor

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can nuns … ordained woman instructor? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training: Vin.4.326

Whatever nun for two years should not wait upon an ordained woman instructor, there is an offence of expiation.”

Bi-Pc.69.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Ordained means: the upasampadā, ordination conferred.

Woman instructor means: she is called a woman preceptor.[3]

BD.3.378 Two years means: two years.

Should not wait upon means: should not herself attend upon.[4]

If she thinks: “I will not wait upon her for two years,” in throwing off the responsibility, there is an offence of expiation.

Bi-Pc.69.2.2 There is no offence if the woman preceptor is ignorant or shameless; if he is ill; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:


pavattinī, or proposer—i.e., for a nun on whom the upasampada ordination is being conferred, as at Vin.2.271.


Doubtless here referring to the nuns.


upajjhā. The first sentence of n.1 at Vinaya Texts iii.351 must therefore be corrected; also upajjhā occurs twice at Vin.3.35. The word (upajjhā) at Vin.3.100 is obviously a shortened plural form of the regular masculine upajjhāya, for see Vin.3.101 = Bi-Pc.69.2.1 which contains two stories about two (different) upajjhāya. Pali-English Dictionary is probably right in giving both upajjha, short masculine, as at Vin.1.94 and doubtless once at Vin.3.35; and upajjhā, feminine, as in above explanation of pavattinī and in the “no offence” clause, and doubtless once at Vin.3.35.


According to Vin-a.941, with soap-powder, toothpick, water for rinsing the mouth, and with whatever was to be done. Cf. Bi-Pc.88 below.

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