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) 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:

[1]:

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

[2]:

Doubtless here referring to the nuns.

[3]:

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.

[4]:

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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