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) 75

Bi-Pc.75.1.1 BD.3.385 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time nuns ordained when they had completed twelve years (of standing but) were not agreed upon by the Order. They were ignorant … Bi-Pc.74.1. Instead of less than twelve years (of standing) read when they have completed twelve years (of standing but) are 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 a nun who has completed twelve years (of standing) the agreement to ordain.[1] And thus, monks, should it be given: That nun who has completed twelve years (of standing), having approached the Order, having arranged her upper robe over one shoulder, having honoured the feet of the senior nuns, having sat down on her haunches, having saluted with joined palms, should speak thus to it: ‘Ladies, I, so and so, a nun who has completed twelve years (of standing), request the Order for the agreement to ordain.’ And a second time it should be requested … And a third time it should be requested. This nun should be tested[2] by the Order thinking: ‘This nun is experienced, she is conscientious.’ If she is both ignorant[3] and unconscientious it should not be given. If she is ignorant but conscientious it should not be given. If she is experienced but unconscientious, BD.3.386 it should not be given. If she is both experienced and conscientious, it should be given. And thus, monks, should it be given: The Order should be informed by an experienced, competent nun, saying: ‘Ladies, let the Order listen to me. This nun so and so who has completed twelve years (of standing) requests the Order for the agreement to ordain. If it seems right to the Order … cf. Bi-Pc.63.1, etc. … 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 who has completed twelve years (of standing but) who is not agreed upon by the Order should ordain, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.75.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Completed twelve years means: attained to twelve years.

Not agreed upon means: the agreement to ordain is not given by a (formal) act at which the motion is followed by one proclamation.[4] Vin.4.331

Should ordain means: Bi-Pc.63.2

There is no offence if she ordains when she has completed twelve years (of standing) and is agreed upon by the Order; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

Footnotes and references:

1.

vuṭṭhāpana-sammuti, to cause ordination (in another).

2.

paricchitabbā. Cf. paricchitvā in next Pācittiya Vin-a.942 explains upaparikkhati, to test, examine, investigate. Apparently the Order, in testing her, should do so with a view to her experience and conscientiousness.

3.

bālā, apparently here as opposite of byattā, experienced.

4.

Cf. above, BD.3.368, BD.3.374, BD.3.383.

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