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) 96

Bi-Pc.96.1.1 BD.3.417 … at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that Vin.4.345 time a certain nun entered a village for almsfood without her vest.[1] While she was on the high road gusts of wind blew up her outer cloak. People shouted out: “Beautiful is the waist of the lady.” That nun, being made fun of by the people, became ashamed. Then that nun, having gone to a dwelling,[2] told this matter to the nuns. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can this nun enter a village without her vest?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that this nun … without her vest?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can a nun enter a village without her vest? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should enter a village without her vest, there is an offence of expiation.”


Bi-Pc.96.2.1 Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

Without a vest means: without a vest.[3]

Vest means: from below the collar-bone to above the navel, for the sake of covering this.

Should enter a village means: in going beyond the enclosure of a village that is fenced in, there is an offence of expiation. In entering the precincts of a village that is not fenced in, there is an offence of expiation.


Bi-Pc.96.2.2 BD.3.418 There is no offence if she is one whose robe is stolen[4]; if she is one whose robe is lost; if she is ill; if she is not thinking; if she does not know[5]; if there are accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.

The Ninth Division: that on a sunshade[6]

Recited, ladies, are the hundred and sixty-six rules for offences of expiation.[7] Concerning them, I ask the ladies: I hope that you are quite pure in this matter? And a second time I ask: I hope that you are quite pure in this matter? And a third time I ask: I hope that you are quite pure in this matter? The ladies are quite pure in this matter, therefore they are silent; thus do I understand this.

Told is the Minor (Class)[8] Vin.4.346

Footnotes and references:

1.

saṃkacchika, the fourth of a nun’s five robes to be pointed, out to her at her upasampadā ordination, Vin.2.272.

2.

upassaya, very likely meaning bhikkhuni-upassaya, a nunnery.

3.

asaṃkacchikā ti vinā saṃkacchikaṃ.

4.

Vin-a.947 says that her vest is to be called a “robe.”

5.

Cf. above, BD.3.121ff.

6.

Note that there are thirteen Pācittiyas in this, as in the preceding Division.

7.

Ninety-six are here recorded. The monks have ninety-two. The total for monks and nuns is therefore 188. Of the monks’ 92, 70 apply also to the nuns. Thus we get 96 + 70 = 166 for nuns, leaving 22 for the monks alone, as stated at Vin-a.946. See BD.3, Introduction, p.xxxviii.

8.

Cf. above, BD.3.101.