Vinaya Pitaka (3): Khandhaka

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 386,194 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Khandhaka: the second book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of various narratives. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (third part, khandhaka) contains many Pali original words, but transliterated using a system similar to the I...

Allowance to recite the Pātimokkha

Kd.2.3.1 Then as the Lord was meditating in seclusion a reasoning arose in his mind thus: “What now if I were to allow those rules of training, laid down by me for monks, (to form) a recital of Pātimokkha[1] for them? It would be a (formal) act of observance[2] for them.”

Kd.2.3.2 BD.4.132 Then the Lord, having emerged from his seclusion in the evening, on this occasion, in this connection having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying: “Now, monks, as I was meditating in seclusion a reasoning arose in my mind thus: ‘What now if I should allow those rules of training, laid down by me for monks, (to form) a recital of Pātimokkha for them? It would be a (formal) act of observance for them’. I allow you, monks, to recite a Pātimokkha.

Kd.2.3.3 “And thus, monks, should it be recited: The Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk, saying: ‘Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. Today, the fifteenth (day), is an Observance (day). If it seems right to the Order, the Order may carry out Observance, it may recite the Pātimokkha. What is the Order’s first duty? Let the venerable ones Vin.1.103 announce entire purity.[3] I will recite the Pātimokkha (while) one and all of us present[4] listen properly and pay attention to it.[5] He for whom there may be an offence should reveal[6] it. If there is no offence, you should become silent. By your becoming silent I shall thus know that the venerable ones are quite pure. For as there is an answer for each question,[7] so it is proclaimed[8] up to the third time in an assembly like this. Whatever monk remembering while it is being proclaimed up to the third time that there is an existent offence and should not reveal it, there comes to be conscious lying[9] for him.[10] Now, conscious lying, venerable ones, is a thing called a stumbling-block[11] by the Lord. Therefore the existent offence should be revealed BD.4.133 by a monk who remembers that he has fallen (into an offence) and who desires purity; for when it is revealed there comes to be comfort for him.’”


Kd.2.3.4 Pātimokkha[12] means: this is the beginning, this is the head,[13] this is the foremost of states that are good; therefore it is called Pātimokkha.

The venerable ones means: this—‘the venerable ones’—is a term of esteem,[14] this is a term of respect, this is a deferential and honorific designation.[15]

I will recite means: I will explain, I will teach, I will lay down, I will establish, I will make clear, I will analyse, I will make plain.[16]

To it means: to (what) is called the Pātimokkha.

One and all of us present means: as many as there are in this assembly—elders and newly ordained and those of middle standing—these are called ‘one and all of us present’.

(We) listen properly means: having applied ourselves, having attended,[17] we concentrate with all our mind.[18]

(We) pay attention means: we listen,[19] minds one-pointed, minds not distracted, minds not perturbed.[20]

Kd.2.3.5 He for whom there may be an offence means: a certain offence of the five classes of offence or a certain offence of the seven classes of offence[21] for an elder or for a newly ordained one or for one of middle standing.

He should reveal means: he should tell, he should make clear, he should open up, he should make plain in the midst of an Order or in the midst of a group or to one individual.

BD.4.134 If there is no offence means: either one comes not to be committed or, if fallen into, it is removed.[22]

You should become silent means: you should consent, you should not speak.

I shall know[23] that you are quite pure means: I will know, I will understand.

Kd.2.3.6 For as there is an answer for each question means: as one (person) if questioned about one (thing) would answer, so it should be known to that assembly: ‘He questions me’.

An assembly like this (means): it is called an assembly of monks.

It is proclaimed up to the third time means: it is proclaimed once and it is proclaimed a second time and it is proclaimed a third time.

Remembering means: knowing, perceiving.

There is an existent offence means: either one comes to be committed or if fallen into is not removed.

Should not reveal means: should not tell, should not make clear, should not open up, should not make plain Vin.1.104 in the midst of an Order or in the midst of a group or to one individual.

Kd.2.3.7 There comes to be conscious lying for him means: What is conscious lying? It is an offence of wrong-doing.[24]

A thing called a stumbling-block by the Lord means: a stumbling-block to what? It is a stumbling-block to the attainment of the first (stage in) meditation, it is a stumbling-block to the attainment of the second (stage in) meditation … the third (stage in) meditation, … the fourth (stage in) meditation, it is a stumbling-block to the attainment of the meditations, of the deliverances, of the contemplations, of the attainments[25], of the renunciations, of BD.4.135 the escapes,[26] of the aloofnesses, of states that are good.

Therefore means: for that reason.

By (a monk) who remembers means: by (one) knowing, by (one) perceiving.

By (a monk) who desires purity means: by (one) wishing to remove (an offence), by (one) wishing to be purified.

Kd.2.3.8 Existent offence means: either one comes to be committed, or, if fallen into, is not removed.

Should be revealed means: it should be revealed in the midst of an Order or in the midst of a group or to one individual.

For when it is revealed there comes to be comfort for him means: In what is there comfort? There comes to be comfort in the attainment of the first (stage in) meditation, there comes to be comfort in the attainment in the second (stage in) meditation … the third (stage in) meditation … the fourth (stage in) meditation; there comes to be comfort in the attainment of the meditations, of the deliverances, of the contemplations, of the attainments, of the renunciations, of the escapes, of the aloofnesses, of states that are good.[27]


Kd.2.4.1 Now at that time monks, thinking: “The recital of the Pātimokkha is allowed by the Lord,” recited the Pātimokkha daily. They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

Monks, the Pātimokkha should not be recited daily. Whoever should (so) recite it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow you, monks, to recite the Pātimokkha on an Observance day.


Kd.2.4.2 Now at that time monks, thinking: “The recital of the Pātimokkha on an Observance day is allowed by the Lord,” recited the Pātimokkha three times during the half-month—on the fourteenth, on the fifteenth and on the eighth (days) of the half-month. They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

Monks, the Pātimokkha should not be recited three times BD.4.136 in the half-month. Whoever should (so) recite it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow you, monks, to recite the Pātimokkha once in the half-month: either on this fourteenth or on the fifteenth (day).


Kd.2.5.1 Now at that time the group of six monks recited the Pātimokkha according to assembly, each one before his own assembly. They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

Monks, Vin.1.105 the Pātimokkha should not be recited according to assembly, each one before his own assembly, Whoever should (so) recite it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow you, monks, a (formal) act of Observance for all together.”[28]

Kd.2.5.2 Then it occurred to the monks: “A (formal) act of Observance for all together is allowed by the Lord. Now, how far does ‘being all together’[29] (go)? As far as one residence, or the whole earth?” They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

Kd.2.5.3I allow, monks, ‘being all together’ (to mean) as far as one residence.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Rhys Davids (E.R.E., article on Pātimokkha) says that from “the manner in which the word is used” in this passage it is not surprising” to find that the early Buddhists ascribed the institution … of the Pātimokkha itself to a date long antecedent to that of the Buddha. If that be correct, the word Pātimokkha must have been current in Kosala when Buddhism arose, and … among members of the previous orders”. Rhys Davids refers to DN.ii.46–DN.ii.49, where tradition ascribes a Pātimokkha to the time when Vipassin was Buddha, and to the verse (DN.ii.49), repeated at Dhp.185, which contains the words: pātimokkhe ca saṃvaroetaṃ buddhānasāsanaṃ, “and restraint according to the Pātimokkha—this is the teaching of the Buddhas” (plural).
On suggested meanings of Pātimokkha, see BD.1, Introduction, p.xiff.; Vinaya Texts i., Introduction, p.xxvii. On the number of rules that the Pātimokkha contained, see Winternitz, History of Indian Literature, ii.2, n.5, which gives further references, and also B.C. Law, History of Pali Literature, i.48f.

2.

uposathakamma. Uposatha stands for “observance” itself. The phrase tad-ah-uposathe, “on this day’s observance”, is usually used for an Observance day.

3.

pārisuddhi, i.e. that only those are present who have committed no offences, or who have acknowledged any committed, or who have fulfilled the penalty for them. Cf. below, BD.4.158.

4.

sabbeva santā. Cf. ubho va santā at Vin.3.218.

5.

Vinaya Texts i.242 take these words (all of us … to it) to be the answer of the monks then present. As there is no ti marking the end of a speech, I think Gotama is still supposed to be telling the monks the way in which the recitation is to be carried out.

6.

āvikareyya. Āvikaroti is to make clear, to manifest, thus to disclose, to bring to light. This method of clearing oneself of an offence is perhaps a forerunner to the more formal confession, āpatti deseti, to an Order, a group or to one individual monk.

7.

paccekapuṭṭhassa.

8.

anussāvita.

9.

Defined at Vin.4.2 (BD.2.166).

10.

Quoted Atthasālinī 92.

11.

antarāyiko dhammo; see BD.3.21, n.5.

12.

On the inclusion of this Commentary in the Mahāvagga, see Vinaya Texts i, Introduction, p.xv and S. Dutt, Early Buddhist Monachism, p.91.

13.

This derivative, Pātimokkha from mukha “is quite impossible”, Winternitz, History of Indian Literature, ii.22, n.2. But punning is not to be taken as serious scientific etymology, for this was unknown so early.

14.

Or, of endearment, of affection, piya.

15.

Cf. Cnd.130, Snp-a.536.

16.

Cf.SN.ii.25, SN.ii.154. SN.iii.132, SN.iv.166; AN.i.286, AN.ii.160.

17.

aṭṭhikatvā manasikatvā; cf. Vin.4.144.

18.

sabbaṃ cetasā samannāharāma; cf. SN.i.112, SN.i.189, SN.N.ii.220; AN.ii.116, AN.iii.163, AN.iii.402, AN.iv.167; MN.i.325.

19.

nisāmema.

20.

Cf. AN.iii.174; Ds.11, Ds.15, Ds.24; Mnd.501.

21.

The five classes of offence comprise the Pārājika, Saṅghādisesa, Aniyata, Nissaggiya, Pācittiya offences; the seven classes these five with the addition of the Pāṭidesaniyas and Sekhiyas.

22.

vuṭṭhitā, feminine, agreeing with its subject āpatti. Vin-a.1034 reasonably explains: “here, either, whatever monk there comes to be not falling into an offence, or, having fallen is removed from it, this is the meaning of ‘if there is no offence’”. Cf. āpattiyā vuṭṭhāna in Kd.1.38.10.

23.

vedissāmi … jānissāmi.

24.

In the Pācittiyas, however, conscious lying appears as the first offence in this class. Vinaya Texts i.245, note says that because of this “we cannot interpret here dukkaṭa in the technical sense of a dukkaṭa offence”. I think, however, that the difference in the penalties laid down for conscious lying may point to different stages in the growth of the legislation.

26.

nissaraṇa. Various ‘escapes’ are mentioned at Ud.80; It.p.37, It.p.61; DN.iii.275; AN.iii.245, DN.iii.239–DN.iii.240; AN.iii.290, DN.iii.247; MN.i.84ff., etc.

27.

Cf. the forest or jungle dwelling monk who had comfort, phāsu, Kd.1.73.4. This example together with the one given above indicate that phāsu is by no means used exclusively to denote physical comfort.

28.

samaggānaṃ. Cf. samagga at Vin.4.52, “all come”, and see BD.2.267, n.7; and cf. samagga saṅgha at Vin.4.154, Vin.4.218, Vin.4.231 meaning a complete Order.

29.

sāmaggī.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: