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...

First recitation section

The story of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī

Kd.20.1.1 BD.5.352 At one time the Awakened One, the Lord, was staying among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan monastery.[1] Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, spoke thus to the Lord:

“Lord, it were well that women should obtain the going forth from home into homelessness in this dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.”

“Be careful, Gotami, of the going forth of women from home into homelessness in this dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.” And a second time … And a third time did the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great speak thus to the Lord: “Lord, it were well …”

“Be careful, Gotami, of the going forth of women from home into homelessness in this dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.”

Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, thinking: “The Lord does not allow women to go forth from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder,” afflicted, grieved, with a tearful face and crying, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping her right side towards him.

Kd.20.1.2 Then the Lord having stayed at Kapilavatthu for as long as he found suiting, set out on tour for Vesālī. Gradually, walking on tour, he arrived at Vesālī. The Lord stayed there in Vesālī in the Great Grove in the Gabled Hall. Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, having had her hair cut off, having donned saffron robes, set out for Vesālī with several Sakyan women, and in due course approached Vesālī, the Great Grove, the Gabled Hall. Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, her feet swollen, her limbs covered with dust, with tearful face, and crying, stood outside the porch of the gateway. BD.5.353 Vin.2.254 The venerable Ānanda saw the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, standing outside the porch of the gateway, her feet swollen, her limbs covered with dust, with tearful face and crying; seeing her, he spoke thus to the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great:

“Why are you, Gotami, standing … and crying?”

“It is because, honoured Ānanda, the Lord does not allow the going forth of women from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.”

“Well now, Gotami, stay[2] here a moment,[3] until I have asked the Lord for the going forth of women from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.”

Kd.20.1.3 Then the venerable Ānanda approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord:

“Lord, this Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, is standing outside the porch of the gateway, her feet swollen, her limbs covered with dust, with tearful face and crying, and saying that the Lord does not allow the going forth of women from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder. It were well, Lord, if women might obtain the going forth from home … by the Truth-finder.”

“Be careful, Ānanda, of the going forth of women from home … by the Truth-finder.” And a second time … And a third time the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord: “It were well, Lord, if women might obtain the going forth … proclaimed by the Truth-finder.”[4]

“Be careful, Ānanda, of the going forth of women from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.” Then the venerable Ānanda, thinking: ‘The Lord does not allow the going forth of women from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder. Suppose now that I, by some other method, should ask the Lord for the going forth of women BD.5.354 from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.” Then the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord:

“Now, Lord, are women, having gone forth from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder, able to realise the fruit of stream-attainment or the fruit of once-returning or the fruit of non-returning or perfection?”

“Women, Ānanda, having gone forth … are able to realise … perfection.”

“If, Lord, women, having gone forth … are able to realise … perfection—and, Lord, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, was of great service: she was the Lord’s aunt, Vin.2.255 foster-mother, nurse, giver of milk, for when the Lord’s mother passed away she suckled him[5]—it were well, Lord, that women should obtain the going forth from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder.”

Eight important rules

Kd.20.1.4 “If, Ānanda, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, accepts eight important rules,[6] that may be ordination[7] for her:

  1. A nun who has been ordained (even) for a century must greet respectfully, rise up from her seat, salute with joined palms, do proper homage to a monk ordained but that day. And this rule is to be honoured, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed during her life.
  2. A nun must not spend the rains in a residence where there is no monk. This rule too is to be honoured … during her life.
  3. Every half month a nun should desire two things from the Order of monks: the asking (as to the date) of the Observance day, and the coming for the exhortation. This rule too is to be honoured … during her life.
  4. After the rains a nun must ‘invite’ before both Orders in respect of three matters: what was seen, what was heard, what was suspected. This rule too is to be honoured … during her life.
  5. BD.5.355 “A nun, offending against an important rule, must undergo mānatta (discipline) for half a month before both Orders. This rule too must be honoured … during her life.
  6. When, as a probationer, she has trained in the six rules for two years, she should seek ordination from both Orders. This rule too is to be honoured … during her life.
  7. A monk must not be abused or reviled in any way by a nun. This rule too is to be honoured … during her life.
  8. From today admonition of monks by nuns is forbidden, admonition of nuns by monks is not forbidden. This rule too is to be honoured, respected, revered, venerated, never to be transgressed during her life.

“If, Ānanda, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, accepts these eight important rules, that may be ordination for her.”

Kd.20.1.5 Then the venerable Ānanda, having learnt the eight important rules from the Lord, approached the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great; having approached, he spoke thus to the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great:

“If you, Gotami, will accept eight important rules, that will be the ordination for you: a nun who has been ordained (even) for a century … From today admonition of monks by nuns is forbidden … never to be transgressed during your life. If you, Gotami, will accept these eight important rules, that will be the ordination for you.”

“Even,[8] honoured Ānanda, as a woman or a man when young, of tender years, and fond of ornaments, having washed (himself and his) head, Vin.2.256 having obtained a garland of lotus flowers or a garland of jasmine flowers or a garland of some sweet-scented creeper, having taken it with both hands, should place it on top of his head—even so do I, honoured Ānanda, accept these eight important rules never to be transgressed during my life.”

Kd.20.1.6 Then the venerable Ānanda approached the Lord: having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord: “Lord, the eight important rules were accepted by the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great.”

BD.5.356 “If, Ānanda, women had not obtained the going forth from home into homelessness in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder, the Brahma-faring, Ānanda, would have lasted long, true dhamma would have endured for a thousand years. But since, Ānanda, women have gone forth … in the dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Truth-finder, now, Ānanda, the Brahma-faring will not last long, true dhamma will endure only for five hundred years.

“Even, Ānanda, as those households which have many women and few men easily fall a prey to robbers, to pot-thieves,[9] even so, Ānanda in whatever dhamma and discipline women obtain the going forth from home into homelessness, that Brahma-faring will not last long.

“Even, Ānanda, as when the disease known as mildew[10] attacks a whole field of rice that field of rice does not last long, even so, Ānanda, in whatever dhamma and discipline women obtain the going forth … that Brahma-faring will not last long.

“Even, Ānanda, as when the disease known as red rust[11] attacks a whole field of sugar-cane, that field of sugar-cane does not last long, even so, Ānanda, in whatever dhamma and discipline … that Brahma-faring will not last long.

“Even, Ānanda, as a man,[12] looking forward, may build a dyke to a great reservoir so that the water may not overflow, even so, Ānanda, were the eight important rules for nuns laid down by me, looking forward, not to be transgressed during their life.”

Told are the Eight Important Rules for Nuns.

Allowance for the ordination of nuns

Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus to the Lord:

BD.5.357 “Now, what line of conduct, Lord, should I follow in regard to these Vin.2.257 Sakyan women?” Then the Lord, gladdened, rejoiced, roused, delighted the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, with talk on dhamma. Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, gladdened … delighted by the Lord with talk on dhamma, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping her right side towards him. Then the Lord on this occasion, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

I allow, monks, nuns to be ordained by monks.[13]

Kd.20.2.2 Then these nuns spoke thus to the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great: “The lady is not-ordained, neither are we ordained, for it was thus laid down by the Lord: nuns should be ordained by monks.”

Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great approached the venerable Ānanda; having approached, having greeted the venerable Ānanda, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda: “Honoured Ānanda, these nuns spoke to me thus: ‘The lady is not ordained, neither are we ordained, for it was thus laid down by the Lord: nuns should be ordained by monks’.”

Then the venerable Ānanda approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord: “Lord, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus: ‘Honoured Ānanda, these nuns spoke to me thus … nuns should be ordained by monks’.”

“At the time, Ānanda, when the eight important rules were accepted by the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great, that was her ordination.”


Kd.20.3.1 Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great approached the venerable Ānanda; having approached, having greeted the venerable Ānanda, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda: “I, honoured Ānanda, am asking one boon from the Lord: It were well, BD.5.358 Lord, if the Lord would allow greeting, standing up for salutation and the proper duties between monks and nuns according to seniority.”

Then the venerable Ānanda approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord: “Lord, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus: ‘I, honoured Ānanda, am asking one boon … according to seniority’.”

“This is impossible, Ānanda, Vin.2.258 it cannot come to pass, that the Truth-finder should allow greeting, standing up for, salutation and the proper duties between monks and nuns according to seniority. Ānanda, these followers of other sects, although liable to poor guardianship, will not carry out greeting, standing up for, salutation and proper duties towards women, so how should the Truth-finder allow greeting … and proper duties towards women?” Then the Lord, on this occasion, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying:

Monks, one should not carry out greeting, rising up for salutation and proper duties towards women.[14] Whoever should carry out (one of these), there is an offence of wrong-doing.


Kd.20.4.1 Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus to the Lord: “Lord, those rules of training for nuns which are in common with those for monks,[15] what line of conduct should we, Lord, follow in regard to these rules of training?”

“Those rules of training for nuns, Gotami, which are in common with those for monks, as the monks train themselves, so should you train yourselves in these rules of training.”

“Those rules of training for nuns, Lord, which are not in common with those for monks, what line of conduct should we, Lord, follow in regard to these rules of training?”

BD.5.359 “Those rules of training for nuns, Gotami, which are not in common with those for monks, train yourselves in the rules of training according as they are laid down.”


Kd.20.5.1 Then the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, the Gotamid, Pajāpatī the Great spoke thus to the Lord:[16] “Lord, it were well if the Lord would teach me dhamma in brief so that I, having heard the Lord’s dhamma, might live alone, aloof, zealous, ardent, self-resolute.”

“Whatever are the states,[17] of which you, Gotami, may know: these states lead to passion, not to passionlessness, they lead to bondage, not to the absence of bondage, they lead to the piling up (of rebirth), not to the absence of piling up, they lead to wanting much, not to wanting little, they lead to discontent, not to contentment, they lead to sociability, not to solitude, they lead to indolence, not to the putting forth of energy, Vin.2.259 they lead to difficulty in supporting oneself, not to ease in supporting oneself—you should know definitely, Gotami: this is not dhamma, this is not discipline, this is not the Teacher’s instruction. But whatever are the states of which you, Gotami, may know: these states lead to passionlessness, not to passion … the opposite of the preceding … they lead to ease in supporting oneself, not to difficulty in supporting oneself—you should know definitely, Gotami: this is dhamma, this is discipline, this is the Teacher’s instruction.”[18]


Kd.20.6.1 Now at that time the Pātimokkha was not recited to nuns. They told this matter to the Lord.[19] He said: “I allow you, monks, to recite the Pātimokkha to the nuns.” Then it occurred to the nuns: “Now, by whom should the Pātimokkha be recited to nuns?” They told this matter to the Lord. BD.5.360 He said: “I allow monks, the Pātimokkha to be recited to nuns by monks.


Now at that time monks, having approached a nunnery, recited the Pātimokkha to nuns.[20] People looked down upon, criticised, spread it about, saying: “These are their wives, these are their mistresses; now they will take their pleasure together.” Monks heard these people who … spread it about. Then these monks told this matter to the Lord. He said:

Monks, the Pātimokkha should not be recited to nuns by monks. Whoever should recite it, there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow, monks, the Pātimokkha to be recited to nuns by nuns.

The nuns did not know how to recite the Pātimokkha. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, to explain to the nuns through monks, saying: ‘The Pātimokkha should be recited thus’.


Kd.20.6.2 Now at that time nuns did not confess[21] offences. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “Monks, an offence should not be not confessed by a nun. Whoever should not confess it, there is an offence of wrong-doing.” The nuns did not know how to confess offences. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, to explain to the nuns through monks, saying: ‘An offence should be confessed thus’.Vin.2.260

Then it occurred to monks: “Now, by whom should nuns’ offences be acknowledged?” They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks to acknowledge nuns’ offences through monks.


Now at that time nuns, having (each) seen a monk on a carriage-road and in a cul-de-sac and at cross-roads,[22] having (each) laid down her bowl on the ground, having arranged her upper robe over one shoulder, having sat down on her haunches, having saluted with joined palms, confessed an offence. People … spread it about, saying: “These are their wives, these are their mistresses; having treated them BD.5.361 contemptuously during the night now they are asking for forgiveness.” They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “Monks, nuns’ offences should not be acknowledged by monks. Whoever should acknowledge (one), there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow, monks, nuns’ offences to be acknowledged by nuns.” The nuns did not know how to acknowledge offences. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, to explain to the nuns through monks, saying: ‘An offence should be acknowledged thus’.


Kd.20.6.3 Now at that time (formal) acts[23] were not carried out for nuns. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow, monks, a (formal) act to be carried out for nuns.” Then it occurred to monks: ‘Now, by whom should (formal) acts for nuns be carried out?’ They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow, monks, (formal) acts for nuns to be carried out by monks.


Now at that time nuns on whose behalf (formal) acts had been carried out,[24] having (each) seen a monk on a carriage-road and in a cul-de-sac and at cross-roads, having (each) laid down her bowl on the ground, having arranged her upper robe over one shoulder, having sat down on her haunches, having saluted with joined palms, asked forgiveness[25] thinking, “Surely it should be done thus.” As before[26] people … spread it about, saying: “These are their wives, these are their mistresses; having treated them contemptuously during the night now they are asking for forgiveness.” They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “Monks, a (formal) act on behalf of nuns should not be carried out by monks. Whoever should (so) carry one out, there is an offence of wrong-doing. I allow, monks, nuns to carry out (formal) acts on behalf of the nuns.” Nuns did not know how (formal) acts should be carried out. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, to explain to the nuns through monks, saying: ‘A (formal) act should be carried out thus’.


Kd.20.7.1 BD.5.362 Now at that time nuns, in the midst of an Order,[27] Vin.2.261 striving, quarrelling, falling into disputes, wounding one another with the weapons of the tongue,[28] were not able to settle that legal question. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, to settle nuns’ legal questions by monks.


Now at that time monks were settling a legal question for nuns, but as that legal question was being investigated there were to be seen both nuns who were entitled to take part in a (formal) act[29] and those who had committed an offence.[30] The nuns spoke thus: “It were well, honoured sirs, if the ladies themselves[31] could carry out (formal) acts for nuns, if the ladies themselves could acknowledge an offence of nuns, but it was thus laid down by the Lord: ‘Nuns’ legal questions should be settled by monks’.” They told this matter to the Lord. He said:

I allow you, monks, having cancelled[32] the carrying out by monks of nuns’ (formal) acts, to give it into the charge of nuns to carry out nuns’ (formal) acts by nuns; having cancelled (the acknowledgement) by monks of nuns’ offences, to give it into the charge of nuns to acknowledge nuns’ offences by nuns.


Kd.20.8.1 Now at that time the nun who was the pupil of the nun Uppalavaṇṇā had followed after the Lord for seven years mastering discipline, but because she was of confused mindfulness, what she had learnt she forgot. That nun heard it said BD.5.363 that the Lord wished to come to Sāvatthī. Then it occurred to that nun: “For seven years I have followed the Lord mastering discipline, but because I am of confused mindfulness, what I have learnt is forgotten. Hard it is for a woman to follow after a teacher for as long as her life lasts. What line of conduct should be followed by me?” Then that nun told this matter to the nuns. The nuns told this matter to the monks. The monks told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow, monks, discipline to be taught to nuns by monks.

The First Portion for Repeating.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Down to end of Kd.20.1 occurs also at AN.iv.274AN.iv.279.

2.

hohi.

3.

Not in Aṅguttara version.

4.

See Vin.2.289 where Ānanda was charged at the Council of Rājagaha with having persuaded Gotama to admit women to the Order, thus causing its decay.

5.

See MN.iii.253.

6.

garudhammā. See BD.2.266, n.11. Besides at AN.iv.276, these rules are given at Vin.4.51 (see BD.2.268BD.2.269 for notes).

7.

AN-a.iv.134 says “that may be her going forth as well as (her) ordination.” She would not therefore have to pass two years as a probationer, and this practice will no doubt have been introduced later, after an Order of nuns had been in being for some time.

8.

Besides at AN.iv.278 this simile occurs at MN.i.32, and the first part at Vin.3.68 (see BD.1.117, n. for notes).

9.

kumbhatthenaka. Vin-a.1291 says “having lit a light in a pot, by its light they search others’ houses for booty.” AN-a.iv.136 is the same, and SN-a.ii.223 very similar. The simile occurs also at SN-a.ii.264.

10.

setaṭṭhika, “white-as-bones.” See BD.1.11, n.4. GS.iv.185, n.2 gives explanation of AN-a.iv.136 (= Vin-a.1291) on above: some insect bores the stem, so that the head of the paddy is unable to get the sap.

11.

mañjeṭṭhika. Vin-a.1291 explains that the ends of the sugar canes become red; also AN-a.iv.136.

12.

Cf. like similes at MN.iii.96, AN.iii.28.

13.

Cf. the sixth important rule above. Also see BD.3, Introduction, p.xlivff.

14.

At Kd.16.6.5 women are among those not to be greeted.

16.

As at AN.iv.280.

17.

So AN-a.iv.137 (on AN.iv.280).

18.

Vin-a.1292 and AN-a.iv.137 say that on account of this exhortation, Pajāpatī attained arahantship.

19.

Usually the nuns approach the Lord only through the mediation of the monks. Here it would appear as if the monks had themselves observed that the nuns were not hearing the Pātimokkha and reported the matter to the Lord on their own initiative.

20.

Cf. Bu-Pc.23 where the modest monks complain that monks go to the nuns’ quarters to exhort them.

21.

paṭikaronti.

22.

Cf. Nuns’ Bi-Pc.14. These three words are defined at Vin.4.271 (BD.3.268); see also Vin.4.176 in definition of “among the houses.”

23.

Vin-a.1292 says “acts of censure and so on, and also the sevenfold formal acts.” The former number five, as at Vin.1.49. The legal questions amount to seven, as at Vin.4.207, and probably these are meant.

24.

katakammā.

25.

Vin-a.1292 says, “saying, ‘we will not act in such a way again’.”

26.

Above in Kd.20.6.2

27.

Cf. Vin.1.341, MN.iii.152.

28.

mukhasattīhi vitudantā, not “got to blows” as at Vinaya Texts iii.333, but “inflicting wounds with the mouth.”

29.

kammappattāya as at Kd.9.3.5, but perhaps here, as nuns were not yet entitled to take part in formal acts, meaning “had fallen into the need for having a formal act carried out on their account”. There are two variant readings, see Vin.2.327.

30.

āpattigāminiyo.

31.

ayyā va. The nuns are not asking the monks to do these things, as made out at Vinaya Texts iii.333, but are hoping to get the Lord’s decree altered.

32.

ropetvā. Ropeti can mean to direct towards, also to cancel, and to pass off. Pali-English Dictionary favours the latter. Vinaya Texts iii.334 has “set on foot.” Commentary reads āropetvā (with variant reading ropetvā), which means: to bring about, to get ready; to tell, to show, etc. Vin-a.1292 says “saying, ‘this formal act among those of censure and so on, against whom is it to be carried out?’ having explained (aropetva) it thus, he says ‘Now you carry it out yourselves’—it should be given into the charge of. But if a certain one was explained and they carry out another, (monks) saying: ‘They are carrying out a formal act of guidance (niyasakamma for nissayak-), against one deserving a formal act of censure,’ here, according to what is said, they show what should be carried out.”