- the Patimokkha Training Rules  


Translated and Explained


Thanissaro Bhikkhu

(Geoffrey DeGraff)


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data pending


Copyright 1994 Thanissaro Bhikkhu


This book may be copied or reprinted for free distribution

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A limited number of printed copies of this book are available by

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       donations to help defray postage costs are invited. Inquiries

concerning the book may be addressed to:

The Abbot

Metta Forest Monastery

P.O. Box 1409

Valley Center, CA  92082  U.S.A

* * *

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                      First DharmaNet Edition 1993

                  Second DharmaNet Edition June, 1994


DharmaNet International P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley CA 94704-4951

* * * * * * * *


      "Now, Ananda, if it occurs to any of you -- 'The teaching has

      lost its authority; we are without a Teacher' -- do not view it

      in that way.  Whatever Dhamma and Vinaya I have pointed out and

      formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone."

                                                                                                                       -- D. 16                                                      







   Introduction:  Dhamma-vinaya                     

   Rule Index                                    

   Chapter 1:  Patimokkha                         

   Chapter 2:  Nissaya                            

   Chapter 3:  Disrobing                          

   Chapter 4:  Parajika                             

   Chapter 5:  Sanghadisesa                       

   Chapter 6:  Aniyata                          

   Chapter 7:  Nissaggiya pacittiya

        One:    The Robe-cloth Chapter           

        Two:    The Silk Chapter                 

        Three:  The Bowl Chapter                   

   Chapter 8:  Pacittiya

        One:    The Lie Chapter                  

        Two:    The Living Plant Chapter         

        Three:  The Exhortation Chapter          

        Four:   The Food Chapter                 

        Five:   The Naked Ascetic Chapter        

        Six:    The Alcoholic Drink Chapter      

        Seven:  The Animal Chapter               

        Eight:  The In-accordance-with-the-Rule Chapter  

        Nine:   The Treasure Chapter             

   Chapter 9:  Patidesaniya                       

   Chapter 10: Sekhiya                           

        One:     Proper Behavior

        Two:     Food 

        Three:   Teaching Dhamma 

        Four:    Miscellaneous

   Chapter 11: Adhikarana-samatha                

   Chapter 12: Appendices                        

        I.       Controversial points:  Dawn 

        II.      Controversial points:  Sugata measures 

        III.     Controversial points:  Meals 

        IV.      Pali formulae:  Determination 

        V.       Pali formulae:  Shared ownership 

        VI.      Pali formulae:  Forfeiture 

        VII.     Pali formulae:  Confession

        VIII.    The pupil's duties as attendant to his mentor







This book is an attempt to give an organized, detailed account of the Patimokkha training rules and the traditions that have grown up around them.  It is aimed primarily at those whose lives are affected by the rules -- bhikkhus who live by them, and other people who have dealings with the bhikkhus -- so that they will be able to find gathered in one volume as much essential information as possible on just what the rules do and do not entail.  Students of Early Buddhism, Theravadin history, or contemporary Theravadin issues should also find this book interesting, as should anyone who is serious about the practice of the Dhamma and wants to see how the Buddha worked out the ramifications of Dhamma practice in daily life.

The amount of information offered here is both the book's strength and its weakness.  On the one hand, it encompasses material that in some cases is otherwise unavailable in Eng-lish or even in romanized Pali, and should be sufficient to serve as a life-long companion to any bhikkhu who seriously wants to benefit from the precise and thorough training the rules have to offer.  On the other hand, the sheer size of the book and the mass of details to be remembered might prove daunting or discouraging to anyone just embarking on the bhikkhu's life.    

To overcome this drawback, I have tried to organize the material in as clear-cut a manner as possible.  In particular, by analyzing each rule into its component factors, I have tried to show not only the rule's precise range but also how it connects to the general pattern of mindfully analyzing one's own actions in terms of such factors as intention, perception, object, effort, and result -- a system that plays an important role in the training of the mind.    

Secondly, I have provided short summaries for the rules and have gathered them, organized by topic, in the Rule Index at the back of the book.  If you are new to the subject of Buddhist monastic discipline, I suggest that you read the Rule Index first, to grasp the gist of the rules and their rela-tionship to the Buddhist path, before going on to the more detailed discussions in the body of the book. This should help you keep the general purpose of the rules in mind, and keep you from getting lost in the mass of details.

I am indebted to the many people who helped directly and indirectly in the writing of this book.  Phra Ajaan Fuang Jotiko (Phra Khru Nanavisitth) and Phra Ajaan Thawng Candasiri (Phra Nanavisitth), my first teachers in Vinaya, gave me a thorough grounding in the subject.  Ven. Brahmavamso Bhikkhu gave many hours of his time to writing detailed criticisms of early versions of the manuscript during the long period of research that led up to the book, forcing me to deepen my knowledge and sharpen my presentation of the topic. There was a brief period when he and I thought of co-authoring the book, but the many questions that needed to be settled concerning form and content eventually required that one person go it alone, and it fell my lot to be that person. Still, much of the precision of the book is a result of his efforts, even in cases where I had to differ with his opinions.  

As the manuscript began to approach its final form, Ven. Phra Nanavarodom, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Thiradhammo Bhikkhu, Amaro Bhikkhu, Suviro Bhikkhu, Bill Weir, and Doris Weir all read copies of it and offered valuable suggestions for improvement. I, of course, remain responsible for any errors it may still contain.    

I dedicate this book in gratitude and respect to my preceptor, Phra Debmoli (Samrong Gunavuddho) of Wat Asokaram, Samut Prakaan, Thailand, and to all my teachers in the path of the Dhamma-Vinaya.


   Thanissaro Bhikkhu

   (Geoffrey DeGraff)

   Metta Forest Monastery

   Valley Center, CA 92082-1409 U.S.A.

   May, 1994

   * * * * * * * * 




      A        Anguttara Nikaya

      As       Adhikarana-samatha

      Ay       Aniyata

      BD       Book of Discipline

      Cv       Cullavagga

      D        Digha Nikaya

      Dhp      Dhammapada

      M        Majjhima Nikaya

      Mv       Mahavagga

      NP       Nissaggiya Pacittiya

      Pc       Pacittiya

      Pd       Patidesaniya

      Pr       Parajika

      Pv       Parivara

      S        Samyutta Nikaya

      Sg       Sanghadisesa

      Sk       Sekhiya

      Vism     Visuddhi Magga


Numbers in the references to Mv, Cv, and Pv denote chapter, section and sub-section; in the references to D and M, discourse (sutta); in the references to S and A, section (samyutta or nipata) and discourse; in the references to Dhp, verse; in the references to Vism, chapter and paragraph.


* * * * * * * *







Dhamma-Vinaya was the Buddha's own name for the religion he founded.

Dhamma -- the truth -- is what he discovered and pointed out as advice for all who want to gain release from suffering.

Vinaya -- discipline -- is what he formulated as rules, ideals and standards of behavior for those of his followers who went forth from home life to take up the quest for release in greater earnestness. Although this book deals primarily with discipline, we should note at the outset that Dhamma and Vinaya in practice function only together.

Neither without the other can attain the desired goal. In theory they may be separate, but in the person who practices them they merge as qualities developed in the mind and character.  

      "Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered and not to being fettered; to self-effacement and not to self-aggrandizement; to modesty and not to ambition; to contentment and not to discontent; to seclusion, and not to entanglement; to energy and not to idleness; to being unburdensome and not to being burdensome': You may definitely hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'" (Cv.X.5)  

Ultimately, the Buddha said, just as the sea has a single taste, that of salt, so too the Dhamma and Vinaya have a single taste: that of release. The connection between discipline and release is spelled out in a passage that recurs at several points in the Canon:   

      "Discipline is for the sake of restraint, restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse, freedom from remorse for the sake of joy, joy for the sake of rapture, rapture for the sake of tranquility, tranquility for the sake of pleasure, pleasure for the sake of concentration, concentration for the sake of knowledge and vision of things as they are, knowledge and vision of things as they are for the sake of disenchantment, disenchantment for the sake of dispassion, dispassion for the sake of release, release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release, knowledge and vision of release for the sake of total unbinding without clinging." (Pv.XII.2)

In establishing his religion of release, though, the Buddha did not simply set out a body of recommendations and rules. He also founded a company (//parisa//) of followers. This company falls into four main groups: bhikkhus (monks), bhikkhunis (nuns), lay men, and lay women. Although the Buddha saw no need to organize the laity in any manner, he arranged for the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis -- who had given up the entanglements of the household life to devote themselves more fully to the goal of release -- to develop into communities; and saw that they needed, as all communities do, ideals and standards, rules and customs to ensure their stability. This need is what gave rise to the Vinaya. 

In the early years of the Buddha's career, the texts tell us, there was no need to formulate disciplinary rules. All of the bhikkhus in his following -- the Community of bhikkhunis had not yet been started -- were men of high personal attainments who had succeeded in subduing many or all of the defilements of their minds. They knew his teachings well and behaved accordingly. The Canon tells of how Ven. Sariputta, one of the Buddha's foremost disciples, asked the Buddha at an early date to formulate a Patimokkha, or code of rules, to ensure that the holy life the Buddha had founded would last long, just as a thread holding together a floral arrangement ensures that the flowers are not scattered by the wind. The Buddha replied that the time for such a code had not yet come, for even the most backward of the men in the Community at that time had already had their first glimpse of the goal. Only when mental effluents (//asava//) made themselves felt in the Community would there be a need for a Patimokkha.  

As time passed, the conditions that provided an opening for the effluents within the Community eventually began to appear. The Bhaddali Sutta (M.65) presents the Buddha at a later point in his career listing these conditions as five:  

       Ven. Bhaddali: "Why is it, venerable sir, that there used to be fewer training rules and more bhikkhus established in the knowledge of Awakening? And why is it that there are now more training rules and fewer bhikkhus established in the knowledge of Awakening?" [Bhaddali, who has been unwilling to abide by the training rules, seems to be suggesting that the rise in the number of training rules is itself the cause for fewer  bhikkhus' attaining Awakening. The Buddha, however, offers a different explanation.]     

      The Buddha: "So it is, Bhaddali. When beings have begun to degenerate, and the true Dhamma has begun to disappear, there are more training rules and fewer bhikkhus established in the knowledge of Awakening. The Teacher does not lay down a training rule for his disciples as long as there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Community. But when there //are// cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Community, then the Teacher lays down a training rule for his disciples so as to counteract those very conditions.     

     "There are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have arisen in the Community as long as the Community has not become large. But when the Community has become large, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents arise in the Community, and   the Teacher then lays down a training rule for his disciples so as to counteract those very conditions....When the Community possesses great material gains...great status...a large body of learning... when the Community is long-standing, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents in the Community, and the Teacher then lays down a  training rule for his disciples so as to counteract those very conditions."  

Thus the rules themselves were not the cause for degeneracy in the Community, and the conditions that provided a foothold for the effluents were not themselves effluents. Rather, the growing complexity of the Community provided the opportunity for bhikkhus to act on the basis of their defilements in a growing variety of ways, and the rules -- although they could not prevent any of the five conditions -- had to become correspondingly complex to counteract the opportunities those conditions provided for unenlightened behavior.   

Even when these conditions did arise, though, the Buddha did not set out a full code at once. Instead, he formulated rules one at a time, in response to events. The considerations that went into formulating each rule are best illustrated by the events surrounding the formulation of the first.

Ven. Sudinna, the story goes, had strong faith in the Buddha and had ordained after receiving his parents' grudging consent. He was their only child and, though married, was childless. His parents, fearing that the government would confiscate their property at their death if it had no heir, devised various schemes to lure Ven.Sudinna back to the lay life, but to no avail. Finally, his mother realized that he was firm in his intention to stay a bhikkhu and so asked him at least to have intercourse with his former wife so that their property would have an heir. Ven. Sudinna consented, took his wife into the forest, and had intercourse three times.    

Immediately he felt remorseful and eventually confessed his deed to his fellow bhikkhus. Word reached the Buddha, who called a meeting of the Community, questioned Ven. Sudinna, and gave him a rebuke. The rebuke fell into two major parts. In the first part, the Buddha reminded Ven. Sudinna of his position as a //samana// -- a contemplative -- and that his behavior was unworthy of his position. Also, the Buddha pointed out to him of the aims of the teaching and noted that his behavior ran counter to them. The implication here was that Ven. Sudinna had not only acted inconsistently with the content of the teaching, but had also shown callous disregard for the Buddha's compassionate aims in making the Dhamma known.     

      "'Misguided man, it is unseemly, unbecoming, unsuitable, and unworthy of a contemplative; improper and not to be done....Have I not taught the Dhamma in many ways for the sake of dispassion and not for passion; for unfettering and not for fettering; for letting go and not for clinging? Yet here, while I have taught the Dhamma for dispassion, you set your heart on passion; while I have taught the Dhamma for unfettering, you  set your heart on being fettered; while I have taught the Dhamma for letting go, you set your heart on clinging.

      "'Misguided man, haven't I taught the Dhamma in various ways for the fading of passion, the sobering of pride, the subduing of thirst, the destruction of attachment, the severing of the round, the depletion of craving, dispassion, stopping, unbinding? Haven't I advocated abandoning sensual pleasures, understanding sensual perceptions, subduing sensual thirst, destroying sensual preoccupations, calming sensual fevers?...Misguided man, this neither inspires faith in the faithless nor increases the faithful. Rather, it inspires lack of faith in the faithless and wavering in some of the faithful.'"  

The second part of the rebuke dealt in terms of personal qualities: those that a bhikkhu practicing discipline is to abandon, and those he is to develop.

      "Then the Blessed One, having in various ways rebuked Ven. Sudinna, having spoken in dispraise of being burdensome, demanding, arrogant, discontented, entangled, and indolent; in various ways having spoken in praise of being unburdensome, undemanding, modest, content, austere, scrupulous, gracious, self-effacing, and energetic; having given a Dhamma talk on what is seemly and becoming for bhikkhus, addressed the bhikkhus."  

This was where the Buddha formulated the training rule, after first stating his reasons for doing so.

      "'In that case, bhikkhus, I will formulate a training rule for the bhikkhus with ten aims in mind: the excellence of the Community, the peace of the Community, the curbing of the shameless, the comfort of well-behaved bhikkhus, the restraint of effluents related to the present life, the prevention of effluents related to the next life, the arousing of faith in the faithless, the increase of the faithful, the establishment of the true Dhamma, and the fostering of discipline.'"

These reasons fall into three main types. The first two are external: 1) to ensure peace and well-being within the Community itself, and 2) to foster and protect faith among the laity, on whom the bhikkhus depend for their support. (The origin stories of the various rules depict the laity as being very quick to generalize.

One bhikkhu misbehaves, and they complain, "How can these bhikkhus do that?") The third type of reason, though, is internal: The rule is to help restrain and prevent mental effluents within the individual bhikkhus. Thus the rules aim not only at the external well-being of the Community, but also at the internal well-being of the individual. This latter point soon becomes apparent to anyone who seriously tries to keep to the rules, for they foster mindfulness and circumspection in one's actions, qualities that carry over into the training of the mind.

Over the course of time the Buddha formulated more than 200 major and minor rules, forming the Patimokkha that was recited fortnightly in each Community of bhikkhus. In addition, he formulated many other  minor rules that were memorized by those of his followers who specialized in the subject of discipline, but nothing is known for sure of what format they used to organize this body of knowledge during his lifetime.

After his total nibbana, though, his followers made a concerted effort to establish a standard canon of Dhamma and Vinaya, and the Pali Canon as we know it began to take shape. The Vinaya was organized into two main parts: 1) the Sutta Vibhanga, the 'Exposition of the Text' (which from here on we will refer to simply  as the Vibhanga), containing almost all the material dealing with    the Patimokkha rules; and 2) the Khandhakas, or Groupings, which contain the remaining material organized loosely according to subject matter. The Khandhakas themselves are divided into two parts, the Mahavagga, or Greater Chapter, and the Cullavagga, or  Lesser Chapter. Historians estimate that the Vibhanga and Khandhakas reached their present form no later than the 2nd century B.C.E., and  that the Parivara, or Addenda -- a summary and study guide -- was added a few centuries later, closing the Vinaya Pitaka, the part of  the Canon dealing with discipline.


     Since the purpose of this book is to translate and explain the

   Patimokkha, we are most directly concerned with the Vibhanga. It is

   organized as follows: The rules in the Patimokkha are presented one

   by one, each rule preceded by an origin story telling the events

   that led up to its formulation. In some instances a rule went

   through one or more reformulations, in which case an additional

   story is provided for each amendment to show what prompted it.


     After the final statement of the rule is a word-commentary, which

   explains in detail most of the important terms in the rule. For many

   of the rules this commentary includes one or more "wheels," or

   tables, giving the contingencies connected with the rule, working

   out all their possible permutations and passing judgment as to what

   penalty, if any, each permutation entails. For example, the

   discussion of the first rule contains a wheel that gives all the

   objects with which a person might have sexual intercourse, lists

   them against the variables of the sort of intercourse and whether or

   not the bhikkhu involved gives his consent, and announces the

   penalty for each possible combination of factors.


     Following the word-commentary for each rule is a section of

   no-offense clauses, listing extenuating circumstances under which a

   bhikkhu would be exempted from the penalty imposed by the rule.


     Finally, for the major rules, there is the Vinita Vatthu, or List

   of Precedents, which documents various cases related to the rule and

   gives verdicts as to what penalty, if any, they entail.


     The Vibhanga forms the basis for most of the explanations of the

   training rules given in this book. However, there are occasional

   questions on which the Vibhanga is unclear or silent. To answer

   these questions, I have turned either to the Khandhakas or to the

   commentarial literature that has grown up around the Vinaya over the

   course of the centuries. The primary works I have consulted are



     1) The //Samanta-pasadika// -- "The Thoroughly Inspiring" -- (from

   here on referred to as the Commentary), a commentary on the Vinaya

   Pitaka compiled in the 5th century C.E. by Bhadantacariya

   Buddhaghosa, who based his work on ancient commentaries brought to

   Sri Lanka from India at an unknown date and translated into

   Sinhalese. From internal evidence in Buddhaghosa's writings -- he

   compiled commentaries on a major portion of the Canon -- historians

   have estimated that the ancient commentaries were collected over a

   span of several centuries and closed in approximately the 2nd

   century C.E. Buddhaghosa's work thus contains material much older

   than his date would indicate.


     By Buddhaghosa's time a belief had grown up that the ancient

   commentaries were the work of the Buddha's immediate disciples and

   thus indisputably conveyed the true intent of the Canon. However, as

   we shall see below, the ancient commentaries themselves did not make

   such exalted claims for themselves.


     Still, the existence of this belief in the 5th century placed

   certain constraints on Buddhaghosa's work. At points where the

   ancient commentaries conflicted with the Canon, he had to write the

   discrepancies off as copier's mistakes or else side with the

   commentaries against the Canon. At a few points, such as his

   explanation of Pacittiya 9, he provides arguments against the

   ancient commentaries' interpretation but then backs off, saying that

   the ancient commentaries must be right because their authors knew

   the Buddha's intentions. Perhaps pressure from the elder bhikkhus at

   the Mahavihara in Anuradhapura -- the place where the ancient

   commentaries had been preserved and where Buddhaghosa was allowed to

   do his work -- was what made him back off in this way. At any rate,

   only on points where the different ancient commentaries were silent

   or gave divergent opinions did he feel free to express his opinions.


     2) The //Kankha-vitarani// -- "The Subjugator of Uncertainty" --

   (the K/Commentary), a commentary on the Patimokkha also compiled by

   Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa. Although this work is largely a synopsis

   of material in the Commentary, it contains some independent

   material, in particular a system of classifying the offenses under

   each training rule into their component factors. It also contradicts

   the Commentary from time to time.


     3) The //Sarattha-dipani// -- "The Essence-Meaning Illustrator" --

   (the Sub-commentary), a sub-commentary on the Commentary, written in

   Sri Lanka in the 12th century C.E. by a Ven. Sariputta, the first

   Mahasami, or head of the Sri Lankan Sangha, after that Sangha was

   reformed and unified under the patronage of King Parakrama Bahu I.

   This work not only explains the Commentary, but also deals with

   points in the Canon itself, sometimes indicating passages where the

   Commentary has deviated from the Canon. It also quotes as

   authoritative the judgments of three ancient texts, the

   Ganthipadesa, which are no longer extant, and of Ven. Buddhadatta, a

   scholar of the 4th century C.E. who wrote two extant Vinaya guides.


     4) The //Vimati-vinodani// -- "The Remover of Perplexity" -- (the

   V/Sub-commentary), another 12th-century sub-commentary, written in

   southern India by a Ven. Kassapa, who also wrote the

   //Mohavicchedani//, a synopsis of the Abhidhamma Pitaka and

   Buddhaghosa's commentaries on it.


     5) The //Attha-yojana// -- "The Interpretation of the Meaning" --

   (the A/Sub-commentary), a sub-commentary that, unlike the works of

   Vens. Sariputta and Kassapa, does little more than analyze the

   language of the Commentary. This was written in the 18th century

   C.E. by a Burmese scholar named Ven. Nanakitti


     From here on "the ancient commentaries" will denote the original

   commentaries that Buddhaghosa had to work with, and "the

   commentaries" all five works listed above.


     In addition to the Canon and the commentaries, I have referred to

   the texts listed in the Bibliography. Two of these deserve special

   mention here.


     1) The //Vinaya Mukha//, a guide to the Vinaya written in Thai in

   the early 20th century by Prince Vajiranana-varorasa, a son of King

   Rama IV who ordained as a bhikkhu and eventually held the position

   of Supreme Patriarch of the Thai Sangha for many years. This work he

   wrote as part of his attempt to unite the two major sects of the

   Thai Sangha. The attempt failed, but the book is still used as the

   official textbook on Vinaya for the examinations run by the Thai

   Ecclesiastical Board. Prince Vajiranana in his interpretations often

   disagrees openly not only with the commentaries, but also with the

   Vibhanga itself. Some of his disagreements with the commentaries are

   well-taken, some not.


     I include the book here both for the valuable suggestions it makes

   for dealing with unclear points in the older texts and because it is

   taken as authoritative through much of Thailand. It has been

   translated into English, as //The Entrance to the Vinaya//, but I

   have chosen to translate anew all the passages I quote from it.


     2) //The Book of Discipline//, a translation of the entire Vinaya

   Pitaka into English by Miss I. B. Horner. Although I have learned

   much from Miss Horner's work, there are points where my translations

   and conclusions differ from hers. Since many readers will want to

   check the information in this book against hers, I have marked these

   points with a "(%)." Anyone curious as to which interpretation is

   correct should check the passages in question against the Royal Thai

   edition of the Pali Canon, my major source throughout this book.


     Disagreements among the texts. One of the difficulties in trying

   to collate all these various texts is that there are points on which

   the Vibhanga is at variance with the wording of the Patimokkha

   rules, and the commentaries are at variance with the Canon. This

   forces us to decide which strata of the texts to take as

   authoritative. As far as discrepancies between the Vibhanga and the

   rules are concerned, the following passage in the Cullavagga (X.4)

   suggests that the Buddha himself gave preference to the way the

   bhikkhus worked out the rules in the Vibhanga:


      "As she was standing at a respectful distance, Maha-pajapati

      Gotami spoke thus to the Blessed One: 'Lord, those rules of

      training for the bhikkhunis that are in common with those for

      the bhikkhus: What line of conduct should we follow in regard

      to them?'


      "'Those rules of training for the bhikkhunis, Gotami, that are

      in common with those for the bhikkhus: //As the bhikkhus train

      themselves, so should you train yourselves//'.... (emphasis



      "'And those rules of training for bhikkhunis that are not in

      common with those for bhikkhus: What line of conduct should we

      follow in regard to them?'


      "'Those rules of training for the bhikkhunis, Gotami, that are

      not in common with those for the bhikkhus: Train yourselves in

      them as they are formulated.'"


     This passage implies that already in the time of the Buddha the

   bhikkhus had begun working out a way to interpret the rules that in

   some cases was not exactly in line with the way the Buddha had

   originally formulated them. Some people have read this passage as

   suggesting that the Buddha, though resigned to this development, was

   displeased with it, but this would contradict the many passages in

   the Canon where the Buddha speaks in high praise of Ven. Upali, the

   foremost of his bhikkhu disciples in terms of his knowledge of

   Vinaya, who was responsible for teaching the rules to the other

   bhikkhus and who was largely responsible for the shape of the Vinaya

   as we now have it. It seems more likely that the Buddha in this

   passage is simply saying that, to avoid unnecessary controversy, the

   way the bhikkhus had worked out the implications of the rules was to

   be accepted as is.


     Because this development eventually led to the Vibhanga, we can be

   confident that in adhering to the Vibhanga we are acting as the

   Buddha would have us do. And when we check the few places where the

   Vibhanga deviates from the wording of the rules, we find that almost

   invariably it has tried to reconcile contradictions among the rules

   themselves, and between the rules and the Khandhakas, so as to make

   the Vinaya a more coherent whole. This is particularly true with

   rules that touch on formal acts of the Community. Apparently many of

   these rules were formulated before the general patterns for formal

   acts were finalized in the Khandhakas. Thus, after the patterns were

   established, the compilers of the Vibhanga were sometimes forced to

   deviate from the wording of the rules to bring them into line with

   the patterns.


     As for contradictions between the Commentary and the Vibhanga,

   this is a more controversial area, with two extremes of thought. One

   is to reject the Commentary entirely, as it is not the Buddha's

   word, for modern historical scholarship has shown decisively that it

   contains material dating many hundreds of years after the Buddha's

   passing away. This position assumes, though, that in the areas where

   the Canon is vague or unclear we have nothing to learn from the

   accumulated wisdom and experience of those who have lived the

   bhikkhu's life before us. The other extreme is to accept the

   Commentary as superseding the Vibhanga entirely, in line with the

   traditional belief that grew up around it: that it was composed at

   the First Council to express the true intent of those who composed

   the Vibhanga and yet somehow were unable to put what they really

   meant to say into the Canon itself.


     Neither of these extremes is in line with the Great Standards for

   judging Dhamma and Vinaya that -- as the Mahaparinibbana Sutta

   (D.16) reports -- the Buddha formulated at Bhoganagara shortly

   before his passing away:


      "There is the case where a bhikkhu says this: 'In the Blessed

      One's presence have I heard this, in the Blessed One's presence

      have I received this: This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya,

      this is the Teacher's instruction.' His statement is neither to

      be approved nor scorned. Without approval or scorn, take

      careful note of his words and make them stand against the

      Suttas and tally them against the Vinaya. If, on making them

      stand against the Suttas and tallying them against the Vinaya,

      you find that they don't stand with the Suttas or tally with

      the Vinaya, you may conclude: 'This is not the word of the

      Blessed One; this bhikkhu has misunderstood it' -- and you

      should reject it. But if...they stand with the Suttas and tally

      with the Vinaya, you may conclude: 'This is the word of the

      Blessed One; this bhikkhu has understood it rightly.'"


     [The same criteria are to be used when the bhikkhu cites as his

   authority a Community with well-known leading elders; a monastery

   with many learned elders who know the tradition, who have memorized

   the Dhamma, the Vinaya, and the Matika (the precursor to the

   Abhidhamma as we know it); or a single elder who knows the



     In other words, the question is not one of the authority on whose

   word a claim is based, but one of consistency: Only if a statement

   stands up under comparison with the Canon should it be accepted as

   true Dhamma or Vinaya. The same principle holds for statements that

   are said to be not the word of the Buddha, but the opinion of

   respected teachers.


     This point is borne out by two important passages in the texts.

   One is the narrative of the Second Council, during which the

   bhikkhus of Vesali defended ten practices on the grounds that they

   had learned them from their teachers. The elders who judged the

   case, though, insisted on evaluating the practices in terms of

   whether or not they adhered to the Canon. The primary point of

   controversy -- the question of whose authority was greater, the

   Canon's or the teachers' -- was point six:


      "'The practice of what is habitual, sir -- is it allowable?'


      "'What is the practice of what is habitual, my friend?'


      "'To practice (thinking), this is the way my preceptor

      habitually practiced; this is the way my teacher habitually

      practiced -- is this allowable?'


      "'The practice of what is habitual is sometimes allowable,

      sometimes not.'" (CV.XII.2.8)


     What this means, as the elders showed in the way they conducted

   the meeting, is that one's teacher's and preceptor's practices are

   to be followed only when they are in accordance with the Canon.


     The second passage is the discussion of the Great Standards in the

   Commentary to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, which concludes that the

   commentaries are to be accepted only where they are in agreement

   with the Canon. Apparently the teachers who compiled the ancient

   commentaries took a more modest view of their authority than did the

   elders of the Mahavihara at the time of Buddhaghosa and did not

   pretend to supersede the Canon as the final word on what is and is

   not true Dhamma and Vinaya.


     Some may object that to pass judgment on the Commentary is to lack

   respect for the tradition, but actually it is because of respect for

   the compilers of the Vibhanga that I make the following assumptions

   in checking the Commentary against the Vibhanga:


     1) The compilers of the Vibhanga were intelligent enough to be

   consistent within the discussion of each rule. Any explanation based

   on the premise that they were not consistent should give way to an

   explanation showing that they were.


     2) The compilers were well enough acquainted with the

   contingencies surrounding each rule that they knew which factors

   were and were not crucial in determining what is and is not an

   offense. Any explanation that adds or subtracts factors from those

   mentioned in the Vibhanga should give way to one that follows the

   Vibhanga's analysis.


     3) The compilers, in reporting the precedents in the Vinita Vatthu

   -- the cases the Buddha judged against an existing rule -- were

   careful enough to include all the important factors bearing on the

   judgment. Any explanation that requires rewriting the precedents,

   adding extra details extraneous to the Vibhanga to account for the

   judgment, should give way to an explanation that can make sense out

   of the precedents as they are reported and in terms of the analyses

   presented elsewhere in the Vibhanga.


     It's not that I take any joy in arguing with the Commentary. In

   fact, wherever possible, I have been happy to give it the benefit of

   the doubt, and on many points I am very much in its debt. Still, now

   that Buddhism is coming to the West, I feel it is time to stop and

   take stock of the tradition, and to check the later traditions

   against the earliest sources. This is especially important in a way

   of thought and life that, from the very beginning, has appealed to

   reason and investigation rather than to blindly accepted authority.

   In doing this, I am simply following a pattern that has repeated

   itself through the history of the Theravadin tradition: that of

   returning to the original principles whenever the religion reaches

   an historic turning point.


     There is, of course, a danger in being too independent in

   interpreting the tradition, in that strongly held opinions can lead

   to disharmony in the Community. Thus in evaluating the Commentary

   against the Canon, I do not want to imply that my conclusions are

   the only ones possible. Important points may have slipped my

   attention or escaped my grasp. For this reason, even in instances

   where I think that the Commentary does not do justice to the

   Vibhanga, I have tried to give a faithful account of the important

   points from the Commentary so that those who wish to take it as

   their authority may still use this book as a guide. If there are any

   points on which I am mistaken, I would be pleased if knowledgeable

   people would correct me.


     At the same time, I hope that this book will show that there are

   many areas on which the Vibhanga is unclear and lends itself to a

   variety of equally valid interpretations. For proof of this, we need

   only look at the various traditions that have developed in the

   different Theravadin countries, and even within each country. For

   some reason, although people tend to be very tolerant of different

   interpretations of the Dhamma, they can be very intolerant of

   different interpretations of the Vinaya and can get into heated

   arguments over minor issues having very little to do with the

   training of the mind.


     I have tried to make the point throughout this book that any

   interpretation based on a sound reading of the Canon should be

   respected: that each bhikkhu should follow the interpretations of

   the Community in which he is living, as long as they do not conflict

   with the Canon, so as to avoid conflict over minor matters in daily

   life; and that he should also show respect for the differing

   interpretations of other Communities where they too do not conflict

   with the Canon, so as to avoid the pitfalls of pride and



     This is especially true now that monasteries of different

   nationalities are taking root in close proximity to one another in

   the West. In the past, Thais, Burmese, and Sri Lankans could look

   down on one another's traditions without danger of causing friction,

   as they lived in separate countries and spoke different languages.

   Now, however, we have become neighbors and have begun to speak

   common languages, so it is best that we take to heart the writings

   of the Chinese pilgrims who visited India centuries ago. They

   reported that even after the early Buddhists had split into 18

   schools, each with its own Tripitaka and Patimokkha, and the

   Mahayanists had added //their// texts to the tradition, bhikkhus

   belonging to different schools could be found living together in the

   same monastery, practicing and conducting communal business in peace

   and harmony. Theirs is a worthy example. We should not let our minor

   differences become stumbling blocks on our way.


     My aim throughout this book has been practical. I have avoided

   dealing with academic issues concerning the authenticity and

   reliability of the tradition, and instead have tried simply to

   report and explain what the tradition has to say. Of course, I have

   had to be selective. Whatever the unconscious factors that have

   influenced my choice of material, the conscious considerations

   shaping this book are briefly as follows:


     We are dealing primarily with rules, but rules are not the only

   way to express disciplinary norms, and the texts we are surveying

   express their norms in a variety of forms: as rules, principles,

   models, and virtues. The different forms are best suited for

   different purposes. Principles, models, and virtues are meant as

   personal, subjective standards and tend to be loosely defined. Their

   interpretation and application are left to the judgment of the

   individual. Rules are meant to serve as more objective standards. To

   work, they must be precisely defined in a way acceptable to the

   Community at large. The compilers of the Canon, recognizing this

   need, provided definitions for most of the terms in the rules, and

   the authors of the commentaries continued this task, carrying it out

   with even greater thoroughness. Thus much of this book, in reporting

   these texts, is concerned with the definition of terms.


     This need for precision, though, accounts for the weakness of

   rules in general as universal guides to behavior. First, there is

   the question of where to draw the line between what is and is not an

   infraction of the rule. A clear break-off point is needed because

   rules -- unlike principles -- deal in two colors: black and white.

   In some cases, it is difficult to find a clear break-off point that

   corresponds exactly to one's sense of what is right and wrong, and

   so it is necessary to include the areas of gray either with the

   white or the black. In general, but not always, the Vibhanga's

   position is to include the gray with the white, and to rely on the

   principles of the Dhamma to encourage the individual bhikkhu to stay

   away from the gray.


     Take, for instance, the rule against masturbation. The Vibhanga

   limits this rule to forbidding only those forms of masturbation that

   aim at ejaculation, for if it had drawn the line anywhere else, it

   would have become an offense for a bhikkhu simply to scratch

   himself. Thus self-stimulation that does not aim at ejaculation is

   not an offense, although in many cases it is clearly against the

   spirit of the Dhamma. The Vinaya Mukha notes, disapprovingly, a

   number of older Vinaya guides that like to dwell on these areas of

   gray and seem to delight in figuring out ways to avoid an offense by

   working around the letter of the rules. In this book I am taking a

   different tack: Under those rules that include large areas of grey

   with the white, I have noted a few relevant principles from the

   Dhamma to spell out a wise policy with regard to the gray areas --

   not to reformulate the rule, but simply as a reminder that, as noted

   above, the Vinaya without the Dhamma does not suffice as a guide to

   the goal.


     Another drawback resulting from the need for precision in rules is

   that the more precisely a rule is defined to suit a particular time

   and place, the less well it may fit other times and places. The

   compilers of the Canon, in order to make up for this weakness, thus

   provided the origin stories and precedents to show the type of

   situation the rule was intended to prevent, providing principles and

   models that indicate the spirit of the rule and aid in applying it

   to differing contexts. In writing this book I have often made

   reference to these stories, to give this added dimension.


     Admittedly, the stories do not make for inspiring reading. For

   example, instead of reading about bhikkhus accepting a meal at a

   donor's house and then uplifting the donor with a talk on Dhamma, we

   read about Ven. Udayin accepting a meal at the dwelling of a

   bhikkhuni who was his former wife, and the two of them sitting there

   exposing their genitals to each other. Still, the stories do remind

   us that the more inspiring stories we read in the discourses took

   place in a very real human world, and they also reveal the insight

   and understated wit of those who framed and interpreted the rules.

   The element of wit here is especially important, for without it

   there is no true understanding of human nature, and no intelligent

   system of discipline.


     Finally, in compiling this book, I have tried to include whatever

   seems most worth knowing for the bhikkhu who aims at fostering the

   qualities of discipline in his life -- so as to help train his mind

   and live in peace with his fellow bhikkhus -- and for anyone who

   wants to support and encourage the bhikkhus in that aim.



                            * * * * * * * *





   This index lists the summaries of the training rules given in this

   book, organized by topic.  The Sekhiya rules have not been included,

   because they are short, deal almost exclusively with etiquette, and

   are already organized by topic in their own chapter.  I have

   included short summaries of the Adhikarana-Samatha rules, even

   though these summaries do not appear in the chapter discussing those



     The rules are divided into five major categories, dealing with

   Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Communal harmony, and

   the etiquette of a contemplative.  The first three categories -- the

   factors of the Noble Eightfold Path that make up the training in

   heightened virtue -- show in particular how the training rules

   relate to the Buddhist path as a whole.


     These five categories are not sharply distinct types.  Instead,

   they are more like the colors in the band of light thrown off by a

   prism -- discernably different, but shading into one another with no

   sharp dividing lines.  Right Speech, for instance, often shades into

   Communal harmony, just as Right Livelihood shades into personal

   etiquette.  Thus the placement of a particular rule in one category

   rather than another has been a somewhat arbitrary process.  There

   are a few cases -- such as Pacittiyas 46 & 85 -- where the reason

   for the placement of the rule will become clear only after a reading

   of the detailed discussion of the rule in the text.


     Each rule is followed by a two-part code. The first part, before

   the slash, gives the rule's number in its section of the Patimokkha. 

   The second part gives the page number for the discussion of the rule

   in this book.


    Right Speech


   M.117 defines wrong speech as lying, divisive speech, abusive

   speech, and idle chatter.




     Making an unfounded charge to a bhikkhu that he has committed a

       parajika offense, in hopes of having him disrobed, is a

       sanghadisesa offense. (Sg 8/129)

     Distorting the evidence while accusing a bhikkhu of having

       committed a parajika offense, in hopes of having him disrobed, is

       a sanghadisesa offense.  (Sg 9/138)

     The intentional effort to misrepresent the truth to another

       individual is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 1/260)

     Making an unfounded charge to a bhikkhu -- or getting someone else

       to make the charge to him -- that he is guilty of a sanghadisesa

       offense is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 76/448)


   Divisive speech


     Tale-bearing among bhikkhus, in hopes of winning favor or causing

       a rift, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 3/266)


   Abusive speech


     An insult made with malicious intent to another bhikkhu is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 2/263)


   Idle chatter


     Visiting lay families -- without having informed an available

       bhikkhu -- before or after a meal to which one has been invited

       is a pacittiya offense except during the robe season or any time

       one is making a robe.  (Pc 46/ 390)

     Entering a village, town, or city during the period after noon

       until the following dawn, without having taken leave of an

       available bhikkhu -- unless there is an emergency -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 85/467)


    Right Action


   M.117 defines wrong action as killing living beings, taking what is

   not given, and engaging in sexual misconduct.




     Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being,

       even if it is still a fetus, is a parajika offense.  (Pr 3/66)

     Pouring water that one knows to contain living beings -- or having

       it poured -- on grass or clay is a pacittiya offense.  Pouring

       anything that would kill the beings into such water -- or having

       it poured -- is also a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 20/317)

     Deliberately killing an animal -- or having it killed -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 61/420)

     Using water, knowing that it contains living beings that will die

       from one's use, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 62/423)


   Taking what is not given


     The theft of anything worth 1/24 ounce troy of gold or more is a

       parajika offense.  (Pr 2/50)

     Having given another bhikkhu a robe on a condition and then --

       angry and displeased -- snatching it back or having it snatched

       back is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 25/246)

     Making use of cloth or a bowl stored under shared ownership --

       unless the shared ownership has been rescinded or one is taking

       the item on trust -- is a pacittiya offense. (Pc 59/415)


   Sexual Misconduct


     Voluntary sexual intercourse -- genital, anal, or oral -- with  a

       human being, non-human being, or common animal is a parajika

       offense.  (Pr 1/45)

     Intentionally causing oneself to emit semen, or getting someone

       else to cause one to emit semen -- except during a dream -- is a

       sanghadisesa offense.  (Sg 1/90)

     Lustful bodily contact with a woman whom one perceives to be a

       woman is a sanghadisesa offense.  (Sg 2/100)

     Making a lustful remark to a woman about her genitals, anus or

       about performing sexual intercourse is a sanghadisesa offense.

       (Sg 3/110)

     Telling a woman that she would benefit from having sexual

       intercourse with oneself is a sanghadisesa offense.  (Sg 4/115)

     Getting an unrelated bhikkhuni to wash, dye, or beat a robe that

       has been used at least once is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.

       (NP 4/182)

     Getting an unrelated bhikkhuni to wash, dye, or card wool that has

       not been made into cloth or yarn is a nissaggiya pacittiya

       offense.  (NP 17/214)

     Lying down at the same time in the same lodging with a woman is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 6/276)

     Teaching more than six sentences of Dhamma to a woman, except in

       response to a question, is a pacittiya offense unless a

       knowledgeable man is present.  (Pc 7/280)

     Exhorting a bhikkhuni about the eight vows of respect -- except

       when one has been authorized to do so by the Community -- is a

       pacittiya offense.      (Pc 21/320)

     Exhorting a bhikkhuni on any topic at all after sunset -- except

       when she requests it -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 22/323)

     Going to the bhikkhunis' quarters and exhorting a bhikkhuni about

       the eight vows of respect -- except when she is ill or has

       requested the instruction -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 23/325)

     Giving robe-cloth to an unrelated bhikkhuni without receiving

       anything in exchange is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 25/326)

     Sewing a robe -- or having one sewn -- for an unrelated bhikkhuni

       is a pacittiya offense. (Pc 26/327)

     Traveling by arrangement with a bhikkhuni from one village to

       another -- except when the road is risky or there are other

       dangers -- is a pacittiya offense.   (Pc 27/329)

     Traveling by arrangement with a  bhikkhuni upriver or downriver in

       the same boat -- except when crossing a river -- is a pacittiya

       offense. (Pc 28/331)

     Sitting or lying down alone with a bhikkhuni in a place out of

       sight and out of hearing with no one else present is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 30/335 & 389)

     Sitting or lying down with a woman or women in a private, secluded

       place with no other man present is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Sitting or lying down alone with a woman in an unsecluded but

       private place with no one else present is a pacittiya offense. 

       (Pc 45/389)

     Traveling by arrangement with a woman from one village to another

       is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 67/432)



   Right Livelihood


   M.117 defines wrong livelihood as scheming, persuading, hinting,

   belittling, and pursuing gain with gain.




     Deliberately lying to another person that one has attained a

       superior human state is a parajika offense.  (Pr 4/79)

     Acting as a go-between to arrange a marriage, an affair, or a date

       between a man and a woman not married to each other is a

       sanghadisesa offense.  (Sg 5/117)

     Engaging in trade with anyone except one's co-religionists is a

       nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 20/225)

     Persuading a donor to give to oneself a gift that he or she had

       planned to give to the Community -- when one knows that it was

       intended for the Community -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.

       (NP 30/256)

     Telling an unordained person of one's actual superior human

       attainments is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 8/285)

     Persuading a donor to give to another individual a gift that he or

       she had planned to give to a Community -- when one knows that it

       was intended for the Community -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc

       82/256 & 461)




     Keeping a piece of robe-cloth for more than ten days without

       determining it for use or placing it under dual ownership --

       except when the end-of-vassa or kathina privileges are in effect

       -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense. (NP 1/163)

     Being in a separate zone from any of one's three robes at dawn --

       except when the end-of-vassa or kathina privileges are in effect,

       or one has received formal authorization from the Community -- is

       a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 2/172)

     Keeping out-of-season cloth for more than 30 days when it is not

       enough to make a requisite and one has expectation for more --

       except when the end-of-vassa and kathina privileges are in effect

       -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 3/179)

     Accepting robe-cloth from an unrelated bhikkhuni without giving

       her anything in exchange is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  NP


     Asking for and receiving robe-cloth from an unrelated lay person,

       except when one's robes have been stolen or destroyed, is a

       nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 6/186)

     Asking for and receiving excess robe-cloth from unrelated lay

       people when one's robes have been stolen or destroyed is a

       nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 7/189)

     When a lay person who is not a relative is planning to get a robe

       for one, but has yet to ask one what kind of robe one wants: 

       Receiving the robe after making a request that would raise its

       cost is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 8/193)

     When two or more lay people who are not one's relatives are

       planning to get separate robes for one, but have yet to ask one

       what kind of robe one wants:  Receiving a robe from them after

       asking them to pool their funds to get one robe -- out of a

       desire for something fine -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  

       (NP 9/195)

     Making a felt blanket/rug with silk mixed in it for one's own use

       -- or having it made -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP


     Making a felt blanket/rug entirely of black wool for one's own use

       -- or having it made -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP


     Making a felt blanket/rug that is more than one-half black wool

       for one's own use -- or having it made -- is a nissaggiya

       pacittiya offense.     (NP 13/208)

     Unless one has received authorization to do so from the Community,

       making a felt blanket/rug for one's own use -- or having it made

       -- less than six years after one's last one was made is a

       nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 14/209)

     Making a felt sitting rug for one's own use -- or having it made

       -- without incorporating a one-span piece of old felt is a

       nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 15/211)

     Seeking and receiving a rains-bathing cloth before the fourth

       month of the hot season is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  Using

       a rains-bathing cloth before the last two weeks of the fourth

       month of the hot season is also a nissaggiya pacittiya offense. 

       (NP 24/242)

     Taking thread that one has asked for improperly and getting

       weavers to weave cloth from it -- when they are unrelated and

       have not made a previous offer to weave -- is a nissaggiya

       pacittiya offense. (NP 26/248)

     When donors who are not relatives -- and have not invited one to

       ask -- have arranged for weavers to weave robe-cloth intended for

       one:  Receiving the cloth after getting the weavers to increase

       the amount of thread used in it is a nissaggiya pacittiya

       offense.  (NP 27/250)

     Keeping robe-cloth offered in urgency past the end of the robe

       season after having accepted it during the last eleven days of

       the Rains Retreat is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 28/252)

     When one is living in a dangerous wilderness abode during the

       month after the fourth Kattika full moon and has left one of

       one's robes in the village where one normally goes for alms: 

       Being away from the abode and the village for more than six

       nights at a stretch -- except when authorized by the Community --

       is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 29/253)

     Wearing an unmarked robe is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 58/413)

     Acquiring an overly large sitting cloth after making it -- or

       having it made -- for one's own use is a pacittiya offense

       requiring that one cut the cloth down to size before confessing

       the offense.  (Pc 89/475)

     Acquiring an overly large skin-eruption covering cloth after

       making it -- or having it made -- for one's own use is a

       pacittiya offense requiring that one cut the cloth down to size

       before confessing the offense.  (Pc 90/477)

     Acquiring an overly large rains-bathing cloth after making it --

       or having it made -- for one's own use is a pacittiya offense

       requiring that one cut the cloth down to size before confessing

       the offense.  (Pc 91/478)

     Acquiring an overly large robe after making it -- or having it

       made -- for one's own use is a pacittiya offense requiring that

       one cut the robe down to size before confessing the offense.  (Pc





     Eating any of the five staple foods that a lay person has offered

       as the result of a bhikkhuni's prompting -- unless the lay person

       was already planning to offer the food before her prompting -- is

       a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 29/333)

     Eating food obtained from the same public alms center two days

       running, unless one is too ill to leave the center, is a

       pacittiya offense. (Pc 31/340)

     Eating a meal to which four or more individual bhikkhus have been

       specifically invited -- except on special occasions -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 32/342))

     Eating a meal before going to another meal to which one was

       invited, or accepting an invitation to one meal and eating

       elsewhere instead, is a pacittiya offense except when one is ill

       or at the time of giving cloth or making robes.  (Pc 33/348)

     Accepting more than three bowlfuls of food that the donors

       prepared for their own use as presents or as provisions for a

       journey is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 34/352)

     Eating staple or non-staple food that is not left-over, after

       having earlier in the day finished a meal during which one turned

       down an offer to eat further staple food, is a pacittiya offense. 

       (Pc 35/355)

     Eating staple or non-staple food in the period after noon until

       the next dawn is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 37/362) 

     Eating food that a bhikkhu -- oneself or another -- formally

       received on a previous day is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 38/364)

     Eating finer foods, after having asked for them for one's own sake

       -- except when ill -- is a pacittiya offense.    (Pc 39/367)

     Eating food that has not been formally given is a pacittiya

       offense.    (Pc 40/370)

     Eating staple or non-staple food, after having accepted it from

       the hand of an unrelated  bhikkhuni in a village area, is a

       patidesaniya offense.     (Pd 1/480)

     Eating staple food accepted at a meal to which one has been

       invited and where a bhikkhuni has given directions, based on

       favoritism, as to which bhikkhu should get which food, and none

       of the bhikkhus have dismissed her, is a patidesaniya offense. 

       (Pd 2/483)

     Eating staple or non-staple food, after accepting it -- when one

       is neither ill nor invited -- at the home of a family formally

       designated as "in training," is a patidesaniya offense.  (Pd


     Eating an unannounced gift of staple or non-staple food after

       accepting it in a dangerous wilderness abode when one is not ill

       is a patidesaniya offense.  (Pd 4/485) 




     Building a plastered hut -- or having it built --  without a

       sponsor, destined for one's own use, without having obtained the

       Community's approval, is a sanghadisesa offense.  Building a

       plastered hut -- or having it built -- without a sponsor,

       destined for one's own use, exceeding the standard measurements,

       is also a sanghadisesa offense.  (Sg 6/120)

     Building a hut with a sponsor -- or having it built -- destined

       for one's own use, without having obtained the Community's

       approval, is a sanghadisesa offense.    (Sg 7/128)

     When a bhikkhu is building or repairing a large dwelling for his

       own use, using resources donated by another, he may not reinforce

       the window or door frames with more than three layers of roofing

       material or plaster.  To exceed this is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Acquiring a bed or bench with legs longer than eight Sugata

       fingerbreadths after making it -- or having it made -- for one's

       own use is a pacittiya offense requiring that one cut the legs

       down before confessing the offense.  (Pc 87/471)

     Acquiring a bed or bench stuffed with cotton down after making it

       -- or having it made -- for one's own use is a pacittiya offense

       requiring that one remove the stuffing before confessing the

       offense.  (Pc 88/473)




     Keeping any of the five tonics -- ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey,

       or sugar/molasses -- for more than seven days, unless one

       determines to use them only externally, is a nissaggiya pacittiya

       offense.  (NP 23/236)

     When a supporter has made an offer to supply medicines to the

       Community:  Asking the him/her for medicine outside of the terms

       of the offer when one is not ill, or for medicine to use for a

       non-medicinal purpose, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 47/393)  




     When a fund has been set up with a steward indicated by a bhikkhu: 

       Obtaining an article from the fund as a result of having prompted

       the steward more than the allowable number of times is a

       nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 10/196)

     Taking gold or money, having someone else take it, or consenting

       to its being placed down as a gift for oneself, is a nissaggiya

       pacittiya offense.     (NP 18/214)

     Obtaining gold or money through trade is a nissaggiya pacittiya

       offense.     (NP 19/220)


   Bowls and other requisites


     Carrying wool that has not been made into cloth or yarn for more

       than three leagues is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP


     Keeping an alms bowl for more than ten days without determining it

       for use or placing it under dual ownership is a nissaggiya

       pacittiya offense.   (NP 21/231)

     Asking for a new alms bowl when one's current bowl is not beyond

       repair is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.  (NP 22/234)        

     Acquiring a needle box made of bone, ivory, or horn after making

       it -- or having it made -- for one's own use is a pacittiya

       offense requiring that one break the box before confessing the

       offense.  (Pc 86/470)


     Communal Harmony


     To persist in one's attempts at a schism, after the third

       announcement of a formal rebuke in a meeting of the Community, is

       a sanghadisesa offense. (Sg 10/140)

     To persist in supporting a potential schismatic, after the third

       announcement of a formal rebuke in a meeting of the Community, is

       a sanghadisesa offense. (Sg 11/147)

     To persist in being difficult to admonish, after the third

       announcement of a formal rebuke in the Community, is a

       sanghadisesa offense. (Sg 12/148)

     To persist -- after the third announcement of a formal rebuke in

       the Community -- in criticizing an act of banishment performed

       against oneself is a sanghadisesa offense. (Sg 13/150)

     When a trustworthy female lay follower accuses a bhikkhu of having

       committed a parajika, sanghadisesa, or pacittiya offense while

       sitting alone with a woman in a private, secluded place, the

       Community should investigate the charge and deal with the bhikkhu

       in accordance with whatever he admits to having done.  (Ay 1/157)

     When a trustworthy female lay follower accuses a bhikkhu of having

       committed a sanghadisesa or pacittiya offense while sitting alone

       with a woman in a private place, the Community should investigate

       the charge and deal with the bhikkhu in accordance with whatever

       he admits to having done.  (Ay 2/161)

     Telling an unordained person of another bhikkhu's serious offense

       -- unless one is authorized by the Community to do so -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 9/288)

     Persistently replying evasively or keeping silent in order to

       conceal one's own offenses when being questioned in a meeting of

       the Community -- after a formal charge of evasiveness or

       uncooperativeness has been brought against one -- is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 12/300)

     If a Community official is innocent of prejudice:  Criticizing him

       within earshot of another bhikkhu is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     When one has set a bed, bench, mattress, or stool belonging to the

       Community out in the open:  Leaving its immediate vicinity

       without putting it away or arranging to have it put away is a

       pacittiya offense.       (Pc 14/305)

     When one has spread bedding out in a dwelling belonging to the

       Community:  Departing from the monastery without putting it away

       or arranging to have it put away is a pacittiya offense. (Pc


     Encroaching on another bhikkhu's sleeping or sitting place in a

       dwelling belonging to the Community, with the sole purpose of

       making him uncomfortable and forcing him to leave, is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 16/310)

     Causing a bhikkhu to be evicted from a dwelling belonging to the

       Community -- when one's primary motive is anger -- is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 17/312)

     Sitting or lying down on a bed or bench with detachable legs on an

       unplanked loft in a dwelling belonging to the Community, is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 18/314)

     Saying that a properly authorized bhikkhu exhorts the bhikkhunis

       for the sake of personal gain -- when in fact that is not the

       case -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 24/325)

     Deliberately tricking another bhikkhu into breaking Pacittiya 35,

       in hopes of finding fault with him, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Speaking or acting disrespectfully when being admonished by

       another bhikkhu for a breach of the training rules is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 54/407)

     Agitating to re-open an issue, knowing that it was properly dealt

       with, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 63/424)

     Not informing other bhikkhus of a serious offense that one knows

       another bhikkhu has committed -- out of a desire to protect him

       either from having to undergo the penalty or from the jeering

       remarks of other bhikkhus -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 64/426)

     Acting as the preceptor in the ordination of a person one knows to

       be less than 20 years old is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 65/428)

     Refusing -- after the third announcement of a formal rebuke in a

       meeting of the Community -- to give up the wrong view that there

       is nothing wrong in intentionally transgressing the Buddha's

       ordinances is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 68/434)

     Consorting, joining in communion, or lying down under the same

       roof with a bhikkhu who has been suspended and not been restored

       -- knowing that such is the case -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Supporting, receiving services from, consorting, or lying down

       under the same roof with an expelled novice -- knowing that he

       has been expelled -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 70/439)

     Saying something as a ploy to excuse oneself  from training under

       a training rule when being admonished by another bhikkhu for a

       breach of the rule is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 71/442)

     Criticizing the discipline in the presence of another bhikkhu, in

       hopes of preventing its study, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Using half-truths to deceive others into believing that one is

       ignorant of the rules in the Patimokkha, after one has already

       heard the Patimokkha in full three times, and a formal act

       exposing one's deceit has been brought against one, is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 73/445)  

     Giving a blow to another bhikkhu, when motivated by anger, is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 74/446)

     Making a threatening gesture against another bhikkhu when

       motivated by anger is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 75/448)

     Saying to another bhikkhu that he may have broken a rule

       unknowingly, simply for the purpose of causing him anxiety, is a

       pacittiya offense. (Pc 77/449)

     Eavesdropping on bhikkhus involved in an argument over an issue --

       with the intention of using what they say against them -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 78/451)

     Complaining about a formal act of the Community to which one gave

       one's consent -- if one knows that the act was carried out in

       accordance with the rule -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 79/452)  

     Getting up and leaving a meeting of the Community in the midst of

       a valid formal act -- without having first given one's consent to

       the act and with the intention of invalidating it -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 80/455)

     After participating in a formal act of the Community giving

       robe-cloth to a Community official:  Complaining that the

       Community acted out of favoritism is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     When the Community is dealing formally with an issue, the full

       Community must be present, as must all the individuals involved

       in the issue; the proceedings must follow the patterns set out in

       the Dhamma and Vinaya.  (As 1/511)

     If the Community unanimously believes that a bhikkhu is innocent

       of a charge made against him, they may declare him innocent on

       the basis of his memory of the events.  (As 2/512)

     If the Community unanimously believes that a bhikkhu was insane

       while committing offenses against the rules, they may absolve him

       of any responsibility for the offenses.  (As 3/513)

     If a bhikkhu commits an offense, he should willingly undergo the

       appropriate penalty in line with what he actually did and the

       actual seriousness of the offense.  (As 4/513)

     If an important dispute cannot be settled by a unanimous decision,

       it should be submitted to a vote.  The opinion of the majority,

       if in accord with the Dhamma and Vinaya, is then considered

       decisive.  (As 5/513)

     If a bhikkhu admits to an offense only after being interrogated in

       a formal meeting, the Community should carry out an act of

       censure against him, rescinding it only when he has mended his

       ways.  (As 6/514)

     If, in the course of a dispute, both sides act in ways unworthy of 

       contemplatives, and the sorting out of the penalties would only

       prolong the dispute, the Community as a whole may make a blanket

       confession of its light offenses.  (As 7/515)



     The Etiquette of a Contemplative


     Training a novice or lay person to recite passages of Dhamma by

       rote  is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 4/267)

     Lying down at the same time, in the same lodging, with a novice or

       layman for more than three nights running is a pacittiya offense.  

       (Pc 5/271)

     Digging soil or commanding that it be dug is a pacittiya offense.         

       (Pc 10/292)

     Intentionally cutting, burning, or killing a living plant is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 11/294)

     Handing food or medicine to a mendicant ordained outside of

       Buddhism is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 41/381)

     When on almsround with another bhikkhu:  Sending him back so that

       he won't witness any misconduct one is planning to indulge in is

       a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 42/383)

     To sit down intruding on a man and a woman in their private

       quarters --  when one or both are sexually aroused, and when

       another bhikkhu is not present -- is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Watching a field army -- or similar large military force -- on

       active duty, unless there is a suitable reason, is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 48/397)

     Staying more than three consecutive nights with an army on active

       duty -- even when one has a suitable reason to be there -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 49/399)

     Going to a battlefield, a roll call, an array of the troops in

       battle formation, or to see a review of the battle units while

       one is staying with an army is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 50/400)

     Taking an intoxicant is a pacittiya offense regardless of whether

       one is aware or not that it is an intoxicant. (Pc 51/402)

     Tickling another bhikkhu is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 52/405)

     Jumping and swimming in the water for fun is a pacittiya offense.   

       (Pc 53/406)

     Attempting to frighten another bhikkhu is a pacittiya offense. 

       (Pc 55/409)

     Lighting a fire to warm oneself -- or having it lit -- when one

       does not need the warmth for one's health is a pacittiya offense. 

       (Pc 56/409)

     Bathing more frequently than once a fortnight when residing in the

       middle Ganges Valley, except on certain occasions, is a pacittiya

       offense.    (Pc 57/411)

     Hiding another bhikkhu's bowl, robe, sitting cloth, needle case,

       or belt -- or having it hid -- either as a joke or with the

       purpose of annoying him, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc 60/419)        

     Traveling by arrangement with a group of thieves from one village

       to another -- knowing that they are thieves -- is a pacittiya

       offense.  (Pc 66/430)

     Entering a king's sleeping chamber unannounced, when both the king

       and queen are in the chamber, is a pacittiya offense.  (Pc


     Picking up a valuable, or having it picked up, with the intent of

       putting it in safe keeping for the owner -- except when one finds

       it in a monastery or in a dwelling one is visiting -- is a

       pacittiya offense.  (Pc 84/463)


                             * * * * * * *


 CHAPTER ONE                                    




   The Patimokkha is available to us in several recensions, some in

   Indic languages, others in Tibetan or Chinese translations. However,

   of the Indic recensions, only one -- the Pali -- is still a living

   tradition, recited fortnightly, and put into practice by Theravadin

   bhikkhus throughout the world. This is the recension translated and

   explained in this book.


     The meaning of the term //patimokkha// is a matter of conjecture.

   According to the Mahavagga, it means "the beginning, the head (or

   entrance -- //mukha//), the foremost (//pamukha//) of skillful

   qualities." (Mv.II.3.4) The term serves as the name not only of the

   basic code of training rules, but also of a sermon in which the

   Buddha enumerated the basic principles common to the teachings of

   all Buddhas: "The non-doing of all evil, the performance of what is

   skillful, and the purification of one's heart: this is the Buddhas'

   message." (Dhp.183) Thus whatever the etymology of the term

   //patimokkha//, it denotes a set of principles basic to the practice

   of the religion.


     The basic code of training rules for bhikkhus, in its Pali

   recension, contains 227 rules, divided into eight sections in

   accordance with the penalty assigned by each rule: //parajika//,

   defeat; //sanghadisesa//, formal meeting; //aniyata//, undetermined;

   //nissaggiya pacittiya//, forfeiture and confession; //pacittiya//,

   confession; //patidesaniya//, acknowledgement; //sekhiya//,

   training; and //adhikarana-samatha//, settlement of issues. The

   following chapters will discuss the precise meanings of these terms.


     Three of these terms, though, do not denote penalties. The aniyata

   rules give directions for judging uncertain cases; the sekhiya rules

   simply say, "(This is) a training to be followed," without assigning

   a particular penalty for not following them; and the

   adhikarana-samatha rules give procedures to follow in settling

   issues that may arise in the Community. Thus there are only five

   types of penalty mentioned in the Patimokkha rules themselves,

   ranging from permanent expulsion from the Community to simple

   confession in the presence of another bhikkhu. None of the

   penalties, we should note, involve physical punishment of any kind.

   And we should further note that the purpose of undergoing the

   penalties is not somehow to absolve one from guilt or to erase any

   bad kamma one may incur by breaking the rules; rather, the purpose

   is both personal and social: to strengthen one's resolve to refrain

   from such behavior in the future, and to reassure the other bhikkhus

   that one is still serious about following the training.


     In addition to the penalties directly mentioned in the rules,

   there are also penalties derived from the rules by the Vibhanga and

   commentaries. These derived penalties deal with two sorts of cases:

   1) A bhikkhu tries to commit an action mentioned in one of the

   rules, but the action for one reason or another does not reach

   completion (e.g., he tries to kill a person, but the person doesn't

   die). 2) A bhikkhu commits an action not directly covered in any

   rule, but similar to one that is (e.g., he strikes an unordained

   person, which is not directly covered in a rule, while the act of

   striking a bhikkhu is).


     Penalties of this sort, when derived from the parajika and

   sanghadisesa rules, include thullaccaya (grave offense) and dukkata

   (wrong doing); those derived from the nissaggiya pacittiya,

   pacittiya, and patidesaniya rules -- except for the rule against

   speaking insults -- include only the dukkata. The penalties derived

   from the rule against speaking insults include dubbhasita (wrong

   speech) as well. As for the sekhiya rules, the Vibhanga states that

   to disobey any of them out of disrespect entails a dukkata. All of

   these derived penalties may be cleared through confession.


     There may, of course, be times when the assigned penalties are not

   enough to deter an unconscientious bhikkhu from committing an

   offense repeatedly. In such cases, the Community in which he is

   living may, if it sees fit, formally impose additional penalties on

   him as a means of bringing him into line. These formal acts range

   from stripping him of some of the privileges of seniority, to

   banishment from that particular Community, and on to suspension from

   the Bhikkhu Sangha as a whole. In each case the punishment is

   temporary; if the bhikkhu realizes his errors and mends his ways,

   the Community is to revoke the act against him and return him to his

   former status.


     Thus, taken as a whole, the Vinaya's system of penalties makes use

   of three basic principles -- confession, forfeiture, and various

   degrees of ostracism from the Community -- as means of enforcing the

   rules. To understand the wisdom of this system, it is important to

   realize how each of these principles is related to the practice of

   the Dhamma and the training of the mind.


     //Confession//: There are several spots in the discourses (e.g.,

   D.2, M.140) where the Buddha states, 'It is growth in the discipline

   of a Noble One that a person sees a transgression (of his own) as a

   transgression, makes amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma,

   and achieves restraint in the future.' From the context each time

   the Buddha makes this statement, it is clear that "makes amends"

   means confessing one's mistakes. In another passage (M.61), the

   Buddha informs his son, Rahula, that if one sees that one's words or

   deeds have harmed oneself or others, one should confess them to a

   knowledgeable companion in the Holy Life. All those who have

   purified their thoughts, words, and deeds in the past, all those who

   are doing so in the present, and all those who will do so in the

   future, he adds, have acted, are acting, and will act in just this

   way. In addition, one of the basic requisites for exerting oneself

   in the practice is that one not be fraudulent or deceitful, and that

   one declare oneself to one's knowledgeable companions in the Holy

   Life in line with one's actual behavior (A.V.53). Thus a willingness

   to confess one's misdeeds is an essential factor in progress along

   the path.


     //Forfeiture//, in most cases, is simply a symbolic adjunct to

   confession. One forfeits the object in question, confesses the

   offense, and then receives the object in return. In a few cases,

   though -- where the object is improper for a bhikkhu to use or own

   -- one must break it or forfeit it for good. In these cases,

   forfeiture serves as a check against greed and as a reminder of two

   essential principles -- contentment with little and fewness of wants

   -- that are absolutely basic to the practice.


     //Ostracism//: In a famous passage (S.XLV.2), the Buddha tells

   Ven. Ananda, "Being a friend, a companion, a colleague with

   admirable people is the entirety of the Holy Life. When a bhikkhu is

   a friend, a companion, a colleague with admirable people, he can be

   expected to develop the Noble Eightfold Path and make much of it."

   Thus one of the few things a bhikkhu serious about the practice

   would naturally fear would be to be ostracized by the well-behaved

   members of the Community, for that would be a true barrier to his

   spiritual progress. This fear would then help deter him from any

   action that might entail such ostracism.


     In this way, the Vinaya's system of penalties provides

   rehabilitation for offenders and deterrence against offenses -- with

   confession the means of rehabilitation, and ostracism the deterrent

   -- growing directly out of principles basic to the practice of the



     Offenses. In analyzing offenses for the purpose of determining

   penalties, the Vibhanga divides an action into five factors: the

   object, the perception, the intent, the effort, and the result. In

   some of the rules, all five factors play a role in determining what

   is and is not a full offense. In others, only two, three or four

   play a role. For example, under the parajika rule forbidding murder,

   all five factors have to be present for a full offense: The object

   has to be a human being, the bhikkhu has to perceive him/her as a

   living being, he has to have murderous intent, he has to make an

   effort for the person to die, and the person has to die.


     If any of these factors are missing, the penalty changes. For

   instance, object: If the bhikkhu kills a dog, the penalty is a

   pacittiya. Perception: If he cremates a friend, thinking that the

   friend is dead, then even if the friend is actually alive but

   severely comatose, the bhikkhu incurs no penalty. Intent: If he

   accidentally drops a rock on a person standing below him, he incurs

   no penalty even if the person dies. Effort: If he sees a person fall

   into the river, but makes no effort to save the person, he incurs no

   penalty even if the person drowns. Result: If he tries to kill a

   person, but only succeeds in injuring him, he incurs a thullaccaya.


     There are some rules, though, where the factors of intention,

   perception, and result do not make any difference in determining

   offenses. For example, if a bhikkhu is sleeping alone in a room and

   a woman comes in and lies down in the room with him, he incurs the

   pacittiya for lying down in the same lodging as a woman even though

   his intention was to lie down alone and he was unaware of her

   presence. A bhikkhu who drinks a glass of wine, thinking it to be

   grape juice, incurs the pacittiya for taking intoxicants all the

   same. A bhikkhu who tries to frighten another bhikkhu incurs a

   pacittiya regardless of whether or not the other bhikkhu is actually



     Another variation is that in rules where a bhikkhu may be put into

   a passive role in committing an act that would fulfill the factor of

   effort, the factor of intention is changed to consent: mental

   acquiescence to the act combined with a physical or verbal

   expression of that acquiescence. Under some rules, such as the rule

   against sexual intercourse, simply letting the act happen counts as

   physical acquiescence even if one lies perfectly still, and the

   question of whether or not one incurs a penalty depends entirely on

   the state of one's mind. Under other rules, though -- such as the

   rule against lustful contact with a woman, which includes cases

   where the woman is the agent making the contact -- simply lying

   still is not enough to count as a physical sign of acquiescence, and

   even if one consents mentally, say, to a woman's fondling, one would

   incur a penalty only if one says something or responds with a

   physical movement to what she is doing.


     The factor of effort is basic to every rule and is also used to

   determine offenses in cases where a bhikkhu intends to break a rule

   but does not complete the action. For instance, in the case of

   stealing, the efforts involved are said to begin when, acting under

   the intent to steal, a bhikkhu gets dressed and starts walking to

   the object. With each of these preliminary efforts -- literally,

   with every step -- he incurs a dukkata. At first glance, this may

   seem extreme, but when we view his state of mind as having ultimate

   importance, this system of assigning penalties is appropriate. In

   cases like this, if the bhikkhu completes the act, the penalties he

   incurred in the preliminary efforts are nullified, and he is left

   with only the penalty imposed by the rule.


     Thus it is important, when reading about each training rule, to

   pay attention to what role these five factors play in determining

   the offenses related to the rule. And, of course, it is important

   for each bhikkhu to pay attention to all five of these factors in

   all of his actions to make sure that he does not fall at any time

   into an offense. This is where training in discipline becomes part

   of the training of the mind leading to Awakening. A bhikkhu who is

   mindful to analyze his actions into these five factors, to be aware

   of them as they arise, and to behave consistently in such a manner

   that he avoids committing any offenses, is developing three

   qualities: mindfulness; an analytical attitude towards phenomena in

   his thoughts, words, and deeds; and persistence in abandoning

   unskillful qualities and developing skillful ones within himself.

   These are the first three of the seven factors of Awakening, and

   form the basis for the remaining four: rapture, tranquility,

   concentration, and equanimity.


     The Parivara (VI.4), in reviewing the Vibhanga's five factors for

   analyzing offenses, devises a number of categories for classifying

   offenses, the most important being the distinction between rules

   carrying a penalty only when broken intentionally through correct

   perception (//sacittaka//), and those carrying a penalty even when

   broken unintentionally or through misperception (//acittaka//).


     Although it may seem harsh to impose penalties for unintentional

   actions, we must again reflect on the state of mind that leads to

   such actions. In some acts, of course, the intention makes all the

   difference between guilt and innocence. Taking an article with

   intent to return it, for example, is something else entirely from

   taking it with intent to steal. There are, however, other acts with

   damaging consequences that, when performed unintentionally, reveal

   carelessness and lack of circumspection in areas where a person may

   reasonably be held responsible. Many of the rules dealing with the

   proper care of communal property and one's basic requisites fall in

   this category. Except for one very unlikely situation, though, none

   of the major rules carry a penalty if broken unintentionally, while

   the minor rules that do carry such penalties may be regarded as

   useful lessons in mindfulness.


     The Parivara (IV.7.4) also lists six ways in which offenses can be



     1) //unconscientiously//, i.e., knowing that an action is contrary

   to the rules, but going ahead with it anyway;


     2) //unknowingly//, i.e., not realizing that the action is

   contrary to the rules;


     3) //absentmindedly//;


     4) //assuming something improper to be proper//, e.g., drinking a

   glass of apple wine perceiving it to be apple juice;


     5) //assuming something proper to be improper//, e.g., perceiving

   a glass of apple juice to be apple wine, and drinking it

   nonetheless; and


     6) //acting out of uncertainty//, i.e., not being sure if an

   action is proper, but going ahead with it anyway. In this last case,

   if the action is improper, one is to be treated according to the

   relevant rule. If it is proper, one incurs a dukkata in any event

   for having acted irresponsibly.


     Another scheme introduced in the ancient commentaries for

   classifying offenses is the distinction between those that the world

   criticizes (//loka-vajja//) and those that only the rules criticize

   (//pannati-vajja//). The Commentary defines this distinction by

   saying that loka-vajja offenses are committed with an unskillful

   state of mind (i.e., greed, anger or delusion), whereas

   pannati-vajja offenses are committed with a skillful state of mind.

   Thus the concepts would seem to have been developed originally to

   deal with the exceptional cases in which a bhikkhu would be led by

   mature consideration to break a rule -- e.g., where another person's

   life would be at stake. Under such circumstances, the world at large

   would not criticize his actions, although the rules would impose a



     As these concepts finally took shape in the ancient commentaries,

   though, they became a way of classifying rules. The compilers

   apparently felt that some of the rules forbade actions that

   necessarily were motivated by an unskillful state of mind, whereas

   others forbade actions that might be motivated by skillful states of

   mind. Given this use of the distinction, the Vinaya Mukha redefines

   the terms as follows:


      "Some offenses are faults as far as the world is concerned --

      wrong and damaging even if committed by ordinary people who are

      not bhikkhus -- examples being robbery and murder, as well as

      such lesser faults as assault and verbal abuse. Offenses of

      this sort are termed loka-vajja. There are also offenses that

      are faults only as far as the Buddha's ordinances are concerned

      -- neither wrong nor damaging if committed by ordinary people;

      wrong only if committed by bhikkhus, on the grounds that they

      run counter to the Buddha's ordinances. Offenses of this sort

      are termed pannati-vajja."


     Even a cursory glance at the Patimokkha rules will show that many

   of them deal with the latter sort of offense, and that such offenses

   concern relatively minor matters. The question often arises, then:

   Why this concern with minutiae? The answer is that the rules deal

   with social relationships -- among the bhikkhus themselves and

   between the bhikkhus and the laity -- and that social relationships

   are defined by seemingly minor points.


     Take, for instance, the rule that a bhikkhu may not eat food

   unless it is handed to him or to a fellow bhikkhu by an unordained

   person on that day. This rule has wide-ranging ramifications. It

   means, among other things, that a bhikkhu may not leave human

   society to lead a solitary hermit's existence, foraging for food on

   his own. He must have frequent contact with humanity, however

   minimal, and in that contact he performs a service to others, even

   if simply offering them a noble example of conduct and giving them

   an opportunity to develop the virtue of generosity. Many of the

   other seemingly trivial rules -- such as those forbidding digging in

   the soil and damaging plant life -- will reveal, on reflection,

   implications of a similar scope.


     The Great Standards. Although the Vibhanga and Khandhakas cover an

   enormous number of cases, they do not, of course, cover every

   possible contingency in the world; and from what we have seen of the

   way in which the Buddha formulated the rules -- dealing with cases

   as they arose -- there is reason to doubt that he himself wanted

   them to form an airtight system. As for cases that did not arise

   during his lifetime, he established the following four guidelines

   for judgment -- called the Great Standards (a separate set from

   those he formulated at Bhoganagara) -- for judging cases not

   mentioned in the rules:


      "Bhikkhus, whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is

      not allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it

      goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.


      "Whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is not

      allowable,' if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes

      against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you.


      "And whatever I have not permitted, saying, 'This is

      allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it

      goes against what is allowable, that is not allowable for you.


      "And whatever I have not permitted, saying, 'This is

      allowable,' if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes

      against what is not allowable, that is allowable for you."



     These four Great Standards, when properly applied, are an

   important tool for extending the principles of discipline into

   situations unknown in the Buddha's time. We will have occasion to

   refer to them frequently in the course of this book.


     There is evidence in the Canon that the Buddha's own attitude

   towards discipline was not one of strict legalism. Take, for

   instance, this discourse:


      "At one time the Blessed One was living in Vesali, in the Great

      Wood. Then a certain Vajjian bhikkhu went to him...and said:

      'Lord, more than 150 training rules come up for recitation

      every fortnight. I cannot train in reference to them.'


      "'Bhikkhu, can you train in reference to the three trainings:

      the training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened

      mind, the training in heightened discernment?'


      "'Yes, Lord, I can....'


      "'Then train in reference to those three trainings....When you

      train in reference to the training in heightened virtue...

      heightened mind...heightened discernment, passion will be

      abandoned in you, aversion...delusion will be abandoned in you.

      Then with the abandoning of passion...aversion... delusion, you

      will not do anything unskillful or engage in any evil.'


      "Later on, that bhikkhu trained in heightened virtue...

      heightened mind...heightened discernment....Passion...

      aversion...delusion were abandoned in him....He did not do

      anything unskillful or engage in any evil." (A.III.85)


     Another discourse with a similar point:


      "'Bhikkhus, more than 150 training rules come up for recitation

      every fortnight, in reference to which young men desiring the

      goal train themselves. There are these three trainings in which

      they (the training rules) are all contained. What three? The

      training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind,

      the training in heightened discernment. These are the three

      trainings in which they are all contained....


      "'There is the case, bhikkhus, where a bhikkhu is fully

      accomplished in virtue, concentration, and discernment (i.e.,

      is an arahant). With reference to the lesser and minor training

      rules, he falls into offenses and rehabilitates himself. Why is

      that? Because it is not said to be an impossibility. But as for

      the training rules that are basic to the holy life and proper

      to the holy life, his virtue is steadfast and firm. Having

      undertaken them, he trains in reference to the training rules.

      Because of the ending of (mental) effluents, he dwells in the

      release of awareness and release of discernment that are free

      from effluent, having known and made them manifest for himself

      right in the present....


      "'Those who are partially accomplished attain a part; those who

      are wholly accomplished, the whole. The training rules, I say,

      are not in vain.'" (A.III.88)


                            * * * * * * * *







   The Dhamma and Vinaya impinge in such detail on so many areas of

   one's life that no new bhikkhu can be expected to master them in a

   short time. For this reason, the Buddha arranged for a period of

   apprenticeship -- called //nissaya//, or dependence -- in which

   every newly ordained bhikkhu must train under the guidance of an

   experienced bhikkhu for at least five years before he can be

   considered competent to look after himself.


     This apprenticeship has formed the human context in which the

   practice of the Buddha's teachings has been passed down for the past

   2,600 years. To overlook it is to miss one of the basic parameters

   of the life of the Dhamma and Vinaya. Thus we will discuss it here

   first, before going on to the individual training rules of the



     Dependence is of two sorts: dependence on one's preceptor

   (//upajjhaya//) and dependence on a teacher (//acariya//). The

   relationships are similar -- and in many details, identical -- so

   the following discussion will use the word "mentor" to cover both

   preceptor and teacher wherever the pattern applies to both, and will

   distinguish them only where the patterns differ.


     //Choosing a mentor//. Before ordination, one must choose a

   bhikkhu to act as one's preceptor. The Mahavagga (I.36-37) gives a

   long list of qualifications a bhikkhu must meet before he can act as

   a preceptor, while the Commentary divides the list into two levels:

   ideal and minimal qualifications. A bhikkhu who lacks the minimal

   qualifications incurs a dukkata if he acts as a preceptor; a bhikkhu

   who meets the minimal but lacks the ideal qualifications is not an

   ideal person to give guidance, but he incurs no penalty in doing so.


     //The ideal qualifications:// The preceptor should have an

   arahant's virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and knowledge

   of release; and should be able to train another person to the same

   level of attainment. He should have faith, a sense of shame, fear of

   evil, persistence in the practice, and quick mindfulness (according

   to the Subcommentary, this means that he is constantly mindful of

   whatever mental object is before the mind). He should be free of

   heavy and light offenses and be possessed of right view. (This last

   point, the Commentary says, means that he does not adhere to the

   extremes of eternalism or annihilationism.) He should be competent

   to tend to a sick pupil, or to find someone who will tend to him,

   and to allay dissatisfaction in a pupil who wants to leave the

   celibate life.


     The Mahavagga does not say outright that these are ideal, as

   opposed to minimal, qualifications, but the Commentary offers as

   proof the fact that one of a pupil's duties is to try to allay any

   dissatisfaction that may arise in his preceptor. If all preceptors

   were arahants, no case of this sort would ever arise, and there

   would be no need to mention it. Thus the Commentary concludes that

   arahantship, although ideal in a preceptor, is not necessary.


     //The minimal qualifications//: The preceptor must be learned and

   intelligent. According to the Commentary, this means that he knows

   enough of the Dhamma and Vinaya to govern a following and is

   intelligent enough to know what is and is not an offense. He must be

   competent enough to allay any anxiety a pupil may have over the

   rules, know what is and is not an offense, what is a light offense,

   what is a heavy offense, and how an offense may be removed. He must

   have detailed knowledge of both Patimokkhas (the one for the

   bhikkhus and the one for the bhikkhunis) and be able to train the

   pupil in the bhikkhus' customs (Com.: this means that he knows the

   Khandhakas), in the basic rules of the chaste life (Subcom.: he

   knows both Vibhangas), the higher Dhamma, and the higher Vinaya. He

   must be able to dissuade his pupil from adhering to a wrong view, or

   find someone who will help dissuade him. And -- the most basic

   requirement -- he must have been ordained as a bhikkhu for ten years

   or more.


     If, for some reason, the new bhikkhu lives in a separate monastery

   from his preceptor, he must take dependence under a teacher, whose

   qualifications are precisely the same as those for a preceptor.

   Since the Mahavagga (I.72.1) gives a dukkata for taking dependence

   under an unconscientious bhikkhu, the new bhikkhu is allowed four to

   five days to observe his potential teacher's conduct before taking

   dependence under him (Mv.I.72.2).


     //Taking dependence//. Prior to his ordination -- and usually, as

   part of the ceremony itself -- the candidate must make a formal

   request for dependence from his preceptor. The procedure is as



     Arranging his upper robe over his left shoulder, leaving his right

   shoulder bare, he bows down to the preceptor and then, kneeling with

   his hands palm-to-palm in front of his heart, repeats the following

   passage three times:


         Upajjhayo me bhante hohi,


   which means, "Venerable sir, be my preceptor."


     If the preceptor responds with any of these words -- //Sahu

   //(very well), //lahu// (certainly), //opayikam// (all right),

   //patirupam// (it is proper) or //pasadikena sampadehi// (manage it

   amiably) -- the dependence has taken hold. The Mahavagga adds that

   if the preceptor indicates any of these meanings by gesture, that

   also counts; and according to the Commentary, the same holds true if

   he makes any equivalent statement. (Mv.I.25.7)


     If, after his ordination, the new bhikkhu needs to request

   dependence from a teacher, the procedure is the same, except that

   the request he makes three times is this:


         Acariyo me bhante hohi; ayasmato nissaya vacchami,


   which means, "Venerable sir, be my teacher; I will live in

   dependence on you." (Mv.I.32.2)


     //Duties//. The Mahavagga (I.25.6; 32.1) states that a pupil

   should regard his mentor as a father; and the mentor, the pupil as

   his son. It then goes on to delineate this relationship as a set of

   reciprocal duties.


     The pupil's duties to his mentor fall into the following five



     1. //Attending to the mentor's personal needs//. The Mahavagga

   goes into great detail on this topic, giving precise instructions

   dealing with every conceivable way a pupil can be of service to his

   mentor. The Vinaya Mukha tries to reduce these duties to a few

   general principles, but this misses much of what the Mahavagga has

   to offer, for it is in the details that we can see fine examples of

   mindfulness in action -- the best way to fold a robe, clean a

   dwelling, and so forth -- as well as indications of how one can use

   this aspect of one's training to develop sensitivity to the needs of

   others. Still, the detailed instructions are so extensive that they

   would overburden the discussion in this chapter, so I have saved

   them for Appendix VIII. Here I will simply give them in outline

   form. The pupil should:


      a. Arrange his mentor's toiletries for his morning wash-up.


      b. Arrange his seat and food for his morning conjey (if he has

      any), and clean up after he is finished.


      c. Arrange his robes and bowl for his alms round.


      d. Follow him on his alms round, if the mentor so desires, and

      take his robes and bowl when he returns.


      e. Arrange his seat and food for his alms meal and clean up



      f. Prepare his bath. If he goes to the sauna, go with him and

      attend to his needs.


      g. Study the Dhamma and Vinaya from him when he is prepared to

      teach. (The Mahavagga describes this as "recitation" and

      "interrogation." Recitation, according to the Commentary, means

      learning to memorize passages; interrogation, learning to

      investigate their meaning.)


      h. Clean his dwelling and other parts of his dwelling complex,

      such as the restroom and storage rooms, when they get dirty.



     2. //Assisting the mentor in any problems he may have with regard

   to the Dhamma and Vinaya//. The Mahavagga lists the following



      a. If the preceptor begins to feel dissatisfaction with the

      celibate life, the pupil should try to allay that

      dissatisfaction or find someone else who can.


      b. If the preceptor begins to feel anxiety over his conduct

      with regard to the rules, the pupil should try to allay that

      anxiety, or find someone else who can.


      c. If the preceptor begins to hold to wrong views, the pupil

      should try to dissuade him from those views or find someone

      else who can.


      d. If the preceptor has committed a sanghadisesa offense, the

      pupil should -- to the best of his ability -- help with the

      arrangements for penance, probation, and rehabilitation, or

      find someone else who can.


      e. If the Community is going to carry out a formal act against

      the mentor, the pupil should try to dissuade them from it.

      According to the Commentary, this means that he should go to

      the various members of the Community individually before the

      meeting and try to dissuade them from going through with the

      act. If he can't dissuade them, he should try to get them to

      lessen its severity (say, from an act of banishment to an act

      of censure). If they are justified in carrying out the act,

      though, he should not object while the meeting is in progress.

      Once they have carried out the act, he should concentrate on

      helping his mentor behave so that they will rescind the act as

      quickly as possible.



     3. //Washing, making, and dyeing the mentor's robes.//


     4. //Showing loyalty and respect for the mentor//.


      a. The pupil should neither give or receive gifts, nor give or

      receive services to/from others without first obtaining the

      mentor's permission. According to the Commentary, //others //

      here refers to people who are on bad terms with the mentor.


      b. The pupil should obtain his mentor's permission before

      entering a village, going to a cemetery (to meditate, says, the

      Commentary), or leaving the district in which they live. The

      Commentary notes, though, that if the mentor refuses one's

      request the first time, one should ask up to two more times,

      presenting one's reasons as best one can. If the mentor still

      refuses, the pupil should reflect on his situation. If staying

      with the mentor is not helping his education and meditation,

      and if the mentor seems to want him to stay simply to have

      someone to look after his (the mentor's) needs, the pupil is

      justified in leaving and taking dependence with a new mentor in

      his new residence.


     5. //Caring for the mentor when he falls ill//, not leaving him

   until he either recovers or passes away (Mv.I.25).


     According to the Commentary, a pupil is freed from these duties

   when he is ill. Otherwise, he should observe all the above duties to

   his preceptor as long as he is in dependence on him, and the duties

   in sections 1-3 even after he is released from dependence, as long

   as both he and the preceptor are alive and still ordained.


     As for the duties to one's teacher, the Commentary lists four

   types of teachers: the going-forth teacher (the one who gives one

   the ten precepts during one's ordination ceremony); the acceptance

   teacher (the one who chants the motion and announcements during the

   ceremony); the Dhamma teacher (the one who teaches one the Pali

   language and Canon); and the dependence teacher (the one with whom

   one lives in dependence). With the dependence teacher, one must

   observe all the above duties only as long as one is living in

   dependence on him. As for the other three, one should observe

   sections 1-3 as long as both parties are alive and still ordained.


     The Commentary adds that if the mentor already has a pupil who is

   performing these duties for him, he may inform his remaining pupils

   that they need not take them on. This exempts them from having to

   observe them. If he neglects to do this, the pupil who is performing

   the duties may inform his fellows that he will take responsibility

   for looking after the mentor. This also exempts them. Otherwise,

   they incur a dukkata for every duty they neglect to perform.



     The mentor's duties to his pupil:


     1. //Furthering the pupil's education//, teaching him the Dhamma

   and Vinaya through recitation, interrogation, exhortation, and



     2. //Providing requisites for the pupil//. If the pupil lacks any

   of his basic requisites, and the mentor has any to spare, he should

   make up the lack.


     3. //Attending to the pupil's personal needs when he is ill//,

   performing the services mentioned in section 1 under the pupil's

   duties to his mentor.


     4. //Assisting the pupil in any problems he may have with regard

   to the Dhamma and Vinaya//, performing the services mentioned in

   section 2 under the pupil's duties to his mentor.


     5. //Teaching the pupil how to wash, make, and dye robes//. If for

   some reason the pupil is unable to handle these skills, the mentor

   should find someone who can help the pupil with them.


     6. //Caring for the pupil when he falls ill//, not leaving him

   until he either recovers or passes away (Mv.I.26).


     According to the Commentary, the preceptor, going-forth teacher,

   and acceptance teacher must observe these duties toward the pupil as

   long as both parties are alive and still ordained. As for the Dhamma

   and dependence teachers, they must observe these duties only as long

   as the pupil is living with them.


     //Dismissal//. If the pupil does not observe his duties to his

   mentor, the mentor is empowered to dismiss him. In fact, if the

   pupil deserves dismissal, the mentor incurs a dukkata if for some

   reason he does not dismiss him, just as he would for dismissing a

   pupil who did not deserve it (MV.I.27.5-8). The grounds for

   dismissal are five:


     1. The pupil has no affection for his mentor -- i.e., he shows him

   no kindness.


     2. He has no faith in his mentor -- i.e., he does not regard him

   as an example to follow.


     3. He has no shame in front of his mentor -- i.e., he openly

   disregards the training rules in his mentor's presence.


     4. He has no respect for his mentor -- i.e., he does not listen to

   what the mentor has to say, and openly disobeys him.


     5. He is not developing under his mentor -- the Commentary

   translates //developing// here as developing a sense of good will

   for his mentor, but it could also mean developing in his general

   education and practice of the Dhamma and Vinaya.



     The Vinaya Mukha notes that the mentor should reflect on his own

   conduct before dismissing such a pupil. If he has done anything that

   would give the pupil valid reason for losing affection, etc., he

   should first correct his own conduct. Only after reflecting that

   there is no longer anything in his own conduct that would give the

   pupil valid reason to disregard him should he go ahead with the



     The Mahavagga mentions each of the following statements as a valid

   means of dismissal: "I dismiss you." "Don't come back here." "Take

   away your robes and bowl." "Don't attend to me." It also states that

   if the mentor makes any of these meanings known by gesture -- e.g.,

   he evicts the pupil from his quarters and throws his robes and bowl

   out after him -- that also counts as a valid means of dismissal

   (Mv.I.27.2). The Commentary adds that any statement conveying the

   same basic meaning as those above would count as well.


     Once a pupil has been dismissed, it is his duty to apologize. If

   he doesn't, he incurs a dukkata (Mv.I.27.3). Once the pupil has

   apologized, the mentor's duty is to forgive him (Mv.I.27.4). If,

   however, he sees that the pupil is still unconscientious, he should

   not take him back, for a mentor who takes on an unconscientious

   pupil incurs a dukkata (Mv.I.72.1.). Thus the mentor may, if he sees

   fit, inflict a non-physical punishment on the pupil before taking

   him back on the original footing, to make sure that he has actually

   seen the error of his ways. An example of such punishment, mentioned

   in the Vinaya Mukha, is simply asking to wait to observe the pupil's

   behavior for a while to see whether or not his apology is sincere.


     The Commentary recommends that if the mentor refuses to forgive

   the pupil, the latter should try to get other bhikkhus in the

   monastery to intercede for him. If that doesn't work, he should go

   stay in another monastery and take dependence under a senior bhikkhu

   there who is on friendly terms with the mentor, in hopes that the

   mentor will take this as a sign of the pupil's good intentions and

   will eventually grant his forgiveness.


     //Dependence lapses//. Mv.I.36.1 says that if a pupil is staying

   in dependence with his preceptor, the dependence lapses if:


     1. He leaves. According to the Subcommentary, this means that the

   preceptor goes to spend the night outside the monastery, regardless

   of whether or not he plans to return.


     2. He disrobes.


     3. He dies.


     4. He goes over to another side -- according to the Commentary,

   this means that he joins another religion.


     In all of the above cases, the commentaries interpret "he" as

   referring to the preceptor, although it would seem to refer to the

   pupil as well. This would fit with the passages from the Mahavagga,

   to be mentioned below, that refer to a new bhikkhu on a journey as

   not being in dependence. In such cases, the new bhikkhu is most

   likely the one who has left the preceptor, and his leaving is what

   has caused the dependence to lapse.


     5. He gives a command. This is the one alternative where "he"

   clearly refers only to the preceptor. The Commentary interprets

   //command// here as dismissal, as discussed above, although the

   Vinaya Mukha would also include cases where the preceptor sees that

   the pupil qualifies to be released from dependence (see below) and

   tells him so.


     In each of these cases, a pupil who is not yet released from

   dependence must find someone else to take dependence under on that

   very day, except in the following instances (taken from the



     -- The preceptor leaves, saying that he will be away only for a

   day or two, and that the pupil need not ask anyone else for

   dependence in the meantime. If it so happens that the preceptor's

   return is delayed, he should send word to his pupil, saying that he

   still intends to come back. If, however, the pupil receives word

   from his preceptor that the latter no longer intends to return, he

   should immediately look for a teacher to take dependence under.


     -- The preceptor leaves, and the only other senior bhikkhu in the

   monastery is one whom the pupil does not know well. In this case,

   the pupil is allowed four or five days to observe the senior

   bhikkhu's behavior (as mentioned above) before requesting dependence

   from him. If, though, the pupil already knows the senior bhikkhu

   well enough to feel confident in his conduct, he should take

   dependence with him on the day of his preceptor's departure.


     If the pupil is staying in dependence on a teacher, the dependence

   can lapse for any of six reasons. The first five are identical with

   those above, although even the Commentary states that "he leaves,"

   the first reason, applies not only to cases where the teacher leaves

   but also to cases where the pupil leaves. The sixth reason is:


     6. The pupil rejoins his preceptor. The Commentary explains this

   by saying that, in effect, the pupil's original dependence on his

   preceptor always overrides his dependence on a teacher. If the pupil

   happens to see his preceptor and recognize him, or to hear and

   recognize his voice -- even if they just happen to pass on the

   street -- his dependence on his teacher automatically lapses, and

   his dependence on his preceptor is reinstated. If he then returns to

   live with his teacher, he must ask for dependence from the teacher

   all over again.


     The Vinaya Mukha objects to his judgment, saying that "rejoins the

   preceptor" should refer to the pupil's actually living with the

   preceptor, either in another monastery or in the same monastery

   where the teacher lives. This, however, is an area where different

   Communities differ in their interpretation, and the wise policy is

   to follow the interpretation of the Community in which one lives.


     //Temporary exemption from dependence//. Normally a junior bhikkhu

   is required to live in dependence under a mentor at all times.

   However, Mv.I.73 allows him not to take dependence when living in

   the following situations if no qualified bhikkhu is available as a



     1) He is on a journey.


     2) He is ill.


     3) He is caring for an ill person who has requested his help (%).


     4) He is living alone in the forest, meditating comfortably,

   intending to take dependence if a qualified mentor comes along.



     The Commentary, in discussing these allowances, makes the

   following points:


     A bhikkhu on a journey is said to have no mentor available if no

   qualified senior bhikkhu is traveling with him. In other words, the

   fact that he happens to pass by a monastery with a qualified mentor

   does not mean that a mentor is available, and he is allowed to

   continue traveling without taking dependence. If, however, he spends

   the night in a place where he has taken dependence before, he should

   take dependence on the day of his arrival. If he reaches a place

   where he has never been before and plans to spend only two or three

   days, he need not take dependence; but if he plans to spend a week,

   he must. If the senior bhikkhu he requests dependence from says,

   "What's the use of taking dependence for only a week?" that exempts

   him from this requirement.


     As for the bhikkhu living alone in the forest, the Commentary says

   that "meditating comfortably" means that his tranquility and insight

   meditation are going smoothly. For some reason, though, it says that

   this allowance applies only to bhikkhus whose meditation is at a

   tender stage and might deteriorate if they were to leave the forest;

   if a bhikkhu has attained any of the Noble Attainments -- beginning

   with Stream-entry -- he may not make use of this allowance. Why the

   Commentary limits the allowance in this way, it doesn't say.


     At any rate, once the month before the Rains Retreat arrives, and

   no suitable mentor appears, the junior bhikkhu must leave his forest

   abode and look for a place where he can take dependence for the



     //Release from dependence//. According to Mv.I.53.4, a bhikkhu may

   be released from dependence after he has been ordained for five

   years, on the condition that he be experienced and competent. If he

   is not yet experienced and competent, he must remain under

   dependency until he is. If he never becomes experienced and

   competent, he must remain in dependence for his entire life as a

   bhikkhu. The Commentary adds that, in the last case, if he cannot

   find a competent experienced bhikkhu who is senior to him, he must

   take dependence with a competent, experienced bhikkhu who is his



     To be considered competent and experienced enough to deserve

   release from dependence, a bhikkhu must meet many of the same

   general qualifications as those for a mentor, except that he need

   not possess the competence to look after a pupil, and the minimum

   number of years he needs as a bhikkhu is five. None of the texts

   divide the qualifications here into ideal and minimal

   qualifications, as they do for the mentor, but it seems reasonable

   that the same division would apply here as well. This would give us

   the following list:


     //The ideal qualifications//: The bhikkhu should have an arahant's

   virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and knowledge of

   release. He should have faith, a sense of shame, fear of evil,

   persistence in the practice, and quick mindfulness. He should be

   free of heavy and light offenses and possess right view.


     //The minimal qualifications//: The bhikkhu must be learned and

   intelligent, knowing both Patimokkhas in detail, understanding what

   is and is not an offense, what is a light offense, what is a heavy

   offense, and how an offense may be removed. And -- the most basic

   requirement -- he must have been ordained as a bhikkhu for at least

   five years (Mv.I.5-13).


     The Commentary expands on the term //learned// here, saying that

   the bhikkhu must have memorized:


     1. Both Patimokkhas.


     2. The Four Bhanavaras -- a set of auspicious chants that are

   still regularly memorized in Sri Lanka.


     3. A discourse that is helpful as a guide for sermon-giving. (The

   Commentary lists as examples the Maha-Rahulovada Sutta [M. 62], the

   Andhakavinda Sutta, and the Ambattha Sutta [D. 3].)


     4. Three kinds of //anumodana //(rejoicing in the merit of others)

   chants: for meals; for auspicious merit-making ceremonies, such as

   blessing a house; and for non-auspicious ceremonies, i.e., any

   relating to a death.


     The Commentary adds that he must also know the rules for such

   official acts of the Community as the Patimokkha recitation and the

   Invitation Ceremony at the end of the Rains, and be acquainted with

   themes for tranquility and insight meditation leading to



     This definition of //learned// is not universally accepted, and

   some traditions have reworked it. As this is another area where

   different Communities have different interpretations, the wise

   policy is to adhere to the practice followed in one's Community, as

   long as it follows the basic requirements in the Canon, mentioned



     Once a pupil has been released from dependence, he need no longer

   perform the duties mentioned in sections 4 and 5 under the pupil's

   duties to his mentor.


     //Return to dependence//. The Cullavagga (I.9-12) states that a

   bhikkhu released from dependence may be forced, by a formal act of

   the Community, to return to dependence if his conduct is so bad as

   to warrant it. The qualifying factors are:


     1. He is ignorant and inexperienced.


     2. He is full of offenses and has not made amends for them.


     3. He lives in unbecoming association with lay people.


     If these factors apply to a bhikkhu to the extent that the

   Community is "fed up with granting him probation, sending him back

   to the beginning, imposing penance, and rehabilitating him" -- these

   terms refer to the procedures for dealing with a bhikkhu who has

   committed repeated sanghadisesa offenses (see Chapter 5) -- then the

   Community is justified in imposing a formal "act of dependence" on

   him. This is identical with a formal "act for further misbehavior,"

   to be discussed in Chapter 11, and carries the same penalties, the

   only difference being that the bhikkhu must live in dependence under

   a mentor as long as the act of dependence is in effect. If he mends

   his ways to the Community's satisfaction, they may rescind the act

   and return his independence.


                                 * * *


   At any rate, as we mentioned above, regardless of whether a pupil is

   under dependence or released from it, he is still expected to

   observe certain duties to his preceptor -- and his preceptor,

   certain duties to him -- as long as both are alive and ordained.

   This is in line with the fact that they are always to regard each

   other as father and son: The preceptor is to take a continuing

   interest in his pupil's welfare, and the pupil is to show his

   continuing gratitude for the initiation his preceptor has given him

   into the bhikkhu's life.



                            * * * * * * * *








   The first rule in the Patimokkha opens with the statement that it --

   and, by extension, every other rule in the Patimokkha -- applies to

   all bhikkhus who have not disrobed by renouncing the training and

   returning to the lay life. Thus the Vibhanga begins its explanations

   by discussing what does and does not count as a valid act of

   disrobing. Because this is, in effect, the escape clause for all the

   rules, I am discussing it first as a separate chapter, for if a

   bhikkhu disrobes in an invalid manner, he still counts as a bhikkhu

   and is subject to the rules whether he realizes it or not. If he

   then were to break any of the Parajika rules, he would be

   disqualified from ever becoming a bhikkhu again in this lifetime.


     To disrobe, a bhikkhu with firm intent states in the presence of a

   witness words to the effect that he is renouncing the training. The

   validity of the act depends on four factors:


       1. The bhikkhu's state of mind.

       2. His intention.

       3. His statement.

       4. The witness to his statement.


     State of mind. The bhikkhu must be in his right mind. Any

   statement he makes while insane, crazed with pain, or possessed by

   spirits does not count.


     Intention. He must seriously desire to leave the Community. If,

   without actually intending to disrobe, he makes any of the

   statements usually used for disrobing, it does not count as an act

   of disrobing. For example, if he makes the statement in jest or is

   telling someone else how to disrobe, the fact that he mentions the

   words does not mean that he has disrobed. Also, if he says one thing

   and means something else -- e.g., if he makes a slip of the tongue

   -- that too does not count.


     The statement. The Vibhanga gives a wide variety of statements

   that one may use to renounce the training. The most basic one

   follows the form, "I renounce //x//," where //x// may be replaced

   with the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha, the training, the

   discipline (//vinaya//), the Patimokkha, the chaste life, one's

   preceptor, one's teacher, one's fellow bhikkhus, or any equivalent

   terms. Other examples follow similar forms, such as, "I am tired of

   //x//," "What is //x// to me?" "//X// means nothing to me," or "I am

   well freed of //x//." A separate form follows the pattern, "I will

   be //y//," where //y// may be replaced with a householder, a lay

   follower, a novice, a member of another sect, an adherent of another

   sect, or any other equivalent term.


     The Vibhanga stipulates that the statement may //not// be put in

   the conditional tense ("Suppose I were to renounce the training"),

   and the Commentary further stipulates that the "//x//" statements

   must be in the //present// tense. Thus to say, "I have renounced the

   training," or "I will renounce the training," would not be a valid

   statement of disrobing.


     The witness must be a human being in his or her right mind, and

   must understand what the bhikkhu says. This rules out the practice

   legendary in Thailand of bhikkhus who disrobe by taking a Buddha

   image as their witness, or who disrobe in front of a Bodhi tree on

   the assumption that the tree deity counts.


     These four factors cover all that is absolutely necessary for an

   act of disrobing to be valid. However, each of the different

   national traditions has developed a set of formal ceremonies to

   surround the act -- such as making a final confession of all one's

   offenses and reciting the passage for reflection on one's past use

   of the four requisites -- to give psychological weight to the

   occasion and to help minimize any sense of remorse one may feel



     Because disrobing is a serious act with strong consequences for

   one's mental and spiritual well being, it should be done only after

   due consideration. Once a bhikkhu decides that he //does// want to

   disrobe, he would be wise to follow not only the stipulations given

   in the texts but also any additional customs dictated by the

   traditions of his particular Community, as a sign to himself and to

   others that he is acting seriously and with due respect both for the

   religion and for himself.


                            * * * * * * * *



CHAPTER FOUR                                            




   This term, according to the Parivara, derives from a verb meaning to

   lose or be defeated. A bhikkhu who commits any of the four following

   offenses has surrendered to his own mental defilements to such an

   extent that he defeats the purpose of his having become a bhikkhu in

   the first place. The irrevocable nature of this defeat is

   illustrated in the Vibhanga with a number of similes: "as a man with

   his head cut off...as a withered leaf freed from its stem...as a

   flat stone that has been broken in half cannot be put together

   again...as a palm tree cut off at the crown is incapable of further

   growth." A bhikkhu who commits any of these offenses severs himself

   irrevocably from the life of the Sangha and is no longer considered

   a bhikkhu.




       1.Should any bhikkhu -- participating in the training and

       livelihood of the bhikkhus, without having renounced the

       training, without having declared his weakness -- engage in

       the sexual act, even with a female animal, he is defeated

       and no longer in communion.



     Effort. In this rule, the term //sexual act refers to all kinds of

   sexual intercourse. The Vibhanga classifies the various types of

   intercourse by the organs involved -- the genitals, the mouth, the

   anus -- and in any of the possible combinations (except for

   mouth-to-mouth, which is treated separately under Sanghadisesa 2,

   below), the sexual act has been performed when one organ enters the

   other even if just to "the extent of a sesame seed." This means that

   a bhikkhu engaging in genital, oral, or anal intercourse is subject

   to this rule regardless of which role he plays. The question of

   whether there is a covering, such as a condom, between the organs is

   irrelevant, as are the questions of whether the bhikkhu is actively

   or passively involved, and whether or not any of the parties

   involved reaches orgasm.


     Object. The full penalty under this rule applies to any voluntary

   sexual intercourse with a human being, a "non-human" being (a

   //yakkha//, //naga//, or //peta//), or a common animal, whether

   female, male, neuter, or hermaphrodite.


     Performing the sexual act with a dead body -- even a decapitated

   head -- also entails the full penalty if the remains of the body are

   intact enough for the act to be accomplished.


     The Vinita Vatthu also lists two examples of "self-intercourse": A

   bhikkhu with a supple back takes his penis into his mouth, and a

   bhikkhu with an unusually long penis inserts it into his anus. Both

   cases carry the full penalty, which shows that one's own anal and

   oral orifices can fulfill the factor of object here.


     Knowledge & consent. For the sexual act to count as an offense,

   the bhikkhu must know that it is happening and give his consent.

   Thus if he is sexually assaulted while asleep or otherwise

   unconscious and remains oblivious to what is happening, he incurs no

   penalty. If, however, he becomes conscious during the assault or was

   conscious right from the start, then whether he incurs a penalty

   depends on whether he gives his consent during any part of the act.


     Strangely enough, neither the Canon nor the Commentary discusses

   the factor of consent in any detail, except to mention by way of

   passing that it can apply to the stage of inserting, being fully

   inserted, staying in place, or pulling out. From the examples in the

   Vinita Vatthu, it would appear that consent refers to a //mental//

   state of acquiescence, together with its physical or verbal

   expression. Mere physical compliance does not count, as there are

   cases where bhikkhus forced into intercourse comply physically but

   without consenting mentally and so are absolved of any offense; but

   there is some question as to whether a bhikkhu who consents mentally

   to letting the sexual act happen would incur the penalty if he

   simply lies still and lets it happen, or if he would have to

   indicate his consent with a verbal act or physical motion.


     As we mentioned in Chapter 1, the rules contains two patterns

   concerning what does and does not count as a physical expression of

   consent when one is forced into a situation that would break a rule.

   In two of the Vinita Vatthu cases mentioned under this rule,

   bhikkhus are approached by women who volunteer to fondle them to the

   point where they emit semen (%). Both bhikkhus let them go ahead,

   and both incur the full penalty under Sanghadisesa 1. In such cases,

   simply letting the act happen counts as physical acquiescence. Under

   Sanghadisesa 2, however, if a bhikkhu is approached by a woman who

   fondles his body, and he consents mentally to what she is doing, he

   incurs a penalty if he says something or makes a physical move to

   indicate that consent, but no penalty if he remains perfectly still.


     None of the texts explain why there are these two patterns, but

   two possibilities suggest themselves: (1) It is physically

   impossible to emit semen and to enjoy the emission without the

   body's moving in one way or another. (2) One is not necessarily

   responsible if a woman simply makes contact with one's body, even if

   one enjoys the contact; but if one is happy to let her get to the

   point where she has one ejaculating, one cannot deny responsibility

   for what is happening. In either case, this rule would seem to

   follow the pattern for Sanghadisesa 1: If one is sexually assaulted,

   one is completely absolved from an offense only if (1) one does not

   give one's mental consent at any time during the act or (2) one does

   feel mental consent during at least part of the act but puts up a

   struggle so as not to express that consent physically or verbally in

   any way. If one puts up no struggle and feels mental consent, even

   if only fleetingly during the stage of inserting, being fully

   inserted, staying in place, or pulling out, one incurs the full



     This would seems to be the basis for the Commentary's warning in

   its discussion of the Vinita Vatthu case in which a bhikkhu wakes up

   to find himself being sexually assaulted by a woman, gives her a

   kick, and sends her rolling. The warning: This is how a bhikkhu

   still subject to sensual lust should act if he wants to protect his

   state of mind.


     Derived offenses. The only thullaccaya directly related to this

   rule is for the unlikely case of a bhikkhu who attempts intercourse

   with the decomposed mouth, anus, or genitals of a corpse. (!) To

   attempt intercourse with any other part of a dead body or with any

   part of an insentient object, such as an inflatable doll or

   mannikin, incurs a dukkata.


     The Vibhanga states that if a bhikkhu attempts intercourse with

   any part of a living being's body apart from the three orifices, the

   case falls under the Sanghadisesa rules -- either Sanghadisesa 1 for

   intentional ejaculation or Sanghadisesa 2 for lustful bodily

   contact. As we shall see below, the penalties assigned in the latter

   case are as follows: if the partner is a woman, a sanghadisesa; if a

   //pandaka// (see Sanghadisesa 2), a thullaccaya; if a man or a

   common animal, a dukkata. We can infer from the Vibhanga's ruling

   here that if a bhikkhu has an orgasm while attempting intercourse

   with the decomposed mouth, anus, or genitals of a corpse, with any

   other part of a dead body, or with any part of an insentient object,

   the case comes under Sanghadisesa 1.


     The Commentary disagrees with the Vibhanga on these points,

   however, saying that the derived offenses under this rule can

   include only dukkata and thullaccaya penalties. In its explanation

   of Sanghadisesa 1, it sets forth a system of eleven types of lust in

   which the lust for the pleasure of bringing about an ejaculation,

   lust for the pleasure of bodily contact, and lust for the pleasure

   of intercourse are treated as completely separate things that must

   be treated under separate rules. Thus, it says, if a bhikkhu aiming

   at intercourse takes hold of a woman's body, it is simply a

   preliminary to intercourse and thus entails only a dukkata, rather

   than a sanghadisesa for lustful bodily contact. Similarly, if he has

   a premature ejaculation before beginning intercourse, there is no

   offense at all.


     These are fine academic distinctions and are clearly motivated by

   a desire to draw neat lines between the rules, but they lead to

   practical problems. As the Commentary itself points out, if a

   bhikkhu commits an act that falls near the borderline between these

   rules, but cannot later report precisely which type of lust he was

   feeling in the heat of the moment, there is no way his case can be

   judged and a penalty assigned. At any rate, though, there is no

   basis in the Canon for the Commentary's system, and in fact it

   contradicts not only the Vibhanga's ruling mentioned above, but also

   its definition of "lustful" under Sanghadisesas 2, 3, & 4, which is

   exactly the same for all three rules and places no limits on the

   type of lust involved. All of this leads to the conclusion that the

   Commentary's neat system is invalid, and that the Vibhanga's

   judgment holds: If a bhikkhu attempts intercourse with any part of a

   living being's body apart from the three orifices, the case falls

   under the Sanghadisesa rules -- either Sanghadisesa 1 for

   intentional ejaculation or Sanghadisesa 2 for lustful bodily contact

   -- rather than here.


     Blanket exemptions. In addition to bhikkhus who do not know they

   are being assaulted or do not give their consent when they do know,

   the Vibhanga states that there are four special categories of

   bhikkhus exempted from a penalty under this rule: any bhikkhu who is

   insane, possessed by spirits, delirious with pain, or the first

   offender (in this case, Ven. Sudinna) whose actions prompted the

   Buddha to formulate the rule in the first place. The Commentary

   notes that anyone who "goes about in an unseemly way, with deranged

   perceptions, having cast away all sense of conscience and shame, not

   knowing whether he has transgressed major or minor training rules,"

   counts as insane here. It recognizes this as a medical condition,

   which it blames on the bile. As for spirit possession, it says that

   this can happen either when spirits frighten one or when, by

   distracting one with sensory images, they insert their hands into

   one's heart by way of one's mouth. (!) At any rate, it notes, insane

   and possessed bhikkhus are exempt from penalties they incur only

   when their perceptions are deranged ("when their mindfulness is

   entirely forgotten, and they don't know what fire, gold, excrement,

   and sandalwood are") and not from any they incur during their lucid

   moments. As for a bhikkhu overcome with pain, he is exempt from

   penalties he incurs only during periods when the pain is so great

   that he does not know what he is doing.


     These four categories are exempted from penalties under //all// of

   the rules, although the first offender for each rule is exempted

   only for the one time he acted in such a way as to provoke the

   Buddha into formulating the rule. I will not mention these

   categories again, but the reader should bear them in mind as being

   exempt in every case.


     Lastly, the Vinita Vatthu to this rule includes an interesting

   case that formed the basis for an additional rule:


       "At that time a certain monk had gone to the Gabled Hall in

       the Great Wood at Vesali to pass the day and was sleeping,

       having left the door open. His various limbs were stiff with

       the 'wind forces' (i.e., he had an erection). Now at that

       time a large company of women bearing garlands and scents

       came to the park, headed for the vihara. Seeing the bhikkhu,

       they sat down on his male organ and, having taken their

       pleasure and remarking, 'What a bull of a man!' they went on

       their way, taking up their garlands and scents."


     The bhikkhu incurred no penalty, but the Buddha gave formal

   permission to close the door when resting during the day.


       Summary: Voluntary sexual intercourse -- genital, anal, or

       oral -- with a human being, non-human being, or common

       animal is a parajika offense.


                                 * * *



       2. Should any bhikkhu, in the manner of stealing, take what

       is not given from an inhabited area or from the wilderness

       -- just as when, in the taking of what is not given, kings

       arresting the criminal would flog, imprison, or banish him,

       saying, "You are a robber, you are a fool, you are

       benighted, you are a thief" -- a bhikkhu in the same way

       taking what is not given is defeated and no longer in



     This rule against stealing is, in the working out of its details,

   the most complex in the Patimokkha and requires the most explanation

   -- not that stealing is a concept especially hard to understand,

   simply that it can take so many forms.


     The Vibhanga defines the act of stealing in terms of four factors:


       1) //Object//: anything belonging to another person, a group

       of persons, or a location (such as the offerings made to a

       sacred place).


       2) //Perception//: One perceives that the object belongs to

       another person, etc.


       3) //Intention//: One decides to steal it.


       4) //Effort//: One takes possession of it.


     Stealing under any circumstances is always an offense. However,

   the severity of the offense depends on another factor, which is --


       5) //The value of the object//.


     Object. For an object to qualify as //what is not given// -- the

   rule's term for anything that may be the object of a theft -- it

   must belong to another person or be guarded as common property of a

   group or of a location, such as the offerings to a Buddha image,

   chedi, or other sacred place, as mentioned above. A further

   stipulation is that the owner or person responsible for guarding the

   object has neither given nor thrown it away. Thus there is no

   offense for a bhikkhu who takes a discarded object, such as rags

   from a pile of refuse; unclaimed things from a wilderness; or things

   unclaimed by any human being but in the possession of an animal or

   ghost. The Vinita Vatthu mentions an interesting case in which the

   groundskeeper in an orchard permits bhikkhus to take fruit from the

   orchard, even though he was not authorized to do so. The bhikkhus

   committed no offense.


     The question of property belonging to the Sangha logically fits

   here, but since the topic is fairly complex, I will treat it as a

   special case below


     Perception. For the act of taking "what is not given" to count as

   theft, one must also //perceive //the object as being something not

   given. Thus there is no offense if one takes an object, even if it

   is "not given," if one sincerely believes that it is ownerless or

   thrown away. Similarly, if a bhikkhu takes an object mistaking it

   for his own or as belonging to a friend who has given him permission

   to take his things on trust, there is no offense. Or again, a

   bhikkhu who takes things from the Community's common stores, on the

   assumption that he has the right to help himself, commits no offense

   even if the assumption proves false.


     Intention. The act of taking "what is not given," even when one

   perceives it as "not given," counts as theft only if one's intention

   is to steal it. Thus if a bhikkhu takes an object on loan or on

   trust, he commits no offense. According to the Commentary, to take

   something on loan means that one has the intention that, "I'll

   return it," or "I'll make compensation."


     As for taking an object on trust, Mv.VIII.1.19 lists five

   conditions that must be met if a bhikkhu is rightly to take an

   object on trust:


       a. The owner is a friend.

       b. He/she is an intimate.

       c. He/she has given one permission to take from his/her


       d. He/she is still alive.

       e. One is confident that he/she will not mind.


     If any of these factors is lacking -- for example, the owner is a

   good friend but has never given explicit permission to take from

   his/her things -- one has no right to take the things on trust.

   However, the Vinita Vatthu gives the case of a bhikkhu who takes an

   item mistakenly thinking that he had the right to take it on trust;

   the Buddha termed this a "misconception as to trust" and did not

   impose a penalty.


     The most common problem that arises in this area is when one

   sincerely assumes that the owner will not mind, but it turns out

   that he/she does. In cases of this sort there is no offense, and the

   matter is left to the bhikkhu and the owner to settle on their own

   as amicably as possible.


     A bhikkhu who, seeing an article left in a place where it might be

   damaged, puts it in safe keeping for the owner, commits no offense.


     Effort. Assuming that all of the above conditions are met -- the

   object belongs to someone else, one perceives it as belonging to

   someone else, and one intends to steal it -- if one then takes it,

   that constitutes stealing. The question then arises as to precisely

   what acts constitute //taking//. To summarize the Vibhanga's

   treatment of this question, we can classify objects into two broad

   types: moveable and immovable.


     Moveable items are said to be taken when they are moved entirely

   from their "base(s)," i.e., the spot(s) on which they rest. An

   object such as a box or a trunk lying flat along the ground or

   touching its support at a single area has a single base and counts

   as "taken" if it has been moved entirely from its base. An object

   such as a table or chair touching its support at a number of

   separate places has that number of bases. For instance, a stool with

   three legs touches the floor at three points and so has three bases.

   An object with more than one base is "taken" when it has been moved

   from all of its bases. Thus a television set standing on four legs

   is taken when all four of its legs have been lifted or slid away

   from the four spots on which they were standing.


     If a moveable object is placed on another moveable object, such as

   a television set placed on a cart, there are two ways to count it as

   taken -- either when it is removed from its base on the cart or when

   the wheels of the cart have been moved from all of their bases on

   the floor -- whichever occurs first.


     If person A is carrying an object, and person B tries to take it

   from him, it is counted as taken even if B succeeds only in moving

   it from one spot on A's body to another.


     According to the Vibhanga, if a person holding an object with the

   owner's permission then decides to abscond with it, it counts as

   taken when he shifts it to another part of his person (e.g., into

   his pocket) or places it elsewhere. The Vinaya Mukha, however, takes

   issue with this point, saying that cases of this sort should be

   treated under the terms of a breach of trust, which is discussed



     Animals are reckoned to have one base (e.g., snakes, any reclining

   animal) or more (e.g., chickens or dogs on their feet) in the same

   way as inanimate objects, and are said to be taken when they are

   pulled, chased, etc., completely from their base(s).


     When a bhikkhu takes a moveable object in theft, the question of

   whether he makes off with it is irrelevant as far as the offense is

   concerned. For example, if he tries to steal a radio and succeeds in

   moving it completely from its base, but then hears the owner coming

   and so returns it to its original place, the owner would not even

   know that the object was in danger of being taken, and the civil law

   would regard the act at most as an attempted theft. As far as the

   Vinaya is concerned, though, the theft occurred when the bhikkhu

   first moved the object, and the fact that he returned it would not

   erase the theft. He would still be guilty of an offense.


     As for immovable objects -- land or things such as buildings or

   trees affixed to the land -- these are taken when the rightful owner

   unwillingly abandons his claim to them of his own accord (through

   fear of intimidation or reluctance to incur the expense and bother

   of a court battle) or when he is forced to do so by a court of law

   and cannot, or does not, make a further appeal. In the Buddha's

   time, a court dispute involving land was considered fully settled

   when the winner of the case staked out his claim with the permission

   of the court. Thus the Vibhanga states that a bhikkhu who unfairly

   wins a court case of this sort has "taken" the land when he formally

   stakes out his claim after winning the case. At present we would say

   that he has taken the land when he receives the deed.


     Immovable objects in the secondary sense -- trees, buildings, etc.

   -- are treated in the same light as ordinary moveable objects if a

   bhikkhu cuts them down or dismantles them: They count as taken when

   removed from their bases.


     These are the general considerations for determining when an

   object is taken. The Vibhanga, though, cites a number of additional

   cases involving special contingencies, as follows:


       a. //Fraudulence//: Objects are being distributed by lot to

       the Community. A bhikkhu desiring the portion rightfully

       going to another bhikkhu exchanges his ticket for the other

       bhikkhu's ticket. The "taking" is accomplished when the

       tickets have been exchanged.


       b. //Breach of trust//: A person places goods in trust with

       a bhikkhu. When the owner comes to ask for their return, the

       bhikkhu claims that he does not have them. The taking is

       accomplished when the owner stops pressing his claim. If the

       case goes to court, the taking is accomplished when the

       owner loses the case in the final court to which he appeals.


       c. //Embezzlement//: A bhikkhu responsible for items kept in

       a storeroom removes one of the items from the storeroom. The

       taking is accomplished when the item leaves the storeroom's



       d. //Smuggling//: A bhikkhu carrying items subject to an

       import duty hides them as he goes through customs. The

       taking is accomplished when the item leaves the customs

       area. If, however, the bhikkhu informs the customs official

       that he has an item subject to customs duty, and yet the

       official decides not to collect the duty, the bhikkhu incurs

       no penalty. And there is no penalty if the bhikkhu goes

       through customs not knowing that he has an item subject to

       import duties among his effects.


     Special cases cited in the Commentary include the following:


       a. //False dealing//: A bhikkhu makes counterfeit money or

       uses counterfeit weights. The taking is accomplished when

       the counterfeit is accepted.


       b. //Extortion//: Using threats, a bhikkhu compels the owner

       of an object to give it to him. The taking is accomplished

       when the owner complies.


     The value of the object. As stated above, any case of stealing

   counts as an offense, but the gravity of the offense is determined

   by the value of the object. This is the point of the phrase in the

   rule reading, "just as when there is the taking of what is not

   given, kings...would banish him, saying... 'You are a thief.'" In

   other words, for theft to entail a parajika, it must be a case of

   grand larceny, which in the time of the Buddha meant that the goods

   involved were worth at least five //masakas//, a unit of money used

   at the time. Goods valued collectively at more than one masaka but

   less than five are grounds for a thullaccaya; goods valued

   collectively at one masaka or less are grounds for a dukkata, the

   worth of the articles being determined by the price they would have

   fetched at the time of the theft.


     This leaves us with the question of how a masaka would translate

   into current monetary rates. No one can answer this question with

   any certainty, for the oldest attempt to peg the masaka to the gold

   standard dates from the V/Subcommentary, which sets one masaka as

   equal to 4 rice grains' weight of gold. At this rate, the theft of

   an item worth 20 rice grains' (1/24 troy ounce) weight of gold or

   more would be a parajika offense.


     One objection to this method of calculation is that some of the

   items mentioned in the Vinita Vatthu as being grounds for a parajika

   when stolen -- e.g., a pillow, a bundle of laundry, a robe, a

   handful of rice during a famine -- would seem to be worth much less

   than 1/24 troy ounce of gold, but we must remember that many items

   regarded as commonplace now might have been viewed as expensive

   luxuries at the time.


     In spite of this objection, there is one very good reason for

   adopting the standard set by the V/Subcommentary: It sets a high

   value for the least article whose theft would result in a parajika.

   Thus when a bhikkhu steals an item worth 1/24 troy ounce of gold or

   more, there can be no doubt that he has committed the full offense.

   When the item is of lesser value, there will be inescapable doubt --

   and when there is any doubt concerning a parajika, the tradition of

   the Vinaya consistently gives the bhikkhu the benefit of the doubt:

   He is not compelled to disrobe. A basic principle operating

   throughout the texts is that it is better to risk letting an

   offender go unpunished than to risk punishing an innocent bhikkhu.


     There is a second advantage to the V/Subcommentary's method of

   calculation: its precision and clarity. Some people have recommended

   adopting the standard expressed in the rule itself -- that if the

   theft would result in flogging, imprisonment or banishment by the

   authorities in that time and at that place, then the theft would

   constitute a parajika -- but this standard creates more problems

   than it would solve. In most countries the sentence is largely at

   the discretion of the judge or magistrate, and the factor of value

   is only one among many taken into account when determining the

   penalty. This opens a whole Pandora's box of issues, many of which

   have nothing to do with the bhikkhu or the object he has taken --

   the judge's mood, his social philosophy, his religious background,

   and so forth -- issues that the Buddha never allowed to enter into

   the consideration of how to determine the penalty for a theft.


     Thus the V/Subcommentary's method of calculation has the benefits

   that it is a quick and easy method for determining the boundaries

   between the different levels of offense in any modern currency; it

   involves no factors extraneous to the tradition of the Vinaya, and

   -- as noted above -- it draws the line at a value above which there

   can be no doubt that the penalty is a parajika.


     If a bhikkhu steals several items on different occasions, the

   values of the different items are added together to determine the

   severity of the offense //only if they were stolen as part of a

   single plan or intention//. If they are stolen as a result of

   separate intentions, each act of stealing is treated as a separate

   offense whose severity depends on the value of the individual

   item(s) stolen in that act. This point is best explained with



     In a case given in the Vinita Vatthu, a bhikkhu decides to steal a

   spoonful of ghee from a jar. After swallowing the spoonful, he

   decides to steal one more. After that he decides to steal another,

   and so on until he has finished the jar. Because each spoonful was

   stolen as a consequence of a separate plan or intention, he incurs

   several dukkatas, each for the theft of one spoonful of ghee.


     If, however, he decides at one point to steal enough lumber to

   build himself a hut and then steals a plank from here and a rafter

   from there, taking lumber over many days at different places from

   various owners, he commits one offense in accordance with the total

   value of all the lumber stolen, since he took all the pieces of wood

   as a consequence of one prior plan.


     Derived offenses. If a bhikkhu tries to steal an article that

   would be grounds for a parajika but does not succeed -- e.g., he is

   going to steal a book from a shelf, but before he can remove it from

   its place on the shelf he hears someone approaching and so walks off

   without taking it -- he commits a lighter offense in accordance with

   the effort made. Offenses of this sort are called offenses committed

   in the //pubbayoga// or preliminary steps. In the case of stealing,

   they are determined as follows:


       //Inanimate moveable objects:// If the article is made to

       budge slightly, but is not moved completely from its base,

       or from some but not all of its bases -- thullaccaya. All

       actions prior to this, beginning with the act of walking

       toward the object with intent to steal it -- dukkata.


       //Animals:// If in driving the animal along the bhikkhu gets

       it to move its front feet -- thullaccaya. All actions prior

       to this -- dukkata.


       //Immovable objects and articles placed in trust//: If the

       bhikkhu creates doubt in the mind of the owner as to whether

       he will deprive him/her of the property in question --

       thullaccaya. All actions prior to this -- dukkata.


       //Immovable objects in the secondary sense (e.g., a tree)://

       If with one more blow of the ax the tree will fall --

       thullaccaya. All actions prior to this -- dukkata, unless

       (according to the Vinaya Mukha) there is a training rule

       imposing a higher penalty, such as the pacittiya rule

       concerning injury to plant life.


     For ease of remembrance, if the bhikkhu is one step away from

   taking the object, he incurs a thullaccaya; if he does not go that

   far, he incurs one or more dukkatas.


     In offenses of this sort, when a heavier penalty is incurred, only

   that penalty is counted, and the preceding lighter ones are

   nullified. For example, in the case mentioned above, if the bhikkhu

   trying to steal the book simply touches it, he incurs a string of

   dukkatas for each step in walking up to the book and taking hold of

   it. If he budges the book slightly but not so much as to move it

   completely from its spot, the dukkatas are nullified and replaced

   with a thullaccaya. If he actually takes the book, that nullifies

   the thullaccaya and replaces it with a parajika.


     Shared responsibility. A bhikkhu can commit an offense not only if

   he himself steals an object, but also if he incites another to

   steal. The offenses involved in the acts leading up to the crime are

   as follows:


     If a bhikkhu tells an accomplice to steal an object that would be

   grounds for a parajika, he incurs a dukkata. If the accomplice

   agrees, the instigator incurs a thullaccaya. Once the accomplice

   succeeds in taking the object as instructed -- whether or not he

   gets away with it, and whether or not he shares it with the

   instigator -- the instigator incurs a parajika. If the accomplice is

   a bhikkhu, he too incurs a parajika. If the object would be grounds

   for a thullaccaya or a dukkata, the only penalties incurred prior to

   the actual theft would be dukkatas.


     If there is any confusion in carrying out the instructions --

   e.g., if the accomplice, instead of taking the book specified by the

   instigator, takes something else instead; or if he is told to take

   it in the afternoon but instead takes it in the morning -- the

   instigator incurs only the penalties for proposing the theft and

   persuading the accomplice, and not the penalty for the theft itself.

   The same holds true if the instigator rescinds his order before the

   theft takes place, but the accomplice goes ahead and takes the

   object anyway.


     According to the Commentary, an instigator who wishes to call off

   the theft before it is carried out, but who for one reason or

   another cannot get his message to the accomplice in time, incurs the

   full penalty for the completed theft.


     If there is a chain of command -- Bhikkhu A telling Bhikkhu B to

   tell Bhikkhu C to tell Bhikkhu D to commit the theft -- then once D

   takes the object as instructed, all four incur the penalty coming

   from the theft. If there is any confusion in the chain of command --

   e.g., Bhikkhu B instead of telling C tells D directly -- neither A

   nor C incurs the penalty for the theft itself.


     If bhikkhus go in a group to commit a theft, but only one of them

   does the actual taking, all still incur the penalty coming from the

   theft. Similarly, if they steal valuables worth collectively more

   than five masakas but which when divided among them yield shares

   worth less than five masakas each, all incur a parajika.


     Special cases. As mentioned above, the notion of stealing covers a

   wide variety of actions. The texts mention a variety of actions that

   border on stealing, some of them coming under this rule, some of

   them not.


     //Belongings of the Sangha//. According to the Commentary to

   Nissaggiya Pacittiya 30, an item belongs to the Sangha when donors,

   intending for it to be Sangha property, offer it to one or more

   bhikkhus representing the Sangha, and those bhikkhus receive it,

   although not necessarily into their hands. Sangha property thus

   counts as "what is not given" as far as individual bhikkhus are

   concerned, for it has an owner -- the Sangha of all times and places

   -- and is guarded by the individual Community of bhikkhus.


     Sangha property is divided into two sorts: light (//lahu-bhanda//)

   and heavy (//garu-bhanda//). Light property includes such things as

   robes, bowls, medicine, and food. Heavy property includes such

   things as monastery land, buildings, and furnishings. The Buddha

   gave permission for individual Communities to appoint certain of

   their members to be officials responsible for the proper use of

   Sangha property. The officials responsible for light property are to

   distribute it among the members of the Community, following set

   procedures to ensure that the distribution is fair. Once an

   individual member has received such property, he may regard it as

   his own and use it as he sees fit.


     In the case of heavy property, though, the officials are

   responsible for seeing that it is allotted for proper use in the

   Community, //but the individual bhikkhus who are allowed to use it

   may not regard it as their own personal property//. This is an

   important point. At most, such items may be taken on loan or

   exchanged -- with the approval of the Community -- for other heavy

   property of equal value. A bhikkhu who gives such items away to

   anyone -- ordained or not -- perceiving it as his to give, incurs a

   thullaccaya, no matter what the value of the object. Of course, if

   he knows that it is not his to give or take, then in appropriating

   it as his own he incurs the penalty for stealing.


     The Buddha was highly critical of any bhikkhu who gives away heavy

   property of the Sangha. In the origin story to Parajika 4, he cites

   the case of a bhikkhu who, hoping to find favor with a lay person,

   gives that person some of the Sangha's heavy property. Such a

   bhikkhu, he says, is one of the five great thieves of the world.


     A bhikkhu who takes heavy property of the Sangha donated for use

   in a particular monastery and uses it elsewhere incurs a dukkata. If

   he takes it on loan, he commits no offense.


     //Receiving stolen goods//. Accepting a gift of goods, or

   purchasing them very cheaply knowing that they were stolen, would in

   Western criminal law result in a penalty similar to stealing itself.

   However, neither the Canon nor the commentaries mention this case.

   The closest they come is in the Vinita Vatthu, where a groundskeeper

   gives bhikkhus fruit from the orchard under his care, even though it

   was not his to give, and there was no offense for the bhikkhus. Thus

   the implication is that there is no offense for receiving stolen

   goods, even knowingly, although a bhikkhu who does so would not be

   exempt from the civil law and the consequent proceedings, in the

   course of which the Community would probably urge him to disrobe.

   (In Thailand, the civil law empowers the police to force a bhikkhu

   to disrobe if he is charged with a criminal case.)


     //Compensation owed//. The Commentary introduces the concept of

   //bhandadeyya//, or compensation owed, to cover cases where a

   bhikkhu is responsible for the loss or destruction of another

   person's property. It defines this concept by saying that the

   bhikkhu must pay the price of the object to the owner or give the

   owner another object of equal value to the one lost or destroyed; if

   he abandons his responsibility to the owner, he incurs a parajika.

   The Commentary applies this concept not only to cases where the

   bhikkhu knowingly and intentionally destroys the object, but also to

   cases where he borrows or agrees to look after something that then

   gets lost, stolen, or destroyed through his negligence; or where he

   takes an item mistakenly thinking that it was discarded or that he

   was in a position to take it on trust.


     To cite a few examples: A bhikkhu breaks another person's jar of

   oil or places excrement in the oil to spoil it. A bhikkhu who is

   charged with guarding the Community storeroom lets a group of other

   bhikkhus into the storeroom to fetch belongings they have left

   there; they forget to close the door and, before he remembers to

   check it, thieves slip in to steal things. A group of thieves steal

   a bundle of mangoes but, being chased by the owners, drop it and

   run; a bhikkhu sees the mangoes, thinks that they have been thrown

   away, and so eats them after getting someone to present them to him.

   A bhikkhu sees a wild boar caught in a trap and, out of compassion,

   sets it free but cannot reconcile the owner of the trap to what he

   has done. In each of these cases, the Commentary says, the bhikkhu

   in question owes compensation to the owner of the goods. (In the

   case of the mangoes, he must compensate not only the owners but also

   the thieves if it turns out that they had planned to come back and

   fetch the fruit.) If he abandons his responsibility to the owner(s),

   he incurs a parajika.


     In making these judgments, the Commentary is probably following

   the civil law of its day, for the Canon contains no reference at all

   to the concept of bhandadeyya, and some of its judgments would seem

   to contradict the Commentary's. For instance, the Vinita Vatthu

   mentions a case in which a bhikkhu knowingly sets fire to a field of

   grass (which in those days would have been worth more than five

   masakas), and yet it assigns only a dukkata to the action. When it

   discusses cases where a bhikkhu takes an item on mistaken

   assumptions, or where he feels compassion for an animal caught in a

   trap and so sets it free, it says that there is no offense at all.

   Thus it seems strange for an action that, according to the Canon,

   carries a dukkata or no penalty whatsoever to become grounds for a

   parajika. Of course, in all cases of this sort it would be a wise

   policy to offer the owner reasonable compensation, but it is by no

   means certain that a bhikkhu would have the wherewithal to do so.

   The Canon places only one responsibility on him: to apologize to the

   owner (see Cv.I.18-20). If he doesn't apologize, the Community, if

   it sees fit, can force him to. Beyond that, though, the Canon does

   not require that he make any material compensation at all. Thus, as

   the Commentary's concept of bhandadeyya is clearly foreign to the

   Canon, there seems no reason to adopt it.


     //Court actions//. As stated above, if a bhikkhu knowingly starts

   an unfair court case against someone else and then wins it in the

   final court to which the accused makes appeal, he incurs a parajika.

   The Commentary to the Bhikkhuni's Sanghadisesa 1, however, states

   that even if a bhikkhu is actually mistreated by someone -- defamed,

   physically injured, robbed, etc. -- and then tries to take a just

   court action against the guilty party, he incurs a parajika if he

   wins. Again, this is an instance where the Commentary has no support

   from the Canon and, as the Vinaya Mukha points out, its assertion

   cannot stand. However, the training of a bhikkhu requires that he

   view all losses in the light of kamma and focus on looking after the

   state of his mind rather than on seeking compensation in social or

   material things.


     There is no question in any of the texts that if a bhikkhu is

   asked to give evidence in a courtroom and does so, speaking in

   accordance with the facts, he commits no offense no matter what the

   outcome for the others involved.


     //Deceit//. If a bhikkhu uses a deliberate lie to deceive another

   person into giving an item to him, the transgression is treated not

   as a case of stealing -- since, after all, the item is given to him

   -- but rather as a case of lying. If the lie involves making false

   claims to superior meditative attainments, it is treated under

   Parajika 4. If not, it is treated under Pacittiya 1. The Vinita

   Vatthu gives two examples:


     During a distribution of requisites in the Community, a bhikkhu

   asks for and is given an extra portion for a non-existent bhikkhu.


     A bhikkhu approaches his teacher's lay supporter and asks for

   medicines, saying that they will be for his teacher, although he

   actually plans to use them himself instead.


     In both of these cases, the penalty is a pacittiya for lying.


     //Compassion//. The Vinita Vatthu contains a case in which a

   bhikkhu, out of compassion, releases an animal caught in a hunter's

   snare. He incurs no penalty.


     In another case, a bhikkhu with psychic powers uses them to

   retrieve a pair of kidnapped children. The Buddha states that this

   entails no penalty because such a thing lies in the province of

   those with psychic power. The Vinaya Mukha, in discussing this case,

   takes it as a precedent for saying that if a bhikkhu returns a

   stolen article to its legal owner, there is no offense. The Buddha's

   statement, though, was probably meant to discourage bhikkhus without

   psychic powers from getting directly involved in righting wrongs of

   this sort. If a bhikkhu happens to learn of the whereabouts of

   stolen goods, kidnapped children, etc., he may inform the

   authorities, if he sees fit, and let them handle the situation



     //Taking articles from undecomposed corpses//. In the early days

   of the Sangha, bhikkhus were expected to make their robes from

   discarded cloth, one source being the cloths used to wrap corpses

   laid in charnel grounds. (The bhikkhus would wash and boil the cloth

   before using it themselves.) However, they were not to take cloth

   from undecomposed bodies, and this was for a reason.


     "At one time a certain bhikkhu went to the charnel ground and took

   hold of discarded cloth on a body not yet decomposed. The spirit of

   the dead one was dwelling in the body. It said to the bhikkhu,

   'Honored sir, don't take hold of my cloak.' The bhikkhu, ignoring

   it, went off (with the cloak). The body, arising, followed closely

   on the heels of the bhikkhu until the bhikkhu, entering the vihara,

   closed the door, and the body fell down right there."


     The story gives no further details, and we are left to imagine for

   ourselves both the bhikkhu's state of mind while being chased by the

   body and his friends' reaction to the event. As is usual with the

   stories in the Vibhanga, the more outrageous the event, the more

   matter-of-fact is its telling, and the more its humor lies in the



     At any rate, as a result of this incident the Buddha laid down a

   dukkata penalty for taking cloth from an undecomposed body -- which,

   according to the Commentary, means one that is still warm.


     Modern cases. The modern world contains many forms of ownership

   and monetary exchange that did not exist in the time of the Buddha,

   and so contains many forms of stealing that did not exist then

   either. Here are a handful of cases that come to mind as examples of

   ways in which the standards of this rule might be applied to modern



     //Breach of copyright.// The international standards for copyright

   advocated by UNESCO state that breach of copyright is tantamount to

   theft. They go on to state, however, that if one duplicates

   articles, books, cassette tapes, or video tapes for private use, for

   study, or for non-profit distribution, one may copy as much as one

   likes. In some countries, though, one is allowed to copy only small

   portions of copyrighted material for such purposes, although exactly

   how small is only vaguely defined. Thus, as local copyright laws do

   not always adopt the UNESCO standard, a bhikkhu should check with

   the law before copying anything. In particular, the agreements

   covering the copying of commercial computer software usually do not

   permit the owner to give copies of the software to anyone for any

   reason, and limit the number of copies one may make for one's own

   use. One should follow such agreements to the letter.


     //Credit cards//. The theft of a credit card would of course be an

   offense. The seriousness of the offense would be determined by how

   much the owner would have to pay to replace the stolen card.

   Nissaggiya Pacittiya 20 would forbid a bhikkhu from using a credit

   card to buy anything even if the card were his to use, although a

   bhikkhu who had gone to the extent of stealing a card would probably

   not be dissuaded by that rule from using it or having someone else

   use it. At any rate, each use of a stolen card would also count as a

   theft, the seriousness of which would be calculated in line with the

   principle of the "prior plan" mentioned above.


     //Long distance telephone calls//. Unauthorized use of a telephone

   to place long distance calls would also count as a theft, and again

   the seriousness of the offense would be calculated in light of the

   principle of the prior plan.


     //Tax evasion//. If a bhikkhu intentionally does not pay a tax to

   which he is subject -- say, on an inheritance he receives -- he is

   guilty of a theft, which would occur on the deadline for payment of

   the tax. Of course, a bhikkhu who fails to pay a tax out of

   ignorance would not be guilty of an offense.


     Exchanging currency on the black market is also a form of tax

   evasion in countries where there is a tax on currency exchange, so a

   bhikkhu in such a country who directs his steward to change money on

   the black market would be guilty of a theft. If, however, the

   steward on his own initiative exchanges money on the black market

   for use in the bhikkhu's account, the bhikkhu commits no offense.


       Summary: The theft of anything worth 1/24 ounce troy of gold

       or more is a parajika offense.


                                 * * *




       3. Should any bhikkhu intentionally deprive a human being of

       life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the

       advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): "My good

       man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death

       would be better for you than life," or with such an idea in

       mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise

       the advantages of death or incite him to die, he also is

       defeated and no longer in communion.


     This rule against intentionally causing the death of a human being

   is best understood in terms of five factors, all of which must be

   present for there to be a parajika offense.


       1) //Object//: a human being, which according to the

       Vibhanga includes human fetuses as well, counting from the

       time consciousness first arises in the womb immediately

       after conception up to the time of death.


       2) //Intention//: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and

       purposefully wanting to cause that person's death.

       "Knowingly" also includes the factor of --


       3) //Perception//: perceiving the person as a living being.


       4) //Effort//: whatever one does with the purpose of causing

       that person to die.


       5) //Result//: The person dies as the result of one's act.


     Object. The Vibhanga defines a human being as a person "from the

   time consciousness first becomes manifest in a mother's womb, up to

   its death-time." (The concept of //death-time//, since it relates

   most directly to questions that arise in treating the terminally

   ill, will be discussed in the section dealing with that topic,

   below.) It follows from this that a bhikkhu who intentionally causes

   an abortion -- by arranging for the operation, supplying the

   medicines, or giving advice that results in an abortion -- incurs a

   parajika. A bhikkhu who encourages a woman to use a means of

   contraception that works after the point of conception would be

   guilty of a parajika if she were to follow his advice.


     There is a series of cases in the Vinita Vatthu in which bhikkhus

   provide medicines for women seeking an abortion, followed by two

   cases in which a bhikkhu provides medicines to a barren woman who

   wants to become fertile and to a fertile woman who wants to become

   barren. In neither of these two latter cases does anyone die, but in

   both cases the bhikkhu incurs a dukkata. From this, the Commentary

   infers that bhikkhus are not to act as doctors to lay people, an

   inference supported by the Vibhanga to Sanghadisesa 13. (The

   Commentary, though, gives a number of exceptions to this principle.

   See the discussion under that rule.)


     The parajika offense is for killing a human being aside from

   oneself. A bhikkhu who attempts suicide incurs a dukkata.


     A bhikkhu who kills a "non-human being" -- a yakkha, naga, or peta

   -- or a devata (this is in the Commentary) incurs a thullaccaya.

   According to the Commentary, when a spirit possesses a human being

   or an animal, it can be exorcised in either of two ways. The first

   is to command it to leave: This causes no injury to the spirit and

   results in no offense. The second is to make a doll out of flour

   paste or clay and then cut off various of its parts. If one cuts off

   the hands and feet, the spirit loses its hands and feet. If one cuts

   off the head, the spirit dies, and this is grounds for a



     A bhikkhu who intentionally kills a common animal is treated under

   Pacittiya 72.


     Intention & perception. The Vibhanga defines //intentionally// as

   "having made the decision knowingly, consciously, and purposefully."

   According to the Commentary, //having made the decision// refers to

   the moment when one "crushes" one's indecisiveness by taking an act.

   //Knowingly// means being aware that, "This is a living being."

   //Consciously// means being aware that one's action is depriving the

   living being of life. //Purposefully// means that one's purpose is

   murderous. Whether one is motivated by compassion, hatred, or

   indifference is irrelevant as far as the offense is concerned.


     All of the above sub-factors must be present for the factors of

   intention and perception to be fulfilled here. Thus there is no

   offense for a bhikkhu who causes a death --


       //accidentally// -- e.g., accidentally dropping a rock that

       kills a person standing below; or toying with a gun, trying

       to decide whether or not to kill the person, and the gun

       accidentally goes off before he can make up his mind;


       //not knowing that a living being was there// -- e.g.,

       placing a heavy load on a pile of cloth without realizing

       that a person was lying underneath it;


       //not conscious that his action is causing death// -- e.g.,

       by unwittingly giving poisoned food to another bhikkhu who

       eats it and dies;


       or when his actions are //motivated by a purpose other than

       that of causing death// -- e.g., giving medicine to a fellow

       bhikkhu, sincerely trying to help cure him, but the sick

       bhikkhu chokes on the medicine and dies.


     One aspect of the Commentary's definition of //knowingly// is

   worth noting here: One does not need to know that the living being

   is a human being for the factor of perception to be fulfilled. Thus

   if a bhikkhu hears a noise in the dark and, thinking it to be a wild

   animal, stabs it with intent to kill, he incurs a parajika if the

   "animal" turns out to be a human being who dies from the wound.


     Although this judgment may seem strange, it is supported by a

   passage in the Canon: A man digs a pitfall with the thought that

   whatever living beings fall into it will perish. The penalty, if an

   animal dies as a result, is a pacittiya; if a human being, a

   parajika. This shows that the intention/ perception of killing a

   living being of any kind fulfills the relevant factors here.


     The Vinita Vatthu contains an unusual case of a bhikkhu who uses a

   friend as a guinea pig for testing poison. The friend dies, and the

   bhikkhu incurs only a thullaccaya. The Commentary explains this by

   distinguishing two types of test: one to see if a particular poison

   is strong enough to kill a person; the other, to see if a particular

   person is strong enough to survive the poison. In either of these

   cases, the bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya whether or not the victim

   dies. If, though, the bhikkhu gives poison to a person with the

   desire that it cause that person's death, he incurs a parajika if

   the victim dies, and a thullaccaya if not.


     Effort. This factor covers four types of action: taking life,

   assisting a murderer or suicide, describing the advantages of dying,

   and inciting a person to die.


     a) //Taking life//. The Vibhanga defines //taking life// as

   "cutting off the life faculty," and the Commentary's discussion of

   this point shows clearly that this means interrupting the continuity

   of life before it would reach its "timely" end through the

   exhaustion of the victim's merit or life potential The Commentary

   lists six means by which one might make such an effort:


     -- //One's own person//. This includes using not only one's hands

   or feet, but also such weapons as knives, sticks, clubs, etc.


     -- //Throwing//: hurling a stone, shooting an arrow or a gun, etc.


     -- //Stationary devices//: setting a trap, poisoning food, etc.


     -- //Magical formulae//: calling on malevolent spirits to bring

   about a person's death, using voodoo, etc.


     -- //Psychic powers//. using the "evil eye" or other similar



     -- //Commanding//: inciting another person to commit a murder.

   This category includes recommendations as well as express commands.

   A few examples:


     Telling A to kill B. The way in which a bhikkhu is penalized for

   getting another person to commit a murder can be inferred from the

   discussion of //shared responsibility// under the preceding rule.

   The Commentary to this rule goes into great detail concerning the

   six ways the command to kill can be specified: the object [the

   person to be killed], the time, the place, the weapon to use, the

   action by which the weapon is to be used [e.g. "Stab him in the

   neck"], and the position the victim should be in [sitting, standing,

   lying down] when the act is to be done. If the instigator specifies

   any of these things, and yet the person following his orders does

   not carry them out to the letter, the instigator does not incur the

   penalty for the actual murder. For instance, Bhikkhu A tells his

   student to kill B while B is sitting in meditation at midnight. The

   student gets into B's room at midnight, only to find B asleep in

   bed, which is where he kills him. Bhikkhu A thus incurs only the

   thullaccaya for convincing his student to accept the command.


     Inciting A to kill B. The Commentary includes a case of a socially

   active bhikkhu who tells people, "In such-and-such a place a bandit

   is staying. Whoever cuts off his head will receive great honor from

   the King." If any of the bhikkhu's listeners kills the bandit as a

   result of his instigation, the bhikkhu incurs a parajika.


     Recommending means of euthanasia. The Vinita Vatthu includes a

   case of a criminal who has just been punished by having his hands

   and feet cut off. A bhikkhu asks the man's relatives, "Do you want

   him to die? Then make him drink buttermilk." The relatives follow

   the bhikkhu's recommendation, the man dies, and the bhikkhu incurs a



     Recommending means of capital punishment. Again from the Vinita

   Vatthu: A bhikkhu advises an executioner to kill his victims

   mercifully with a single blow, rather than torturing them. The

   executioner follows his advice, and the bhikkhu incurs a parajika.

   This judgment indicates that a bhikkhu should not involve himself in

   matters of this sort, no matter how humane his intentions. According

   to the Vinita Vatthu, if the executioner says that he will not

   follow the bhikkhu's advice and then kills his victims as he

   pleases, the bhikkhu incurs no penalty. The Commentary adds that if

   the executioner tries to follow the bhikkhu's advice and yet needs

   more than one blow to do the job, the bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya.

   As we have mentioned, though, the best course is to leave matters of

   this sort to the laity.


     b) //Assisting a murderer or suicide.// A bhikkhu may commit an

   offense not only by using any of the six above-mentioned means of

   taking life, but also by intentionally assisting a person who uses

   any of them to commit a murder or a suicide. This is how the

   Vibhanga explains the phrase, "search for an assassin" in the rule.

   The act of assisting includes not only finding an assassin, but also

   procuring weapons for the would-be murderer or suicide.


     c) //Describing the advantages of dying//. This, the third type of

   act covered by this rule, can include berating a sick person ("Why

   do you keep hanging on to life like this? Don't you realize what a

   burden you are to others?") or simply telling a person of the

   miseries of life or the bliss of dying and going to heaven in such a

   way that he/she might feel inspired to commit suicide or simply pine

   away to death. The Vibhanga notes that these statements fulfill this

   factor whether delivered by gesture, by voice, by writing, or by

   means of a messenger


     d) //Inciting a person to die//, the fourth type of act, covers:


     -- Recommending suicide. This includes not only telling a person

   to commit suicide, but also giving advice -- whether requested or

   not -- to a would-be suicide on the best ways to commit the act.


     -- Telling a person to go to a dangerous place where he/she might

   die of the dangers.


     -- Arranging a terrible sight, sound, etc. to frighten a person to

   death, or a beautiful, "heart-stirring" one to attract a person who

   will then pine away to death when it fades.


     //Command//. Giving a command or recommendation to get another

   person to perform any of these last three types of action --

   assisting a murder or suicide, describing the advantages of dying,

   or inciting another person to die -- would also fulfill the factor

   of effort under this rule.


     //Expressing a wish//. According to the Vibhanga, a bhikkhu who

   expresses an idle wish that so-and-so be murdered would incur a

   dukkata, whether or not he was overheard. If, however, the bhikkhu's

   purpose in expressing the wish is that his listener take him up on

   it and commit the murder, his action would come under the category

   of "command," mentioned above.


     //Inaction// does not fulfill the factor of effort here. Thus if a

   bhikkhu sits idle when seeing a flood sweep a person down-stream, he

   commits no offense -- regardless of his feelings about the person's

   death -- even if the person then drowns. Recommending that another

   person sit idle as well would also not fulfill this factor, because

   the category of "command" here covers only the act of inciting the

   listener to do any of the four actions that would fulfill the factor

   of effort under this rule.


     Result. If a bhikkhu fulfills the factor of effort with the

   intention of causing a person's death, and the person dies as a

   result, he incurs a parajika. This holds even if the person does not

   die immediately, but succumbs later, say, to complications arising

   from a wound caused by the bhikkhu. If the person does not die, but

   experiences pain or injury as a result of the bhikkhu's efforts, the

   penalty is a thullaccaya. If the bhikkhu's efforts result in neither

   pain nor death, the penalty is a dukkata for each separate action

   leading up to them.


     If a bhikkhu intends simply to injure the victim or cause him/her

   pain, and yet the victim dies as a result of the bhikkhu's actions,

   the case is treated under Pacittiya 74.


     There is an apparent contradiction in the Vinita Vatthu concerning

   the penalty for a bhikkhu who tries to kill one person but ends up

   killing another instead. In one passage, it says that a bhikkhu who

   means to kill X but kills Y instead incurs a parajika. In another

   passage, it tells of a bhikkhu who gives medicine to a woman who

   wants to commit an abortion near the end of a full-term pregnancy.

   The woman takes the medicine but, instead of the fetus' aborting,

   the woman dies and the infant survives. In this case, the bhikkhu

   incurs a thullaccaya, presumably for the pain he caused the infant.


     The Commentary tries to resolve this contradiction with an

   illustration: A bhikkhu with a grudge against A decides to ambush

   him. He sees B coming down the road and, mistaking him for A, shoots

   him dead on the spot. Since his intention was to kill the person he

   was aiming at, he incurs a parajika. We can call this a case of

   mistaken identity. In cases of this sort, whether the "right" or the

   "wrong" person dies is of no consequence to the offense.


     If, however, the bhikkhu is a poor shot, takes aim at B but misses

   him, and inadvertently kills C instead, he does not incur a

   parajika, for he did not intend to kill C during any part of his

   action. His only penalties are the dukkatas he incurs while

   preparing for B's murder.


     If a bhikkhu means to cause the death of any member of a group,

   then when any member of the group dies as a result of his efforts,

   he incurs a parajika.


     Caring for the terminally ill. Some of the most highly charged

   issues involving this training rule concern the duties of a bhikkhu

   acting as nurse, and his accountability in the event that his

   patient dies. Not a few controversies have arisen in the past when

   highly respected teachers have died after an illness, for there is a

   tendency to blame the nurse either for the teacher's death or for

   being so intrusive in his care that he does not let the teacher die

   in peace. Recent developments in modern medicine -- such as

   professionally mandated care, life-support machines, and organ

   transplants -- have further complicated the issue of exactly how far

   the nurse's accountability goes. Fortunately, the texts are quite

   clear on these issues -- applying rules where rules are called for,

   and guidelines where rules would be inappropriate -- but to

   understand their rationale it is necessary to have some historical

   perspective on the subject.


     Medical care in the time of the Buddha was primarily the

   responsibility of the ill person's family. Subsidized health care

   did not exist, and so families had a very real sense of the

   exigencies -- their time, their resources, the wishes of the

   patient, and the likelihood of his recovery -- that might force them

   to provide less than state-of-the-art care, even for a loved one. At

   the same time, the current Western system whereby one style of

   medical care can establish itself as "standard" -- and can enlist

   the help of the law to discredit alternative styles of treatment as

   bogus -- also did not exist. Patients and their families had a wide

   assortment of treatments to choose from and, given the means to make

   a choice, might select a particular style for any number of reasons:

   belief in the theory that lay behind it, trust in a particular

   doctor, rapport with the means of treatment, etc.


     As a result, there was none of the belief, current in some

   circles, that outside professionals have the right to monopolize

   medical care or to impose their standards of treatment on an

   unwilling patient or his family. The choice of treatment was an

   in-family matter. If a patient balked at a particular doctor's

   treatment, the family was free to decide whether to honor his wishes

   and forego the treatment, or to force the treatment on him for his

   own good. On the other hand, if the patient's condition reached the

   point where the family felt that the doctor's treatment was futile,

   unaffordable, or otherwise no longer appropriate, it could dismiss

   the doctor and attempt treatment on its own, doing whatever was

   within its ability to offer moral support to the patient and

   alleviate his pain and discomfort while waiting for factors beyond

   its control -- such as the patient's present and past kamma -- to

   decide the outcome of the disease.


     The principal ethical constraints on this arrangement, ancient

   medical textbooks show, were that doctors should not use their

   knowledge to aggravate or prolong illness -- to do so would count as

   malpractice -- and that no one should subject a patient to treatment

   designed to bring on death faster than it would if the disease were

   simply allowed to run its course: To defy this principle would count

   as murder.


     This, in brief, was the accepted pattern for medical care in the

   Buddha's time. The only change the Buddha introduced to the pattern

   was to point out to the bhikkhus that, as they had no family to care

   for them, they were to take on the role of family for one another.

   If a bhikkhu falls ill, it is automatically the duty of his mentor,

   his students (if he has any), or fellow students of his mentor to

   care for him. These people are to stay with the patient until he

   either recovers or dies -- although the Commentary to Mv.I.25.24

   points out that they may leave him if they put him into the care of

   another. If a bhikkhu happens to fall ill in a place where none of

   these people are available, it is the duty of the Community in that

   location to care for him. If it doesn't care for him, all the

   members of that Community incur a dukkata (MV.VIII.26.3-4).


     The Mahavagga contains guidelines for the ill bhikkhu and his

   nurses to follow, so that the ill bhikkhu will be easy to care for,

   and the nurses will be chosen from among those best suited to the

   task. The ill bhikkhu ideally avoids any food, medicine, or activity

   that would aggravate his disease; he knows moderation in the things

   that will be conducive to his recovery; he takes his medicine; he

   reports to the nurse his condition as it actually is; and does his

   best to endure his pain (Mv.VIII.26.5).


     The nurse ideally is one who knows how to prepare the proper

   medicines; knows what is conducive and unconducive to the patient's

   recovery; provides the patient with what is conducive and removes

   what is not; tends the patient out of kindness, and not from hope of

   gain; is not squeamish about cleaning up urine, excrement, sweat, or

   vomit; and is competent at encouraging the patient at the

   appropriate times with a talk on Dhamma (Mv.VIII.26.5).


     There is no offense for a patient who does not live up to the

   ideal guidelines for his behavior; and none for a bhikkhu who,

   though lacking any of the ideal qualities of nurse, is pressed into

   a position where he must care for the sick. The only penalties

   mentioned in the Khandhakas are the dukkatas for those who neglect

   to care for the ill when they are duty-bound to do so or who abandon

   an ill person they are caring for before he recovers or dies.


     The Vinita Vatthu to this rule contains only two basic cases in

   which a bhikkhu acting as a nurse for an ill friend incurs a

   parajika: one in which the friend dies after the bhikkhu gives him a

   specific treatment with the purpose of killing him off; and one in

   which the bhikkhu, feeling pity for a friend in severe pain, praises

   the pleasures that await him after death so that he will give up the

   will to live and speed up his death: The friend does so and dies as

   a result of the nurse's instigation.


     Aside from the parajikas for such cases of out-and-out murderous

   action and intent, and the dukkatas for leaving the patient

   helpless, the Canon imposes no penalties on a bhikkhu acting as

   nurse who provides his patient with less than ideal care. Instead,

   within the parameters of those penalties, it offers guidelines for

   ideal behavior, together with the encouragement of the Buddha's

   remark that, "He who would tend to me should tend to the sick."

   (Mv.VIII.26.3) From there it leaves it up to the bhikkhu to exercise

   his best judgment, in light of the Dhamma, as to what is most

   fitting in his individual case.


     A moment's reflection will suggest some obvious reasons for this.

   If a particular standard of care were mandated, it would give rise

   to countless questions stemming from the many uncontrollable

   variables that can surround an illness, questions that rules are

   ill-suited to answer: How much must one's resources be depleted

   before one can say that a particular type of care is unaffordable?

   How should limited resources be allocated when several bhikkhus fall

   sick at the same time? What should one do if the patient says that

   he does not want to undergo a treatment that a doctor is trying to

   press on him? If one follows the patient's request is he assisting a

   suicide? Should one follow the doctor's orders and thus risk

   damaging the patient's psychological state? The list of questions

   could go on, but it is obvious from even these examples that this is

   an area less suited for rules than for guidelines that can be

   adapted to suit particular circumstances. Decisions here should be

   based on a reasoned and compassionate assessment of the particular

   situation, rather than on fear of hard and fast penalties and rules.


     The commentaries' treatment of the issue of a nurse's

   accountability follows the same general pattern as the Canon's, but

   we find Buddhaghosa's works -- probably following the ancient

   commentaries -- bringing a little more precision to the discussion

   by introducing a distinction between //timely// and //untimely//

   death that the Commentary applies to the Vinita Vatthu cases. The

   distinction comes from Ayurveda -- ancient Indian medical science --

   although Buddhaghosa expresses it in purely Buddhist terms, most

   fully in the Visuddhi Magga:


       "//Timely death// comes about with the exhaustion of merit,

       with the exhaustion of life potential (//ayu//), or with

       both. //Untimely death// comes about through kamma that

       interrupts [other, life-producing,] kamma.


       "//Death through exhaustion of merit//, here, refers to the

       death that comes about entirely through the finished

       ripening of [former] rebirth-producing kamma even when

       favorable conditions for prolonging the continuity of the

       life potential may still be present. //Death through

       exhaustion of life potential// refers to the death that

       comes about through the exhaustion of the natural life

       potential of human beings, which amounts to only 100



       "//Untimely death// refers to the death of those whose

       continuity is interrupted by kamma capable of causing them

       to fall from their place [on a particular level of being] at

       that very moment...or for the death of those whose

       continuity is interrupted by attacks with weapons, etc., due

       to previous kamma. All these are included under the [term]

       //interruption of the life faculty....//" (VIII.2-3)


     As we saw above, the Commentary's discussion of //cutting off the

   life faculty// refers specifically to instances where one is

   bringing about an untimely death. When it applies this point to the

   case of the bhikkhu inciting his patient to give up the will to

   live, it notes that the bhikkhu incurs a parajika if his act causes

   the patient to cut short his/her life even by a moment through such

   things as refusing to eat, etc. However, if the patient, not acting

   on the bhikkhu's comments, simply dies in line with his/her natural

   life potential and continuity, there is no offense.


     It is important to note that the Commentary does not at any point

   use the distinction of timely and untimely death to make a case that

   mere negligence could be the cause of an untimely demise. Instead,

   it restricts its use of "untimely death" to cases where the nurse's

   care causes the patient to die earlier than he would have in the

   absence of care.


     From this point of view it is easy to see that the decision not to

   have the patient undergo a particular death-delaying treatment would

   not count as an offense, for such a decision would do nothing to

   speed up the approach of a timely death. In terms of the factor of

   effort under this rule, it would count as inaction and thus not

   fulfill the factor. Thus if a bhikkhu sees that his patient is dying

   and -- for reasons of the expense, the trauma, or the patient's own

   wishes -- opts against having him undergo an operation that would

   merely delay death, there is no grounds for offense.


     In situations where the choice is not between action and inaction,

   but between different courses of action, the Commentary's

   distinction is helpful in gauging one's //perceptions// and

   //intentions// when choosing among treatments. If a bhikkhu caring

   for a terminally ill patient opts for an alternative, such as a

   strong pain-killer, in hopes that it will weaken the patient's

   system and make him die faster than he would otherwise, his aim

   would fulfill the factor of intention under this rule. But if he is

   presented with a number of alternatives and believes that none of

   them would make the patient die before he would without any

   treatment, he may choose any of them because neither the perception

   nor the intention of bringing on an untimely death would enter into

   his decision. Even if it turns out later that the treatment was

   instrumental in bringing on the patient's death, the nurse would

   still be without blame.


     It may seem that the Vinaya is leaving the patient in an

   unprotected position here, but we must remember that this is an area

   where the Dhamma takes precedence over the Vinaya in providing the

   nurse with guidance. Even a nodding acquaintance with the principle

   of kamma should be enough to prevent the nurse from being callous in

   his decisions. Even a modicum of maturity will make him realize that

   the role of nurse provides an excellent opportunity to gain insight

   into illness as a natural part of life, as well as training in such

   valuable qualities as compassion, patience, mindfulness, strength,

   sacrifice, and sensitivity to the needs of others.


     As we noted in the Introduction, rules and standards serve

   different purposes and are suited to different situations. The

   authors of the texts, after using rules against murderous

   malpractice and abandonment to delimit this area, were wise to

   sketch in the remaining territory with standards aimed at inspiring

   the best behavior in the nurse and his patient by appealing to their

   higher side.


     Special cases. The Vinita Vatthu includes three special cases that

   touch on this rule but inspired the Buddha to formulate separate

   rules to deal specifically with them:


     A bhikkhu, for the fun of it, throws a stone from a precipice and

   accidentally kills a person standing below -- no penalty for the

   death, but a dukkata for throwing a stone from a precipice in fun.


     A bhikkhu, hoping to commit suicide, throws himself over a cliff.

   Instead of dying, he lands on and kills a hapless basket-maker

   standing at the foot of the cliff -- again, no offense for the

   death, but a dukkata for throwing oneself from a high place.


     A bhikkhu, sitting down hard on a chair without first checking it

   carefully, kills a child lying in the chair and covered with a

   blanket -- again, no penalty for the death, but a dukkata for

   sitting down without first checking carefully.


       Summary: Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of

       a human being, even if it is still a fetus, is a parajika


                                 * * *




       4. Should any bhikkhu, without direct knowledge, boast of a

       superior human state, a truly noble knowledge and vision as

       present in himself, saying, "Thus do I know; thus do I see,"

       such that regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined

       on a later occasion, he -- being remorseful and desirous of

       purification -- might say, "Friends, not knowing, I said I

       know; not seeing, I said I see -- vainly, falsely, idly,"

       unless it was from over-estimation, he also is defeated and

       no longer in communion.


     All conscious lies are forbidden by the first pacittiya rule, but

   knowingly to make a false claim to a superior human state is the

   most heinous lie a bhikkhu can tell, and so here it receives its own

   rule and the heaviest possible penalty.


     The seriousness with which the Buddha regarded a breach of this

   training rule is indicated by his statements to the original



     "You misguided men, how can you for the sake of your stomachs

   speak praise of one another's superior human states to householders?

   It would be better for you that your bellies be slashed open with a

   sharp butcher's knife than that you should for the sake of your

   stomachs speak praise of one another's superior human states to

   householders. Why is that? For //that// reason you would undergo

   death or death-like suffering, but you would not on that account, at

   the break-up of the body, after death, fall into deprivation, the

   bad bourn, the abyss, purgatory. But for //this// reason you would,

   at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into deprivation, the

   bad bourn, the abyss, purgatory....Bhikkhus, in this world with its

   gods, maras, and brahmas, its generations with priests and

   contemplatives, princes and men, this is the ultimate great thief:

   he who claims an unfactual, non-existent superior human state. Why

   is that? You have consumed the nation's almsfood through theft."


     Superior human states. The Vibhanga lists a large number of

   superior human states that the Commentary classifies into two broad

   categories: //mahaggata dhamma//, those related to the practice of

   meditative absorption; and //lokuttara dhamma//, those related to

   the absolute eradication of the mental fetters that bind the mind to

   the cycle of rebirth.


     a. Meditative absorption -- the Pali term is //jhana// -- is of

   two major sorts: absorption in a physical object or sensation

   (//rupa jhana//) and absorption in a non-physical object or

   sensation (//arupa jhana//). Both contain four levels and are

   described in the discourses as follows:


       "The bhikkhu -- quite withdrawn from sensual pleasure,

       withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities -- enters and

       remains in the //first jhana//: rapture and pleasure born

       from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and

       evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills

       this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from



       "And furthermore, with the stilling of directed thought and

       evaluation, he enters and remains in the //second jhana//:

       rapture and pleasure born of composure, unity of awareness

       free from directed thought and evaluation -- internal

       assurance. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills

       this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of



       "And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains in

       equanimity, mindful and fully aware, and physically

       sensitive of pleasure. He enters and remains in the //third

       jhana//, and of him the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous and

       mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' He permeates and

       pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the

       pleasure divested of rapture....


       "And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain

       -- as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress

       -- he enters and remains in the //fourth jhana//: purity of

       equanimity and mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. He

       sits permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness, so

       that nothing of his entire body is unpervaded by pure,

       bright awareness." (D.2; M.119)


     The four levels of arupa jhana are based on the fourth level of

   rupa jhana.


       "With the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical)

       form, and the passing away of perceptions of resistance, and

       not heeding perceptions of diversity, thinking, 'Infinite

       space,' one enters and remains in the sphere of the

       infinitude of space....


       "With the complete transcending of the sphere of the

       infinitude of space, thinking, 'Infinite consciousness,' one

       enters and remains in the sphere of the infinitude of



       "With the complete transcending of the sphere of the

       infinitude of consciousness, thinking, 'There is nothing,'

       one enters and remains in the sphere of nothingness....


       "With the complete transcending of the sphere of

       nothingness, one enters and remains in the sphere of neither

       perception nor non-perception." (D.15)


     The Vibhanga mentions only the four rupa jhanas in its list of

   superior human states, but as the four arupa jhanas are based on the

   fourth rupa jhana, the Commentary includes them in the list as well.


     In addition to these states of absorption themselves, the category

   of mahaggata dhamma also includes the intuitive powers (//abhinna//)

   that can arise from them:


     //iddhividhi// -- the ability to manifest one or more images of

   oneself, to appear in a different bodily form, to create a

   "mind-made" (astral) body, to pass through solid matter, walk on

   water, levitate, etc.


     //dibba-sota// -- clairaudience, enabling one to hear sounds both

   celestial and human, far and near.


     //cetopariya-nana// -- the ability to read the minds of other

   living beings.


     //dibba-cakkhu// -- clairvoyance, the ability to see beings in

   other realms of existence, and in particular to see them pass from

   death in one level to rebirth in another.


     //pubbe-nivasanussati-nana// -- the ability to remember previous



     There are other occult abilities that are not based on jhana and

   for this reason do not count as mahaggata dhamma: such things as

   divination, giving protective charms, casting malevolent spells,

   psychic healing, practicing as a medium, etc. The discourses list

   these and other similar activities as //tiracchana-vijja//, bestial

   knowledge, which -- as the name implies -- is far removed from

   superior human states.


     b. //Lokuttara dhamma//, in its fullest sense, refers to the

   series of mental states, called paths and fruitions, in which the

   fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth are eradicated;

   and to the ultimate state of //nibbana//, or liberation.


     The paths and fruitions occur in four pairs. In the first pair,

   the path to and fruition of stream-entry, three fetters are

   abandoned: self-identity views (//sakkaya-ditthi//), uncertainty

   (//vicikiccha//), and attachment to precepts and practices

   (//silabbata-paramasa//). In the second pair, the path to and

   fruition of once-returning, two additional fetters -- sensual

   passion (//kama-raga//) and irritation (//patigha//) are weakened,

   only to be abandoned fully in the third pair, the path to and

   fruition of non-returning. In the fourth pair, the path to and

   fruition of arahantship, a final set of five additional fetters is

   abandoned: //rupa-raga// -- passion for physical phenomena (e.g.,

   the objects of rupa jhana); //arupa-raga// -- passion for

   non-physical phenomena (e.g., the objects of arupa jhana); //mana//

   -- conceit; //uddhacca// -- restlessness; and //avijja// --

   unawareness. With the cutting of this last set of fetters, all bonds

   with the cycle of rebirth are cut for good, and the mind attains



     The term //nibbana// literally means extinguishing, like a fire.

   The commentarial literature (Vism.VIII,247), derives the word

   etymologically from //nir//, a negative prefix, and //vana//,

   binding. Thus it means unbinding or liberation. In the physics of

   the Buddha's time, fire as it burned was said to be in a state of

   agitation, dependence, attachment, and entrapment -- both clinging

   to and being trapped by its sustenance. Extinguished, it was said to

   become calm, independent, and unattached. It let go of its

   sustenance and was released. In the mind's extinguishing, or

   unbinding, a parallel change occurs.


     Nibbana is one; the paths and their fruitions, eight. Thus there

   are nine lokuttara dhammas.


     Aside from jhana, the other states mentioned in the Vibhanga --

   such as the destruction of the mental effluents (//asava//), the

   signless emancipation, the desireless emancipation, the emptiness

   emancipation, and so forth -- are either synonymous with these

   transcendent states or -- as in the case of the "wings" to Awakening

   (//bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma//) -- conjoined with them.


     The full offense under this rule has five factors:


     1) //Effort//: One makes a direct claim

     2) //Object//: to a superior human state

     3) //Perception//: that one perceives as not present in oneself.

     4) //Intention//: One's intention is to misrepresent the truth.

     5) //Result//: One's listener understands what one is saying.



     Effort. To make a direct claim means to say outright that one has

   attained a superior human state, saying such things as, "I have

   attained the first jhana," "I have seen the heavenly realms," "I

   know my previous lifetimes," etc. Outright claims, here, include not

   only spoken statements, but also written statements and physical

   gestures. An example of a claim by gesture occurs in the Vibhanga: A

   group of bhikkhus make an agreement that the first to set out from

   their dwelling would, by that very gesture, be known to the rest as

   an arahant. One of the group, who was not an arahant but wanted to

   be regarded as one, set out first from the dwelling and was soon

   known to the rest as an ex-bhikkhu from having committed a parajika.


     //Indirect claims//. An indirect claim to a superior human state

   is not grounds for a parajika. If it is a deliberate lie, it is at

   most grounds for a thullaccaya. Such claims, which contain an

   uncertainty in their wording even though the listener may feel no

   uncertainty in understanding their import, may be uncertain in one

   of two ways: uncertain as to the person and uncertain as to the



     The Vinita Vatthu contains several examples of the first sort: a

   bhikkhu states that whoever lives in a particular dwelling is an

   arahant, the dwelling being the one where he lives; a bhikkhu saying

   that all the disciples of his teacher are arahants, and so forth.


     There is only one example in the Vinita Vatthu of a bhikkhu who

   makes a claim "uncertain as to the attainment": a sick bhikkhu,

   meaning to deceive the fellow bhikkhus nursing him, says to them,

   "There is no way that this sickness could be endured by an ordinary

   person (//puthujjana//)."


     According to the Commentary, if the person to whom such indirect

   remarks are directed understands them, the penalty for the speaker

   is a thullaccaya. If he/she does not understand them, the penalty is

   a dukkata. The factor of understanding is covered in the section on

   "Result," below.


     //Claims about other people//. The original instigators of this

   rule, instead of each making claims about his own attainments, made

   false claims about one another's attainments. This case is not

   mentioned in the Vibhanga or the commentaries and so is not an

   offense under this rule, but it would come under Pacittiya 1.


     Perception. Claiming a superior human state that one mistakenly

   thinks one has achieved is no offense under this rule, although if

   addressed to a lay person the claim would come under Pacittiya 8.

   The same holds for a claim that is actually true.


     If, however, a bhikkhu has attained a superior human state without

   realizing it and then claims to have attained the state, thinking

   his statement to be a lie, he commits the full offense under this



     Intention. To fall under this rule, a claim to have attained any

   of these superior human states must be a deliberate lie. "Deliberate

   lying," according to the Commentary, requires the arising of the

   intention to misrepresent the truth just prior to, and motivating,

   the actual statement. When the intention to misrepresent the truth

   is absent, the statement does not come under this rule. Examples

   would include --


       meaning to say one thing, but accidentally saying another

       that comes out as a claim to a superior human state; and


       innocently making a statement that someone else misconstrues

       to be a claim to a superior human state.


   Neither of these cases would involve an offense.


     //Equivocation//. It is not uncommon for a bhikkhu to be put on

   the spot by lay people asking him point-blank about his attainments,

   and for him to respond by equivocating. The Vinita Vatthu contains a

   number of examples of this sort. In one of them, the bhikkhu

   responds by saying, "I have attained a state attainable through the

   exertion of effort," which of course could mean almost anything.

   Because his purpose was simply to avoid the question, he incurred no

   penalty. Had he meant the statement as an indirect claim, he would

   have incurred a thullaccaya.


     Result. The Vibhanga, in discussing an obscure case, states that

   when the listener understands a deliberate lie directly claiming a

   superior human state, the bhikkhu making the claim incurs a

   parajika. If the listener does not understand, the bhikkhu incurs a

   thullaccaya. The Vibhanga mentions this condition only in the

   context of a peculiar lie -- one in which the speaker intends to lie

   saying one thing but actually states another lie -- but the

   Commentary generalizes from this case to say that this condition

   applies to //all// cases covered by this rule. Its explanations run

   as follows:


     //Understanding//, here, means simply that the listener hears the

   statement clearly enough to know that it is a claim. Whether he/she

   understands the names for the states claimed -- jhana, clairvoyance,

   clairaudience, or whatever -- is not an issue here. The same is true

   of whether he/she believes the statement to be true or false. If the

   listener to whom the remarks are directed does not understand them,

   but a passer-by does, the penalty is still a parajika.


     If the listener does not hear the bhikkhu clearly enough to catch

   all he says, the penalty is a thullaccaya. If the listener at first

   has some doubt as to what the bhikkhu said, but later realizes that

   it was a claim to a superior human state, the offense is still a

   thullaccaya. If the listener does not hear the bhikkhu at all, the

   offense is a dukkata.


     As stated above, if a bhikkhu states a deliberate lie in the form

   of an indirect claim to a superior human state, he incurs a

   thullaccaya if his listener understands that it is a claim, and a

   dukkata if not.


     According to the Vibhanga, there is a dukkata for a bhikkhu

   sitting in solitude who states a deliberate lie directly claiming a

   superior human state, and another dukkata if he is overheard by a

   devata. The Commentary adds that the same penalty applies if he is

   overheard by a non-human being or a common animal.


     //Thus, to entail a parajika, the claim to a superior human state

   must be a direct claim, a deliberate lie, and must be heard and

   quickly understood by another human being//.



   Special cases in the Vibhanga:


     A bhikkhu, intending to make a false claim for one superior human

   state, muddles his words and claims another: a parajika. The

   Commentary explains this by noting that all the factors necessary

   for a parajika offense are present: The bhikkhu makes a claim based

   on the intention to tell a deliberate lie, and the listener

   understands the claim. The fact that the intended claim and actual

   claim are both superior human states is crucial; the fact that they

   are different states is not.


     In a series of cases, a person speaking with exaggerated faith or

   politeness addresses bhikkhus of no particular attainments as if

   they were arahants ("May the arahants come....May the arahants be

   seated"). This puts them in a quandary, and so they ask the Buddha

   how to behave in such a situation. His response: There is no offense

   in accepting invitations such as these from a "speaker with faith"

   -- the point being that there is no offense in coming, sitting,

   etc., as long as the intention is just to accept the invitation and

   not to imply a claim.


     A bhikkhu, hoping that people will esteem him, engages in special

   practices -- the example given in the Vinita Vatthu is living in the

   jungle, but from it we can extrapolate to other practices such as

   long periods of sitting, any of the ascetic (//dhutanga//)

   practices, vegetarianism, etc., followed so as to impress other

   people. The penalty: a dukkata.


       Summary: Deliberately lying to another person that one has

       attained a superior human state is a parajika offense.


                                 * * *




     A bhikkhu who violates any of these four parajika rules is

   automatically no longer a bhikkhu. There is no need for him to go

   through a formal ceremony of disrobing, for the act of violating the

   rule is an act of disrobing in and of itself. Even if he continues

   to pretend to be a bhikkhu, he does not really count as one; as soon

   as the facts are known he must be expelled from the Sangha. He can

   never again properly ordain as a bhikkhu in this life. If he tries

   to ordain in a Community that does not know of his offense, his

   ordination does not count, and he must be expelled as soon as the

   truth is found out.


     The Commentary, however, states that such an offender may "go

   forth" as a novice if he wants to, although it is up to the

   individual Community to consider the circumstances of his offense to

   decide whether or not it wants to accept him.


     Ignorance of these rules does not exempt an offender from the

   penalty, which is why the Buddha ordered that they be taught to each

   new bhikkhu as soon as possible after ordination (Mv.I.77). Because

   the rules cover a number of cases that are legal in presentday

   society (e.g., recommending abortion, proving to oneself how supple

   one has become through yoga by inserting one's penis in one's mouth)

   or that are common practice among people who see nothing wrong with

   flirting with the edges of the law (e.g., copying computer software

   for a friend, hiding an article subject to customs duties when

   entering a country), it is especially important to inform each new

   bhikkhu of the rules' full implications right from the very start.


     If a bhikkhu suspects that he has committed a parajika, he should

   immediately inform a senior bhikkhu well-versed in the rules. The

   way the senior bhikkhu should handle the case is well-illustrated by

   a incident reported in the Commentary to Parajika 2: Once a king

   together with an enormous crowd came to worship the Great Stupa at a

   certain monastery. One of the crowd was a visiting bhikkhu from the

   South who was carrying an expensive roll of cloth. The commotion of

   the event was so great that the bhikkhu dropped the cloth, was

   unable to retrieve it and soon gave it up for lost. One of the

   resident bhikkhus happened to come across it and, desiring to steal

   it, quickly put it away before the owner might see it. Eventually,

   of course, he became tormented by guilt and went to the resident

   Vinaya expert to admit a parajika and disrobe.


     The Vinaya expert, though, wouldn't let him disrobe until he had

   found the owner of the cloth and inquired about it more fully.

   Eventually, after a long search, he was able to track down the

   original owner at a monastery in the distant South, who told him

   that at the time of the theft he had given the cloth up for lost and

   had abandoned all mental attachment for it. Thus, as the cloth was

   ownerless, the resident bhikkhu had incurred not a parajika, but

   simply some dukkatas for the preliminary efforts with intention to



     This example shows several things: the great thoroughness with

   which a senior bhikkhu should investigate a possible parajika, the

   compassion he should show to the offender, and the fact that the

   offender should be given the benefit of the doubt wherever possible:

   He is innocent until the facts prove him guilty.


     Finally, the Commentary concludes its discussion of the parajikas

   by noticing that there are altogether 24, actual and virtual, in the

   Vinaya. They are:


     The four for bhikkhus.


     The four additional parajikas for bhikkhunis.


     The eleven disqualified types who should not be ordained in the

   first place. If they happen to be ordained, their ordination does

   not count, and once they are found out they must be expelled for

   life (Mv.I.61-68). Thus they are virtual parajikas. They are --


     a pandaka (essentially, a eunuch or a person born neuter -- see

       Sanghadisesa 2),

     a "non-human" being, such as a naga or yakkha, that can assume

       human form,

     a hermaphrodite,

     a person who poses as a bhikkhu without having been ordained,

     a bhikkhu who has ordained in another sect or religion without

       first giving up his status as a bhikkhu;

     a person who has murdered his father,

     a person who has murdered his mother,

     a person who has murdered an arahant,

     a person who has sexually violated a bhikkhuni,

     a person who has injured a Buddha to the point of causing him to


     a person who has caused a schism in the Sangha.


     In addition to the above actual and virtual parajikas, the

   Commentary gives separate listing to the four //anulomika//

   (derived) parajikas, which refer to four cases included under

   Parajika 1: the bhikkhu with a supple back who sticks his penis in

   his mouth, the bhikkhu with a long penis who inserts it into his

   anus, the bhikkhu who performs oral intercourse with someone else,

   and the bhikkhu who receives anal intercourse.

     The 24th Parajika refers to the case of a bhikkhuni who, taking up

   the role of a housewife, goes to live in a lay person's household.


                                                      * * * * * * *                                          








   This term means "involving the Community in the initial (//adi//)

   and subsequent (//sesa//) acts." It refers to the fact that the

   Community is the agent that initially calls on the bhikkhu who

   breaks any of the rules in this category to undergo the penalty (of

   //manatta//, penance, and //parivasa//, probation), subsequently

   reimposes the penalty if he does not properly carry it out, and

   finally lifts the penalty when he does. There are thirteen training

   rules here, the first nine entailing a sanghadisesa immediately on

   transgression, the last four only after the offender has been

   rebuked three times as a formal act of the Community.


   1.Intentional discharge of semen, except while dreaming,

       entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.


     The origin story to this rule is as follows:


       "Now at that time Ven. Seyyasaka was leading the celibate

       life dissatisfied. Because of this, he was thin, wretched,

       unattractive, and jaundiced, his body covered with veins.

       Ven. Udayin saw that Ven. Seyyasaka was thin...his body

       covered with veins; and seeing him, said to him, 'Seyyasaka,

       my friend, why are you thin...your body covered with veins?

       Could it be that you're leading the celibate life



       "'Yes, friend.'


       "'In that case, eat as you like and sleep as you like and

       bathe as you like; and having eaten, slept, and bathed as

       you like, when dissatisfaction arises and lust assails the

       mind, emit semen making do with your hand.'


       "'But is it okay to do that?'


       "'Of course. I do it myself.'


       "So then Ven. Seyyasaka ate as he liked and slept as he

       liked...and when dissatisfaction arose and lust assailed his

       mind, he would emit semen making do with his hand. Then it

       wasn't long before he became attractive, with rounded

       features, a clear complexion, and very bright skin. So the

       bhikkhus who were his friends said to him, 'Before, friend

       Seyyasaka, you were thin...your body covered with veins. But

       now you are attractive, with rounded features, a clear

       complexion, and very bright skin. Could it be that you're

       taking medicine?'


       "'No, I'm not taking medicine, my friends. I just eat as

       like and sleep as I like...and when dissatisfaction arises

       and lust assails my mind, I emit semen making do with my



       "'But do you emit semen making do with the same hand you use

       to eat the gifts of the faithful?'


       "'Yes, my friends.'


       "So the bhikkhus...were offended and annoyed and spread it

       about, 'How can this Ven. Seyyasaka emit semen making do

       with the same hand he uses to eat the gifts of the



     This rule, in its outline form, is one of the simplest to explain.

   In its details, though, it is one of the most complex, not only

   because the subject is a sensitive matter, but also because the

   Commentary deviates somewhat from the Vibhanga in its explanations

   of two of the three factors that constitute the full offense.


     The three factors are result, intention, and effort: Emission of

   semen caused by an intentional effort. When all three factors are

   present, the offense is a sanghadisesa. If the last two -- intention

   and effort -- are present, the offense is a thullaccaya. Any single

   factor or any other combination of two factors -- i.e., intention

   and result without making a physical effort, or effort and result

   without intention -- is not grounds for an offense.


     It may seem strange to list the factor of result first, but I want

   to explain it first partly because, in understanding the types of

   intention and effort covered by this rule, it is necessary to know

   what they are aimed at, and also because result is the one factor

   where the Vibhanga and Commentary are in basic agreement.


     Result. The Commentary discusses the physiology of semen as it was

   understood at the time, and in passing touches on the question of

   whether the word //semen// refers to the clear liquid produced in

   small quantities by the prostrate and Cooper's glands prior to

   ejaculation, or to the seminal fluid released at orgasm (in its

   words, "having made the whole body shake, it is released and

   descends into the urinary tract.") It concludes that the latter is

   what is meant here.


     As for the Vibhanga, it devotes long passages to the various

   colors and qualities that semen can come in, only to conclude that

   the color and quality are irrelevant to the offense. This suggests

   that a bhikkhu who has had a vasectomy can still commit an offense

   under this rule, since he can still discharge the various components

   that go into seminal fluid -- minus only the sperm -- at orgasm.


     //Discharge//, according to the Vibhanga, refers to the point in

   time when the semen "falls from its base." The Commentary explains

   this as the point when the semen enters the urinary tract, because

   from that point on the process is irreversible. Thus if the process

   of sexual stimulation has reached this point, the factor of result

   has been fulfilled, even if one tries to prevent the semen from

   leaving the body by pinching the end of one's penis.


     Intention. The Vibhanga defines //intentionally// as "having made

   the decision knowingly, consciously, and purposefully." According to

   the Commentary, "having made the decision" refers to the moment when

   one "crushes" one's indecisiveness by taking an act. (These are the

   same terms it uses to explain the same phrase under Parajika 3 and

   several other rules. The meaning is that one has definitely made up

   one's mind to start with the act and is not simply toying with the

   idea.) //Knowingly// means that one knows that, "I am making an

   exertion." //Consciously// means that one is aware that one's

   efforts are bringing about an emission of semen. //Purposefully//

   means that one's purpose is to enjoy the bringing about of an



     This last point is where the Commentary deviates from the

   Vibhanga's discussion of the factor of intention. The Vibhanga,

   throughout its analysis, expresses the factor of purpose simply as

   "aiming at causing an emission," and it lists ten possible reasons

   for wanting to bring the emission about:


     for the sake of health,

     for the sake of pleasure,

     for the sake of a medicine,

     for the sake of a gift (to insects, says the Commentary),

     for the sake of merit,

     for the sake of sacrifice,

     for the sake of heaven,

     for the sake of seed (to produce a child -- a bhikkhu who gave

       semen to be used in artificial insemination would fit in this


     for the sake of investigating (to see what color it will be --

       ancient medicine sometimes used this as a way of diagnosing

       disease), or

     for the sake of fun.


     Each of these reasons, the Vibhanga says, fulfills the factor of

   intention here. Thus for the Commentary to limit the question of

   "purpose" strictly to the enjoyment of the act of bringing about an

   emission (numbers 2 and 10 in the Vibhanga's list) has no basis in

   the Canon. And so the factor of intention under this rule is

   fulfilled when one wants to cause an emission of semen, for no

   matter what reason.


     Given the way //intention// is defined, there is no offense for a

   bhikkhu who brings on an emission of semen --


     //accidentally// -- e.g., toying with his penis simply for the

       pleasure of the contact, when it suddenly and unexpectedly goes



     //not knowing that he is making an effort// -- e.g., when he is

       dreaming or in a semi-conscious state before fully waking up from



     //not conscious that his efforts are bringing about an emission of

       semen// -- e.g., when he is so engrossed in applying medicine to

       a sore on his penis that he doesn't realize that he is bringing

       on an ejaculation;


     or when his efforts are //motivated by a purpose other than that

       of causing an emission// -- e.g., when he wakes up, finds that he

       is about to have a spontaneous ejaculation, and grabs hold of his

       penis to keep the semen from soiling his robes or bedding.



     Effort. The Vibhanga defines four types of effort that fulfill

   this factor: A bhikkhu causes an emission making an effort (1) at an

   internal object, (2) at an external object, (3) at both an internal

   and an external object, or (4) by shaking his pelvis in the air. It

   then goes on to explain these terms: The internal object is one's

   own living body. External objects can either be animate or inanimate

   objects. The third type of effort involves a combination of the

   first two, and the fourth covers cases when one makes one's penis

   erect ("workable") by making an effort in the air.


     The extremely general nature of these definitions gives the

   impression that the compilers of the Vibhanga wanted them to cover

   every imaginable type of bodily effort aimed at arousing oneself

   sexually, and this impression is borne out by the wide variety of

   cases covered in the Vinita Vatthu. They include, among others, a

   bhikkhu who squeezes his penis with his fist, one who rubs his penis

   with his thumb, one who rubs his penis against his bed, one who

   inserts his penis into sand, one who bathes against the current in a

   stream, one who rubs his preceptor's back in the bathing room, one

   who gets an erection from the friction of his thighs and robes while

   walking along, one who has his belly heated in the bathing room, and

   one who stretches his body. In each of these cases, if the bhikkhu

   aims at and succeeds in causing an emission, he incurs a



     The Vinita Vatthu also includes a case in which a bhikkhu,

   desiring to cause an emission, orders a novice to take hold of his

   (the bhikkhu's) penis. He gets his emission and a sanghadisesa to

   boot, which shows that getting someone else to make the effort for

   one fulfills the factor of effort here.


     In discussing the factor of effort, though, the Commentary makes a

   slight change in the Vibhanga's definition -- that one makes an

   effort //with// or //upon// one's own body, etc., rather than //at//

   one's own body, etc. -- and adds an additional factor: that the

   effort must be directed at one's own penis. If this is so, then a

   bhikkhu who succeeds in causing an emission by stimulating any of

   the erogenous zones of his body aside from his penis would incur no

   penalty. The Commentary itself actually makes this point, and the

   Sub-commentary seconds it, although the V/Sub-commentary says that

   such a bhikkhu would incur a dukkata -- what it bases this opinion

   on, it doesn't say: perhaps a misreading of the Case of the Sleeping

   Novice, which we will discuss below.


     At any rate, the Commentary in adding this last factor runs up

   against a number of cases in the Vinita Vatthu in which the effort

   does not involve the penis: the bhikkhu warming his belly, the

   bhikkhu rubbing his preceptor's back, a bhikkhu having his thighs

   massaged, and others. The Commentary deals with these cases by

   rewriting them, stating in most cases that the effort somehow had to

   involve the penis. This in itself is questionable, but when the

   Commentary actually contradicts the Vinita Vatthu in the case of the

   bhikkhu who warms his belly, saying that this sort of effort could

   not involve an offense at all, even if one aims at and succeeds in

   causing an emission, the commentators have moved beyond the realm of

   commenting into the realm of rewriting the rule.


     As stated in the Introduction, we have to go on the assumption

   that the compilers of the Vibhanga knew the crucial factors well

   enough to know what is and is not an offense, and were careful

   enough to include all the relevant facts when describing the

   precedents in the Vinita Vatthu in order to show how the Buddha

   arrived at his judgments. Since the Commentary's position -- adding

   the extra factor that the physical effort has to involve one's own

   penis -- directly contradicts the Vibhanga on this point, the extra

   factor cannot stand.


     The question then is why the commentators added the extra factor

   in the first place. An answer may be found in one of the cases in

   the Vinita Vatthu: the Case of the Sleeping Novice.


       "On that occasion a certain bhikkhu grabbed hold of the

       penis of a sleeping novice. His semen was emitted. He felt

       remorseful....'Bhikkhu, there is no sanghadisesa offense.

       There is a dukkata offense.'"


     The issue here is whose semen was emitted. Pali syntax, unlike

   English, doesn't give us a clue, for there is no rule that the

   pronoun in one sentence should refer to the subject of the preceding

   sentence. There are many cases under Parajika 3 that follow the

   form, "A stone badly held by the bhikkhu standing above hit the

   bhikkhu standing below on the head. The bhikkhu died. He felt

   remorseful." In these cases it is obvious from the context within

   the story which bhikkhu died and which one felt remorseful, while

   with the sleeping novice we have to look for the context in terms of

   the other parts of the Vibhanga.


     If the bhikkhu was the one who emitted semen, then perhaps there

   is a contradiction in the Vibhanga, and the Commentary is justified

   in saying that the effort must involve one's penis, for otherwise

   the case would seem to fulfill the Vibhanga's general definition for

   the factor of effort: The bhikkhu is making an effort at an outside

   body and has an emission. Following the general pattern of the rule,

   he would incur a sanghadisesa if he intended emission, and no

   penalty at all if he didn't. Yet the question of intention is not

   mentioned at all, and the bhikkhu is given a dukkata, which suggests

   an inconsistency.


     If, however, the novice was the one who emitted, there is no

   inconsistency at all: The bhikkhu gets his dukkata for making

   lustful bodily contact with another man (see the discussion under

   Sanghadisesa 2, below), and the case is included here to show that

   the full offense under this rule concerns instances where one makes

   //oneself// emit semen, and not where one makes others emit. (Other

   than this case, there is nothing in the rule or the Vibhanga that

   expressly makes this point. The rule simply mentions bringing about

   the emission of semen, without explicitly mentioning whose. This

   would explain the bhikkhu's uncertainty as to whether or not he had

   committed a sanghadisesa.) And the reason there is no mention of

   whether or not the bhikkhu intended to emit semen is because -- as

   it comes under another rule -- it is irrelevant to the case.


     Thus, since the second reading -- the novice was the one who had

   an emission -- does no violence to the rest of the Vibhanga, it

   seems to be the preferable one. So if this was the case that led the

   commentators to add their extra factor, we can see that they misread

   it, and that the Vibhanga's original definition for the factor of

   effort still stands: Any bodily effort made at one's own body, at

   another body or physical object, at both, or any effort made in the

   air -- like shaking one's pelvis or stretching one's body --

   fulfills the factor of effort here.


     One case that does //not// fulfill the factor of effort is when

   one is filled with lust and stares at the private parts of a woman

   or girl. In the case dealing with this contingency, the bhikkhu

   emits semen, but again no mention is made of whether he intended to.

   In any event, the Buddha lays down a separate rule, imposing a

   dukkata for staring lustfully at a women's private parts. This

   suggests that efforts with one's eyes do not count as bodily efforts

   under this sanghadisesa, for otherwise the penalty would have been a

   sanghadisesa if the bhikkhu had intended emission, and no offense if

   he hadn't. And this also suggests that the dukkata under this

   separate rule holds regardless of intention or result. The

   Commentary adds that this dukkata applies also to staring lustfully

   at the genitals of a female animal or at the area of a fully-clothed

   woman's body where her sexual organ is, thinking, "Her sexual organ

   is there." At present we would impose the penalty on a bhikkhu who

   stares lustfully at a woman's private parts in a pornographic



     Consent. A special contingency covered by this rule is mentioned

   twice in the Vinita Vatthu for Parajika 1: A woman approaches a

   bhikkhu and offers to make him emit semen by making do with her hand

   (%). The bhikkhu lets her go ahead, and the Buddha says that he

   incurs a sanghadisesa in doing so. The commentaries treat the case

   as self-evident and offer no extra details. Thus, given the facts as

   we have them, it would seem that consent under this rule can be

   expressed physically simply by letting the act happen. A bhikkhu who

   acquiesces mentally when someone tries and succeeds in making him

   emit semen is not absolved from the full offense here even if he

   otherwise lies perfectly still throughout the event.


     Derived offenses. As stated above, a bhikkhu who fulfills all

   three factors -- result, intention, and effort -- incurs a

   sanghadisesa. One who fulfills only the last two -- intention and

   effort -- incurs a thullaccaya.


     People have sometimes asked how much of an effort is necessary to

   incur a thullaccaya and, in particular, whether the thullaccaya is

   only for cases where a bhikkhu tries to go all the way to an

   emission but cannot have one for physical reasons beyond his control

   -- e.g., he is unable to have an erection or to produce semen -- or

   whether it also covers cases where a bhikkhu starts out trying to

   cause an emission but stops short and changes his mind before the

   emission can come.


     The Vibhanga suggests indirectly that the penalty covers both

   cases when it says simply that the thullaccaya is for one who

   intends, makes the effort, but does not emit. If it had meant to

   limit the penalty to those who //cannot// emit, it would have said

   so and would have set some kind of standard for determining when the

   bhikkhu passed the threshold from //does not// to //cannot// so that

   there would be no doubt as to where the realm of non-offense ends

   and thullaccaya begins. But it doesn't.


     The Commentary is even clearer on this topic when it discusses the

   case of a bhikkhu who, filled with his lust, grabs his penis with

   the purpose of causing an emission but drifts off to sleep before an

   emission occurs. The emission does occur while he is asleep, though,

   and he incurs a sanghadisesa. Since efforts made during sleep do not

   count (see below), this shows that the factor of effort does not

   need to go all the way to ejaculation in order to count.


     In discussing the case of a bhikkhu with fat thighs who develops

   an erection simply by walking along, the Commentary mentions that if

   one finds sensual "fever" arising in such a case, one must

   immediately stop walking and start contemplating the foulness of the

   body so as to purify the mind before continuing on one's way.

   Otherwise, one would incur a thullaccaya simply for moving one's

   legs. //Sensual fever//, here, probably refers to the desire to

   cause an emission, for there are several spots where the Commentary

   discusses bhikkhus who stimulate an erection simply for the

   enjoyment of the contact rather than to cause an emission, and the

   judgment is that they incur no penalty, even if an emission does

   inadvertently result.


     Aside from the thullaccaya, there are no other derived offenses

   under this rule. A bhikkhu who has an ejaculation while thinking

   sensual thoughts but without making any physical effort to cause it,

   incurs no penalty regardless of whether or not the idea crosses his

   mind that he would like to have an emission, and whether or not he

   enjoys it when it occurs. However, the Commentary notes here that

   even though there is no offense involved, one should not let oneself

   be overcome by sensual thoughts in this way. This point is borne out

   by the famous simile that occurred to Prince Siddhattha before his

   Awakening and that later, as Buddha, he related to a number of



       "'Suppose there were a wet sappy piece of timber lying on

       dry ground far from water, and a man were to come along with

       an upper fire-stick, thinking, "I'll light a fire. I'll

       produce heat." Now what do you think? Would he be able to

       light a fire and produce heat by rubbing the upper

       fire-stick in the wet sappy timber...?'


       "'No, Master Gotama. And why not? Because the wood is wet

       and sappy, even though it is lying on dry ground far from

       water. The man would reap nothing but weariness and



       "'So it is with any priest or contemplative who lives

       withdrawn from sensuality only in body, but whose desire,

       infatuation, urge, thirst, and fever for sensuality is not

       relinquished and stilled within him: Whether or not he feels

       painful, racking, piercing feelings due to his striving (for

       Awakening), he is incapable of knowledge, vision, and

       unexcelled self-awakening.'" (M.36)


     Non-offenses. In addition to the cases already mentioned -- the

   bhikkhus who bring about emissions accidentally, not knowing that

   they are making an effort, not conscious that their efforts are

   bringing about an emission, whose efforts are motivated by a purpose

   other than that of causing an emission, or who without making any

   physical effort have an ejaculation while overcome by sensual

   thoughts -- there is no offense for a bhikkhu who has an ejaculation

   during a dream.


     In the wording of the rule, the phrase "except while dreaming" is

   expressed by an idiom that could also mean "at the end of a dream."

   This second possibility, though, is ruled out by the Commentary,

   which states that what happens in the mind while one is sleeping

   falls in the bounds of the Abhidhamma, but what happens after one

   awakens falls within the bounds of the Vinaya; and that there is no

   such thing as a misdeed performed when one is in a "non-negligible"

   state of mind that does not count as an offense. ("Non-negligible,"

   according to the Sub-commentary, means "normal.")


     In making the exception for what happens while asleep, the Buddha

   states that even though there may be the intention to cause an

   emission, it doesn't count. The Commentary goes on to say, however,

   that if a bhikkhu fully awakens in the course of a wet dream, he

   should lie still and be extremely careful not to make a move that

   would fulfill the factor of effort under this rule. If the process

   has reached the point where it is irreversible, and the ejaculation

   occurs spontaneously, he incurs no penalty regardless of whether or

   not he enjoys it. And as the Commentary quotes from the Kurundi, one

   of the ancient Sinhalese commentaries on which it is based, if he

   wakes up in the course of a wet dream and grabs hold of his penis so

   that the ejaculation will not soil his robes or bedding, there is no



     However, the case from the Commentary mentioned above -- the

   bhikkhu who had the desire and made the effort towards an emission

   before falling off to sleep -- suggests that the exemption for

   emissions during a dream does not extend to cases where both the

   intention and the effort occur while one is fully conscious, for all

   three factors under this rule are fully present: One makes the

   conscious decision to cause an emission, makes a conscious effort

   aimed at causing the emission, and the emission occurs. Whether or

   not one is conscious that it is occurring is of no account.


       Summary: Intentionally causing oneself to emit semen, or

       getting someone else to cause one to emit semen -- except

       during a dream -- is a sanghadisesa offense.



                                 * * *



       2.Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind,

       engage in bodily contact with a woman, or in holding her

       hand, holding a lock of her hair, or caressing any of her

       limbs, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the



   This rule has sometimes been viewed as a sign of prejudice against

   women. But, as the origin story makes clear, the Buddha formulated

   the rule not because women are bad, but because bhikkhus sometimes

   can be.


       "Now at that time, Ven. Udayin was living in the forest. His

       dwelling was beautiful, attractive, and appealing. The inner

       chamber was in the middle, entirely surrounded by the outer

       rooms. The bed and chair, the pillows and bolsters were well

       arranged, the water for washing and drinking well placed,

       the surrounding area well swept. Many people came to admire

       it. Even a certain Brahmin together with his wife went to

       where Ven. Udayin was staying and on arrival said, 'We would

       like to admire your dwelling.'


       "'Very well then, Brahmin, have a look.' Taking the key,

       unfastening the lock, and opening the door, he entered the

       dwelling. The Brahmin entered after Ven. Udayin; the Brahmin

       lady after the Brahmin. Then Ven. Udayin, opening some of

       the windows and closing others, walking around the inner

       room and coming up from behind, rubbed up against the

       Brahmin lady limb by limb.


       "After a while the Brahmin exchanged pleasantries with Ven.

       Udayin and left. Delighted, he burst out with an exclamation

       of joy: 'How splendid are are these Sakyan contemplatives

       who live in the forest like this! And how splendid is Ven.

       Udayin who lives in the forest like this!'


       "When he had said this, his wife said to him, 'What's so

       splendid about him? He rubbed up against me limb by limb

       just the way you do!'


       "So the Brahmin was offended and annoyed and spread it

       about: 'How shameless these bhikkhus are, how immoral and

       hypocritical!...How can this contemplative Udayin rub up

       against my wife limb by limb? It isn't possible to go with

       your women-folk to a monastery or dwelling. If you go to a

       monastery or dwelling with your womenfolk, the Sakyan

       contemplatives will molest them!'"


     There are two ways in which a bhikkhu can come into contact with a

   woman: either actively (the bhikkhu makes the contact) or passively

   (the woman does). Since the Vibhanga uses different terms to analyse

   these two possibilities, we will discuss them separately.


   //Active contact//. The full offense for active contact here is

   composed of four factors:


     1) //Object//: a living woman -- "even one born on that very day,

       all the more an older one." Whether or not she is awake to

       realize what is going on is irrelevant to the offense.


     2) //Perception//: The bhikkhu correctly perceives her to be a



     3) //Intention//: He is acting under the influence of lust.


     4) //Effort//: He comes into physical contact with her.


     Since the system of derived offenses based on the various

   permutations of these factors is one of the most complex in the

   Vibhanga, we will limit our discussion first to the full offense

   before going into the permutations.


     Of the four factors listed above, only two -- intention and effort

   -- require detailed explanation.


     Intention. The Vibhanga explains the term //overcome with lust//

   as meaning "impassioned, desiring, a mind bound by attraction."

   //Altered//, it says, can refer in general to one of three states of

   mind -- passion, aversion, or delusion -- but here it refers

   specifically to passion.


     The Commentary adds a piece of Abhidhamma analysis at this point,

   saying that //altered// refers to the moment when the mind leaves

   its state of pure neutrality in the //bhavanga// under the influence

   of desire. Thus the factor of intention here can be fulfilled not

   only by a prolonged or intense feeling of desire, but also by a

   momentary infatuation.


     The Commentary also tries to limit the range of passion to which

   this rule applies, saying that it covers only desire for the

   enjoyment of contact. As we noted under Parajika 1, the ancient

   commentators formulated a list of eleven types of lust, each

   mutually exclusive, and the question of which rule applies to a

   particular case depends on which type of lust provokes the bhikkhu's

   actions. Thus if a bhikkhu lusting for intercourse touches a woman,

   it says, he incurs only a dukkata as a preliminary to sexual

   intercourse under Parajika 1. If he touches her from his lust for an

   ejaculation, he incurs a thullaccaya as a preliminary to causing an

   emission under Sanghadisesa 1. Only if he touches her with the

   simple desire to enjoy the sensation of contact does he incur a

   sanghadisesa under this rule.


     This system, though very neat and orderly, flies in the face of

   common sense and, as we noted under Parajika 1, contradicts the

   Vibhanga as well, so there is no need to adopt it. We can stick with

   the Vibhanga to this rule and say that //any// state of passion

   fulfills the factor of intention here. The Commentary's discussion,

   though, is useful in showing that the passion needn't be full-scale

   sexual lust. Even a momentary desire to enjoy the sensation of

   physical contact -- overwhelming enough that one acts on it -- is

   enough to fulfill this factor.


     Effort. The Vibhanga illustrates the effort of making physical

   contact with a list of activities: rubbing, rubbing up against,

   rubbing downwards, rubbing upwards, bending down, pulling up,

   drawing to, pushing away, seizing hold (or pinning down --

   //abhinigganhana//), squeezing, grasping, or touching. The Vinita

   Vatthu includes a case of a bhikkhu giving a woman a blow with his

   shoulder: He too incurs a sanghadisesa, which shows that the

   Vibhanga's list is meant to cover all similar actions as well. If a

   bhikkhu with lustful mind does anything of this sort to a living

   woman's body, perceiving that she is a woman, he incurs the full

   penalty under this rule.


     Derived offenses. Each of the factors of an offense allows a

   number of permutations that admit for different classes of offenses.

   Taken together, they form a complex system. Here we will consider

   each factor in turn.


     //Object//. Assuming that the bhikkhu is acting with lustful

   intentions and is perceiving his object correctly, he incurs a

   thullaccaya for making bodily contact with a //pandaka//, a female

   yakkha, or a dead woman; and a dukkata for bodily contact with a man

   (or boy), a wooden doll, or a female animal.


     //Pandaka //is usually translated as eunuch, but eunuchs are only

   one of five types of pandakas recognized by the Commentary:


     (1) An //asitta// (literally, a "sprinkled one") -- a man who

       finds sexual fulfillment in performing fellatio on another man

       and bringing him to climax. (For some reason, other homosexual

       acts, even though they were known in ancient India, are not

       included under this type nor under any of the types in this



     (2) A voyeur -- a man who finds sexual fulfillment in watching

       other people have sex.


     (3) A eunuch -- one who has been castrated.


     (4) A half-time pandaka -- one who is a pandaka only during the

       waning moon. (!  --  The Sub-commentary's discussion of this

       point shows that its author and his contemporaries were as

       unfamiliar with this type as we are today. Perhaps this was how

       bisexuals were understood in ancient times.)


     (5) A neuter -- a person born without sexual organs.


     According to the Commentary, the Mahavagga's statement (I.61) that

   pandakas cannot receive ordination refers only to the last three

   types, and to the half-time pandaka only during the waning moon.


     As for female yakkhas, the Commentary says that this also includes

   female deities. There is an ancient story in Chieng Mai of a bhikkhu

   who was visited by a dazzling heavenly maiden late one night while

   he was meditating alone in a cave at Wat Umong. He couldn't resist

   touching her and, as soon as he did, went immediately out of his

   mind. The moral: This is one thullaccaya not to be taken lightly.


     Also from the Commentary:


     (1) The thullaccaya for lustfully touching female corpses applies

       only to those that would be grounds for a full offense under

       Parajika 1, i.e., those with an anal, oral, or genital orifice

       intact enough for one to perform the sexual act. Female corpses

       decomposed beyond that point are grounds for a dukkata here.


     (2) The dukkata for lustfully touching wooden dolls (mannikins)

       applies also to any female form made out of other materials, and

       even to any picture of a woman.


     (3) Female animals include female nagas and other half-animal,

       half-woman species as well.


     According to the Sub-commentary, the dukkata for lustfully

   touching female animals also applies to male animals.


     For some reason, male yakkhas and deities slipped out of the list.

   Perhaps they should come under "men."


     //Perception//. Misperception affects the severity of the offense

   only in the cases of women and pandakas. A bhikkhu who makes lustful

   bodily contact with a woman while under the impression that she is

   something else -- a pandaka, a man, or an animal -- incurs a

   thullaccaya. If he makes lustful bodily contact with a pandaka while

   under the impression that the pandaka is a woman, a man, or an

   animal, the penalty is a dukkata. In the cases of men and animals,

   misperception has no effect on the severity of the case: Lustful

   bodily contact -- e.g., with a male transvestite whom one thinks to

   be a woman -- still results in a dukkata.


     //Intention//. The Vinita Vatthu contains cases of a bhikkhu who

   caresses his mother out of filial affection, one who caresses his

   daughter out of fatherly affection, and one who caresses his sister

   out of brotherly affection. In each case the penalty is a dukkata.


     The Vibhanga does not discuss the issue of bhikkhus who

   intentionally make active contact with women for purposes other than

   lust or affection -- e.g., helping a woman who has fallen into a

   raging river -- but the Commentary does. It introduces the concept

   of //anamasa//, things carrying a dukkata penalty when touched;

   women and clothing belonging to a woman top the list. It then goes

   into great detail to tell how one should behave when one's mother

   falls into a raging river. Under no circumstances, it says, should

   one grab hold of her, although one may extend a rope, a board, etc.,

   in her direction. If she happens to grab hold of her son the

   bhikkhu, he should not shake her off, but should simply let her hold

   on as he swims back to shore.


     Where the Commentary gets the concepts of //anamasa// is hard to

   say. Perhaps it came from the practices of the Brahmin caste, who

   are very careful not to touch certain things and people of certain

   lower castes. At any rate, there is no direct basis for it in the

   Canon. Although the concept has received universal acceptance in

   Theravadin Communities, many highly-respected Vinaya experts have

   made an exception right here, saying that there is nothing wrong in

   touching a woman when one's action is based not on lust but on a

   desire to save her from danger. Even if there is an offense in doing

   so, there are other places where Buddhaghosa recommends that one be

   willing to incur a minor penalty for the sake of compassion (e.g.,

   digging a person out of a hole into which he has fallen), and the

   same principle surely holds here.


     There is no offense in touching a being other than a woman if

   one's intentions are not lustful, although tickling is an offense

   under Pacittiya 52.



     //Effort//. Acts of lustful but indirect bodily contact with a

   woman one perceives to be a woman and a pandaka one perceives to be

   a woman carry the following penalties:


     For the woman: Using one's body to make contact with an article

       connected to her body -- e.g., using one's hand to touch the hem

       of her dress, a rope, or stick she is holding: a thullaccaya.


     Using an item connected with one's body to make contact with her

       body -- e.g., using the edge of one's robe or a flower one is

       holding to brush along her arm: a thullaccaya.


     Using an item connected with one's body to make contact with an

       item connected with her body: a dukkata.


     Taking an object -- such as a flower -- and tossing it against her

       body, an object connected with her body, or an object she has

       tossed: a dukkata.


     Taking hold of something she is standing or sitting on -- a

       bridge, a tree, a boat, etc. -- and giving it a shake: a dukkata.


     For the pandaka one assumes to be a woman, the penalty in all the

       above cases is a dukkata.


     These penalties for indirect contact have inspired the Commentary

   to say that if a bhikkhu makes contact with a clothed portion of a

   woman's body or uses a clothed portion of his body to make contact

   with hers, and the cloth is so thick that neither his body hairs nor

   hers can penetrate it, the penalty is only a thullaccaya, since he

   is not making direct contact. Only if the contact is skin-to-skin,

   skin-to-hair, or hair-to-hair (as might be possible through thin

   cloth) does he commit the full offense. Thus a bhikkhu who fondles

   the breasts or buttocks of a fully-clothed woman would incur only a

   thullaccaya since the contact was indirect.


     While this contention might be true in a technical sense, two

   points from the Vibhanga indicate that its compilers did not have

   this sort of thing in mind when they mentioned indirect contact.


     (1) In its discussion of passive contact, the Vibhanga divides the

   factor of effort into two parts: effort and result. The result

   necessary for a full offense is that the bhikkhu detects contact.

   The important word here is "detect" (//pativijanati//): The Canon

   uses it to refer to cases where one perceives something that may not

   be readily apparent, and here it seems specifically designed to

   cover instances where the contact may not be skin-to-skin, but still

   can be felt as bodily contact. Thus if the contact is such that the

   bhikkhu could feel the presence of the woman's body through his or

   under her clothing, direct contact has been made. If this much

   contact is enough for a full offense under passive contact, there is

   good reason to assume that it should also be enough under active

   contact as well.


     (2) The Vinita Vatthu contains the following case:


       "Now at that time, a certain bhikkhu, seeing a woman he

       encountered coming in the opposite direction, was infatuated

       and gave her a blow with his shoulder. He was

       remorseful....'Bhikkhu, you have committed a sanghadisesa



     As mentioned in the Introduction, we have to go on the assumption

   that the Vibhanga compilers were careful enough to include all of

   the relevant facts in describing the cases in the Vinita Vatthu. Now

   if the Commentary's assertion were true -- that the amount of cloth

   between the bodies of the bhikkhu and the woman is important in

   determining an offense -- the compilers would have mentioned this

   factor at least indirectly, saying, for instance, that the encounter

   took place in the monastery, where he might have had his shoulder

   uncovered, rather than outside of the monastery, where he should

   have had it covered; or that he had neglected to cover his shoulders

   when leaving the monastery; or that he was wearing a very fine robe

   that allowed his hair to pass through. But they say nothing of the

   sort, and their silence here suggests that such questions are



     The only cases of indirect contact mentioned in the Vinita Vatthu

   refer to contact of a much more remote sort: a bhikkhu pulls a cord

   of which a woman is holding another end, pulls a stick of which she

   is holding the other end, or gives her a playful push with his bowl.


     Thus in the context of this rule the Vibhanga defines "object

   connected to the body," through which indirect contact is made, with

   examples: things that the person is //holding//. The Vinaya Mukha

   adds things that are //hanging// from the person, like the hem of a

   robe or a dress. In this context, contact made through cloth that

   the person is wearing, if the contact can be detected, would be

   classed as direct. This would parallel Parajika 1, in which the

   question of whether there is anything covering either of the organs

   involved in intercourse is completely irrelevant to the offense.

   Thus the concept of direct and indirect contact here would seem to

   follow general linguistic usage: If a woman is wearing a

   long-sleeved shirt, for instance, grabbing her by the arm and

   grabbing her by the shirt-sleeve are two different things, and would

   receive different penalties under this rule.


     According to the Vibhanga, if a bhikkhu feels desire for contact

   with a woman and makes an effort but does not achieve even indirect

   contact, the penalty is a dukkata.


     //Passive contact//. The Vibhanga's analysis of passive contact --

   when the bhikkhu is the object rather than the agent making the

   contact -- deals with only a limited number of variables.


     Agent: either a woman the bhikkhu perceives to be a woman, or a

   pandaka he perceives to be a woman.


     The agent's effort: any of the actions that fulfill the factor of

   act for the full offense under active contact -- rubbing, pulling,

   pushing, squeezing, etc.


     The bhikkhu's aim. The Vibhanga lists only two here: the desire to

   come together and the desire to escape (%). The Sub-commentary

   explains the first as desiring the pleasurable feeling of contact.


     Effort. The bhikkhu either makes a physical effort or he doesn't.

   The Commentary includes under this factor even the slightest

   physical movements, such as winking, raising one's eyebrows, or

   rolling one's eyes. At present we would include such things as

   inviting a woman to caress one, or deliberately placing oneself in a

   crowded entrance to a store so that women would have to make contact

   with one as they walked past.


     Result. The bhikkhu either detects the contact or he doesn't.


     The most important factor here is the bhikkhu's aim: If he desires

   to escape from the contact, then no matter who the person making the

   contact is, whether or not the bhikkhu makes an effort, or whether

   or not he detects the contact, there is no offense. The Vinita

   Vatthu gives an example:


       "Now at that time, many women, pressing up to a certain

       bhikkhu, led him about arm-in-arm. He felt

       conscience-stricken.... 'Did you consent, bhikkhu?' (the

       Buddha) asked.


       'No, Lord, I did not.'


       'Then there was no offense, bhikkhu, as you did not



     The Commentary mentions another example, in which a bhikkhu, not

   desiring the contact, is molested by a lustful woman. He remains

   perfectly still, with the thought, "When she realizes I am not

   interested, she will go away." He too commits no offense.


     However, if the bhikkhu desires the contact, then the offenses are

   as follows:


     The agent is a woman, the bhikkhu makes an effort and detects

   contact: a sanghadisesa. He makes an effort but detects no contact:

   a dukkata. He makes no effort (e.g., he remains perfectly still as

   she grasps, squeezes, and rubs his body): no offense regardless of

   whether or not he detects contact. One exception here, though, would

   be the special case mentioned under "Consent" in the preceding rule,

   in which a bhikkhu lets a woman -- or anyone at all, for that matter

   -- make him have an emission and he incurs a sanghadisesa under that

   rule as a result.


     The agent is a pandaka whom the bhikkhu perceives to be a woman,

   the bhikkhu makes an effort and detects contact: a dukkata. All

   other possibilities -- effort but no detected contact, detected

   contact but no effort, no effort and no detected contact: no



     Counting offenses. According to the Vibhanga, if a bhikkhu has

   lustful bodily contact with //x// number of people in any of the

   ways that constitute an offense here, he commits //x// number of

   offenses. For example, if he lustfully rubs up against two women in

   a bus, he incurs two sanghadisesas. If, out of fatherly affection,

   he hugs his two daughters and three sons, he incurs two dukkatas for

   hugging his daughters and no penalty for hugging his sons.


     The Commentary adds that if he makes lustful contact with a person

   //x// number of times, he commits //x// number of offenses. For

   instance, he hugs a woman from behind, she fights him off, and he

   strikes her out of lust: two sanghadisesas.


     The question of counting sanghadisesas, though, is somewhat

   academic, since the penalty for multiple offenses is almost

   identical with the penalty for one. The only difference is in the

   formal announcements that accompany the penalty -- e.g., when the

   Sangha places the offender under probation, when he informs others

   bhikkhus of why he is under probation, etc. For more on this point,

   see the concluding section of this chapter.


     Non-offenses. There is no offense for a bhikkhu who makes contact

   with a woman --


     //unintentionally// --  as when inadvertently running into a woman

       in a crowded place;

     //unthinkingly// --  as when a woman runs into him and, startled,

       he pushes her away;

     //unknowingly// -- as when, without lustful intent, he touches a

       young tomboy he thinks to be a boy; or

     //when he doesn't give his consent// -- as in the case of the

       bhikkhu led around arm-in-arm by a crowd of women.



       Summary: Lustful bodily contact with a woman whom one

       perceives to be a woman is a sanghadisesa offense.



                                 * * *



       3.Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind,

       address lewd words to a woman in the manner of young men to

       a young woman alluding to sexual intercourse, it entails

       initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.



       "Now at that time Ven. Udayin was living in the forest. One

       day many women came to the monastery to admire his dwelling.

       They went to where he was staying and on arrival said to

       him, 'Ven. Sir, we would like to admire your dwelling.' Then

       Ven. Udayin, showing the dwelling to the women and referring

       to their genital and anal orifices, praised and criticized

       and begged and implored and asked and quizzed and advised

       and instructed and ridiculed them. Those of the women who

       were brazen, shameless, and sly giggled at Ven. Udayin,

       exclaimed to him, laughed aloud, and teased him; while those

       of the women who had a sense of decency complained to the

       bhikkhus as they left: 'It is improper, Ven. sirs, and

       unbecoming! Even from our husbands we wouldn't like to hear

       this sort of thing, much less from Master Udayin.'"


   The K/Commentary lists five factors for a full breach of this rule:


     1) //Object//: a woman, i.e., any female human being experienced

       enough to know what words are and are not lewd.

     2) //Perception//: The bhikkhu perceives her to be such a woman.

     3) //Intention//: He is lustful. As in the preceding rule, we can

       take the Commentary's definition of lust here as the //minimum//

       amount of lust to fulfill this factor: He wants to enjoy saying

       something lewd or improper.

     4) //Effort//: He makes remarks referring to her genitals, anus,

       or to her performing sexual intercourse.

     5) //Result//: The woman immediately understands.


     The only factors requiring detailed explanation here are intention

   and effort.


     Intention. The minimum level of desire required to fulfill this

   factor means that this rule covers cases where a bhikkhu simply gets

   a charge out of referring to a woman's genitals, etc., in her

   presence, without necessarily having any desire actually to have sex

   with her.


     The Vibhanga makes clear that this rule does not cover statements

   made in anger. Thus any insults a bhikkhu may direct at a woman out

   of anger rather than playfully in desire -- even if they refer to

   her genitals, etc. -- would come under Pacittiya 2, rather than



     Effort. The Vibhanga states that to incur a sanghadisesa under

   this rule when one is speaking to a woman, one must refer to //her//

   genitals, anus, or performing sexual intercourse (%).


     The Commentary goes further and says that to incur the full

   penalty one must make direct mention of one of these three things,

   or accuse her of being sexually deformed in a way that refers

   directly to her genitals. Otherwise, if one refers lustfully to

   these matters without directly mentioning them, there is no

   sanghadisesa, although the Sub-commentary quotes ancient texts

   called the Ganthipadas as assigning a dukkata for such an act.


     All of this contradicts the Vibhanga, which lists the ways of

   referring to the woman's anus, genitals, and sexual intercourse that

   would entail the full penalty under this rule -- one speaks praise,

   speaks criticism, begs, implores, asks, quizzes, advises, exhorts,

   or ridicules -- and many of the examples it gives, although

   referring to the woman's private parts or to her performing sexual

   intercourse, do not actually mention those words: "How do you give

   to your husband?" "How do you give to your lover?" "When will your

   mother be reconciled?" "When will you have a good opportunity?"

   Although all of these statements refer to sexual intercourse, and

   people in those days would have understood them in that light, none

   of them actually mentions it.


     Thus the Vibhanga's examples seem to indicate that if a bhikkhu is

   referring lustfully to the woman's private parts or to her

   performing sexual intercourse, then whether or not he directly names

   those things, he fulfills this factor.


     None of the texts mention the case in which a bhikkhu talks to one

   person about another person's private parts, etc.


     Derived offenses. The factors of effort, object, perception, and

   result permit a number of permutations that result in lesser

   offenses. As for the permutations of intention, see the section on

   non-offenses, below.


     //Effort//. A bhikkhu speaks to a woman he perceives to be a woman

   and refers lustfully to parts of her body -- aside from her private

   parts -- below her collarbone and above her knees, such as her

   breasts or her thighs: a thullaccaya. If he refers to parts of her

   body outside of that area, such as her face or hair, or to clothing

   or jewelry she is wearing: a dukkata.


     //Object//. A bhikkhu speaks to a pandaka (in this and the

   following cases we are assuming that he perceives his object

   correctly) and refers lustfully to his private parts or to his

   performing sexual intercourse: a thullaccaya. He refers lustfully to

   other parts of the pandaka's body, his clothing, etc.: a dukkata.


     A bhikkhu speaks to a man (or boy) and refers lustfully to any

   part of his listener's body, clothing, etc.: a dukkata. The same

   penalty holds for speaking lustfully to a common animal about its

   body, ornaments, etc. (%). (This is a point with interesting

   implications, but unfortunately the Commentary is silent. Perhaps

   nagas would be included here, or perhaps the Vibhanga compilers had

   in mind cases where one mentions such things to an animal within

   earshot of a human or celestial being.)


     The texts make no mention of speaking lustfully to a woman/girl

   too young to understand what is and is not lewd. We might argue from

   the cases included in the Vinita Vatthu, though -- where bhikkhus

   make punning references to women's private parts, and the women do

   not understand -- that a bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya for referring

   directly to her genitals, anus, or performing sexual intercourse in

   her presence, and a dukkata for referring indirectly in her presence

   to such things.


     //Perception//. A bhikkhu speaking to a woman whom he perceives to

   be something else -- a pandaka, a man, an animal -- incurs a

   thullaccaya if he refers lustfully to her genitals, anus, or

   performing sexual intercourse. If he is speaking to a pandaka, a

   man, or an animal he misperceives -- e.g., he thinks the pandaka is

   a woman, the man is a pandaka, the animal is a man -- he incurs a

   dukkata if he refers lustfully to those topics.


     //Result//. As mentioned above, the Vinita Vatthu contains a

   number cases of bhikkhus speaking to women and making punning

   references to the women's genitals that the women do not understand.

   In one case the penalty is a thullaccaya, in the others a dukkata.

   The thullaccaya case is the only one in which the bhikkhu uses a

   word synonymous with genitals (//magga//, which also means road, the

   meaning the woman understood). Thus we might argue that if a bhikkhu

   makes direct reference to the genitals, anus, or sexual intercourse

   -- and this includes slang expressions and euphemisms -- and the

   woman doesn't immediately understand that he is referring to those

   things, he incurs a thullaccaya. If he makes indirect mention of

   those things, and she doesn't immediately understand what he is

   referring to, he incurs a dukkata. If it so happens that she

   understands later, the penalty remains the same.


     Counting offenses. A bhikkhu making remarks of the sort covered by

   this rule to //x// number of people commits //x// number of

   offenses, the type of offense being determined by the factors

   discussed above. Thus for lustful remarks to two women referring to

   their breasts, he would incur two thullaccayas; for lustful remarks

   to three men concerning their bodies, three dukkatas; for teasing a

   group of twenty old ladies about how their time for sexual

   performance is past, twenty sanghadisesas.


     Non-offenses. The Vibhanga states that there is no offense for a

   bhikkhu who speaks aiming at (spiritual) welfare (//attha//), aiming

   at Dhamma, or aiming at teaching. Thus, for example, if one is

   talking in front of women and has no lustful intent, one may recite

   or explain the training rules that deal with these matters or go

   into detail on the topic of the loathsomeness of the body as a topic

   of meditation, all without incurring a penalty. The Commentary here

   adds an example of a bhikkhu addressing a sexually deformed woman,

   telling her to be heedful in her practice so as not to be born that

   way again. If, however, one were to broach any of these topics out

   of a desire to enjoy saying something lewd to one's listeners, one

   would not be immune from an offense.


     A bhikkhu who, without intending to be lewd, makes innocent

   remarks that his listener takes to be lewd, commits no offense.


       Summary: Making a lustful remark to a woman about her

       genitals, anus, or about performing sexual intercourse is a

       sanghadisesa offense.



                                 * * *



       4. Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind,

       speak in the presence of a woman in praise of ministering to

       his own sensuality thus: "This, sister, is the highest

       ministration, that of ministering to a virtuous,

       fine-natured follower of the celibate life such as myself

       with this act" -- alluding to sexual intercourse -- it

       entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.



       "Now at that time a certain woman, a widow, was beautiful,

       attractive, and appealing. So Ven. Udayin, arising early in

       the morning, taking his robe and bowl, went to her

       residence. On arrival, he sat on an appointed seat. Then the

       woman, approaching him, paying him homage, sat down to one

       side. As she sat there, Ven. Udayin instructed, urged,

       roused, and encouraged her with a talk on Dhamma. Then the

       woman, instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged with a talk

       on Dhamma...said to him, 'Tell me, Ven. sir, what would be

       in my power to give you for your welfare: Robe-cloth?

       Alms-food? Lodgings? Medicines for the sick?'


       "'Those things aren't hard for us to come by sister....Give

       just what is hard for us to come by.'


       "'What, Ven. sir?'


       "'Sexual intercourse.'


       "'For your welfare, Ven. sir?'


       "'For my welfare, sister.'


       "'Then come, Ven. sir.' Entering into an inner room, taking

       off her cloak, she lay back on a couch. Then Ven. Udayin

       approached the woman and, on approaching, said, 'Who would

       touch this foul-smelling wretch?' And he departed, spitting.


       "Then the woman was offended and annoyed and spread it

       about...'How can this contemplative Udayin, when he himself

       begged me for sexual intercourse, say, "Who would touch this

       foul-smelling wretch?" and depart spitting? What's wretched

       about me? What's foul-smelling about me? In what am I

       inferior to whom?'"


   At first glance this rule might seem redundant with the preceding

   one, for what we have here is another case of a bhikkhu advising,

   begging, or imploring a woman to perform sexual intercourse.

   However, some facts about language and belief in the Buddha's time

   might have led some people to feel that this was a special case not

   covered by the previous rule; so -- to prevent this misunderstanding

   -- it gets separate treatment here.


     "Giving," in the Buddha's time, was a common term for having sex.

   If a woman gave to a man, that meant that she was willing to have

   sexual intercourse with him. Now, Buddhism was not the only religion

   of the time to teach that gifts -- of a more innocent sort -- given

   to contemplatives produced great reward to those who gave them, and

   ultimately somebody somewhere came up with the bright idea that

   since sex was the highest gift, giving it to a contemplative would

   produce the highest reward. Whether this idea was first formulated

   by faithful women or by clever contemplatives is hard to say. There

   are several cases in the Vinita Vatthu to Parajika 1 telling of

   bhikkhus approached or attacked by women professing this belief,

   which shows that it had some currency: that sex was somehow seen as

   a way to higher benefits through the law of kamma.


     Since the preceding rule gives exemptions for bhikkhus speaking

   "aiming at (spiritual) welfare (//attha//), aiming at Dhamma," some

   misguided souls who did not comprehend the Buddha's teachings on

   sensuality might believe that welfare of this sort might fit under

   the exemption. Even today, although the rationale might be

   different, there are people who believe that having sex with

   spiritual teachers is beneficial for one's spiritual well-being.

   Thus we have this separate rule to show that the Buddha would have

   no part in such a notion, and that a bhikkhu who tries to suggest

   that his listener would benefit from having sex with him is not

   exempt from an offense.


     The K/Commentary lists five factors for the full offense here.


     Object: a woman experienced enough to know what words are and are

   not lewd.


     Perception. The bhikkhu perceives her to be such a woman.


     Intention. He is lustful. According to the Sub-commentary, this

   means that he wants to enjoy saying something lewd or improper. This

   point is borne out by the origin story, where Ven. Udayin addressed

   his remarks to the young widow apparently just to test her reaction.

   As in the preceding rules, we can take the Sub-commentary's

   definition to stand for the //minimum// amount of lust needed to

   fulfill this factor.


     Effort. The bhikkhu speaks to the woman in praise of her

   ministering to his sensual needs, making reference to sexual

   intercourse. The Commentary maintains that his remarks must directly

   mention sexual intercourse for this factor to be fulfilled, but the

   example in the rule itself would seem to contradict its assertion.


     Result. The woman immediately understands.


     Derived offenses. The only factors having permutations leading to

   lesser offenses are object and perception.


     //Object//. A bhikkhu, motivated by lust, makes such remarks to a

   pandaka: a thullaccaya. To a man or animal: a dukkata.


     //Perception//. A bhikkhu, motivated by lust, makes such remarks

   to a woman he perceives to be something else -- a pandaka, man, or

   animal: a thullaccaya. To a pandaka he perceives to be something

   else: a dukkata.


     Counting offenses. Offenses are counted by the number of people

   one makes such remarks to.


     Non-offenses. The no-offense clauses in the Vibhanga, in addition

   to the blanket exemptions mentioned under Parajika 1, read simply:

   "There is no offense if he speaks saying, 'Support us with the

   requisites of robe-cloth, alms-food, lodgings, or medicines for the

   sick.'" Thus there is apparently no way that a bhikkhu in his right

   mind may speak in the presence of another person in praise of that

   person's ministering to his (the bhikkhu's) own sexual desires,

   without committing an offense.


       Summary: Telling a woman that she would benefit from having

       sexual intercourse with oneself is a sanghadisesa offense.



                                 * * *



       5. Should any bhikkhu engage in conveying a man's intentions

       to a woman or a woman's intentions to a man, proposing

       marriage or paramourage -- even if only for a momentary

       liaison -- it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the



   There are essentially two factors for a full offense under this

   rule: effort and object.


     Effort. The Commentary says that to "engage in conveying" means to

   take on the role of a go-between. This includes helping to arrange

   not only marriages and affairs, but also "momentary associations"

   that, from the way it describes them, could include anything from

   appointments with a prostitute to arrangements for X to be Y's date.


     The Vibhanga sets the component factors of a go-between's role at



     1) //accepting// the request of one party to convey a proposal;

     2) //inquiring//, i.e., informing the second party and learning

       his/her/their reaction; and

     3) //reporting// what one has learned to the first party.


     The penalties for these actions are: a dukkata for performing any

   one of them, a thullaccaya for any two, and a sanghadisesa for the

   full set of three. Thus a bhikkhu acting on his own initiative to

   sound out the possibility of a date between a man and a woman would

   incur a thullaccaya for inquiring and reporting. A bhikkhu planning

   to disrobe who asks a woman if she would be interested in marrying

   him after his return to lay life would incur a dukkata for



     The penalties are the same if the bhikkhu, instead of acting as a

   go-between himself, gets someone else to act for him. Thus a bhikkhu

   who agrees to convey such a proposal but then gets a lay follower or

   another bhikkhu to do the inquiring and reporting, would incur a

   sanghadisesa all the same.


     If a group of bhikkhus are asked to act as go-betweens and they

   all accept, then even if only one of them takes the message, all

   incur the penalty for his actions.


     "Result" is not a factor here, and so the Commentary mentions that

   whether or not the arrangements succeed has no bearing on the



     "Intention" is also not a factor, which leads the Sub-commentary

   to raise the issue of a man who writes his proposal in a letter and

   then, without disclosing the contents, gets a bhikkhu to deliver it.

   Its conclusion, though, is that this case would not qualify as an

   offense under this rule, in that both the Vibhanga and the

   Commentary define the action of conveying as "telling": Only if the

   bhikkhu himself tells the proposal -- whether repeating it orally,

   making a gesture or writing a letter -- does he commit an offense



     Object. The full offense is for acting as a go-between between a

   man and a woman who are not married to each other. If, instead of

   dealing directly with the man and woman, one deals with people

   speaking on their behalf (their parents, a pimp), one incurs the

   full penalty all the same.


     There is no offense for a bhikkhu who tries to effect a

   reconciliation between an estranged couple who are not divorced; but

   a full offense for one who tries to effect a reconciliation between

   a couple who are. "Perception" is also not a factor here, which

   inspires the Commentary to note that even an arahant could commit an

   offense under this rule if he tried to effect a reconciliation

   between his parents whom he assumed to be separated when they

   actually were divorced.


     A bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya for acting as a go-between for a

   pandaka; and, according to the Commentary, the same penalty for

   acting as a go-between for a female yakkha or peta. (!)


     Non-offenses. The Vibhanga states that, in addition to the usual

   exemptions, there is no offense if a bhikkhu conveys a message from

   a man to a woman or vice versa dealing with "business of the

   Community, of a shrine, or of a sick person." The Commentary

   illustrates the first two instances with cases of a bhikkhu

   conveying a message dealing with construction work for the Community

   or a shrine; and the third with a case where a bhikkhu, acting on

   behalf of a fellow bhikkhu who is sick, is sent by a male lay

   follower to a female lay follower for medicine.


     The Sub-commentary adds that any similar errand is also exempt

   from penalty as long as it is not a form of subservience to lay

   people (see Sanghadisesa 13, below).


       Summary: Acting as a go-between to arrange a marriage, an

       affair, or a date between a man and a woman not married to

       each other is a sanghadisesa offense.



                                 * * *



       6.When a bhikkhu is building a hut from (gains acquired by)

       his own begging -- having no sponsor, destined for himself

       -- he is to build it to the standard measurement. Here the

       standard is this: twelve spans, using the sugata span, in

       length (measuring outside); seven in width, (measuring)

       inside. Bhikkhus are to be assembled to designate the site.

       The site the bhikkhus designate should be without

       disturbances and with adequate space. If the bhikkhu should

       build a hut from his own begging on a site with disturbances

       and without adequate space, or if he should not assemble the

       bhikkhus to designate the site, or if he should exceed the

       standard, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the




       "At that time the bhikkhus of Alavi were having huts built

       from their own begging -- having no sponsors, destined for

       themselves, not to any standard measurement -- that did not

       come to completion. They were continually begging,

       continually hinting: 'Give a man, give labor, give an ox,

       give a wagon, give a knife, give an ax, give an adze, give a

       spade, give a chisel, give rushes, give reeds, give grass,

       give clay.' People, harassed with the begging, harassed with

       the hinting, on seeing bhikkhus would feel apprehensive,

       alarmed, would run away; would take another route, face

       another direction, close the door. Even on seeing cows, they

       would run away, imagining them to be bhikkhus."



   This rule and the following one concern the procedures a bhikkhu

   should follow when he wants to build a dwelling for his own use. The

   following rule deals with cases where he has a sponsor to provide

   him with funds and materials. This rule deals with cases where he

   doesn't. The Vibhanga and Commentary define the words //hut// and

   //dwelling// in these rules in such a way that they apply only to a

   limited range of structures, but the Commentary's discussion of what

   a bhikkhu may and may not beg for when building anything at all,

   guarantees that even in cases not covered by these rules he is not

   allowed to be burdensome to the people he asks for help. In

   discussing this rule, we will first cover what kinds of begging are

   proper and improper in connection with //any// kind of construction

   work, and then go on to treat the particular case coming under this



     Begging. A bhikkhu may ask for people to give labor in any

   situation. Thus he may ask stone masons to carry stone posts to his

   construction, or carpenters to carry boards there. If, after he has

   asked them to help with the labor, they volunteer to donate the

   materials as well, he may accept them without penalty. Otherwise, he

   has to reimburse them for the materials.


     As for tools, vehicles, and other things he will use in the

   process of construction, he may ask only to borrow them from other

   people and may not ask for them outright. If the tools get damaged,

   he is responsible for getting them repaired before returning them to

   the owner. The only things he needn't return to the owner are light

   articles (//lahubhanda//), which the Sub-commentary identifies as

   things like reeds, rushes, grass, and clay -- i.e., things having

   little or no monetary value at all.


     In effect, this means that unless a bhikkhu is going to build his

   dwelling out of reeds, etc., or out of thrown-away scraps, he may

   not ask for any of the materials that will actually go into the

   dwelling. Keep in mind that these rules were made during a period

   when wilderness was still plentiful, and solid building materials

   such as timber and stones were free for the taking. At present,

   unless a bhikkhu has access to unclaimed wilderness of this sort, to

   unclaimed garbage, or has enough funds on deposit with his steward

   (see NP 10) to cover the cost of materials, his only recourse if he

   wants a solid structure is either to rammed earth or to hinting.


     The Commentary notes that while hinting is not allowed with regard

   to food or cloth, it is allowed with regard to construction

   materials. One example it gives is asking, "Do you think this is a

   good place to build a hut? An ordination hall?" Another example is

   staking out a construction site in hope that someone will ask, "What

   are you planning to do here?" If people get the hint and offer the

   materials, the bhikkhu may accept them. If they don't, he may not

   ask directly for any materials except the "light articles" mentioned



     From this it should be obvious that even in cases not covered by

   this rule -- i.e., the dwelling he is building doesn't qualify as a

   "hut," or he is building something for other people to use -- a

   bhikkhu engaged in construction work is not allowed to be burdensome

   to the laity. This is an important point, as the Buddha illustrated

   in a story he told to the bhikkhus at Alavi. A certain bhikkhu had

   once come to him with a complaint, and he reports the conversation

   as follows:


       "'Lord, there is a large forest on the slopes of the

       Himalayas, and not far from it is a broad, low-lying marsh.

       A great flock of birds, after feeding all day in the marsh,

       goes to roost in the forest at nightfall. That is why I have

       come to see the Blessed One -- because I am annoyed by the

       noise of that flock of birds.'


       "'Bhikkhu, you want those birds to go away for good?'


       "'Yes, Lord, I want them to go away for good.'


       "'Then go back there, enter the forest, and in the first

       watch of the night make this announcement three times:

       "Listen to me, good birds. I want a feather from everyone

       roosting in this forest. Each of you give me one feather."

       In the second watch...In the third watch of the night make

       this announcement three times: "Listen to me, good birds. I

       want a feather from everyone roosting in this forest. Each

       of you give me one feather"....(The bhikkhu did as he was

       told.) Then the flock of birds, thinking, 'The bhikkhu asks

       for a feather, the bhikkhu wants a feather,' left the

       forest. And after they were gone, they never again returned.

       Bhikkhus, begging is unpleasant, hinting is unpleasant even

       to these common animals -- how much more so to human



     The hut. Now we turn to the particular case covered by this rule.

   The Vibhanga defines a hut as "plastered inside, outside, or both."

   It also states that this rule does not apply to a //lena//, a

   //guha//, or to a grass hut. A lena, according to the Commentary, is

   a cave. A guha it doesn't define, except to say that guhas may be

   built out of wood, stone, or earth. And as for a grass hut, it says

   that this refers to any building with a grass //roof//, which means

   that even a dwelling with plastered walls but a grass roof would not

   count as a hut under this rule (although a hut whose roof has been

   plastered and then covered with grass //would// count as a hut



     The Commentary goes on to stipulate that the plastering mentioned

   in the Vibhanga refers to a plastered //roof//, that the plaster

   must be either clay or white lime (plastering with cow dung or mud

   doesn't count, although cement would probably come under "white

   lime" here), and that the plastering on the inside or outside of the

   roof must be contiguous with the plastering on the inside or outside

   of the walls. Thus if the builder leaves a gap in the plastering

   around the top of the wall so that the plastering of the roof and

   the plastering of the walls don't touch at any point, the building

   doesn't qualify as a hut and so doesn't come under the rule.


     The Commentary's stipulations on these point may seem like

   attempts to create gaping loopholes in the rule, but there is

   nothing in the Vibhanga to prove them wrong. Perhaps in those days

   only fully plastered buildings were considered to be finished,

   permanent structures, while everything else was considered makeshift

   and temporary and thus not worth the fuss and bother of the

   procedures we will discuss below.


     At another point in its discussions, the Commentary adds that any

   building three sugata spans wide or less is not big enough to move a

   bed around in and so does not count as a hut under this rule. The

   Commentary itself defines a sugata span as three times the span of a

   normal person, which would put it at approximately 75 cm. More

   recent calculations, based on the fact that the Buddha was not

   abnormally tall, set the sugata span at 25 cm.


     The procedures. If, for his own use, a bhikkhu is planning to

   build a hut as defined in this rule, he must chose a site, clear it,

   and ask for the local Community to inspect and approve it before he

   can go ahead with the actual construction.


     //The site//. The site must be free of disturbances and have

   adequate space.


     "Free of disturbances" means that the site is not the abode of

   such creatures as termites, ants, or rats who might do harm to the

   building, or of those such as snakes, scorpions, tigers, lions,

   elephants, or bears who might do harm to its inhabitant. The

   Commentary states that the Vibhanga's purpose in forbidding a

   bhikkhu from building on a site where termites and other small

   animals have their home is to show compassion to these and other

   small creatures like them by not destroying their nests. As for the

   stipulation against building where snakes and other dangerous

   animals live, this also extends, it says, to the areas where they

   regularly forage for food.


     In addition, the Vibhanga says that a site without disturbances is

   one that is not near any places that will disturb the bhikkhu's

   peace and quiet. Examples it gives are: fields, orchards, places of

   execution, cemeteries, pleasure groves, royal property, elephant

   stables, horse stables, prisons, taverns, slaughterhouses, highways,

   crossroads, public rest-houses, and meeting places.


     "Adequate space" means that there is enough room on the site for a

   yoked wagon to go around, or for a man to carry a ladder around, the

   proposed hut. The question arises as to whether this means that all

   trees within that radius of the hut must be cut down, or whether it

   simply means that there must be enough land around the hut so that

   if the trees were not there, it would be possible to go around the

   hut in the ways mentioned. The Sub-commentary states that the

   stipulation for adequate space is so that the hut will not be built

   on the edge of a precipice or next to a cliff wall, and the Vinaya

   Mukha notes that the Vibhanga here is following the Laws of Manu (an

   ancient Indian legal text) in ensuring that the dwelling not be

   built right against someone else's property. Both of these

   statements suggest that there is no need to cut the trees down.


     The Vinaya Mukha maintains further that the procedures for getting

   the site approved are concerned basically with laying claim to

   unclaimed land, and this has led many Communities in Thailand to say

   that the need to have the Community approve the site does not apply

   to places where the Community already owns the land, such as in a

   monastery. If a bhikkhu in such Communities wishes to build a hut

   for his own use on monastery land, he need only get the approval of

   the abbot. The ancient texts say nothing on this point, so it is an

   area where the wise policy is to follow the views of the Community

   to which one belongs.


     //Clearing the site//. Before notifying the local Community, the

   bhikkhu must get the site cleared -- so says the Vibhanga, and the

   Commentary adds that he should get it leveled as well. In both

   cases, he should arrange to have this done in such a way that does

   not violate Pacittiyas 10 & 11. Again, the question arises as to

   whether clearing the site means cutting down the trees on the spot

   where one proposes building the hut. In the origin story to the

   following rule, Ven. Channa caused an uproar by cutting down a

   venerated tree on a site where he planned to build, which led the

   Buddha to formulate the rule that the Community must inspect and

   approve the site to prevent uproars of this sort. This suggests that

   clearing the site here means clearing the underbrush. Only after the

   Community has approved the site should the necessary trees be cut



     //Getting the site inspected//. The bhikkhu then goes to the local

   Community and formally asks them to inspect the site. (The Pali

   passages for this and the remaining formal requests and

   announcements are in the Vibhanga.) Either the entire Community will

   go to inspect the site or it will select two or three of its members

   to go and inspect the site in its stead. The Vibhanga says that

   these inspectors should know what does and does not constitute a

   disturbance and adequate space, and requires that they be chosen by

   a formal motion with one announcement. The Commentary, for some

   reason, says that they may also be chosen by a simple declaration



     The inspectors then visit the site. If they find any disturbances

   or see that the site has inadequate space, they should tell the

   bhikkhu not to build there. If the site passes inspection, though,

   the bhikkhu may go on to the next step.


     //Getting the site approved//. The bhikkhu returns to the

   Community and formally asks them to approve the site. The formal act

   involves a motion and one announcement. Once this has passed, the

   bhikkhu may start construction.


     The size of the hut. As the rule states, the hut may be no more

   than twelve spans long and seven spans wide, or approximately 3 x

   1.75 meters. For some reason the Vibhanga states that the length of

   the hut is measured from the outside (excluding the plastering, says

   the Commentary), while the width is measured from the inside. The

   Commentary adds that neither of these measurements may be exceeded.

   Thus a hut ten by eight spans wide, even though it has less floor

   area than a twelve by seven span hut, would exceed the standard

   width and so would be a violation of this rule.


     Offenses. The Vibhanga allots the penalties for building a hut

   without a sponsor, for one's own use, without regard for the

   stipulations in this rule, as follows:


     an oversized hut -- a sanghadisesa;

     a hut on an unapproved site -- a sanghadisesa;

     a hut on a site without adequate space -- a dukkata;

     a hut on a site with disturbances -- a dukkata.


     These penalties are additive. Thus, for example, an oversized hut

   on an unapproved site would entail a double sanghadisesa.


     The wording of the training rule, though, suggests that building a

   hut without a sponsor, for one's own use, on a site with

   disturbances and without adequate space would entail a sanghadisesa;

   but the Sub-commentary says -- without offering explanation -- that

   to read the rule in this way is to misinterpret it. Since the

   penalty for a multiple sanghadisesa is the same as that for a single

   one, there is only one case where this would make an appreciable

   difference: a hut of the proper size, built on a designated site

   that has disturbances or does not have adequate space. This is a

   case of a formal act of the Community improperly performed: Either

   the bhikkhus inspecting the site were incompetent, or the

   disturbances were not immediately apparent. Since the usual penalty

   for improperly performing an act of the Community is a dukkata

   (Mv.II.16.4), this may be why the Vibhanga allots penalties as it



     As we noted in the Introduction, in cases where the Vibhanga is

   explaining the training rules that deal with formal acts of the

   Community, it sometimes has to deviate from the wording of the rules

   so as to bring them in line in with the general pattern for such

   acts, a pattern that was probably formulated after the rules and

   came to take precedence over them.


     Getting others to build the hut. If, instead of building the hut

   himself, a bhikkhu gets others to build it for him, he must inform

   them of the four stipulations mentioned in this rule. If he neglects

   to inform them, and they build the hut in such a way that it does

   not meet any or all of the stipulations, he must either have it torn

   down (to the ground, says the Commentary) and have it rebuilt in

   line with the stipulations, give it to another, or face the full

   penalty for each of the stipulations they violated that he neglected

   to mention to them.


     For example: He tells them to build a hut of the right size, but

   neglects to tell them to have the site approved. They build it to

   the right size, the site is without disturbances and has adequate

   space but is not approved. Unless he has it torn down or gives it to

   another, he incurs a sanghadisesa.


     If the bhikkhu mentions the proper stipulations, but learns that

   the builders are ignoring them, he must go himself or send a

   messenger to reiterate the stipulations. Not to do so incurs a

   dukkata. If, having been reminded of the stipulations, the builders

   still ignore them, the bhikkhu incurs no penalty; but they -- if

   they are bhikkhus -- incur a dukkata for each of the three criteria

   regarding the site that they disobey. As for the standard

   measurement, they are not bound by it as they are building the hut

   for another's use.


     If a bhikkhu, intending it for his own use, completes a hut that

   others have started, or gets others to complete a hut he has

   started, he is still bound by the stipulations given in this rule.


     Preliminary offenses. The penalties in the preliminary steps are

   as follows: If the hut is such that when finished it will entail a

   sanghadisesa or two, each act in its construction entails a dukkata,

   until the next to the last act, which entails a thullaccaya. Once

   the hut is completed, and the bhikkhu incurs the sanghadisesa(s),

   the dukkatas and thullaccaya are nullified.


     Non-offenses. The no-offense clauses mention, in addition to the