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
"'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
"'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
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
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
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
"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
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
'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
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
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
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
//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
* * *
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?'
"'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
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
"'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
"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
usual exemptions, that there is no offense "in a lena, in a guha, in
a grass hut, in (a dwelling) for another's use, or in anything other
than a dwelling." The Commentary explains that no offense here means
that these cases are not subject to any of the four stipulations
given in this rule. As for the last case, if a bhikkhu is building,
e.g., a meeting hall for the Community, he is not bound by this
rule, but if he plans to live there as well, he is. This last case
suggests that if a bhikkhu is building a dwelling, planning to
donate it formally to the Community but also planning to live there
himself, he is not exempt from this rule.
Summary: 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.
* * *
7. When a bhikkhu is building a large dwelling -- having a
sponsor and destined for himself -- he is to assemble
bhikkhus to designate the site. The site the bhikkhus
designate should be without disturbances and with adequate
space. If the bhikkhu should build a large dwelling on a
site with disturbances and without adequate space, or if he
should not assemble the bhikkhus to designate the site, it
entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
The Vibhanga defines //dwelling// here with the same terms it uses
for //hut// in the preceding rule. All explanations for this rule
may be inferred from those above, the only difference being that, as
the dwelling here has a sponsor, no begging is involved in its
construction, and so there is no need to limit its size.
If a sponsor is building a dwelling for a bhikkhu, and the bhikkhu
is not involved in any way in building it or getting it built, this
rule does not apply.
Summary: 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.
* * *
8.Should any bhikkhu, malicious, angered, displeased, charge
a (fellow) bhikkhu with an unfounded case involving defeat,
(thinking), "Surely with this I may bring about his fall
from the celibate life," then regardless of whether or not
he is cross-examined on a later occasion, if the issue is
unfounded and the bhikkhu confesses his anger, it entails
initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
"Now at that time a householder who served fine food gave
food to the Community on a regular basis, four bhikkhus
every day. (One day) he happened to go on some business to
the monastery. He went to where Ven. Dabba Mallaputta was
staying and on arrival bowed to him and sat down to one
side....Ven. Dabba Mallaputta roused... him with a Dhamma
talk. Then the householder with fine food...said to Dabba
Mallaputta, 'To whom, sir, is tomorrow's meal in our house
"'To (the) followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka,
householder.' [Mettiya and Bhummajaka were among the leaders
of the group-of-six, a faction notorious for its shameless
behavior, and instigators of many of the situations that
compelled the Buddha to formulate training rules.]
"This upset the householder with fine food. Thinking, 'How
can these evil bhikkhus eat in our house?' he returned home
and ordered his female slave: 'Hey. Those who are coming for
a meal tomorrow: Prepare a seat for them in the storeroom
and serve them unhusked rice porridge with pickle brine.'
"'As you say, master,' the female slave answered....
"Then the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka said to one
another, 'Yesterday we were assigned a meal at the house of
the householder with fine food. Tomorrow, attending with his
wife and children, he will serve us. Some will offer rice,
some will offer curry, some oil, and some dainties.' Because
of their joy, they didn't sleep as much that night as they
"Early the next morning...they went to the home of the
householder with fine food. The female slave saw them coming
from afar. Preparing them a seat in the storeroom, she said
to them, 'Have a seat, honored sirs.'
"The thought occurred to the followers of Mettiya and
Bhummajaka, 'No doubt the food isn't ready yet, which is why
we are being made to sit in the storeroom.'
"Then the female slave brought them unhusked rice porridge
with pickle brine and said, 'Eat, honored sirs.'
"'Sister, we've come for the regular meal.'
"'I know you've come for the regular meal. But yesterday the
householder ordered me, "Hey. Those who are coming for a
meal tomorrow: Prepare a seat for them in the storeroom and
serve them unhusked rice porridge with pickle brine." So
eat, honored sirs.'
"Then the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka said to one
another, 'Yesterday the householder with fine food went to
the monastery and met with Dabba Mallaputta. No doubt Dabba
Mallaputta turned him against us.' Because of their
disappointment, they didn't eat as much as they had hoped.
"Then they returned to the monastery and, putting away their
robes and bowls, went to the storeroom outside the gate and
sat on their outer cloaks, their arms around their knees,
silent, abashed, their shoulders drooping, their heads down,
brooding, at a loss for words.
"Then Mettiya Bhikkhuni came along and said to them, 'I
salute you, masters.' But when she had said this, they
didn't respond. A second time...A third time she said, 'I
salute you, masters.' And a third time they didn't respond.
"'Have I offended you, masters? Why don't you respond to
"'Because you stand by doing nothing, sister, when Dabba
Mallaputta treats us like dirt.'
"'What can I do?'
"'If you like, you could get the Blessed One to expel Dabba
Mallaputta right this very day.'
"'What can I do? How could I do that?'
"'Come, sister. Go to where the Blessed One is and say this:
"It is unfitting, Lord, and improper. The quarter without
dread, without harm, without danger, is (now) the quarter
with dread, with harm, with danger. Where there is calm,
there is a windstorm. The water, as it were, is ablaze. I
have been raped by Master Dabba Mallaputta."'
"'As you say, masters.' (And she went to carry out their
This is just the heart of the origin story to this rule, which is
one of the longest and most controversial accounts in the Vinaya.
After Mettiya Bhikkhuni made her charge, the Buddha convened a
meeting of the Sangha to question Ven. Dabba Mallaputta. The latter,
who had attained arahantship at the age of seven, responded
truthfully that he could not call to mind ever having indulged in
sexual intercourse even in a dream, much less when awake. The Buddha
then told the Sangha to expel Mettiya Bhikkhuni and returned to his
According to the Commentary, the expulsion of Mettiya Bhikkhuni
was one of the controversial points in the split between the
Mahayanist bhikkhus in the Abhayagiri Vihara and the Theravadin
bhikkhus of the Mahavihara in the old Sri Lankan capital of
Anuradhapura. Even modern scholars have objected to the Buddha's
treatment of Mettiya Bhikkhuni and interpret this passage as a
"monkish gloss," as if the Buddha himself were not a monk, and the
entire Canon were not the work of monks and nuns. The Commentary
maintains that the Buddha acted as he did because he knew if he
treated her less harshly, the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka
would never have volunteered the information that they had put her
up to making the charge in the first place, and the truth would
never have come out. This would have led some people to remain
secretly convinced of Ven. Dabba Mallaputta's guilt and -- because
he was an arahant -- would have been for their long-term detriment.
At any rate, what concerns us here is that at some point after
this rule was formulated, the Buddha put the Sangha in charge of
judging accusations of this sort and gave them a definite pattern to
follow in order to ensure that their judgments would be accurate and
fair. Because the Vibhanga and Commentary to this rule are based on
this pattern, we will discuss the pattern first before dealing with
the special case -- unfounded charges -- covered by this rule.
Admonition. As the Buddha states in Sanghadisesa 12, one of the
ways bhikkhus may hope for growth in his teachings is through mutual
admonition and mutual rehabilitation. If a bhikkhu commits an
offense, the responsibility is his to inform his fellow bhikkhus so
that they may help him through whatever procedures the offense may
entail. Now of course, human nature being what it is, there are
bound to be bhikkhus who neglect this responsibility, in which case
the responsibility falls to the offender's fellow bhikkhus who know
of the matter to admonish him in private, if possible, or -- if he
is stubborn -- to make a formal charge in a meeting of the
The pattern here is this: Before speaking to the bhikkhu, one must
first make sure that one is qualified to admonish him. According to
Cv.IX.1-2, this means one knows:
1) One is pure in bodily conduct.
2) One is pure in verbal conduct.
3) One is motivated by kindness, not vengeance.
4) One is learned in the Dhamma.
5) One knows both Patimokkhas (the one for the bhikkhus and the
one for the bhikkhunis) in detail.
Furthermore, one determines that:
1) I will speak at the right time and not at the wrong time.
2) I will speak the truth and not untruths.
3) I will speak gently and not harshly.
4) I will speak what is connected with the goal and not what is
unconnected with the goal.
5) I will speak out of kindness and not out of inner anger.
The Parivara (XV.5.3) adds that one should keep five qualities in
mind: compassion, solicitude for the other's welfare, sympathy,
desire to see him rehabilitated, and a desire to keep the Vinaya
If one feels that one is unqualified, yet believes that another
bhikkhu has committed an offense for which he has not made amends,
one should find another bhikkhu who is qualified to handle the
charge and inform him. Not to inform anyone in cases like this -- if
the case involves a parajika or sanghadisesa offense -- is to
violate Pacittiya 64, except in the extenuating circumstances
discussed under that rule.
The next step, if one is qualified to make the charge, is to look
for a proper time and place to talk with the other party -- e.g.,
when he is not likely to get embarrassed or upset -- and then to ask
his leave, i.e., to ask permission to speak with him: "Let the Ven.
One give me leave. I want to speak with you." To accuse him of an
offense without asking leave is to incur a dukkata (Mv.II.16.1).
As for the other party, the Buddha recommends that he should give
leave only after assessing the person asking for leave, for it is
possible that someone might ask for leave without any real grounds,
simply to be abusive. (A bhikkhu who asks for leave with no grounds
-- i.e., he has not seen the other party commit the offense, has
heard no reliable report to that effect, and has no reason to
suspect anything to that effect -- incurs a dukkata (Mv.II.16.3).)
The Parivara (XV.4.7) suggests that one should not give leave to a
1) is unconscientious,
2) is ignorant,
3) is not a bhikkhu in regular standing,
4) speaks intent on creating a disturbance, or
5) is not intent on rehabilitating the bhikkhu he is accusing.
In another passage (XV.5.4), it suggests further that one should
not give leave to a bhikkhu who:
1) is not pure in bodily conduct,
2) is not pure in verbal conduct,
3) is not pure in his livelihood,
4) is foolish, childish, and unintelligent, or
5) is unable to give a consistent line of reasoning when
If the bhikkhu, is not unqualified in any of these ways, though,
one should willingly give him leave to speak. The Cullavagga
(IX.5.7) says that, when being admonished or accused, one should
keep two qualities in mind: truth, and lack of anger. The Patimokkha
also contains a number of rules imposing penalties on behaving
improperly when one is being admonished formally or informally:
Sanghadisesa 12 for being difficult to admonish in general,
Pacittiya 12 for being evasive or refusing to answer when being
formally questioned, Pacittiya 54 for being disrespectful to one's
accuser or to the rule one is being accused of breaking, and
Pacittiya 71 for finding excuses for not listening to a particular
If both sides act in good faith and without prejudice, accusations
of this sort are easy to settle on an informal basis. If they can't
be settled informally, they should be taken to a meeting of the
Community so that the group as a whole may pass judgment. The
procedures for this sort of formal meeting will be discussed under
the Aniyata and Adhikarana-Samatha rules, below.
Abuse of the system. As the origin story to this rule shows, it
can easily be the case that a bhikkhu making a charge against
another bhikkhu is acting out of a grudge and has simply made up the
charge. This rule and the following one cover cases where the
made-up charge is that the other bhikkhu has committed a parajika.
Pacittiya 76 covers cases where the made-up charge is that the other
bhikkhu has broken a less serious rule.
The full offense under this rule involves four factors:
1) //Object//: The other bhikkhu is regarded as ordained.
2) //Perception//: One perceives him to be innocent of the offense
one is charging him with.
3) //Intention//: One wants to see him expelled from the Sangha.
4) //Effort//: One makes an unfounded charge in his presence that
he is guilty of a parajika offense.
Object. The definition of this factor -- the other bhikkhu is
regarded as ordained -- may sound strange, but it comes from the
K/Commentary and is phrased that way with a reason: In normal cases
the object of this rule will be an innocent bhikkhu, but there may
be cases where a bhikkhu has actually committed a parajika offense
that no one knows about; yet instead of disrobing, he acts as if he
were still a bhikkhu, and everyone else assumes that he still is.
Yet even a "bhikkhu" of this sort would fulfill this factor as far
as this rule is concerned.
For example, Bhikkhu X steals some of the monastery funds, but no
one knows about it, and he continues to act as if he were a bhikkhu.
Bhikkhu Y later develops a grudge against him and makes an unfounded
charge that he has had sexual intercourse with one of the monastery
supporters. Even though X is not really a bhikkhu, the fact that
people in general assume him to be one means that he fulfills this
Perception. If one perceives the bhikkhu one is charging with a
parajika offense to be innocent of the offense, that is enough to
fulfill this factor regardless of whether the accused is actually
innocent or not. To make an accusation based on the assumption or
suspicion that the accused is //not// innocent entails no offense.
Intention. If, in making an unfounded charge of a parajika offense
against another bhikkhu, one's purpose is to see him expelled from
the Sangha, that fulfills this factor. If one's purpose is simply to
insult him, one's actions would come under Pacittiya 2. If one's
purpose is both to see him expelled and to insult him, one incurs
both a sanghadisesa and a pacittiya. If one has a strange sense of
humor and is making the charge as some sort of joke, the penalty is
either a pacittiya under Pacittiya 1 or a dubbhasita under Pacittiya
2: The texts are not clear on this point, but in either case this
sort of thing is no joking matter.
According to the Vibhanga, "confessing one's anger" can simply
mean admitting that one made the charge idly. Thus the amount of
malice motivating one's desire to see the other bhikkhu expelled can
be minimal indeed: If one wants to see him expelled just for the fun
of it, that would fulfill the factor of intention here.
Effort. The act covered by this rule is that of making an
unfounded charge of a parajika in the accused's presence. Whether
one makes the charge oneself or gets someone else to make it, the
penalty is the same. If that "someone else" is a bhikkhu and knows
the charge is unfounded, he too incurs the full penalty.
The Vibhanga defines an unfounded charge as one having no basis in
what has been seen, heard, or suspected. In other words, the accuser
has not seen the accused committing the offense in question, nor has
he heard anything reliable to that effect, nor is there anything in
the accused's behavior to give rise to any honest suspicion.
"Seeing" and "hearing," according to the Commentary, also include
the powers of clairvoyance and clairaudience one may have developed
through meditation. Thus if one charges X with having committed a
parajika offense on the basis of what one has seen clairvoyantly,
this would not be an unfounded charge, although one should be
careful to make clear from the very beginning what kind of seeing
the charge is based on.
If there is some basis in fact, but one changes the status of the
evidence, the penalty is the same. Changing the status means, e.g.,
saying that one saw something when in actuality one simply heard
about it or suspected it, or that one saw it clearly when in
actuality one saw it indistinctly.
An example from the Commentary: Bhikkhu X goes into a grove to
relieve himself. Ms. Y goes into the same grove to get something
there. One sees them leaving the grove at approximately the same
time -- which could count as grounds for suspicion -- but one then
accuses Bhikkhu X, saying that one actually saw him having sex with
Ms. Y. This would count as an unfounded charge. Another example: In
the dark of the night, one sees a man stealing something from the
monastery storehouse. He looks vaguely like Bhikkhu Z, but one can't
be sure. Still, one firms up one's accusation by saying that one
definitely saw Z steal the item. Again, this would count as an
The Commentary states that for an unfounded charge to count under
this rule, it must state explicitly (a) the precise act the accused
supposedly committed (e.g., having sexual intercourse, getting a
woman to have an abortion) or (b) that the accused is guilty of a
parajika, or (c) that the accused is no longer a true bhikkhu. If
one simply says or does something that might imply that the accused
is no longer a bhikkhu -- e.g., refusing to show him respect in line
with his seniority -- that does not yet count as a charge.
The Commentary adds that charging a bhikkhu with having committed
a virtual parajika, as discussed in the conclusion to the preceding
chapter, would fulfill this factor as well. For instance, if one
makes an unfounded charge accusing Bhikkhu A of having killed his
father before his ordination, that would constitute a full offense
All of the charges given as examples in the Vibhanga are expressed
directly to the accused -- "I saw you have sexual intercourse," "I
heard you lay false claims to a superior human state" -- and the
Commentary concludes from this that the full offense occurs only
when one makes the charge in the accused's presence, in line with
the pattern for admonition discussed above. To make an unfounded
charge behind the accused's back, it states, incurs a dukkata.
Some people have objected to this point, saying that this gives a
very light penalty for backhanded character assassination, but there
is nothing in the Vibhanga to indicate that the Commentary is wrong
here. Remember that the correct procedures for making an accusation
require that an earnest charge be made in the presence of the
accused. If a bhikkhu spreads gossip about another bhikkhu, accusing
him of having committed a parajika, he should be asked whether he
has taken up the matter with the accused. If he hasn't, he should be
told to speak to the accused before he speaks to anyone else. If he
says that he doesn't feel qualified or that he fears the accused
will retaliate, he should be told to take the matter up with the
bhikkhus who will be responsible for calling a meeting of the
Community. If he refuses to do that, he shouldn't be listened to.
For some reason, the Commentary maintains that a charge made in
writing does not count, although a charge made by gesture -- e.g.,
pointing at the accused when one is asked who committed the parajika
-- does. Perhaps in those days written charges were regarded as too
cowardly to take seriously.
The rule seems to require that the accused confess that he was
acting out of anger, although the Vibhanga states that this means
simply that he admits the charge was a lie. The Commentary states
further that here the rule is showing the point where the rest of
the Community knows that the bhikkhu making the charge is guilty of
a sanghadisesa: He actually committed the offense when he made the
The Commentary adds "result" as a further factor to the offense
under this rule, saying that the accused must understand the charge
in a reasonable amount of time -- but nothing in the Vibhanga
supports this added factor.
Whether or not anyone actually believes the charge is not a factor
Non-offenses. If one understands the accused to be guilty of a
parajika and accuses him accurately on the basis of what one has
seen, heard, or suspected, then -- regardless of whether he is
guilty or not -- one has not committed an offense. Even in a case
such as this, though, one incurs a dukkata if one makes the charge
without asking leave of the accused, and a pacittiya if one makes
the charge so as to insult him.
Summary: Making an unfounded charge to a bhikkhu that he has
committed a parajika offense, in hopes of having him
disrobed, is a sanghadisesa offense.
* * *
9.Should any bhikkhu, malicious, angered, displeased, using
as a mere ploy an aspect of an issue that pertains
otherwise, charge a bhikkhu with a case involving defeat,
(thinking), "Surely with this I may bring about his fall
from the celibate life," then regardless of whether or not
he is cross-examined on a later occasion, if the issue
pertains otherwise, an aspect used as a mere ploy, and the
bhikkhu confesses his anger, it entails initial and
subsequent meetings of the Community.
"At that time the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka,
descending from Vulture Peak Mountain, saw a billy-goat
copulating with a nanny-goat. Seeing them, they said, 'Look
here, friends, let's name this billy-goat Dabba Mallaputta,
and this nanny-goat Mettiya Bhikkhuni. Then we'll phrase it
like this: "Before, my friends, we accused Dabba Mallaputta
on the basis of what we had heard, but now we have seen him
with our very own eyes fornicating with Mettiya
Some grudges die hard. This rule is almost identical with the
preceding one and involves the same factors except for one of the
sub-factors under "Effort": "Unfounded charge" here becomes "a
charge based on an issue that pertains otherwise." The phrase sounds
strange, but the origin story gives a perfect example of what it
The precise difference between the two rules is this: With an
unfounded charge, one has neither seen, heard, nor suspected that an
offense has been committed; or if one has, one changes the status of
the evidence -- e.g., one states something one has suspected as if
one has heard it, or something one has heard as if one has seen it.
In a charge based on an issue that pertains otherwise, one has seen
an offense being committed and one does not change the status of the
evidence, but one distorts the facts of the case.
To summarize the Vibhanga, there are two basic ways in which this
can be done:
1) X, who may or may not be a bhikkhu, has something in common
with Bhikkhu Y -- they are both tall, short, dark, fair, have the
same name, or whatever. One sees X committing an action that
would amount to an offense and then, on the basis of the
similarity between the two, claims that one has seen Bhikkhu Y
committing a parajika. For instance, X and Y are both very tall.
Late at night one sees X -- knowing that it is X -- stealing
tools from the monastery storeroom. One has a grudge against Y
and so accuses him of being the thief, saying, "I saw this big
tall guy stealing the tools, and he looked just like you. It must
have been you."
2) One sees Bhikkhu Y actually committing an offense. Although one
perceives that it is a lesser offense, one magnifies the charge
to a parajika. For instance, one sees him get into an argument
with Bhikkhu Z and in a fit of anger give Z a blow to the head. Z
goes unconscious, falls to the floor and suffers a severe
concussion resulting in death. Since Y's intention was simply to
hurt him, not to kill him, he incurs only a pacittiya. If one
realizes the nature of Y's intention and the fact that the
penalty is a pacittiya, and yet accuses him of having committed a
parajika, one would incur a sanghadisesa under this rule.
If one sees Y committing an action that one knows does not violate
the rules, but that bears some resemblance to an offense, and then
accuses him of having committed a parajika, it would not fit under
this category. For instance, Y is teaching Vinaya to some new
bhikkhus and quotes a few of the statements that would count as
claims of superior human states. One overhears him and, although
realizing the context, later accuses him of having violated Parajika
4. Since one knows that Y committed no offense, this would count as
an unfounded charge and so would come under the preceding rule.
The other explanations here are exactly the same as those for the
preceding rule, except that in the no-offense clauses the Vibhanga
states that if one makes a charge against the accused based on what
one actually perceives, there is no offense even if the issue turns
out to pertain otherwise. For instance, from the examples already
given: One sees X stealing tools in the dark and, because of his
resemblance to Y, actually thinks Y is the thief. One sees Y give a
fatal blow to Z and actually thinks that Y's intention was to kill
Z. In either of these cases, if one then accuses Y of a parajika
offense, one incurs no penalty regardless of how the case comes out,
although -- as in the preceding rule -- one should be careful to ask
Y's leave before making the charge and to have no intention of
Summary: Distorting the evidence while accusing a bhikkhu of
having committed a parajika offense, in hopes of having him
disrobed, is a sanghadisesa offense.
* * *
10.Should any bhikkhu agitate for a schism in a Community in
concord, or should he persist in taking up an issue
conducive to schism, the bhikkhus should admonish him thus:
"Do not, Ven. sir, agitate for a schism in a Community in
concord or persist in taking up an issue conducive to
schism. Let the venerable one be reconciled with the
Community, for a Community in concord, on complimentary
terms, free from dispute, having a common recitation, dwells
And should that bhikkhu, admonished thus by the bhikkhus,
persist as before, the bhikkhus are to rebuke him up to
three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to
three times he desists, that is good. If he does not desist,
it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
This rule dates from Devadatta's attempt to create a schism in the
Sangha during the Buddha's life and is designed to help prevent such
an attempt from ever happening again.
Disputes. Schisms arise from disputes over what the Buddha did and
did not teach or, in the words of the Cullavagga, "when bhikkhus
'It is Dhamma,' or 'It is not Dhamma;'
'It is Vinaya,' or 'It is not Vinaya;'
'It was spoken by the Tathagata,' or 'It was not spoken by the
'It was regularly practiced by the Tathagata,' or 'It was not
regularly practiced by the Tathagata;'
'It was formulated by the Tathagata,' or 'It was not formulated by
'It is an offense,' or 'It is not an offense;'
'It is a light offense,' or 'It is a heavy offense;'
'It is a curable offense,' or 'It is an incurable offense;'
'It is a serious offense,' or 'It is not a serious offense.'
Whatever strife, quarreling, contention, dispute, differing
opinions, opposing opinions, heated words, abusiveness based on
this, is an issue arising from disputes." (Cv.IV.14.2)
Thus not all disagreements on these matters are classed as issues.
Friendly disagreements or differences of interpretation aren't;
heated and abusive disagreements are.
The Buddha advises that a bhikkhu who wants to bring up such
questions for discussion should first consider five points: 1)
whether it is the right time for such a discussion; 2) whether it
concerns something true; 3) whether it is connected with the goal;
4) whether he will be able to get on his side bhikkhus who value the
Dhamma and Vinaya; and 5) whether the question will give rise to
strife, quarreling, disputes, cracks, and splits in the Community.
If the answer to the first four questions is yes, and to the fifth
question no (i.e., it is the right time for the discussion, it
concerns something true, it is connected with the goal, bhikkhus who
value the Dhamma and Vinaya will be willing to join his side, and
the discussion is not likely to lead to strife), he may go ahead and
start the discussion. Otherwise, he should let the matter rest for
the time being (Cv.IX.4).
The Cullavagga quotes the Buddha as saying that two sorts of
mental states -- skillful and unskillful -- can turn disputes into
issues. The unskillful states he lists are covetous, corrupt, or
confused states of mind; the skillful ones are states of mind that
are not covetous, corrupt, or confused. He adds, however, that six
character traits can lead to issues arising from disputes that will
tend toward the detriment of many people. They are when a bhikkhu --
is easily angered and bears ill will,
is mean and spiteful,
is jealous and possessive,
is scheming and deceitful,
has evil desires and wrong views,
is attached to his own views, obstinate, unable to let them go.
Such a bhikkhu, he says, lives without deference or respect for
the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Sangha, and does not complete the
training. If one should see any of these traits within oneself or
others, one should strive for their abandonment. If there are no
such traits present, one should make sure that they don't arise in
the future (Cv.IV.14.3).
Not all disputes, even when prolonged, will lead to schism. An
example is the dispute that led to the Second Council. Even though
it was bitterly fought, there was never a point when either faction
thought of splitting off and conducting communal business
separately. In fact, even after the early Buddhists had formed into
18 separate schools, and the Mahayana movement added //its// schools
of interpretation, Chinese visitors to India reported that bhikkhus
belonging to the different schools of thought could be found living
together harmoniously in the same monastery, performing communal
business together in peace. (Many scholars have misunderstood this
point, thinking that the various schools were schismatic, but in
fact they weren't.)
Thus there are two sets of procedures to follow when a dispute
becomes an issue: For a dispute in which none of the partisans is
aiming at a schism, there are the procedures listed in
Cv.IV.14.16-26. For one that is heading towards a schism (and
//only// for one in which at least one side is aiming at schism, the
Commentary implies and the Sub-commentary states explicitly), we
have this rule and the following one.
Schism. The Cullavagga (VII.5.1), states that schism occurs when
the leader of a schism puts the matter to a vote in a Community of
at least nine bhikkhus with at least four on either side of the
split. It further adds that all the bhikkhus involved must be
bhikkhus of regular standing in communion with the group as a whole
(i.e., they haven't been suspended from the Community), living in
the same boundary.
If one or the other of these qualifications is lacking -- the
issue goes to a vote in a Community of less than nine bhikkhus, one
side or the other gets less than four adherents, or the bhikkhus
involved are not on regular standing or do not belong to the same
boundary -- the efforts at schism count as a crack (//raji//) in the
Community, but not as a full split (//bheda//).
However, the Parivara (XV.10.9), drawing on material in A.X.35 &
37, lists five ways in which a schism can take place: discussion,
announcement, vote, act, and recitation. The Commentary, trying to
reconcile the Cullavagga and Parivara on this point, interprets the
five ways as four steps in a single process (the last two ways
counting as alternative forms of a single step):
1) //Discussion//. A bhikkhu aiming at schism begins a dispute
over the Buddha's teachings, explaining Dhamma as not-Dhamma;
not-Dhamma as Dhamma; Vinaya as not-Vinaya; not-Vinaya as Vinaya;
what was not spoken by the Buddha as having been spoken by him;
what was spoken by the Buddha as not; what was not regularly
practiced by him as having been regularly practiced by him; what
was regularly practiced by him as not; what was not formulated by
him as having been formulated by him; what was formulated by him
as not; an offense as a non-offense; a non-offense as an offense;
a heavy offense as a light offense; a light offense as heavy; a
curable offense as incurable; an incurable offense as curable; a
serious offense as not serious; or a not-serious offense as
2) //Announcement//. He announces that he is splitting off from
the Community and asks other bhikkhus to take sides.
3) //Vote//. The issue goes to a vote in a Community of at least
nine bhikkhus, with at least four on either side.
4) //Act or recitation//. The bhikkhus who side with the
schismatic split from the others and recite the Patimokkha or
perform other communal business separately.
According to the Commentary, the actual schism has not taken place
until step 4, when the schismatic group conducts communal business
or recites the Patimokkha separately. This is in accordance with
A.X.35 but seems to conflict with the Cullavagga, so the Commentary
explains that if the vote is taken in a split-off meeting of the
Community, steps 3 and 4 happen simultaneously, and the schism has
been accomplished. Otherwise, if the vote is taken outside of the
boundary, the schism is not finalized until the split-off faction
conducts communal business separately within the same boundary as
the Community (Pv.VI.2 & XV.10.10).
We can notice from the way the Vibhanga and Commentary analyze the
steps leading up to schism, that if a group of bhikkhus is living in
a Community that does not adhere to the Buddha's teachings and they
wish to leave the group so that they may more easily follow those
teachings, they do not count as schismatics. However, they should be
careful first to make sure that their views //are// genuinely in
line with the Buddha's teachings and then conduct their departure in
as amenable and unprovocative a manner as possible. In other words,
instead of announcing a split, they should simply say that they want
to go to a more congenial place to practice.
Schism is serious business -- one of the five most heinous crimes
a person can commit. The other four are killing one's mother,
killing one's father, killing an arahant, and maliciously causing a
Buddha to shed blood. A bhikkhu who creates a schism is expelled and
can never be readmitted into the Community during this lifetime
(Mv.I.67). If he knows that his schism is against the Dhamma, then
after death he will go immediately to Hell and be boiled there for
an aeon. The same fate awaits those who join his schismatic group
knowing that what he teaches is not the true Dhamma or Vinaya.
Those, however, who follow him not knowing that his teaching is not
the true Dhamma or Vinaya will not necessarily suffer that fate. If
they realize their mistake and ask to be allowed back into the
Community, they need only confess a thullaccaya and they are members
of the Community in full standing as before (Cv.VII.4.4;
Preventing a schism. The Vibhanga states that if a bhikkhu sees or
hears of an attempt at a schism, it is his duty to reprimand the
instigator three times, for the instigator, if he goes
unreprimanded, may continue with his efforts as he likes without
incurring a penalty. A bhikkhu who neglects this duty incurs a
dukkata. The Commentary adds that this dukkata applies to every
bhikkhu within a half-yojana (five-mile) radius who learns of the
attempt at a schism; any bhikkhu outside that radius, even though he
may not be subject to the penalty, should still regard it as his
duty, if he is able, to go reprimand the instigator as well.
(According to the Sub-commentary, any bhikkhu within the five-mile
radius who is ill or otherwise unable to go reprimand the instigator
is not subject to this penalty.) If the attempt takes place during
the Rains Retreat, other bhikkhus are allowed to cut short their
stay at other monasteries to help end the attempt (Mv.III.6-9).
If, after being reprimanded three times, the instigator abandons
his efforts, he incurs no penalty and nothing further need be done.
If he is still recalcitrant, though, he incurs a dukkata; and the
next step is to take him into the midst of a formal meeting of the
Community (by force, if necessary, says the Commentary) and admonish
him formally three more times. If he abandons his efforts before the
end of the third admonition, well and good. If not, he incurs
another dukkata. The next step is to recite a formal rebuke, by
mandate of the Community, using the formula of one motion and three
announcements given in the Vibhanga. If the instigator remains
obstinate, he incurs an additional dukkata at the end of the motion,
a thullaccaya at the end of each of the first two announcements, and
the full sanghadisesa at the end of the third. Once he commits the
full offense, the penalties he incurred in the preliminary stages
Perception. The Vibhanga states that if the acts of admonition and
rebuke are carried out properly -- i.e. the bhikkhu really is
misstating the Buddha's teachings, is really aiming at a schism, and
the various other formal requirements for a formal act are fulfilled
-- then if he does not abandon his intention to agitate for a
schism, he incurs the full sanghadisesa regardless of whether he
perceives the act to be proper, improper, or doubtful. If the act is
improperly carried out, then regardless of how he perceives its
validity, he incurs a dukkata for not abandoning his intention (%).
The fact that the bhikkhu is not free from an offense in the
latter case is important: There are several other, similar points in
the Vinaya -- such as the Buddha's advice to the Dhamma-expert in
the controversy at Kosambi (Mv.X.1.8) -- where for the sake of the
harmony of the Community in cases that threaten to be divisive, the
Buddha advises bhikkhus to abandon controversial behavior and to
yield to the mandate of the Community even if it seems unjust.
Non-offenses. The no-offense clauses, in addition to the usual
exemptions, state simply that there is no offense if the bhikkhu is
not reprimanded or if he gives up his attempt at a schism.
Further steps. If the bhikkhu is truly stubborn, it is possible
that he may continue in his efforts at a schism even after this
sanghadisesa is imposed on him. However, the fact that the Community
met to deal with his case should be enough to alert well-meaning
bhikkhus that the schismatic is following a wrong course of action,
and this should help unite the Community against his efforts. If
they deem it necessary -- to keep the laity from being taken in by
his arguments -- they may authorize one or more of their members to
inform the lay community that the schismatic has committed this
offense (see Pacittiya 9) and explain why. If the schismatic refuses
to undergo the penalty or remains divisive, they may suspend him
from the entire Sangha. If, unrepentant, he leaves to go elsewhere,
they may send word to whatever Community he tries to join.
All of this shows one of the reasons why schism is regarded so
seriously: As the Buddha states in the Discourse on Future Dangers
(A.V.78), it is difficult to find time to practice when the
Community is embroiled in controversy this way.
Summary: 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.
* * *
11.Should bhikkhus -- one, two, or three -- who are
followers and partisans of that bhikkhu, say, "Do not, Ven.
sirs, admonish that bhikkhu in any way. He is an exponent of
the Dhamma, an exponent of the Vinaya. He acts with our
consent and approval. He knows, he speaks for us, and that
is pleasing to us," other bhikkhus are to admonish them
thus: "Do not say that, Ven. sirs. That bhikkhu is not an
exponent of the Dhamma and he is not an exponent of the
Vinaya. Do not, Ven. sirs, approve of a schism in the
Community. Let the venerable ones' (minds) be reconciled
with the Community, for a Community in concord, on
complimentary terms, without dispute, with a common
recitation, dwells in peace."
And should those bhikkhus, thus admonished, persist as
before, the bhikkhus are to rebuke them up to three times so
as to desist. If while being rebuked up to three times by
the bhikkhus they desist, that is good. If they do not
desist, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the
If the schismatic mentioned in the preceding rule begins to attract
adherents, they are to be treated under this rule -- and quickly,
before the schismatic gains a fourth adherent. The reasons are
1) One Community cannot impose a penalty on another Community
(four or more bhikkhus) in any one formal act. (Mv.IX.2)
2) Penalties of this sort may be imposed only with the unanimous
agreement of all the bhikkhus present in the meeting. If there is
a fourth adherent present in the meeting, he can prevent the
rebuke from being completed.
3) As the Sub-commentary points out, once a potential schismatic
has gained four adherents, he has enough of a following to go
through with his split.
The procedures for dealing with these partisans -- reprimanding
them in private, admonishing and rebuking them in the midst of the
Community -- are the same as in the preceding rule.
Summary: 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.
* * *
12.In case a bhikkhu is by nature difficult to admonish --
who, when being legitimately admonished by the bhikkhus with
reference to the training rules included in the (Patimokkha)
recitation, makes himself unadmonishable (saying), "Do not,
venerable ones, say anything to me, good or bad; and I will
not say anything to the venerable ones, good or bad.
Refrain, venerable ones, from admonishing me" -- the
bhikkhus should admonish him thus: "Let the venerable one
not make himself unadmonishable. Let the venerable one make
himself admonishable. Let the venerable one admonish the
bhikkhus in accordance with what is right, and the bhikkhus
will admonish the venerable one in accordance with what is
right; for it is thus that the Blessed One's following is
nurtured: through mutual admonition, through mutual
And should that bhikkhu, thus admonished by the bhikkhus,
persist as before, the bhikkhus are to be rebuke him up to
three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to
three times he desists, that is good. If he does not desist,
it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
If a bhikkhu breaks any of the rules of the Vinaya without
undergoing the penalties they entail, or if he breaks them
habitually even when undergoing the penalties, the other bhikkhus
have the duty to admonish him, as explained under Sanghadisesa 8. If
he shows disrespect while being admonished or refuses to mend his
ways, he incurs a further penalty under Pacittiya 54. If his lack of
respect while being admonished becomes habitual, he is to be treated
under this rule.
The Commentary defines //difficult to admonish// as "impossible to
speak to," and then further clarifies by saying that a bhikkhu
difficult to admonish is one who cannot stand being criticized or
who does not mend his ways after his faults are pointed out to him.
It quotes from the Anumana Sutta (M.15) a list of traits, any one of
which makes a bhikkhu difficult to admonish: He has evil desires;
exalts himself and degrades others; is easily angered; because of
this he harbors ill will, holds a grudge, utters angry words;
accused, he throws a tantrum (literally, "explodes"); accused, he is
insulting; accused, he returns the accusation; he evades back and
forth; he does not respond; he is mean and spiteful; jealous and
possessive; scheming and deceitful; stubborn and proud; attached to
his own views, obstinate, unable to let them go.
A good number of these traits are exemplified by Ven. Channa --
according to tradition, the Buddha's horseman on the night of the
great Going Forth -- in the origin story to this rule.
"Who do you think you are to admonish me? It is I who should
admonish you! The Buddha is mine, the Dhamma is mine, it was
by my young master that the Dhamma was realized. Just as a
great blowing wind would gather up grass, sticks, leaves,
and rubbish, or a mountain-born river would gather up water
weeds and scum, so you, in going forth, have been gathered
up from various names, various clans, various ancestries,
various families. Who do you think you are to admonish me?
It is I who should admonish you!"
The procedures to follow when a bhikkhu is difficult to admonish
-- reprimanding him in private, admonishing and rebuking him in a
formal meeting of the Community -- are the same as under
Sanghadisesa 10, beginning with the fact that a bhikkhu who, hearing
that Bhikkhu X is being difficult to admonish, incurs a dukkata if
he does not reprimand him. The question of perception and the
non-offenses are also the same as under that rule.
If the bhikkhu difficult to admonish carries on as before, even
after incurring the full penalty under this rule, the Community may
perform an act of banishment (//pabbajaniya-kamma//) against him for
speaking in dispraise of the Community (Cv.I.13) or -- if he admits
to performing acts that are offenses but refuses to see that they
are offenses or to undergo the penalty -- the Community may exclude
him from participating in the Patimokkha and Pavarana ceremonies
(Mv.IV.16.2; Cv.IX.2) or suspend him from the entire Sangha.
Summary: To persist in being difficult to admonish, after
the third announcement of a formal rebuke in the Community,
is a sanghadisesa offense.
* * *
13.In case a bhikkhu living in dependence on a certain
village or town is a corrupter of families, a man of
depraved conduct -- whose depraved conduct is both seen and
heard about, and the families he has corrupted are both seen
and heard about -- the bhikkhus are to admonish him thus:
"You, Ven. sir, are a corrupter of families, a man of
depraved conduct. Your depraved conduct is both seen and
heard about; the families you have corrupted are both seen
and heard about. Leave this monastery, Ven. sir. Enough of
your staying here."
And should that bhikkhu, thus admonished by the bhikkhus,
say about the bhikkhus, "The bhikkhus are prejudiced by
favoritism, prejudiced by aversion, prejudiced by delusion,
prejudiced by fear, in that for this sort of offense they
banish some and do not banish others," the bhikkhus are to
admonish him thus: "Do not say that, Ven. sir. The bhikkhus
are not prejudiced by favoritism, are not prejudiced by
aversion, are not prejudiced by delusion, are not prejudiced
by fear. You, Ven. sir, are a corrupter of families, a man
of depraved conduct. Your depraved conduct is both seen and
heard about, and the families you have corrupted are both
seen and heard about. Leave this monastery, Ven. sir. Enough
of your staying here."
And should that bhikkhu, thus admonished by the bhikkhus,
persist as before, the bhikkhus are to rebuke him up to
three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to
three times he desists, that is good. If he does not desist,
it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
A //corrupter of families// is a bhikkhu who -- behaving in a
demeaning, frivolous, or subservient way -- succeeds in ingratiating
himself to lay people to the point where they withdraw their support
from bhikkhus who are earnest in the practice and give it to those
who are more ingratiating instead. This is illustrated in the origin
story of this rule, in which the followers of Assaji and Punabbasu
(leaders of one faction of the group of six) had thoroughly
corrupted the lay people at Kitagiri.
"Now at that time a certain bhikkhu, having finished his
rains-residence among the people of Kasi and on his way to
Savatthi to see the Blessed One, arrived at Kitagiri.
Arising early in the morning, taking his robe and bowl, he
entered Kitagiri for alms: gracious in the way he approached
and departed, looked forward and behind, drew in and
stretched out his arm; his eyes downcast, his every movement
consummate. People seeing him said, 'Who is this weakest of
weaklings, this dullest of dullards, this most snobbish of
snobs? Who would go up and give him alms? Our masters, the
followers of Assaji and Punabbasu, are compliant, genial,
pleasing in conversation. They are the first to smile,
saying, "Come, you are welcome." //They// are not snobbish.
They are approachable. They are the first to speak. It is to
them that alms should be given.'"
The Vibhanga lists the ways of corrupting a family as giving gifts
of flowers, fruit, etc., practicing medicine, and delivering
messages -- although the Commentary qualifies this by saying there
is no harm in delivering messages that have to do with religious
activities, such as inviting bhikkhus to a meal or to deliver a
sermon, or in conveying a lay person's respects to a senior bhikkhu.
//Depraved conduct// the Vibhanga defines merely as growing
flowers and making them into garlands, but this, the Commentary
says, is a shorthand reference to the long list of bad habits
mentioned in the origin story, which includes such things as
presenting garlands to women, eating from the same dish with them,
sharing a blanket with them, eating at the wrong time, drinking
intoxicants, wearing garlands, using perfumes and cosmetics,
dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, playing games,
performing stunts, learning archery, swordsmanship, and
horsemanship; boxing and wrestling. Any one of these actions taken
in isolation carries only a minor penalty -- a dukkata or a
pacittiya -- but if indulged in habitually to the point where its
bad influence becomes "seen and heard about," i.e., common
knowledge, it can become grounds for his fellow bhikkhus to banish
him from their particular Community until he mends his ways.
The Cullavagga, in a section that begins with the same origin
story as the one for this rule (Cv.I.13-16), treats the act of
banishment in full detail, saying that a Community of bhikkhus, if
it sees fit, has the authority to perform an act of banishment
against a bhikkhu with any of the following qualities:
1) He is a maker of strife, disputes, quarrels, and issues in the
2) He is ignorant, inexperienced, and has many offenses for which
he has not made amends.
3) He lives in unbecoming association with householders.
4) He is corrupt in his precepts, corrupt in his conduct, or
corrupt in his views.
5) He speaks in dispraise of the Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha.
6) He is frivolous in word, deed, or both.
7) He misbehaves in word, deed, or both.
8) He is vindictive in word, deed, or both.
9) He practices wrong modes of livelihood.
This last category includes such practices as:
a) running messages and errands for kings, ministers of state,
householders, etc. A modern example would be participating in
b) scheming, talking, hinting, belittling others for the sake of
material gain; pursuing gain with gain (giving items of small
value in hopes of receiving items of larger value in return,
making investments in hopes of profit, offering material
incentives to those who make donations). (For a full discussion
of these practices, see Ven. Nanamoli's translation of the
Visuddhi Magga, //The Path of Purification//, pp. 24-30.)
c) Practicing worldly arts, e.g., medicine, fortune telling,
astrology, exorcism, reciting charms, casting spells, performing
ceremonies to counteract the influence of the stars, determining
propitious sites, setting auspicious dates (for weddings, etc.),
interpreting oracles, auguries, or dreams, or -- in the words of
the Vibhanga to the Bhikkhunis' Pacittiya 49 & 50 -- engaging in
any art that is "external and unconnected with the goal." The
Cullavagga (V.33.2) gives a dukkata for studying and teaching
worldly arts or hedonist doctrines (//lokayata//). For extensive
lists of worldly arts, see the Brahmajala and Samannaphala Suttas
-- pp. 62-65 and pp. 35-38 in Ven. Bodhi's translations. For the
connection between lokayata and hedonism (e.g., the Kama Sutra),
see Warder, //Outline of Indian Philosophy//, pp. 38-39.
A bhikkhu banished for indulging in any of these activities is
duty-bound to undergo the 18 observances listed in Cv.I.15 and to
mend his ways so that the Community will revoke the act of
banishment. The Commentary adds that a bhikkhu banished for
corrupting families may not live in the monastery where he was
misbehaving, nor enter the city or town where he was corrupting
families, until after the banishment is revoked (this point is based
on Cv.I.16.1). Also, even after the revoking of the banishment, he
may never again accept gifts from the families he had corrupted. If
they ask him why, he may tell them. If they then explain that they
are giving the gifts not because of his former behavior but because
he has now mended his ways, he may then accept it.
If a bhikkhu, instead of mending his ways after being banished,
criticizes the act of banishment or those who performed it, he is
subject to this rule. The procedure to follow in dealing with him --
reprimanding him in private, admonishing and rebuking him in a
formal meeting of the Community -- is the same as under Sanghadisesa
10, beginning with the fact that a bhikkhu who, hearing that Bhikkhu
X is criticizing his act of banishment, incurs a dukkata if he does
not reprimand him. The question of perception and the non-offenses
are also the same as under that rule.
Summary: 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
* * *
A bhikkhu who commits an offense against any of these thirteen
sanghadisesa offenses is duty-bound to inform a fellow bhikkhu and
to ask a Community of at least four bhikkhus to impose a six-day
period of penance (//manatta//) on him. (The Canon says, literally,
a six-night period: At the time of the Buddha, the lunar calendar
was in use and, just as we using the solar calendar count the
passage of days, they counted the passage of nights; a 24-hour
period, which is a day for us, would be a night for them, as in the
Bhaddekaratta Sutta (M.131), where the Buddha explicitly says that a
person who spends a day and night in earnest practice has had an
Penance. Penance does not begin immediately, but only at the
convenience of the Community giving it. During his period of
penance, the offender is partially stripped of seniority and must
observe a number of restrictions -- 94 in all (Cv.II.5-6). The four
most important are:
1) He must not live under the same roof as a full-fledged bhikkhu.
2) He must live in a monastery with at least four full-fledged
3) He may not go anywhere outside the monastery unless accompanied
by four full-fledged bhikkhus.
4) Every day he must inform all the bhikkhus in the monastery of
the fact that he is observing penance and the precise offense for
which the penance was imposed. If visiting bhikkhus come to the
monastery, he must inform them as well; if he goes to another
monastery, he must inform all the bhikkhus there, too.
If, on any day of his penance, the bhikkhu neglects to observe any
of these four restrictions, that day does not count toward the total
of six. In addition, he incurs a dukkata each time he fails to
observe any of the 94 restrictions.
Once the bhikkhu has completed his penance, he may ask a Community
of at least 20 bhikkhus to give him rehabilitation. Once
rehabilitated, he returns to his previous state as a full-fledged
bhikkhu in good standing.
Probation. If a bhikkhu who commits a sanghadisesa offense
conceals it from his fellow bhikkhus past dawn of the day following
the offense, he must observe an additional period of probation
(//parivasa//) for the same number of days as he concealed the
offense. Only after he has completed his probation may he then ask
for the six-day period of penance.
The Commentary sets the factors of concealment at ten, which may
be arranged in five pairs as follows:
1) He has committed a sanghadisesa offense and perceives it as a
2) He has not been suspended and perceives that he has not been
suspended. (If a bhikkhu has been suspended, no other bhikkhus
will speak with him, and thus he cannot tell them until after his
suspension has been lifted.)
3) There are no obstacles (e.g., a flood, a forest fire, dangerous
animals) and he perceives that there are none.
4) He is able to inform another bhikkhu (i.e., a fellow bhikkhu
suitable to be informed lives in a place that may be reached in
that day, one is not too weak or ill to go, etc.) and he
perceives that he is able. //A bhikkhu suitable to be informed//
means a one who is --
a) in good standing (e.g., not undergoing penance or probation
b) not on unfriendly terms with the offender.
5) He (the offender) desires to conceal the offense and so
If any of these factors are lacking, there is no penalty for not
informing another bhikkhu that day. For instance, the following
cases do //not// count as concealment:
A bhikkhu is not sure whether or not the action he has done
qualifies as a sanghadisesa and so waits until he can consult
with a knowledgeable bhikkhu before informing anyone else.
A bhikkhu lives alone in a forest and commits a sanghadisesa in
the middle of the night. Afraid of the snakes or other wild
animals he might encounter in the dark, he waits until daylight
before going to inform a fellow bhikkhu.
A bhikkhu lives alone in a forest, but the only other bhikkhu
within one day's traveling time is a personal enemy who, if he is
informed, will use this as an opportunity to smear the offender's
name, so the offender travels another day or two before reaching
a friendly bhikkhu whom he informs.
Once all of the first eight factors are complete, though, one must
inform another bhikkhu before dawn of the next day or else incur a
dukkata and undergo the penalty for concealment.
A bhikkhu who commits a slighter offense that he thinks is a
sanghadisesa and then conceals it, incurs a dukkata (Cv.III.34.1).
The restrictions for a bhikkhu undergoing probation are similar to
those for one undergoing penance and are discussed in detail at
Sanghadisesas are classified as heavy offenses (//garukapatti//),
both because of the seriousness of the offenses themselves and
because the procedures of penance, probation, and rehabilitation are
burdensome by design, not only for the offender but also for the
Community of bhikkhus in which he lives -- a fact intended to act as
added deterrent to anyone who feels tempted to transgress.
* * * * * * * *