CHAPTER SEVEN Nissaggiya Pacittiya The term //nissaggiya//, used in connection with traini
The term //nissaggiya//, used in connection with training rules,
means "entailing forfeiture." Used in connection with articles, it
means "to be forfeited." //Pacittiya// is a word of uncertain
etymology. The Parivara gives a didactic derivation -- that it
means letting skillful qualities fall away (//patati//) with a
deluded mind (//citta//) -- but the term is more likely related to
the verb //pacinati// (pp. //pacita//), which means to discern,
distinguish or know.
Each of the rules in this category involves an object that a
bhikkhu has acquired or used wrongly, and that he must forfeit
before he may "make the offense known" -- confess it -- to a fellow
bhikkhu or group of bhikkhus. Once he has made his confession, he is
absolved from the offense. In most cases, the forfeiture is
symbolic -- after his confession, he receives the article in return
-- although three of the rules require that the offender give up the
article for good.
There are thirty rules in this category, divided into three
chapters (//vagga//) of ten rules each.
Part One: The Robe-cloth Chapter
1. When a bhikkhu has finished his robe-making and the frame
is destroyed (his kathina privileges are in abeyance), he is
to keep an extra robe-cloth ten days at most. Beyond that,
it is to be forfeited and confessed.
The origin story for this rule is retold with more detail in the
Mahavagga (VIII.13.4-8). Since the added details are what make it
interesting, that is the version translated here.
"(The Buddha addresses the bhikkhus:) 'As I was on the road
from Rajagaha to Vesali, I saw many bhikkhus coming along
buried in robe-cloth, with a mattress of robe-cloth on their
heads and a mattress of robe-cloth on their backs, and a
mattress of robe-cloth on their hips. Seeing them, I
thought, "All too soon have these foolish men come under the
spell of luxury in terms of robe-cloth. What if I were to
set a boundary, to lay down a restriction on robe-cloth for
"'Then traveling by stages, I came to Vesali. There I
stayed at the Gotamaka Shrine. Now at that time, during the
cold winter middle-eight nights (the four nights on either
side of the full moon in February, the coldest time of the
year in India) when snow was falling, I sat outside wearing
one robe and was not cold. Towards the end of the first
watch I became cold. I put on a second robe and was not
cold. Towards the end of the middle watch I became cold. I
put on a third robe and was not cold. Towards the end of
the final watch, as dawn arose and the night smiled, I
became cold. I put on a fourth robe and was not cold. The
thought occurred to me, "Those in this doctrine and
discipline who are sons of respectable families -- sensitive
to cold and afraid of the cold -- even they are able to get
by with three robes. Suppose I were to set a boundary, to
lay down a restriction on robes for the bhikkhus and were to
allow three robes." Bhikkhus, I allow you three robes: a
double-layer outer robe, a single-layer upper robe and a
single-layer inner robe (thus, four layers of cloth).'
"Now at that time, some group-of-six bhikkhus, thinking,
'The Blessed One allows three robes,' entered the village
wearing one set of robes, stayed in the monastery wearing
another set, and went down to bathe in still another.
Modest bhikkhus... were offended and annoyed and spread it
about, 'How can the group of six bhikkhus keep extra
robe-cloth?' They told this matter to the Blessed One.
He...addressed the bhikkhus, saying, 'Bhikkhus, an extra
robe-cloth is not to be kept.'
"Now at that time an extra robe-cloth accrued to Ven.
Ananda, and he wanted to give it to Ven. Sariputta, but Ven.
Sariputta was at Saketa. He thought, '...Now what should I
do?' He told this matter to the Blessed One, who said, 'But
how long is it, Ananda, before Sariputta will come here?'
"'Nine or ten days.'
"Then the Blessed One...addressed the bhikkhus, 'I allow an
extra robe-cloth to be kept at most ten days.'
"Now at that time an extra robe accrued to the bhikkhus.
They thought, 'Now what should we do?' They told this
matter to the Blessed One, who said, 'I allow you, bhikkhus,
to place an extra robe-cloth under dual ownership.'"
The offense under this rule involves two factors:
1) //Object//: a piece of extra robe-cloth, i.e., a piece of
cloth suitable to be made into a robe or other cloth requisite,
measuring at least four by eight inches (fingerbreadths), that has
not been formally determined for use or placed under dual ownership.
This category includes finished requisites as well as simple pieces
of cloth, but does not include robe-cloth belonging to the
2) //Effort//: One keeps it for more than ten days (except during
the allowed period) without determining it for use, placing it under
dual ownership, abandoning it (giving or throwing it away); or
without the cloth's being lost, destroyed, burnt, stolen or taken by
someone else on trust within that time.
Object. According to the Mahavagga (VIII.3.1), six kinds of cloth
are suitable for making into cloth requisites: linen, cotton, silk,
wool, hemp or canvas (any of the five preceding types mixed with
jute). By extension, nylon, rayon and other synthetic fibers would
count as suitable as well. Unsuitable materials -- such as cloth
made of hair, horse-hair, grass, bark, wood-shavings or antelope
hide (and by extension, leather) -- do not come under this rule.
(For a full list of unsuitable materials, see Mv.VIII.28.)
Mv.VIII.29 gives a list of colors -- such as black, blue and crimson
-- and patterns that are not suitable for robes but that, according
to the Commentary, are suitable for things like handkerchiefs and
bed sheets. Pieces of cloth dyed these colors or printed with these
patterns //would// come under this rule.
If a bhikkhu receives a piece of suitable cloth measuring four by
eight fingerbreadths or more but does not yet plan to use it, he may
place it under dual ownership (//vikappana//) until he has need for
it. Once he decides to make use of the cloth, he must rescind the
dual ownership (see Pacittiya 59) before making it into a finished
requisite (if it isn't already). Once it is finished, he may then
determine it for use (//adhitthana//) or place it under dual
ownership again, depending on the nature of the article:
Each of the three basic robes, handkerchiefs, bed sheets and the
sitting cloth are to be determined, and may not be placed under
//A rains-bathing cloth// (see NP 24) may be determined for the
four months of the rainy season, and is to be placed under dual
ownership for the remainder of the year.
//A skin-eruption cloth// (see Pacittiya 90) may be determined
when needed and is to be placed under dual ownership when not.
//Other items of cloth// may be determined as "accessory cloths."
(The procedures for determining and placing under dual ownership
are given in Appendices IV & V.)
Any cloth made of any of the suitable materials and of the
requisite size counts as an extra cloth if --
it has not been determined for use or put under dual ownership,
it has been improperly determined or placed under dual ownership,
its determination or dual ownership has lapsed.
Many of the cases in which determination and dual ownership lapse
also exempt the cloth from this rule: e.g., the owner disrobes or
dies, he gives the cloth away, it gets stolen, destroyed (bitten by
things such as termites, says the Commentary), burnt, lost, or
someone else takes it on trust. There are a few cases, however,
where determination and dual ownership lapse and the cloth //does//
fall under this rule. They are --
//Under dual ownership//: The first owner takes the cloth on
trust; or the second owner formally rescinds the dual ownership.
//Under determination//: The owner rescinds the determination; or
(if the cloth has been determined as one of the three basic robes)
the cloth develops a hole. This latter case comes in the
Commentary, which gives precise standards for deciding what kind of
hole does and does not make the determination of the robe lapse:
1) //Size//. The hole has to be a full break (through both
layers of cloth, if in the outer robe) at least the size of the
nail on one's little finger. If one or more threads remains
across the hole, then the hole makes the determination lapse
only if either of the two "halves" divided by the thread(s) is
the requisite size.
2) //Location//. On an upper robe or outer robe, the hole has to
be at least one span (25 cm.) from the longer side and eight
fingerbreadths from the shorter; on an under robe, at least one
span from the longer side and four fingerbreadths from the
shorter. Any hole closer to the edge of the robe than these
measurements does not make the determination lapse.
Because of these stipulations, the Commentary notes that if one is
patching a worn spot -- not a hole as defined above -- the requisite
distance away from the edge of one's robe, the determination lapses
if one cuts out the worn spot before applying the patch, but not if
one applies the patch before cutting out the worn spot. If the
determination lapses, it is an easy matter to redetermine the robe,
but one must be mindful to do it within the time span allotted by
Effort. According to the Vibhanga, if one keeps a piece of extra
robe-cloth past the eleventh dawn (except when the end-of-vassa and
kathina privileges are in effect), one commits the full offense
under this rule. The Commentary explains this by saying that the
dawn of the day on which one receives the cloth, or lets its
determination/dual ownership lapse, counts as the first dawn. Thus
the eleventh dawn would actually be the tenth dawn after one
receives, etc., the cloth. (The precise definition of dawn is a
controversial point. See Appendix I.)
Perception is not a mitigating factor here. Even if one miscounts
the days, or perceives a robe to be determined when it actually is
not, one is not immune from the offense: The robe is to be
forfeited and the offense confessed.
To use such a robe or piece of robe-cloth before one has forfeited
it and confessed the offense, entails a dukkata. This point holds
for each of the nissaggiya pacittiya rules.
End-of-vassa & kathina privileges. The fourth lunar month of the
rainy season -- beginning the day after the first full moon in
October and lasting to dawn of the day following the next full moon
-- is termed the robe season, a period traditionally given over to
robe-making. In the early days, when most bhikkhus spent the cold
and hot seasons wandering, and stayed put in one place only during
the Rains, this would have been the ideal period to prepare robes
for their wandering, and would have been the ideal time for lay
people who had come to know the bhikkhus during the Rains to show
their gratitude and respect for them by presenting them with gifts
of cloth for this purpose.
During this robe season, six of the training rules -- NP 1, 2, &
3; Pacittiyas 32, 33, & 46 -- are relaxed as a privilege for
bhikkhus who have observed the three-month rains residence
(//vassa//), to make it more convenient for them to make robes.
Also, any cloth accruing to a particular monastery during this
period may be shared only among the bhikkhus who spent the Rains
there, and not with any incoming visitors.
If the bhikkhus who have spent the Rains in a particular monastery
number five or more, they are also entitled to participate in a
//kathina// ceremony in which they receive a gift of cloth from lay
people, bestow it on one of their members, and then as a group make
it into a robe before dawn of the following day. (//Kathina// means
frame, and refers to the frame over which the robe-cloth is
stretched, much like the frame used in America to make a quilt.)
After participating in this ceremony, the bhikkhus may take
advantage of the above-mentioned privileges for an additional four
lunar months, up to the dawn after the full-moon day that ends the
cold season in late February or early-to-mid March (called Phagguna
in Pali). However, a bhikkhu's kathina privileges may be rescinded
earlier than that for either of two reasons:
1) He participates in a meeting in which all the bhikkhus in the
monastery, as a formal act of the Community, voluntarily
relinquish their kathina privileges. (This act is discussed
under Bhikkhunis' Pacittiya 30 -- see BD, vol. III, p. 302.)
2) He comes to the end both of his commitment to the monastery
(//avasa-palibodha//) and of his commitment to making a robe
(//civara-palibodha//). (See Mv.VII.1.7; Mv.VII.2 & Pv.XIV.6.)
a) Commitment to the monastery ends when either of the following
-- One leaves the monastery without intending to return before
the four lunar months are up.
-- One has left the monastery, planning to return, but learns
that the bhikkhus in the monastery have formally decided to
relinquish their kathina privileges.
b) Commitment to making a robe ends when any of the following
-- One finishes making a robe.
-- One decides not to make a robe,
-- One's robe-cloth gets lost.
-- One expects to obtain robe-cloth, but doesn't obtain it as
Only if Point 1 happens, or //both// Points 2a and 2b happen, do
one's kathina privileges lapse before the dawn after the full moon
day marking the end of the cold season.
During the period in which one's end-of-vassa privileges or
kathina privileges are in effect, one may keep an extra piece of
robe-cloth for more than ten days without committing an offense
under this rule. Once these privileges lapse, though, one must
determine the cloth, place it under dual ownership, or abandon it
within ten days. If one fails to do so by the 'eleventh dawn' after
the privileges lapse, the cloth is to be forfeited and the offense
Forfeiture & confession. To be absolved of the offense under this
rule, one must first forfeit the robe-cloth kept over ten days, and
then confess the offense. This may be done in the presence of one
other bhikkhu, a group of two or three, or a Community of four or
more. After confessing the offense, one receives the robe-cloth in
return. This is the pattern followed under all the nissaggiya
pacittiya rules, except for the few in which forfeiture and
confession must be done in the presence of a full Community, and in
which the article may not be returned to the offender. (We will
note these rules as we come to them.)
The Pali formulae to use in forfeiture, confession and return of
the article for this and all the following rules are given in
Appendix VI. We should note, though, that according to the
Commentary one may conduct these procedures in any language at all.
In this and every other rule under which the article may be
returned to the offender, it //must// be returned to him. According
to the Vibhanga, a bhikkhu who receives the article being forfeited
without returning it incurs a dukkata. The Commentary qualifies
this by saying that this penalty applies only to the bhikkhu who
assumes that, in receiving an article being forfeited in this way,
it is his to take as he likes. For the bhikkhu who knows that it is
not his to take -- and this includes every bhikkhu who has read this
passage and remembered it -- the offense is to be treated under
Parajika 2, and the penalty determined by the value of the article.
Viewed in this light, the act of accepting the forfeited article is
like accepting an object placed in trust.
A bhikkhu who has received the robe-cloth in return after
forfeiting it and confessing the offense may use it again without
penalty, unless he keeps it as a piece of extra robe-cloth for more
than an additional ten days.
Non-offenses. Aside from extra robe-cloth kept more than ten days
while one's end-of-vassa or kathina privileges are in effect, the
Vibhanga says that there is no offense if within ten days the cloth
is determined, placed under dual ownership, lost, stolen, destroyed,
burnt, taken by someone else on trust, thrown away, or given away.
In connection with this last point, the Commentary discusses
proper and improper ways of giving things away. The article counts
as having been properly given if one says, "I give this to you," or
"I give this to so-and-so" or "Take this, it's yours," but not if
one says things like, "Make this yours," or "May this be yours."
Apparently, if one simply hands the article over without saying
anything to show that one is transferring ownership, it again does
not count. As we noted above, perception is not a mitigating factor
under this rule. If one gives extra robe-cloth away in an improper
manner, then even though one may assume that the cloth has been
given away, it still counts as one's own extra robe-cloth under this
Current practice. As the origin story shows, the purpose of this
rule was to prevent bhikkhus from having more than one set of the
three robes at any one time. With the passage of time, though,
gifts of cloth to the Community became more numerous, and the need
for stringency in this matter became less and less felt. Exactly
when spare robes became accepted is not recorded, although the
passage on a student's duties to his preceptor (Mv.I.25.9) shows
that the practice of having a spare lower robe was already current
when that part of the Canon was compiled (see Appendix VIII).
Mv.VII.1 also makes mention of a group of forest dwelling monks who
were "wearers of the three robes," as if this were a special
distinguishing characteristic. The Parivara (V.5) mentions the
practice of using only one set of three robes as special, and the
Visuddhi Magga (5th century A.D.) classes this practice as one of
the thirteen optional //dhutanga// (ascetic) practices.
As we will see below, Pacittiya 92 suggests that in the early days
the under, upper, and outer robes were all nearly the same size, so
there would have been no difficulties in washing one robe and using
the other two while the first one dried. Later, when the compilers
of the ancient commentaries greatly enlarged the size of the upper
and outer robes after deciding that the Buddha was much larger than
an ordinary human being, getting by with just one set of three
robes became less convenient. Thus many teachers at present suggest
that even a frugal bhikkhu, when staying in monasteries, should use
one spare under robe or a spare under and upper robe -- so that he
will have no trouble keeping his robes clean and presenting an
acceptable appearance at all times -- and save the three-robe
dhutanga practice for periods when alone in the wilderness.
At any rate, since only one set of three robes may be determined
as such, spare robes -- once they became generally accepted -- were
determined as "accessory cloths." This point may be inferred from
the Commentary's explanation of this rule, and the Sub-commentary's
explanation of NP 7. The Commen-tary even contains a discussion of
the views of various elders as to whether or not a bhikkhu who
wishes to avoid the special rules surrounding the use of the three
robes (such as the following rule) may determine his basic set as
accessory cloths as well. The majority opinion -- with only one
dissenting voice -- was yes, although at present many Communities do
not agree with this opinion.
The Sub-commentary suggests an alternative way of dealing with
spare robes: placing them under dual ownership and -- since none of
the three robes may be placed under dual ownership -- calling them
simply "cloth" (//civara//). This, however, plays havoc with
Pacittiya 59, and the general use of the idea of dual ownership in
the Canon, as a way of keeping cloth that one is not yet using.
Still, both methods of dealing with spare robes -- determining
them as "accessory cloths" and placing them under dual ownership as
"cloths" -- are in practice at present. And since spare robes have
been accepted, the current effect of this rule is mainly to deter a
bhikkhu from hoarding up robe-cloth in secret and from letting a
hole in any of his basic set of three robes go unmended for more
than ten days. Nevertheless, the spirit of the rule makes it
incumbent on each bhikkhu to keep his cloth requisites to a minimum.
Summary: Keeping a piece of robe-cloth for more than ten
days without determining it for use or placing it under dual
ownership -- except when the end-of-vassa or kathina
privileges are in effect -- is a nissaggiya pacittiya
* * *
2.When a bhikkhu has finished his robe-making and the frame
is destroyed (his kathina privileges are in abeyance): If
he dwells apart from (any of) his three robes even for one
night -- unless authorized by the bhikkhus -- it is to be
forfeited and confessed.
In the origin story here, a number of bhikkhus went off on tour,
leaving their outer robes with their friends at the monastery.
Eventually the robes became moldy, and the bhikkhus at the monastery
were burdened with having to sun them to get rid of the mold. The
Buddha thus formulated this rule so that bhikkhus would be
responsible for looking after their own robes.
The offense here consists of two factors: object and effort.
Object: any one of the robes that a bhikkhu has determined as his
basic set of three -- the //antaravasaka// (under robe),
//uttarasanga// (upper robe) and //sanghati// (outer robe). This
rule thus does not apply to spare robes or other cloth requisites.
Effort: greeting dawn at a place outside of the zone in which any
of ones robes are located, except when the exemptions mentioned in
the rule are in effect.
//Dawn// is a concept that would seem intuitive enough, but the
lack of a definition for the term in the Vibhanga has given rise to
a variety of later interpretations. The Khuddasikkha -- a Vinaya
manual written by Ven. Dhammasiri, a Sri Lankan, in the 11th or 12th
century -- states that the sky lightens in four stages before
sunrise: a slight reddening 2 hours before sunrise; a slight
whitening 1/2 hour later; a second reddening 48 minutes before
sunrise; and a second whitening 24 minutes after that. Burmese, Sri
Lankan, and some Thai bhikkhus tend to follow this analysis, and
differ among themselves only as to which of the four stages
constitutes dawn, most of them favoring the first reddening. Other
Thai bhikkhus ignore the Khuddasikkha entirely, and say that dawn
occurs in the half hour before the point when, by natural light, one
can see the lines in one's hand while holding it out at arm's
Appendix I discusses a passage from the Canon -- M. 66 -- that
suggests that the first reddening and whitening is probably not the
dawn meant by the Vibhanga, but as with many other controversial
points of this sort, the wise policy is usually to adhere to the
traditions of one's Community.
//Zones//. This is the most complex facet of this rule. The zone
where a bhikkhu must be at dawn depends on the type of location
where his robes are placed, whether or not the property around the
location is enclosed (with a wall, a fence, or a body of water such
as a moat, river, or lake, says the Sub-commentary) and -- if it is
enclosed -- whether it belongs to one or more than one //kula//.
The term //kula// has different meanings for the different types
of locations. According to the Commentary, a village, town or city
is one-kula if ruled by a single ruler, and multi-kula if ruled by a
council -- as in the case of Vesali and Kusinara during the time of
the Buddha. At present, cities or towns governed under a social
contract -- such as a town charter -- would count as multi-kula
regardless of whether the highest authority in the government is
invested in a single individual or not.
A building, a vehicle or a piece of land is one-kula if it belongs
to one family, and multi-kula if it belongs to more than one (as in
an apartment house).
According to the Sub-commentary, a monastery is one-kula if the
people who initiated it belong to one kula -- of either type,
apparently -- and multi-kula if they belong to several.
What follows is a synopsis of the specific places listed in the
Vibhanga, together with explanations from the commentaries:
1. //A village, town, or city//:
a. Enclosed and one-kula: If the robes are in the enclosure, one
may greet dawn anywhere in the enclosure.
b. Enclosed and multi-kula: If the robes are in a house, greet
dawn anywhere in the house, in the public meeting hall, at the
town gate, or one //hatthapasa// (1.25 meters) around any of
these places (%). If the robes are in the public meeting hall
or in the area one hatthapasa around it, greet dawn in the
public meeting hall, at the town gate, or in the area one
hatthapasa around either of the two.
c. Unenclosed: If the robes are in a one-kula dwelling, greet
dawn in the house, or in the area one hatthapasa around it (%).
(See 2 & 3 below for further details.)
2. //A dwelling with a yard//:
a. Enclosed and one-kula: If the robes are within the enclosure,
greet dawn anywhere within the enclosure.
b. Enclosed and multi-kula: Greet dawn in the room where the
robes are located, at the entrance to the enclosure, or in the
area one hatthapasa around either of the two (%).
c. Unenclosed: Greet dawn in the room where the robes are
located, or in the area one hatthapasa around it (%).
3. //A monastic dwelling// (vihara -- //according to the
Sub-commentary, this includes entire monasteries//):
a. Enclosed and one-kula: If the robes are within the enclosure,
greet dawn anywhere within the enclosure.
b. Enclosed and multi-kula: Greet dawn in the dwelling where the
robes are located, at the entrance to the enclosure, or in the
area one hatthapasa around either of the two (%).
c. Unenclosed: Greet dawn in the dwelling where the robes are
located or in the area one hatthapasa around it (%).
4. //A field, orchard garden (park) or threshing floor//:
a. Enclosed and one-kula: If the robes are within the
enclosure, greet dawn anywhere within the enclosure.
b. Enclosed and multi-kula: If the robes are within the
enclosure, greet dawn in the area one hatthapasa around the
entrance to the enclosure or in the area one hatthapasa around
c. Unenclosed: Greet dawn within one hatthapasa of the robes.
5. //Buildings with no yard (such as a fortress or city apartment
a. One-kula: If the robes are in the building, greet dawn
anywhere within the building.
b. Multi-kula: Greet dawn within the room where the robes are
located or in the area one hatthapasa around it (%).
6. //A boat (and by extension, other vehicles)//:
a. One-kula: If the robes are in the vehicle, greet dawn
anywhere within the vehicle.
b. Multi-kula (as in a commercial airplane or bus): If the robe
is within a room, greet dawn in the room or in the area one
hatthapasa around it (%). (For this reason, a bhikkhu
traveling in an airplane overnight should wear his complete set
of robes or have it with him in his cabin baggage, rather than
in his checked baggage.)
7. //A caravan (according to the Sub-commentary, this includes
groups traveling by foot as well as by cart; group hiking trips
would thus be included here)//:
a. One-kula: If the robes are anywhere in the caravan, greet
dawn anywhere up to seven //abbhantaras// (98 meters) in front
of or behind the robes, or up to one abbhantara (14 meters) to
b. Multi-kula: If the robes are anywhere in the caravan, greet
dawn within one hatthapasa of the caravan.
8. //At the foot of a tree//:
a. One-kula: If the robes are in the area shaded by the tree at
noon, greet dawn within that area. According to the
Commentary, this doesn't include spots where sun leaks through
gaps in the foliage, so be careful.
b. Multi-kula (as a tree on the boundary between two pieces of
land): Greet dawn within one hatthapasa of the robes.
9. //In a wilderness area (where there are no villages)//:
Greet dawn anywhere within a seven-abbhantara (98 meter) radius
of the robes.
10. //In other areas//:
If the robes are located in a place other than those mentioned
above (e.g., in the unshaded yard of an unenclosed monastery),
greet dawn within one hatthapasa of the robes.
Exemptions. 1) As in the preceding rule, this rule does not apply
when the end-of-vassa and kathina privileges are in effect.
2) In the origin story to this rule, the Buddha gives permission
for a Community of bhikkhus to authorize an ill bhikkhu to be
separated from his robes at dawn throughout the course of his
illness without penalty. This authorization is to be given as a
formal act with one motion and one announcement
The Commentary discusses how long this authorization is to last,
and concludes that once the bhikkhu has recovered, he should make
every reasonable effort to get back to his robes as soon as possible
without jeopardizing his health. The authorization then
automatically subsides, with no further formal act being required.
If his illness returns, the authorization is automatically
3) In Mv.II.12.1-3, the Buddha directs the bhikkhus to declare a
//sima// -- or territory in which formal acts of the Community are
enacted -- as a //ticivara-avippavasa//, which means that if a
bhikkhu's robes are anywhere within the territory, he may greet dawn
at any other part of that territory without committing an offense
under this rule. In the early days, when such a territory might
cover many monasteries (the maximum allowable size is 3x3
//yojanas//, approximately 48x48 kilometers), this was a definite
convenience for bhikkhus who had to leave one monastery to join in
Community meetings at another one in the same territory. Since it
was possible for such territories to include villages and homes as
well, the Buddha added the extra stipulation that robes left in the
houses of lay people lying in such a territory were not covered by
At present the custom is to designate much smaller areas as simas
-- usually only a fraction of the land in one monastery -- and
although these can also be designated as ticivara-avippavasa, this
arrangement in such cases is not the great convenience it is in the
Forfeiture & confession. If a bhikkhu greets dawn outside of the
zone where any one of his three determined robes is placed -- except
when the exemptions are in effect -- the robe is to be forfeited and
the offense confessed. Perception and intention are not mitigating
factors here. If he thinks that he is in the same zone when he
actually isn't, if he thinks the robe is not determined when it
actually is, or if he means to be in the same zone when
circumstances prevent him, he incurs the penalty all the same. If
he then uses the robe before forfeiting it and confessing the
offense, he incurs a dukkata.
The procedures for forfeiture, confession, and return of the robe
are the same as in the preceding rule. For the Pali formula to use
in forfeiture, see Appendix VI. Once the robe has been forfeited,
its determination lapses, so when the bhikkhu receives it in return
he must re-determine it for use or give it away within ten days so
as not to commit an offense under the preceding rule.
Non-offenses. In addition to the above-mentioned exemptions,
there is no offense if, before dawn, the robe is lost, destroyed,
burnt or stolen; if someone else takes it on trust; or if the
bhikkhu gives it away or rescinds its determination. Because of
this last allowance, the Commentary recommends that if a bhikkhu
realizes that he will not be able to get back to his robe before
dawn, he should verbally rescind the robe's determination before
dawn arrives so as to avoid an offense, and then redetermine the
robe after dawn has passed.
A note on Thai practice. The author of the Vinaya Mukha missed
the Sub-commentary's discussion of monastic residences under this
rule, and so came to the conclusion that none of the texts discuss
the question of zones in a monastery. As a result, he formulated
his own system, treating each separate monastic dwelling as a lay
dwelling with a yard. Furthermore, he neglected to discuss the
question of what counts as single-kula and multi-kula in such a
dwelling. In the absence of any other standard, Thai bhikkhus have
come to view a dwelling of two or more bhikkhus, in which the
bhikkhus come from different families, as a multi-kula dwelling. If
the bhikkhus live in separate rooms, then the room where the robes
are placed, plus a radius of one hatthapasa around it, is the
bhikkhu's zone. If two or more bhikkhus are spending the night in a
single room, each bhikkhu must greet dawn within one hatthapasa of
Although there is no basis in the Canon or commentaries for this
practice, it is so widely accepted in Thailand that the wise policy
for anyone spending the night in the same dwelling or the same room
with a Thai bhikkhu is to be aware of it and abide by it, to avoid
the useless controversies that can arise over minor matters like
Summary: Being in a separate zone from any of one's three
robes at dawn -- except when the end-of-vassa or kathina
privileges are in effect, or one has received formal
authorization from the Community -- is a nissaggiya
* * *
3. When a bhikkhu has finished his robe-making and the
kathina privileges are in abeyance: If out-of-season
robe-cloth accrues to him, he may accept it if he so
desires. Once he accepts it, he is to make it up
immediately (into a cloth requisite). If it should not be
enough, he may lay it aside for a month at most if he has an
expectation for filling the lack. Should he keep it beyond
that, even when there is an expectation (for further cloth),
it is to be forfeited and confessed.
There are two factors for an offense here:
1) //Object//: (a) out-of-season robe-cloth, made of any of the
proper six kinds of material, in pieces measuring at least four by
(b) the cloth is not enough to make the cloth requisite one has in
mind, but one expects to receive more.
2) //Effort//: One keeps the cloth for more than 30 days, except
when the privileges are in effect.
Object. Any gift of robe-cloth presented to the Community when
the end-of-vassa or kathina privileges are in effect is an in-season
robe-cloth. Thus, out-of-season robe-cloth includes any gift of
1) presented to the Community at any other time,
2) presented at any time to a bhikkhu or group of bhikkhus (except
for in-season cloth allotted to him/them by the Community); or
3) presented to the Community when the privileges are in effect,
with the stipulation that it be treated as out-of-season cloth.
The reason why a donor would present cloth under category (3) is
because, according to Mv.VIII.24-25, in-season cloth may be shared
among only the bhikkhus who spent the vassa in that particular
Community, and not among any visiting bhikkhus. The Bhikkhunis' NP
2 tells of a case where well-behaved but shabbily dressed bhikkhunis
visited a Community of bhikkhunis when the end-of-vassa privileges
were in effect; lay donors, wishing to help them out, gave cloth to
the Community with the stipulation that it be treated as
out-of-season robe-cloth so that the visiting bhikkhunis would also
have a share.
Out-of-season cloth, if it is enough to make the cloth requisite
one has in mind, is treated as extra robe-cloth under NP 1. If,
however, it is not enough, and one expects to get further cloth from
any source -- lay donors, the Community, cast-off cloth, or one's
own resources -- it may be kept for up to 30 days with no need to be
determined or placed under dual ownership.
The further cloth, when one receives it, has a life span of ten
days, as under NP 1, and one must finish making one's requisite
within the time period determined by whichever cloth has the shorter
life span. Thus, if one obtains the expected cloth during the first
20 days, the requisite must be made within ten days, this being the
life span of the second cloth. If one obtains it after the 21st
day, the requisite must be made before the original 30 days are up.
If the second cloth turns out to be of different quality from the
first, one is under no compulsion to put the two cloths together to
make up the requisite if one does not want to, and may continue
waiting for further cloth as long as the life span of the first
cloth allows. The Commentary recommends that if the second cloth is
of poorer quality than the first, one may determine it as accessory
cloth; if the second cloth is of better quality, one may determine
the first cloth as accessory cloth, and start a new 30-day countdown
from the day of receiving the second cloth.
Effort. Days are counted by dawns. If, by the 30th dawn after
one receives the original cloth, one has not determined it, placed
it under dual ownership or abandoned it, it is to be forfeited and
the offense confessed. The Sub-commentary adds that if at any time
after the first ten days have elapsed one abandons any expectation
for further cloth, one must determine the original cloth, place it
under dual ownership, or abandon it before the following dawn.
Otherwise, one commits an offense under NP 1.
As in the preceding rules, perception is not a mitigating factor
here. If one miscounts the dawns, or thinks the cloth is properly
determined, etc., when in fact it isn't, there is an offense all the
As for the question of out-of-season cloth that crosses the
boundary between times when the privileges are and are not in effect
-- i.e., cloth received less than a month before the privileges
start, or less than a month before they end: The K/Commentary to NP
24 indicates that if cloth received when the privileges are still in
effect is not enough to make a robe, the one-month grace period
allowed in this rule begins the day after the privileges are
rescinded. And the Commentary to NP 28 indicates that if the cloth
covered in this rule comes toward the end of the Rains Retreat, and
the day when the robe has to be finished falls in the robe season,
one is allowed the entire robe season to finish it.
Still, these questions rarely come up in practice, as it is a
simple enough matter to determine the original cloth as accessory
cloth or place it under dual ownership until one has enough cloth to
make one's requisite, remove it from those arrangements to make the
requisite, and so avoid having to worry about this rule at all.
Forfeiture & confession. The procedures for forfeiture,
confession, and return of the cloth are the same as in the preceding
rules. For the Pali formula to use in forfeiting the cloth, see
Appendix VI. Once the cloth is received in return, and it is now
enough for the requisite one has in mind, it is classed as extra
robe-cloth under NP 1. If not, the 30-day countdown starts all over
Non-offenses. There is no offense if, before the 30 days are up,
the original cloth is stolen, lost, destroyed, burnt; if someone
else takes it on trust; or if the owner determines it for use,
places it under dual ownership or abandons it. And, as stated
above, this rule does not apply when the end-of-vassa and kathina
privileges are in effect.
Summary: Keeping out-of-season cloth for more than 30 days
when it is not enough to make a requisite and one has
expectation for more -- except when the end-of-vassa and
kathina privileges are in effect -- is a nissaggiya
* * *
4. Should any bhikkhu have a used robe washed, dyed, or
beaten by a bhikkhuni unrelated to him, it is to be
forfeited and confessed.
The origin story here is one of the classics of Vinaya literature,
although it is hard to say which is more memorable -- the dry,
matter-of-fact style with which the narrative relates the improbable
events, or the reaction of the bhikkhunis when they hear what has
"Now at that time Ven. Udayin's wife had gone forth among
the bhikkhunis. She often went to his dwelling, and he
often went to hers. One day he went to her dwelling for a
meal. Arising early in the morning, carrying his robe and
bowl, he went to where she was staying and on arrival sat
down in front of her, exposing his male organ. She sat down
in front of him, exposing her female organ. He, full of
lust, stared at her organ. His organ emitted semen. He
said to her, 'Go and fetch some water, sister. I'll wash my
"'Give it to me. //I'll// wash it.'
"Then she took some of the semen in her mouth and inserted
some of it in her female organ. With that, she conceived a
"The bhikkhunis said, 'This bhikkhuni has been practicing
unchastity. She's pregnant.'
"'It's not that I've been practicing unchastity.' And she
told them what had happened. The bhikkhunis were offended
and annoyed and spread it about, 'How can this Master Udayin
get a bhikkhuni to wash his used robe?'"
There are three factors for an offense here: object, effort and
Object: a used robe. //Robe//, here, according to the
Commentary, means any robe that has been dyed and properly marked
(see Pacittiya 58). This is its way of saying that the robe must be
a finished cloth requisite of the type suitable for wearing, but
need not be determined as one of one's basic three robes. In other
words, it could also be as yet undetermined, or a spare robe
determined as an accessory cloth.
//Used//, according to the Vibhanga, means worn around the body at
least once. According to the Commentary, it can mean used in other
ways -- e.g., rolled up as a pillow or worn draped over the shoulder
or head -- as well.
Other cloth requisites, such as sitting cloths and bed sheets, are
grounds for a dukkata. Non-cloth requisites are not grounds for an
Effort. One tells an unrelated bhikkhuni to wash, dye, or beat
A //bhikkhuni//, here, means one who has received the double
ordination, first in the Bhikkhuni Sangha and secondly in the
Bhikkhu Sangha. A bhikkhuni who has received only her first
ordination is grounds for a dukkata. Female probationers and
novices and not grounds for an offense.
//Unrelated// is explained by the Vibhanga as meaning unrelated
back through seven grandfathers, either on the father's or the
mother's side. The Commentary explains further that this means
seven generations counted back starting from one's grandfather.
Thus all descendants of one's
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers are counted
as one's relatives. In-laws, though, are not counted. This
definition of unrelated applies wherever the Vibhanga mentions the
word. At the time of the Buddha, perceived ties of kinship extended
more widely than they do today, and a bhikkhu at present would be
well-advised to regard as his relatives only those blood-relations
with whom ties of kinship are actually felt.
Perception is not an issue here. If a bhikkhu perceives a
bhikkhuni as related when in fact she isn't, he is subject to the
penalty all the same.
//Telling//, according to the Commentary, includes gesturing as
well. Thus if a bhikkhuni is washing her robes, and a bhikkhu
throws his robe down next to her, that would fulfill the factor
Result. The bhikkhuni washes, dyes or beats the robe as
Offenses. A bhikkhu who tells an unrelated bhikkhuni to wash,
etc., his used robe incurs a dukkata in the telling. For every
effort she then makes towards washing it, he incurs an extra
dukkata. When she actually starts washing it, the robe is to be
forfeited and the nissaggiya pacittiya offense confessed. He incurs
a nissaggiya pacittiya and a dukkata if he gets her to do two of the
three actions mentioned in the rule -- e.g., washing and dyeing the
robe; and a nissaggiya pacittiya and two dukkatas if he gets her to
do all three.
The procedures for forfeiture, confession, and return of the robe
are the same as in the preceding rules. Once the robe is returned,
it counts as an extra robe-cloth under NP 1.
Non-offenses. There is no offense if the bhikkhuni is related to
the bhikkhu, if an unrelated bhikkhuni washes the robe unasked, if
an unrelated bhikkhuni helps a related bhikkhuni wash it, if the
robe has not yet been used, if one gets an unrelated bhikkhuni to
wash a non-cloth requisite, or if one gets an unrelated female
probationer or female novice to wash a used robe.
The Commentary discusses the case of a bhikkhu who gives a used
robe to a female probationer to wash: She takes it, becomes
ordained as a bhikkhuni in the meantime, and then washes it. The
verdict: He incurs the full penalty under this rule. For the fun
of it, the Commentary then goes on to discuss the case of a bhikkhu
who gives his used robe to a lay man to wash. The lay man undergoes
a spontaneous sex change and becomes a bhikkhuni before washing the
robe, and again, the bhikkhu incurs the full penalty. What lesson
is intended here is hard to say.
Summary: Getting an unrelated bhikkhuni to wash, dye, or
beat a robe that has been used at least once is a nissaggiya
* * *
5. Should any bhikkhu accept robe-cloth from a bhikkhuni
unrelated to him -- unless it is in exchange -- it is to be
forfeited and confessed.
The reason behind this rule is expressed by a single sentence in the
origin story: 'It's hard for a woman to come by things.' In the
original version of the rule, the Buddha made no allowance for
accepting robe-cloth in exchange, but this point was later changed
at the request of the bhikkhunis. They had tried to exchange
robe-cloth with the bhikkhus, who refused because of the rule as it
stood at that time, and this upset the bhikkhunis. As the
Commentary explains, their poverty was what made them complain, "If
the Masters are not on familiar terms with us even to this extent,
how are we supposed to keep going?"
The offense under this rule is composed of two factors: object
Object: any piece of robe-cloth of the six suitable kinds,
measuring at least four by eight fingerbreadths. Other requisites
are not grounds for an offense.
Effort. The bhikkhu receives such cloth from an unrelated
bhikkhuni and does not give her anything in exchange.
//Unrelated bhikkhuni// here is defined in the same terms as under
the preceding rule: a bhikkhuni who has received the double
ordination and is not related to the bhikkhu back through their
great x 7 grandfathers. A bhikkhuni who has received only her first
ordination, from the bhikkhunis, is grounds for a dukkata. Female
probationers and female novices are not grounds for an offense.
Perception here is not a mitigating factor: According to the
Vibhanga, even if a bhikkhu perceives an unrelated bhikkhuni as
related, he is still subject to the penalty. The Commentary adds
that even if one does not know that the robe comes from a bhikkhuni
-- as when many donors place robes in a pile for a bhikkhu, and one
of the donors, unbeknownst to the bhikkhu, is a bhikkhuni -- this
factor is fulfilled all the same. If a bhikkhuni gives robe-cloth
to someone else to present to a bhikkhu, though, the bhikkhu commits
no offense in accepting it.
The Commentary also states that receiving need not be
hand-to-hand. If a bhikkhuni simply places robe-cloth near a
bhikkhu as her way of giving it to him, and he accepts it as given,
this factor is fulfilled.
As for the item given in exchange for the cloth, the Vibhanga
states that it can be worth much more then the cloth or much less.
Buddhaghosa quotes the Mahapaccari, one of the ancient commentaries,
as saying that even if, in return for the cloth, the bhikkhu gives
the bhikkhuni a piece of yellow myrobalan -- a medicinal fruit, one
of the cheapest things imaginable in India -- he escapes the penalty
under this rule.
Offenses. If all three factors of the offense here are fulfilled,
the bhikkhu incurs a dukkata in accepting the cloth. He then must
forfeit the cloth and confess the additional nissaggiya pacittiya
offense. The procedures for forfeiture, confession, and return of
the cloth are the same as in the preceding rules.
Non-offenses. There is no offense:
if the bhikkhuni is a relation;
if the bhikkhuni is not related, but the bhikkhu gives her
something in exchange;
if the bhikkhu takes the cloth on trust;
if he borrows the cloth;
if he accepts a non-cloth requisite;
if he accepts robe-cloth from a female probationer or female
Exchange. The origin story to this rule is where the Buddha
explicitly gives permission for bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, female
probationers, male novices and female novices to trade items with
one another. NP 20 forbids bhikkhus from trading items with lay
people and people ordained in other religions.
Summary: Accepting robe-cloth from an unrelated bhikkhuni
without giving her anything in exchange is a nissaggiya
* * *
6. Should any bhikkhu ask for robe-cloth from a man or woman
householder unrelated to him, except at the proper occasion,
it is to be forfeited and confessed. Here the proper
occasion is this: The bhikkhu's robe has been stolen or
destroyed. This is the proper occasion in this case.
"Now at that time Ven. Upananda the Sakyan had become
skilled in giving Dhamma talks. A certain millionaire's son
went to where he was, and on arrival bowed down and sat to
one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Upananda the Sakyan
instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged him with a Dhamma
talk. Then the millionaire's son...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
"'If you want to give me something, friend, then give me one
of those cloths (you are wearing).'
"'I'm the son of a good family, Ven. sir. How can I go
about wearing one cloth? Wait until I've returned home.
After going home, I will send you one of these cloths, or a
"A second time...A third time, Ven. Upananda said to him,
'If you want to give me something, friend, then give me one
of those cloths.'
"'I'm the son of a good family, Ven. sir. How can I go
about wearing one cloth? Wait until I've returned home.
After going home, I will send you one of these cloths, or a
"'Are you making an offer when you don't want to give me
anything, in that having made the offer you don't give?'
"So the millionaire's son, being pressured by Ven. Upananda,
left having given him one cloth. People seeing him said to
him, 'Why is it, master, that you go around wearing only one
"He told them what had happened. So the people were
offended and annoyed and spread it about, 'They're
insatiable, these Sakyan contemplatives, and not easily
contented. It's no simple matter to make a reasonable
request of them. How can they, after being made a
reasonable request by the millionaire's son, take his
The factors for an offense here are three: object, effort, and
Object: a piece of any of the six suitable kinds of robe-cloth,
measuring at least four by eight fingerbreadths.
Effort. One asks, except at the proper time, for such cloth from
a lay person who is not related back through one's great x 7
grandfathers. Perception is not a mitigating factor here. Even if
one perceives the lay person to be related when in fact he/she
isn't, that fulfills the factor here.
Result. One receives the cloth.
The proper occasions. //Stolen//, according to the Vibhanga,
refers to a robe stolen by anyone at all. //Destroyed// means burnt,
carried away by water, eaten by such things as rats or termites, or
worn out by use -- although the Sub-commentary adds here that worn
out by use means worn to the point where the robe can no longer
cover the body.
If all of a bhikkhu's robes are stolen or destroyed, he is not to
go about naked. To do so incurs a dukkata (as opposed to the
thullaccaya Mv.VIII.28.1 imposes on a bhikkhu who chooses to go
about naked when he has robes to wear). A bhikkhu with no cloth to
cover his body should make a covering of grass and leaves. If he
happens on an unoccupied Sangha residence, he is permitted to take
any cloth he finds there -- robes, sheets, mats, pillow cases, or
whatever -- to wear as a makeshift robe as long as he has the
intention of returning it when he obtains a proper robe.
The Commentary adds several points here:
If one picks leaves or cuts grass to make a covering for oneself
under these circumstances, one is exempt from the penalty for
damaging plant life under Pacittiya 11.
If, after getting one's makeshift robe, one has to go a great
distance before getting a proper robe, one may leave the
makeshift robe with any convenient monastery as property of the
If, under these circumstances, one asks lay people for cloth and
receives cloth of a type or color that normally is not allowed,
there is no offense in wearing it until one can obtain suitable
The following rule adds extra stipulations on how much cloth one
may ask for in circumstances like this.
Offenses. The act of asking for robe-cloth from an unrelated lay
person not at the proper time entails a dukkata. The cloth, when
one receives it, is to be forfeited and the nissaggiya pacittiya
offense confessed. The procedures for forfeiture, confession, and
return of the cloth are the same as in the preceding rules. The
Pali formula to use in forfeiting the cloth is given in Appendix VI.
Non-offenses. According to the Vibhanga, there is no offense if
one asks at the right time,
one asks from one's relations,
one asks from people who have invited one to ask for cloth,
one obtains cloth through one's own resources, or
one asks for the sake of another bhikkhu.
The Commentary explains that this last point means two things:
One may ask for cloth for the sake of another bhikkhu (1) from one's
own relations or from people who have invited one to ask for cloth
//or// (2) from the relatives of that bhikkhu or from people who
have invited //him// to ask. This point applies for all rules where
one is allowed to ask for the sake of another.
As for obtaining cloth through one's own resources, the
Sub-commentary notes that one should be careful to do it in such a
way as not to commit an offense under NP 20. Again, this applies to
all rules that contain this exemption.
Summary: Asking for and receiving robe-cloth from an
unrelated lay person, except when one's robes have been
stolen or destroyed, is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.
* * *
7. If that unrelated man or woman householder presents the
bhikkhu with many robes (pieces of robe-cloth), he is to
accept at most (enough for) an upper and an under robe. If
he accepts more than that, it is to be forfeited and
This rule is a continuation of the preceding one, dealing with the
protocol in asking for robe-cloth when one's robes have been stolen
or destroyed. The origin story is as follows:
"At that time some group-of-six bhikkhus, having approached
bhikkhus whose robes had been stolen, said, 'Friends, the
Blessed One has allowed those whose robes are stolen or
destroyed to ask an unrelated man or woman householder for
robe-cloth. Ask for robe-cloth, friends.'
"'Never mind, friends. We have already received (enough)
"'We are asking in your name, friends.'
"'Then go ahead and ask.'
"So the group-of-six bhikkhus, having approached unrelated
householders, said, 'Bhikkhus have come whose robes were
stolen. Give us robe-cloth for them.' And they asked for a
lot of robe-cloth. Then a certain man, sitting in a meeting
hall, said to another man, 'Master, bhikkhus have come whose
robes were stolen. I gave robe-cloth for them.'
"And he said, 'I gave, too.'
"And another said, 'I gave, too.'
"They were offended and annoyed and spread it about: 'How
can these Sakyan contemplatives, not knowing moderation, ask
for a lot of robe-cloth? Will the Sakyan contemplatives
deal in the cloth business? Or will they set up a shop?'"
Protocol. The Vibhanga states that when a bhikkhu's robes are
stolen or destroyed, the amount of cloth he may ask for and accept
from an unrelated householder who has not previously invited him to
ask for cloth depends on the number of robes stolen or destroyed.
If three, he may ask for and accept only enough for two. If two, he
may ask for and accept only enough for one. If one, he should not
ask for any cloth at all.
The K/Commentary mentions that these stipulations apply only when
robes from one's determined set of three are stolen or destroyed.
The way it phrases this suggests that if one's spare robes are
stolen or destroyed, one has no right to ask for robe-cloth at all.
The Sub-commentary, though, interprets this as opening a loophole so
that if one loses any of one's spare robes, one may ask for as much
cloth as one likes. It then accuses the K/Commentary of
contradicting the Canon and Commentary, and of ignoring the purpose
of the rule, which is to teach moderation and fewness of wants. Its
conclusion: The protocol applies when any of one's robes are stolen
or destroyed -- whether determined as the basic set of three,
undetermined or determined as accessory cloths.
If, however, we recall that originally each bhikkhu had only one
set of three robes, and that the allowance in the preceding rule was
to relieve the hardship of having little or nothing to wear, we can
agree with the K/Commentary's interpretation: that the allowance in
the preceding rule applies //only// when robes from one's basic set
of three are stolen and destroyed, and that this is the case we are
concerned with here. If one's spare robes get stolen or destroyed,
one may not make use of the allowance to ask for robe-cloth at all.
The Vibhanga states further that if the householder presents one
with a great deal of cloth, with the invitation to take as much as
one likes, one should take only enough cloth to make the allowable
number of robes. The no-offense clauses add that one may take
excess cloth if one promises to return the excess when one has
finished making one's robe(s). And if the donor tells one to keep
the excess, one may do so without penalty.
The factors of the offense for overstepping the bounds of this
protocol are three:
1) //Object//: any piece of the six kinds of suitable robe-cloth,
measuring at least four by eight fingerbreadths.
2) //Effort//: One asks for more than the allowable amount of
robe-cloth from an unrelated householder who has not previously made
an invitation to ask. Perception is not a mitigating factor here:
Even if one perceives the householder to be related when in fact
he/she isn't -- or feels that he/she would be happy to offer the
excess cloth even though he/she has given no previous invitation to
ask -- this factor is fulfilled all the same.
3) //Result//: One gets the excess robe-cloth.
The offenses here are as follows: a dukkata for asking in the way
that fulfills the factor of effort, and a nissaggiya pacittiya when
all three factors are fulfilled. The procedures to follow in
forfeiture, confession, and receiving the cloth in return are the
same as in the preceding rules. For the Pali formula to use in
forfeiting the cloth, see Appendix VI.
Non-offenses. In addition to the two cases mentioned above -- one
takes excess cloth with the promise to return the excess when one
has finished one's robe(s), and the donors tell one to keep the
excess -- there is no offense in taking excess cloth if:
the donors are offering cloth for reasons other than that one's
robes were stolen or destroyed (e.g., they are impressed with
one's learning, says the Commentary);
one is asking from one's relatives or people who have previously
made one an invitation to ask for cloth (//before// one's robes
were stolen or destroyed, says the Sub-commentary);
or one gets the cloth by means of one's own property.
The Commentary calls attention to the fact that the Vibhanga's
no-offense clauses make no mention of asking for the sake of
another. It then draws the conclusion, based on the fact that the
rule was formulated in response to bhikkhus' requesting excess cloth
for the sake of others, that in the circumstances mentioned in this
rule, one may not ask for excess cloth for the sake of others. The
Sub-commentary takes issue with this, and presents three arguments
for its case:
1) There is no requirement that the working out of a training
rule has to follow from the origin story. (It gives no examples,
but Parajikas 3 & 4, Sanghadisesas 8 & 9, NP 4 and Pacittiyas 8 &
58 are all cases in point.)
2) The Ganthipadas state that since this training rule deals with
what to do when presented with offerings for one's own sake,
there is no need for the Vibhanga to mention the case of asking
for another's sake.
3) If asking for another's sake is not allowable here, it should
also not be allowable in the preceding rule.
Thus it concludes that here, as under the preceding rule, there is
no offense in asking for excess cloth for Bhikkhu X from one's own
relatives or people who have invited one to ask, or from Bhikkhu X's
relatives or people who have invited X to ask.
Summary: Asking for and receiving excess robe-cloth from
unrelated lay people when one's robes have been stolen or
destroyed is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.
* * *
8. In case a man or woman householder prepares a robe fund
for the sake of an unrelated bhikkhu, thinking. "Having
purchased a robe with this robe fund, I will supply the
bhikkhu named so-and-so with a robe:" If the bhikkhu, not
previously invited, approaching (the householder) should
make a stipulation with regard to the robe, saying, "It
would be good indeed, sir, if you supplied me (with a robe),
having purchased a robe of such-and-such a sort with this
robe fund" -- out of a desire for something fine -- it is to
be forfeited and confessed.
"Now at that time a certain householder said to his wife, 'I
will supply Master Upananda with a robe.' A certain bhikkhu
on his almsround overhead the man saying this, went to where
Ven. Upananda the Sakyan was staying and on arrival said to
him, 'You have a lot of merit, friend Upananda. A certain
man over there said to his wife, 'I will supply Master
Upananda with a robe.'
"'He's my supporter, my friend.'
"So Ven. Upananda the Sakyan went to where the man was
staying and on arrival said to him, 'My friend, is it true
that you want to supply me with a robe?'
"'Now, wasn't I just thinking, 'I will supply Master
Upananda with a robe'?
"'Well, if you want to supply me with a robe, supply me with
a robe like this. What use is it to me to be supplied with
a robe I won't use?'
"So the man was offended, annoyed and spread it about,
'They're insatiable, these Sakyan contemplatives, and not
easily contented. It's no simple matter to supply them with
a robe. How can this Master Upananda, without having first
been invited by me, make stipulations concerning a robe?'"
The situation covered by this rule is this: An unrelated lay
person has put aside resources to purchase a robe to present to a
bhikkhu, but without yet asking the bhikkhu what kind of robe he
wants. The factors for the offense here are four:
Object. The texts mention only that this rule concerns funds for
a robe (civara), but without specifying whether this means funds
only for finished robes or pieces of robe-cloth suitable for making
into robes as well. They also do not mention whether funds for
other requisites would be grounds for a lesser offense or no
offense, although given the spirit of the rule, it would be a wise
policy for a bhikkhu not to make stipulations, when uninvited, to a
lay person who has prepared funds for purchasing any kind of
requisite for his use.
Intention. One wants to get a better robe than the lay person is
planning to buy.
Effort. One makes a request to the unrelated lay person that
would involve raising the cost of the robe. As in the previous
rules, perception is not a factor here. Even if one perceives the
lay person to be related when he/she actually isn't, that would
fulfill the factor here all the same.
Result. One gets the robe. The way the texts define this factor
suggests that whether or not the lay person actually spends more on
the robe than he/she actually planned is not an issue here.
Offenses. In the act of making a request that would fulfill the
factors of intention and effort, the penalty is a dukkata. When one
receives the robe it is to be forfeited and the nissaggiya pacittiya
offense confessed. The procedures to follow in forfeiture,
confession, and receiving the cloth in return are the same as in the
preceding rules. For the Pali formula to use in forfeiting the
cloth, see Appendix VI.
Non-offenses. According to the Vibhanga, there is no offense if:
the lay person is a relative or has invited one to ask for cloth;
one asks for another's sake;
one is getting the robe with one's own resources; or
one asks the lay person to get a robe less expensive than the one
he/she is planning to get. The Commentary adds here that there
is also no offense if one's request would result in a robe equal
in price to the one the lay person has in mind.
Summary: When a lay person who is not a relative is
planning to get a robe for one, but has yet to ask one what
kind of robe one wants: Receiving the robe after making a
request that would raise its cost is a nissaggiya pacittiya
* * *
9. In case two householders -- men or women -- prepare
separate robe funds for the sake of a bhikkhu unrelated to
them, thinking, "Having purchased separate robes with these
separate robe funds of ours, we will supply the bhikkhu
named so-and-so with robes": If the bhikkhu, not previously
invited, approaching (them) should make a stipulation with
regard to the robe, saying, "It would be good indeed, sirs,
if you supplied me (with a robe), having purchased a robe of
such-and-such a sort with these separate robe funds, the two
(funds) together for one (robe)" -- out of a desire for
something fine -- it is to be forfeited and confessed.
Explanations for this training rule are the same as those for the
preceding one, the only difference being in the factor of effort:
One asks the two donors to put their funds together to purchase one
robe. Whether or not the request would raise the amount of money
they would have to spend is not an issue here, although the Vibhanga
says that if one makes a request that would //reduce// the amount of
money they would spend, there is no offense.
The Commentary adds that, under the conditions mentioned here,
making requests of three or more people to combine their robe funds
into one is also covered by this rule.
Summary: When two or more lay people who are not one's
relatives are planning to get separate robes for one, but
have yet to ask one what kind of robe one wants: Receiving
a robe from them after asking them to pool their funds to
get one robe -- out of a desire for something fine -- is a
nissaggiya pacittiya offense.
* * *
10.In case a king, a royal official, a brahmin or a
householder sends a robe fund for the sake of a bhikkhu via
a messenger (saying), "Having purchased a robe with this
robe fund, supply the bhikkhu named so-and-so with a robe":
If the messenger, approaching the bhikkhu, should say, "This
is a robe fund being delivered for the sake of the venerable
one. May the venerable one accept this robe fund," then the
bhikkhu is to tell the messenger: "We do not accept robe
funds, my friend. We accept robes (robe-cloth) as are
proper according to season."
If the messenger should say to the bhikkhu, "Does the
venerable one have a steward?" then, bhikkhus, if the
bhikkhu desires a robe, he may indicate a steward -- either
a monastery attendant or a lay follower -- (saying), "That,
my friend, is the bhikkhus' steward."
If the messenger, having instructed the steward and going to
the bhikkhu, should say, "I have instructed the steward the
venerable one indicated. May the venerable one go (to him)
and he will supply you with a robe in season," then the
bhikkhu, desiring a robe and approaching the steward, may
prompt and remind him two or three times, "I have need of a
robe." Should (the steward) produce the robe after being
prompted and reminded two or three times, that is good.
If he does not produce the robe, (the bhikkhu) should stand
in silence four times, five times, six times at most for
that purpose. Should (the steward) produce the robe after
(the bhikkhu) has stood in silence for the purpose four,
five, six times at most, that is good.
If he should not produce the robe (at that point), should he
then produce the robe after (the bhikkhu) has endeavored
further than that, it is to be forfeited and confessed.
If he should not produce (the robe), then the bhikkhu
himself should go to the place from which the robe fund was
brought, or a messenger should be sent (to say), "The robe
fund that you, venerable sirs, sent for the sake of the
bhikkhu has given no benefit to the bhikkhu at all. May the
you be united with what is yours. May what is yours not be
lost." This is the proper course here.
The protocols surrounding gifts of money and their proper use are
quite complex -- much more complex than even this long training rule
would indicate -- and require a detailed explanation. What follows
is an attempt to make them clear. If it seems long and involved,
remember that the purpose of the protocols is to free bhikkhus from
the even more bothersome worries and complexities that come with
participating in buying, selling, and monetary matters in general.
This rule is one of four nissaggiya pacittiya rules covering a
bhikkhu's proper relationship to money. The others are # 18, 19 &
20. Although they sometimes seem to be splitting hairs, they focus
precisely on the two acts involving money that are most burdensome
to a sensitive mind: In the act of accepting money, or having it
accepted in one's name, one is accepting all the cares,
responsibilities, and dangers that come with its ownership; in the
act of arranging a trade, one is accepting responsibility for the
fairness of the trade: that it undervalues neither the generosity
of the person who donated the money, nor the goods or services of
the person receiving the money in exchange.
Thus to protect a bhikkhu from these mental burdens, this rule
sets up protocols so that lay donors may have the convenience of
dedicating amounts of money and other valuables to provide for a
bhikkhu's needs, and so that the bhikkhu may benefit from such gifts
without having to bear the responsibilities of ownership or of
having to arrange fair trades.
If a bhikkhu follows the protocols recommended here, the money
placed with the steward still belongs to the donor, and the
responsibility for making a fair trade lies with the steward. The
bhikkhu's only responsibility is to inform the original donor if,
after a reasonable number of promptings, the steward entrusted with
the money does not provide him with the requisite the donor had in
mind, and then let the donor look after the matter if he/she cares
Although the rule itself mentions only funds for robe-cloth
intended for individual bhikkhus, we should note from the outset
that the Commentary extends it to cover all funds -- composed of
money, jewels, commodities, land, livestock or other valuables that
bhikkhus are not allowed to accept -- not only for individual
bhikkhus, but also for Communities, groups of bhikkhus and buildings
in a monastery.
The money rules & allowances: an overview. NP 18 forbids a
bhikkhu from accepting gifts of money, from getting others to accept
them, and from consenting to gifts of money meant for him being
placed down next to him. NP 19 & 20 forbid him from engaging in
buying, selling, or bartering, regardless of whether or not it
involves money. In the Mahavagga, however, the Buddha makes the
following allowance, called the Mendaka Allowance, after the donor
who inspired it:
"There are people of conviction and confidence, bhikkhus,
who place gold and silver in the hand of stewards, saying
'Give the master whatever is allowable.' I allow you,
bhikkhus, to accept whatever is allowable coming from that.
But in no way at all do I say that money is to be accepted
or sought for."
Even given this allowance, though, it is important that the
bhikkhu, in his dealings with the steward, does not say or do
anything that would transgress NP 18-20. At the same time, it is
important that he does not abuse the steward's services. Otherwise
the steward will never want to perform this service for bhikkhus
again. This is the main point of the origin story to this rule:
"Then Ven. Upananda the Sakyan approached the lay follower
(his steward) and on arrival said, 'My friend, I have need
of a robe.'
"'Wait just today, sir. Today there is a town meeting, and
the town has made a rule that whoever comes late is fined 50
"'Friend, give me the robe this very day!' (Saying this,)
he grabbed hold of him by the belt. So the lay follower,
being pressured by Ven. Upananda the Sakyan, purchased a
robe for him and arrived late. The people said to the lay
follower, 'Why, master, have you come late? You have lost
50.' So he told them what had happened. They were offended
and annoyed and spread it about, 'They're insatiable, these
Sakyan contemplatives, and not easily contented. It's no
simple matter even to render them a service. How can
Upananda the Sakyan, being told by a layman, "Wait just
today, sir," not wait?'"
Stewards. According to the Commentary, there are three ways money
may be placed with a steward: the steward is either indicated by
the bhikkhu, indicated by the donor or his/her messenger, or else
indicated by neither.
1) //Indicated by the bhikkhu// covers two sorts of cases:
a) The donor asks the bhikkhu who his steward is, and the bhikkhu
points him/her out, as mentioned in the training rule.
b) The donor, knowing that a particular lay person has volunteered
to act as a steward or is on familiar terms with the bhikkhu,
gives the money to the lay person and informs the bhikkhu -- or
has someone else inform him -- either before or after the fact.
2) //Indicated by the donor// covers cases where the donor chooses
one of his/her own friends or employees to act as the steward for
that particular gift, and informs the bhikkhu -- or has someone else
inform him -- either before or after the fact.
3) //Indicated by neither// covers two separate cases:
a) The donor asks the bhikkhu who his steward is, and the bhikkhu
says that he has none. Another person happens to overhear the
conversation and volunteers to act as the steward for that
b) The donor gives the gift to the lay person who is normally the
bhikkhu's steward or is on familiar terms with the bhikkhu, but
does not inform the bhikkhu or have him informed of the fact.
According to the Commentary, this training rule covers only cases
of the first sort: the steward is indicated by the bhikkhu. I will
discuss this case in detail first before going on to discuss the
protocol in the other two.
The protocol in accepting. The Vibhanga gives the following
If donors offer money, they are to be told that bhikkhus do not
If they ask who the bhikkhus' steward is, one may point out any
lay person at all, saying, "That's the steward." One is //not//
to say, "Give it to him/her" or "He/she will keep (the money),"
for that would be to accept ownership and responsibility for the
money, and thus be an infraction of the rule against accepting
money. Also, one is not to say, "He/she will buy (the
requisite)" or "He/she will get it in exchange," for even this
much would be an infraction of the rules against trading.
The K/Commentary adds that if the donor asks, "To whom should I
give this?" or "Who will keep this?" one is not to point anyone out.
It doesn't say what one //may// do in such a situation, although a
wise policy would be to broach the topic of stewards so that the
donor will ask a question to which one may give a allowable answer.
The protocol in obtaining requisites from the fund. The rule
states that a bhikkhu may give his steward up to three verbal and
six silent promptings in order to get a requisite from the fund.
The Vibhanga works out an arrangement whereby he may exchange two
silent promptings for one verbal prompting, which leads the
Commentary to lay out the following scheme: A bhikkhu may make up
6 verbal & 0 silent promptings
5 verbal & 2 silent promptings
4 verbal & 4 silent promptings
3 verbal & 6 silent promptings
2 verbal & 8 silent promptings
1 verbal & 10 silent promptings, or
0 verbal & 12 silent promptings.
When giving a verbal prompting, one may say only, "I need a robe
(or whatever the requisite may be)" or statements to that effect.
One may not say, "Give me a robe," "Get me a robe," "Buy me a robe,"
or "Get a robe in exchange or me," for these statements would be
violations of the rules against trading.
According to the Commentary, promptings are counted not by the
number of visits to the steward, but by the number of times the
bhikkhu states his need/desire for the requisite. Thus if, in one
visit, he states his need for a robe three times, that counts as
three verbal promptings.
As for silent promptings -- or "standings" -- the bhikkhu merely
stands in the steward's presence. If he/she asks, "What have you
come for?' the bhikkhu should say, "You know," or "You should know."
The Vibhanga also notes that during the period when a bhikkhu has
yet to receive the requisite, he should not accept an invitation to
sit down at the steward's place, to accept alms, or to teach Dhamma
there. If he does any of these things, that cuts back his number of
allowed standings. The Sub-commentary contains a long discussion of
what precisely this means, and finally sides with the decision in
the Three Ganthipadas: that each time a bhikkhu sits, receives alms
or teaches one sentence of Dhamma (see Pacittiya 7) under these
circumstances, he cuts down his allowed number of standings by one.
If one obtains the requisite after making the allowable number of
verbal and silent promptings -- or less -- there is no offense. If
one does not obtain the requisite after the maximum allowable number
of promptings, one should inform the original donor, and then leave
the issue up to him/her. Not to inform the donor here, the
Commentary says, entails a dukkata. If the donor, being informed,
then makes arrangements to get the requisite for the bhikkhu, there
is no offense.
The factors of an offense here are three:
1) //Object//: a fund left with a steward pointed out by a
2) //Effort//: One makes an excessive number of promptings.
3) //Result//: One obtains the requested requisite.
There is a dukkata for the excessive promptings, and the
requisite, when obtained, is to be forfeited and the nissaggiya
pacittiya offense confessed. The procedures for forfeiture,
confession, and receiving the requisite in return are the same as in
the preceding rules. For the Pali formula to use in forfeiture, see
Cases where this rule does not apply. According to the
Commentary, if the steward has been indicated by the donor, one may
make any number of promptings at all without committing an offense.
If the article is not forthcoming, one may get another lay person to
handle the issue (although one should be careful to phrase one's
request to this lay person so as not to transgress the rules against
accepting money, trading, and buying). If the article is not
forthcoming, one is not duty-bound to inform the original donor.
There is nothing in the Canon to contradict any of these points,
but simple etiquette would suggest that one not harass the steward
excessively, and that one should inform the donor if the article is
not forthcoming, so as to let the donor handle the matter from there
on in if he/she sees fit.
As for the third case, in which the steward is not indicated
either by the donor or by a bhikkhu, the Commentary says that, as
far as that fund is concerned, the steward should be treated as a
person who is not related and has not made an invitation to ask. In
other words, one may not make any requests of the steward at all,
unless he/she happens to invite one to make a request. We can
qualify this by saying that if the article is not forthcoming after
a reasonable amount of time, one may inform the original donor.
Other funds. The Commentary includes a long discussion of how
this rule applies to funds other than those intended for an
individual bhikkhu's requisites. A few of the more relevant cases:
//Monetary funds for Sangha or group requisites//. If a donor
comes with a gift of money and says that it is being offered to the
Sangha or to a group for whatever purpose, one should follow the
protocol for accepting as under this rule. For instance, if the
donor says, "I'm giving this to the Sangha for you to make use of
the four requisites," one may not accept it in any of the three ways
covered by NP 18. As we will see under NP 18, there is a dukkata for
the bhikkhu who consents to money's being placed next to him under
these circumstances. There is also a dukkata, says the
Sub-commentary, for every bhikkhu who uses any article bought with
If, however, the donor says, "The money will be with your steward"
or "with my people" or "with me: All you need to do is make use of
the four requisites," then there is no offense in accepting and
making use of this arrangement. The etiquette to follow in
obtaining requisites depends on who the money is left with: if the
bhikkhus' steward, follow the protocol under this rule; if the
donor's workers, one may make any number of promptings; if the
donor, follow the guidelines under Pacittiya 47.
//Non-monetary funds for Sangha or group requisites//. There are
a number of other articles that may not be owned by bhikkhus, and
that carry a dukkata penalty if they are. They include land,
fields, and orchards; jewels; slaves; commodities (e.g., unhusked
grain); and animals. If a donor wants to make a gift of such things
to the Sangha, the Commentary says, the question of whether or not
they may be accepted depends on how the donation is phrased. If the
donor says, "I'm giving this to the Sangha" for whatever the
purpose, the gift may not be accepted. As in the previous case,
there is a dukkata for whoever receives it, and also for whoever
uses an article obtained from proceeds coming from the gift.
If the donor says, "This is for the purpose of the four
requisites," or "Accept whatever is allowable coming from this,"
without mentioning the Sangha or any bhikkhu as custodians or
recipients of the unallowable object, the arrangement may be
accepted without penalty. For instance, if a donor wants to present
a herd of cows, saying, "These are for the purpose of milk products
for the Sangha" (perhaps this sounds less stilted in Pali than it
does in English), this is an acceptable arrangement. But if he/she
says, "I am giving these cows to the Sangha to provide milk products
for the Sangha," then it is not.
If a donor proposes to give pigs, chickens or other animals used
only for their meat to the Sangha, the bhikkhus are to say, "We
can't accept gifts like this, but we will be glad to set them free
If, after setting up an allowable arrangement, the donor asks the
bhikkhus to appoint a steward to look after it, they may. If not,
they are to do nothing about the arrangement at all.
How the proceeds from such arrangements are to be used depends on
what they are: If money, and a bhikkhu tells the steward, "Use this
money to buy such-and-such," no bhikkhu may make use of what is
bought with the money. If the proceeds are commodities, such as
unhusked rice, and a bhikkhu tells the steward, "Use this rice to
trade for such-and-such," the bhikkhu who makes the order may not
use whatever is obtained from the trade, but other bhikkhus may
without incurring a penalty. If the proceeds are allowable goods,
such as fruit, and a bhikkhu tells the steward, "Use this fruit to
trade for such-and-such," the Commentary says that any bhikkhu may
use what is obtained from the trade, but this would seem to
contradict NP 20.
//Building funds//. If a donor comes with money or other
unallowable gift, and says, "I am giving this to the Sangha for the
meditation hall (or any other building)," the gift may not be
accepted. But if the donor says, "I am giving this to (or for) the
meditation hall," without mentioning any individual bhikkhu, group
of bhikkhus or the Sangha as custodians or recipients of the gift at
all, then this arrangement is not to be refused, and the monastery
steward is to be informed of what the donor said.
In the context of NP 18, this means that the bhikkhus are not to
take the money directly, or to get anyone else to take it, but may
consent to its being placed next to them, since it is not meant as a
gift for them.
Many monasteries have donation boxes, and there is a question as
to whether or not the bhikkhus may tell a donor in this case to put
the money in the box. The Commentary to NP 18 states that when a
donation has been placed down for a bhikkhu -- over his protests --
and someone besides the donor offers to put it in a safe place, the
bhikkhu may point out a safe place to put money, but may not tell
him/her to put it there, as that would imply that he is accepting
responsibility for the money. If this also applies to funds given
"to a building," then the bhikkhus should be able to say to the
donor of such funds, "The donation box is over there," but they are
not to say, "Put it there."
At any rate, after the money has been placed by the donor, the
bhikkhus may then tell the monastery steward what the donor said,
but are not to tell him/her to take the money, as this would violate
NP 18. Since the steward in this case would be classed as
"indicated by the bhikkhus," they are to follow the protocol in this
rule when they tell the steward of their need for building
materials, wages for the workers, and other necessities that come up
in the course of the of the building's construction or maintenance.
The Commentary mentions two other acceptable arrangements:
(1) The donor places the money with the workmen, and tells the
bhikkhus that their only responsibility is to check on whether
the work is being done poorly or well.
(2) The donor says that the money will be kept with him/her or
with his/her employees, and that the bhikkhus' only
responsibility is to inform them of whom the money is to be given
to. At present such a donor would be able to set up a checking
account for the construction and upkeep of monastery buildings.
In this case, the bank would be the steward "indicated by the
donor," and the authorized bhikkhu signing a check drawing on the
fund would be informing the steward of where the money should go.
He should not, however, be the one who hands the check over to
the payee or payee's representative. This point will be
discussed in more detail under NP 20.
Since the steward in both of these cases is indicated by the
donor, the bhikkhus may make as many requests as they like -- i.e.,
in the first case, telling the workers what to do; in the second
case, telling the steward or donor who is to be paid -- but here
again in this second case they should be careful to phrase their
requests so as not to violate the rules against trading and buying.
In addition to building funds, it would seem that any charitable
fund for schools, hospitals, etc. -- such as some wealthy
monasteries have -- would come under this category, as long as the
fund is not for requisites for the Sangha, either as a group or
Fund management. The Commentary states that if a Sangha fund has
been set up for a particular requisite, it should as a general rule
be used to buy only that requisite. If, however, the Sangha has
enough of one kind of //lahubhanda// -- goods that may be shared
among the bhikkhus -- but not enough for another, the fund for the
first kind may be diverted to the second kind by an
//apalokana-kamma//: a formal meeting of the Community in which the
motion is phrased in one's own words and unanimously accepted.
Funds for lodgings and furniture, though, since they are
//garubhanda// (goods that may not be shared among the bhikkhus),
may not be diverted to lahubhanda at all. But if there is Sangha
furniture that is going unused and is in danger of deteriorating
before it gets used, the Community may arrange to have it exchanged
-- using the procedure allowed under NP 20, and making sure not to
let it go for less than its full value -- and then use the proceeds
for lahubhanda. The Commentary adds that proceeds of this sort
should be used 'frugally, just enough to keep life going.' In other
words, don't use them to splurge on anything excessive.
Summary: When a fund has been set up with a steward
indicated by a bhikkhu: Obtaining an article from the fund
as a result of having prompted the steward more than the
allowable number of times is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.
* * * * * * * *
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