Part Five: The Naked Ascetic Chapter
41. Should any bhikkhu give staple or non-staple food with
his own hand to a naked ascetic, a male wanderer, or a
female wanderer, it is to be confessed.
There are two origin stories here, the first being the more
entertaining of the two:
"Now at that time the Community had received a lot of
non-staple food. Ven. Ananda told this matter to the
Blessed One, who said, "In that case, give the cakes to
those who eat scraps.'"
"'As you say, sir,' Ven. Ananda answered the Blessed One.
Then, having had those who eat scraps sit down in a line,
and giving a cake to each, he gave two cakes to a certain
female wanderer, thinking they were one. The female
wanderers around her said, "That contemplative is your
"'No, he's not. He just gave me two cakes thinking they
"A second time...A third time, Ven. Ananda, giving a cake to
each, gave two cakes to that female wanderer, thinking they
were one. The female wanderers around her said, "That
contemplative is your lover.'
"'No, he's not. He just gave me two cakes thinking they
"So -- 'Lover!' 'Not a lover!' -- they kept squabbling."
The second story, though, gives a better idea of the reason for
"Then a certain naked ascetic went to a distribution of
food. A certain bhikkhu, having mixed rice with a great
deal of ghee, gave a large helping to the naked ascetic. So
the naked ascetic, having received his alms, left. Another
naked ascetic asked him, 'Where, friend, did you get your
"'At a distribution of food by that shaveling householder,
the contemplative Gotama.'"
This training rule is corollary to the preceding one. Other sects
at the Buddha's time observed the formalities of receiving food from
their lay followers just as the Buddhist bhikkhus did, and thus a
bhikkhu who gave food in such a way to a mendicant ordained in
another sect would be placing himself in the position of a lay
follower of that sect, as the second origin story shows. An
interesting point about this rule is that the Buddha formulated it
at the request of Buddhist lay followers. Having overheard the
naked ascetics' conversation, they said to him, "Sire, these
adherents of other sects enjoy criticizing the Buddha...
Dhamma...and Sangha. It would be good if the masters did not give
to adherents of other sects with their own hands."
Object. The terms //naked ascetic// and //male or female
wanderer// are meant to cover all mendicants ordained in religions
outside of Buddhism. Since Brahmins, which were a non-mendicant
priestly caste at the Buddha's time, are not included in this
definition, we may infer at present that this rule does not refer to
people ordained in other religions -- e.g, Catholic priests,
Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis, Muslim mullahs, etc. -- who do
not obtain their food by going for alms.
Effort. //Staple and non-staple food// here covers all edibles:
juice drinks, tonics, and medicines as well as food, but not water
or tooth-cleaning sticks. Staple and non-staple foods are grounds
for a pacittiya; water and tooth-cleaning sticks, grounds for a
To //give// is defined as giving with the body, with something in
contact with the body, or by means of letting go, as in the
Non-offenses. To get someone else to give edible things, to give
edible things by depositing them near (as in NP 18), or to give
ointments for external use -- and, by extension, other inedible
things -- entails no offense.
Summary: Handing food or medicine to a mendicant ordained
outside of Buddhism is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
42. Should any bhikkhu say to a bhikkhu, "Come, my friend,
let's enter the village or town for alms," and then --
whether or not he has had (food) given to him -- dismiss
him, saying, "Go away, my friend. I don't like sitting or
talking with you. I prefer sitting or talking alone," if
doing it for that reason and no other, it is to be
The factors for the full offense here are four:
1) //Object//: another bhikkhu.
2) //Intention//: One wants to indulge in misconduct and does not
want him to see it.
3) //Effort//: One dismisses him.
4) //Result//: He leaves one's range of hearing and sight (six
meters, according to the Commentary).
Object. A bhikkhu is grounds for a pacittiya here; an unordained
person, grounds for a dukkata.
Intention. The Vibhanga defines //misconduct// as laughing,
playing, or sitting in private with a woman, or any other
misbehavior -- breaking the minor rules -- of any sort. To dismiss
the other person, ordained or not, for reasons other than a desire
to hide one's own misconduct entails no offense. Examples from the
Vibhanga are listed in the non-offenses section below.
Effort & result. To //dismiss// the other person means either to
say outright for him/her to go away, or else to make remarks that
will make him/her want to leave. The Commentary gives an example
here -- "Look at how this guy stands, sits, and looks around. He
stands like a stump, sits like a dog, and looks about like a monkey"
-- but this would more likely come under Pacittiya 2.
The offenses here are as follows:
a dukkata for speaking the words of dismissal;
a dukkata when the other bhikkhu is leaving the range of hearing
and sight; and
a pacittiya when he has left.
Non-offenses. According to the Vibhanga, there is no offense in:
dismissing one's companion with the thought that two bhikkhus
going together won't obtain enough food;
dismissing him after seeing costly goods ahead, so that he won't
develop a feeling of greed;
dismissing him after seeing a beautiful woman ahead, so that he
won't lose his resolve for the celibate life;
sending him back with food for a sick bhikkhu or lay worker at the
dismissing him for any other proper reason, as long as one is not
planning to indulge in misconduct.
Summary: When on almsround with another bhikkhu: Sending
him back so that he won't witness any misconduct one is
planning to indulge in is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
43.Should a bhikkhu sit intruding on a family "with its
meal," it is to be confessed.
The origin story here, briefly, is this: Ven. Upananda visits a
woman in her private quarters. Her husband approaches him
respectfully, has his wife give him alms, and then asks him to
leave. The wife senses that her husband wants to have sexual
intercourse with her and so -- as a game, apparently -- keeps
detaining Ven. Upananda until the husband gets exasperated and goes
to complain to the bhikkhus: "Sires, this master Upananda is
sitting in the bedroom with my wife. I have dismissed him, but he
isn't willing to go. We are very busy and have much work to do."
Object: A family "with its meal." The Vinaya Mukha tries to take
this phrase literally, but the Vibhanga explains it as a euphemism
meaning "a man and woman together, both not having gone out (of
their bedroom), not both without lust" -- in other words, a man and
woman together in their private quarters, with at least one of them
desiring sexual intercourse with the other. Although the Commentary
tries to justify the Vibhanga's explanation etymologically
(//bhoga//, the root form of meal, has other forms meaning
enjoyment, indulgence, and use), there is no need to turn to
etymology. Since ancient times in all cultures, eating has been
commonly used as a metaphor for sex.
Effort. To //sit intruding// means to sit in the private area of
the house, this being defined in terms of how large the house is.
In one large enough to have a separate bedroom, the private area is
the bedroom plus a radius of one hatthapasa (1.25 meters) outside
the bedroom doorway. In a smaller house, the private area is the
back half of the house. None of the texts discuss such things as
one-room apartments or hotel rooms, but these would probably be
treated as "separate bedrooms."
The Vibhanga states that perception with regard to the private
area is not a mitigating factor here, and apparently the same holds
true for perception with regard to whether or not the couple is "at
its meal." As for intention, the Parivara and commentaries maintain
that it //is// a factor, but the Vibhanga does not mention it at
all. Thus, to be perfectly safe from an offense in cases like this,
a bhikkhu should not sit intruding on a couple unless they both make
him 100% certain that he is welcome: a wise policy in any case,
whether or not one is a bhikkhu.
Cases of sitting with a woman alone in her bedroom -- or any other
private place -- are covered by the following rule.
Non-offenses. There is no offense --
if both the man and woman have left the bedroom/private area;
if neither of them is sexually aroused;
if the bhikkhu is not in the private area; or
if he has a second bhikkhu as his companion.
Summary: To sit down intruding on a man and a woman in
their private quarters -- when one or both are sexually
aroused, and when another bhikkhu is not present -- is a
* * *
44. Should any bhikkhu sit in private on a secluded seat
with a woman, it is to be confessed.
There are three factors for the offense here:
1) //Object//: a female human being, "even one born that very
day, all the more an older one."
2) //Effort//: One sits with her in a private, secluded seat,
without another man present.
3) //Intention//: One is aiming at privacy.
Object. //Woman// here includes //women// as well. In other
words, even if one is sitting with many women in the secluded area,
one is not exempt from this factor.
A female human being is grounds for a pacittiya; a pandaka (see
Sanghadisesa 2 for details), a female peta, a female yakkha, and an
animal in the form of a woman, grounds for a dukkata.
Perception is not a factor here. If one is sitting with a woman,
even if one thinks she is a man or something else, this factor is
Effort. //To sit// also includes lying down. Whether the bhikkhu
sits near the woman when she is already seated, or the woman sits
near him when he is already seated, or both sit down at the same
time, makes no difference.
//Private// means private to the eye and private to the ear. Two
people sitting in a place private to the eye means that no one else
can see if they wink, raise their eyebrows, or nod. If they are in
a place private to the ear, no one else can hear what they say in an
A //secluded seat// is one behind a wall, a closed door, a large
bush or anything at all that would afford them enough privacy to
commit the sexual act.
According to the Commentary, //private to the eye// is the
essential factor here. Even if a man is within hearing but not
within sight -- i.e., he is sitting just outside the door to the
private place -- that does not exempt one from the offense here.
The Commentary states further that the presence of a man within
sight absolves one from this factor only if he is knowledgeable
enough to know what is and is not lewd, if he is awake, and if he is
not blind or deaf. Even a distracted or drowsy man, though, if he
meets these criteria, //would// absolve one from this factor.
Intention. The Commentary explains //aiming at privacy// as being
motivated by any defilement related to sex, but this explanation
opens as many questions as it tries to resolve. Does it refer
solely to the desire for intercourse, or to other more subtle
sexually-related desires? Unfortunately, none of the commentaries
say. A passage in the Anguttara Nikaya (A.VII.47), though, offers a
clue here: It refers to a priest or contemplative who observes the
celibate life by not engaging in sexual intercourse, but whose
celibacy is "broken, cracked, spotted, and blemished" by the joy he
finds in any one of the following activities:
1) He consents to being rubbed down, bathed, and massaged by a
2) He jokes, plays, and amuses himself with a woman.
3) He stares into a woman's eyes.
4) He listens to the voices of women outside his wall as they
laugh, speak, sing, or cry.
5) He recollects how he used to laugh, converse, and play with a
6) He sees a householder or householder's son enjoying himself
endowed with the five sensual pleasures.
7) He practices the celibate life intent on being born in one or
another of the heavenly hosts, (thinking) "By this virtue or
practice or abstinence or celibate life I will be a god of one
sort or another.
The joy a person finds in any of this things is termed a sexual
fetter (//methuna-sanyoga//) that prevents him from gaining release
from birth, ageing and death, and from the entire round of
suffering. If the Commentary is indeed referring to this sort of
thing when it mentions "defilements related to sex"
(//methuna-nissita-kilesa//), then the factor of intention under
this rule would be fulfilled by such things as wanting to joke with
the woman, to stare into her eyes, or to enjoy hearing her voice as
she talks or laughs.
Although a bhikkhu may be convinced that he has no such motives in
sitting in private with a particular woman, he should remember that
this is one of the training rules where public opinion makes its
claims. Aniyata 1 requires that if a trustworthy outside witness is
suspicious of a bhikkhu's sitting alone with a woman -- and unless
he is sitting with his mother or other elderly relative, it's rare
that outsiders won't be suspicious -- the Community must meet to
investigate the issue. Even though they may find him innocent of
any wrong-doing, the fact that they have had to investigate his
behavior is usually enough to keep suspicions alive among the laity,
and to create resentment among his fellow bhikkhus over the waste of
their time due to his indiscretion.
The Vinaya Mukha avoids these problems by taking an entirely
different approach to the factor of intention here. It defines "not
aiming at privacy" with the following illustration: A bhikkhu is
sitting in a secluded place with a man and woman present, but the
man gets up and leaves before the bhikkhu can stop him. In other
words, the bhikkhu is not intending to sit alone in private with the
woman at all, but circumstances beyond his control force him to.
There is nothing in the Vibhanga to decide conclusively between
these two interpretations. However, both the Canon and the
Commentary give frequent warnings about the dangers that can arise
when a bhikkhu sits alone with a woman: His own defilements may
tempt him to do, say, or think things that are detrimental to his
resolve in the celibate life; and even when his motives are pure, he
is inviting the suspicions of others -- suspicions that do not
easily fade even when the Community makes an official inquiry and
declares him innocent, as mentioned above. At the same time, he is
leaving himself at the mercy of the woman, who will later be free to
make any claims she likes about what went on while she was alone
him. As Lady Visakha said, "It is unfitting and improper, sir, for
the master to sit in private, alone with a woman....Even though the
master may not be aiming at that act, it is difficult to convince
those who are unbelievers."
All of this suggests that the Vinaya Mukha's interpretation is the
wiser and safer of the two. Still, this is another case where
different Communities interpret the rule differently, and the wise
policy would be to be no less strict than one's Community in
interpreting this factor.
Non-offenses. In addition to the bhikkhu not aiming at privacy,
there is no offense for the bhikkhu who sits alone with a woman when
his attention is elsewhere -- e.g., he is absorbed in his work or
his meditation when a woman happens to come in and sit down in the
room where he is sitting. Also, there is no offense if either the
bhikkhu or the woman or both are standing, or if both are sitting
when a man is present.
Summary: Sitting or lying down with a woman or women in a
private, secluded place with no other man present is a
* * *
45. Should any bhikkhu sit in private, alone with a woman,
it is to be confessed.
The full offense here has three factors that differ slightly from
those for the preceding rule.
Object. Here //woman// is defined as a human female being who
knows what is and is not lewd. Pandakas, female petas, female
yakkhas, and animals in the form of a woman are again grounds for a
Effort. One sits with her alone -- without another person present
-- in a place private to the ear and to the eye, but not secluded.
Examples of such places would be spots out in the open (e.g, a bench
in an open, deserted park), seats in a glassed-in porch or room, or
in an open-air pavilion. The Commentary would include walled-in
open areas -- such as a park with a fence around it -- here as well,
but outside areas screened by a wall or a bush would fall under the
preceding rule. Aniyata 1 & 2 suggest that the distinguishing
factor here would be how hidden it is. If it would be convenient
for committing sexual intercourse, it would fall under the preceding
rule; if it wouldn't, it would fall here.
As in the preceding rule, //sitting// includes lying down as well.
And again, whether the bhikkhu sits near the woman when she is
already seated, or the woman sits near him when he is already
seated, or both sit down at the same time, makes no difference.
According to the Commentary, the other person whose presence
exempts one from this factor can be either a man or a woman, but
must know what is and is not lewd, must be awake, must not be deaf
or blind, and must be sitting "within sight," i.e., a radius of six
meters. As in the preceding rule, whether or not the man or woman
is distracted or drowsy is of no consequence.
Intention. One must be aiming at privacy for this factor to be
fulfilled. See the discussion under the preceding rule.
Non-offenses. Strangely enough, the Vibhanga's no-offense
clauses here are identical with those for the preceding rule --
i.e., they make no mention of the fact that the presence of another
woman would exempt one from an offense. The Commentary seems
justified in assuming this fact, though, for otherwise there would
be no reason to have these two separate rules on the same subject.
Summary: Sitting or lying down alone with a woman in an
unsecluded but private place is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
46. Should any bhikkhu, being invited for a meal and without
taking leave of an available bhikkhu, go calling on families
before or after the meal, except at the proper times, it is
to be confessed. Here the proper times are these: the time
of giving cloth, the time of making robes. These are the
proper times here.
The origin story here suggests that the purpose of this rule is to
prevent bhikkhus from wandering off before an appointed meal time so
that they will not show up late or be difficult to track down; and
to prevent them, after the meal, from using the invitation as an
excuse to go off wandering without taking leave (see Pacittiya 85).
However, the definition of the factor of object -- which limits this
rule to visiting lay people's houses -- and the no-offense clauses
-- which allow one to visit monasteries and nunneries without taking
leave -- suggest a more over-riding purpose: to prevent bhikkhus
from taking the invitation as an excuse to visit lay people and
spend their time in inappropriate activities.
There are two factors for the full offense here:
1) //Object//: a family residence.
2) //Effort//: One enters such a residence -- without having
taken leave of an available bhikkhu -- on a morning when one has
been invited to a meal, except during the time exemptions
mentioned in the rule.
Object. A family residence is grounds for a pacittiya here; its
yard, grounds for a dukkata.
Effort. Entering the residence is defined as having both feet
inside the threshold.
//Meal// means one consisting of any of the five staple foods.
As for the question of how to determine whether another bhikkhu is
or is not available, the Commentary draws the distinction like this:
After the desire to go calling on families arises in one's mind, and
one takes a normal path to leave the monastery, if one comes across
a bhikkhu who is close enough to address in a normal tone of voice
(within six meters, says the Sub-commentary), that means that a
bhikkhu is available and one should inform him of where one is
going. If one does not come across a bhikkhu that close, no bhikkhu
is available, and there is no need to go out of one's way to find
This, though, is in direct contradiction to the Vibhanga's
definition of available -- "It is possible to go, having taken
leave" -- that is, if there is another bhikkhu in the monastery, and
there are no obstacles to taking one's leave from him (he is asleep,
he is sick, he is receiving important visitors), one is obliged to
go out of one's way to inform him.
According to the K/Commentary, //taking leave// in the context of
this rule means the simple act of informing the other bhikkhu that,
"I am going to the house of so-and-so," or any similar statement.
In other words, one is not asking permission to go, although if the
other bhikkhu sees that one is doing something improper in going, he
is perfectly free to say so. If one treats his comments with
disrespect, one incurs at least a dukkata under Pacittiya 54. (See
the discussion under that rule for details.)
For a new bhikkhu still living in dependence (//nissaya//) on his
mentor, though, taking leave //is// a matter of asking permission at
all times, whether one has been invited to a meal or not. The
Mahavagga (I.25.24; II.21.1) states that one of the duties of such a
bhikkhu is that he must receive permission from his mentor before
entering a village, going to a cemetery, or leaving the district.
Not to ask permission before going, or to go after being denied
permission, is to incur a dukkata. As for the mentor, if he gives
permission to go when it is not appropriate to do so, //he// is the
one who incurs the dukkata.
Non-offenses. As the rule states, there is no offense in not
taking leave at the time of giving cloth -- the robe season -- or at
a time of making robes, i.e., any time when one is making a robe.
These exceptions enable a bhikkhu to visit his lay supporters easily
to obtain any gifts of thread, cloth, or scissors, etc., he may need
at such times.
There is also no offense in going to or through a family residence
when one has taken leave of another bhikkhu, or in going when one
has not taken leave under any of the following circumstances:
-- There is no bhikkhu available (e.g, one is living alone, all
the other bhikkhus have left, or all the bhikkhus in the
monastery are going together).
-- One is going to the house where one was invited for the meal.
-- The path to the house in which the meal is to be given leads
through another house or its yard.
-- One is on one's way to another monastery, to bhikkhunis'
quarters, to the residence of people ordained in another sect or
religion (located in a village, says the Commentary), or one is
returning from any of these places.
-- There are dangers. This, according to the Commentary, refers
to dangers to one's life or to one's resolve in remaining
The general principle. This rule, in conjunction with Pacittiya
85, is designed to keep bhikkhus from visiting lay people and
spending their time in inappropriate ways. Pacittiya 85 deals with
entire villages and towns, and covers the period from noon until the
following dawn. This rule deals with family residences and covers
the period from dawn until noon on days when one has been invited to
a meal. The period from dawn to noon on days when one is not
invited to a meal, and would be expected to go on almsround, is thus
not covered by either rule. Note, however, that the Buddha
reprimands Ven. Upananda for visiting families during the latter
part of a morning after going for alms. This shows that he did not
approve of such behavior, even though he had practical reasons for
not laying down a rule against it: On mornings when one is going
for alms -- and in his time, alms-going could often be an
all-morning affair -- there is no convenient way to draw a hard and
fast line between appropriate alms-going and inappropriate visiting.
Thus we have the rules as they stand. At present, though, in
monasteries where alms-going takes up much less of the morning, or
where the bhikkhus do not go outside the monastery for alms at all,
it is a wise policy to adhere to the general principle by informing
a fellow bhikkhu whenever possible when one is leaving the monastery
for errands or visits involving lay people, even during periods not
covered by the rules.
Summary: Visiting lay families -- without having informed
an available bhikkhu -- before or after a meal to which one
has been invited is a pacittiya offense except during the
robe season or any time one is making a robe.
* * *
47.A bhikkhu who is not ill may accept (make use of) a
four-month invitation to ask for requisites. If he should
accept (make use of) it for longer than that -- unless the
invitation is renewed or is permanent -- it is to be
Object. An invitation to ask for requisites is an offer, made by a
lay person, to supply a bhikkhu with requisites whenever he (the
bhikkhu) asks for them. Such invitations may be made either to
individual bhikkhus, to groups, or to entire Communities. The
responsibilities incumbent on the two sides in such an arrangement
are well-illustrated in a passage from the origin story to this
"'Now at that time some group-of-six bhikkhus wore their
lower robes improperly, their upper robes improperly, and
were not at all consummate in their deportment. Mahanama
the Sakyan criticized them: 'Sirs, why do you wear your
lower robes improperly, your upper robes improperly, and why
are you not at all consummate in your deportment? Shouldn't
a person who has gone forth wear his lower robe properly,
his upper robe properly, and be consummate in his
"The group-of-six bhikkhus nursed a grudge against him.
They thought, 'Now how can we embarrass Mahanama the
Sakyan?' Then it occurred to them, 'Listen, friends. He
has made an invitation to provide the Community with
medicines. Let's ask him for ghee.'
"So they went to where Mahanama the Sakyan was staying, and
on arrival said to him, 'We have need of a tubful of ghee,
"'Please wait for a day, sirs. People have just gone to the
cattle pen to get ghee. You may come and fetch it in the
A second time...A third time, they said to him, 'We have
need of a tubful of ghee, my friend.'
"'Please wait for a day, sirs. People have just gone to the
cattle pen to get ghee. You may come and fetch it in the
"'Did you make the invitation not desiring to give, in that
having made the invitation you don't give?'
"So Mahanama the Sakyan was offended and annoyed and spread
it about, 'How can revered ones, being told, "Please wait
for a day, sirs," not wait?'"
As the story shows, the person making the invitation was expected
to provide the goods he offered, while bhikkhus were expected to be
reasonable in their requests.
The Vibhanga and Commentary, taken together, show that this rule
covers invitations made to Communities to provide them with
medicines. The rule and origin stories show that at first
invitations of this sort had three standard forms: a four-month
invitation (each of the major seasons in India lasts four months,
which may have been the reason for this type of invitation), a
renewed four-month invitation, and a permanent invitation.
Eventually, though, the Vibhanga worked out the following fourfold
schema for covering invitations of a wide variety of sorts: those
that specify (1) requisites (medicines), (2) a time period, (3)
both, or (4) neither.
(1) An invitation specifying requisites may specify merely the
type of item offered -- "Let me know if you ever need any honey or
sugar" -- or also the amount -- "Let me know if you ever need a
bottle of honey...a pound of sugar." In cases like these, a bhikkhu
may ask for the type or amount of the item that has been offered.
If he asks for other items or for more of the proper item than the
amount offered, if that too is specified, he incurs a pacittiya.
However, since the donor mentions no time limit, the Vibhanga says
that the bhikkhu may ask at any time.
(2) An invitation specifying the time period may be phrased, for
example, "Let me know if you need any medicine during this Rains
Retreat." In cases like this, a bhikkhu may ask for any type or
amount of medicine during that time period. But as the origin
stories to this and the other rules dealing with asking make clear,
(see Sanghadisesa 6 and NP 6 & 7), he should be moderate and
reasonable when making requests, and not abuse the lay supporter's
generosity. If, not being ill, he asks after the period has
expired, he incurs a pacittiya.
(3) An invitation specifying requisites and the time period might
be phrased, "Let me know if you need any honey during the Rains
Retreat." In cases like this, a bhikkhu incurs a pacittiya if he
asks for items other than those offered -- or for more of the proper
item than the amount offered, if that too is specified -- whether or
not he asks during the specified time period. He also incurs a
pacittiya if, not being ill, he asks for the items offered after the
time period has expired.
(4) An invitation specifying neither requisites nor the time
period may be phrased, for example, "Let me know if you ever need
any medicine." In cases like this, the bhikkhu may ask for any
medicine at any time. As in case (2), though, he should try to be
reasonable in his requests.
Effort. A bhikkhu who asks for medicine outside of the types of
medicine or time period specified in the invitation incurs a
pacittiya in the asking, regardless of whether or not he is given
what he asks for. If he asks for medicine, making use of an
invitation to do so, but then uses it for a non-medicinal purpose --
e.g, he asks for honey and then has someone else make a desert with
it -- he incurs a pacittiya as well.
Perception is not a mitigating factor here. If the time period
has expired, and he asks assuming that it hasn't, he commits the
full offense all the same.
Non-offenses. Three of the no-offense clauses require no special
explanation: There is no offense in asking from relatives, for the
sake of another, or for medicine to be bought with one's own
One of the two no-offense clauses requiring explanation is that
there is no offense in asking from those who have made an
invitation. This the Commentary explains by saying that if one has
received a personal invitation, one may ask in line with its terms,
but that otherwise the limits set by this rule apply only to
invitations made to an entire Community, and not to those made on a
personal basis to individual bhikkhus. Although the Vibhanga makes
no specific mention of this point, it is the only way to make sense
of this no-offense clause and the relationship between this rule and
Pacittiya 39. Under that rule, a bhikkhu who is not ill and has not
been invited incurs a dukkata in asking for any one of the five
tonics, and there seems no reason to impose a heavier penalty for
requesting one of the five tonics after a personal invitation to do
so has expired. If, though, the invitation referred to in this rule
is one made to an entire Community, the heavier penalty makes sense
as an added protection to the donor against having his/her
invitation abused by the less conscientious members of the
Community. This added protection would also be a means of
encouraging further invitations of this sort in the future.
The second no-offense clause requiring explanation is the one for
an ill bhikkhu. Reading the rule, one would imagine that the
exemption for an ill bhikkhu would read simply, "There is no offense
if one is ill," but instead it reads, "There is no offense if one
says, "The time period for which we were invited has passed, but we
have need of medicine." This is an important point of etiquette.
Normally, an ill bhikkhu may ask anyone for medicine at anytime, but
in dealing with a person who has made an invitation for medicine to
the Community, he has to show special consideration. In mentioning
the fact that the time period for the invitation has expired, he
gives recognition of the fact that the donor is no longer under any
obligation to provide the medicine, thus giving the donor a
convenient "out" in case he/she can no longer provide it. This
simple gesture is the least consideration that can be shown to
someone who has had the generosity to invite the Community to ask
for medicines. And again, simple gestures of this sort help to
protect donors and encourage similar invitations again in the
An alternative interpretation. The Vinaya Mukha tries to extend
this rule to cover invitations of every sort, individual and
communal, dealing with any sort of requisite. It also reads the
training rule to mean that if a time limit is not specified on an
invitation, a four-month time limit is to be assumed. All of this
has no support in the Vibhanga, and so is not binding, but the last
point is something that individual bhikkhus may adopt as a personal
policy to teach themselves moderation in their requests. A donor's
faith and financial position can change quickly, and it is
reasonable not to depend on an invitation for longer periods of time
unless the donor makes it clear that he/she is still willing to
provide the item offered in the first place.
Summary: When a supporter has made an offer to supply
medicines to the Community: Asking him/her for medicine
outside the terms of the offer when one is not ill, or for
medicine to use for a non-medicinal purpose, is a pacittiya
* * *
48. Should any bhikkhu go to see an army on active duty,
unless there is a suitable reason, it is to be confessed.
Object. An army in the time of the Buddha was a very different
affair from what an army is now. We will start with a discussion of
how the Vibhanga explains this factor in terms of armies at that
time, and then follow with a discussion of how it may be applied to
armies at present.
Armies in those times consisted mainly of what we would call
reserve units. These were organized into four divisions: elephant
units, cavalry units, chariot units, and infantry units. The
soldiers for the most part were citizens who would live at home
until called up on active duty to engage in actual warfare or to
practice maneuvers, activities that always took place outside the
city. Battles, both actual and practice, were fought according to
rules -- total warfare is a modern invention -- and it was possible
for non-military citizens to watch, with occasional danger to live
and limb, much as people at present watch football games. (Going to
a battlefield is listed in the Brahmajala Suttanta as a form of
With this information in mind, it is easy to understand the
Vibhanga's treatment of this rule: An army on active duty --
composed of a full panoply of elephant, cavalry, chariot, and
infantry units who have left the city -- is grounds for a pacittiya.
Any segment of an army on duty -- even one armed archer, says the
Commentary -- is grounds for a dukkata. An army not on duty -- the
Commentary illustrates this with a king's pleasure trip -- is not
grounds for an offense.
To apply these definitions to armed forces at present: The
Vibhanga's definition for army comes close to the modern definition
of a field army with a full array of artillery, armored, airborne,
and infantry divisions. Navies, marines, and air forces did not
exist at that time, but the Great Standards would allow us to extend
the definition of //army// to cover similar large units of these
branches of the military as well. Since armies on active duty no
longer limit their activities to areas outside of cities -- they are
sometimes based in cities, run practice drills there, and can be
called in to quell riots or fight enemy forces there -- the
definition of "on active duty" must be changed to fit the way armies
use it at present. Thus soldiers at work on base or off would count
as being on duty, and the only areas of armed bases that would not
be grounds for an offense here would be the areas where officers'
families are housed.
With these points in mind, we may say that a full field army -- or
the equivalent in naval, marine, or air forces -- on active duty
would be grounds for a pacittiya here. Any smaller unit of the
military on active duty -- a regiment, a division, or even one armed
soldier -- would be grounds for a dukkata. Armies not on active
duty, as when they organize charity affairs, would not be grounds
for an offense.
Effort. This factor is fulfilled simply by standing and watching
an army on duty except when one has a suitable reason. The Vibhanga
gives a dukkata for every step one makes in going to watch an army
on duty, and a pacittiya for standing and watching.
The origin story's example of a suitable reason is that a
bhikkhu's uncle in the army had fallen ill and wished to see him.
Other suitable reasons would include accepting an invitation from
the soldiers to receive alms or to give a talk.
Non-offenses. There is no offense --
if, having gone on business, one sees the army;
if, standing within a monastery, one watches an army fighting or
holding practice maneuvers nearby;
if an army comes to where one happens to be;
if one meets an army coming from the opposite direction; or
if there are dangers. The Commentary interprets this last point
as referring to dangers to one's life or celibacy that one hopes
to escape by taking shelter with the army.
Summary: Watching a field army -- or similar large military
force -- on active duty, unless there is a suitable reason,
is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
49.There being some reason or another for a bhikkhu to go to
an army, he may stay two or three (consecutive) nights with
the army. If he should stay longer than that, it is to be
Object. None of the texts say explicitly whether this rule applies
only to armies on active duty, or to armies off duty as well, but
since this and the following rule are continuations of the preceding
one, they would seem to apply only to armies on active duty. Thus
this rule does not apply to the housing where military officers live
with their families, whether on base or off.
Effort. As under Pacittiya 5 -- the rule that deals with sleeping
in the same lodging with an unordained person -- nights here are
counted by dawns. If a bhikkhu leaves the army before dawn of any
night, that night is not counted. If he returns to spend another
night/dawn with the army, the series starts over again from one.
If, however, he has spent three consecutive nights with the army and
is still with the army at any time beginning with sunset of the
fourth night, he incurs a pacittiya. Unlike Pacittiya 5, he does
not need to be lying down for this factor to count. The Commentary
illustrates this point by saying that even if he is using his
psychic power to sit levitating above the army at sunset on the
fourth day, he still fulfills this factor.
Perception is not a mitigating factor here. Even if one miscounts
the nights, one is not exempt from the offense.
Non-offenses. There is no offense in staying longer than three
if one spends another night somewhere else in the meantime;
if one is ill or caring for someone else who is ill;
if the army is surrounded by opposing forces;
if one is being held captive; or
if there are other dangers.
Summary: Staying more than three consecutive nights with an
army on active duty, unless one has a suitable reason to be
there, is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
50. If a bhikkhu staying two or three nights with an army
should go to a battlefield, a roll call, the troops in
battle formation, or to see a review of the (battle) units,
it is to be confessed.
"Then a certain bhikkhu of the group of six, having gone to
the battlefield, was pierced by an arrow. People made fun
of him: 'We hope it was a good battle, venerable sir. How
many points did you get?'"
A //battlefield//, according to the Vibhanga and Commentary here,
is a place where actual fighting may be seen; according to the
Commentary to the Brahmajala Suttanta, it is a place where war games
are held. Both interpretations seem valid, especially considering
the organized and decorous nature of warfare in those days.
The Commentary also says that a //review of battle units// can
mean anything down to a review of a single unit.
//Roll call// and //troops in battle formation// are
The Brahmajala Suttanta mentions all four of these activities as
forms of entertainment. From this, using the Great Standards, we
may say that any show the armed forces put on for the public --
parades, air shows, etc. -- would fall under this factor as well.
Notice that these activities fulfill this factor even if they do
not include the full array of forces that one would find in a field
army or similar large military unit. In other words, a bhikkhu
staying with the army would incur the full penalty here for watching
these activities even if they involve only a small segment of a
single division. If he is not staying with the army, though, then
under Pacittiya 48 he would incur a pacittiya for watching these
activities only if they contain the full complement of artillery,
armored, airborne, and infantry forces; and a dukkata if they
contain only a segment.
Effort. As with Pacittiya 48, there is a dukkata for every step
one takes towards watching these activities, and a pacittiya for
standing and watching them.
Non-offenses. The Vibhanga's no-offense clauses here are
identical with those for Pacittiya 48. In other words, there is no
if, having gone on business, one happens to see any of these
if, standing within a monastery, one watches these activities;
if an army comes to where one happens to be;
if one meets an army coming from the opposite direction; or
if there are dangers.
Summary: Going to a battlefield, a roll call, an array of
troops in battle formation, or to see a review of the battle
units while one is staying with an army is a pacittiya
* * * * * * * *