Part Six: The Alcoholic Drink Chapter
51. The drinking of alcohol or fermented liquor is to be
"Then Ven. Sagata went to the hermitage of the coiled-hair
ascetic of Ambatittha, and on arrival -- having entered the
fire building and spread out a grass mat -- sat down
cross-legged with his body erect and mindfulness to the
fore. The naga (living in the fire building) saw that Ven.
Sagata had entered and, on seeing him, was upset,
disgruntled, and emitted smoke. Ven. Sagata emitted smoke.
The naga, unable to bear his anger, blazed up. Ven. Sagata,
entering the fire element, blazed up. Then Ven. Sagata,
having consumed the naga's fire with his own fire, left for
"Then the Blessed One, having stayed at Bhaddavatika as long
as he liked, left on a walking tour to Kosambi. Word
reached the lay followers of Kosambi: 'They say that Ven.
Sagata did battle with the Ambatittha naga!'
"Then the Blessed One, having toured by stages, came to
Kosambi. The Kosambi lay followers, after welcoming the
Blessed One, went to where Ven. Sagata was staying and, on
arrival, having bowed down and sat to one side, said to him,
'What, honored sir, is something the masters like that is
hard for you to get? What can we prepare for you?'
"When this was said, some group-of-six bhikkhus said to the
Kosambi lay followers, 'Friends, there is a strong liquor
called pigeon's liquor (the color of pigeons' feet,
according to the Commentary) that the bhikkhus like and is
hard for them to get. Prepare that.'
"Then the Kosambi lay followers, having prepared pigeon's
liquor in house after house, and seeing that Ven. Sagata had
gone out for alms, said to him, 'Master Sagata, drink some
pigeon's liquor! Master Sagata, drink some pigeon's
liquor!' Then Ven. Sagata, having drunk pigeon's liquor in
house after house, passed out at the city gate as he was
leaving the city.
"Then the Blessed One, leaving the city with a large group
of bhikkhus, saw that Ven. Sagata had passed out at the city
gate. On seeing him, he addressed the bhikkhus, saying,
'Bhikkhus, pick up Sagata.'
"Answering, 'As you say, Lord,' the bhikkhus took Ven.
Sagata to the monastery and laid him down with his head
towards the Blessed One. Then Ven. Sagata turned around and
went to sleep with his feet toward the Blessed One. So the
Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying, 'In the past,
wasn't Sagata respectful to the Tathagata and deferential?'
"'But is he respectful to the Tathagata and deferential
"'And didn't Sagata do battle with the Ambatittha naga?'
"'But could he do battle with even a salamander now?'
Object. //Alcohol means// any alcoholic beverage made from grain,
yeast, or any combination of ingredients. Examples would include
whiskey, beer, vodka, and gin. //Fermented liquor// means any
alcoholic beverage made from flowers, fruits, honey, sugar, or any
combination of ingredients. Examples here would include wine, mead,
and rum. Together, the two terms are meant to cover all kinds of
There is some controversy as to what other substances would be
included in this factor in line with the Great Standards. Since the
Canon repeatedly criticizes alcohol on the grounds that it destroys
one's sense of shame, weakens one's discernment and can put one into
a stupor -- as happened to Ven. Sagata -- it seems reasonable to
extend this rule to other intoxicants, narcotics, and hallucinogens
as well. Thus things like marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, and
LSD would fulfill this factor. Coffee, tea, tobacco, and betel do
not have this effect, though, so there is no reason to include them
Items that look, smell, and taste like alcohol but are
non-alcoholic also do not come under this rule. Thus, for example,
carbonated apple juice that resembles champagne would not fulfill
Perception is not a mitigating factor under this rule. A bhikkhu
drinking champagne that he thinks to be carbonated apple juice
//would// fall under this factor, regardless of his ignorance.
Effort. The Vibhanga defines //drinking// as taking even as
little as the tip of a blade of grass. Thus taking a small glass of
wine, even though it might not be enough to make one drunk, would be
more than enough to fulfill this factor.
According to the Commentary, the number of offenses involved in
taking an alcoholic drink is determined by the number of separate
sips. As for intoxicants taken by means other than sipping, each
separate effort would count as an offense.
Non-offenses. The Vibhanga states that there is no offense in
taking alcohol "mixed in broth, meat, or oil." The Commentary
interprets the first two items as referring to sauces, stews, and
meat dishes to which alcoholic beverages, such as wine, are added
for flavoring before they are cooked. Since the alcohol would
evaporate during the cooking, it would have no intoxicating effect.
Foods containing unevaporated alcohol -- such as rum babas -- would
not be included under this allowance.
As for alcohol mixed in oil, this refers to a medicine used in the
Buddha's time for afflictions of the "wind element." The Mahavagga
(VI.14.1) allows this medicine for use only as long as the taste,
color, and smell of the alcohol are not perceptible. From this
point, the Vinaya Mukha argues that morphine and other narcotics
used as pain killers are allowable as well.
In addition, the Vibhanga states that there is no offense in
taking alcohol in molasses and embric myrobalan -- none of the texts
explain what this means -- or in taking fermented medicines that are
non-alcoholic, but whose color, taste, or smell is like alcohol.
Summary: Taking an intoxicant is a pacittiya offense
regardless of whether one is aware or not that it is an
* * *
52. Tickling with the fingers is to be confessed.
"Now at that time some group-of-six bhikkhus were making one
of the group of 17 laugh by tickling him with their fingers.
Convulsed with laughter and unable to catch his breath, he
There are three factors for the full offense here.
1) //Object//: another bhikkhu.
2) //Effort//: One touches any part of his body with any part of
one's own body
3) //Intention//: in order to to make him laugh.
Object. A bhikkhu is grounds for a pacittiya here; any unordained
person, grounds for a dukkata. The Commentary notes that even a
bhikkhuni counts as an unordained person in the context of this
rule, so a bhikkhu looking for a little fun can tickle one without
incurring a penalty stronger than a dukkata. There are occasional
attempts at humor in the Commentary, and we can probably write this
off as one of them.
Effort. This factor is fulfilled only by body-to-body contact, as
defined at length under Sanghadisesa 2. The following actions, if
done with the intent of making the other person laugh, would be
grounds for a dukkata here regardless of whether the person was
ordained or not:
using an item connected with the body -- such as a stick -- to
poke at the person;
touching an item connected with the other person's body;
tossing or dropping things on the other person.
Intention. If one has reasons for touching the other person aside
from wanting to make him laugh, there is no penalty in doing so.
Thus a bhikkhu massaging another bhikkhu's tired back commits no
offense if he inadvertently happens to touch a spot where the other
bhikkhu is ticklish.
"Result" is not a factor here. If one tickles another bhikkhu
with the thought of making him laugh, one commits the full offense
regardless of whether he actually laughs or not.
Summary: Tickling another bhikkhu is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
53. The act of playing in the water is to be confessed.
Here again, the factors for the full offense are three.
1) //Effort//: One jumps up or down, splashes or swims
2) //Object//: in water deep enough to immerse one's ankle
3) //Intention//: for fun.
Effort. According to the Commentary, each individual effort
counts as a separate offense. Thus if one is swimming for fun, one
incurs a pacittiya for each hand or foot stroke.
Object. Jumping up or down in water less than ankle deep entails
a dukkata, as does splashing water with the hands, feet, a stick, or
a piece of tile; playing with water in a tumbler or a bowl; or
playing with such things as sour gruel, milk, buttermilk, colored
dyes, urine, or mud.
The Vibhanga states that there is also a dukkata for playing in a
boat. This the Commentary defines as paddling a boat with an oar,
propelling it with a pole or pushing it up on shore.
Intention. The Vibhanga defines this factor as "for a laugh,"
which the Commentary translates as "for fun" or "for sport"
The question of swimming for fitness or exercise does not come up
in any of the texts, and seems to have been virtually unheard of in
Asia until recent times. Swimming in most Asian countries has long
been regarded as a childish form of play, and the one mention in the
Canon of athletic bhikkhus keeping their bodies in strong shape is
disparaging: In the origin story to Sanghadisesa 8, Ven. Dabba
Mallaputta assigned separate lodgings to different groups of
bhikkhus -- those who studied the Suttas, those who studied the
Vinaya, those who meditated, etc. -- and, finally, "for those
bhikkhus who lived indulging in animal talk and keeping their bodies
in strong shape, he assigned lodgings in the same place, 'So that
even these venerable ones will live as they like.'" Thus it does
not seem likely that the Buddha would have recognized physical
fitness as an appropriate reason for bhikkhus to go swimming.
On the other hand, if a bhikkhu has a medical reason for swimming
-- e.g., he has injured his shoulder, and his doctor has recommended
that he swim to help speed its healing -- this would probably count
as an instance of "having business to do in the water" and thus
would come under the relevant no-offense clause.
Non-offenses. The Vibhanga states that there is no offense in
jumping in or out of the water, swimming or using a boat --
if one goes into the water not for fun but because one has
business to do -- examples would include bathing or helping a
person who cannot swim;
if one is crossing to the other shore of a body of water; or
if there are dangers -- e.g., one is escaping a fire or a wild
Summary: Jumping and swimming in the water for fun is a
* * *
54. Disrespect is to be confessed.
This rule refers to cases where one has been admonished for one's
behavior. The factors for the full offense are two.
1) //Object//: One has been admonished by a fellow bhikkhu, who
cites a rule formulated in the Vinaya.
2) //Effort//: One shows disrespect for the bhikkhu or for the
Object. Only if the bhikkhu cites a rule in the Vinaya is this
factor grounds for a pacittiya. If he criticizes one's actions,
citing standards of behavior outside of the Vinaya -- e.g., he says
that one has been insensitive, out of touch with modern attitudes,
or whatever -- this factor becomes grounds for a dukkata.
If the person admonishing one is not a bhikkhu, then regardless of
whether he/she cites a rule in the Vinaya or standards of behavior
outside of the Vinaya, it is grounds for a dukkata.
Whether or not one views the admonition as valid is not an issue
here. Even if the other person is really an ignorant fool, has
misinterpreted the rule, or has cited some standard of behavior
having absolutely nothing to do with Buddhist practice, one should
be careful not to show disrespect in word or deed.
Effort. There are two possible targets for one's disrespect --
the person and the rule -- and two ways of showing it: by word or
//Disrespect for the person// includes --
saying things that show disrespect in either a crude or subtle
way, e.g., "Who are //you// to tell //me//?" "It's presumptuous
of you to pass judgment when you aren't in my position," "Your
critical attitude shows that you have some messy emotional
problems that you would be well-advised to look into," "Get
lost!" or "Go to hell!"
or making a rude gesture or even a slight facial expression to
show one's contempt.
//Disrespect for the rule// includes --
saying, "That's a stupid rule," "That rule doesn't apply to me;"
stubbornly repeating the action for which one was admonished (this
point is covered in Mv.IV,17.1-9);
or making a rude gesture, saying, "This is what I think of that
Further action. If one persists in acting disrespectfully when
being admonished, one may also be subject to Sanghadisesa 12 or to a
formal act of suspension.
Non-offenses. There is no offense if, being admonished, one
states simply that one was taught differently by one's teachers.
As the Dhammapada (verse 76) says, one should regard a person who
points out one's faults as a guide who points out hidden treasure.
If one shows disrespect to such a guide, it is unlikely that he/she
will feel inclined to point out any hidden treasure ever again.
A good example of how to receive admonishment was set by Ven.
Ananda during the First Council (Cv.XI.1.10). Although he was
admonished for committing acts that the Buddha had not declared to
be offenses, and although he did not see that he had committed any
error, still he willingly confessed his actions as offenses so as to
show good faith in his fellow bhikkhus.
Summary: Speaking or acting disrespectfully when being
admonished by another bhikkhu for a breach of the training
rules is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
55. Should any bhikkhu try to frighten another bhikkhu, it
is to be confessed.
There are three factors for the full offense here.
Intention. One wants to frighten the other person.
Effort. One arranges a frightening sight -- such as hanging a
sheet in a dark room so that it looks like a ghost; makes a
frightening sound, etc.; or describes dangers from ghosts, robbers,
or wild animals.
Object. The other person is a bhikkhu. Anyone who is not a
bhikkhu is grounds for a dukkata.
"Result" is not a factor here. If the three factors are
fulfilled, one commits the offense regardless of whether the other
person is actually frightened or not.
Non-offenses. To inform another person of dangers from ghosts,
robbers, etc., without intending to frighten him/her constitutes no
Summary: Attempting to frighten another bhikkhu is a
* * *
56. Should any bhikkhu who is not ill, seeking to warm
himself, kindle a fire or have one kindled -- unless there
is a suitable reason -- it is to be confessed.
"Now at that time, in the winter months, bhikkhus warmed
themselves, having kindled a fire by a certain large hollow
log. And in that hollow a cobra was scorched by the fire.
Coming out, it sprang at the bhikkhus. The bhikkhus ran off
every which way."
Here again the factors for the full offense are three.
1) //Object//: One is not ill.
2) //Effort//: One lights a fire or gets someone else to light
3) //Intention//: for the purpose of warming oneself.
Object. //Not ill//, in the context of this rule, means that one
can fare comfortably without warming oneself. The Vibhanga makes
the point that perception is not a mitigating factor here: Even if
one perceives oneself to be ill in these terms, but actually isn't,
that still fulfills this factor. What this means is that when it is
chilly outside, one should be very sure that extra warmth is
necessary for one's health before going ahead and lighting a fire to
Effort. //Lighting a fire// at present would include turning on
the flame in a heating system in one's dwelling for the sake of the
warmth. Solar or electric heating systems, which do not use flames,
would not be included here.
If, when not ill, one gets someone else to light a fire for the
purpose of warming oneself, there is a pacittiya in making the
order/request/suggestion, and another pacittiya when the other
person lights the fire. To return a burning piece of fuel to a fire
is grounds for a dukkata; adding new fuel to a fire -- according to
the Commentary -- is grounds for a pacittiya.
Intention. There is no offense if one lights a fire, or has one
lit, for purposes other than warming oneself. Thus one may light a
lamp or light a fire to boil water, burn dead leaves, or fire an
alms bowl without penalty. The Cullavagga (V.32.1) says that if a
forest fire is approaching one's dwelling, one may light a
counter-fire to ward off its approach. In other circumstances,
though, Pacittiya 10 would impose a penalty for lighting a fire on
top of "live" soil, and Pacittiya 11 would impose a further penalty
for damaging plant life.
Non-offenses. In addition, there is no offense in warming oneself
at raked-out coals or at a fire lit by someone else (not at one's
request). And there is no offense in lighting a fire when there are
dangers, which the Commentary says refers to cases when one is
bitten by a snake (and wants to make the snake-bite medicine
mentioned under Pacittiya 40), when one is surrounded by robbers, or
disturbed by non-human beings or beasts of prey.
Cv.V.14.1 allows bhikkhus to use a "fire hall," similar to a sauna
at present, for the purpose of inducing perspiration for health
reasons. According to the Vibhanga, there is no offense in lighting
a fire in a place such as this.
The purpose of this rule is suggested by a passage in the
Anguttara Nikaya (V.219) that lists the five disadvantages of
sitting around a fire: It is bad for one's eyes, bad for one's
skin, bad for one's strength and (most importantly, in this context)
groups tend to form (that can turn into factions), and they spend
their time in "animal talk."
Summary: Lighting a fire to warm oneself -- or having it
lit -- when one does not need the warmth for one's health is
a pacittiya offense.
* * *
57. Should any bhikkhu bathe at intervals of less than half
a month, except at the proper occasions, it is to be
confessed. Here the proper occasions are these: the last
month and a half of the hot season, the first month of the
rains, these two and a half months being a time of heat, a
time of fever; (also) a time of illness; a time of work; a
time of going on a journey; a time of wind or rain. These
are the proper times here.
"Now at that time bhikkhus were bathing in the hot spring
(at Rajagaha). Then King Seniya Bimbisara of Magadha,
having gone to the hot spring with the thought, 'I will
bathe my head,' waited to one side, thinking, 'I will wait
as long as the masters are bathing.' The bhikkhus bathed
"Then King Seniya Bimbisara of Magadha, after having bathed
his head at the wrong time (night) -- the gates of the city
being closed -- spent the night outside the city
walls....(The Buddha learned of the incident and rebuked the
bhikkhus:) 'How can you worthless men, having seen the
king, bathe not knowing moderation?'"
The original formulation of this rule -- with no allowance for
"proper occasions" -- seems to have been intended as a temporary
disciplinary measure for the bhikkhus who had inconvenienced the
king. (There was a similar temporary rule, against eating mangoes
(Cv.V.5.1), that the Buddha formulated when King Bimbisara had
invited the bhikkhus to help themselves to his mangoes, and some
group-of-six bhikkhus went and took all the mangoes in his park,
even the unripe ones. The rule was later rescinded (Cv.V.5.2) when
the Buddha allowed bhikkhus to eat any and all fruit as long as it
was allowable in any of the five ways mentioned under Pacittiya 11.)
As for this rule: Once the proper occasions were added, they
relaxed it considerably. For instance:
//a time of illness// is any time when one does not feel
comfortable without bathing;
//a time of work// can involve as little work as sweeping out
//a time of going on a journey// is whenever one is about to go,
is going or has gone on a trip of at least half a league
(approximately 5 miles/8 kilometers);
//a time of wind and rain// is whenever a dusty wind blows and at
least two or three drops of rain fall on one's body.
In addition, the Mahavagga (V.13) tells the story of Ven. Maha
Kaccana's leaving the middle Ganges Valley and settling in Avanti,
to the south. After some time, one of his students -- Ven. Sona
Kutikanna -- asked permission to visit the Buddha. Ven. Maha
Kaccana gave his permission, together with a request to convey to
the Buddha: that certain rules inappropriate for areas outside of
the Ganges Valley -- this rule among them -- be rescinded for
bhikkhus living in outlying districts. The Buddha complied with the
request and defined the outlying districts in such a way that there
is nowhere in the world outside of the middle Ganges Valley where
this rule applies.
Offenses. For those who live in the middle Ganges Valley, the
offenses for bathing more frequently than once a fortnight outside
of the proper occasions are these: a dukkata for every time one
scrubs oneself with //chunam// (bathing powder) or clay (soap), and
a pacittiya when one has finished bathing.
Perception is not a mitigating factor here: Even if one miscounts
the days, one is still subject to the offense.
Non-offenses. In addition to the allowances to bathe more
frequently than once a fortnight during the proper occasions or in
areas outside the middle Ganges Valley, there is no offense in
bathing more frequently if one is crossing a river or if there are
dangers. This last allowance the Commentary explains with an
example: One is being chased by bees and so jumps into the water to
Summary: Bathing more frequently than once a fortnight when
residing in the middle Ganges Valley, except on certain
occasions, is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
58. When a bhikkhu receives a new robe, any one of three
means of discoloring it is to be applied: green, brown, or
black. If a bhikkhu should make use of a new robe without
applying any of the three means of discoloring it, it is to
"Now at that time many bhikkhus and wanderers were traveling
from Saketa to Savatthi. On the way, thieves came out and
robbed them. Royal officials, coming out of Savatthi and
capturing the thieves with the goods, sent a messenger to
the bhikkhus, saying, 'Come, revered sirs, let each identify
his own robes and take them.' The bhikkhus could not
identify their robes. People were offended and annoyed and
spread it about, 'How can revered ones not identify their
Protocol. As this rule indicates, a bhikkhu should wear robes only
that have been marked with an identifying mark. The Vibhanga does
not go into any great detail on procedures for marking a robe, aside
from saying that the mark may be as small as the tip of a blade of
grass, and can be made with any of the colors mentioned in the rule.
(The color green in Pali also covers the color blue, so a mark made
with blue ink would be acceptable.)
The Commentary goes into more detail: After the robe has been
dyed, one should make a round mark no smaller than the size of a
bedbug's back and no larger than the iris of a peacock's eye in all
four corners of the robe, three corners, two, or one, as one sees
fit. Only round marks are allowable. Such things as lines or
angular marks (squares, triangles, or stars) are not.
As the Vibhanga notes, once the robe has been marked, there is no
need to mark it again, even if the mark wears off, the marked part
of the robe gets torn (%), one sews a marked cloth together with an
unmarked one, or one patches, darns, or adds a hem to a marked robe.
If Bhikkhu X marks a robe and then gives it to Bhikkhu Y, Y may wear
it without having to mark it again.
In Thailand at present, the custom is to make three small dots in
one corner of the robe, saying,"//Imam bindu-kappam karomi//," (I
make this properly marked) while making each dot. This procedure
does not appear in the Canon or commentaries, but does not conflict
with any of them.
The factors for the offense here are two: //object// -- a new
robe; and //effort// -- one makes use of it without first marking
Object. According to the Vibhanga, a //new robe// here refers to
one made out of any of the six kinds of robe-cloth and not yet
marked. Thus an unmarked cloth kept for a long time is still
regarded as new. The Commentary adds that //robe// in the context
of this rule refers specifically to robes that can be worn over the
shoulders or around the waist -- i.e., lower robes, upper robes,
outer robes, rains-bathing cloths, skin-eruption covering cloths --
and not to ordinary pieces of cloth or other cloth items such as
sitting cloths, handkerchiefs, or shoulder bags. Any cloth
requisite that is not a robe in this sense is not grounds for an
offense. Shoulder cloths (//ansa//) were not worn in the time of
the Commentary, but would seem to fall under this factor, as would
any other item a bhikkhu might wear around his body.
Effort. The Vibhanga defines this factor with the verb "use"
(//paribhunjati//), while the K/Commentary is more specific in
saying that this factor is fulfilled when one wears the robe over
the shoulders or around the waist. Since the mark is to be added
only after the robe is dyed, this factor does not cover such things
as trying on a new robe while it is being sewn but has yet to be
Non-offenses. As noted above, there is no offense --
in using a robe that has been properly marked;
in using a robe whose mark has worn off (as in washing); or
in using a robe whose marked corner has been torn off or otherwise
There is also no need to remark a marked robe if one sews it
together with an unmarked piece of cloth, or if one patches it,
darns it, or adds a new hem to it.
The K/Commentary adds that if one's robes have been stolen,
destroyed, etc., one may wear an unmarked piece of cloth without
committing an offense.
Summary: Wearing an unmarked robe is a pacittiya offense.
* * *
59. Should any bhikkhu, himself having placed robe-cloth
under shared ownership (vikappana) with a bhikkhu, a
bhikkhuni, a female probationer, a male novice, or a female
novice, then make use of the cloth without the shared
ownership's being rescinded, it is to be confessed.
Shared ownership. As mentioned in the explanations to NP 1,
//vikappana// is an arrangement whereby a bhikkhu places a robe or
robe-cloth under shared ownership so that he may store it for any
length of time without its being counted as an extra cloth. One may
share ownership with novices, bhikkhunis, female probationers, and
female novices, as well as with one's fellow bhikkhus.
Passages in the Mahvagga (VIII.20.2; VIII.21.1) show that shared
ownership is intended for cloth that is being stored, and not for
cloth in use. Cloth that has not been made into a finished robe,
rains-bathing cloths being kept during the eight months of the year
outside of the rainy season, and skin-eruption covering cloths being
kept when they are not needed, may all be placed under shared
ownership. The three basic robes, miscellaneous requisites,
handkerchiefs, and the sitting cloth may not. As this rule states,
when a bhikkhu wants to use a piece of cloth placed under shared
ownership, the shared ownership must first be rescinded.
Protocol. The Vibhanga to this rule explains how cloth may be
placed under shared ownership, but unfortunately the explanation is
rather terse, so we will have to discuss two alternative
//What the Vibhanga says//. One may place a piece of cloth under
dual ownership only if it is one of the six kinds of robe-cloth
discussed under NP 1, and it measures at least four by eight
fingerbreadths. There are two ways of placing it under dual
ownership: in the presence of (the second owner presumably,
although this is a controversial point) or in the absence of (again,
this would seem to mean the second owner).
In the first method, one says, "I place this robe-cloth under
shared ownership with you (plural)" or "with so-and-so." (The Pali
formulae for this and the following procedures are in Appendix V.)
This is as far as the Vibhanga explains the method, but it seems to
refer to two ways of doing the procedure in the presence of the
second owner: One uses "you (plural)" if the other owner is a
bhikkhu with more seniority than oneself; and the second owner's
name if he/she is a junior bhikkhu, a bhikkhuni, female probationer,
or male or female novice. (Passages throughout the Canon show that
it was considered disrespectful to refer to a senior person by his
name in his presence. Buddhists, for instance, would never address
the Buddha as Gotama, although members of other sects often did. At
Mv.I.74.1, Ven. Ananda says that he is not worthy enough to refer to
Ven. Maha Kassapa by name, as the latter is his teacher.)
The Vibhanga does not say how shared ownership is to be rescinded
in a case like this, although the K/Commentary gives a formula for
the second owner to say: "Use what is mine, give it away, or do as
you like with it."
In the second method, one gives the cloth to a witness and says,
"I give this robe-cloth to you to place under shared ownership."
The witness then says, "Who are your friends and acquaintances?"
One then names two of one's friends (with whom one has made an
arrangement for using one another's belongings on trust), and the
witness says, "I give it to them. Use what is theirs, give it away
or do as you like with it."
This second method, apparently, is for use in situations where one
has an extra cloth whose time span is almost up, and one is far away
from any co-religionist with whom one has made an arrangement to use
one another's belongings on trust.
What is happening in the procedure is that one is giving the cloth
away to the witness; the witness then places it with one as a gift
to one's friends. Since one already has permission to use their
things on trust, one may freely make use of the cloth if one wants
to, or simply keep it for any number of days if not. (See
Mv.V.13.13.) Cases of placing gifts in trust in this way are
discussed in detail at Mv.VIII.31.2-3. According to those passages,
the witness has no business in giving one permission to use the
cloth after having given it to the two other people; perhaps the
statement is included to show that all sides involved -- the witness
and the two new owners of the cloth -- are agreeable to one's making
use of the cloth. If the two new owners have not previously given
one permission to use their belongings on trust, one may //not//
make use of the cloth until they give express permission to do so,
although one may keep it for any number of days without incurring a
penalty under NP 1.
//What the K/Commentary says//. The Commentary has nothing to say
about these procedures, while the K/Commentary goes into great
detail, reworking the Vibhanga's descriptions to come up with three
In the first method, "in the presence of," one says in the
presence of the second owner, "I place this robe-cloth under shared
ownership with you." The shared ownership is rescinded when the
second owner/witness gives one permission to use the cloth, give it
away, or do as one likes with it.
In the second method -- which the K/Commentary also calls "in the
presence of" -- one says in the presence of a witness who is not the
second owner, "I place this robe-cloth under shared ownership with
so-and-so." The shared ownership is rescinded when the witness
gives one permission to use the cloth, give it away, or do as one
likes with it.
In the third method, "in the absence of," one gives the cloth to a
witness, saying, "I give this robe-cloth to you to place under
shared ownership." The witness says, "Who is a friend or
acquaintance of yours?" One names a friend, and the witness says,
"I give it to him/her. Use what is his/hers, give it away, or do as
you like with it." The shared ownership is rescinded when the
witness says this.
There are a number of problems with the K/Commentary's
interpretations. First, it is hard to see any practical difference
between its methods 2 and 3, why one should be called "in the
presence of" and the other "in the absence of," and in method 2 why
the witness should have the right to give one permission to use an
article that strictly speaking belongs to someone else.
Secondly, the K/Commentary's method for "in the absence of"
deviates from the Vibhanga's description of the method. In the
Vibhanga's description, the witness places the cloth under shared
ownership with two of one's friends, while in the K/Commentary's
description, he/she places it under shared ownership with one. Why
this should be the case, none of the texts explains.
For these reasons, it would seem that the previous explanation --
that there are two methods, as described in the Vibhanga -- is
preferable to the K/Commentary's.
The factors for the offense here are two: //object// -- any one
of the six kinds of robe-cloth, measuring at least four by eight
fingerbreadths, that one has placed under shared ownership; and
//effort// -- one uses the cloth without the shared ownership's
The K/Commentary notes that this rule applies not only to
robe-cloth, but also to bowls as well. There is nothing in any of
the other texts on this point, but the Great Standards would seem to
Non-offenses. There is no offense in using an item placed under
shared ownership if the shared ownership has been rescinded, or if
one makes use of the item on trust. The factors for legitimately
taking an item on trust are as follows (Mv.VIII.19.1):
1) The other person is an acquaintance.
2) He/she is one's friend.
3) He/she has spoken of the matter. (According to the Commentary,
this means that he/she has said, "You may take any of my property
4) He/she is still alive; and
5) one knows that he/she will not mind.
These factors are discussed in detail under Parajika 2.
The K/Commentary's analysis of the factors involved in committing
an offense under this rule suggests that when an item placed under
shared ownership is taken on trust, the shared ownership is
automatically rescinded, and the item reverts to the status of extra
cloth or an extra bowl, as the case may be.
Summary: Making use of cloth or a bowl stored under shared
ownership -- unless the shared ownership has been rescinded
or one is taking the item on trust -- is a pacittiya
* * *
60. Should any bhikkhu hide (another) bhikkhu's bowl, robe,
sitting cloth, needle case, or belt -- or have it hidden --
even as a joke, it is to be confessed.
This is another rule that comes from some members of the group of
six teasing the children in the group of 17. The factors for the
full offense are three.
Object: any of the requisites mentioned in the rule, belonging to
a bhikkhu. //Robe// here means any piece of robe material measuring
at least four by eight fingerbreadths, except for sitting cloths,
which are mentioned separately. //Needle case// covers not only
cases that contain needles and but also empty ones. Any requisite
not mentioned in the rule but belonging to a bhikkhu is grounds for
a dukkata, as is any requisite belonging to a person who is not a
Effort. One hides the article or has it hidden. In the latter
case -- assuming that the other factors are fulfilled -- there is a
pacittiya in making the request/command/suggestion, and another
pacittiya when the other person does one's bidding.
Intention. One is doing it as a game. The Sub-commentary makes
clear that the "game" here can either be friendly or malicious. If
one hides the other bhikkhu's requisites out of the perverse
pleasure of annoying him, or simply for a friendly laugh, one
commits the full offense all the same.
Non-offenses. There is no offense if --
not as a game, one puts away properly items that have been put
away improperly (%), e.g., a bowl left hanging on a peg (see
one puts away an item, thinking, "I will give it back (to him)
after having given him a Dhamma talk." //Dhamma talk// here, the
Commentary says, refers to such admonitions as, "A contemplative
should not leave his requisites scattered around." Hiding things
with this purpose in mind is sometimes an effective way for a
teacher to train his students to stop being careless with their
belongings, but it should be used with discretion, for it can
Summary: Hiding another bhikkhu's bowl, robe, sitting
cloth, needle case, or belt -- or having it hid -- either as
a joke or with the purpose of annoying him, is a pacittiya
* * * * * * * *