The Buddhist Monastic Code
The Patimokkha Training Rules
Translated & Explained
Chapter 3: Disrobing
Chapter 4: Parajika
Chapter 5: Sanghadisesa
Chapter 6: Aniyata
Chapter 7: Nissaggiya pacittiya
One: The Robe-cloth Chapter
The first rule in the Patimokkha opens with the statement that it -- and, by extension, every other rule in the Patimokkha -- applies to all bhikkhus who have not disrobed by renouncing the training and returning to the lay life. Thus the Vibhanga begins its explanations by discussing what does and does not count as a valid act of disrobing. Because this is, in effect, the escape clause for all the rules, I am discussing it first as a separate chapter, for if a bhikkhu disrobes in an invalid manner, he still counts as a bhikkhu and is subject to the rules whether he realizes it or not. If he then were to break any of the Parajika rules, he would be disqualified from ever becoming a bhikkhu again in this lifetime.
To disrobe, a bhikkhu with firm intent states in the presence of a witness words to the effect that he is renouncing the training. The validity of the act depends on four factors:
1. The bhikkhu's state of mind.
2. His intention.
3. His statement.
4. The witness to his statement.
State of mind. The bhikkhu must be in his right mind. Any statement he makes while insane, crazed with pain, or possessed by spirits does not count.
Intention. He must seriously desire to leave the Community. If, without actually intending to disrobe, he makes any of the statements usually used for disrobing, it does not count as an act of disrobing. For example, if he makes the statement in jest or is telling someone else how to disrobe, the fact that he mentions the words does not mean that he has disrobed. Also, if he says one thing and means something else -- e.g., if he makes a slip of the tongue -- that too does not count.
The statement. The Vibhanga gives a wide variety of statements that one may use to renounce the training. The most basic one follows the form, "I renounce x," where x may be replaced with the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha, the training, the discipline (vinaya), the Patimokkha, the chaste life, one's preceptor, one's teacher, one's fellow bhikkhus, or any equivalent terms. Other examples follow similar forms, such as, "I am tired of x," "What is x to me?" "X means nothing to me," or "I am well freed of x." A separate form follows the pattern, "Consider me to be y,"where y may be replaced with a householder, a lay follower, a novice, a member of another sect, an adherent of another sect, or any other equivalent term.
The Vibhanga stipulates that the statement may not be put in the conditional tense ("Suppose I were to renounce the training"), and the Commentary further stipulates that the "x" statements must be in the present tense. Thus to say, "I have renounced the training," or "I will renounce the training," would not be a valid statement of disrobing.
The witness must be a human being in his or her right mind, and must understand what the bhikkhu says. This rules out the practice legendary in Thailand of bhikkhus who disrobe by taking a Buddha image as their witness, or who disrobe in front of a Bodhi tree on the assumption that the tree deity counts.
These four factors cover all that is absolutely necessary for an act of disrobing to be valid. However, each of the different national traditions has developed a set of formal ceremonies to surround the act -- such as making a final confession of all one's offenses and reciting the passage for reflection on one's past use of the four requisites -- to give psychological weight to the occasion and to help minimize any sense of remorse one may feel afterwards.
Because disrobing is a serious act with strong consequences for one's mental and spiritual well being, it should be done only after due consideration. Once a bhikkhu decides that he does want to disrobe, he would be wise to follow not only the stipulations given in the texts but also any additional customs dictated by the traditions of his particular Community, as a sign to himself and to others that he is acting seriously and with due respect both for the religion and for himself.
This term, according to the Parivara, derives from a verb meaning to lose or be defeated. A bhikkhu who commits any of the four following offenses has surrendered to his own mental defilements to such an extent that he defeats the purpose of his having become a bhikkhu in the first place. The irrevocable nature of this defeat is illustrated in the Vibhanga with a number of similes: "as a man with his head cut off... as a withered leaf freed from its stem... as a flat stone that has been broken in half cannot be put together again... as a palm tree cut off at the crown is incapable of further growth." A bhikkhu who commits any of these offenses severs himself irrevocably from the life of the Sangha and is no longer considered a bhikkhu.
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1. Should any bhikkhu -- participating in the training and livelihood of the bhikkhus, without having renounced the training, without having declared his weakness -- engage in the sexual act, even with a female animal, he is defeated and no longer in communion.
Effort. In this rule, the term sexual act refers to all kinds of sexual intercourse. The Vibhanga classifies the various types of intercourse by the organs involved -- the genitals, the mouth, the anus -- and in any of the possible combinations (except for mouth-to-mouth, which is treated separately under Sanghadisesa 2, below), the sexual act has been performed when one organ enters the other even if just to "the extent of a sesame seed." This means that a bhikkhu engaging in genital, oral, or anal intercourse is subject to this rule regardless of which role he plays. The question of whether there is a covering, such as a condom, between the organs is irrelevant, as are the questions of whether the bhikkhu is actively or passively involved, and whether or not any of the parties involved reaches orgasm.
Object. The full penalty under this rule applies to any voluntary sexual intercourse with a human being, a "non-human" being (a yakkha, naga, or peta), or a common animal, whether female, male, neuter, or hermaphrodite.
Performing the sexual act with a dead body -- even a decapitated head -- also entails the full penalty if the remains of the body are intact enough for the act to be accomplished.
The Vinita Vatthu also lists two examples of "self-intercourse": A bhikkhu with a supple back takes his penis into his mouth, and a bhikkhu with an unusually long penis inserts it into his anus. Both cases carry the full penalty, which shows that one's own anal and oral orifices can fulfill the factor of object here.
Knowledge & consent. For the sexual act to count as an offense, the bhikkhu must know that it is happening and give his consent. Thus if he is sexually assaulted while asleep or otherwise unconscious and remains oblivious to what is happening, he incurs no penalty. If, however, he becomes conscious during the assault or was conscious right from the start, then whether he incurs a penalty depends on whether he gives his consent during any part of the act.
Strangely enough, neither the Canon nor the Commentary discusses the factor of consent in any detail, except to mention by way of passing that it can apply to the stage of inserting, being fully inserted, staying in place, or pulling out. From the examples in the Vinita Vatthu, it would appear that consent refers to a mental state of acquiescence, together with its physical or verbal expression. Mere physical compliance does not count, as there are cases where bhikkhus forced into intercourse comply physically but without consenting mentally and so are absolved of any offense; but there is some question as to whether a bhikkhu who consents mentally to letting the sexual act happen would incur the penalty if he simply lies still and lets it happen, or if he would have to indicate his consent with a verbal act or physical motion.
As we mentioned in Chapter 1, the rules contain two patterns concerning what does and does not count as a physical expression of consent when one is forced into a situation that would break a rule. In two of the Vinita Vatthu cases mentioned under this rule, bhikkhus are approached by women who volunteer to fondle them to the point where they emit semen (%). Both bhikkhus let them go ahead, and both incur the full penalty under Sanghadisesa 1. In such cases, simply letting the act happen counts as physical acquiescence. Under Sanghadisesa 2, however, if a bhikkhu is approached by a woman who fondles his body, and he consents mentally to what she is doing, he incurs a penalty if he says something or makes a physical move to indicate that consent, but no penalty if he remains perfectly still.
None of the texts explain why there are these two patterns, but two possibilities suggest themselves: (1) It is physically impossible to emit semen and to enjoy the emission without the body's moving in one way or another. (2) One is not necessarily responsible if a woman simply makes contact with one's body, even if one enjoys the contact; but if one is happy to let her get to the point where she has one ejaculating, one cannot deny responsibility for what is happening. In either case, this rule would seem to follow the pattern for Sanghadisesa 1: If one is sexually assaulted, one is completely absolved from an offense only if (1) one does not give one's mental consent at any time during the act or (2) one does feel mental consent during at least part of the act but puts up a struggle so as not to express that consent physically or verbally in any way. If one puts up no struggle and feels mental consent, even if only fleetingly during the stage of inserting, being fully inserted, staying in place, or pulling out, one incurs the full penalty.
This would seem to be the basis for the Commentary's warning in its discussion of the Vinita Vatthu case in which a bhikkhu wakes up to find himself being sexually assaulted by a woman, gives her a kick, and sends her rolling. The warning: This is how a bhikkhu still subject to sensual lust should act if he wants to protect his state of mind.
Derived offenses. The only thullaccaya directly related to this rule is for the unlikely case of a bhikkhu who attempts intercourse with the decomposed mouth, anus, or genitals of a corpse. (!) To attempt intercourse with any other part of a dead body or with any part of an insentient object, such as an inflatable doll or mannikin, incurs a dukkata.
The Vibhanga states that if a bhikkhu attempts intercourse with any part of a living being's body apart from the three orifices, the case falls under the Sanghadisesa rules -- either Sanghadisesa 1 for intentional ejaculation or Sanghadisesa 2 for lustful bodily contact. As we shall see below, the penalties assigned in the latter case are as follows: if the partner is a woman, a sanghadisesa; if a pandaka (see Sanghadisesa 2), a thullaccaya; if a man or a common animal, a dukkata. We can infer from the Vibhanga's ruling here that if a bhikkhu has an orgasm while attempting intercourse with the decomposed mouth, anus, or genitals of a corpse, with any other part of a dead body, or with any part of an insentient object, the case comes under Sanghadisesa 1.
The Commentary disagrees with the Vibhanga on these points, however, saying that the derived offenses under this rule can include only dukkata and thullaccaya penalties. In its explanation of Sanghadisesa 1, it sets forth a system of eleven types of lust in which the lust for the pleasure of bringing about an ejaculation, lust for the pleasure of bodily contact, and lust for the pleasure of intercourse are treated as completely separate things that must be treated under separate rules. Thus, it says, if a bhikkhu aiming at intercourse takes hold of a woman's body, it is simply a preliminary to intercourse and thus entails only a dukkata, rather than a sanghadisesa for lustful bodily contact. Similarly, if he has a premature ejaculation before beginning intercourse, there is no offense at all.
These are fine academic distinctions and are clearly motivated by a desire to draw neat lines between the rules, but they lead to practical problems. As the Commentary itself points out, if a bhikkhu commits an act that falls near the borderline between these rules, but cannot later report precisely which type of lust he was feeling in the heat of the moment, there is no way his case can be judged and a penalty assigned. At any rate, though, there is no basis in the Canon for the Commentary's system, and in fact it contradicts not only the Vibhanga's ruling mentioned above, but also its definition of "lustful" under Sanghadisesas 2, 3, & 4, which is exactly the same for all three rules and places no limits on the type of lust involved. All of this leads to the conclusion that the Commentary's neat system is invalid, and that the Vibhanga's judgment holds: If a bhikkhu attempts intercourse with any part of a living being's body apart from the three orifices, the case falls under the Sanghadisesa rules -- either Sanghadisesa 1 for intentional ejaculation or Sanghadisesa 2 for lustful bodily contact -- rather than here.
Blanket exemptions. In addition to bhikkhus who do not know they are being assaulted or do not give their consent when they do know, the Vibhanga states that there are four special categories of bhikkhus exempted from a penalty under this rule: any bhikkhu who is insane, possessed by spirits, delirious with pain, or the first offender (in this case, Ven. Sudinna) whose actions prompted the Buddha to formulate the rule in the first place. The Commentary notes that anyone who "goes about in an unseemly way, with deranged perceptions, having cast away all sense of conscience and shame, not knowing whether he has transgressed major or minor training rules," counts as insane here. It recognizes this as a medical condition, which it blames on the bile. As for spirit possession, it says that this can happen either when spirits frighten one or when, by distracting one with sensory images, they insert their hands into one's heart by way of one's mouth. (!) At any rate, it notes, insane and possessed bhikkhus are exempt from penalties they incur only when their perceptions are deranged ("when their mindfulness is entirely forgotten, and they don't know what fire, gold, excrement, and sandalwood are") and not from any they incur during their lucid moments. As for a bhikkhu overcome with pain, he is exempt from penalties he incurs only during periods when the pain is so great that he does not know what he is doing.
These four categories are exempted from penalties under all of the rules, although the first offender for each rule is exempted only for the one time he acted in such a way as to provoke the Buddha into formulating the rule. I will not mention these categories again, but the reader should bear them in mind as being exempt in every case.
Lastly, the Vinita Vatthu to this rule includes an interesting case that formed the basis for an additional rule:
"At that time a certain monk had gone to the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood at Vesali to pass the day and was sleeping, having left the door open. His various limbs were stiff with the 'wind forces' (i.e., he had an erection). Now at that time a large company of women bearing garlands and scents came to the park, headed for the vihara. Seeing the bhikkhu, they sat down on his male organ and, having taken their pleasure and remarking, 'What a bull of a man!' they went on their way, taking up their garlands and scents."
The bhikkhu incurred no penalty, but the Buddha gave formal permission to close the door when resting during the day.
Summary: Voluntary sexual intercourse -- genital, anal, or oral -- with a human being, non-human being, or common animal is a parajika offense.
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2. Should any bhikkhu, in the manner of stealing, take what is not given from an inhabited area or from the wilderness -- just as when, in the taking of what is not given, kings arresting the criminal would flog, imprison, or banish him, saying, "You are a robber, you are a fool, you are benighted, you are a thief" -- a bhikkhu in the same way taking what is not given is defeated and no longer in communion.
This rule against stealing is, in the working out of its details, the most complex in the Patimokkha and requires the most explanation -- not that stealing is a concept especially hard to understand, simply that it can take so many forms.
The Vibhanga defines the act of stealing in terms of four factors:
1) Object: anything belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
2) Perception: One perceives that the object belongs to another person, etc.
3) Intention: One decides to steal it.
4) Effort: One takes possession of it.
Stealing under any circumstances is always an offense. However, the severity of the offense depends on another factor, which is --
5) The value of the object.
Object. For an object to qualify as what is not given -- the rule's term for anything that may be the object of a theft -- it must belong to someone else. In all of the cases that the Canon discusses under this rule, that "someone else" is either an individual human being or a group of human beings. The question of property belonging to the Sangha logically fits here, but because the topic is fairly complex, I will treat it as a special case below.
A further stipulation is that the owner or person responsible for guarding the object has neither given nor thrown it away. Thus there is no offense for a bhikkhu who takes a discarded object, such as rags from a pile of refuse; or unclaimed things from a wilderness. The Vinita Vatthu mentions an interesting case in which the groundskeeper in an orchard permits bhikkhus to take fruit from the orchard, even though he was not authorized to do so. The bhikkhus committed no offense.
The Commentary, in passing, mentions objects belonging to a cetiya (e.g., a stupa or a Buddha image) as also qualifying as "not given" under this rule. Although the Vibhanga to NP 30 and Pc 81 refers to objects of this sort, for some reason the Vibhanga to this rule doesn't mention them. Nevertheless, the Commentary's judgment here reflects a custom that had become widespread by its time, that of giving very valuable items to a cetiya and dedicating them, not to the Sangha, but to the Buddha or the cetiya itself. The jewels decorating the reliquary of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy or the offerings to the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok would fall under this category.
Items belonging to common animals or petas are not covered by this rule. Thus there is no offense in taking the remains of a wolf's kill, regardless of how possessive the wolf may feel (although the Commentary wisely notes that a bhikkhu should not take the kill until after the wolf has had a chance to feed on it, for otherwise he will have trouble keeping the wolf away). The Commentary classes devas under petas here and states that a bhikkhu may take a deva's belongings with no penalty. It illustrates this point with two examples, one reasonable and the other not. In the first, a bhikkhu takes a piece of cloth left hanging on a tree as an offering to a deva. In the second, a bhikkhu with clairvoyant powers gains a vision of Sakka, the king of the devas, who is wearing an expensive cloth. The bhikkhu takes the cloth with the intention of making a robe for himself, even though Sakka keeps screaming, "Don't take it! Don't take it!" This latter example may have been included in the Commentary simply for its shock value in order to wake up sleepy students in the back of the room. Although the bhikkhu in question would probably incur no offense, there's no denying that he is a fool.
The term peta also includes human corpses. In the early days of the Sangha, bhikkhus were expected to make their robes from discarded cloth, one source being the cloths used to wrap corpses laid in charnel grounds. (The bhikkhus would wash and boil the cloth before using it themselves.) However, they were not to take cloth from undecomposed bodies, and this was for a reason.
"At one time a certain bhikkhu went to the charnel ground and took hold of discarded cloth on a body not yet decomposed. The spirit of the dead one was dwelling in the body. It said to the bhikkhu, 'Honored sir, don't take hold of my cloak.' The bhikkhu, ignoring it, went off (with the cloak). The body, arising, followed closely on the heels of the bhikkhu until the bhikkhu, entering the vihara, closed the door, and the body fell down right there."
The story gives no further details, and we are left to imagine for ourselves both the bhikkhu's state of mind while being chased by the body and his friends' reaction to the event. As is usual with the stories in the Vibhanga, the more outrageous the event, the more matter-of-fact is its telling, and the more its humor lies in the understatement.
At any rate, as a result of this incident the Buddha laid down a dukkata for taking cloth from an undecomposed body -- which, according to the Commentary, means one that is still warm.
Perception. For the act of taking "what is not given" to count as theft, one must also perceive the object as being something not given. Thus there is no offense if one takes an object, even if it is "not given," if one sincerely believes that it is ownerless or thrown away. Similarly, if a bhikkhu takes an object mistaking it for his own or as belonging to a friend who has given him permission to take his things on trust, there is no offense. Or again, a bhikkhu who takes things from the Community's common stores, on the assumption that he has the right to help himself, commits no offense even if the assumption proves false.
Intention. The act of taking "what is not given," even when one perceives it as "not given," counts as theft only if one's intention is to steal it. Thus if a bhikkhu takes an object on loan or on trust, he commits no offense. According to the Commentary, to take something on loan means that one has the intention that, "I'll return it," or "I'll make compensation."
As for taking an object on trust, Mv.VIII.19.1 lists five conditions that must be met if a bhikkhu is rightly to take an object on trust:
a. The owner is a friend.
b. He/she is an intimate.
c. He/she has given one permission to take from his/her things.
d. He/she is still alive.
e. One is confident that he/she will not mind.
If any of these factors is lacking -- for example, the owner is a good friend but has never given explicit permission to take from his/her things -- one has no right to take the things on trust. However, the Vinita Vatthu gives the case of a bhikkhu who takes an item mistakenly thinking that he had the right to take it on trust; the Buddha termed this a "misconception as to trust" and did not impose a penalty.
The most common problem that arises in this area is when one sincerely assumes that the owner will not mind, but it turns out that he/she does. In cases of this sort there is no offense, and the matter is left to the bhikkhu and the owner to settle on their own as amicably as possible.
A bhikkhu who, seeing an article left in a place where it might be damaged, puts it in safe keeping for the owner, commits no offense.
For some reason, none of the texts discuss the case of a bhikkhu taking an object when he is unsure as to whether it is not given. Because this case is a very real possibility, I would like to offer the following conjecture. Once the actual status of the object has been determined, the case should be judged in line with the bhikkhu's intention. If his intention was, "If this is not given, I'm stealing it. If it's not not given, I'm taking it rightly," then, if the object is actually not given, all the factors for an offense would be present. He would be guilty of stealing and would incur the penalty determined by the value of the object. If the object is not not given, then he would not be guilty of stealing, but would still incur the dukkata for acting out of uncertainty. If, however, his intention was, "If this is not given, I will return it,' then regardless of the object's actual status, the intention to steal would not be present, and he would incur no penalty.
Effort. Assuming that all of the above conditions are met -- the object belongs to someone else, one perceives it as belonging to someone else, and one intends to steal it -- if one then takes it, that constitutes stealing. The question then arises as to precisely what acts constitute taking. To summarize the Vibhanga's treatment of this question, we can classify objects into two broad types: moveable and immovable.
Moveable items are said to be taken when they are moved entirely from their "base(s)," i.e., the spot(s) on which they rest. An object such as a box or a trunk lying flat along the ground or touching its support at a single area has a single base and counts as "taken" if it has been moved entirely from its base. An object such as a table or chair touching its support at a number of separate places has that number of bases. For instance, a stool with three legs touches the floor at three points and so has three bases. An object with more than one base is "taken" when it has been moved from all of its bases. Thus a television set standing on four legs is taken when all four of its legs have been lifted or slid away from the four spots on which they were standing.
If a moveable object is placed on another moveable object, such as a television set placed on a cart, there are two ways to count it as taken -- either when it is removed from its base on the cart or when the wheels of the cart have been moved from all of their bases on the floor -- whichever occurs first.
If person A is carrying an object, and person B tries to take it from him, it is counted as taken even if B succeeds only in moving it from one spot on A's body to another.
According to the Vibhanga, if a person holding an object with the owner's permission then decides to abscond with it, it counts as taken when he shifts it to another part of his person (e.g., into his pocket) or places it elsewhere. The Vinaya Mukha, however, takes issue with this point, saying that cases of this sort should be treated under the terms of a breach of trust, which is discussed below.
Animals are reckoned to have one base (e.g., snakes, any reclining animal) or more (e.g., chickens or dogs on their feet) in the same way as inanimate objects, and are said to be taken when they are pulled, chased, etc., completely from their base(s).
When a bhikkhu takes a moveable object in theft, the question of whether he makes off with it is irrelevant as far as the offense is concerned. For example, if he tries to steal a radio and succeeds in moving it completely from its base, but then hears the owner coming and so returns it to its original place, the owner would not even know that the object was in danger of being taken, and the civil law would regard the act at most as an attempted theft. As far as the Vinaya is concerned, though, the theft occurred when the bhikkhu first moved the object, and the fact that he returned it would not erase the theft. He would still be guilty of an offense.
As for immovable objects -- land or things such as buildings or trees affixed to the land -- these are taken when the rightful owner unwillingly abandons his claim to them of his own accord (through fear of intimidation or reluctance to incur the expense and bother of a court battle) or when he is forced to do so by a court of law and cannot, or does not, make a further appeal. In the Buddha's time, a court dispute involving land was considered fully settled when the winner of the case staked out his claim with the permission of the court. Thus the Vibhanga states that a bhikkhu who unfairly wins a court case of this sort has "taken" the land when he formally stakes out his claim after winning the case. At present we would say that he has taken the land when he receives the deed.
Immovable objects in the secondary sense -- trees, buildings, etc. -- are treated in the same light as ordinary moveable objects if a bhikkhu cuts them down or dismantles them: They count as taken when removed from their bases.
These are the general considerations for determining when an object is taken. The Vibhanga, though, cites a number of additional cases involving special contingencies, as follows:
a. Fraudulence: Objects are being distributed by lot to the Community. A bhikkhu desiring the portion rightfully going to another bhikkhu exchanges his ticket for the other bhikkhu's ticket. The "taking" is accomplished when the tickets have been exchanged. The Commentary to Mv.I.62 adds that if a bhikkhu claims higher seniority than is actually his, in order to obtain better donations, he should be treated under this rule when, through this ruse, he obtains donations that should have gone to another bhikkhu.
b. Breach of trust: A person places goods in trust with a bhikkhu. When the owner comes to ask for their return, the bhikkhu claims that he does not have them. The taking is accomplished when the owner stops pressing his claim. If the case goes to court, the taking is accomplished when the owner loses the case in the final court to which he appeals.
c. Embezzlement: A bhikkhu responsible for items kept in a storeroom removes one of the items from the storeroom. The taking is accomplished when the item leaves the storeroom's boundary.
d. Smuggling: A bhikkhu carrying items subject to an import duty hides them as he goes through customs. The taking is accomplished when the item leaves the customs area. If, however, the bhikkhu informs the customs official that he has an item subject to customs duty, and yet the official decides not to collect the duty, the bhikkhu incurs no penalty. And there is no penalty if the bhikkhu goes through customs not knowing that he has an item subject to import duties among his effects.
Special cases cited in the Commentary include the following:
a. False dealing: A bhikkhu makes counterfeit money or uses counterfeit weights. The taking is accomplished when the counterfeit is accepted.
b. Extortion: Using threats, a bhikkhu compels the owner of an object to give it to him. The taking is accomplished when the owner complies.
The value of the object. As stated above, any case of stealing counts as an offense, but the gravity of the offense is determined by the value of the object. This is the point of the phrase in the rule reading, "just as when there is the taking of what is not given, kings...would banish him, saying... 'You are a thief.'" In other words, for theft to entail a parajika, it must be a case of grand larceny, which in the time of the Buddha meant that the goods involved were worth at least five masakas, a unit of money used at the time. Goods valued collectively at more than one masaka but less than five are grounds for a thullaccaya; goods valued collectively at one masaka or less are grounds for a dukkata, the worth of the articles being determined by the price they would have fetched at the time of the theft.
This leaves us with the question of how a masaka would translate into current monetary rates. No one can answer this question with any certainty, for the oldest attempt to peg the masaka to the gold standard dates from the V/Sub-commentary, which sets one masaka as equal to 4 rice grains' weight of gold. At this rate, the theft of an item worth 20 rice grains' (1/24 troy ounce) weight of gold or more would be a parajika offense.
One objection to this method of calculation is that some of the items mentioned in the Vinita Vatthu as being grounds for a parajika when stolen -- e.g., a pillow, a bundle of laundry, a robe, a handful of rice during a famine -- would seem to be worth much less than 1/24 troy ounce of gold, but we must remember that many items regarded as commonplace now might have been viewed as expensive luxuries at the time.
In spite of this objection, there is one very good reason for adopting the standard set by the V/Sub-commentary: It sets a high value for the least article whose theft would result in a parajika. Thus when a bhikkhu steals an item worth 1/24 troy ounce of gold or more, there can be no doubt that he has committed the full offense. When the item is of lesser value, there will be inescapable doubt -- and when there is any doubt concerning a parajika, the tradition of the Vinaya consistently gives the bhikkhu the benefit of the doubt: He is not compelled to disrobe. A basic principle operating throughout the texts is that it is better to risk letting an offender go unpunished than to risk punishing an innocent bhikkhu.
There is a second advantage to the V/Sub-commentary's method of calculation: its precision and clarity. Some people have recommended adopting the standard expressed in the rule itself -- that if the theft would result in flogging, imprisonment or banishment by the authorities in that time and at that place, then the theft would constitute a parajika -- but this standard creates more problems than it would solve. In most countries the sentence is largely at the discretion of the judge or magistrate, and the factor of value is only one among many taken into account when determining the penalty. This opens a whole Pandora's box of issues, many of which have nothing to do with the bhikkhu or the object he has taken -- the judge's mood, his social philosophy, his religious background, and so forth -- issues that the Buddha never allowed to enter into the consideration of how to determine the penalty for a theft.
Thus the V/Sub-commentary's method of calculation has the benefits that it is a quick and easy method for determining the boundaries between the different levels of offense in any modern currency; it involves no factors extraneous to the tradition of the Vinaya, and -- as noted above -- it draws the line at a value above which there can be no doubt that the penalty is a parajika.
If a bhikkhu steals several items on different occasions, the values of the different items are added together to determine the severity of the offense only if they were stolen as part of a single plan or intention. If they are stolen as a result of separate intentions, each act of stealing is treated as a separate offense whose severity depends on the value of the individual item(s) stolen in that act. This point is best explained with examples:
In a case given in the Vinita Vatthu, a bhikkhu decides to steal a spoonful of ghee from a jar. After swallowing the spoonful, he decides to steal one more. After that he decides to steal another, and so on until he has finished the jar. Because each spoonful was stolen as a consequence of a separate plan or intention, he incurs several dukkatas, each for the theft of one spoonful of ghee.
If, however, he decides at one point to steal enough lumber to build himself a hut and then steals a plank from here and a rafter from there, taking lumber over many days at different places from various owners, he commits one offense in accordance with the total value of all the lumber stolen, inasmuch as he took all the pieces of wood as a consequence of one prior plan.
Derived offenses. In addition to the lesser offenses related to the value of the object, the Vibhanga also lists lesser offenses related to two factors of the full offense under this rule.: effort and perception.
With regard to effort: If a bhikkhu tries to steal an article that would be grounds for a parajika but does not succeed -- e.g., he is going to steal a book from a shelf, but before he can remove it from its place on the shelf he hears someone approaching and so walks off without taking it -- he commits a lighter offense in accordance with the effort made. Offenses of this sort are called offenses committed in the pubbayoga or preliminary steps. In the case of stealing, they are determined as follows:
Inanimate moveable objects: If the article is made to budge slightly, but is not moved completely from its base, or from some but not all of its bases -- thullaccaya. All actions prior to this, beginning with the act of walking toward the object with intent to steal it -- dukkata.
Animals: If in driving the animal along the bhikkhu gets it to move its front feet -- thullaccaya. All actions prior to this -- dukkata.
Immovable objects and articles placed in trust: If the bhikkhu creates doubt in the mind of the owner as to whether he will deprive him/her of the property in question -- thullaccaya. All actions prior to this -- dukkata.
Immovable objects in the secondary sense (e.g., a tree): If with one more blow of the ax the tree will fall -- thullaccaya. All actions prior to this -- dukkata, unless (according to the Vinaya Mukha) there is a training rule imposing a higher penalty, such as the pacittiya rule concerning injury to plant life.
For ease of remembrance, if the bhikkhu is one step away from taking the object, he incurs a thullaccaya; if he does not go that far, he incurs one or more dukkatas.
In offenses of this sort, when a heavier penalty is incurred, only that penalty is counted, and the preceding lighter ones are nullified. For example, in the case mentioned above, if the bhikkhu trying to steal the book simply touches it, he incurs a string of dukkatas for each step in walking up to the book and taking hold of it. If he budges the book slightly but not so much as to move it completely from its spot, the dukkatas are nullified and replaced with a thullaccaya. If he actually takes the book, that nullifies the thullaccaya and replaces it with a parajika.
As for the derived offenses related to the factor of perception, these deal with the situation in which an article does not qualify as "not given" under this rule -- e.g., it has no owner, or the owner has given it up or thrown it away -- and yet the bhikkhu perceives it as not given. If he takes it with intent to steal, he incurs a dukkata for each of three stages of effort. In the case of an inanimate moveable object, these would be: touching the object, making it budge, moving it from its base. A similar set of offenses would apply in the stages appropriate for taking any of the other types of objects listed above.
Shared responsibility. A bhikkhu can commit an offense not only if he himself steals an object, but also if he incites another to steal. The offenses involved in the acts leading up to the crime are as follows:
If a bhikkhu tells an accomplice to steal an object that would be grounds for a parajika, he incurs a dukkata. If the accomplice agrees, the instigator incurs a thullaccaya. Once the accomplice succeeds in taking the object as instructed -- whether or not he gets away with it, and whether or not he shares it with the instigator -- the instigator incurs a parajika. If the accomplice is a bhikkhu, he too incurs a parajika. If the object would be grounds for a thullaccaya or a dukkata, the only penalties incurred prior to the actual theft would be dukkatas.
If there is any confusion in carrying out the instructions -- e.g., if the accomplice, instead of taking the book specified by the instigator, takes something else instead; or if he is told to take it in the afternoon but instead takes it in the morning -- the instigator incurs only the penalties for proposing the theft and persuading the accomplice, and not the penalty for the theft itself. The same holds true if the instigator rescinds his order before the theft takes place, but the accomplice goes ahead and takes the object anyway.
According to the Commentary, an instigator who wishes to call off the theft before it is carried out, but who for one reason or another cannot get his message to the accomplice in time, incurs the full penalty for the completed theft.
If there is a chain of command -- Bhikkhu A telling Bhikkhu B to tell Bhikkhu C to tell Bhikkhu D to commit the theft -- then once D takes the object as instructed, all four incur the penalty coming from the theft. If there is any confusion in the chain of command -- e.g., Bhikkhu B instead of telling C tells D directly -- neither A nor C incurs the penalty for the theft itself.
If bhikkhus go in a group to commit a theft, but only one of them does the actual taking, all still incur the penalty coming from the theft. Similarly, if they steal valuables worth collectively more than five masakas but which when divided among them yield shares worth less than five masakas each, all incur a parajika.
Special cases. As mentioned above, the notion of stealing covers a wide variety of actions. The texts mention a variety of actions that border on stealing, some of them coming under this rule, some of them not.
Belongings of the Sangha. According to the Commentary to Nissaggiya Pacittiya 30, an item belongs to the Sangha when donors, intending for it to be Sangha property, offer it to one or more bhikkhus representing the Sangha, and those bhikkhus receive it, although not necessarily into their hands. Sangha property thus counts as "what is not given" as far as individual bhikkhus are concerned, for it has an owner -- the Sangha of all times and places -- and is guarded by the individual Community of bhikkhus.
Sangha property is divided into two sorts: light (lahu-bhanda) and heavy (garu-bhanda). Light property includes such things as robes, bowls, medicine, and food. Heavy property includes such things as monastery land, buildings, and furnishings. The Buddha gave permission for individual Communities to appoint certain of their members to be officials responsible for the proper use of Sangha property. The officials responsible for light property are to distribute it among the members of the Community, following set procedures to ensure that the distribution is fair. Once an individual member has received such property, he may regard it as his own and use it as he sees fit.
In the case of heavy property, though, the officials are responsible for seeing that it is allotted for proper use in the Community, but the individual bhikkhus who are allowed to use it may not regard it as their own personal property. This is an important point. At most, such items may be taken on loan or exchanged -- with the approval of the Community -- for other heavy property of equal value. A bhikkhu who gives such items away to anyone -- ordained or not -- perceiving it as his to give, incurs a thullaccaya, no matter what the value of the object. Of course, if he knows that it is not his to give or take, then in appropriating it as his own he incurs the penalty for stealing.
The Buddha was highly critical of any bhikkhu who gives away heavy property of the Sangha. In the origin story to Pr 4, he cites the case of a bhikkhu who, hoping to find favor with a lay person, gives that person some of the Sangha's heavy property. Such a bhikkhu, he says, is one of the five great thieves of the world.
A bhikkhu who takes heavy property of the Sangha donated for use in a particular monastery and uses it elsewhere incurs a dukkata. If he takes it on loan, he commits no offense.
Receiving stolen goods. Accepting a gift of goods, or purchasing them very cheaply knowing that they were stolen, would in Western criminal law result in a penalty similar to stealing itself. However, neither the Canon nor the commentaries mention this case. The closest they come is in the Vinita Vatthu, where a groundskeeper gives bhikkhus fruit from the orchard under his care, even though it was not his to give, and there was no offense for the bhikkhus. Thus the implication is that there is no offense for receiving stolen goods, even knowingly, although a bhikkhu who does so would not be exempt from the civil law and the consequent proceedings, in the course of which the Community would probably urge him to disrobe. (In Thailand, the civil law empowers the police to force a bhikkhu to disrobe if he is charged with a criminal case.)
Compensation owed. The Commentary introduces the concept of bhandadeyya, or compensation owed, to cover cases where a bhikkhu is responsible for the loss or destruction of another person's property. It defines this concept by saying that the bhikkhu must pay the price of the object to the owner or give the owner another object of equal value to the one lost or destroyed; if he abandons his responsibility to the owner, he incurs a parajika. The Commentary applies this concept not only to cases where the bhikkhu knowingly and intentionally destroys the object, but also to cases where he borrows or agrees to look after something that then gets lost, stolen, or destroyed through his negligence; or where he takes an item mistakenly thinking that it was discarded or that he was in a position to take it on trust.
To cite a few examples: A bhikkhu breaks another person's jar of oil or places excrement in the oil to spoil it. A bhikkhu who is charged with guarding the Community storeroom lets a group of other bhikkhus into the storeroom to fetch belongings they have left there; they forget to close the door and, before he remembers to check it, thieves slip in to steal things. A group of thieves steal a bundle of mangoes but, being chased by the owners, drop it and run; a bhikkhu sees the mangoes, thinks that they have been thrown away, and so eats them after getting someone to present them to him. A bhikkhu sees a wild boar caught in a trap and, out of compassion, sets it free but cannot reconcile the owner of the trap to what he has done. In each of these cases, the Commentary says, the bhikkhu in question owes compensation to the owner of the goods. (In the case of the mangoes, he must compensate not only the owners but also the thieves if it turns out that they had planned to come back and fetch the fruit.) If he abandons his responsibility to the owner(s), he incurs a parajika.
In making these judgments, the Commentary is probably following the civil law of its day, for the Canon contains no reference at all to the concept of bhandadeyya, and some of its judgments would seem to contradict the Commentary's. For instance, the Vinita Vatthu mentions a case in which a bhikkhu knowingly sets fire to some grass belonging to the Community, and yet it assigns only a dukkata to the action without -- as is its custom when discussing out-and-out theft -- mentioning the value of the grass. When it discusses cases where a bhikkhu takes an item on mistaken assumptions, or where he feels compassion for an animal caught in a trap and so sets it free, it says that there is no offense at all. Thus it seems strange for an action that, according to the Canon, carries a dukkata or no penalty whatsoever to become grounds for a parajika. Of course, in all cases of this sort it would be a wise policy to offer the owner reasonable compensation, but it is by no means certain that a bhikkhu would have the wherewithal to do so, and nowhere does the Canon require him to do so. Thus, as the Commentary's concept of bhandadeyya is clearly foreign to the Canon, there seems no reason to adopt it.
If, however, a Community feels that a bhikkhu has acted in a destructive way that deserves more than the automatic penalty of a dukkata, they can impose a banishment transaction on him for physical injuriousness, or a reconciliation transaction for striving for the non-gain and non-benefit of householders. For details on these transactions, see Volume Two, Chapter 20.
Court actions. As stated above, if a bhikkhu knowingly starts an unfair court case against someone else and then wins it in the final court to which the accused makes appeal, he incurs a parajika. The Commentary to the Bhikkhuni's Sanghadisesa 1, however, states that even if a bhikkhu is actually mistreated by someone -- defamed, physically injured, robbed, etc. -- and then tries to take a just court action against the guilty party, he incurs a parajika if he wins. Again, this is an instance where the Commentary has no support from the Canon and, as the Vinaya Mukha points out, its assertion cannot stand. However, the training of a bhikkhu requires that he view all losses in the light of kamma and focus on looking after the state of his mind rather than on seeking compensation in social or material things.
There is no question in any of the texts that if a bhikkhu is asked to give evidence in a courtroom and does so, speaking in accordance with the facts, he commits no offense no matter what the outcome for the others involved.
Deceit. If a bhikkhu uses a deliberate lie to deceive another person into giving an item to him, the transgression is treated not as a case of stealing -- because, after all, the item is given to him -- but rather as a case of lying. If the lie involves making false claims to superior meditative attainments, it is treated under Parajika 4. If not, it is treated under Pacittiya 1. The Vinita Vatthu gives two examples:
During a distribution of requisites in the Community, a bhikkhu asks for and is given an extra portion for a non-existent bhikkhu.
A bhikkhu approaches his teacher's lay supporter and asks for medicines, saying that they will be for his teacher, although he actually plans to use them himself instead.
In both of these cases, the penalty is a pacittiya for lying.
Compassion. The Vinita Vatthu contains a case in which a bhikkhu, out of compassion, releases an animal caught in a hunter's snare. He incurs no penalty.
In another case, a bhikkhu with psychic powers uses them to retrieve a pair of kidnapped children. The Buddha states that this entails no penalty because such a thing lies in the province of those with psychic power. The Vinaya Mukha, in discussing this case, takes it as a precedent for saying that if a bhikkhu returns a stolen article to its legal owner, there is no offense. The Buddha's statement, though, was probably meant to discourage bhikkhus without psychic powers from getting directly involved in righting wrongs of this sort. If a bhikkhu happens to learn of the whereabouts of stolen goods, kidnapped children, etc., he may inform the authorities, if he sees fit, and let them handle the situation themselves.
Modern cases. The modern world contains many forms of ownership and monetary exchange that did not exist in the time of the Buddha, and so contains many forms of stealing that did not exist then either. Here are a handful of cases that come to mind as examples of ways in which the standards of this rule might be applied to modern situations.
Breach of copyright. The international standards for copyright advocated by UNESCO state that breach of copyright is tantamount to theft. They go on to state, however, that if one duplicates articles, books, cassette tapes, or video tapes for private use, for study, or for non-profit distribution, one may copy as much as one likes. In some countries, though, one is allowed to copy only small portions of copyrighted material for such purposes, although exactly how small is only vaguely defined. Thus, as local copyright laws do not always adopt the UNESCO standard, a bhikkhu should check with the law before copying anything. In particular, the agreements covering the copying of commercial computer software usually do not permit the owner to give copies of the software to anyone for any reason, and limit the number of copies one may make for one's own use. One should follow such agreements to the letter.
Credit cards. The theft of a credit card would of course be an offense. The seriousness of the offense would be determined by how much the owner would have to pay to replace the stolen card. NP 20 would forbid a bhikkhu from using a credit card to buy anything even if the card were his to use, although a bhikkhu who had gone to the extent of stealing a card would probably not be dissuaded by that rule from using it or having someone else use it. At any rate, each use of a stolen card would also count as a theft, the seriousness of which would be calculated in line with the principle of the "prior plan" mentioned above.
Long distance telephone calls. Unauthorized use of a telephone to place long distance calls would also count as a theft, and again the seriousness of the offense would be calculated in light of the principle of the prior plan.
Tax evasion. If a bhikkhu intentionally does not pay a tax to which he is subject -- say, on an inheritance he receives -- he is guilty of a theft, which would occur on the deadline for payment of the tax. Of course, a bhikkhu who fails to pay a tax out of ignorance would not be guilty of an offense.
Exchanging currency on the black market is also a form of tax evasion in countries where there is a tax on currency exchange, so a bhikkhu in such a country who directs his steward to change money on the black market would be guilty of a theft. If, however, the steward on his own initiative exchanges money on the black market for use in the bhikkhu's account, the bhikkhu commits no offense.
Non-offenses. In addition to the blanket exemptions mentioned under the preceding rule, the Vibhanga lists six exemptions to this rule. Two relate to the status of the object, two to the factor of perception, and two to the factor of intention. Although we have already discussed these exemptions under their respective factors, it is convenient to have them gathered in one place:
Object. There is no offense if a bhikkhu takes an object belonging (1) to a peta (§) or (2) to an animal (§).
Perception. There is no offense if a bhikkhu takes an object perceiving it to be (1) his own or (2) to have been thrown away (§). The Commentary states that if the object does indeed have an owner, the bhikkhu incurs the penalty for stealing if, after he refuses to return it at the owner's request, the owner abandons the idea of trying to get it back. This statement should be qualified, however, by adding that as long as the bhikkhu still perceives the object to have been rightfully his to take in the first place, he is under no obligation to return it.
Intention. There is no offense if a bhikkhu takes an object (1) on trust or (2) temporarily -- which, the Commentary says, means that he takes it with the intention of returning it or making amends to the owner.
Summary: The theft of anything worth 1/24 ounce troy of gold or more is a parajika offense.
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3. Should any bhikkhu intentionally deprive a human being of life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): "My good man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death would be better for you than life," or with such an idea in mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise the advantages of death or incite him to die, he also is defeated and no longer in communion.
This rule against intentionally causing the death of a human being is best understood in terms of five factors, all of which must be present for there to be a parajika offense.
1) Object: a human being, which according to the Vibhanga includes human fetuses as well, counting from the time consciousness first arises in the womb immediately after conception up to the time of death.
2) Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that person's death. "Knowingly" also includes the factor of --
3) Perception: perceiving the person as a living being.
4) Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that person to die.
5) Result: The person dies as the result of one's act.
Object. The Vibhanga defines a human being as a person "from the time consciousness first becomes manifest in a mother's womb, up to its death-time." (The concept of death-time, since it relates most directly to questions that arise in treating the terminally ill, will be discussed in the section dealing with that topic, below.) It follows from this that a bhikkhu who intentionally causes an abortion -- by arranging for the operation, supplying the medicines, or giving advice that results in an abortion -- incurs a parajika. A bhikkhu who encourages a woman to use a means of contraception that works after the point of conception would be guilty of a parajika if she were to follow his advice.
There is a series of cases in the Vinita Vatthu in which bhikkhus provide medicines for women seeking an abortion, followed by two cases in which a bhikkhu provides medicines to a barren woman who wants to become fertile and to a fertile woman who wants to become barren. In neither of these two latter cases does anyone die, but in both cases the bhikkhu incurs a dukkata. From this, the Commentary infers that bhikkhus are not to act as doctors to lay people, an inference supported by the Vibhanga to Sanghadisesa 13. (The Commentary, though, gives a number of exceptions to this principle. See the discussion under that rule.)
The parajika offense is for killing a human being aside from oneself. A bhikkhu who attempts suicide incurs a dukkata.
A bhikkhu who kills a "non-human being" -- a yakkha, naga, or peta -- or a devata (this is in the Commentary) incurs a thullaccaya. According to the Commentary, when a spirit possesses a human being or an animal, it can be exorcised in either of two ways. The first is to command it to leave: This causes no injury to the spirit and results in no offense. The second is to make a doll out of flour paste or clay and then cut off various of its parts. If one cuts off the hands and feet, the spirit loses its hands and feet. If one cuts off the head, the spirit dies, and this is grounds for a thullaccaya.
A bhikkhu who intentionally kills a common animal is treated under Pacittiya 61.
Intention & perception. The Vibhanga defines intentionally as "having made the decision knowingly, consciously, and purposefully." According to the Commentary, having made the decision refers to the moment when one "crushes" one's indecisiveness by taking an act. Knowingly means being aware that, "This is a living being." Consciously means being aware that one's action is depriving the living being of life. Purposefully means that one's purpose is murderous. Whether one is motivated by compassion, hatred, or indifference is irrelevant as far as the offense is concerned.
All of the above sub-factors must be present for the factors of intention and perception to be fulfilled here. Thus there is no offense for a bhikkhu who causes a death --
accidentally -- e.g., accidentally dropping a rock that kills a person standing below; or toying with a gun, trying to decide whether or not to kill the person, and the gun accidentally goes off before he can make up his mind;
not knowing that a living being was there -- e.g., placing a heavy load on a pile of cloth without realizing that a person was lying underneath it;
not conscious that his action is causing death -- e.g., by unwittingly giving poisoned food to another bhikkhu who eats it and dies;
or when his actions are motivated by a purpose other than that of causing death -- e.g., giving medicine to a fellow bhikkhu, sincerely trying to help cure him, but the sick bhikkhu chokes on the medicine and dies.
One aspect of the Commentary's definition of knowingly is worth noting here: One does not need to know for sure that the living being is a human being for the factor of perception to be fulfilled. Thus if a bhikkhu hears the threatening noise of a living being in the dark and, not knowing whether it is man or beast, stabs it with intent to kill, he incurs a parajika if the being turns out to be human and dies from the wound.
Although this judgment may seem strange, it is supported by a passage in the Canon: A bhikkhu digs a pitfall with the thought that whatever living beings fall into it will perish. The penalty, if an animal dies as a result, is a pacittiya; if a human being, a parajika. This shows that the intention/perception of "living being" -- broad enough to cover human beings, even if it is not limited to them -- fills the relevant factors here.
The Vinita Vatthu contains an unusual case of a bhikkhu who uses a friend as a guinea pig for testing poison. The friend dies, and the bhikkhu incurs only a thullaccaya. The Commentary explains this by distinguishing two types of test: one to see if a particular poison is strong enough to kill a person; the other, to see if a particular person is strong enough to survive the poison. In either of these cases, the bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya whether or not the victim dies. If, though, the bhikkhu gives poison to a person with the desire that it cause that person's death, he incurs a parajika if the victim dies, and a thullaccaya if not.
Effort. This factor covers four types of action: taking life, assisting a murderer or suicide, describing the advantages of dying, and inciting a person to die.
a) Taking life. The Vibhanga defines taking life as "cutting off the life faculty," and the Commentary's discussion of this point shows clearly that this means interrupting the continuity of life before it would reach its "timely" end through the exhaustion of the victim's merit or life potential The Commentary lists six means by which one might make such an effort:
-- One's own person. This includes using not only one's hands or feet, but also such weapons as knives, sticks, clubs, etc.
-- Throwing: hurling a stone, shooting an arrow or a gun, etc.
-- Stationary devices: setting a trap, poisoning food, etc.
-- Magical formulae: calling on malevolent spirits to bring about a person's death, using voodoo, etc.
-- Psychic powers. using the "evil eye" or other similar powers.
-- Commanding: inciting another person to commit a murder. This category includes recommendations as well as express commands. A few examples:
Telling A to kill B. The way in which a bhikkhu is penalized for getting another person to commit a murder can be inferred from the discussion of shared responsibility under the preceding rule. The Commentary to this rule goes into great detail concerning the six ways the command to kill can be specified: the object [the person to be killed], the time, the place, the weapon to use, the action by which the weapon is to be used [e.g., "Stab him in the neck"], and the position the victim should be in [sitting, standing, lying down] when the act is to be done. If the instigator specifies any of these things, and yet the person following his orders does not carry them out to the letter, the instigator does not incur the penalty for the actual murder. For instance, Bhikkhu A tells his student to kill B while B is sitting in meditation at midnight. The student gets into B's room at midnight, only to find B asleep in bed, which is where he kills him. Bhikkhu A thus incurs only the thullaccaya for convincing his student to accept the command.
Inciting A to kill B. The Commentary includes a case of a socially active bhikkhu who tells people, "In such-and-such a place a bandit is staying. Whoever cuts off his head will receive great honor from the King." If any of the bhikkhu's listeners kills the bandit as a result of his instigation, the bhikkhu incurs a parajika.
Recommending means of euthanasia. The Vinita Vatthu includes a case of a criminal who has just been punished by having his hands and feet cut off. A bhikkhu asks the man's relatives, "Do you want him to die? Then make him drink buttermilk." The relatives follow the bhikkhu's recommendation, the man dies, and the bhikkhu incurs a parajika.
Recommending means of capital punishment. Again from the Vinita Vatthu: A bhikkhu advises an executioner to kill his victims mercifully with a single blow, rather than torturing them. The executioner follows his advice, and the bhikkhu incurs a parajika. This judgment indicates that a bhikkhu should not involve himself in matters of this sort, no matter how humane his intentions. According to the Vinita Vatthu, if the executioner says that he will not follow the bhikkhu's advice and then kills his victims as he pleases, the bhikkhu incurs no penalty. The Commentary adds that if the executioner tries to follow the bhikkhu's advice and yet needs more than one blow to do the job, the bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya. As we have mentioned, though, the best course is to leave matters of this sort to the laity.
b) Assisting a murderer or suicide. A bhikkhu may commit an offense not only by using any of the six above-mentioned means of taking life, but also by intentionally assisting a person who uses any of them to commit a murder or a suicide. This is how the Vibhanga explains the phrase, "search for an assassin" in the rule. The act of assisting includes not only finding an assassin, but also procuring weapons for the would-be murderer or suicide.
c) Describing the advantages of dying. This, the third type of act covered by this rule, can include berating a sick person ("Why do you keep hanging on to life like this? Don't you realize what a burden you are to others?") or simply telling a person of the miseries of life or the bliss of dying and going to heaven in such a way that he/she might feel inspired to commit suicide or simply pine away to death. The Vibhanga notes that these statements fulfill this factor whether delivered by gesture, by voice, by writing, or by means of a messenger
d) Inciting a person to die, the fourth type of act, covers:
-- Recommending suicide. This includes not only telling a person to commit suicide, but also giving advice -- whether requested or not -- to a would-be suicide on the best ways to commit the act.
-- Telling a person to go to a dangerous place where he/she might die of the dangers.
-- Arranging a terrible sight, sound, etc. to frighten a person to death, or a beautiful, "heart-stirring" one to attract a person who will then pine away to death when it fades.
Command. Giving a command or recommendation to get another person to perform any of these last three types of action -- assisting a murder or suicide, describing the advantages of dying, or inciting another person to die -- would also fulfill the factor of effort under this rule.
Expressing a wish. According to the Vibhanga, a bhikkhu who expresses an idle wish that so-and-so be murdered would incur a dukkata, whether or not he was overheard. If, however, the bhikkhu's purpose in expressing the wish is that his listener take him up on it and commit the murder, his action would come under the category of "command," mentioned above.
Inaction does not fulfill the factor of effort here. Thus if a bhikkhu sits idle when seeing a flood sweep a person down-stream, he commits no offense -- regardless of his feelings about the person's death -- even if the person then drowns. Recommending that another person sit idle as well would also not fulfill this factor, because the category of "command" here covers only the act of inciting the listener to do any of the four actions that would fulfill the factor of effort under this rule.
Result. If a bhikkhu fulfills the factor of effort with the intention of causing a person's death, and the person dies as a result, he incurs a parajika. This holds even if the person does not die immediately, but succumbs later, say, to complications arising from a wound caused by the bhikkhu. If the person does not die, but experiences pain or injury as a result of the bhikkhu's efforts, the penalty is a thullaccaya. If the bhikkhu's efforts result in neither pain nor death, the penalty is a dukkata for each separate action leading up to them.
If a bhikkhu intends simply to injure the victim or cause him/her pain, and yet the victim dies as a result of the bhikkhu's actions, the case is treated under Pacittiya 74.
There is an apparent contradiction in the Vinita Vatthu concerning the penalty for a bhikkhu who tries to kill one person but ends up killing another instead. In one passage, it says that a bhikkhu who means to kill X but kills Y instead incurs a parajika. In another passage, it tells of a bhikkhu who gives medicine to a woman who wants to commit an abortion near the end of a full-term pregnancy. The woman takes the medicine but, instead of the fetus' aborting, the woman dies and the infant survives. In this case, the bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya, presumably for the pain he caused the infant.
The Commentary tries to resolve this contradiction with an illustration: A bhikkhu with a grudge against A decides to ambush him. He sees B coming down the road and, mistaking him for A, shoots him dead on the spot. Since his intention was to kill the person he was aiming at, he incurs a parajika. We can call this a case of mistaken identity. In cases of this sort, whether the "right" or the "wrong" person dies is of no consequence to the offense.
If, however, the bhikkhu is a poor shot, takes aim at B but misses him, and inadvertently kills C instead, he does not incur a parajika, for he did not intend to kill C during any part of his action. His only penalties are the dukkatas he incurs while preparing for B's murder.
If a bhikkhu means to cause the death of any member of a group, then when any member of the group dies as a result of his efforts, he incurs a parajika.
Caring for the terminally ill. Some of the most highly charged issues involving this training rule concern the duties of a bhikkhu acting as nurse, and his accountability in the event that his patient dies. Not a few controversies have arisen in the past when highly respected teachers have died after an illness, for there is a tendency to blame the nurse either for the teacher's death or for being so intrusive in his care that he does not let the teacher die in peace. Recent developments in modern medicine -- such as professionally mandated care, life-support machines, and organ transplants -- have further complicated the issue of exactly how far the nurse's accountability goes. Fortunately, the texts are quite clear on these issues -- applying rules where rules are called for, and guidelines where rules would be inappropriate -- but to understand their rationale it is necessary to have some historical perspective on the subject.
Medical care in the time of the Buddha was primarily the responsibility of the ill person's family. Subsidized health care did not exist, and so families had a very real sense of the exigencies -- their time, their resources, the wishes of the patient, and the likelihood of his recovery -- that might force them to provide less than state-of-the-art care, even for a loved one. At the same time, the current Western system whereby one style of medical care can establish itself as "standard" -- and can enlist the help of the law to discredit alternative styles of treatment as bogus -- also did not exist. Patients and their families had a wide assortment of treatments to choose from and, given the means to make a choice, might select a particular style for any number of reasons: belief in the theory that lay behind it, trust in a particular doctor, rapport with the means of treatment, etc.
As a result, there was none of the belief, current in some circles, that outside professionals have the right to monopolize medical care or to impose their standards of treatment on an unwilling patient or his family. The choice of treatment was an in-family matter. If a patient balked at a particular doctor's treatment, the family was free to decide whether to honor his wishes and forego the treatment, or to force the treatment on him for his own good. On the other hand, if the patient's condition reached the point where the family felt that the doctor's treatment was futile, unaffordable, or otherwise no longer appropriate, it could dismiss the doctor and attempt treatment on its own, doing whatever was within its ability to offer moral support to the patient and alleviate his pain and discomfort while waiting for factors beyond its control -- such as the patient's present and past kamma -- to decide the outcome of the disease.
The principal ethical constraints on this arrangement, ancient medical textbooks show, were that doctors should not use their knowledge to aggravate or prolong illness -- to do so would count as malpractice -- and that no one should subject a patient to treatment designed to bring on death faster than it would if the disease were simply allowed to run its course: To defy this principle would count as murder.
This, in brief, was the accepted pattern for medical care in the Buddha's time. The only change the Buddha introduced to the pattern was to point out to the bhikkhus that, as they had no family to care for them, they were to take on the role of family for one another. If a bhikkhu falls ill, it is automatically the duty of his mentor, his students (if he has any), or fellow students of his mentor to care for him. These people are to stay with the patient until he either recovers or dies -- although the Commentary to Mv.I.25.24 points out that they may leave him if they put him into the care of another. If a bhikkhu happens to fall ill in a place where none of these people are available, it is the duty of the Community in that location to care for him. If it doesn't care for him, all the members of that Community incur a dukkata (MV.VIII.26.3-4).
The Mahavagga contains guidelines for the ill bhikkhu and his nurses to follow, so that the ill bhikkhu will be easy to care for, and the nurses will be chosen from among those best suited to the task. The ill bhikkhu ideally avoids any food, medicine, or activity that would aggravate his disease; he knows moderation in the things that will be conducive to his recovery; he takes his medicine; he reports to the nurse his condition as it actually is; and does his best to endure his pain (Mv.VIII.26.5).
The nurse ideally is one who knows how to prepare the proper medicines; knows what is conducive and unconducive to the patient's recovery; provides the patient with what is conducive and removes what is not; tends the patient out of kindness, and not from hope of gain; is not squeamish about cleaning up urine, excrement, saliva, or vomit; and is competent at encouraging the patient at the appropriate times with a talk on Dhamma (Mv.VIII.26.5).
There is no offense for a patient who does not live up to the ideal guidelines for his behavior; and none for a bhikkhu who, though lacking any of the ideal qualities of nurse, is pressed into a position where he must care for the sick. The only penalties mentioned in the Khandhakas are the dukkatas for those who neglect to care for the ill when they are duty-bound to do so or who abandon an ill person they are caring for before he recovers or dies.
The Vinita Vatthu to this rule contains only two basic cases in which a bhikkhu acting as a nurse for an ill friend incurs a parajika: one in which the friend dies after the bhikkhu gives him a specific treatment with the purpose of killing him off; and one in which the bhikkhu, feeling pity for a friend in severe pain, praises the pleasures that await him after death so that he will give up the will to live and speed up his death: The friend does so and dies as a result of the nurse's instigation.
Aside from the parajikas for such cases of out-and-out murderous action and intent, and the dukkatas for leaving the patient helpless, the Canon imposes no penalties on a bhikkhu acting as nurse who provides his patient with less than ideal care. Instead, within the parameters of those penalties, it offers guidelines for ideal behavior, together with the encouragement of the Buddha's remark that, "He who would tend to me should tend to the sick." (Mv.VIII.26.3) From there it leaves it up to the bhikkhu to exercise his best judgment, in light of the Dhamma, as to what is most fitting in his individual case.
A moment's reflection will suggest some obvious reasons for this. If a particular standard of care were mandated, it would give rise to countless questions stemming from the many uncontrollable variables that can surround an illness, questions that rules are ill-suited to answer: How much must one's resources be depleted before one can say that a particular type of care is unaffordable? How should limited resources be allocated when several bhikkhus fall sick at the same time? What should one do if the patient says that he does not want to undergo a treatment that a doctor is trying to press on him? If one follows the patient's request is he assisting a suicide? Should one follow the doctor's orders and thus risk damaging the patient's psychological state? The list of questions could go on, but it is obvious from even these examples that this is an area less suited for rules than for guidelines that can be adapted to suit particular circumstances. Decisions here should be based on a reasoned and compassionate assessment of the particular situation, rather than on fear of hard and fast penalties and rules.
The commentaries' treatment of the issue of a nurse's accountability follows the same general pattern as the Canon's, but we find Buddhaghosa's works -- probably following the ancient commentaries -- bringing a little more precision to the discussion by introducing a distinction between timely and untimely death that the Commentary applies to the Vinita Vatthu cases. The distinction comes from Ayurveda -- ancient Indian medical science -- although Buddhaghosa expresses it in purely Buddhist terms, most fully in the Visuddhi Magga:
"Timely death comes about with the exhaustion of merit, with the exhaustion of life potential (ayu), or with both. Untimely death comes about through kamma that interrupts [other, life-producing,] kamma.
"Death through exhaustion of merit, here, refers to the death that comes about entirely through the finished ripening of [former] rebirth-producing kamma even when favorable conditions for prolonging the continuity of the life potential may still be present. Death through exhaustion of life potential refers to the death that comes about through the exhaustion of the natural life potential of human beings, which amounts to only 100 years...
"Untimely death refers to the death of those whose continuity is interrupted by kamma capable of causing them to fall from their place [on a particular level of being] at that very moment... or for the death of those whose continuity is interrupted by attacks with weapons, etc., due to previous kamma. All these are included under the [term] interruption of the life faculty..." (VIII.2-3)
As we saw above, the Commentary's discussion of cutting off the life faculty refers specifically to instances where one is bringing about an untimely death. When it applies this point to the case of the bhikkhu inciting his patient to give up the will to live, it notes that the bhikkhu incurs a parajika if his act causes the patient to cut short his/her life even by a moment through such things as refusing to eat, etc. However, if the patient, not acting on the bhikkhu's comments, simply dies in line with his/her natural life potential and continuity, there is no offense.
It is important to note that the Commentary does not at any point use the distinction of timely and untimely death to make a case that mere negligence could be the cause of an untimely demise. Instead, it restricts its use of "untimely death" to cases where the nurse's care causes the patient to die earlier than he would have in the absence of care.
From this point of view it is easy to see that the decision not to have the patient undergo a particular death-delaying treatment would not count as an offense, for such a decision would do nothing to speed up the approach of a timely death. In terms of the factor of effort under this rule, it would count as inaction and thus not fulfill the factor. Thus if a bhikkhu sees that his patient is dying and -- for reasons of the expense, the trauma, or the patient's own wishes -- opts against having him undergo an operation that would merely delay death, there is no grounds for offense.
In situations where the choice is not between action and inaction, but between different courses of action, the Commentary's distinction is helpful in gauging one's perceptions and intentions when choosing among treatments. If a bhikkhu caring for a terminally ill patient opts for an alternative, such as a strong pain-killer, in hopes that it will weaken the patient's system and make him die faster than he would otherwise, his aim would fulfill the factor of intention under this rule. But if he is presented with a number of alternatives and believes that none of them would make the patient die before he would without any treatment, he may choose any of them because neither the perception nor the intention of bringing on an untimely death would enter into his decision. Even if it turns out later that the treatment was instrumental in bringing on the patient's death, the nurse would still be without blame.
It may seem that the Vinaya is leaving the patient in an unprotected position here, but we must remember that this is an area where the Dhamma takes precedence over the Vinaya in providing the nurse with guidance. Even a nodding acquaintance with the principle of kamma should be enough to prevent the nurse from being callous in his decisions. Even a modicum of maturity will make him realize that the role of nurse provides an excellent opportunity to gain insight into illness as a natural part of life, as well as training in such valuable qualities as compassion, patience, mindfulness, strength, sacrifice, and sensitivity to the needs of others.
As we noted in the Introduction, rules and standards serve different purposes and are suited to different situations. The authors of the texts, after using rules against murderous malpractice and abandonment to delimit this area, were wise to sketch in the remaining territory with standards aimed at inspiring the best behavior in the nurse and his patient by appealing to their higher side.
Special cases. The Vinita Vatthu includes three special cases that touch on this rule but inspired the Buddha to formulate separate rules to deal specifically with them:
A bhikkhu, for the fun of it, throws a stone from a precipice and accidentally kills a person standing below -- no penalty for the death, but a dukkata for throwing a stone from a precipice in fun.
A bhikkhu, hoping to commit suicide, throws himself over a cliff. Instead of dying, he lands on and kills a hapless basket-maker standing at the foot of the cliff -- again, no offense for the death, but a dukkata for throwing oneself from a high place.
A bhikkhu, sitting down hard on a chair without first checking it carefully, kills a child lying in the chair and covered with a blanket -- again, no penalty for the death, but a dukkata for sitting down without first checking carefully.
Summary: Intentionally bringing about the untimely death of a human being, even if it is still a fetus, is a parajika offense.
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4. Should any bhikkhu, without direct knowledge, boast of a superior human state, a truly noble knowledge and vision as present in himself, saying, "Thus do I know; thus do I see," such that regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined on a later occasion, he -- being remorseful and desirous of purification -- might say, "Friends, not knowing, I said I know; not seeing, I said I see -- vainly, falsely, idly," unless it was from over-estimation, he also is defeated and no longer in communion.
All conscious lies are forbidden by the first pacittiya rule, but knowingly to make a false claim to a superior human state is the most heinous lie a bhikkhu can tell, and so here it receives its own rule and the heaviest possible penalty.
The seriousness with which the Buddha regarded a breach of this training rule is indicated by his statements to the original instigators:
"You misguided men, how can you for the sake of your stomachs speak praise of one another's superior human states to householders? It would be better for you that your bellies be slashed open with a sharp butcher's knife than that you should for the sake of your stomachs speak praise of one another's superior human states to householders. Why is that? For that reason you would undergo death or death-like suffering, but you would not on that account, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into deprivation, the bad bourn, the abyss, purgatory. But for this reason you would, at the break-up of the body, after death, fall into deprivation, the bad bourn, the abyss, purgatory... Bhikkhus, in this world with its devas, maras, and brahmas, its generations with priests and contemplatives, princes and men, this is the ultimate great thief: he who claims an unfactual, non-existent superior human state. Why is that? You have consumed the nation's almsfood through theft."
Superior human states. The Vibhanga lists a large number of superior human states that the Commentary classifies into two broad categories: mahaggata dhamma, those related to the practice of meditative absorption; and lokuttara dhamma, those related to the absolute eradication of the mental fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth.
a. Meditative absorption -- the Pali term is jhana -- is of two major sorts: absorption in a physical object or sensation (rupa jhana) and absorption in a non-physical object or sensation (arupa jhana). Both contain four levels and are described in the discourses as follows:
"The bhikkhu -- quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities -- enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...
"And furthermore, with the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unity of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation -- internal assurance. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure...
"And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters and remains in the third jhana, and of him the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture...
"And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain -- as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress -- he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. He sits permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness, so that nothing of his entire body is unpervaded by pure, bright awareness." (D.2; M.119)
The four levels of arupa jhana are based on the fourth level of rupa jhana.
"With the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, and the passing away of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, thinking, 'Infinite space,' one enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space...
"With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, thinking, 'Infinite consciousness,' one enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness...
"With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, thinking, 'There is nothing,' one enters and remains in the dimension of nothingness...
"With the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, one enters and remains in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception." (D.15)
The Vibhanga mentions only the four rupa jhanas in its list of superior human states, but as the four arupa jhanas are based on the fourth rupa jhana, the Commentary includes them in the list as well.
In addition to these states of absorption themselves, the category of mahaggata dhamma also includes the intuitive powers (abhiñña) that can arise from them:
iddhividhi -- the ability to manifest one or more images of oneself, to appear in a different bodily form, to create a "mind-made" (astral) body, to pass through solid matter, walk on water, levitate, etc.
dibba-sota -- clairaudience, enabling one to hear sounds both celestial and human, far and near.
cetopariya-ñana -- the ability to read the minds of other living beings.
dibba-cakkhu -- clairvoyance, the ability to see beings in other realms of existence, and in particular to see them pass from death in one level to rebirth in another.
pubbe-nivasanussati-ñana -- the ability to remember previous lives.
There are other occult abilities that are not based on jhana and for this reason do not count as mahaggata dhamma: such things as divination, giving protective charms, casting malevolent spells, psychic healing, practicing as a medium, etc. The discourses list these and other similar activities as tiracchana-vijja, bestial knowledge, which -- as the name implies -- is far removed from superior human states.
b. Lokuttara dhamma, in its fullest sense, refers to the series of mental states, called paths and fruitions, in which the fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth are eradicated; and to the ultimate state of nibbana, or liberation.
The paths and fruitions occur in four pairs. In the first pair, the path to and fruition of stream-entry, three fetters are abandoned: self-identity views (sakkaya-ditthi), uncertainty (vicikiccha), and attachment to precepts and practices (silabbata-paramasa). In the second pair, the path to and fruition of once-returning, two additional fetters -- sensual passion (kama-raga) and resistance (patigha) are weakened, only to be abandoned fully in the third pair, the path to and fruition of nonreturning. In the fourth pair, the path to and fruition of arahantship, a final set of five additional fetters is abandoned: rupa-raga -- passion for physical phenomena (e.g., the objects of rupa jhana); arupa-raga -- passion for non-physical phenomena (e.g., the objects of arupa jhana); mana -- conceit; uddhacca -- restlessness; and avijja -- unawareness. With the cutting of this last set of fetters, all bonds with the cycle of rebirth are cut for good, and the mind attains nibbana.
The term nibbana literally means extinguishing, like a fire. The commentarial literature (Vism.VIII,247), derives the word etymologically from nir, a negative prefix, and vana, binding. Thus it means unbinding or liberation. In the physics of the Buddha's time, fire as it burned was said to be in a state of agitation, dependence, attachment, and entrapment -- both clinging to and being trapped by its sustenance. Extinguished, it was said to become calm, independent, and unattached. It let go of its sustenance and was released. In the mind's extinguishing, or unbinding, a parallel change occurs.
Nibbana is one; the paths and their fruitions, eight. Thus there are nine lokuttara dhammas.
Aside from jhana, the other states mentioned in the Vibhanga -- such as the destruction of the mental effluents (asava), the signless emancipation, the desireless emancipation, the emptiness emancipation, and so forth -- are either synonymous with these transcendent states or -- as in the case of the "wings" to Awakening (bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma) -- conjoined with them.
The full offense under this rule has five factors:
1) Effort: One makes a direct claim
2) Object: to a superior human state
3) Perception: that one perceives as not present in oneself.
4) Intention: One's intention is to misrepresent the truth.
5) Result: One's listener understands what one is saying.
Effort. To make a direct claim means to say outright that one has attained a superior human state, saying such things as, "I have attained the first jhana," "I have seen the heavenly realms," "I know my previous lifetimes," etc. Outright claims, here, include not only spoken statements, but also written statements and physical gestures. An example of a claim by gesture occurs in the Vibhanga: A group of bhikkhus make an agreement that the first to set out from their dwelling would, by that very gesture, be known to the rest as an arahant. One of the group, who was not an arahant but wanted to be regarded as one, set out first from the dwelling and was soon known to the rest as an ex-bhikkhu from having committed a parajika.
Indirect claims. An indirect claim to a superior human state is not grounds for a parajika. If it is a deliberate lie, it is at most grounds for a thullaccaya. Such claims, which contain an uncertainty in their wording even though the listener may feel no uncertainty in understanding their import, may be uncertain in one of two ways: uncertain as to the person and uncertain as to the attainment.
The Vinita Vatthu contains several examples of the first sort: a bhikkhu states that whoever lives in a particular dwelling is an arahant, the dwelling being the one where he lives; a bhikkhu saying that all the disciples of his teacher are arahants, and so forth.
There is only one example in the Vinita Vatthu of a bhikkhu who makes a claim "uncertain as to the attainment": a sick bhikkhu, meaning to deceive the fellow bhikkhus nursing him, says to them, "There is no way that this sickness could be endured by an ordinary person (puthujjana)."
According to the Commentary, if the person to whom such indirect remarks are directed understands them, the penalty for the speaker is a thullaccaya. If he/she does not understand them, the penalty is a dukkata. The factor of understanding is covered in the section on "Result," below.
Claims about other people. The original instigators of this rule, instead of each making claims about his own attainments, made false claims about one another's attainments. This case is not mentioned in the Vibhanga or the commentaries and so is not an offense under this rule, but it would come under Pacittiya 1.
Perception. Claiming a superior human state that one mistakenly thinks one has achieved is no offense under this rule, although if addressed to a lay person the claim would come under Pacittiya 8. The same holds for a claim that is actually true.
If, however, a bhikkhu has attained a superior human state without realizing it and then claims to have attained the state, thinking his statement to be a lie, he commits the full offense under this rule.
Intention. To fall under this rule, a claim to have attained any of these superior human states must be a deliberate lie. "Deliberate lying," according to the Commentary, requires the arising of the intention to misrepresent the truth just prior to, and motivating, the actual statement. When the intention to misrepresent the truth is absent, the statement does not come under this rule. Examples would include -- meaning to say one thing, but accidentally saying another that comes out as a claim to a superior human state; and
innocently making a statement that someone else misconstrues to be a claim to a superior human state.
Neither of these cases would involve an offense.
Equivocation. It is not uncommon for a bhikkhu to be put on the spot by lay people asking him point-blank about his attainments, and for him to respond by equivocating. The Vinita Vatthu contains a number of examples of this sort. In one of them, the bhikkhu responds by saying, "I have attained a state attainable through the exertion of effort," which of course could mean almost anything. Because his purpose was simply to avoid the question, he incurred no penalty. Had he meant the statement as an indirect claim, he would have incurred a thullaccaya.
Result. The Vibhanga, in discussing an obscure case, states that when the listener understands a deliberate lie directly claiming a superior human state, the bhikkhu making the claim incurs a parajika. If the listener does not understand, the bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya. The Vibhanga mentions this condition only in the context of a peculiar lie -- one in which the speaker intends to lie saying one thing but actually states another lie -- but the Commentary generalizes from this case to say that this condition applies to all cases covered by this rule. Its explanations run as follows:
Understanding, here, means simply that the listener hears the statement clearly enough to know that it is a claim. Whether he/she understands the names for the states claimed -- jhana, clairvoyance, clairaudience, or whatever -- is not an issue here. The same is true of whether he/she believes the statement to be true or false. If the listener to whom the remarks are directed does not understand them, but a passer-by does, the penalty is still a parajika.
If the listener does not hear the bhikkhu clearly enough to catch all he says, the penalty is a thullaccaya. If the listener at first has some doubt as to what the bhikkhu said, but later realizes that it was a claim to a superior human state, the offense is still a thullaccaya. If the listener does not hear the bhikkhu at all, the offense is a dukkata.
As stated above, if a bhikkhu states a deliberate lie in the form of an indirect claim to a superior human state, he incurs a thullaccaya if his listener understands that it is a claim, and a dukkata if not.
According to the Vibhanga, there is a dukkata for a bhikkhu sitting in solitude who states a deliberate lie directly claiming a superior human state, and another dukkata if he is overheard by a devata. The Commentary adds that the same penalty applies if he is overheard by a non-human being or a common animal.
Thus, to entail a parajika, the claim to a superior human state must be a direct claim, a deliberate lie, and must be heard and quickly understood by another human being.
Special cases in the Vibhanga:
A bhikkhu, intending to make a false claim for one superior human state, muddles his words and claims another: a parajika. The Commentary explains this by noting that all the factors necessary for a parajika offense are present: The bhikkhu makes a claim based on the intention to tell a deliberate lie, and the listener understands the claim. The fact that the intended claim and actual claim are both superior human states is crucial; the fact that they are different states is not.
In a series of cases, a person speaking with exaggerated faith or politeness addresses bhikkhus of no particular attainments as if they were arahants ("May the arahants come... May the arahants be seated"). This puts them in a quandary, and so they ask the Buddha how to behave in such a situation. His response: There is no offense in accepting invitations such as these from a "speaker with faith" -- the point being that there is no offense in coming, sitting, etc., as long as the intention is just to accept the invitation and not to imply a claim.
A bhikkhu, hoping that people will esteem him, engages in special practices -- the example given in the Vinita Vatthu is living in the jungle, but from it we can extrapolate to other practices such as long periods of sitting, any of the ascetic (dhutanga) practices, vegetarianism, etc., followed so as to impress other people. The penalty: a dukkata.
Summary: Deliberately lying to another person that one has attained a superior human state is a parajika offense.
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A bhikkhu who violates any of these four parajika rules is automatically no longer a bhikkhu. There is no need for him to go through a formal ceremony of disrobing, for the act of violating the rule is an act of disrobing in and of itself. Even if he continues to pretend to be a bhikkhu, he does not really count as one; as soon as the facts are known he must be expelled from the Sangha. He can never again properly ordain as a bhikkhu in this life. If he tries to ordain in a Community that does not know of his offense, his ordination does not count, and he must be expelled as soon as the truth is found out.
The Commentary, however, states that such an offender may "go forth" as a novice if he wants to, although it is up to the individual Community to consider the circumstances of his offense to decide whether or not it wants to accept him.
Ignorance of these rules does not exempt an offender from the penalty, which is why the Buddha ordered that they be taught to each new bhikkhu as soon as possible after ordination (Mv.I.77). Because the rules cover a number of cases that are legal in presentday society (e.g., recommending abortion, proving to oneself how supple one has become through yoga by inserting one's penis in one's mouth) or that are common practice among people who see nothing wrong with flirting with the edges of the law (e.g., copying computer software for a friend, hiding an article subject to customs duties when entering a country), it is especially important to inform each new bhikkhu of the rules' full implications right from the very start.
If a bhikkhu suspects that he has committed a parajika, he should immediately inform a senior bhikkhu well-versed in the rules. The way the senior bhikkhu should handle the case is well-illustrated by an incident reported in the Commentary to Parajika 2: Once a king together with an enormous crowd came to worship the Great Stupa at a certain monastery. One of the crowd was a visiting bhikkhu from the South who was carrying an expensive roll of cloth. The commotion of the event was so great that the bhikkhu dropped the cloth, was unable to retrieve it and soon gave it up for lost. One of the resident bhikkhus happened to come across it and, desiring to steal it, quickly put it away before the owner might see it. Eventually, of course, he became tormented by guilt and went to the resident Vinaya expert to admit a parajika and disrobe.
The Vinaya expert, though, wouldn't let him disrobe until he had found the owner of the cloth and inquired about it more fully. Eventually, after a long search, he was able to track down the original owner at a monastery in the distant South, who told him that at the time of the theft he had given the cloth up for lost and had abandoned all mental attachment for it. Thus, as the cloth was ownerless, the resident bhikkhu had incurred not a parajika, but simply some dukkatas for the preliminary efforts with intention to steal.
This example shows several things: the great thoroughness with which a senior bhikkhu should investigate a possible parajika, the compassion he should show to the offender, and the fact that the offender should be given the benefit of the doubt wherever possible: He is innocent until the facts prove him guilty.
Finally, the Commentary concludes its discussion of the parajikas by noticing that there are altogether 24, actual and virtual, in the Vinaya. They are:
The four for bhikkhus.
The four additional parajikas for bhikkhunis.
The eleven disqualified types who should not be ordained in the first place. If they happen to be ordained, their ordination does not count, and once they are found out they must be expelled for life (Mv.I.61-68). Thus they are virtual parajikas. They are --
a pandaka (essentially, a eunuch or a person born neuter -- see Sanghadisesa 2),
a "non-human" being, such as a naga or yakkha, that can assume human form,
a person who poses as a bhikkhu without having been ordained,
a bhikkhu who has ordained in another sect or religion without first giving up his status as a bhikkhu;
a person who has murdered his father,
a person who has murdered his mother,
a person who has murdered an arahant,
a person who has sexually violated a bhikkhuni,
a person who has injured a Buddha to the point of causing him to bleed,
a person who has caused a schism in the Sangha.
In addition to the above actual and virtual parajikas, the Commentary gives separate listing to the four anulomika (derived) parajikas, which refer to four cases included under Parajika 1: the bhikkhu with a supple back who sticks his penis in his mouth, the bhikkhu with a long penis who inserts it into his anus, the bhikkhu who performs oral intercourse with someone else, and the bhikkhu who receives anal intercourse.
The 24th Parajika refers to the case of a bhikkhuni who, taking up the role of a housewife, goes to live in a lay person's household.
This term means "involving the Community in the initial (adi) and subsequent (sesa) acts." It refers to the fact that the Community is the agent that initially calls on the bhikkhu who breaks any of the rules in this category to undergo the penalty (of manatta, penance, and parivasa, probation), subsequently reimposes the penalty if he does not properly carry it out, and finally lifts the penalty when he does. There are thirteen training rules here, the first nine entailing a sanghadisesa immediately on transgression, the last four only after the offender has been rebuked three times as a formal act of the Community.
1. Intentional discharge of semen, except while dreaming, entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
The origin story to this rule is as follows:
"Now at that time Ven. Seyyasaka was leading the celibate life dissatisfied. Because of this, he was thin, wretched, unattractive, and jaundiced, his body covered with veins. Ven. Udayin saw that Ven. Seyyasaka was thin... his body covered with veins; and seeing him, said to him, 'Seyyasaka, my friend, why are you thin... your body covered with veins? Could it be that you're leading the celibate life dissatisfied?'
"'In that case, eat as you like and sleep as you like and bathe as you like; and having eaten, slept, and bathed as you like, when dissatisfaction arises and lust assails the mind, emit semen making do with your hand.'
"'But is it okay to do that?'
"'Of course. I do it myself.'
"So then Ven. Seyyasaka ate as he liked and slept as he liked... and when dissatisfaction arose and lust assailed his mind, he would emit semen making do with his hand. Then it wasn't long before he became attractive, with rounded features, a clear complexion, and very bright skin. So the bhikkhus who were his friends said to him, 'Before, friend Seyyasaka, you were thin... your body covered with veins. But now you are attractive, with rounded features, a clear complexion, and very bright skin. Could it be that you're taking medicine?'
"'No, I'm not taking medicine, my friends. I just eat as like and sleep as I like... and when dissatisfaction arises and lust assails my mind, I emit semen making do with my hand.'
"'But do you emit semen making do with the same hand you use to eat the gifts of the faithful?'
"'Yes, my friends.'
"So the bhikkhus... were offended and annoyed and spread it about, 'How can this Ven. Seyyasaka emit semen making do with the same hand he uses to eat the gifts of the faithful?'"
This rule, in its outline form, is one of the simplest to explain. In its details, though, it is one of the most complex, not only because the subject is a sensitive matter, but also because the Commentary deviates somewhat from the Vibhanga in its explanations of two of the three factors that constitute the full offense.
The three factors are result, intention, and effort: Emission of semen caused by an intentional effort. When all three factors are present, the offense is a sanghadisesa. If the last two -- intention and effort -- are present, the offense is a thullaccaya. Any single factor or any other combination of two factors -- i.e., intention and result without making a physical effort, or effort and result without intention -- is not grounds for an offense.
It may seem strange to list the factor of result first, but I want to explain it first partly because, in understanding the types of intention and effort covered by this rule, it is necessary to know what they are aimed at, and also because result is the one factor where the Vibhanga and Commentary are in basic agreement.
Result. The Commentary discusses the physiology of semen as it was understood at the time, and in passing touches on the question of whether the word semen refers to the clear liquid produced in small quantities by the prostate and Cowper's glands prior to ejaculation, or to the seminal fluid released at orgasm (in its words, "having made the whole body shake, it is released and descends into the urinary tract.") It concludes that the latter is what is meant here.
As for the Vibhanga, it devotes long passages to the various colors and qualities that semen can come in, only to conclude that the color and quality are irrelevant to the offense. This suggests that a bhikkhu who has had a vasectomy can still commit an offense under this rule, since he can still discharge the various components that go into seminal fluid -- minus only the sperm -- at orgasm.
Discharge, according to the Vibhanga, refers to the point in time when the semen "falls from its base." The Commentary explains this as the point when the semen enters the urinary tract, because from that point on the process is irreversible. Thus if the process of sexual stimulation has reached this point, the factor of result has been fulfilled, even if one tries to prevent the semen from leaving the body by pinching the end of one's penis.
Intention. The Vibhanga defines intentionally as "having made the decision knowingly, consciously, and purposefully." According to the Commentary, "having made the decision" refers to the moment when one "crushes" one's indecisiveness by taking an act. (These are the same terms it uses to explain the same phrase under Parajika 3 and several other rules. The meaning is that one has definitely made up one's mind to start with the act and is not simply toying with the idea.) Knowingly means that one knows that, "I am making an exertion." Consciously means that one is aware that one's efforts are bringing about an emission of semen. Purposefully means that one's purpose is to enjoy the bringing about of an emission.
This last point is where the Commentary deviates from the Vibhanga's discussion of the factor of intention. The Vibhanga, throughout its analysis, expresses the factor of purpose simply as "aiming at causing an emission," and it lists ten possible reasons for wanting to bring the emission about:
for the sake of health,
for the sake of pleasure,
for the sake of a medicine,
for the sake of a gift (to insects, says the Commentary),
for the sake of merit,
for the sake of sacrifice,
for the sake of heaven,
for the sake of seed (to produce a child -- a bhikkhu who gave semen to be used in artificial insemination would fit in this category),
for the sake of investigating (to see what color it will be -- ancient medicine sometimes used this as a way of diagnosing disease), or for the sake of fun.
Each of these reasons, the Vibhanga says, fulfills the factor of intention here. Thus for the Commentary to limit the question of "purpose" strictly to the enjoyment of the act of bringing about an emission (numbers 2 and 10 in the Vibhanga's list) has no basis in the Canon. And so the factor of intention under this rule is fulfilled when one wants to cause an emission of semen, for no matter what reason.
Given the way intention is defined, there is no offense for a bhikkhu who brings on an emission of semen --
accidentally -- e.g., toying with his penis simply for the pleasure of the contact, when it suddenly and unexpectedly goes off;
not knowing that he is making an effort -- e.g., when he is dreaming or in a semi-conscious state before fully waking up from sleep;
not conscious that his efforts are bringing about an emission of semen -- e.g., when he is so engrossed in applying medicine to a sore on his penis that he doesn't realize that he is bringing on an ejaculation;
or when his efforts are motivated by a purpose other than that of causing an emission -- e.g., when he wakes up, finds that he is about to have a spontaneous ejaculation, and grabs hold of his penis to keep the semen from soiling his robes or bedding.
Effort. The Vibhanga defines four types of effort that fulfill this factor: A bhikkhu causes an emission making an effort (1) at an internal object, (2) at an external object, (3) at both an internal and an external object, or (4) by shaking his pelvis in the air. It then goes on to explain these terms: The internal object is one's own living body. External objects can either be animate or inanimate objects. The third type of effort involves a combination of the first two, and the fourth covers cases when one makes one's penis erect ("workable") by making an effort in the air.
The extremely general nature of these definitions gives the impression that the compilers of the Vibhanga wanted them to cover every imaginable type of bodily effort aimed at arousing oneself sexually, and this impression is borne out by the wide variety of cases covered in the Vinita Vatthu. They include, among others, a bhikkhu who squeezes his penis with his fist, one who rubs his penis with his thumb, one who rubs his penis against his bed, one who inserts his penis into sand, one who bathes against the current in a stream, one who rubs his preceptor's back in the bathing room, one who gets an erection from the friction of his thighs and robes while walking along, one who has his belly heated in the bathing room, and one who stretches his body. In each of these cases, if the bhikkhu aims at and succeeds in causing an emission, he incurs a sanghadisesa.
The Vinita Vatthu also includes a case in which a bhikkhu, desiring to cause an emission, orders a novice to take hold of his (the bhikkhu's) penis. He gets his emission and a sanghadisesa to boot, which shows that getting someone else to make the effort for one fulfills the factor of effort here.
In discussing the factor of effort, though, the Commentary makes a slight change in the Vibhanga's definition -- that one makes an effort with or upon one's own body, etc., rather than at one's own body, etc. -- and adds an additional factor: that the effort must be directed at one's own penis. If this is so, then a bhikkhu who succeeds in causing an emission by stimulating any of the erogenous zones of his body aside from his penis would incur no penalty. The Commentary itself actually makes this point, and the Sub-commentary seconds it, although the V/Sub-commentary says that such a bhikkhu would incur a dukkata -- what it bases this opinion on, it doesn't say: perhaps a misreading of the Case of the Sleeping Novice, which we will discuss below.
At any rate, the Commentary in adding this last factor runs up against a number of cases in the Vinita Vatthu in which the effort does not involve the penis: the bhikkhu warming his belly, the bhikkhu rubbing his preceptor's back, a bhikkhu having his thighs massaged, and others. The Commentary deals with these cases by rewriting them, stating in most cases that the effort somehow had to involve the penis. This in itself is questionable, but when the Commentary actually contradicts the Vinita Vatthu in the case of the bhikkhu who warms his belly, saying that this sort of effort could not involve an offense at all even if one aims at and succeeds in causing an emission, the commentators have moved beyond the realm of commenting into the realm of rewriting the rule.
As stated in the Introduction, we have to go on the assumption that the compilers of the Vibhanga knew the crucial factors well enough to know what is and is not an offense, and were careful enough to include all the relevant facts when describing the precedents in the Vinita Vatthu in order to show how the Buddha arrived at his judgments. Since the Commentary's position -- adding the extra factor that the physical effort has to involve one's own penis -- directly contradicts the Vibhanga on this point, the extra factor cannot stand.
The question then is why the commentators added the extra factor in the first place. An answer may be found in one of the cases in the Vinita Vatthu: the Case of the Sleeping Novice.
"On that occasion a certain bhikkhu grabbed hold of the penis of a sleeping novice. His semen was emitted. He felt remorseful...'Bhikkhu, there is no sanghadisesa offense. There is a dukkata offense.'"
The issue here is whose semen was emitted. Pali syntax, unlike English, doesn't give us a clue, for there is no rule that the pronoun in one sentence should refer to the subject of the preceding sentence. There are many cases under Parajika 3 that follow the form, "A stone badly held by the bhikkhu standing above hit the bhikkhu standing below on the head. The bhikkhu died. He felt remorseful." In these cases it is obvious from the context within the story which bhikkhu died and which one felt remorseful, while with the sleeping novice we have to look for the context in terms of the other parts of the Vibhanga.
If the bhikkhu was the one who emitted semen, then perhaps there is a contradiction in the Vibhanga, and the Commentary is justified in saying that the effort must involve one's penis, for otherwise the case would seem to fulfill the Vibhanga's general definition for the factor of effort: The bhikkhu is making an effort at an outside body and has an emission. Following the general pattern of the rule, he would incur a sanghadisesa if he intended emission, and no penalty at all if he didn't. Yet the question of intention is not mentioned at all, and the bhikkhu is given a dukkata, which suggests an inconsistency.
If, however, the novice was the one who emitted, there is no inconsistency at all: The bhikkhu gets his dukkata for making lustful bodily contact with another man (see the discussion under Sanghadisesa 2, below), and the case is included here to show that the full offense under this rule concerns instances where one makes oneself emit semen, and not where one makes others emit. (Other than this case, there is nothing in the rule or the Vibhanga that expressly makes this point. The rule simply mentions bringing about the emission of semen, without explicitly mentioning whose. This would explain the bhikkhu's uncertainty as to whether or not he had committed a sanghadisesa.) And the reason there is no mention of whether or not the bhikkhu intended to emit semen is because -- as it comes under another rule -- it is irrelevant to the case.
Thus, since the second reading -- the novice was the one who had an emission -- does no violence to the rest of the Vibhanga, it seems to be the preferable one. So if this was the case that led the commentators to add their extra factor, we can see that they misread it, and that the Vibhanga's original definition for the factor of effort still stands: Any bodily effort made at one's own body, at another body or physical object, at both, or any effort made in the air -- like shaking one's pelvis or stretching one's body -- fulfills the factor of effort here.
One case that does not fulfill the factor of effort is when one is filled with lust and stares at the private parts of a woman or girl. In the case dealing with this contingency, the bhikkhu emits semen, but again no mention is made of whether he intended to. In any event, the Buddha lays down a separate rule, imposing a dukkata for staring lustfully at a women's private parts. This suggests that efforts with one's eyes do not count as bodily efforts under this sanghadisesa, for otherwise the penalty would have been a sanghadisesa if the bhikkhu had intended emission, and no offense if he hadn't. And this also suggests that the dukkata under this separate rule holds regardless of intention or result. The Commentary adds that this dukkata applies also to staring lustfully at the genitals of a female animal or at the area of a fully-clothed woman's body where her sexual organ is, thinking, "Her sexual organ is there." At present we would impose the penalty on a bhikkhu who stares lustfully at a woman's private parts in a pornographic photograph.
With reference to conscious efforts leading to nocturnal emissions, the Commentary discusses two cases. The first is that of a bhikkhu who makes an effort aiming at emission but, before it occurs, stops and purifies his mind of that intent. He then dozes off and has an emission in his sleep. Its verdict: he does not incur the full offense. It contrasts this case with one in which a bhikkhu grabs his penis tightly or presses it between his thighs and then drops off to sleep maintaining that position with the intent that it will induce the emission. He succeeds and incurs the full offense. To generalize from these two cases, it would appear that effort and intent in such cases count toward a full offense only if one's effort and intent aimed at emission were maintained up to the last moment of waking consciousness. A conscious, clean, and honest break in one's intention and effort prior to emission would absolve one of an offense even if emission later occurred.
Consent. A special contingency covered by this rule is mentioned twice in the Vinita Vatthu for Parajika 1: A woman approaches a bhikkhu and offers to make him emit semen by making do with her hand (%). The bhikkhu lets her go ahead, and the Buddha says that he incurs a sanghadisesa in doing so. The commentaries treat the case as self-evident and offer no extra details. Thus, given the facts as we have them, it would seem that consent under this rule can be expressed physically simply by letting the act happen. A bhikkhu who acquiesces mentally when someone tries and succeeds in making him emit semen is not absolved from the full offense here even if he otherwise lies perfectly still throughout the event.
Derived offenses. As stated above, a bhikkhu who fulfills all three factors -- result, intention, and effort -- incurs a sanghadisesa. One who fulfills only the last two -- intention and effort -- incurs a thullaccaya.
People have sometimes asked how much of an effort is necessary to incur a thullaccaya and, in particular, whether the thullaccaya is only for cases where a bhikkhu tries to go all the way to an emission but cannot have one for physical reasons beyond his control -- e.g., he is unable to have an erection or to produce semen -- or whether it also covers cases where a bhikkhu starts out trying to cause an emission but stops short and changes his mind before the emission can come.
The Vibhanga suggests indirectly that the penalty covers both cases when it says simply that the thullaccaya is for one who intends, makes the effort, but does not emit. If it had meant to limit the penalty to those who cannot emit, it would have said so and would have set some kind of standard for determining when the bhikkhu passed the threshold from does not to cannot so that there would be no doubt as to where the realm of non-offense ends and thullaccaya begins. But it doesn't.
The Commentary's discussion of a case mentioned above -- the bhikkhu who intentionally sets up a nocturnal emission prior to going to sleep -- throws light on this topic. The fact that he incurs the full offense if he succeeds, and that efforts made during sleep do not count (see below), shows that the factor of effort does not need to go all the way to ejaculation in order to count.
In discussing the case of a bhikkhu with fat thighs who develops an erection simply by walking along, the Commentary mentions that if one finds sensual "fever" arising in such a case, one must immediately stop walking and start contemplating the foulness of the body so as to purify the mind before continuing on one's way. Otherwise, one would incur a thullaccaya simply for moving one's legs. Sensual fever, here, probably refers to the desire to cause an emission, for there are several spots where the Commentary discusses bhikkhus who stimulate an erection simply for the enjoyment of the contact rather than to cause an emission, and the judgment is that they incur no penalty, even if an emission does inadvertently result.
Aside from the thullaccaya, there are no other derived offenses under this rule. A bhikkhu who has an ejaculation while thinking sensual thoughts but without making any physical effort to cause it, incurs no penalty regardless of whether or not the idea crosses his mind that he would like to have an emission, and whether or not he enjoys it when it occurs. However, the Commentary notes here that even though there is no offense involved, one should not let oneself be overcome by sensual thoughts in this way. This point is borne out by the famous simile that occurred to Prince Siddhattha before his Awakening and that later, as Buddha, he related to a number of listeners:
"'Suppose there were a wet sappy piece of timber lying on dry ground far from water, and a man were to come along with an upper fire-stick, thinking, "I'll light a fire. I'll produce heat." Now what do you think? Would he be able to light a fire and produce heat by rubbing the upper fire-stick in the wet sappy timber...?'
"'No, Master Gotama. And why not? Because the wood is wet and sappy, even though it is lying on dry ground far from water. The man would reap nothing but weariness and disappointment.'
"'So it is with any priest or contemplative who lives withdrawn from sensuality only in body, but whose desire, infatuation, urge, thirst, and fever for sensuality is not relinquished and stilled within him: Whether or not he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings due to his striving (for Awakening), he is incapable of knowledge, vision, and unexcelled self-awakening.'" (M.36)
Non-offenses. In addition to the cases already mentioned -- the bhikkhus who bring about emissions accidentally, not knowing that they are making an effort, not conscious that their efforts are bringing about an emission, whose efforts are motivated by a purpose other than that of causing an emission, or who without making any physical effort have an ejaculation while overcome by sensual thoughts -- there is no offense for a bhikkhu who has an ejaculation during a dream.
In the wording of the rule, the phrase "except while dreaming" is expressed by an idiom that could also mean "at the end of a dream." This second possibility, though, is ruled out by the Commentary, which states that what happens in the mind while one is sleeping falls in the bounds of the Abhidhamma, but what happens after one awakens falls within the bounds of the Vinaya; and that there is no such thing as a misdeed performed when one is in a "non-negligible" state of mind that does not count as an offense. ("Non-negligible," according to the Sub-commentary, means "normal.")
In making the exception for what happens while asleep, the Buddha states that even though there may be the intention to cause an emission, it doesn't count. The Commentary goes on to say, however, that if a bhikkhu fully awakens in the course of a wet dream, he should lie still and be extremely careful not to make a move that would fulfill the factor of effort under this rule. If the process has reached the point where it is irreversible, and the ejaculation occurs spontaneously, he incurs no penalty regardless of whether or not he enjoys it. And as the Commentary quotes from the Kurundi, one of the ancient Sinhalese commentaries on which it is based, if he wakes up in the course of a wet dream and grabs hold of his penis so that the ejaculation will not soil his robes or bedding, there is no offense.
However, the case from the Commentary mentioned above -- the bhikkhu who had the desire and made the effort towards an emission before falling off to sleep -- suggests that the exemption for emissions during a dream does not extend to cases where both the intention and the effort occur while one is fully conscious, for all three factors under this rule are fully present: One makes the conscious decision to cause an emission, makes a conscious effort aimed at causing the emission, and the emission occurs. Whether or not one is conscious that it is occurring is of no account.
Summary: Intentionally causing oneself to emit semen, or getting someone else to cause one to emit semen -- except during a dream -- is a sanghadisesa offense.
* * *
2. Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind, engage in bodily contact with a woman, or in holding her hand, holding a lock of her hair, or caressing any of her limbs, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
This rule has sometimes been viewed as a sign of prejudice against women. But, as the origin story makes clear, the Buddha formulated the rule not because women are bad, but because bhikkhus sometimes can be.
"Now at that time, Ven. Udayin was living in the forest. His dwelling was beautiful, attractive, and appealing. The inner chamber was in the middle, entirely surrounded by the outer rooms. The bed and chair, the pillows and bolsters were well arranged, the water for washing and drinking well placed, the surrounding area well swept. Many people came to admire it. Even a certain Brahman together with his wife went to where Ven. Udayin was staying and on arrival said, 'We would like to admire your dwelling.'
"'Very well then, Brahman, have a look.' Taking the key, unfastening the lock, and opening the door, he entered the dwelling. The Brahman entered after Ven. Udayin; the Brahman lady after the Brahman. Then Ven. Udayin, opening some of the windows and closing others, walking around the inner room and coming up from behind, rubbed up against the Brahman lady limb by limb.
"After a while the Brahman exchanged pleasantries with Ven. Udayin and left. Delighted, he burst out with an exclamation of joy: 'How splendid are are these Sakyan contemplatives who live in the forest like this! And how splendid is Ven. Udayin who lives in the forest like this!'
"When he had said this, his wife said to him, 'What's so splendid about him? He rubbed up against me limb by limb just the way you do!'
"So the Brahman was offended and annoyed and spread it about: 'How shameless these bhikkhus are, how immoral and hypocritical!... How can this contemplative Udayin rub up against my wife limb by limb? It isn't possible to go with your women-folk to a monastery or dwelling. If you go to a monastery or dwelling with your womenfolk, the Sakyan contemplatives will molest them!'"
There are two ways in which a bhikkhu can come into contact with a woman: either actively (the bhikkhu makes the contact) or passively (the woman does). Since the Vibhanga uses different terms to analyze these two possibilities, we will discuss them separately.
Active contact. The full offense for active contact here is composed of four factors:
1) Object: a living woman -- "even one born on that very day, all the more an older one." Whether or not she is awake to realize what is going on is irrelevant to the offense.
2) Perception: The bhikkhu correctly perceives her to be a woman.
3) Intention: He is acting under the influence of lust.
4) Effort: He comes into physical contact with her.
Since the system of derived offenses based on the various permutations of these factors is one of the most complex in the Vibhanga, we will limit our discussion first to the full offense before going into the permutations.
Of the four factors listed above, only two -- intention and effort -- require detailed explanation.
Intention. The Vibhanga explains the term overcome with lust as meaning "impassioned, desiring, a mind bound by attraction." Altered, it says, can refer in general to one of three states of mind -- passion, aversion, or delusion -- but here it refers specifically to passion.
The Commentary adds a piece of Abhidhamma analysis at this point, saying that altered refers to the moment when the mind leaves its state of pure neutrality in the bhavanga under the influence of desire. Thus the factor of intention here can be fulfilled not only by a prolonged or intense feeling of desire, but also by a momentary infatuation.
The Commentary also tries to limit the range of passion to which this rule applies, saying that it covers only desire for the enjoyment of contact. As we noted under Parajika 1, the ancient commentators formulated a list of eleven types of lust, each mutually exclusive, and the question of which rule applies to a particular case depends on which type of lust provokes the bhikkhu's actions. Thus if a bhikkhu lusting for intercourse touches a woman, it says, he incurs only a dukkata as a preliminary to sexual intercourse under Parajika 1. If he touches her from his lust for an ejaculation, he incurs a thullaccaya as a preliminary to causing an emission under Sanghadisesa 1. Only if he touches her with the simple desire to enjoy the sensation of contact does he incur a sanghadisesa under this rule.
This system, though very neat and orderly, flies in the face of common sense and, as we noted under Parajika 1, contradicts the Vibhanga as well, so there is no need to adopt it. We can stick with the Vibhanga to this rule and say that any state of passion fulfills the factor of intention here. The Commentary's discussion, though, is useful in showing that the passion needn't be full-scale sexual lust. Even a momentary desire to enjoy the sensation of physical contact -- overwhelming enough that one acts on it -- is enough to fulfill this factor.
Effort. The Vibhanga illustrates the effort of making physical contact with a list of activities: rubbing, rubbing up against, rubbing downwards, rubbing upwards, bending down, pulling up, drawing to, pushing away, seizing hold (or pinning down -- abhinigganhana), squeezing, grasping, or touching. The Vinita Vatthu includes a case of a bhikkhu giving a woman a blow with his shoulder: He too incurs a sanghadisesa, which shows that the Vibhanga's list is meant to cover all similar actions as well. If a bhikkhu with lustful mind does anything of this sort to a living woman's body, perceiving that she is a woman, he incurs the full penalty under this rule.
Derived offenses. Each of the factors of an offense allows a number of permutations that admit for different classes of offenses. Taken together, they form a complex system. Here we will consider each factor in turn.
Object. Assuming that the bhikkhu is acting with lustful intentions and is perceiving his object correctly, he incurs a thullaccaya for making bodily contact with a pandaka, a female yakkha, or a dead woman; and a dukkata for bodily contact with a man (or boy), a wooden doll, or a female animal.
Pandaka is usually translated as eunuch, but eunuchs are only one of five types of pandakas recognized by the Commentary:
(1) An asitta (literally, a "sprinkled one") -- a man who finds sexual fulfillment in performing fellatio on another man and bringing him to climax. (For some reason, other homosexual acts, even though they were known in ancient India, are not included under this type nor under any of the types in this list.)
(2) A voyeur -- a man who finds sexual fulfillment in watching other people have sex.
(3) A eunuch -- one who has been castrated.
(4) A half-time pandaka -- one who is a pandaka only during the waning moon. (! -- The Sub-commentary's discussion of this point shows that its author and his contemporaries were as unfamiliar with this type as we are today. Perhaps this was how bisexuals were understood in ancient times.)
(5) A neuter -- a person born without sexual organs.
According to the Commentary, the Mahavagga's statement (I.61) that pandakas cannot receive ordination refers only to the last three types, and to the half-time pandaka only during the waning moon.
As for female yakkhas, the Commentary says that this also includes female deities. There is an ancient story in Chieng Mai of a bhikkhu who was visited by a dazzling heavenly maiden late one night while he was meditating alone in a cave at Wat Umong. He couldn't resist touching her and, as soon as he did, went immediately out of his mind. The moral: This is one thullaccaya not to be taken lightly.
Also from the Commentary:
(1) The thullaccaya for lustfully touching female corpses applies only to those that would be grounds for a full offense under Parajika 1, i.e., those with an anal, oral, or genital orifice intact enough for one to perform the sexual act. Female corpses decomposed beyond that point are grounds for a dukkata here.
(2) The dukkata for lustfully touching wooden dolls (mannikins) applies also to any female form made out of other materials, and even to any picture of a woman.
(3) Female animals include female nagas and other half-animal, half-woman species as well.
According to the Sub-commentary, the dukkata for lustfully touching female animals also applies to male animals.
For some reason, male yakkhas and deities slipped out of the list. Perhaps they should come under "men."
Perception. Misperception affects the severity of the offense only in the cases of women and pandakas. A bhikkhu who makes lustful bodily contact with a woman while under the impression that she is something else -- a pandaka, a man, or an animal -- incurs a thullaccaya. If he makes lustful bodily contact with a pandaka while under the impression that the pandaka is a woman, a man, or an animal, the penalty is a dukkata. In the cases of men and animals, misperception has no effect on the severity of the case: Lustful bodily contact -- e.g., with a male transvestite whom one thinks to be a woman -- still results in a dukkata.
Intention. The Vinita Vatthu contains cases of a bhikkhu who caresses his mother out of filial affection, one who caresses his daughter out of fatherly affection, and one who caresses his sister out of brotherly affection. In each case the penalty is a dukkata.
The Vibhanga does not discuss the issue of bhikkhus who intentionally make active contact with women for purposes other than lust or affection -- e.g., helping a woman who has fallen into a raging river -- but the Commentary does. It introduces the concept of anamasa, things carrying a dukkata penalty when touched; women and clothing belonging to a woman top the list. It then goes into great detail to tell how one should behave when one's mother falls into a raging river. Under no circumstances, it says, should one grab hold of her, although one may extend a rope, a board, etc., in her direction. If she happens to grab hold of her son the bhikkhu, he should not shake her off, but should simply let her hold on as he swims back to shore.
Where the Commentary gets the concepts of anamasa is hard to say. Perhaps it came from the practices of the Brahman caste, who are very careful not to touch certain things and people of certain lower castes. At any rate, there is no direct basis for it in the Canon. Although the concept has received universal acceptance in Theravadin Communities, many highly-respected Vinaya experts have made an exception right here, saying that there is nothing wrong in touching a woman when one's action is based not on lust but on a desire to save her from danger. Even if there is an offense in doing so, there are other places where Buddhaghosa recommends that one be willing to incur a minor penalty for the sake of compassion (e.g., digging a person out of a hole into which he has fallen), and the same principle surely holds here.
There is no offense in touching a being other than a woman if one's intentions are not lustful, although tickling is an offense under Pacittiya 52.
Effort. Acts of lustful but indirect bodily contact with a woman one perceives to be a woman and a pandaka one perceives to be a woman carry the following penalties:
For the woman: Using one's body to make contact with an article connected to her body -- e.g., using one's hand to touch the hem of her dress, a rope, or stick she is holding: a thullaccaya.
Using an item connected with one's body to make contact with her body -- e.g., using the edge of one's robe or a flower one is holding to brush along her arm: a thullaccaya.
Using an item connected with one's body to make contact with an item connected with her body: a dukkata.
Taking an object -- such as a flower -- and tossing it against her body, an object connected with her body, or an object she has tossed: a dukkata.
Taking hold of something she is standing or sitting on -- a bridge, a tree, a boat, etc. -- and giving it a shake: a dukkata.
For the pandaka one assumes to be a woman, the penalty in all the above cases is a dukkata.
These penalties for indirect contact have inspired the Commentary to say that if a bhikkhu makes contact with a clothed portion of a woman's body or uses a clothed portion of his body to make contact with hers, and the cloth is so thick that neither his body hairs nor hers can penetrate it, the penalty is only a thullaccaya, since he is not making direct contact. Only if the contact is skin-to-skin, skin-to-hair, or hair-to-hair (as might be possible through thin cloth) does he commit the full offense. Thus a bhikkhu who fondles the breasts or buttocks of a fully-clothed woman would incur only a thullaccaya since the contact was indirect.
While this contention might be true in a technical sense, two points from the Vibhanga indicate that its compilers did not have this sort of thing in mind when they mentioned indirect contact.
(1) In its discussion of passive contact, the Vibhanga divides the factor of effort into two parts: effort and result. The result necessary for a full offense is that the bhikkhu detects contact. The important word here is "detect" (pativijanati): The Canon uses it to refer to cases where one perceives something that may not be readily apparent, and here it seems specifically designed to cover instances where the contact may not be skin-to-skin, but still can be felt as bodily contact. Thus if the contact is such that the bhikkhu could feel the presence of the woman's body through his or under her clothing, direct contact has been made. If this much contact is enough for a full offense under passive contact, there is good reason to assume that it should also be enough under active contact as well.
(2) The Vinita Vatthu contains the following case:
"Now at that time, a certain bhikkhu, seeing a woman he encountered coming in the opposite direction, was infatuated and gave her a blow with his shoulder. He was remorseful...'Bhikkhu, you have committed a sanghadisesa offense.'"
As mentioned in the Introduction, we have to go on the assumption that the Vibhanga compilers were careful enough to include all of the relevant facts in describing the cases in the Vinita Vatthu. Now if the Commentary's assertion were true -- that the amount of cloth between the bodies of the bhikkhu and the woman is important in determining an offense -- the compilers would have mentioned this factor at least indirectly, saying, for instance, that the encounter took place in the monastery, where he might have had his shoulder uncovered, rather than outside of the monastery, where he should have had it covered; or that he had neglected to cover his shoulders when leaving the monastery; or that he was wearing a very fine robe that allowed his hair to pass through. But they say nothing of the sort, and their silence here suggests that such questions are irrelevant.
The only cases of indirect contact mentioned in the Vinita Vatthu refer to contact of a much more remote sort: a bhikkhu pulls a cord of which a woman is holding another end, pulls a stick of which she is holding the other end, or gives her a playful push with his bowl.
Thus in the context of this rule the Vibhanga defines "object connected to the body," through which indirect contact is made, with examples: things that the person is holding. The Vinaya Mukha adds things that are hanging from the person, like the hem of a robe or a dress. In this context, contact made through cloth that the person is wearing, if the contact can be detected, would be classed as direct. This would parallel Parajika 1, in which the question of whether there is anything covering either of the organs involved in intercourse is completely irrelevant to the offense. Thus the concept of direct and indirect contact here would seem to follow general linguistic usage: If a woman is wearing a long-sleeved shirt, for instance, grabbing her by the arm and grabbing her by the shirt-sleeve are two different things, and would receive different penalties under this rule.
According to the Vibhanga, if a bhikkhu feels desire for contact with a woman and makes an effort but does not achieve even indirect contact, the penalty is a dukkata.
Passive contact. The Vibhanga's analysis of passive contact -- when the bhikkhu is the object rather than the agent making the contact -- deals with only a limited number of variables.
Agent: either a woman the bhikkhu perceives to be a woman, or a pandaka he perceives to be a woman.
The agent's effort: any of the actions that fulfill the factor of act for the full offense under active contact -- rubbing, pulling, pushing, squeezing, etc.
The bhikkhu's aim. The Vibhanga lists only two here: the desire to come together and the desire to escape (%). The Sub-commentary explains the first as desiring the pleasurable feeling of contact.
Effort. The bhikkhu either makes a physical effort or he doesn't. The Commentary includes under this factor even the slightest physical movements, such as winking, raising one's eyebrows, or rolling one's eyes. At present we would include such things as inviting a woman to caress one, or deliberately placing oneself in a crowded entrance to a store so that women would have to make contact with one as they walked past.
Result. The bhikkhu either detects the contact or he doesn't.
The most important factor here is the bhikkhu's aim: If he desires to escape from the contact, then no matter who the person making the contact is, whether or not the bhikkhu makes an effort, or whether or not he detects the contact, there is no offense. The Vinita Vatthu gives an example:
"Now at that time, many women, pressing up to a certain bhikkhu, led him about arm-in-arm. He felt conscience-stricken... 'Did you consent, bhikkhu?' (the Buddha) asked.
'No, Lord, I did not.'
'Then there was no offense, bhikkhu, as you did not consent.'"
The Commentary mentions another example, in which a bhikkhu, not desiring the contact, is molested by a lustful woman. He remains perfectly still, with the thought, "When she realizes I am not interested, she will go away." He too commits no offense.
However, if the bhikkhu desires the contact, then the offenses are as follows:
The agent is a woman, the bhikkhu makes an effort and detects contact: a sanghadisesa. He makes an effort but detects no contact: a dukkata. He makes no effort (e.g., he remains perfectly still as she grasps, squeezes, and rubs his body): no offense regardless of whether or not he detects contact. One exception here, though, would be the special case mentioned under "Consent" in the preceding rule, in which a bhikkhu lets a woman -- or anyone at all, for that matter -- make him have an emission and he incurs a sanghadisesa under that rule as a result.
The agent is a pandaka whom the bhikkhu perceives to be a woman, the bhikkhu makes an effort and detects contact: a dukkata. All other possibilities -- effort but no detected contact, detected contact but no effort, no effort and no detected contact: no offense.
Counting offenses. According to the Vibhanga, if a bhikkhu has lustful bodily contact with x number of people in any of the ways that constitute an offense here, he commits x number of offenses. For example, if he lustfully rubs up against two women in a bus, he incurs two sanghadisesas. If, out of fatherly affection, he hugs his two daughters and three sons, he incurs two dukkatas for hugging his daughters and no penalty for hugging his sons.
The Commentary adds that if he makes lustful contact with a person x number of times, he commits x number of offenses. For instance, he hugs a woman from behind, she fights him off, and he strikes her out of lust: two sanghadisesas.
The question of counting sanghadisesas, though, is somewhat academic, since the penalty for multiple offenses is almost identical with the penalty for one. The only difference is in the formal announcements that accompany the penalty -- e.g., when the Sangha places the offender under probation, when he informs others bhikkhus of why he is under probation, etc. For more on this point, see the concluding section of this chapter.
Non-offenses. There is no offense for a bhikkhu who makes contact with a woman --
unintentionally -- as when inadvertently running into a woman in a crowded place;
unthinkingly -- as when a woman runs into him and, startled, he pushes her away;
unknowingly -- as when, without lustful intent, he touches a young tomboy he thinks to be a boy; or
when he doesn't give his consent -- as in the case of the bhikkhu led around arm-in-arm by a crowd of women.
Summary: Lustful bodily contact with a woman whom one perceives to be a woman is a sanghadisesa offense.
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3. Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind, address lewd words to a woman in the manner of young men to a young woman alluding to sexual intercourse, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
"Now at that time Ven. Udayin was living in the forest. One day many women came to the monastery to admire his dwelling. They went to where he was staying and on arrival said to him, 'Ven. Sir, we would like to admire your dwelling.' Then Ven. Udayin, showing the dwelling to the women and, referring to their genital and anal orifices, praised and criticized and begged and implored and asked and quizzed and advised and instructed and ridiculed them. Those of the women who were brazen, shameless, and sly giggled at Ven. Udayin, exclaimed to him, laughed aloud, and teased him; while those of the women who had a sense of decency complained to the bhikkhus as they left: 'It is improper, Ven. sirs, and unbecoming! Even from our husbands we wouldn't like to hear this sort of thing, much less from Master Udayin.'"
The K/Commentary lists five factors for a full breach of this rule:
1) Object: a woman, i.e., any female human being experienced enough to know what words are and are not lewd.
2) Perception: The bhikkhu perceives her to be such a woman.
3) Intention: He is lustful. As in the preceding rule, we can take the Commentary's definition of lust here as the minimum amount of lust to fulfill this factor: He wants to enjoy saying something lewd or improper.
4) Effort: He makes remarks referring to her genitals, anus, or to her performing sexual intercourse.
5) Result: The woman immediately understands.
The only factors requiring detailed explanation here are intention and effort.
Intention. The minimum level of desire required to fulfill this factor means that this rule covers cases where a bhikkhu simply gets a charge out of referring to a woman's genitals, etc., in her presence, without necessarily having any desire actually to have sex with her.
The Vibhanga makes clear that this rule does not cover statements made in anger. Thus any insults a bhikkhu may direct at a woman out of anger rather than playfully in desire -- even if they refer to her genitals, etc. -- would come under Pacittiya 2, rather than here.
Effort. The Vibhanga states that to incur a sanghadisesa under this rule when one is speaking to a woman, one must refer to her genitals, anus, or performing sexual intercourse (%).
The Commentary goes further and says that to incur the full penalty one must make direct mention of one of these three things, or accuse her of being sexually deformed in a way that refers directly to her genitals. Otherwise, if one refers lustfully to these matters without directly mentioning them, there is no sanghadisesa, although the Sub-commentary quotes ancient texts called the Ganthipadas as assigning a dukkata for such an act.
All of this contradicts the Vibhanga, which lists the ways of referring to the woman's anus, genitals, and sexual intercourse that would entail the full penalty under this rule -- one speaks praise, speaks criticism, begs, implores, asks, quizzes, advises, exhorts, or ridicules -- and many of the examples it gives, although referring to the woman's private parts or to her performing sexual intercourse, do not actually mention those words: "How do you give to your husband?" "How do you give to your lover?" "When will your mother be reconciled?" "When will you have a good opportunity?" Although all of these statements refer to sexual intercourse, and people in those days would have understood them in that light, none of them actually mentions it.
Thus the Vibhanga's examples seem to indicate that if a bhikkhu is referring lustfully to the woman's private parts or to her performing sexual intercourse, then whether or not he directly names those things, he fulfills this factor.
None of the texts mention the case in which a bhikkhu talks to one person about another person's private parts, etc.
Derived offenses. The factors of effort, object, perception, and result permit a number of permutations that result in lesser offenses. As for the permutations of intention, see the section on non-offenses, below.
Effort. A bhikkhu speaks to a woman he perceives to be a woman and refers lustfully to parts of her body -- aside from her private parts -- below her collarbone and above her knees, such as her breasts or her thighs: a thullaccaya. If he refers to parts of her body outside of that area, such as her face or hair, or to clothing or jewelry she is wearing: a dukkata.
Object. A bhikkhu speaks to a pandaka (in this and the following cases we are assuming that he perceives his object correctly) and refers lustfully to his private parts or to his performing sexual intercourse: a thullaccaya. He refers lustfully to other parts of the pandaka's body, his clothing, etc.: a dukkata.
A bhikkhu speaks to a man (or boy) and refers lustfully to any part of his listener's body, clothing, etc.: a dukkata. The same penalty holds for speaking lustfully to a common animal about its body, ornaments, etc. (%). (This is a point with interesting implications, but unfortunately the Commentary is silent. Perhaps nagas would be included here, or perhaps the Vibhanga compilers had in mind cases where one mentions such things to an animal within earshot of a human or celestial being.)
The texts make no mention of speaking lustfully to a woman/girl too young to understand what is and is not lewd. We might argue from the cases included in the Vinita Vatthu, though -- where bhikkhus make punning references to women's private parts, and the women do not understand -- that a bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya for referring directly to her genitals, anus, or performing sexual intercourse in her presence, and a dukkata for referring indirectly in her presence to such things.
Perception. A bhikkhu speaking to a woman whom he perceives to be something else -- a pandaka, a man, an animal -- incurs a thullaccaya if he refers lustfully to her genitals, anus, or performing sexual intercourse. If he is speaking to a pandaka, a man, or an animal he misperceives -- e.g., he thinks the pandaka is a woman, the man is a pandaka, the animal is a man -- he incurs a dukkata if he refers lustfully to those topics.
Result. As mentioned above, the Vinita Vatthu contains a number cases of bhikkhus speaking to women and making punning references to the women's genitals that the women do not understand. In one case the penalty is a thullaccaya, in the others a dukkata. The thullaccaya case is the only one in which the bhikkhu uses a word synonymous with genitals (magga, which also means road, the meaning the woman understood). Thus we might argue that if a bhikkhu makes direct reference to the genitals, anus, or sexual intercourse -- and this includes slang expressions and euphemisms -- and the woman doesn't immediately understand that he is referring to those things, he incurs a thullaccaya. If he makes indirect mention of those things, and she doesn't immediately understand what he is referring to, he incurs a dukkata. If it so happens that she understands later, the penalty remains the same.
Counting offenses. A bhikkhu making remarks of the sort covered by this rule to x number of people commits x number of offenses, the type of offense being determined by the factors discussed above. Thus for lustful remarks to two women referring to their breasts, he would incur two thullaccayas; for lustful remarks to three men concerning their bodies, three dukkatas; for teasing a group of twenty old ladies about how their time for sexual performance is past, twenty sanghadisesas.
Non-offenses. The Vibhanga states that there is no offense for a bhikkhu who speaks aiming at (spiritual) welfare (attha), aiming at Dhamma, or aiming at teaching. Thus, for example, if one is talking in front of women and has no lustful intent, one may recite or explain the training rules that deal with these matters or go into detail on the topic of the loathsomeness of the body as a topic of meditation, all without incurring a penalty. The Commentary here adds an example of a bhikkhu addressing a sexually deformed woman, telling her to be heedful in her practice so as not to be born that way again. If, however, one were to broach any of these topics out of a desire to enjoy saying something lewd to one's listeners, one would not be immune from an offense.
A bhikkhu who, without intending to be lewd, makes innocent remarks that his listener takes to be lewd, commits no offense.
Summary: Making a lustful remark to a woman about her genitals, anus, or about performing sexual intercourse is a sanghadisesa offense.
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4. Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind, speak in the presence of a woman in praise of ministering to his own sensuality thus: "This, sister, is the highest ministration, that of ministering to a virtuous, fine-natured follower of the celibate life such as myself with this act" -- alluding to sexual intercourse -- it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
"Now at that time a certain woman, a widow, was beautiful, attractive, and appealing. So Ven. Udayin, arising early in the morning, taking his robe and bowl, went to her residence. On arrival, he sat on an appointed seat. Then the woman, approaching him, paying him homage, sat to one side. As she sat there, Ven. Udayin instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged her with a talk on Dhamma. Then the woman, instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged with a talk on Dhamma... said to him, 'Tell me, Ven. sir, what would be in my power to give you for your welfare: Robe-cloth? Alms-food? Lodgings? Medicines for the sick?'
"'Those things aren't hard for us to come by, sister... Give just what is hard for us to come by.'
"'What, Ven. sir?'
"'For your welfare, Ven. sir?'
"'For my welfare, sister.'
"'Then come, Ven. sir.' Entering into an inner room, taking off her cloak, she lay back on a couch. Then Ven. Udayin approached the woman and, on approaching, said, 'Who would touch this foul-smelling wretch?' And he departed, spitting.
"Then the woman was offended and annoyed and spread it about...'How can this contemplative Udayin, when he himself begged me for sexual intercourse, say, "Who would touch this foul-smelling wretch?" and depart spitting? What's wretched about me? What's foul-smelling about me? In what am I inferior to whom?'"
At first glance this rule might seem redundant with the preceding one, for what we have here is another case of a bhikkhu advising, begging, or imploring a woman to perform sexual intercourse. However, some facts about language and belief in the Buddha's time might have led some people to feel that this was a special case not covered by the previous rule; so -- to prevent this misunderstanding -- it gets separate treatment here.
"Giving," in the Buddha's time, was a common term for having sex. If a woman gave to a man, that meant that she was willing to have sexual intercourse with him. Now, Buddhism was not the only religion of the time to teach that gifts -- of a more innocent sort -- given to contemplatives produced great reward to those who gave them, and ultimately somebody somewhere came up with the bright idea that since sex was the highest gift, giving it to a contemplative would produce the highest reward. Whether this idea was first formulated by faithful women or by clever contemplatives is hard to say. There are several cases in the Vinita Vatthu to Parajika 1 telling of bhikkhus approached or attacked by women professing this belief, which shows that it had some currency: that sex was somehow seen as a way to higher benefits through the law of kamma.
Since the preceding rule gives exemptions for bhikkhus speaking "aiming at (spiritual) welfare (attha), aiming at Dhamma," some misguided souls who did not comprehend the Buddha's teachings on sensuality might believe that welfare of this sort might fit under the exemption. Even today, although the rationale might be different, there are people who believe that having sex with spiritual teachers is beneficial for one's spiritual well-being. Thus we have this separate rule to show that the Buddha would have no part in such a notion, and that a bhikkhu who tries to suggest that his listener would benefit from having sex with him is not exempt from an offense.
The K/Commentary lists five factors for the full offense here.
Object: a woman experienced enough to know what words are and are not lewd.
Perception. The bhikkhu perceives her to be such a woman.
Intention. He is lustful. According to the Sub-commentary, this means that he wants to enjoy saying something lewd or improper. This point is borne out by the origin story, where Ven. Udayin addressed his remarks to the young widow apparently just to test her reaction. As in the preceding rules, we can take the Sub-commentary's definition to stand for the minimum amount of lust needed to fulfill this factor.
Effort. The bhikkhu speaks to the woman in praise of her ministering to his sensual needs, making reference to sexual intercourse. The Commentary maintains that his remarks must directly mention sexual intercourse for this factor to be fulfilled, but the example in the rule itself would seem to contradict its assertion.
Result. The woman immediately understands.
Derived offenses. The only factors having permutations leading to lesser offenses are object and perception.
Object. A bhikkhu, motivated by lust, makes such remarks to a pandaka: a thullaccaya. To a man or animal: a dukkata.
Perception. A bhikkhu, motivated by lust, makes such remarks to a woman he perceives to be something else -- a pandaka, man, or animal: a thullaccaya. To a pandaka he perceives to be something else: a dukkata.
Counting offenses. Offenses are counted by the number of people one makes such remarks to.
Non-offenses. The no-offense clauses in the Vibhanga, in addition to the blanket exemptions mentioned under Parajika 1, read simply: "There is no offense if he speaks saying, 'Support us with the requisites of robe-cloth, alms-food, lodgings, or medicines for the sick.'" Thus there is apparently no way that a bhikkhu in his right mind may speak in the presence of another person in praise of that person's ministering to his (the bhikkhu's) own sexual desires, without committing an offense.
Summary: Telling a woman that she would benefit from having sexual intercourse with oneself is a sanghadisesa offense.
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5. Should any bhikkhu engage in conveying a man's intentions to a woman or a woman's intentions to a man, proposing marriage or paramourage -- even if only for a momentary liaison -- it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
There are essentially two factors for a full offense under this rule: effort and object.
Effort. The Commentary says that to "engage in conveying" means to take on the role of a go-between. This includes helping to arrange not only marriages and affairs, but also "momentary associations" that, from the way it describes them, could include anything from appointments with a prostitute to arrangements for X to be Y's date.
The Vibhanga sets the component factors of a go-between's role at three:
1) accepting the request of one party to convey a proposal;
2) inquiring, i.e., informing the second party and learning his/her/their reaction; and
3) reporting what one has learned to the first party.
The penalties for these actions are: a dukkata for performing any one of them, a thullaccaya for any two, and a sanghadisesa for the full set of three. Thus a bhikkhu acting on his own initiative to sound out the possibility of a date between a man and a woman would incur a thullaccaya for inquiring and reporting. A bhikkhu planning to disrobe who asks a woman if she would be interested in marrying him after his return to lay life would incur a dukkata for inquiring.
The penalties are the same if the bhikkhu, instead of acting as a go-between himself, gets someone else to act for him. Thus a bhikkhu who agrees to convey such a proposal but then gets a lay follower or another bhikkhu to do the inquiring and reporting, would incur a sanghadisesa all the same.
If a group of bhikkhus are asked to act as go-betweens and they all accept, then even if only one of them takes the message, all incur the penalty for his actions.
"Result" is not a factor here, and so the Commentary mentions that whether or not the arrangements succeed has no bearing on the offense.
"Intention" is also not a factor, which leads the Sub-commentary to raise the issue of a man who writes his proposal in a letter and then, without disclosing the contents, gets a bhikkhu to deliver it. Its conclusion, though, is that this case would not qualify as an offense under this rule, in that both the Vibhanga and the Commentary define the action of conveying as "telling": Only if the bhikkhu himself tells the proposal -- whether repeating it orally, making a gesture or writing a letter -- does he commit an offense here.
Object. The full offense is for acting as a go-between between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. If, instead of dealing directly with the man and woman, one deals with people speaking on their behalf (their parents, a pimp), one incurs the full penalty all the same.
There is no offense for a bhikkhu who tries to effect a reconciliation between an estranged couple who are not divorced; but a full offense for one who tries to effect a reconciliation between a couple who are. "Perception" is also not a factor here, which inspires the Commentary to note that even an arahant could commit an offense under this rule if he tried to effect a reconciliation between his parents whom he assumed to be separated when they actually were divorced.
A bhikkhu incurs a thullaccaya for acting as a go-between for a pandaka; and, according to the Commentary, the same penalty for acting as a go-between for a female yakkha or peta. (!)
Non-offenses. The Vibhanga states that, in addition to the usual exemptions, there is no offense if a bhikkhu conveys a message from a man to a woman or vice versa dealing with "business of the Community, of a shrine, or of a sick person." The Commentary illustrates the first two instances with cases of a bhikkhu conveying a message dealing with construction work for the Community or a shrine; and the third with a case where a bhikkhu, acting on behalf of a fellow bhikkhu who is sick, is sent by a male lay follower to a female lay follower for medicine.
The Sub-commentary adds that any similar errand is also exempt from penalty as long as it is not a form of subservience to lay people (see Sanghadisesa 13, below).
Summary: Acting as a go-between to arrange a marriage, an affair, or a date between a man and a woman not married to each other is a sanghadisesa offense.
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6. When a bhikkhu is building a hut from (gains acquired by) his own begging -- having no sponsor, destined for himself -- he is to build it to the standard measurement. Here the standard is this: twelve spans, using the sugata span, in length (measuring outside); seven in width, (measuring) inside. Bhikkhus are to be assembled to designate the site. The site the bhikkhus designate should be without disturbances and with adequate space. If the bhikkhu should build a hut from his own begging on a site with disturbances and without adequate space, or if he should not assemble the bhikkhus to designate the site, or if he should exceed the standard, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
"At that time the bhikkhus of Alavi were having huts built from their own begging -- having no sponsors, destined for themselves, not to any standard measurement -- that did not come to completion. They were continually begging, continually hinting: 'Give a man, give labor, give an ox, give a wagon, give a knife, give an ax, give an adze, give a spade, give a chisel, give rushes, give reeds, give grass, give clay.' People, harassed with the begging, harassed with the hinting, on seeing bhikkhus would feel apprehensive, alarmed, would run away; would take another route, face another direction, close the door. Even on seeing cows, they would run away, imagining them to be bhikkhus."
This rule and the following one concern the procedures a bhikkhu should follow when he wants to build a dwelling for his own use. The following rule deals with cases where he has a sponsor to provide him with funds and materials. This rule deals with cases where he doesn't. The Vibhanga and Commentary define the words hut and dwelling in these rules in such a way that they apply only to a limited range of structures, but the Commentary's discussion of what a bhikkhu may and may not beg for when building anything at all, guarantees that even in cases not covered by these rules he is not allowed to be burdensome to the people he asks for help. In discussing this rule, we will first cover what kinds of begging are proper and improper in connection with any kind of construction work, and then go on to treat the particular case coming under this rule.
Begging. A bhikkhu may ask for people to give labor in any situation. Thus he may ask stone masons to carry stone posts to his construction site, or carpenters to carry boards there. If, after he has asked them to help with the labor, they volunteer to donate the materials as well, he may accept them without penalty. Otherwise, he has to reimburse them for the materials.
As for tools, vehicles, and other things he will use in the process of construction, he may ask only to borrow them from other people and may not ask for them outright (except when asking from relatives or those who have made an offer). If the tools get damaged, he is responsible for getting them repaired before returning them to the owner. The only things he needn't return to the owner are light articles (lahubhanda), which the Sub-commentary identifies as things like reeds, rushes, grass, and clay -- i.e., things having little or no monetary value at all.
In effect, this means that unless a bhikkhu is going to build his dwelling out of reeds, etc., or out of thrown-away scraps, he may not ask for any of the materials that will actually go into the dwelling. Keep in mind that these rules were made during a period when wilderness was still plentiful, and solid building materials such as timber and stones were free for the taking. At present, unless a bhikkhu has access to unclaimed wilderness of this sort, to unclaimed garbage, or has enough funds on deposit with his steward (see NP 10) to cover the cost of materials, his only recourse if he wants a solid structure is either to rammed earth or to hinting.
The Commentary notes that while hinting is not allowed with regard to food or cloth, it is allowed with regard to construction materials. One example it gives is asking, "Do you think this is a good place to build a hut? An ordination hall?" Another example is staking out a construction site in hope that someone will ask, "What are you planning to do here?" If people get the hint and offer the materials, the bhikkhu may accept them. If they don't, he may not ask directly for any materials except the "light articles" mentioned above.
From this it should be obvious that even in cases not covered by this rule -- i.e., the dwelling he is building doesn't qualify as a "hut," or he is building something for other people to use -- a bhikkhu engaged in construction work is not allowed to be burdensome to the laity. This is an important point, as the Buddha illustrated in a story he told to the bhikkhus at Alavi. A certain bhikkhu had once come to him with a complaint, and he reports the conversation as follows:
"'Lord, there is a large forest on the slopes of the Himalayas, and not far from it is a broad, low-lying marsh. A great flock of birds, after feeding all day in the marsh, goes to roost in the forest at nightfall. That is why I have come to see the Blessed One -- because I am annoyed by the noise of that flock of birds.'
"'Bhikkhu, you want those birds to go away for good?'
"'Yes, Lord, I want them to go away for good.'
"'Then go back there, enter the forest, and in the first watch of the night make this announcement three times: "Listen to me, good birds. I want a feather from everyone roosting in this forest. Each of you give me one feather." In the second watch... In the third watch of the night make this announcement three times: "Listen to me, good birds. I want a feather from everyone roosting in this forest. Each of you give me one feather"...(The bhikkhu did as he was told.) Then the flock of birds, thinking, 'The bhikkhu asks for a feather, the bhikkhu wants a feather,' left the forest. And after they were gone, they never again returned. Bhikkhus, begging is unpleasant, hinting is unpleasant even to these common animals -- how much more so to human beings?"
The hut. Now we turn to the particular case covered by this rule. The Vibhanga defines a hut as "plastered inside, outside, or both." It also states that this rule does not apply to a lena, a guha, or to a grass hut. A lena, according to the Commentary, is a cave. A guha it doesn't define, except to say that guhas may be built out of wood, stone, or earth. And as for a grass hut, it says that this refers to any building with a grass roof, which means that even a dwelling with plastered walls but a grass roof would not count as a hut under this rule (although a hut whose roof has been plastered and then covered with grass would count as a hut here).
The Commentary goes on to stipulate that the plastering mentioned in the Vibhanga refers to a plastered roof, that the plaster must be either clay or white lime (plastering with cow dung or mud doesn't count, although cement would probably come under "white lime" here), and that the plastering on the inside or outside of the roof must be contiguous with the plastering on the inside or outside of the walls. Thus if the builder leaves a gap in the plastering around the top of the wall so that the plastering of the roof and the plastering of the walls don't touch at any point, the building doesn't qualify as a hut and so doesn't come under the rule.
The Commentary's stipulations on these point may seem like attempts to create gaping loopholes in the rule, but there is nothing in the Vibhanga to prove them wrong. Perhaps in those days only fully plastered buildings were considered to be finished, permanent structures, while everything else was considered makeshift and temporary and thus not worth the fuss and bother of the procedures we will discuss below.
At another point in its discussions, the Commentary adds that any building three sugata spans wide or less is not big enough to move a bed around in and so does not count as a hut under this rule. The Commentary itself defines a sugata span as three times the span of a normal person, which would put it at approximately 75 cm. More recent calculations, based on the fact that the Buddha was not abnormally tall, set the sugata span at 25 cm.
The procedures. If, for his own use, a bhikkhu is planning to build a hut as defined in this rule, he must choose a site, clear it, and ask for the local Community to inspect and approve it before he can go ahead with the actual construction.
The site. The site must be free of disturbances and have adequate space.
"Free of disturbances" means that the site is not the abode of such creatures as termites, ants, or rats who might do harm to the building, or of those such as snakes, scorpions, tigers, lions, elephants, or bears who might do harm to its inhabitant. The Commentary states that the Vibhanga's purpose in forbidding a bhikkhu from building on a site where termites and other small animals have their home is to show compassion to these and other small creatures like them by not destroying their nests. As for the stipulation against building where snakes and other dangerous animals live, this also extends, it says, to the areas where they regularly forage for food.
In addition, the Vibhanga says that a site without disturbances is one that is not near any places that will disturb the bhikkhu's peace and quiet. Examples it gives are: fields, orchards, places of execution, cemeteries, pleasure groves, royal property, elephant stables, horse stables, prisons, taverns, slaughterhouses, highways, crossroads, public rest-houses, and meeting places.
"Adequate space" means that there is enough room on the site for a yoked wagon to go around, or for a man to carry a ladder around, the proposed hut. The question arises as to whether this means that all trees within that radius of the hut must be cut down, or whether it simply means that there must be enough land around the hut so that if the trees were not there, it would be possible to go around the hut in the ways mentioned. The Sub-commentary states that the stipulation for adequate space is so that the hut will not be built on the edge of a precipice or next to a cliff wall, and the Vinaya Mukha notes that the Vibhanga here is following the Laws of Manu (an ancient Indian legal text) in ensuring that the dwelling not be built right against someone else's property. Both of these statements suggest that there is no need to cut the trees down.
The Vinaya Mukha maintains further that the procedures for getting the site approved are concerned basically with laying claim to unclaimed land, and this has led many Communities in Thailand to say that the need to have the Community approve the site does not apply to places where the Community already owns the land, such as in a monastery. If a bhikkhu in such Communities wishes to build a hut for his own use on monastery land, he need only get the approval of the abbot. The ancient texts say nothing on this point, so it is an area where the wise policy is to follow the views of the Community to which one belongs.
Clearing the site. Before notifying the local Community, the bhikkhu must get the site cleared -- so says the Vibhanga, and the Commentary adds that he should get it leveled as well. In both cases, he should arrange to have this done in such a way that does not violate Pacittiyas 10 & 11. Again, the question arises as to whether clearing the site means cutting down the trees on the spot where one proposes building the hut. In the origin story to the following rule, Ven. Channa caused an uproar by cutting down a venerated tree on a site where he planned to build, which led the Buddha to formulate the rule that the Community must inspect and approve the site to prevent uproars of this sort. This suggests that clearing the site here means clearing the underbrush. Only after the Community has approved the site should the necessary trees be cut down.
Getting the site inspected. The bhikkhu then goes to the local Community and formally asks them to inspect the site. (The Pali passages for this and the remaining formal requests and announcements are in the Vibhanga.) Either the entire Community will go to inspect the site or it will select two or three of its members to go and inspect the site in its stead. The Vibhanga says that these inspectors should know what does and does not constitute a disturbance and adequate space, and requires that they be chosen by a formal motion with one announcement. The Commentary, for some reason, says that they may also be chosen by a simple declaration (apalokana).
The inspectors then visit the site. If they find any disturbances or see that the site has inadequate space, they should tell the bhikkhu not to build there. If the site passes inspection, though, the bhikkhu may go on to the next step.
Getting the site approved. The bhikkhu returns to the Community and formally asks them to approve the site. The formal act involves a motion and one announcement. Once this has passed, the bhikkhu may start construction.
The size of the hut. As the rule states, the hut may be no more than twelve spans long and seven spans wide, or approximately 3 x 1.75 meters. For some reason the Vibhanga states that the length of the hut is measured from the outside (excluding the plastering, says the Commentary), while the width is measured from the inside. The Commentary adds that neither of these measurements may be exceeded. Thus a hut ten by eight spans wide, even though it has less floor area than a twelve by seven span hut, would exceed the standard width and so would be a violation of this rule.
Offenses. The Vibhanga allots the penalties for building a hut without a sponsor, for one's own use, without regard for the stipulations in this rule, as follows:
an oversized hut -- a sanghadisesa;
a hut on an unapproved site -- a sanghadisesa;
a hut on a site without adequate space -- a dukkata;
a hut on a site with disturbances -- a dukkata.
These penalties are additive. Thus, for example, an oversized hut on an unapproved site would entail a double sanghadisesa.
The wording of the training rule, though, suggests that building a hut without a sponsor, for one's own use, on a site with disturbances and without adequate space would entail a sanghadisesa; but the Sub-commentary says -- without offering explanation -- that to read the rule in this way is to misinterpret it. Since the penalty for a multiple sanghadisesa is the same as that for a single one, there is only one case where this would make an appreciable difference: a hut of the proper size, built on a designated site that has disturbances or does not have adequate space. This is a case of a formal act of the Community improperly performed: Either the bhikkhus inspecting the site were incompetent, or the disturbances were not immediately apparent. Since the usual penalty for improperly performing an act of the Community is a dukkata (Mv.II.16.4), this may be why the Vibhanga allots penalties as it does.
As we noted in the Introduction, in cases where the Vibhanga is explaining the training rules that deal with formal acts of the Community, it sometimes has to deviate from the wording of the rules so as to bring them in line in with the general pattern for such acts, a pattern that was probably formulated after the rules and came to take precedence over them.
Getting others to build the hut. If, instead of building the hut himself, a bhikkhu gets others to build it for him, he must inform them of the four stipulations mentioned in this rule. If he neglects to inform them, and they build the hut in such a way that it does not meet any or all of the stipulations, he must either have it torn down (to the ground, says the Commentary) and have it rebuilt in line with the stipulations, give it to another, or face the full penalty for each of the stipulations they violated that he neglected to mention to them.
For example: He tells them to build a hut of the right size, but neglects to tell them to have the site approved. They build it to the right size, the site is without disturbances and has adequate space but is not approved. Unless he has it torn down or gives it to another, he incurs a sanghadisesa.
If the bhikkhu mentions the proper stipulations, but learns that the builders are ignoring them, he must go himself or send a messenger to reiterate the stipulations. Not to do so incurs a dukkata. If, having been reminded of the stipulations, the builders still ignore them, the bhikkhu incurs no penalty; but they -- if they are bhikkhus -- incur a dukkata for each of the three criteria regarding the site that they disobey. As for the standard measurement, they are not bound by it as they are building the hut for another's use.
If a bhikkhu, intending it for his own use, completes a hut that others have started, or gets others to complete a hut he has started, he is still bound by the stipulations given in this rule.
Preliminary offenses. The penalties in the preliminary steps are as follows: If the hut is such that when finished it will entail a sanghadisesa or two, each act in its construction entails a dukkata, until the next to the last act, which entails a thullaccaya. Once the hut is completed, and the bhikkhu incurs the sanghadisesa(s), the dukkatas and thullaccaya are nullified.
Non-offenses. The no-offense clauses mention, in addition to the usual exemptions, that there is no offense "in a lena, in a guha, in a grass hut, in (a dwelling) for another's use, or in anything other than a dwelling." The Commentary explains that no offense here means that these cases are not subject to any of the four stipulations given in this rule. As for the last case, if a bhikkhu is building, e.g., a meeting hall for the Community, he is not bound by this rule, but if he plans to live there as well, he is. This last case suggests that if a bhikkhu is building a dwelling, planning to donate it formally to the Community but also planning to live there himself, he is not exempt from this rule.
Summary: Building a plastered hut -- or having it built -- without a sponsor, destined for one's own use, without having obtained the Community's approval, is a sanghadisesa offense. Building a plastered hut -- or having it built -- without a sponsor, destined for one's own use, exceeding the standard measurements, is also a sanghadisesa offense.
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7. When a bhikkhu is building a large dwelling -- having a sponsor and destined for himself -- he is to assemble bhikkhus to designate the site. The site the bhikkhus designate should be without disturbances and with adequate space. If the bhikkhu should build a large dwelling on a site with disturbances and without adequate space, or if he should not assemble the bhikkhus to designate the site, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
The Vibhanga defines dwelling here with the same terms it uses for hut in the preceding rule. All explanations for this rule may be inferred from those above, the only difference being that, as the dwelling here has a sponsor, no begging is involved in its construction, and so there is no need to limit its size.
If a sponsor is building a dwelling for a bhikkhu, and the bhikkhu is not involved in any way in building it or getting it built, this rule does not apply.
Summary: Building a hut with a sponsor -- or having it built -- destined for one's own use, without having obtained the Community's approval, is a sanghadisesa offense.
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8. Should any bhikkhu, malicious, angered, displeased, charge a (fellow) bhikkhu with an unfounded case involving defeat, (thinking), "Surely with this I may bring about his fall from the celibate life," then regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined on a later occasion, if the issue is unfounded and the bhikkhu confesses his anger, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
"Now at that time a householder who served fine food gave food to the Community on a regular basis, four bhikkhus every day. (One day) he happened to go on some business to the monastery. He went to where Ven. Dabba Mallaputta was staying and on arrival bowed to him and sat to one side... Ven. Dabba Mallaputta roused... him with a Dhamma talk. Then the householder with fine food... said to Dabba Mallaputta, 'To whom, sir, is tomorrow's meal in our house assigned?'
"'To (the) followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka, householder.' [Mettiya and Bhummajaka were among the leaders of the group-of-six, a faction notorious for its shameless behavior, and instigators of many of the situations that compelled the Buddha to formulate training rules.]
"This upset the householder with fine food. Thinking, 'How can these evil bhikkhus eat in our house?' he returned home and ordered his female slave: 'Hey. Those who are coming for a meal tomorrow: Prepare a seat for them in the storeroom and serve them unhusked rice porridge with pickle brine.'
"'As you say, master,' the female slave answered...
"Then the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka said to one another, 'Yesterday we were assigned a meal at the house of the householder with fine food. Tomorrow, attending with his wife and children, he will serve us. Some will offer rice, some will offer curry, some oil, and some dainties.' Because of their joy, they didn't sleep as much that night as they had hoped.
"Early the next morning... they went to the home of the householder with fine food. The female slave saw them coming from afar. Preparing them a seat in the storeroom, she said to them, 'Have a seat, honored sirs.'
"The thought occurred to the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka, 'No doubt the food isn't ready yet, which is why we are being made to sit in the storeroom.'
"Then the female slave brought them unhusked rice porridge with pickle brine and said, 'Eat, honored sirs.'
"'Sister, we've come for the regular meal.'
"'I know you've come for the regular meal. But yesterday the householder ordered me, "Hey. Those who are coming for a meal tomorrow: Prepare a seat for them in the storeroom and serve them unhusked rice porridge with pickle brine." So eat, honored sirs.'
"Then the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka said to one another, 'Yesterday the householder with fine food went to the monastery and met with Dabba Mallaputta. No doubt Dabba Mallaputta turned him against us.' Because of their disappointment, they didn't eat as much as they had hoped.
"Then they returned to the monastery and, putting away their robes and bowls, went to the storeroom outside the gate and sat on their outer cloaks, their arms around their knees, silent, abashed, their shoulders drooping, their heads down, brooding, at a loss for words.
"Then Mettiya Bhikkhuni came along and said to them, 'I salute you, masters.' But when she had said this, they didn't respond. A second time... A third time she said, 'I salute you, masters.' And a third time they didn't respond.
"'Have I offended you, masters? Why don't you respond to me?'
"'Because you stand by doing nothing, sister, when Dabba Mallaputta treats us like dirt.'
"'What can I do?'
"'If you like, you could get the Blessed One to expel Dabba Mallaputta right this very day.'
"'What can I do? How could I do that?'
"'Come, sister. Go to where the Blessed One is and say this: "It is unfitting, Lord, and improper. The quarter without dread, without harm, without danger, is (now) the quarter with dread, with harm, with danger. Where there is calm, there is a windstorm. The water, as it were, is ablaze. I have been raped by Master Dabba Mallaputta."'
"'As you say, masters.' (And she went to carry out their bidding.)"
This is just the heart of the origin story to this rule, which is one of the longest and most controversial accounts in the Vinaya. After Mettiya Bhikkhuni made her charge, the Buddha convened a meeting of the Sangha to question Ven. Dabba Mallaputta. The latter, who had attained arahantship at the age of seven, responded truthfully that he could not call to mind ever having indulged in sexual intercourse even in a dream, much less when awake. The Buddha then told the Sangha to expel Mettiya Bhikkhuni and returned to his quarters.
According to the Commentary, the expulsion of Mettiya Bhikkhuni was one of the controversial points in the split between the Mahayanist bhikkhus in the Abhayagiri Vihara and the Theravadin bhikkhus of the Mahavihara in the old Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura. Even modern scholars have objected to the Buddha's treatment of Mettiya Bhikkhuni and interpret this passage as a "monkish gloss," as if the Buddha himself were not a monk, and the entire Canon were not the work of monks and nuns. The Commentary maintains that the Buddha acted as he did because he knew if he treated her less harshly, the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka would never have volunteered the information that they had put her up to making the charge in the first place, and the truth would never have come out. This would have led some people to remain secretly convinced of Ven. Dabba Mallaputta's guilt and -- because he was an arahant -- would have been for their long-term detriment.
At any rate, what concerns us here is that at some point after this rule was formulated, the Buddha put the Sangha in charge of judging accusations of this sort and gave them a definite pattern to follow in order to ensure that their judgments would be accurate and fair. Because the Vibhanga and Commentary to this rule are based on this pattern, we will discuss the pattern first before dealing with the special case -- unfounded charges -- covered by this rule.
Admonition. As the Buddha states in Sanghadisesa 12, one of the ways bhikkhus may hope for growth in his teachings is through mutual admonition and mutual rehabilitation. If a bhikkhu commits an offense, the responsibility is his to inform his fellow bhikkhus so that they may help him through whatever procedures the offense may entail. Now of course, human nature being what it is, there are bound to be bhikkhus who neglect this responsibility, in which case the responsibility falls to the offender's fellow bhikkhus who know of the matter to admonish him in private, if possible, or -- if he is stubborn -- to make a formal charge in a meeting of the Community.
The pattern here is this: Before speaking to the bhikkhu, one must first make sure that one is qualified to admonish him. According to Cv.IX.5.1-2, this means one knows:
1) One is pure in bodily conduct.
2) One is pure in verbal conduct.
3) One is motivated by kindness, not vengeance.
4) One is learned in the Dhamma.
5) One knows both Patimokkhas (the one for the bhikkhus and the one for the bhikkhunis) in detail.
Furthermore, one determines that:
1) I will speak at the right time and not at the wrong time.
2) I will speak the truth and not untruths.
3) I will speak gently and not harshly.
4) I will speak what is connected with the goal and not what is unconnected with the goal.
5) I will speak out of kindness and not out of inner anger.
Cv.IX.5.7 and Pv.XV.5.3 add that one should keep five qualities in mind: compassion, solicitude for the other's welfare, sympathy, desire to see him rehabilitated, and a desire to keep the Vinaya foremost.
If one feels that one is unqualified, yet believes that another bhikkhu has committed an offense for which he has not made amends, one should find another bhikkhu who is qualified to handle the charge and inform him. Not to inform anyone in cases like this -- if the case involves a parajika or sanghadisesa offense -- is to violate Pacittiya 64, except in the extenuating circumstances discussed under that rule.
The next step, if one is qualified to make the charge, is to look for a proper time and place to talk with the other party -- e.g., when he is not likely to get embarrassed or upset -- and then to ask his leave, i.e., to ask permission to speak with him: "Let the Ven. One give me leave. I want to speak with you." To accuse him of an offense without asking leave is to incur a dukkata (Mv.II.16.1).
As for the other party, the Buddha recommends that he should give leave only after assessing the person asking for leave, for it is possible that someone might ask for leave without any real grounds, simply to be abusive. (A bhikkhu who asks for leave with no grounds -- i.e., he has not seen the other party commit the offense, has heard no reliable report to that effect, and has no reason to suspect anything to that effect -- incurs a dukkata (Mv.II.16.3).) The Parivara (XV.4.7) suggests that one should not give leave to a bhikkhu who:
1) is unconscientious,
2) is ignorant,
3) is not a bhikkhu in regular standing,
4) speaks intent on creating a disturbance, or
5) is not intent on rehabilitating the bhikkhu he is accusing.
In another passage (XV.5.4), it suggests further that one should not give leave to a bhikkhu who:
1) is not pure in bodily conduct,
2) is not pure in verbal conduct,
3) is not pure in his livelihood,
4) is foolish, childish, and unintelligent, or
5) is unable to give a consistent line of reasoning when questioned.
If the bhikkhu is not unqualified in any of these ways, though, one should willingly give him leave to speak. The Cullavagga (IX.5.7) says that, when being admonished or accused, one should keep two qualities in mind: truth, and lack of anger. The Patimokkha also contains a number of rules imposing penalties on behaving improperly when one is being admonished formally or informally: Sanghadisesa 12 for being difficult to admonish in general, Pacittiya 12 for being evasive or refusing to answer when being formally questioned, Pacittiya 54 for being disrespectful to one's accuser or to the rule one is being accused of breaking, and Pacittiya 71 for finding excuses for not listening to a particular training rule.
If both sides act in good faith and without prejudice, accusations of this sort are easy to settle on an informal basis. If they can't be settled informally, they should be taken to a meeting of the Community so that the group as a whole may pass judgment. The procedures for this sort of formal meeting will be discussed under the Aniyata and Adhikarana-Samatha rules, below.
Abuse of the system. As the origin story to this rule shows, it can easily be the case that a bhikkhu making a charge against another bhikkhu is acting out of a grudge and has simply made up the charge. This rule and the following one cover cases where the made-up charge is that the other bhikkhu has committed a parajika. Pacittiya 76 covers cases where the made-up charge is that the other bhikkhu has broken a less serious rule.
The full offense under this rule involves four factors:
1) Object: The other bhikkhu is regarded as ordained.
2) Perception: One perceives him to be innocent of the offense one is charging him with.
3) Intention: One wants to see him expelled from the Sangha.
4) Effort: One makes an unfounded charge in his presence that he is guilty of a parajika offense.
Object. The definition of this factor -- the other bhikkhu is regarded as ordained -- may sound strange, but it comes from the K/Commentary and is phrased that way with a reason: In normal cases the object of this rule will be an innocent bhikkhu, but there may be cases where a bhikkhu has actually committed a parajika offense that no one knows about; yet instead of disrobing, he acts as if he were still a bhikkhu, and everyone else assumes that he still is. Yet even a "bhikkhu" of this sort would fulfill this factor as far as this rule is concerned.
For example, Bhikkhu X steals some of the monastery funds, but no one knows about it, and he continues to act as if he were a bhikkhu. Bhikkhu Y later develops a grudge against him and makes an unfounded charge that he has had sexual intercourse with one of the monastery supporters. Even though X is not really a bhikkhu, the fact that people in general assume him to be one means that he fulfills this factor.
Perception. If one perceives the bhikkhu one is charging with a parajika offense to be innocent of the offense, that is enough to fulfill this factor regardless of whether the accused is actually innocent or not. To make an accusation based on the assumption or suspicion that the accused is not innocent entails no offense.
Intention. If, in making an unfounded charge of a parajika offense against another bhikkhu, one's purpose is to see him expelled from the Sangha, that fulfills this factor. If one's purpose is simply to insult him, one's actions would come under Pacittiya 2. If one's purpose is both to see him expelled and to insult him, one incurs both a sanghadisesa and a pacittiya. If one has a strange sense of humor and is making the charge as some sort of joke, the penalty is either a pacittiya under Pacittiya 1 or a dubbhasita under Pacittiya 2: The texts are not clear on this point, but in either case this sort of thing is no joking matter.
According to the Vibhanga, "confessing one's anger" can simply mean admitting that one made the charge idly. Thus the amount of malice motivating one's desire to see the other bhikkhu expelled can be minimal indeed: If one wants to see him expelled just for the fun of it, that would fulfill the factor of intention here.
Effort. The act covered by this rule is that of making an unfounded charge of a parajika in the accused's presence. Whether one makes the charge oneself or gets someone else to make it, the penalty is the same. If that "someone else" is a bhikkhu and knows the charge is unfounded, he too incurs the full penalty.
The Vibhanga defines an unfounded charge as one having no basis in what has been seen, heard, or suspected. In other words, the accuser has not seen the accused committing the offense in question, nor has he heard anything reliable to that effect, nor is there anything in the accused's behavior to give rise to any honest suspicion.
"Seeing" and "hearing," according to the Commentary, also include the powers of clairvoyance and clairaudience one may have developed through meditation. Thus if one charges X with having committed a parajika offense on the basis of what one has seen clairvoyantly, this would not be an unfounded charge, although one should be careful to make clear from the very beginning what kind of seeing the charge is based on.
If there is some basis in fact, but one changes the status of the evidence, the penalty is the same. Changing the status means, e.g., saying that one saw something when in actuality one simply heard about it or suspected it, or that one saw it clearly when in actuality one saw it indistinctly.
An example from the Commentary: Bhikkhu X goes into a grove to relieve himself. Ms. Y goes into the same grove to get something there. One sees them leaving the grove at approximately the same time -- which could count as grounds for suspicion -- but one then accuses Bhikkhu X, saying that one actually saw him having sex with Ms. Y. This would count as an unfounded charge. Another example: In the dark of the night, one sees a man stealing something from the monastery storehouse. He looks vaguely like Bhikkhu Z, but one can't be sure. Still, one firms up one's accusation by saying that one definitely saw Z steal the item. Again, this would count as an unfounded charge.
The Commentary states that for an unfounded charge to count under this rule, it must state explicitly (a) the precise act the accused supposedly committed (e.g., having sexual intercourse, getting a woman to have an abortion) or (b) that the accused is guilty of a parajika, or (c) that the accused is no longer a true bhikkhu. If one simply says or does something that might imply that the accused is no longer a bhikkhu -- e.g., refusing to show him respect in line with his seniority -- that does not yet count as a charge.
The Commentary adds that charging a bhikkhu with having committed a virtual parajika, as discussed in the conclusion to the preceding chapter, would fulfill this factor as well. For instance, if one makes an unfounded charge accusing Bhikkhu A of having killed his father before his ordination, that would constitute a full offense here.
All of the charges given as examples in the Vibhanga are expressed directly to the accused -- "I saw you have sexual intercourse," "I heard you lay false claims to a superior human state" -- and the Commentary concludes from this that the full offense occurs only when one makes the charge in the accused's presence, in line with the pattern for admonition discussed above. To make an unfounded charge behind the accused's back, it states, incurs a dukkata.
Some people have objected to this point, saying that this gives a very light penalty for backhanded character assassination, but there is nothing in the Vibhanga to indicate that the Commentary is wrong here. Remember that the correct procedures for making an accusation require that an earnest charge be made in the presence of the accused. If a bhikkhu spreads gossip about another bhikkhu, accusing him of having committed a parajika, he should be asked whether he has taken up the matter with the accused. If he hasn't, he should be told to speak to the accused before he speaks to anyone else. If he says that he doesn't feel qualified or that he fears the accused will retaliate, he should be told to take the matter up with the bhikkhus who will be responsible for calling a meeting of the Community. If he refuses to do that, he shouldn't be listened to.
For some reason, the Commentary maintains that a charge made in writing does not count, although a charge made by gesture -- e.g., pointing at the accused when one is asked who committed the parajika -- does. Perhaps in those days written charges were regarded as too cowardly to take seriously.
The rule seems to require that the accuser confess that he was acting out of anger, although the Vibhanga states that this means simply that he admits the charge was a lie. The Commentary states further that here the rule is showing the point where the rest of the Community knows that the bhikkhu making the charge is guilty of a sanghadisesa: He actually committed the offense when he made the charge.
The Commentary adds "result" as a further factor to the offense under this rule, saying that the accused must understand the charge in a reasonable amount of time -- but nothing in the Vibhanga supports this added factor.
Whether or not anyone actually believes the charge is not a factor here.
Non-offenses. If one understands the accused to be guilty of a parajika and accuses him accurately on the basis of what one has seen, heard, or suspected, then -- regardless of whether he is guilty or not -- one has not committed an offense. Even in a case such as this, though, one incurs a dukkata if one makes the charge without asking leave of the accused, and a pacittiya if one makes the charge so as to insult him.
Summary: Making an unfounded charge to a bhikkhu that he has committed a parajika offense, in hopes of having him disrobed, is a sanghadisesa offense.
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9. Should any bhikkhu, malicious, angered, displeased, using as a mere ploy an aspect of an issue that pertains otherwise, charge a bhikkhu with a case involving defeat, (thinking), "Surely with this I may bring about his fall from the celibate life," then regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined on a later occasion, if the issue pertains otherwise, an aspect used as a mere ploy, and the bhikkhu confesses his anger, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
"At that time the followers of Mettiya and Bhummajaka, descending from Vulture Peak Mountain, saw a billy-goat copulating with a nanny-goat. Seeing them, they said, 'Look here, friends, let's name this billy-goat Dabba Mallaputta, and this nanny-goat Mettiya Bhikkhuni. Then we'll phrase it like this: "Before, my friends, we accused Dabba Mallaputta on the basis of what we had heard, but now we have seen him with our very own eyes fornicating with Mettiya Bhikkhuni!"'"
Some grudges die hard. This rule is almost identical with the preceding one and involves the same factors except for one of the sub-factors under "Effort": "Unfounded charge" here becomes "a charge based on an issue that pertains otherwise." The phrase sounds strange, but the origin story gives a perfect example of what it means.
The precise difference between the two rules is this: With an unfounded charge, one has neither seen, heard, nor suspected that an offense has been committed; or if one has, one changes the status of the evidence -- e.g., one states something one has suspected as if one has heard it, or something one has heard as if one has seen it. In a charge based on an issue that pertains otherwise, one has seen an offense being committed and one does not change the status of the evidence, but one distorts the facts of the case.
To summarize the Vibhanga, there are two basic ways in which this can be done:
1) X, who may or may not be a bhikkhu, has something in common with Bhikkhu Y -- they are both tall, short, dark, fair, have the same name, or whatever. One sees X committing an action that would amount to an offense and then, on the basis of the similarity between the two, claims that one has seen Bhikkhu Y committing a parajika. For instance, X and Y are both very tall. Late at night one sees X -- knowing that it is X -- stealing tools from the monastery storeroom. One has a grudge against Y and so accuses him of being the thief, saying, "I saw this big tall guy stealing the tools, and he looked just like you. It must have been you."
2) One sees Bhikkhu Y actually committing an offense. Although one perceives that it is a lesser offense, one magnifies the charge to a parajika. For instance, one sees him get into an argument with Bhikkhu Z and in a fit of anger give Z a blow to the head. Z goes unconscious, falls to the floor and suffers a severe concussion resulting in death. Since Y's intention was simply to hurt him, not to kill him, he incurs only a pacittiya. If one realizes the nature of Y's intention and the fact that the penalty is a pacittiya, and yet accuses him of having committed a parajika, one would incur a sanghadisesa under this rule.
If one sees Y committing an action that one knows does not violate the rules, but that bears some resemblance to an offense, and then accuses him of having committed a parajika, it would not fit under this category. For instance, Y is teaching Vinaya to some new bhikkhus and quotes a few of the statements that would count as claims of superior human states. One overhears him and, although realizing the context, later accuses him of having violated Parajika 4. Since one knows that Y committed no offense, this would count as an unfounded charge and so would come under the preceding rule.
The other explanations here are exactly the same as those for the preceding rule, except that in the no-offense clauses the Vibhanga states that if one makes a charge against the accused based on what one actually perceives, there is no offense even if the issue turns out to pertain otherwise. For instance, from the examples already given: One sees X stealing tools in the dark and, because of his resemblance to Y, actually thinks Y is the thief. One sees Y give a fatal blow to Z and actually thinks that Y's intention was to kill Z. In either of these cases, if one then accuses Y of a parajika offense, one incurs no penalty regardless of how the case comes out, although -- as in the preceding rule -- one should be careful to ask Y's leave before making the charge and to have no intention of insulting him.
Summary: Distorting the evidence while accusing a bhikkhu of having committed a parajika offense, in hopes of having him disrobed, is a sanghadisesa offense.
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10. Should any bhikkhu agitate for a schism in a Community in concord, or should he persist in taking up an issue conducive to schism, the bhikkhus should admonish him thus: "Do not, Ven. sir, agitate for a schism in a Community in concord or persist in taking up an issue conducive to schism. Let the venerable one be reconciled with the Community, for a Community in concord, on complimentary terms, free from dispute, having a common recitation, dwells in peace."
And should that bhikkhu, admonished thus by the bhikkhus, persist as before, the bhikkhus are to rebuke him up to three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to three times he desists, that is good. If he does not desist, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
This rule dates from Devadatta's attempt to create a schism in the Sangha during the Buddha's life and is designed to help prevent such an attempt from ever happening again.
Disputes. Schisms arise from disputes over what the Buddha did and did not teach or, in the words of the Cullavagga, "when bhikkhus dispute, saying:
'It is Dhamma,' or 'It is not Dhamma;'
'It is Vinaya,' or 'It is not Vinaya;'
'It was spoken by the Tathagata,' or 'It was not spoken by the Tathagata;'
'It was regularly practiced by the Tathagata,' or 'It was not regularly practiced by the Tathagata;'
'It was formulated by the Tathagata,' or 'It was not formulated by the Tathagata;'
'It is an offense,' or 'It is not an offense;'
'It is a light offense,' or 'It is a heavy offense;'
'It is a curable offense,' or 'It is an incurable offense;'
'It is a serious offense,' or 'It is not a serious offense.'
Whatever strife, quarreling, contention, dispute, differing opinions, opposing opinions, heated words, abusiveness based on this, is an issue arising from disputes." (Cv.IV.14.2)
Thus not all disagreements on these matters are classed as issues. Friendly disagreements or differences of interpretation aren't; heated and abusive disagreements are.
The Buddha advises that a bhikkhu who wants to bring up such questions for discussion should first consider five points: 1) whether it is the right time for such a discussion; 2) whether it concerns something true; 3) whether it is connected with the goal; 4) whether he will be able to get on his side bhikkhus who value the Dhamma and Vinaya; and 5) whether the question will give rise to strife, quarreling, disputes, cracks, and splits in the Community. If the answer to the first four questions is yes, and to the fifth question no (i.e., it is the right time for the discussion, it concerns something true, it is connected with the goal, bhikkhus who value the Dhamma and Vinaya will be willing to join his side, and the discussion is not likely to lead to strife), he may go ahead and start the discussion. Otherwise, he should let the matter rest for the time being (Cv.IX.4).
The Cullavagga quotes the Buddha as saying that two sorts of mental states -- skillful and unskillful -- can turn disputes into issues. The unskillful states he lists are covetous, corrupt, or confused states of mind; the skillful ones are states of mind that are not covetous, corrupt, or confused. He adds, however, that six character traits can lead to issues arising from disputes that will tend toward the detriment of many people. They are when a bhikkhu --
is easily angered and bears ill will,
is mean and spiteful,
is jealous and possessive,
is scheming and deceitful,
has evil desires and wrong views,
is attached to his own views, obstinate, unable to let them go.
Such a bhikkhu, he says, lives without deference or respect for the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Sangha, and does not complete the training. If one should see any of these traits within oneself or others, one should strive for their abandonment. If there are no such traits present, one should make sure that they don't arise in the future (Cv.IV.14.3).
Not all disputes, even when prolonged, will lead to schism. An example is the dispute that led to the Second Council. Even though it was bitterly fought, there was never a point when either faction thought of splitting off and conducting communal business separately. In fact, even after the early Buddhists had formed into 18 separate schools, and the Mahayana movement added its schools of interpretation, Chinese visitors to India reported that bhikkhus belonging to the different schools of thought could be found living together harmoniously in the same monastery, performing communal business together in peace. (Many scholars have misunderstood this point, thinking that the various schools were schismatic, but in fact they weren't.)
Thus there are two sets of procedures to follow when a dispute becomes an issue: For a dispute in which none of the partisans is aiming at a schism, there are the procedures listed in Cv.IV.14.16-26. For one that is heading towards a schism (and only for one in which at least one side is aiming at schism, the Commentary implies and the Sub-commentary states explicitly), we have this rule and the following one.
Schism. The Cullavagga (VII.5.1), states that schism occurs when the leader of a schism puts the matter to a vote in a Community of at least nine bhikkhus with at least four on either side of the split. It further adds that all the bhikkhus involved must be bhikkhus of regular standing in communion with the group as a whole (i.e., they haven't been suspended from the Community), living in the same boundary.
If one or another of these qualifications is lacking -- the issue goes to a vote in a Community of less than nine bhikkhus, one side or the other gets less than four adherents, or the bhikkhus involved are not on regular standing or do not belong to the same boundary -- the efforts at schism count as a crack (raji) in the Community, but not as a full split (bheda).
However, the Parivara (XV.10.9), drawing on material in A.X.35 & 37, lists five ways in which a schism can take place: discussion, announcement, vote, act, and recitation. The Commentary, trying to reconcile the Cullavagga and Parivara on this point, interprets the five ways as four steps in a single process (the last two ways counting as alternative forms of a single step):
1) Discussion. A bhikkhu aiming at schism begins a dispute over the Buddha's teachings, explaining Dhamma as not-Dhamma; not-Dhamma as Dhamma; Vinaya as not-Vinaya; not-Vinaya as Vinaya; what was not spoken by the Buddha as having been spoken by him; what was spoken by the Buddha as not; what was not regularly practiced by him as having been regularly practiced by him; what was regularly practiced by him as not; what was not formulated by him as having been formulated by him; what was formulated by him as not; an offense as a non-offense; a non-offense as an offense; a heavy offense as a light offense; a light offense as heavy; a curable offense as incurable; an incurable offense as curable; a serious offense as not serious; or a not-serious offense as serious.
2) Announcement. He announces that he is splitting off from the Community and asks other bhikkhus to take sides.
3) Vote. The issue goes to a vote in a Community of at least nine bhikkhus, with at least four on either side.
4) Act or recitation. The bhikkhus who side with the schismatic split from the others and recite the Patimokkha or perform other communal business separately.
According to the Commentary, the actual schism has not taken place until step 4, when the schismatic group conducts communal business or recites the Patimokkha separately. This is in accordance with A.X.35 but seems to conflict with the Cullavagga, so the Commentary explains that if the vote is taken in a split-off meeting of the Community, steps 3 and 4 happen simultaneously, and the schism has been accomplished. Otherwise, if the vote is taken outside of the boundary, the schism is not finalized until the split-off faction conducts communal business separately within the same boundary as the Community (Pv.VI.2 & XV.10.10).
We can notice from the way the Vibhanga and Commentary analyze the steps leading up to schism, that if a group of bhikkhus is living in a Community that does not adhere to the Buddha's teachings and they wish to leave the group so that they may more easily follow those teachings, they do not count as schismatics. However, they should be careful first to make sure that their views are genuinely in line with the Buddha's teachings and then conduct their departure in as amenable and unprovocative a manner as possible. In other words, instead of announcing a split, they should simply say that they want to go to a more congenial place to practice.
Schism is serious business -- one of the five most heinous crimes a person can commit. The other four are killing one's mother, killing one's father, killing an arahant, and maliciously causing a Buddha to shed blood. A bhikkhu who creates a schism is expelled and can never be readmitted into the Community during this lifetime (Mv.I.67). If he knows that his schism is against the Dhamma, then after death he will go immediately to Hell and be boiled there for an aeon. The same fate awaits those who join his schismatic group knowing that what he teaches is not the true Dhamma or Vinaya. Those, however, who follow him not knowing that his teaching is not the true Dhamma or Vinaya will not necessarily suffer that fate. If they realize their mistake and ask to be allowed back into the Community, they need only confess a thullaccaya and they are members of the Community in full standing as before (Cv.VII.4.4; Cv.VII.5.1-6).
Preventing a schism. The Vibhanga states that if a bhikkhu sees or hears of an attempt at a schism, it is his duty to reprimand the instigator three times, for the instigator, if he goes unreprimanded, may continue with his efforts as he likes without incurring a penalty. A bhikkhu who neglects this duty incurs a dukkata. The Commentary adds that this dukkata applies to every bhikkhu within a half-yojana (five-mile) radius who learns of the attempt at a schism; any bhikkhu outside that radius, even though he may not be subject to the penalty, should still regard it as his duty, if he is able, to go reprimand the instigator as well. (According to the Sub-commentary, any bhikkhu within the five-mile radius who is ill or otherwise unable to go reprimand the instigator is not subject to this penalty.) If the attempt takes place during the Rains Retreat, other bhikkhus are allowed to cut short their stay at other monasteries to help end the attempt (Mv.III.6-9).
If, after being reprimanded three times, the instigator abandons his efforts, he incurs no penalty and nothing further need be done.
If he is still recalcitrant, though, he incurs a dukkata; and the next step is to take him into the midst of a formal meeting of the Community (by force, if necessary, says the Commentary) and admonish him formally three more times. If he abandons his efforts before the end of the third admonition, well and good. If not, he incurs another dukkata. The next step is to recite a formal rebuke, by mandate of the Community, using the formula of one motion and three announcements given in the Vibhanga. If the instigator remains obstinate, he incurs an additional dukkata at the end of the motion, a thullaccaya at the end of each of the first two announcements, and the full sanghadisesa at the end of the third. Once he commits the full offense, the penalties he incurred in the preliminary stages are nullified.
Perception. The Vibhanga states that if the acts of admonition and rebuke are carried out properly -- i.e., the bhikkhu really is misstating the Buddha's teachings, is really aiming at a schism, and the various other formal requirements for a formal act are fulfilled -- then if he does not abandon his intention to agitate for a schism, he incurs the full sanghadisesa regardless of whether he perceives the act to be proper, improper, or doubtful. If the act is improperly carried out, then regardless of how he perceives its validity, he incurs a dukkata for not abandoning his intention (%).
The fact that the bhikkhu is not free from an offense in the latter case is important: There are several other, similar points in the Vinaya -- such as the Buddha's advice to the Dhamma-expert in the controversy at Kosambi (Mv.X.1.8) -- where for the sake of the harmony of the Community in cases that threaten to be divisive, the Buddha advises bhikkhus to abandon controversial behavior and to yield to the mandate of the Community even if it seems unjust.
Non-offenses. The no-offense clauses, in addition to the usual exemptions, state simply that there is no offense if the bhikkhu is not reprimanded or if he gives up his attempt at a schism.
Further steps. If the bhikkhu is truly stubborn, it is possible that he may continue in his efforts at a schism even after this sanghadisesa is imposed on him. However, the fact that the Community met to deal with his case should be enough to alert well-meaning bhikkhus that the schismatic is following a wrong course of action, and this should help unite the Community against his efforts. If they deem it necessary -- to keep the laity from being taken in by his arguments -- they may authorize one or more of their members to inform the lay community that the schismatic has committed this offense (see Pacittiya 9) and explain why. If the schismatic refuses to undergo the penalty or remains divisive, they may suspend him from the entire Sangha. If, unrepentant, he leaves to go elsewhere, they may send word to whatever Community he tries to join.
All of this shows one of the reasons why schism is regarded so seriously: As the Buddha states in the Discourse on Future Dangers (A.V.78), it is difficult to find time to practice when the Community is embroiled in controversy this way.
Summary: To persist in one's attempts at a schism, after the third announcement of a formal rebuke in a meeting of the Community, is a sanghadisesa offense.
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11. Should bhikkhus -- one, two, or three -- who are followers and partisans of that bhikkhu, say, "Do not, Ven. sirs, admonish that bhikkhu in any way. He is an exponent of the Dhamma, an exponent of the Vinaya. He acts with our consent and approval. He knows, he speaks for us, and that is pleasing to us," other bhikkhus are to admonish them thus: "Do not say that, Ven. sirs. That bhikkhu is not an exponent of the Dhamma and he is not an exponent of the Vinaya. Do not, Ven. sirs, approve of a schism in the Community. Let the venerable ones' (minds) be reconciled with the Community, for a Community in concord, on complimentary terms, without dispute, with a common recitation, dwells in peace."
And should those bhikkhus, thus admonished, persist as before, the bhikkhus are to rebuke them up to three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to three times by the bhikkhus they desist, that is good. If they do not desist, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
If the schismatic mentioned in the preceding rule begins to attract adherents, they are to be treated under this rule -- and quickly, before the schismatic gains a fourth adherent. The reasons are these:
1) One Community cannot impose a penalty on another Community (four or more bhikkhus) in any one formal act (Mv.IX.2).
2) Penalties of this sort may be imposed only with the unanimous agreement of all the bhikkhus present in the meeting. If there is a fourth adherent present in the meeting, he can prevent the rebuke from being completed.
3) As the Sub-commentary points out, once a potential schismatic has gained four adherents, he has enough of a following to go through with his split.
The procedures for dealing with these partisans -- reprimanding them in private, admonishing and rebuking them in the midst of the Community -- are the same as in the preceding rule.
Summary: To persist in supporting a potential schismatic, after the third announcement of a formal rebuke in a meeting of the Community, is a sanghadisesa offense.
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12. In case a bhikkhu is by nature difficult to admonish -- who, when being legitimately admonished by the bhikkhus with reference to the training rules included in the (Patimokkha) recitation, makes himself unadmonishable (saying), "Do not, venerable ones, say anything to me, good or bad; and I will not say anything to the venerable ones, good or bad. Refrain, venerable ones, from admonishing me" -- the bhikkhus should admonish him thus: "Let the venerable one not make himself unadmonishable. Let the venerable one make himself admonishable. Let the venerable one admonish the bhikkhus in accordance with what is right, and the bhikkhus will admonish the venerable one in accordance with what is right; for it is thus that the Blessed One's following is nurtured: through mutual admonition, through mutual rehabilitation."
And should that bhikkhu, thus admonished by the bhikkhus, persist as before, the bhikkhus are to be rebuke him up to three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to three times he desists, that is good. If he does not desist, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
If a bhikkhu breaks any of the rules of the Vinaya without undergoing the penalties they entail, or if he breaks them habitually even when undergoing the penalties, the other bhikkhus have the duty to admonish him, as explained under Sanghadisesa 8. If he shows disrespect while being admonished or refuses to mend his ways, he incurs a further penalty under Pacittiya 54. If his lack of respect while being admonished becomes habitual, he is to be treated under this rule.
The Commentary defines difficult to admonish as "impossible to speak to," and then further clarifies by saying that a bhikkhu difficult to admonish is one who cannot stand being criticized or who does not mend his ways after his faults are pointed out to him. It quotes from the Anumana Sutta (M.15) a list of traits, any one of which makes a bhikkhu difficult to admonish: He has evil desires; exalts himself and degrades others; is easily angered; because of this he harbors ill will, holds a grudge, utters angry words; accused, he throws a tantrum (literally, "explodes"); accused, he is insulting; accused, he returns the accusation; he evades back and forth; he does not respond; he is mean and spiteful; jealous and possessive; scheming and deceitful; stubborn and proud; attached to his own views, obstinate, unable to let them go.
A good number of these traits are exemplified by Ven. Channa -- according to tradition, the Buddha's horseman on the night of the great Going Forth -- in the origin story to this rule.
"Who do you think you are to admonish me? It is I who should admonish you! The Buddha is mine, the Dhamma is mine, it was by my young master that the Dhamma was realized. Just as a great blowing wind would gather up grass, sticks, leaves, and rubbish, or a mountain-born river would gather up water weeds and scum, so you, in going forth, have been gathered up from various names, various clans, various ancestries, various families. Who do you think you are to admonish me? It is I who should admonish you!"
The procedures to follow when a bhikkhu is difficult to admonish -- reprimanding him in private, admonishing and rebuking him in a formal meeting of the Community -- are the same as under Sanghadisesa 10, beginning with the fact that a bhikkhu who, hearing that Bhikkhu X is being difficult to admonish, incurs a dukkata if he does not reprimand him. The question of perception and the non-offenses are also the same as under that rule.
If the bhikkhu difficult to admonish carries on as before, even after incurring the full penalty under this rule, the Community may perform an act of banishment (pabbajaniya-kamma) against him for speaking in dispraise of the Community (Cv.I.13) or -- if he admits to performing acts that are offenses but refuses to see that they are offenses or to undergo the penalty -- the Community may exclude him from participating in the Patimokkha and Pavarana ceremonies (Mv.IV.16.2; Cv.IX.2) or suspend him from the entire Sangha (Cv.I.26; Cv.I.31).
Summary: To persist in being difficult to admonish, after the third announcement of a formal rebuke in the Community, is a sanghadisesa offense.
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13. In case a bhikkhu living in dependence on a certain village or town is a corrupter of families, a man of depraved conduct -- whose depraved conduct is both seen and heard about, and the families he has corrupted are both seen and heard about -- the bhikkhus are to admonish him thus: "You, Ven. sir, are a corrupter of families, a man of depraved conduct. Your depraved conduct is both seen and heard about; the families you have corrupted are both seen and heard about. Leave this monastery, Ven. sir. Enough of your staying here."
And should that bhikkhu, thus admonished by the bhikkhus, say about the bhikkhus, "The bhikkhus are prejudiced by favoritism, prejudiced by aversion, prejudiced by delusion, prejudiced by fear, in that for this sort of offense they banish some and do not banish others," the bhikkhus are to admonish him thus: "Do not say that, Ven. sir. The bhikkhus are not prejudiced by favoritism, are not prejudiced by aversion, are not prejudiced by delusion, are not prejudiced by fear. You, Ven. sir, are a corrupter of families, a man of depraved conduct. Your depraved conduct is both seen and heard about, and the families you have corrupted are both seen and heard about. Leave this monastery, Ven. sir. Enough of your staying here."
And should that bhikkhu, thus admonished by the bhikkhus, persist as before, the bhikkhus are to rebuke him up to three times so as to desist. If while being rebuked up to three times he desists, that is good. If he does not desist, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community.
A corrupter of families is a bhikkhu who -- behaving in a demeaning, frivolous, or subservient way -- succeeds in ingratiating himself to lay people to the point where they withdraw their support from bhikkhus who are earnest in the practice and give it to those who are more ingratiating instead. This is illustrated in the origin story of this rule, in which the followers of Assaji and Punabbasu (leaders of one faction of the group of six) had thoroughly corrupted the lay people at Kitagiri.
"Now at that time a certain bhikkhu, having finished his rains-residence among the people of Kasi and on his way to Savatthi to see the Blessed One, arrived at Kitagiri. Arising early in the morning, taking his robe and bowl, he entered Kitagiri for alms: gracious in the way he approached and departed, looked forward and behind, drew in and stretched out his arm; his eyes downcast, his every movement consummate. People seeing him said, 'Who is this weakest of weaklings, this dullest of dullards, this most snobbish of snobs? Who would go up and give him alms? Our masters, the followers of Assaji and Punabbasu, are compliant, genial, pleasing in conversation. They are the first to smile, saying, "Come, you are welcome." They are not snobbish. They are approachable. They are the first to speak. It is to them that alms should be given.'"
The Vibhanga lists the ways of corrupting a family as giving gifts of flowers, fruit, etc., practicing medicine, and delivering messages -- although the Commentary qualifies this by saying there is no harm in delivering messages that have to do with religious activities, such as inviting bhikkhus to a meal or to deliver a sermon, or in conveying a lay person's respects to a senior bhikkhu.
Depraved conduct the Vibhanga defines merely as growing flowers and making them into garlands, but this, the Commentary says, is a shorthand reference to the long list of bad habits mentioned in the origin story, which includes such things as presenting garlands to women, eating from the same dish with them, sharing a blanket with them, eating at the wrong time, drinking intoxicants, wearing garlands, using perfumes and cosmetics, dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, playing games, performing stunts, learning archery, swordsmanship, and horsemanship; boxing and wrestling. Any one of these actions taken in isolation carries only a minor penalty -- a dukkata or a pacittiya -- but if indulged in habitually to the point where its bad influence becomes "seen and heard about," i.e., common knowledge, it can become grounds for his fellow bhikkhus to banish him from their particular Community until he mends his ways.
The Cullavagga, in a section that begins with the same origin story as the one for this rule (Cv.I.13-16), treats the act of banishment in full detail, saying that a Community of bhikkhus, if it sees fit, has the authority to perform an act of banishment against a bhikkhu with any of the following qualities:
1) He is a maker of strife, disputes, quarrels, and issues in the Community.
2) He is ignorant, inexperienced, and has many offenses for which he has not made amends.
3) He lives in unbecoming association with householders.
4) He is corrupt in his precepts, corrupt in his conduct, or corrupt in his views.
5) He speaks in dispraise of the Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha.
6) He is frivolous in word, deed, or both.
7) He misbehaves in word, deed, or both.
8) He is vindictive in word, deed, or both.
9) He practices wrong modes of livelihood.
This last category includes such practices as:
a) running messages and errands for kings, ministers of state, householders, etc. A modern example would be participating in political campaigns.
b) dissembling, talking, hinting, belittling others for the sake of material gain; pursuing gain with gain (giving items of small value in hopes of receiving items of larger value in return, making investments in hopes of profit, offering material incentives to those who make donations). (For a full discussion of these practices, see Ven. Nanamoli's translation of the Visuddhi Magga, The Path of Purification, pp. 24-30.)
c) Practicing worldly arts, e.g., medicine, fortune telling, astrology, exorcism, reciting charms, casting spells, performing ceremonies to counteract the influence of the stars, determining propitious sites, setting auspicious dates (for weddings, etc.), interpreting oracles, auguries, or dreams, or -- in the words of the Vibhanga to the Bhikkhunis' Pacittiya 49 & 50 -- engaging in any art that is "external and unconnected with the goal." The Cullavagga (V.33.2) gives a dukkata for studying and teaching worldly arts or hedonist doctrines (lokayata). For extensive lists of worldly arts, see the Brahmajala and Samannaphala Suttas -- pp. 62-65 and pp. 35-38 in Ven. Bodhi's translations. For the connection between lokayata and hedonism (e.g., the Kama Sutra), see Warder, Outline of Indian Philosophy, pp. 38-39.
A bhikkhu banished for indulging in any of these activities is duty-bound to undergo the 18 observances listed in Cv.I.15 and to mend his ways so that the Community will revoke the act of banishment. The Commentary adds that a bhikkhu banished for corrupting families may not live in the monastery where he was misbehaving, nor enter the city or town where he was corrupting families, until after the banishment is revoked (this point is based on Cv.I.16.1). Also, even after the revoking of the banishment, he may never again accept gifts from the families he had corrupted. If they ask him why, he may tell them. If they then explain that they are giving the gifts not because of his former behavior but because he has now mended his ways, he may then accept it.
If a bhikkhu, instead of mending his ways after being banished, criticizes the act of banishment or those who performed it, he is subject to this rule. The procedure to follow in dealing with him -- reprimanding him in private, admonishing and rebuking him in a formal meeting of the Community -- is the same as under Sanghadisesa 10, beginning with the fact that a bhikkhu who, hearing that Bhikkhu X is criticizing his act of banishment, incurs a dukkata if he does not reprimand him. The question of perception and the non-offenses are also the same as under that rule.
Summary: To persist -- after the third announcement of a formal rebuke in the Community -- in criticizing an act of banishment performed against oneself is a sanghadisesa offense.
* * *
A bhikkhu who commits an offense against any of these thirteen sanghadisesa rules is duty-bound to inform a fellow bhikkhu and to ask a Community of at least four bhikkhus to impose a six-day period of penance (manatta) on him. (The Canon says, literally, a six-night period: At the time of the Buddha, the lunar calendar was in use and, just as we using the solar calendar count the passage of days, they counted the passage of nights; a 24-hour period, which is a day for us, would be a night for them, as in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta (M.131), where the Buddha explicitly says that a person who spends a day and night in earnest practice has had an "auspicious night.")
Penance. Penance does not begin immediately, but only at the convenience of the Community giving it. During his period of penance, the offender is partially stripped of seniority and must observe a number of restrictions -- 94 in all (Cv.II.5-6). The four most important are:
1) He must not live under the same roof as a full-fledged bhikkhu.
2) He must live in a monastery with at least four full-fledged bhikkhus.
3) He may not go anywhere outside the monastery unless accompanied by four full-fledged bhikkhus.
4) Every day he must inform all the bhikkhus in the monastery of the fact that he is observing penance and the precise offense for which the penance was imposed. If visiting bhikkhus come to the monastery, he must inform them as well; if he goes to another monastery, he must inform all the bhikkhus there, too.
If, on any day of his penance, the bhikkhu neglects to observe any of these four restrictions, that day does not count toward the total of six. In addition, he incurs a dukkata each time he fails to observe any of the other 94 restrictions.
Once the bhikkhu has completed his penance, he may ask a Community of at least 20 bhikkhus to give him rehabilitation. Once rehabilitated, he returns to his previous state as a full-fledged bhikkhu in good standing.
Probation. If a bhikkhu who commits a sanghadisesa offense conceals it from his fellow bhikkhus past dawn of the day following the offense, he must observe an additional period of probation (parivasa) for the same number of days as he concealed the offense. Only after he has completed his probation may he then ask for the six-day period of penance.
The Commentary sets the factors of concealment at ten, which may be arranged in five pairs as follows:
1) He has committed a sanghadisesa offense and perceives it as a sanghadisesa offense.
2) He has not been suspended and perceives that he has not been suspended. (If a bhikkhu has been suspended, no other bhikkhus will speak with him, and thus he cannot tell them until after his suspension has been lifted.)
3) There are no obstacles (e.g., a flood, a forest fire, dangerous animals) and he perceives that there are none.
4) He is able to inform another bhikkhu (i.e., a fellow bhikkhu suitable to be informed lives in a place that may be reached in that day, one is not too weak or ill to go, etc.) and he perceives that he is able. A bhikkhu suitable to be informed means a one who is --
a) in good standing (e.g., not undergoing penance or probation himself) and
b) not on unfriendly terms with the offender.
5) He (the offender) desires to conceal the offense and so conceals it.
If any of these factors are lacking, there is no penalty for not informing another bhikkhu that day. For instance, the following cases do not count as concealment:
A bhikkhu is not sure whether or not the action he has done qualifies as a sanghadisesa and so waits until he can consult with a knowledgeable bhikkhu before informing anyone else.
A bhikkhu lives alone in a forest and commits a sanghadisesa in the middle of the night. Afraid of the snakes or other wild animals he might encounter in the dark, he waits until daylight before going to inform a fellow bhikkhu.
A bhikkhu lives alone in a forest, but the only other bhikkhu within one day's traveling time is a personal enemy who, if he is informed, will use this as an opportunity to smear the offender's name, so the offender travels another day or two before reaching a friendly bhikkhu whom he informs.
Once all of the first eight factors are complete, though, one must inform another bhikkhu before dawn of the next day or else incur a dukkata and undergo the penalty for concealment.
A bhikkhu who commits a slighter offense that he thinks is a sanghadisesa and then conceals it, incurs a dukkata (Cv.III.34.1).
The restrictions for a bhikkhu undergoing probation are similar to those for one undergoing penance and are discussed in detail at Cv.II.1.
Sanghadisesas are classified as heavy offenses (garukapatti), both because of the seriousness of the offenses themselves and because the procedures of penance, probation, and rehabilitation are burdensome by design, not only for the offender but also for the Community of bhikkhus in which he lives -- a fact intended to act as added deterrent to anyone who feels tempted to transgress.
This term means undetermined or uncertain. The rules in this section do not determine fixed penalties, but instead give procedures by which the Community may pass judgment when a bhikkhu in uncertain circumstances is accused of having committed an offense. There are two training rules here.
1. Should any bhikkhu sit in private, alone with a woman in a seat secluded enough to lend itself (to the sexual act), so that a female lay follower whose word can be trusted, having seen (them), might describe it as constituting any of three cases -- involving either defeat, communal meetings, or confession -- then the bhikkhu, acknowledging having sat (there), may be dealt with for any of the three cases -- involving defeat, communal meetings, or confession -- or he may be dealt with for whichever case the female lay follower described. This case is undetermined.
Woman here means a female human being, "even one born that very day, all the more an older one." 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 here.
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 normal voice. 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.
For a bhikkhu to sit in such a place with a woman can be in itself a breach of Pacittiya 44 (see the explanations for that rule) and affords the opportunity for breaking Parajika 1 and Sanghadisesas 1, 2, 3, & 4 as well -- which is why this case is called uncertain or undetermined.
If a trustworthy female lay follower happens to see a bhikkhu with a woman in such circumstances, she may inform the Community and charge him on the basis of what she has seen. Female lay follower here means one who has taken refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. Trustworthy means that she is at least a stream-winner. Even if she is not a stream-winner, the Community may chose to investigate the case anyway; but if she is, they have to. The texts do not discuss cases in which a man is making the charge but, given the low legal status of women in the Buddha's time, it seems reasonable to infer that if a woman's word was given such weight, the same would hold true for a man's. In other words, if he is a stream-winner, the Community has to investigate the case. If he isn't, they are free to handle the case or not, as they see fit.
The wording of the rule suggests that once the matter is investigated and the bhikkhu in question has stated his side of the story, the bhikkhus are free to judge the case either in line with what he admits to having done or in line with the trustworthy female lay follower's charge. In other words, if his admission and her charge are at variance, they may decide which side seems to be telling the truth and impose a penalty -- or no penalty -- on the bhikkhu as they see fit.
The Vibhanga, however, says that they may deal with him only in line with what he admits to having done. The Commentary offers no explanations for this point aside from saying that in uncertain cases things are not always as they seem, citing as example the story of an arahant who was wrongly charged by another bhikkhu of having broken Pacittiya 44.
Actually, the Vibhanga in departing from the wording of the rule is simply following the general guideline the Khandhakas give for handling accusations. Apparently what happened was that this rule and the following one were formulated early on. Later, when the general guidelines were first worked out, some group-of-six bhikkhus abused the system to impose penalties on innocent bhikkhus they didn't like (Mv.IX.3.1), so the Buddha formulated a number of checks to prevent the system from working against the innocent. We will cover the guidelines in detail under the Adhikarana-Samatha rules, but here we may note a few of their more important features.
As explained under Sanghadisesa 8, if Bhikkhu X is charged with an offense, the bhikkhus who learn of the charge are duty-bound to question him first in private. If he admits to the charge, agrees that it is an offense, and then undergoes the penalty, nothing further need be done (Mv.IX.5.6). If he admits that he did the act, but refuses to see that it is an offense and/or refuses to undergo the penalty, then if the act really did constitute an offense, the Community may meet and suspend him (Mv.IX.5.8; Cv.I.26). The Khandhakas (Mv.IX.1.3 and Cv.XI.1.10) show that "not seeing an offense" does not mean that one denies doing the act; simply that one does not agree that the act was against any of the rules.
If, however, X denies the charge, and yet some of the members of the Community suspect him of not telling the truth, the issue has to go to a formal meeting. Once the case reaches this stage, one of only three verdicts is possible: that the accused is innocent, that he was insane at the time he committed the offense (and so absolved of guilt), or that he is not only guilty as charged but also guilty of "further misconduct" in having dragged out his confession to this point (Cv.IV.14.27-29). If the last verdict is the true one, then the bhikkhu must not only undergo the penalty for the offense but also be penalized with an act of further misconduct, which is the same as an act of censure. (Cv.IV.11-12)
When the Community meets, both the accused and the accuser must be present, and both must agree to the case's being heard by that particular group. (If the original accuser is a lay person, one of the bhikkhus is to take up the charge.) The accused is then asked to state his version of the story and is to be dealt with in accordance with what he admits to having done (Mv.IX.6.1-4). The Cullavagga (IV.14.29) shows that the other bhikkhus are not to take his first statement at face value. They should press and cross-examine him until they are all satisfied that he is telling the truth, and only then may they pass one of the three verdicts mentioned above.
If necessary, they should be prepared to spend many hours in the meeting to arrive at a unanimous decision, for if they cannot come to a unanimous agreement, the case has to be left as unsettled, which is a very bad question mark to leave in the communal life. The Commentary to Sanghadisesa 8 suggests that if one side or the other seems unreasonably stubborn, the senior bhikkhus present should lead the group in long periods of chanting to wear down the stubborn side.
If a verdict is reached but later discovered to be wrong -- the accused got away with a plea of innocence when actually guilty, or admitted to being guilty simply to end the interrogation when actually innocent -- the Community may reopen the case and reach a new verdict (Cv.IV.4.11; Cv.IV.8). If a bhikkhu learns that a fellow bhikkhu actually was guilty and yet got away with a verdict of innocence, and he then helps conceal the truth, he is guilty of an offense under Pacittiya 64.
Obviously, the main thrust of these guidelines is to prevent an innocent bhikkhu from being unfairly penalized. As for the opposite case -- a guilty bhikkhu getting away with no penalty -- we should remember that the laws of kamma guarantee that in the long run he is not getting away with anything at all.
Although these guidelines supercede both Aniyata rules, the rules still serve two important functions:
1) They remind the bhikkhus that charges made by lay people are not to be lightly ignored, and that the Buddha at one point was willing to let the bhikkhus give more weight to the word of a female lay follower than to that of the accused bhikkhu. This in itself, considering the general position of women in Indian society at the time, is remarkable.
2) As we will see under Pacittiya 44, it is possible under some circumstances -- depending on the bhikkhu's state of mind -- to sit alone with a woman in a secluded place without incurring a penalty. Still, a bhikkhu should not blithely take advantage of the exemptions under that rule, for even if his motives are pure, it doesn't look good to anyone who may come along and see him there. These rules serve to remind such a bhikkhu that he could easily be subject to a charge that would lead to a formal meeting of the Community. Even if he were to be declared innocent, the meeting would waste a great deal of time both for himself and for the Community. And in some people's minds -- given the Vibhanga's general rule that he is innocent until proven guilty -- there would remain the belief that he was actually guilty and got off with no penalty simply from lack of hard evidence. A bhikkhu would be wise to avoid such situations altogether, remembering what Lady Visakha told Ven. Udayin in the origin story to this rule:
"It is unfitting, sir, and improper, 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."
Summary: When a trustworthy female lay follower accuses a bhikkhu of having committed a parajika, sanghadisesa, or pacittiya offense while sitting alone with a woman in a private, secluded place, the Community should investigate the charge and deal with the bhikkhu in accordance with whatever he admits to having done.
* * *
2. In case a seat is not sufficiently secluded to lend itself (to the sexual act) but sufficiently so to address lewd words to a woman, should any bhikkhu sit in private, alone with a woman in such a seat, so that a female lay follower whose word can be trusted, having seen them, would describe it as constituting either of two cases -- involving communal meetings or confession -- then the bhikkhu, acknowledging having sat (there), is to be dealt with for either of the two cases -- involving communal meetings or confession -- or he is to be dealt with for whichever case the female lay follower described. This case too is undetermined.
This rule differs from the preceding one mainly in the type of seat it describes -- private to the eye and private to the ear, but not secluded. Examples would be an open-air meeting hall or a place out in the open far enough away from other people so that they could not see one wink, etc., or hear what one is saying in a normal voice. Such a place, although inconvenient for committing Parajika 1, Sanghadisesas 1 & 2, or Pacittiya 44, would be convenient for committing Sanghadisesas 3 & 4 or Pacittiya 45. As a result, the term woman under this rule is defined as under those rules: one experienced enough to know what is and is not lewd.
Otherwise, all explanations for this rule are the same as under the preceding rule.
Summary: When a trustworthy female lay follower accuses a bhikkhu of having committed a sanghadisesa or pacittiya offense while sitting alone with a woman in a private place, the Community should investigate the charge and deal with the bhikkhu in accordance with whatever he admits to having done.
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 the bhikkhus."
"'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 Community.
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 dual ownership.
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, or
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 this rule.
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.
Robe-season & 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, five of the training rules -- NP 1 & 3; Pc 32, 33, & 46 -- are automatically relaxed to make it more convenient for the bhikkhus to make robes. Also, any gift of cloth dedicated to the Community or to the bhikkhus who have spent the Rains may be shared only among the bhikkhus who spent the Rains in that Community, and not with any incoming visitors.
In addition, the bhikkhus who have spent the Rains 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.)
When the kathina has been spread, those who have participated in its spreading gain six privileges:
(1) They may go off without having asked permission (Pc 46).
(2) They may go off without taking all three robes (NP 2).
(3) They may participate in a group meal (Pc 32).
(4) They may participate in an out-of-turn meal (Pc 33).
(5) They may keep as much robe-cloth as they need or want without having to determine it or place it under dual ownership (NP 1, NP 3).
(6) Whatever robe cloth arises there will be theirs. This means that they have sole rights to any cloth accruing to the Community in the residence where they spent the Rains -- see Mv.VIII.24.2; Mv.VIII.24.5-6.
These privileges can extend through the four lunar months of the cold season, up to the dawn after the full-moon day that ends the 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 things happen:
-- 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 occur:
-- 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 expected.
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 robe-season 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 confessed.
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 rule.
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 Commentary 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 offense.
* * *
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 V/Sub-commentary defines it as "the distinctive radiance of increasingly intense red preceding sunrise." Different communities interpret this passage in different ways, and some do not follow it at all. For a complete discussion of this point, see Appendix I. 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 the robes.
c. Unenclosed: Greet dawn within one hatthapasa of the robes.
5. Buildings with no yard (such as a fortress or city apartment block):
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 either side.
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 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 (natti-dutiya-kamma).
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 reinstated.
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 this exemption.
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 larger simas.
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 his robes.
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 this.
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 pacittiya offense.
* * *
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 eight fingerbreadths;
(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 robe-cloth:
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 robe-season 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 same.
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 again.
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 pacittiya offense.
* * *
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 happened.
"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 under robe.'
"'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 child.
"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 result.
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 offense.
Effort. One tells an unrelated bhikkhuni to wash, dye, or beat the robe.
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 here.
Result. The bhikkhuni washes, dyes or beats the robe as requested.
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 pacittiya offense.
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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 and effort.
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 novice.
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 pacittiya offense.
* * *
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 the sick?'
"'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 finer one.'
"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 finer one.'
"'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 cloth?'
"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 cloth?'"
The factors for an offense here are three: object, effort, and result.
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 Sangha.
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 cloth.
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.
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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 confessed.
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) robe-cloth.'
"'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.
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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 offense.
* * *
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.
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10. In case a king, a royal official, a brahman 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 to.
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." (Mv.VI.34.21)
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 (kahapana).'
"'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 particular gift.
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 guidelines:
If donors offer money, they are to be told that bhikkhus do not accept money.
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 an 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 to --
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 bhikkhu.
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 Appendix VI.
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 the money.
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 for you."
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 another 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 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 individually.
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.