Guide to Tipitaka

2. Pæcittiya Pæ¹i

The Pæcittiya Pæ¹i which is Book II of the Vinaya Pi¥aka deals with the remaining sets of rules for the bhikkhus, namely, the Pæcittiya, the Pæ¥idesanøya, Sekhiya, Adhikara¼asamatha and the corresponding disciplinary rules for the bhikkhunøs. Although it is called in Pæ¹i just Pæcittiya, it has the distinctive name of ‘Suddha Pæcittiya’, ordinary Pæcittiya to distinguish it from Nissaggiya Pæcittiya, described above.

(a) Ninety-two Pæcittiya offences and penalties.

There are ninety-two rules under this class of offences classified in nine sections. A few examples of this type of offences:

(i) Telling a lie deliberately is a Pæcittiya offence.

(ii) A bhikkhu who sleeps under the same roof and within the walls along with a woman commits a Pæcittiya offence.

(iii) A bhikkhu who digs the ground or causes it to be dug commits a Pæcittiya offence.

A Pæcittiya offence is remedied merely by admission of the offence to a bhikkhu.

(b) Four Pæ¥idesanøya offences and penalties.

There are four offences under this classification and they all deal with the bhikkhu’s conduct in accepting and eating alms-food offered to him. The bhikkhu transgressing any of these rules, in making admission of his offence, must use a special formula stating the nature of his fault.

The first rule of Pæ¥idesanøya offence reads: should a bhikkhu eat hard food or soft food having accepted it with his own hand from a bhikkhunø who is not his relation and who has gone among the houses for alms-food, it should be admitted to another bhikkhu by the bhikkhu saying, "Friend, I have done a censurable thing which is unbecoming and which should be admitted. I admit having committed a Pætidesanøya offence."

The events that led to the laying down of the first of these rules happened in Sævatthi, where one morning bhikkhus and bhikkhunøs were going round for alms-food. A certain bhikkhunø offered the food she had received to a certain bhikkhu who took away all that was in her bowl. The bhikkhunø had to go without any food for the day. Three days in succession she offered to give her alms-food to the same bhikkhu who on all the three days deprived her of her entire alms-food. Consequently she became famished. On the fourth day while going on the alms round she fainted and fell down through weakness. When the Buddha came to hear about this, he censured the bhikkhu who was guilty of the wrong deed and laid down the above rule.

(c) Seventy-five Sekhiya rules of polite behaviour.

These seventy-five rules laid down originally for the proper behaviour of bhikkhus also apply to novices who seek admission to the Order. Most of these rules were all laid down at Sævatthi on account of indisciplined behaviour on the part of a group of six bhikkhus. The rules can be divided into four groups. The first group of twenty-six rules is concerned with good conduct and behaviour when going into towns and villages. The second group of thirty rules deals with polite manners when accepting alms-food and when eating meals. The third group of sixteen rules contains rules which prohibit teaching of the Dhamma to disrespectful people. The fourth group of three rules relates to unbecoming ways of answering the calls of nature and of spitting.

(d) Seven ways of settling disputes, Adhikara¼asamatha.

Pæcittiya Pæ¹i concludes the disciplinary rules for bhikkhus with a Chapter on seven ways of settling cases, Adhikara¼asamatha.

Four kinds of cases are listed:

(i) Vivædædhikara¼a - Disputes as to what is dhamma, what is not dhamma; what is Vinaya, what is not Vinaya; what the Buddha said, what the Buddha did not say; and what constitutes an offence, what is not an offence.

(ii) Anuvædædhikara¼a - Accusations and disputes arising out of them concerning the virtue, practice, views and way of living of a bhikkhu.

(iii) Æpattædhikara¼a - Infringement of any disciplinary rule.

(iv) Kiccædhikara¼a - Formal meeting or decisions made by the Saµgha.

For settlement of such disputes that may arise from time to time amongst the Order, precise and detailed methods are prescribed under seven heads:

(i) Sammukhæ Vinaya - before coming to a decision, conducting an enquiry in the presence of both parties in accordance with the rules of Vinaya.

(ii) Sati Vinaya - making a declaration by the Saµgha of the innocence of an Arahat against whom some allegations have been made, after asking him if he remembers having committed the offence.

(iii) Amþ¹ha Vinaya - making a declaration by the Saµgha when the accused is found to be insane.

(iv) Patiññæta Kara¼a - making a decision after admission by the party concerned.

(v) Yebhuyyasika Kamma - making a decision in accordance with the majority vote.

(vi) Tassapæpiyasika Kamma - making a declaration by the Saµgha when the accused proves to be unreliable, making admissions only to retract them, evading questions and telling lies.

(vii) Ti¼avatthæraka Kamma -  ‘the act of covering up with grass’ - exonerating all offences except the offences of Pæræjika, Saµghædisesa and those in connection with laymen and laywomen, when the disputing parties are made to reconcile by the Saµgha.

(e) Rules of Discipline for the bhikkhunøs. The concluding chapters in the Pæcittiya Pæ¹i are devoted to the rules of Discipline for the bhikkhunøs. The list of rules for bhikkhunøs runs longer than that for the bhikkhus. The bhikkhunø rules were drawn up on exactly the same lines as those for the bhikkhus, with the exception of the two Aniyata rules which are not laid down for the bhikkhunø Order.

(1) Pæræjika
(2) Saµghædisesa
(3) Aniyata
(4) Nissaggiya Pæcittiya
(5) Suddha Pæcittiya
(6) Pæ¥idesanøya
(7) Sekhiya
(8) Adhikara¼asamatha

These eight categories of disciplinary rules for bhikkhus and bhikkhunøs of the Order are treated in detail in the first two books of the Vinaya Pi¥aka. For each rule an historical account is given as to how it comes to be laid down, followed by an exhortation of the Buddha ending with "This offence does not lead to rousing of faith in those who are not convinced of the Teaching, nor to increase of faith in those who are convinced." After the exhortation comes the particular rule laid down by the Buddha followed by word for word commentary on the rule.

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