Bhikkhuni pacittiya rules concerning massage


Are there exceptions for being massaged for health reasons? I guess so, it’s the case for most of the rules.

Vinaya Doodles :grin:

I apply Rolfing techniques to others for health. It is somewhat painful and I basically am simply sharing self-massage techniques. Therefore I am a bit concerned about these rules since Rolfing might be considered massage.


Are you massaging Bhikkhunis? :slightly_smiling_face:


If I were a paramedic helping a Bhikkhuni with a broken leg, I hope (?) it would acceptible to set the leg. Rolfing is therapeutic and although it relaxes, that is not the main purpose. I’m just wondering (like you) about exceptions to the massage rule. :thinking:

Perhaps we should explore this in another thread (moderators help?).


Just looked it up:

There is no offence if she is ill


Does this massaging, not ‘messaging’ :wink:, rule apply to Bhikkhus, as well?


No, bhikkhus don’t have these rules.


Perhaps bhikkhus don’t get as many casual well-intended offers of massages from men as bhikkhunis do from women (at least in my experience), and massages for were probably associated with luxurious behavior of privileged ladies. And yes there is the health exception, for that’s a different thing than a luxury massage. When my back started having problems recently, my doctor announced crisply that the prescription for me is to get massages - as though aware of the rule! I beamed at my Doc.

Notice how many rules covered this one (reasonable & easy to obey) concept of renouncing luxury massages; it could’ve been stated as a single rule. There are many same-concept rules adding details like these padding the bhikkhuni Patimokkha (list of recited rules), making the female list seem longer & weightier than the male list. But really, our day to day lifestyles when following these rules end up much the same - just tweaked here & there in ways well suited to each gender’s weaknesses.


I think some of those details get included in the vibhanga, rather than as a separate rule? It would seem useful to see how many rules there would be for nuns, if the list was ‘collapsed’.


Is this topic (of comparing Patimokkhas) covered in another thread? I had drafted a long response, then realized we drifted away from massaging bhikkhinis.

For now I’ll pm to you my response, to answer your question.


I think Buddha restricted the usage of medicine for monks.
I think what matters is not to misuse the Vinaya rules so as to break it.
I think each case has to be evaluated on its own merits otherwise Vinaya rules applied.


It may be worthwhile to start another thread, since you already took the time to write it. More people might be interested in your reply. :anjal:

Monastics should be content with fermented cow’s urine if no other medicine is available, but pretty much any medicine is allowed if a monastic can get it, and can also be taken in the afternoon outside mealtimes.
Monastics who are sick are also allowed to ask laypeople for medicines and special food, even if the laypeople have not given any invitation to ask.
The vinaya is very lenient in case of illness.