We are currently discussing the Sanghadisessa rules and have had a very extended discussion on SD3 and after many hours feel that it has many ‘grey areas’. So I am hoping to open a discussion on how this rule is practiced in reality by different communities, as well as updated thoughts from our bhikkhu friends @brahmali and @sujato.
To start the discussion I would like to here how people interpret the part of the rule with regard to ekā vā gāmantaraṃ gaccheyya. Some take this to be between ‘suburbs’ in which case you need to have a map with you and not cross to the wrong side of the street(!). Some say a whole metropolitan area. Other arguments I have heard are between major cities alone (ie walking/driving alone). Other interpretation take this as just walking. The most liberal I have come across is that there are nearly no ‘lawless areas’ and therefor not possible break this part of the rule.
The other area which a few people are curious about is ‘staying the night alone’, both in the context of what is determined a vihara for a solitary nun and in other situations, such as a family home (where one’s family are not home).
From reading @TathaalokaBhikkhuni’s unpublished 2012 paper I am trying to reflect how this rule a ‘grave offence’. The act of leaving a bhikkhuni travelling companion without notice, either overnight or while on a journey seem to be things which can cause serious disharmony in the Sangha and that would therefor warrant this level of gravity. However, I’m a bit lost as to how the first part of this rule, gāmantram, fits into this level of offence and not just a Pacittiya? Regardless, it is the case that it’s SD so I need to reconcile how to keep this in modern times when I am someone who is quite used to making journeys alone (by foot between residential areas- such as getting off public transport and walking to my final destination).