Day to day vinaya practice: Parikkhāracoḷa and it's use

When we consider the rule regarding parikkhāracoḷa, we could clearly see that this is used as an extra cloth to make water-strainers and bags. In this case this cannot be considered as a complete robe since it was allowed when monks had complete set of three robes.

Relevant texts from pali canon:

Tena kho pana samayena bhikkhūnaṃ paripuṇṇaṃ hoti ticīvaraṃ. Attho ca hoti parissāvanehipi thavikāhipi Bhagavato etamatthaṃ ārocesuṃ. Anujānāmi, bhikkhave, parikkhāracoḷakanti.
Nisīdanādianujānanā - last paragraph

Translated into English,
Now at that time monks had complete sets of the three robes but they had need both of water-strainers and bags. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “I allow you, monks, a cloth for the requisites.”

According to the rule regarding allotment, this robe cannot be assigned after it is allotted.
Anujānāmi, bhikkhave,…parikkhāracoḷaṃ adhiṭṭhātuṃ na vikappetunti.

“I allow you, monks, … to allot a cloth for the requisites (of water-strainers and bowls), not to assign it.”
On the least robe to be assigned, etc

This rule has no problem in the texts or translations and it is clear that this was allowed to use as a cloth for the requisites (of water-strainers and bowls).

However with the late buddhist texts such as commentaries and tīkas, the use of the parikkhāracoḷaṃ changed.

Currently most of the monks who has problems using main three robes, as allowed in vinaya with the “I allow you, monks, three robes: a double outer cloak, a single upper robe, a single inner robe.” imposition do not allot these three main robes and they allot their all the robes as parikkhāracoḷa.

They allot them using the phrase “imani parikkhāracoḷani adittāmi”
(for more than one robe) or “imaṃ parikkhāracoḷaṃ adittāmi” (for one robe). Nearly no monk allot a cloth as a robe but complete robes. Availability of robes is highly increased and lead to merchanting them rather than keeping in many monasteries.

This practice is backed by most of late vinaya texts, mainly samantapāsādikā a commentary by Ven. Buddhagosha Thero which reveals the practice started a long time ago.
In samantapāsādikā Ven. Buddhagosha Thero presents a debate from Anuradapura era: 5th century(before the time of Budhhagosha) where most of the monks agreed to use robes allotted as parikkhāracoḷa. I think this is the earliest recorded evidence for the use of parikkhāracoḷa in a different way than allowed in the vinaya. (Please provide samantapāsādikā part if available)

Benifits when all the robes and cloths allotted as parikkhāracoḷa
Monks who allot their robes as parikkhāracoḷa get various benifits.
They do not have to care about rules regarding main three robes, like vippavāsaṃ.
They can allot many robes.
They can keep extra robes.
In contrast they don’t have to bother about rules regarding robes.

I have several issues regarding parikkhāracoḷaṃ.
1. Is it appropriate to use complete robes as parikkhāracoḷa?
2. Can someone allot all his robes as parikkhāracoḷa and never allot mainthree robes?
3. How many cloths can be allotted as parikkhāracoḷa, if a monk already allotted main three robes?

I would be grateful if you could give your opinions

Note: I prefer opinions from venerables, since this cannot be understand without a practice.

May the Triple Gem Bless You!

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How so, exactly? Have you determined robes as parikkhāracoḷa and then run into some issue in your meditation?


I don’t allot robes as parikkhāracoḷa, I don’t have a problem with those who practice that way, but some of us had debates on particular issue.
It’s better to follow vinaya proper way with a proper knowladge.
Note: I’ll remove quoted part… thank you bhante for mentioning. Problem is not that serious.

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For what it’s worth, I agree with you that it’s a bit odd to have no (designated) triple robe. But at the end of the day, I also wouldn’t fret over or get into arguments about which exact Pali term another monk uses to designate their robes. There are some genuinely important vinaya issues, but this one strikes me as a bit of a bike shed to be honest :man_shrugging:


Real problem comes when the fellow monks who are strictly concerned about vinaya blemed other monks even us on vinaya issues and still argues this is a proper practice.

I agree there are much more important vinaya issues to be solved. Sadly no respective body pays attention.

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I have a lot of doubts on this particular problem as well. I have doubts on the lineage of bhikkunis from Taiwan who gave the higher ordaination to Sri Lankan bhikkunies in India, about 2 decades ago. However, Single Ordination is something promising.
Hope I am not diverting the question.

“This rule has no problem in the texts or translations and it is clear that this was allowed to use as a cloth for the requisites (of water-strainers and bowls).”
I completely agree with you.
The Buddha has declared that a Bhikkhu would not dare to do what was declared as wrong by Him. “anumattesu vajjesu dassāvī" This should include doing what was not declared as correct. I practice this way and it gives me confidence and effort for practice.

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Indeed. Poor things. They must be so unhappy. :pensive: May they find peace soon (for their own sake as well as ours!) :pray:


Yes, it is difficult to live together with people who don’t follow vinaya the same way and then blame each other. I say that sincerely. But we can’t always avoid it.

It doesn’t really sound like the problem is extra cloth, but rather harmony. It is a perplexing situation when someone seems, or claims, to be very “strict” but then does things that we don’t consider strict. But usually if there are already bad feelings, then debating, or trying to strengthen a position usually won’t help the situation.

That being said, you are correct that by not determining the three robes there is a whole set of rules that can be avoided. Now, to give you a different perspective, say that someone tried to follow all the rules so strictly that they couldn’t bear to sleep at night if they thought that there was any chance that they had broken a rule.

They know that if a three-robe-determined robe has a hole in it of the proper size and the proper location, then the robe becomes un-determined. If this happens and they don’t realize it, and the proper time passes, then they fall into offense. They are consumed with worry that even though they check their robes daily, they might miss the hole.

So their solution? Determine them as parikkhāracoḷa! Problem solved! And they get to continue being a very strict monk.

I highly doubt this is their justification. And if it was, then we should just feel compassion for them. But there could be other, more reasonable justifications that we just haven’t thought of.

On the other side of things, I don’t think that one can conclude that the two things used as examples of parikkhāracoḷa (water strainers and bags) are the only thing that one can use it for. Or even that it should only be used for cloth items specifically mentioned somewhere in the vinaya. It’s not an unreasonable position, but it’s not explicit anywhere to my knowledge.

  1. Is it appropriate to use complete robes as parikkhāracoḷa?

By appropriate do you mean against the vinaya? It’s not explicitly, but you probably know that. Can it be a solution to a problem, yes. Is it a great thing to do? That’s more of a value judgement.

  1. Can someone allot all his robes as parikkhāracoḷa and never allot main three robes?

Other than needing to have a set of robes at the time of ordination, as far as I know there is no explicit rule requiring any cloth requisites other than the sitting cloth and water strainer for traveling. Well, and the rule not to be naked.

  1. How many cloths can be allotted as parikkhāracoḷa, if a monk already allotted main three robes?

There’s no actual limit on number of parikkhāracoḷa that I am aware of either, regardless how many robes are determined.

Not sure if I’m understanding what you are saying, but we need to keep in mind that the Buddha said we should check to see if an action goes against what he has prohibited or if it is line with what he allowed. Not that we can only do those things that were explicitly allowed.

This is really an issue that has been problematic through the centuries, so we are unlikely to find clear cut answers now.

What is much more possible, is to try and live in harmony even though it is difficult when we don’t agree on the rules.


If a monk uderstands the purpose of all the rules, its not that hard to follow as you mentioned,

I don’t think following rules is a burden to a monk unless he is having more uncontrollable problems such as climate, harsh weather, society who don’t understand what buddhism is.
Ex: Vinaya basically designed for tropical countries which makes it difficult to follow in temperate contries.
Western countries with no early buddhist practice woud face problems with socielizing practices.

I think determining a complete robe (a double outer cloak, a single upper robe, a single inner robe) as a parikkhāracoḷaṃ is wrong and against the vinaya. But this is just my opinion and can be wrong.

Yes, we should accept that, people with different ideas and attitudes, would have different ways of living, and practising. We should be compassionate and friendly to all, accept their views and ideas.

However, we should rather consider the society of samga, when we talk about Vinaya. There are monks who understand vinaya and dhamma properly with a goal to attain nibbana. They know why should we follow vinaya. What kleshas can be tackled with each rule. Those monks wouldn’t be having problems with vinaya but in the case of the samga society, there are extremes in both ways.
There is a tendancy in young monks not to have higher ordaination. This would later lead to the extinction of the sasana.
What ever we do who ever we are what matters is, how far we have traveled in the path. As long as your Goal is to achieve nibbana you can sacrifice anything for it.

Vinaya helps us to live together as a society and to achieve nibbana. I appreciate if venerables follow vinaya, where they can experience the pleasure of being moderate and free. Having said that I would say I rather appreciate those who practice the path.

Therefore, as long as it is not a problem to the path, not an evil, what ever you do is fine.

Yo ca vassasataṃ jīve,
dussīlo asamāhito;
Ekāhaṃ jīvitaṃ seyyo,
sīlavantassa jhāyino.

Yo ca vassasataṃ jīve,
apassaṃ amataṃ padaṃ;
Ekāhaṃ jīvitaṃ seyyo,
passato amataṃ padaṃ.

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I am a bit late to the party, but I thought I would just say that I largely agree with your analysis.

I would say it’s not appropriate. As you say, determining (allotting) your robes in this way means you are able circumvent a number of rules concerning robes. On the other hand, I don’t think it is a major issue.

I don’t think there is any specific rule against it, but it goes against the principle that all monastics should have a full set of properly determined robes when they ordain.

I don’t think there is any limit. The useful thing about this category is that there are so few restrictions.