Is it unclear what are the shared rules of the bhikkhuni nissaggiya pacittiyas?

We do not have an independent and complete bhikkhuni patimokkha / vibhanga in the Pali texts, therefore we have to piece it together with rules from the bhikkhus, with the help of information contained in the commentaries.
Bhante @Sujato, in the article “The Arrangement of the Rules in the Theravāda Bhikkhunīpātimokkha” (Vol. XVIII (2015)A______Vol. XIX (2016) Texts.pdf (12.0 MB)), that Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna recommended recently, the author Petra Kieffer-Pülz seems to say that there is some confusion as to which nissaggiya pacittiya rules are included in the bhikkhuni patimokkha, (monks’ rule 2 and/or 29). Is this a real issue?
It is surprising that monks’ rule 29 comes up in this context, because it talks about forest-dwelling monks, and the Pali vinaya texts generally don’t see forest dwelling as a way of practise for nuns. Petra Kieffer-Pülz herself says it is not a genuine alternative, but I’m not sure if I understand her explanation correctly. :exploding_head:

page 68:

3.3 Arrangement of the Nissaggiya-Pācittiya rules in the Bhikkhunīpātimokkha
In the Nissaggiya-Pācittiya section bhikkhus have thirty Nissaggiya rules, as do bhikkhunīs. But the Bhikkhunī vibhaṅga contains only twelve Nissaggiya rules unique to bhikkhunīs. Hence eighteen of the thirty Nissaggiya rules for bhikkhus must be common to bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs. According to Sp (IV 919,10–23, below 3.3.2) Niss 4, 5, 11–17, 21, 24, and 29 M are unique to bhikkhus. Hence Niss 1–3, 6–10, 18–20, 22–23, 25–28 are common to bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs. Kkh deviates with respect to Niss 29 M, without this being a genuine alternative.

(Footnote:) Kkh confirms the statement of Sp with the exception of Niss29 M (Kkh 108,9 [Niss 4], 109,26 [Niss 5],120,2 [Niss 11], 120,16 [Niss 12], 121,5 [Niss 13], 121,23 [Niss 14], 122,17 [Niss 15], 123,7 [Niss 16], 123,24 [Niss 17], 128,26 [Niss 21], 134,23 [Niss 24]). For the classification of Niss 29 M the Kkh refers to the second rule in the cīvaravagga (Kkh 141,12f.). The second rule in the cīvaravagga is Niss 2 M which is classified as sādhāraṇa (Kkh 101,4). Obviously the Sinhalese tradition here goes other ways, since it gives the classification asādharaṇa° (Kkh 101, n. 1:“Ce: asā°”), which would render Niss 29 M, as well as Niss 2 M an asādharaṇa rule. This classification is also taken over in the Sinhalese translation of Kkh (Kkh sinh 83,8f.). At the same time the Pāt of the Sinhalese tradition, like all other traditions, includes Niss 2 M in the Bhikkhunī pātimokkha (Wijayaratne 2010, 209), thus showing that it considered Niss 2 M a sādharaṇa-rule. Therefore, the problem is not solved by classifying Niss 2 M as asādharaṇa-rule. We have to assume that either the author of Kkh forgot to exlude this classification factor from his general reference to Niss 2 M or that an appropriate remark was lost during transmission. Already Vjb (ca. 10thc. CE), and Kkh-pṭ (between 10th and 12th c. CE) mention that no separate factors (aṅga) – referring to the constitutent factors for an offence – are mentioned for the Sāsaṅka-rule (Niss 29 M) in the Kaṅkhāvitaraṇī (Vjb 233,10f. = Kkh-pṭ72,25ff.), thus showing that the Kkh’s reference to Niss 2 M was insufficient also with respect to other elements of the classification.

So, the Kkh says that 2 and 29 are both in the same category, but it is unclear whether that means that they are both shared or unshared? Thus that would lead to either 29 or 31 nissaggiya pacittiya rules for nuns, when there actually should be 30. Therefore, Kkh doesn’t make sense? :confused: :thinking:

Thanks for your help! :anjal:


Yes, I’m also not clear exactly what the discussion is trying to say here. But the gist of it seems to be that Bu-NP 29 is mentioned in one commentary as being shared, but that is a variant reading and it contradicts the other sources, so it should be disregarded. As you say, from its content alone it should be unshared.

What’s the text referred to here as Kkh?

It’s not quite as bad as all that: the text is found whole in the Dvematikapali, which is where we get the SC text from. So sure, it’s not in the canon, but apart from one or two niggles like this, the contents are well known in the tradition.


Thanks, Bhante!


I think comparative studies also confirm that bu np 2 should be preferred over np 29. So problem solved… :sweat_smile:

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Okay, thanks.