Linking together the Bhikkhuni and Bhikkhu rules which are the same

It would be helpful if one could jump from the Bhikkhuni rules to the Bhikkhu rules which are shared. Perhaps going as far as to link together rules that are similar with minor variations.

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You can to some extend as they are marked in the parallels list.
So if you go to Parajika 1 in the Bhikkhu Patimokkha: https://suttacentral.net/pli-tv-bu-vb-pj1, the parallels list also lists pli-tv-bi-vb-pj1. However, because those Bhikkhuni rules are the same, there is no Pali or English translation for them.

What I think you mean however is a list like the attached.
patimokkhalist.pdf (31.6 KB)

This shows the various overlaps between them but are not marked as parallels. Maybe this is something we should consider doing. Bhante @Sujato, what do you think?

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That’s what the parallels are.

Most of these are in fact marked as parallels. The ones that are not marked as parallels are, from what I can see, cases where the rule covers a similar topic, or where there are related discussions in the Khandhakas. I’m not sure that the first kind of similarity can really be dealt with by data parallels: how do we limit the scope once we admit “thematic similarity” as a criterion? On the other hand, in the cases where specific rules have technical relations with passages in the Khandhakas—such as rules on expulsion for wrong view—then they could be a certain kind of parallel. perhaps “retelling”? Or perhaps a new kind of parallel?

Another issue to be considered is whether we can integrate the Chinese Khandhakas in such lists.

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This would be the case for instance between Bhikkhuni Parajika 5 and Bhikkhu Sanghadisesa 2.
Maybe a new class of parallel for such cases? I think for comparison these things are quite important to be able to look up.

For instance Bhikkhuni Saṅghādisesa 2 appears here: https://suttacentral.net/pli-tv-kd1/en/horner-brahmali#Kd.1.43.1

However, the story of the rule does not appear there so strictly speaking it is not a full parallel, but resembling. On the other hand, we also mark Vibhanga and Patimokkha rules as full parallel of each other while the story does not appear in the Patimokkha.

I think “retelling” does not really cover it. This is more reserved for when later texts retell a story from the earlier texts. I think either “resembling” or a new class for such cases, specially found in the Vinaya.

We have no parallels between the Chinese Bhikkhuni Vibhanga and the Chinese Khandhakas so somebody would have to come up with a list similar to the one I posted above.

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Sorry to reactivate such a old thread but I’m hoping that the issue could be revisited.

Consider this user profile: Someone who is not familiar with the Bhikkhuni Vinaya is trying to educate themselves by reading articles on line. They see a citation for Bi Pc 109 and they want to look it up. This is what they see:

For someone not familiar with the notion of parallels, it would be reasonable to conclude that there was no English translation for the rule and they might give up. When they are confronted with this situation several times they may give up trying to educated themselves about the Bhikkhuni rules because in their experience there are no translations for many of the rules. “What’s the point?”

Even if someone is familiar with the notion of parallels, they may not immediately imagine that what they are looking for is a parallel. They are looking for a rule that they can reasonably expect to actually exist. Not that they are looking for something that might be similar.

But then lets imagine that they do, out of desperation click on the parallel link (which doesn’t look like much of a link, but we can let that slide). This is what they see:

I’m not clear on what Bhikkhu Parivāra Pācittiya 13 is there. It is not an active link to a translation. It appears that there is a link hidden underneath the text (you can right click and select open link in new tab), but it is a link to suttacentral.net/pli-tv-bi-vb-pc109/pli/ which doesn’t exist.

At the very least it should be a real link to Bhikkhu Vibhanga Pācittiya 13.

I totally get that this is a complicated problem. However I think there is a reasonable solution that shouldn’t be ignored simply because it’s not a perfect solution.

Since the Pali names of the rules for the Bhikkhunis can be reasonably inferred, I suggest creating a very bare bones root json file for all of the Bhikkhuni rules that are “the same” as Bhikkhu rules. It could have the name of the rule in Pali and then a blank segment. This would allow translators to include a line stating something like

The text of Bhikkhuni Vibhanga Paccitiya 109 is not included in any Pali manuscripts. It is the same as Bhikkhu Parivāra Pācittiya 13.

Advantages:

  • It requires no new coding (as far as I can tell, but obviously I don’t know for sure.)
  • It is completely unambiguious for even someone brand new to looking at the Bhikkhuni Vinaya
  • If a better solution can be created in the future, these files can simply be deleted.
  • It should be able to work seamlessly with the new publication project, for both print and digital editions
  • There would be no need to check behind a parallels interface.
  • For people using the Bilara data outside of SC, there is no need to integrate the parallel dataset. Users get what they want for the Bhikkhuni rules just as easily as they do for the Bhikkhu rules.
  • It removes an unnecessary barrier to people learning about the Bhikkhuni rules, which is a Vinaya obligation for both Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus.

Disadvantages

  • There is a slight chance that people might infer that the Pali titles of the Bhikkhuni rules can be found in existing manuscripts. However people working at that level would likely be aware that titles of most things are not an ancient part of the texts.
  • The user still has to click on a link that forces them to click on a second link. (The first link being what would otherwise look like a link to the full translation. The second would be the link in that takes them to the Bhikkhu version of the rule)

I’m bringing this up because of an ongoing discussion I’m having about a project to create an ebook of the Vinaya translation from the Bilara data. So regarding this, I’m wondering if Vens @Brahmali , @Pasanna or @Khemarato.bhikkhu could comment if my suggestion above would help with that.

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Thanks for bringing this up.
Until I was discussing Bhante Snowbird’s ebook I just assumed that the bhikkhuni rules were complete and as easily accessible as the bhikkhu ones. I’d even referred several novices and aspirants to SuttaCentral to have a look. One told me she’d looked and that all the rules weren’t there. I assumed she’d just looked in the wrong place! Surely not. To be quite honest, I find Tom’s TheBuddhasWords a lot easier and more accessible that SuttaCentral for the level of study I and most junior monastics and aspirants do (and it works offline).
This is where it’s not clear to me who SC’s audience are. There are beautiful plain English translations of Suttas and Vinaya which would give the impression the site is to be usable for beginners, but the process of actually finding a sutta requires some academic understanding well beyond most junior monastics let alone your average new buddhist interested in what the Buddha actually said.

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The scope of the SC project (including multiple target languages, multiple translations in the same target language, multiple root canons, as well as the need to connect parallels) makes it extremely difficult to create a simple interface. Even when just having a single translation of a single canon as I had to do for SuttaFriends.org was a big challenge.

I don’t want to criticize the overall interface of SC in this thread, but instead just want to find some acceptable way to make the Bhikkhuni rules more easy to study. Which I’m sure is something that everyone can support. It’s just a matter of the trade offs. But from my perspective, I think there are few.

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Hi Venerable @Pasanna … I’m glad that you’re finding The Buddha’s Words useful.

The way I ended up addressing that issue was to just copy over the relevant Bhikkhu rule into the Bhikkhuni rules with a note identifying it. e.g. The Bhikkuni Nissaggiya Pācittiya 24 = Bhikkhu NP22.

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I’m not sure that way makes sense in the SC platform. But I agree it is one way to do it. Thanks for your work!

Forgive me, but I have a dumb question.

Why not just upload an English translation to the proper place viz Bhikkuni Vibhanga Paccitiya 109? It should not take much time given that it is almost identical to Bhikkhu Parivara Pacittiya 13, which has already been translated. I get that the same/ similar translated text will exist in two places, but surely that is the same situation as in the Pali?

:thinking:

Nope. It doesn’t exist in the Pali. That’s the heart of the issue.

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Ahhhh… now I get it.

Sounds like your reasonable solution is the best way forwards, Venerable! :grin:

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