Lust in Sanghadisesa 2

Hello folks,

This is the text for the second patimokkha rule of the type sanghadisesa:

“If a monk, lustful and with distorted mind makes physical contact with a woman - holding her hand or hair, or touching any bodily part he commits an offence entailing suspension”

How can we understand the word “lustful”? This is obviously of great practical importance to bhikkhus.


P.S. Had trouble with cutting and pasting into the topic editor on my android tablet.


The rule is in Pali here

And the Translation is here:

The relevant phrase is:

otiṇṇo vipariṇatena cittena

Where otiṇṇo means “overwhelmed, swept up by, overcome”, and vipariṇatena cittena means “with perverted, decadent, altered, or degraded mind”.

These are both strong phrases, and quite unlike the common Pali idioms like sarāgacitta, “mind with lust” and so on.

It means that one is overcome with lust, rather than merely having a passing thought of desire. Even though there is a tendency to interpret this rule in a more absolute fashion, this is clearly not what the rule says.



With Sg-1 and Sg-3 it is fairly obvious whether one has committed an offence. If you don’t masturbate or say things you know you shouldn’t you are pretty safe.

With Sg-2 it is impractical not to make some sort of physical contact with women. For instance, a female nurse taking your blood pressure. Looking at the origin story (see links above) Ven. Udayin was basically groping a woman.

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Dear Bhantes,

Thank you for this discussion. I am practicing attha sila 6 days a week (on Mondays I can only observe 7 precepts, as I can’t keep the no meal after midday precept and must eat a second meal at night when I visit my son at their household - I used to refuse evening meals and explained the background but the idea is so foreign to them that I didn’t want them to feel dejected I accept what is offered to be amiable ). The vinaya is interesting to me because I feel that I can benefit from the rules laid down there as I am practicing attha sila. the vinaya helps too in understanding just how the monastics are kept in check and what lay folks can do to keep their monastics honest :ok_hand: Morever, I appreciate the honesty in the vinaya as all these important issues that are usually kept secret in other religions are openly discussed and are compassionately dealt with.

I would like to know what is meant by “suspension” in when it comes to rehabilitation of a monastic. Does this mean that the monastic in question stops his training and has to start from the beginning?

In the Pārajika,Methunadhamma, there are two occasions where two women Saddhā and Suppabbā held the wrong view that offering sexual gratification to monks was of high merit. Because the monastics did engage in sexual act (with possibility of emitting semen), I would like to understand how they only got “offence entailing a suspension”.

Also, the story of one monk who molested a little girl who died because of it only got the same verdict. Was this because 1) there was no intention to kill the child and 2) there was no genitalia contact and 3) the act was out of stupidity?

In the Saṅghādisesā, Sukkavisaṭṭhi, Permutations Part II, the 5th permutations is stated as:

-If he does not intend, but he makes an effort, and semen is emitted, there is no offence.

Now, I just can’t get to understand that permutation.

Kataññu for your guidance .


May all beings be free,

As for the meaning of suspension… amazingly it is very difficult to find information about what a sanghadisesa actually entails should a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni fall into such an offense. Ajahn Thanissaro’s Buddhist Monastic code would have the details. I’m not sure where in the Vinaya Pitika you would find the prescription for what should be done.

I’ll try to give you the gist for a monk. Apologies if I get it wrong.

Essentially, once the monk realises his offense he must notify another monk as soon as possible. Each day the offense is kept secret a day is added to his penance. At a time that is convenient to him and the sangha intending to rehabilitate him the penance begins of a length of six days plus the total number of days the offense was kept secret. Each day the monk must approach every monk in the monastery (sima?) and inform them of the offense. The rule(s) broken is enough, I think, no need for details. There are a number of impositions on the monk at this time. He must sit at the end of the line - especially embarrassing for a senior monk and lay folk may realise what has happened. Finally comes a ceremony requiring 20 monks to be present. Not so easy in the west! Once this is over the monk returns to his previous position in the sangha and there is no further penalty.

Basically the process is so embarrassing and such a hassle for the monks involved in rehabilitation that whole monasteries exist in Asia just for this purpose. There is nothing like that in the west of course. Many monks have found the whole process too much and just disrobe.

That is basically why monks worry so much about any kind of physical contact with women.

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Dear Bhante,

Kataññu for your explanation and for the reference to Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s Buddhist Monastic Code.

with gratitude,