Where would one start in terms of accessibility in reading the Vinaya Piṭaka in other words actual hard copy books or are there pdf”s (ebooks) or audio available online?
Start right at the beginning. There’s an interesting story about the origin of the monastic code: here.
You might find this ebook useful:
You should keep in mind that if you are reading the Patimokkha rules, that there may be lots of new concepts. And out of context things may seem quite strange.
Also you are going to encounter lots of monks and nuns doing bad things. That’s how the Vinaya was laid down after all. Especially around sexual things you are going to soon see that there is nothing new under the sun. So if you are easily shocked you may want to steer clear of those at first.
And there will be large chunks of text that are simply running through every possible permutation of ways to break the rules. Those are best skimmed over, in my opinion.
You may even want to start with just an introductory book for lay people, such as
(Although I recall that book may have inaccurate info on the existence of Bhikkhunis)
I believe you pretty much got me started thanks.
Ok I’ve been poking around a little on the kindle version. I noticed that I’m actually familiar with some of these stories. And one question if I may? My understanding was that some parts of the Vinaya Pitaka was mainly for the Monks. So why aren’t these stories grouped in with the Sutta Pitaka instead? They seem they could be for Lay and ordained alike
Sure! And these aren’t those parts. And by that I mean these parts aren’t exclusively for monastics. But they usually tie in with things that are oriented for monastics. So that’s why they end up in the Vinaya.
For centuries, lay people really only learned things from monastics. So where things were located exactly in the canon didn’t really matter.