I’ve received a lot of enthusiastic requests for more vinaya doodles, so I’ve decided to give it a try.
Experience shows that vinaya threads can lead to very heated debates, and people seem to have particularly strong views, so I’d like to set some ground rules:
The purpose of this thread is to explore the rules of the bhikkhu and the bhikkhuni patimokkhas in a playful way. If you begin to feel upset, please don’t post until you feel better.
Questions, comments, and ideas are welcome. If a lengthy discussion develops (more than about 6-8 replies), a moderator or someone else with special powers will split it into a new thread.
Remember that every vinaya rule has a large scope for interpretation. Please don’t get upset if others don’t share your particular view, or if you feel that a rule is discriminatory or out-of-date. It’s OK to discuss these things as long as people remain light-hearted.
@Aminah has volunteered to keep an eye on this thread to make sure participation is pleasant for everyone. Yay, many thanks!
Some basics about the patimokkhas:
The patimokkhas are the main collections of rules for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis and are recited in monasteries on every full moon and new moon day. The bhikkhu patimokkha has eight classes of offenses, the bhikkhuni patimokkha has seven. The most serious offenses are the parajikas, which lead to immediate disrobing. Lesser rules require specific procedures to clear the offense.
In the Theravada tradition (which I’ll be doodling here), the bhikkhus have 227 rules in total, the bhikkhunis have 311. Many of these rules are the same in both patimokkhas and are called the „shared rules“. In addition, each patimokkha has rules of its own.
Sanghadisesas are the second most serious class of offenses. Breaking one of these rules is very inconvenient for the monastic in question who loses certain privileges, and also for the sangha as a whole. To clear them, it is necessary to hold several meetings of sangha members. To complete the process, a group of 20 monastics for bhikkhus, or 40 for bhikkhunis, has to come together.
There are two different groups of sanghadisesas: rules that are broken as soon as a monastic acts in a certain way (“immediate offenses”), and rules that are only broken after a monastic has been formally asked three times by the sangha to stop a certain behaviour (“offenses after three admonishments”).
There are 23 sanghadisesas in total:
7 shared rules (3 immediate, 4 after three admonishments),
6 rules for bhikkhus only (all immediate),
and 10 rules for bhikkhunis only (6 immediate, 4 after three admonishments).
Here’s an overview of the sanghadisesas (Ajahn Thanissaro’s translation).
1. intentional ejaculation
2. lustfully touching a woman
3. lustfully talking about sex with a woman
4. claiming that having sex with the bhikkhu makes merit for a woman
6. building a hut in an improper way (too big, noisy, without sangha approval)
7. building a large dwelling with a sponsor in an improper way
Given there are a few rules pertaining to male lust Venerable, is there a rule for prohibiting a monk focusing their lust on a specific woman. Meditation adepts can encompass the minds of others and sometimes this is with lust unfortunately. Whilst these issues are not talked about because it is difficult to prove, they are a serious breach of trust in monastic- lay relations.
The vinaya rules only cover actions by body and speech.
Many rules have a mental component, and a bodily or verbal action is only an offense if you have a certain mindstate. For example if a monk touches a woman with lust in his mind, or if a monastic takes an object with the intention to steal, etc.
But purely mental actions do not fall under the vinaya.
These offenses are quite reasonable. I do wonder about the specificity of gender given that they actually do not have any physical component? For example, given #4, I do now try to restrain myself when tempted to give matchmaking advice.
Generally, the Buddha laid down a rule whenever a monastic behaved in an unsuitable way. If the monastic was a nun, then the rule was included in the bhikkhuni patimokkha only. If it was a monk, the rule is often found in both patimokkhas, unless the rule does not apply to women/nuns for some reason (different body, different social roles, etc.).
One theory says that bhikkhunis keep most of the bhikkhu rules because the bhikkhu patimokkha was already fully formed when the bhikkhuni sangha was founded, so they just inherited it. It is equally possible that the bhikkhu patimokkha wasn’t complete yet but whenever the Buddha laid down a new rule for the monks, the nuns were expected to keep it too.
Given the different social status back then, it may have been difficult to make the monks keep rules that were laid down for women. That might be why the bhikkhuni patimokkha is much larger.
The Aniyatas (undetermined rules) are a class of offenses for bhikkhus only. There are only two rules in this class.
They cover cases where a trustworthy laywoman sees a bhikkhu alone with another woman in unsuitable places and reports it to the sangha. The sangha will then question the bhikkhu to find out what exactly happened, and if the report of the laywoman turns out to be true, the bhikkhu will have to clear the offense with the appropriate procedure. As the bhikkhu could have broken a parajika, a sanghadisesa, or a pacittiya rule, the procedures may vary, and therefore this class is called the “undetermined rules”.
laywoman sees bhikkhu alone with a woman in a place suitable for sex
…and perhaps that greater length would make them wiser as well.
The rule against matchmaking struck me as silly until I really thought about it. Matchmaking and encouraging entanglements does indeed lead away from renunciation into identity view. So I’ve basically decided that I should follow that rule #4 as well.
The rule on shaving armpits?
That one makes absolutely no sense to me … yet. Pits stink. It’s hygiene.
Pacittiyas are the group of offenses with the most rules, and can be cleared by simply confessing to a fellow monastic (monks with monks, nuns with nuns).
Some rules involve the misuse of an object, such as a robe or a needle box for example. In these cases, the monastic needs to do something with the object before the offense is cleared — giving it up, cutting it down, breaking it, etc.
In the class of nissaggiya pacittiyas, all rules cover situations where the object has to be given up to a fellow monastic before confessing (nissaggiya = to be given up). For example, if a monastic has accepted money, or received a robe or a bowl in an unallowable way, they have to be handed over during the procedure.
There are 42 nissaggiya pacittiyas in total:
18 shared rules,
12 rules for bhikkhus only
12 rules for bhikkhunis only.
I have been asked to include the numbers from the bhikkhuni and bhikkhu patimokkhas in the doodles, so that people can look up the rules more easily. The first number is from the bhikkhunis, the second from the bhikkhus, to keep it consistent with Ajahn Thanissaro’s presentation in the document of the previous post.
13/1 Keeping extra cloth for more than ten days outside robe season
14/2 Being away from one’s robes overnight outside robe season
15/3 Waiting more than 30 days for more cloth to finish a robe outside robe season
16/6 Asking for a robe from a layperson (except in an emergency)
17/7 Accepting more than two robes from that layperson (if emergency)
18/8 Asking for a special robe if someone offers a robe
Dear @Ocean, just a little bit of house-keeping In order to keep this thread focused on the Dhamma Doodles themselves, it would be best if discussions that arise out of them, are posted as a new topic in either the discussion or watercooler categories. So if you would like to continue discussing the point you made, could I ask you to re-post it. Thank you