Jotiya dhirasekera

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Pācittiya is not only the largest of all the groups of sikkhāpada laid down for the Bhikkhunis as in the case of Bhikkhus too, but is also the group which has an overwhelmingly large collection of additional rules, amounting to ninety-six,5 which is four more than the entire group of Bhikkhu Pācittiyas. Of the ninety-two Bhikkhu Pācittiyas, the Bhikkhunis take seventy which they hold in common with the Bhikkhus. Thus the Bhikkhunis have a total of 166 sikkhāpada under the group of Pācittiya. The additional rules of the Bhikkhunis may roughly be analysed as pertaining to the following themes.


Immodest and perverse sex behaviour.

Nos. 2-5, 21, 31, 32


Total 7


Relations with laymen which would impair the life of brahmacariya.

Nos. 11-14, 36-38, 60


Total 8


Boisterous and quarrelsome habits.

Nos. 18-20, 33, 35, 53, 55, 76.


Total 8


Frivolous behaviour and lack of moderation in the fulfilment of personal needs.

Nos. 1, 7-10, 41- 44, 49, 50, 77, 78, 84 - 93


Total 23


Impropriety and unceremonious conduct.

Nos. 15 –17


Total 3


Monastic regulations. The sikkhāpada of this category refer to essentially monastic considerations which apply to the institution
of the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha. This group of sikkhāpada may be futher subdivided as follows.


Robes and garments peculiar to the Bhikkhunis on accunt of their difference in sex.

Nos. 22-30, 47, 48, 96.


Total 12



Nos. 46, 54.


Total 2


Observance of vassāvāsa or rains-retreat and duties connected with it.

Nos. 39, 40, 56 –59.


Total 6


Obligations towards fellow-bhikkhunis: teachers and pupils.

Nos. 34, 68 –70.


Total 4


Relations with Bhikkhus.

Nos. 6. 51, 52, 94, 95.


Total 5


Maintenance of law and order in the community.

No. 45.


Total 1


Correct monastic procedure in the conferment of upasampadā etc.

Nos. 61-67, 71-75, 79-83.


Total 17

We have already noted above that 70 rules of the Bhikkhu Pācittiya also apply to the Bhikkhunis. Of the twenty-two rules which are therefore peculiar to the Bhikkhus alone and do not apply to the Bhikkhunis, ten deal solely with relationships of Bhikkhus with Bhikkhunis (Nos. 21-30). Out of the bhojanavagga of the Bhikkhus which deal with food, four rules do not apply to the Bhikkhunis (Nos. 33, 35, 36, 39). The Bhikkhu Pācittiya 41 which refers to the offer of food by a Bhikkhu to a naked ascetic, a male or female wandering ascetic, does not occur in the Bhikkhunī Pātimokkha. The Bhikkhunis have in its place a new sikkhāpada which leaves out the reference to the naked ascetic and replaces it with a householder: Bhikkhuniī Pācittiya 46. However, inspite of this change, these two sikkhāpada look very similar to each other. Compare the Bhikkhu Pācittiya 41:

Yo pana bhikkhu acelakassa vā paribbājakassa vā paribbājikāya vā sahatthā khādanīyaṃ vā bhojanīyaṃ vā dadeyya pācittiyaṃ


with the Bhikkhunī Pācittiya 46:

Yā pana bhikkhunī agārikassa vā paribbājakassa vā paribbājikāya vā sahatthā khādanīya vā bhojanīya vā dadeyya pācittiya.


Nevertheless, it should be noted that the motives which led to the promulgation of these two sikkhāpada are different in each case. The Pācittiya rule of the Bhikkhunis (No.46) should be studied together with No.28 of the same group where both the motives and the persons concerned are identical, the only difference being that in one a robe instead of food is given away by a Bhikkhuni. Under both these sikkhāpada the Bhikkhuni concerned is guilty of bribing laymen, for the sake of personal gain or glory, with something belonging to the Bhikkhunis (Tena kho pana samayena thullanandā bhikkhunī naṭānam'pi naakānam'pi ... samaacīvaram deti mayham parisati vaṇṇa bhāsathā'ti. Vin.IV.285). The apparently corresponding sikkhāpada of the Bhikkhus (Bhikkhu Pāc.41), on the other hand, has its origin in an incident which is considerably circumscribed. What appears to be quite a harmless act did unexpectedy subject some members of the Order to ridicule in the hands of the heretics. In an attempt to safeguard against the recurrence of such incidents the following general rule, Bhikkhu Pācittiya 41 is laid down: `No monk shall give, with his own hands, any food unto a naked ascetic, a wandering ascetic, male or female.'

The Bhikkhu Pācittiya 64 is left out of the Bhikkhunī Pācittiyas, perhaps because there is a similar ring in the second additional Pārājika of the Bhikkhunis (vajja-paicchādika). This rule of the Bhikkhunis, however, refers only to the concealment of Pārājika offences while the Bhikkhu Pācittiya 64 covers both groups of offences, Pārājika and Saṅghādisesa, under the term duṭṭhullā āpatti.1

No. 65 is covered under the new Bhikkhunī Pācittiya 71.2

Nos. 67 and 83 have relevance to Bhikkhus alone.3

No. 85 gives permission to monks to enter the village out of hours under specified conditions.4 Perhaps we may infer that in leaving it out of the Bhikkhunī Pācittiya, it was intended that the Bhikkhunis were not to be given even a conditional entry except during proper hours.

No. 89. It is difficult to understand why this rule, which specifies the size of a nisīdana (= a mat to sit on) for the Bhikkhus,1 does not apply to the Bhikkhunis. The fact that nisīdanas were recognised as part of the belongings of the Bhikkhunis as well is proved by the presence of the parallel of the Bhikkhu Pācittiya 60 2 under the Pācittiya of the Bhikkhunis (Pācittiya 141 in the Bhikkhunī Pātimokkha). Moreover, the parallel of the Bhikkhu Pācittiya 87 3, which gives specifications about ṃañca (bed) and pīṭha (chair), also find a a place in the Bhikkhunī Pātimokkha (Pācittiya 173 in the Bhikkhunī Pātimokkha).

No. 91 gives specifications of the size of the vassikasāṭika (= a cloth for the rains).4 This, as well as the Bhikkhu Nissaggiya 24 which also refers to the vassikasāṭika, do not apply to the Bhikkhunis.

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