The Vinaya Pitaka is
made up of five books:
(1) Parajika Pali
(2) Pacittaya Pali
(3) Mahavagga Pali
(4) Culavagga Pali
(5) Parivara Pali
1. Parajika Pali
Parajika Pali which is Book
I of the Vinaya Pitaka gives an elaborate explanation of the important rules of
discipline concerning Parajika and Sanghadisesa, as well as Aniyata and
Nissaggiya which are minor offences.
Parajika offences and penalties.
consists of four sets of rules laid down to prevent four grave offences. Any
transgressor of these rules is defeated in his purpose in becoming a bhikkhu.
In the parlance of Vinaya, the Parajika Apatti falls upon him; he automatically
loses the status of a bhikkhu; he is no longer recognized as a member of the
community of bhikkhus and is not permitted to become a bhikkhu again. He has
either to go back to the household life as a layman or revert back to the
status of a samanera, a novice.
One who has lost the status
of a bhikkhu for transgression of any of these rules is likened to (i) a person
whose head has been cut off from his body; he cannot become alive even if the
head is fixed back on the body; (ii) leaves which have fallen off the branches
of the tree; they will not become green again even if they are attached back to
the leaf-stalks; (iii) a flat rock which has been split; it cannot be made
whole again; (iv) a palm tree which has been cut off from its stem; it will
never grow again.
offences which lead to loss of status as a bhikkhu.
- (i) The first Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu should indulge in sexual
intercourse loses his bhikkhuhood.
- (ii) The second Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu should take with intention to
steal what is not given loses his bhikkhuhood.
- (iii) The third Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu should intentionally deprive a
human being of life loses his bhikkhuhood.
- (iv) The fourth Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu claims to attainments he does
not really possess, namely, attainments to jhana or Magga and Phala Insight
loses his bhikkhuhood.
The parajika offender is
guilty of a very grave transgression. He ceases to be a bhikkhu. His offence,
Apatti, is irremediable.
Thirteen Samghadisesa offences and penalties
consists of a set of thirteen rules which require formal participation of the
Samgha from beginning to end in the process of making him free from the guilt
(i) A bhikkhu having
transgressed these rules, and wishing to be free from his offence must first
approach the Samgha and confess having committed the offence. The Samgha
determines his offence and orders him to observe the parivasa penance, a
penalty requiring him to live under suspension from association with the rest
of the Samgha, for as many day, as he has knowingly concealed his offence.
(ii) At the end of the
parivasa observance he undergoes a further period of penance, menatta, for six
days to gain approbation of the Samgha.
(iii) Having carried out
the menatta penance, the bhikkhu requests the Samgha to reinstate him to full
association with the rest of the Samgha.
Being now convinced of the
purity of his conduct as before, the Samgha lifts the Apatti at a special
congregation attended by at least twenty bhikkhus, where natti, the motion for
his reinstatement, is recited followed by three recitals of kammavaca,
procedural text for formal acts of the Samgha.
Some examples of the
(i) Kayasamsagga offence:
If any bhikkhu with
lustful, perverted thoughts engages in bodily contact with a woman, such as
holding of hands, caressing the tresses of hair or touching any part of her
body, he commits the Kayasamsagga Samghadisesa offence.
(ii) Sancaritta offence:
If any bhikkhu acts as a
go-between between a man and a woman for their lawful living together as
husband and wife or for temporary arrangement as man and mistress or woman and
lover, he is guilty of Sancaritta Samghadisesa offence.
Aniyata offences and penalties
Aniyata means indefinite,
uncertain. There are two Aniyata offences the nature of which is uncertain and
indefinite as to whether it is a Parajika offence, a Samghadisesa offence or a
Pacittiya offence. It is to be determined according to provisions in the
(i) If a bhikkhu sits down
privately alone with a woman in a place which is secluded and hidden from view,
and convenient for an immoral purpose and if a trustworthy lay woman (i.e., an
Ariya), seeing him, accuses him of any one of the three offences (1) a Parajika
offence (2) a Samghadisesa offence (3) a Pacittiya offence, and the bhikkhu
himself admits that he was so sitting, he should be found guilty of one of
these three offences as accused by the trustworthy lay woman.
(ii) If a bhikkhu sits down
privately alone with a woman in a place which is not hidden from view and not
convenient for an immoral purpose but convenient for talking lewd words to her,
and if a trustworthy lay woman (i.e., an Ariya), seeing him, accuses him of any
one of the two offences (1) a Samghadisesa offence (2) a Pacittiya offence, and
the bhikkhu himself admits that he was so sitting, he should be found guilty of
one of these two offences as accused by the trustworthy lay woman.
Thirty Nissaggiya Pacittiya offences and penalties
There are thirty rules under
the Nissaggiya category of offences and penalties which are laid down to curb
inordinate greed in bhikkhus for possession of material things such as robes,
bowls etc. To give an example, an offence is done under those rules when
objects not permitted are acquired, or when objects are acquired in more than
the permitted quantity. The penalty consists firstly of giving up the objects
in respect of which the offence has been committed. Then it is followed by
confession of the breach of the rule, together with an undertaking not to
repeat the same offence, to the Samgha as a whole, or to a group of bhikkhus,
or to an individual bhikkhu to whom the wrongfully acquired objects have been
Some examples of the
Nissaggiya Pacittiya offences.
(i) First Nissaggiya
If any bhikkhu keeps more
than the permissible number of robes, namely, the lower robe, the upper robe
and the great robe, he commits an offence for which he has to surrender the
extra robes and confess his offence.
(ii) Civara Acchindana
If any bhikkhu gives away
his own robe to another bhikkhu and afterwards, being angry or displeased,
takes it back forcibly or causes it to be taken away by someone else, he
commits a Nissaggiya Pacittiya offence.
Nissaggiya offences are
light offences compared with the grave offences of Parajika Apatti or