Theravāda Vinayapiṭaka

Nuns’ rules and their analysis

Nuns’ Forfeiture (Nissaggiya) 6

… at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time lay-followers, having made a voluntary collection for robe-material for an Order of nuns, having laid aside what was necessary in a certain cloak-seller’s house, having approached the nuns, spoke thus: “Ladies, in such and such a cloak-seller’s house what is necessary for robe-material is laid aside. Having had that robe-material brought from there, distribute it.”

The nuns, having got medicine in exchange for what was necessary, made use of it. The lay-followers, having found out … spread it about, saying: “How can these nuns get something in exchange for what was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing, belonging to an Order?” Nuns heard these lay-followers who … spread it about. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying:

“How can these nuns get something in exchange … belonging to an Order?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that nuns got something in exchange … belonging to an Order?”

“It is true, lord.”

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying:

“How, monks, can nuns get something in exchange … belonging to an Order? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

Whatever nun should get something in exchange for that which was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing, (and) belonging to an Order, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.”


Whatever means: … nun is to be understood in this case.

For what was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing means: for what was given for another thing.

Belonging to an Order means: it is for an Order, not for a group, not for one nun.

Should get something in exchange means: having set aside that for which it was given, if she gets another thing in exchange, there is an offence of wrong-doing in the action; it is to be forfeited on acquisition. It should be forfeited to an Order or to a group or to one nun. And thus, monks, should it be forfeited: ‘Ladies, this thing got in exchange for that which was necessary (and) appointed for another thing, destined for another thing, (and) belonging to an Order, is to be forfeited by me. I forfeit it to the Order.’“… the Order should give back, … let the ladies give back … I will give back (this thing) to the lady.”


If she thinks that it was appointed for another thing when it was appointed for another thing, and gets something else in exchange, there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. If she is in doubt … If she thinks that it was not appointed for another thing … there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture. Having acquired what was forfeited, it may be taken as, so to speak, a gift. If she thinks that it was appointed for another thing when it was not appointed for another thing, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether it was not appointed for another thing, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that it was not appointed for another thing when it was not appointed for another thing, there is no offence.


There is no offence if she takes a remainder; if she takes having obtained the owner’s permission; if there are’ accidents; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.