Theravāda Vinayapiṭaka

Nuns’ rules and their analysis

Nuns’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 5

… among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan monastery. Then Mahāpajāpatī the Gotamid approached the lord; having approached, having greeted the lord, she stood to windward, saying: “Lord, the women smell nasty.” Then the lord, saying: “Then let the nuns take an ablution with water,” roused … delighted Mahāpajāpatī the Gotamid with dhamma-talk. Then Mahāpajāpatī the Gotamid, having been roused … delighted with dhamma-talk by the lord, having greeted the lord, departed keeping her right side towards him. Then the lord on this occasion, in this connection, having given reasoned talk, addressed the monks, saying: “I allow, monks, an ablution with water for the nuns.”


Now at that time a certain nun, saying: “An ablution with water is allowed by the lord,” taking a very deep ablution with water, got a sore on her private parts. Then this nun told this matter to the nuns. Those who were modest nuns … spread it about, saying: “How can this nun take a very deep ablution with water?” …

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that a nun took a very deep ablution with water?”

“It is true, lord.”

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

“How, monks, can a nun take a very deep ablution with water? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … this rule of training:

If a nun is taking an ablution with water, she may take at most (a measure of) two finger-joints. For whoever exceeds this, there is an offence of expiation.


Ablution with water means: it is called washing the private parts.

Is taking means: is washing.

She may take at most (a measure of) two finger-joints means: she may take at most (a measure of) two joints of two fingers.

For whoever exceeds this means: if she, enjoying the contact, exceeds by even a hair’s breadth, there is an offence of expiation.


If she thinks that it is more when it is more than (a measure of) two finger-joints (and) takes it, there is an offence of expiation. If she is in doubt as to whether it is more than (a measure of) two finger-joints … If she thinks that it is less when it is more than (a measure of) two finger-joints (and) takes it, there is an offence of expiation. If she thinks that is is more when it is less than (a measure of) two finger-joints, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she is in doubt as to whether it is less than (a measure of) two finger-joints, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If she thinks that it is less when it is less than (a measure of) two finger-joints, there is no offence.


There is no offence if she takes at most (a measure of) two finger-joints; if she takes less than at most (a measure of) two finger-joints; if it is because of illness; if she is mad, if she is the first wrong-doer.