Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Undetermined

1: The first training rule

Venerables, these two undetermined rules come up for recitation.

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time Venerable Udāyī was associating with and visiting a number of families in Sāvatthī. One of those families had given their daughter in marriage to the son of another family. Just then, after dressing one morning, Venerable Udāyī took his bowl and robe and went to the first of those families. When he arrived, he asked where the daughter was, and he was told that she had been given to another family. That family too supported Venerable Udāyī. He then went there and again asked where the girl was. They said, “She’s sitting in her room.” He approached that girl, and the two of them sat down alone on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it. When they were able, they just chatted; otherwise he gave her a teaching.

At that time Visākhā Migāramātā had many healthy children and grandchildren, and she was considered very auspicious. At sacrifices, festivals, and celebrations people would feed Visākhā first. Just then she had been invited to the family that supported Venerable Udāyī. When she arrived, she saw him sitting alone with that girl, and she said to him, “Venerable, it’s not appropriate that you should sit alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it. Although you may not be aiming at that act, people with little confidence are hard to convince.” But Udāyī did not listen. After leaving, Visākhā informed the monks about what had happened. The monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Udāyī sit alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it?”

After rebuking Udāyī in many ways, they informed the Master … “Is it true, Udāyī, that you sat alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him: “… Foolish man, how can you sit alone with a woman on a such a seat? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk sits alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it, and a trustworthy female lay follower sees him and accuses him of an offense entailing expulsion or an offense entailing suspension or an offense entailing confession, then, if he admits to the sitting, he is to be dealt with according to one of these three or according to what that trustworthy female lay follower has said. This rule is undetermined.’”

Definitions

A: whoever … Monk: … The monk who has been given the full ordination by a complete Order of monks through a formal procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements that is unchallengeable and fit to stand— this sort of monk is meant in this case.

A woman: a human female, not a female spirit, not a female ghost, not a female animal; even a girl born that very day, all the more an older one.

With: together.

Alone: just the monk and the woman.

Private: there is private to the eye and there is private to the ear. Private to the eye one is unable to see them winking, raising an eyebrow, or nodding. Private to the ear one is unable to hear ordinary speech.

Concealed seat: it is hidden by a wall, a screen, a door, a screening cloth, a tree, a pillar, a grain container, or anything else.

Suitable for doing it: one is able to have sexual intercourse.

Sits: the monk sits down or lies down next to the seated woman. The woman sits down or lies down next to the seated monk. Both are seated or both are lying down.

Trustworthy: she has attained the fruit, she has broken through, she has understood the Teaching.

Female lay follower: she has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Teaching, and the monastic Order.

Sees: having seen.

Accuses him of an offense entailing expulsion or an offense entailing suspension or an offense entailing confession, then, if he admits to the sitting, he is to be dealt with according to one of these three or according to what that trustworthy female lay follower has said:

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the offense. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” but he says, “It’s true that I was seated, but I didn’t have sexual intercourse,” then he is to be dealt with for the sitting. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” but he says, “I wasn’t seated, but lying down,” then he is to be dealt with for the lying down. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” but he says, “I wasn’t seated, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you lying down, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the offense. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you lying down, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” but he says, “It’s true that I was lying down, but I didn’t have sexual intercourse,” then he is to be dealt with for the lying down. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you lying down, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” but he says, “I wasn’t lying down, but seated,” then he is to be dealt with for the sitting. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you lying down, having sexual intercourse with a woman,” but he says, “I wasn’t lying down, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated, making physical contact with a woman,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the offense. … “It’s true that I was seated, but I didn’t make physical contact,” then he is to be dealt with for the sitting. … “I wasn’t seated, but lying down,” then he is to be dealt with for the lying down. … “I wasn’t seated, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you lying down, making physical contact with a woman,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the offense. … “It’s true that I was lying down, but I didn’t make physical contact,” then he is to be dealt with for the lying down. … “I wasn’t lying down, but seated,” then he is to be dealt with for the sitting. … “I wasn’t lying down, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the sitting. … “I wasn’t seated, but lying down,” then he is to be dealt with for the lying down. … “I wasn’t seated, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you lying down alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the lying down. … “I wasn’t lying down, but seated,” then he is to be dealt with for the sitting. … “I wasn’t lying down, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

Undetermined: not determined. It is either an offense entailing expulsion or an offense entailing suspension or an offense entailing confession.

Permutations

If he admits to going, and he admits to sitting, and he admits to an offense, he is to be dealt with for the offense. If he admits to going, but he does not admit to sitting, yet he admits to an offense, he is to be dealt with for the offense. If he admits to going, and he admits to sitting, but he does not admit to an offense, he is to be dealt with for the sitting. If he admits to going, but he does not admit to sitting, nor does he admit to an offense, he is not to be dealt with.

If he does not admit to going, but he admits to sitting, and he admits to an offense, he is to be dealt with for the offense. If he does not admit to going, and he does not admit to sitting, but he admits to an offense, he is to be dealt with for the offense. If he does not admit to going, but he admits to sitting, yet he does not admit to an offense, he is to be dealt with for the sitting. If he does not admit to going, nor does he admit to sitting, nor does he admit to an offense, he is not to be dealt with.

The first undetermined rule is finished.