Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Undetermined

2: The second training rule

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At this time Venerable Udāyī knew that the Master had prohibited sitting alone with a woman on a private and concealed seat suitable for doing it, and so instead he sat alone in private with the same girl. When they were able, they just chatted; otherwise he gave her a teaching.

A second time Visākhā had been invited to that family. When she arrived, she saw Udāyī sitting alone in private with the same girl, and she said to Udāyī, “Venerable, it’s not appropriate that you should sit alone with a woman on a private seat. 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 of what had happened. The monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Udāyī sit alone with a woman on a private seat?”

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

“It’s true, Master.”

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

Final ruling

‘Although a seat is not concealed, nor suitable for doing it, it may be suitable for speaking lewdly to a woman. If a monk sits alone with a woman in private on such a seat, and a trustworthy female lay follower sees him and accuses him of an offense entailing suspension or an offense entailing confession, then, if he admits to the sitting, he is be dealt with according to one of these two or according to what that trustworthy female lay follower has said. This rule too is undetermined.’”

Definitions

Although a seat is not concealed: it is not hidden by a wall, a screen, a door, a screening cloth, a tree, a pillar, a grain container, or anything else.

Nor suitable for doing it: one is not able to have sexual intercourse.

It may be suitable for speaking lewdly to a woman: one is able to speak lewdly to a woman.

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.

On such a seat: on that sort of seat.

A woman: a human female, not a female spirit, not a female ghost, not a female animal. She understands and is capable of discerning bad speech and good speech, what is lewd and what is not lewd.

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.

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

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. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve seen you seated, making physical contact with a woman,” but he says, “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 seated, but standing,” then he is not to be dealt with.

If she accuses him thus: “I’ve heard you speaking lewdly to a woman while seated,” and he admits to that, then he is to be dealt with for the offense. If she accuses him thus: “I’ve heard you speaking lewdly to a woman while seated,” but he says, “It’s true that I was seated, but I didn’t speak lewdly,” 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 heard you speaking lewdly to a woman while lying down,” 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 speak lewdly,” 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 in private,” 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 in private,” 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.

This rule too: this is said with reference to the previous undetermined rule.

Undetermined: not determined. It is either 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, nor does he 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 second undetermined rule is finished.

“Venerables, the two undetermined rules have been recited. In regard to this I ask you, ‘Are you pure in this?’ A second time I ask, ‘Are you pure in this?’ A third time I ask, ‘Are you pure in this?’ You are pure in this and therefore silent. I will remember it thus.”

This is the summary:

Suitable for doing it,
And then not so;
The undetermined rules have been well laid down
By the Stable One, the Buddha who is the best.

The chapter on undetermined rules is finished.