The chapter on confession (pācittiya)

Monks’ Confession 10: the training rule on digging the earth

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Āḷavī at the Aggāḷava Shrine. At that time the monks at Āḷavī were doing building work. And they dug the earth and got it dug. People complained and criticized them, “How can the Sakyan ascetics dig the earth and get it dug? They are hurting life with one sense faculty.”

The monks heard the complaints of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized those monks, “How can those monks at Āḷavī dig the earth and get it dug?” … “Is it true, monks, that you do this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them, “… Foolish men, how can you dig the earth and get it dug? People regard the earth as conscious. This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And so, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk digs the earth or get it dug, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

Definitions

A: whoever … Monk: … The monk who has been given the full ordination by a complete Order 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.

The earth: there are two kinds of earth: productive earth and unproductive earth.

Productive earth: pure soil, pure clay, with few stones, with few pebbles, with few potsherds, with little gravel, with little sand; mostly soil, mostly clay. If it is unburnt, it is also called “productive earth.” A pile of soil or a pile of clay that has been rained upon for more than four months, this too is called “productive earth.”

Unproductive earth: just stones, just pebbles, just potsherds, just gravel, just sand, with little soil, with little clay; mostly stones, mostly pebbles, mostly potsherds, mostly gravel, mostly sand. If it is burnt, it is also called “unproductive earth.” A pile of soil or a pile of clay that has been rained upon for less than four months, this too is called “unproductive earth.”

Digs: if he digs it himself, he commits an offense entailing confession.

Gets dug: if he asks another, he commits an offense entailing confession. If he only asks once, then even if the other digs many times, he commits one offense entailing confession.

Permutations

If it is earth, and he perceives it as earth, and he digs it or gets it dug, or he breaks it or gets it broken, or he burns it or gets it burnt, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If it is earth, but he is unsure if it is, and he digs it or gets it dug, or he breaks it or gets it broken, or he burns it or gets it burnt, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is earth, but he does not perceive it as earth, and he digs it or gets it dug, or he breaks it or gets it broken, or he burns it or gets it burnt, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he says, “Consider this/give this/bring this/there’s need for this/make this allowable;” if it is unintentional; if he is not mindful; if he does not know; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The tenth rule, the training rule on digging the earth, is finished.

The first chapter on lying is finished.

This is the summary:

Falsely, abusive, and malicious talebearing,
memorizing, and two on beds;
Apart from one who understands, true,
Serious offense, digging.