The chapter on confession (pācittiya)

Monks’ Confession 21: the training rule on the instruction

Origin story

First sub-story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time the senior monks who instructed the nuns were receiving robe-cloth, almsfood, dwellings, and medicines. When the monks from the group of six found out about this, they thought, “Well then, let’s instruct the nuns.” They then went to the nuns and said, “Come to us, Sisters, and we too will instruct you.”

Soon afterwards those nuns went to the monks from the group of six, bowed down to them, and sat down to one side. But after giving just a short teaching, those monks spent the day on pointless talk. They then dismissed the nuns, saying, “Go, Sisters.”

Those nuns then went to the Master, bowed down to him, and stood to one side. And the Master said to them, “Nuns, I hope the instruction was effective?”

“Venerable Sir, how could the instruction be effective? After giving just a short teaching, the monks from the group of six spent the day on pointless talk, and then dismissed us.”

The Master instructed, inspired, and gladdened those nuns with a teaching. The nuns bowed down to the Master, circumambulated him with their right side towards him, and departed.

The Master then had the Order of monks assembled and questioned the monks from the group of six, “Is it true, monks, that you did this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them … “Foolish men, how can you give just a short teaching to the nuns, and then spend the day on pointless talk, before dismissing them? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it …” … and after rebuking them … he gave a teaching and addressed the monks:

“Monks, you should appoint an instructor of the nuns. And this is how he should be appointed. First a monk should be asked and then a competent and capable monk should inform the Order:

‘Venerables, let the Order listen to me. If it seems appropriate to the Order, it should appoint monk so-and-so as an instructor of the nuns. This is the motion.

Venerables, let the Order listen to me. The Order appoints monk so-and-so as an instructor of the nuns. Any monk who approves of appointing monk so-and-so as an instructor of the nuns should remain silent. Any monk who does not approve should say so.

A second time I speak on this matter … A third time I speak on this matter: Venerables, let the Order listen to me. The Order appoints monk so-and-so as an instructor of the nuns. Any monk who approves of appointing monk so-and-so as an instructor of the nuns should remain silent. Any monk who does not approve should say so.

The Order has appointed monks so-and-so as an instructor of the nuns. The Order approves and is therefore silent. I will remember it thus.’”

Then, after criticizing the monks from the group of six in many ways for being difficult to support … the Master said, “And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk who has not been agreed upon instructs the nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

In this way the Master laid down this training rule for the monks.

Second sub-story

After being appointed to do so, the senior monks who instructed the nuns still received robe-cloth, almsfood, dwellings, and medicines. When they found out about this, the monks from the group of six said, “Well then, let’s go outside the boundary, appoint each other as instructors of the nuns, and then instruct them.” After doing just that, they again went to the nuns and said, “Sisters, we too have been appointed. Come to us, and we too will instruct you.”

Once again the nuns went to the monks from the group of six and everything unfolded as before.

The Master then had the Order of monks assembled and questioned the monks from the group of six, “Is it true, monks, that you are acting like this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them … “Foolish men, how can you give just a short teaching to the nuns, and then spend the day on pointless talk, before dismissing them?” This will not give rise to confidence in those without it …”… and after rebuking them … he gave a teaching and addressed the monks:

“Monks, you should appoint a monk who possesses eight qualities as an instructor of the nuns:

  • He is virtuous and restrained by the monastic code. His conduct is good, he associates with the right people, and he sees danger in minor faults. And he undertakes and trains in the training rules.
  • He has learned much, and he retains and accumulates what he has learned. Those teachings that are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, that have the right meaning and phrasing and which proclaim the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life—he has learned many such teachings, retained them in mind, recited them verbally, mentally investigated them, and penetrated them well by view.
  • He has properly learned both monastic codes in detail, well analyzed them, thoroughly mastered them, well investigated them in terms of the rules and their detailed exposition.
  • He is well-spoken and has a good voice.
  • He is generally liked by and pleasing to the nuns.
  • He is capable of instructing the nuns.
  • He has never committed a serious offense against a Buddhist nun.
  • He has been fully ordained for at least twenty years.

Monks, you should appoint a monk who possesses these eight qualities as an instructor of the nuns.”

Definitions

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

Who has not been agreed upon: who has not been agreed upon through a procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements.

Nuns: they have been given the full ordination by both Orders.

Instructs: If he instructs in the eight rules to be respected, he commits an offense entailing confession. If he instructs in any other teaching, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he instructs a nun who is fully ordained only on one side, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

The monk who has been agreed upon should sweep the precincts, set out water for drinking and for washing the feet, prepare a seat, get hold of a companion, and then sit down. The nuns should go there, bow down to the monk, and sit down to one side. The monk should then ask them, “Sisters, are you all present?”

If they say, “We’re all present, Venerable,” he should say, “Are you keeping the eight rules to be respected?”

If they say, “We are,” he should present the instruction, “This is the instruction.”

If they say, “We’re not,” he should recite the rules to be respected:

  • “A nun who has been fully ordained for a hundred years should bow down to a monk who was given the full ordination on that very day, and she should stand up for him, put the palms of her hands together for him, and act respectfully towards him. This rule is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • A nun should not spend the rainy season in a monastery where there are no monks. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • Every half-month a nun should ask the Order of monks for two things: about the date of the observance day and about going for the instruction. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • A nun who has completed the rainy-season residence should invite correction from both Orders in regard to three things: what has been seen, what has been heard, and what has been suspected. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • A nun who has committed a serious offense should undertake a trial period towards both Orders for a half-month. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • A trainee nun who has trained in the six rules for two years may seek for full ordination in both Orders. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • A nun may not in any way abuse or revile a monk. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.
  • From today onwards, nuns may not correct monks, but monks may correct nuns. This rule too is to be honored and respected all one’s life, and is not to be breached.”

If they say, “We’re all present, Venerable,” and he instructs them with another teaching, then he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If they say, “We’re not all present, Venerable,” and he instructs them in the eight rules to be respected, then he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If he does not present the instruction, but he gives them another teaching, then he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

Permutations

If it is an illegitimate procedure and he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete and he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure and he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure and he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If it is an illegitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is incomplete and he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If it is an illegitimate procedure but he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete and he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.


If it is an illegitimate procedure and he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure and he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure and he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete and he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If it is an illegitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is complete but he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is complete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is complete and he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If it is an illegitimate procedure but he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is an illegitimate procedure but he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete and he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.


If it is a legitimate procedure but he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete and he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is a legitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is incomplete and he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is a legitimate procedure and he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete and he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure and he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure and he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is incomplete but he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.


If it is a legitimate procedure but he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he perceives it as illegitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete and he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is a legitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is complete but he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is complete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure but he is unsure if it is, and the Order of nuns is complete and he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is a legitimate procedure and he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he perceives it as incomplete, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure and he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete but he is unsure if it is, then if he instructs those nuns, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a legitimate procedure and he perceives it as legitimate, and the Order of nuns is complete and he perceives it as complete, then if he instructs those nuns, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he gives a summary; if he questions them; if he recites when asked to do so; if he asks a question; if he replies when asked a question; if he is speaking for the benefit of someone else and the nuns listen in; if it is to a trainee nun; if it is to a novice nun; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The first rule, the training rule on the instruction, is finished.