The chapter on confession (pācittiya)

Monks’ Confession 22: the training rule on gone down

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time the senior monks were instructing the nuns in turn, and on one occasion it was the turn of Venerable Cūḷapanthaka. The nuns said, “Today the instruction won’t be effective, since Venerable Cūḷapanthaka will just be repeating the same utterance over and over.”

Soon afterwards those nuns went to Cūḷapanthaka, bowed down to him, and sat down to one side. Cūḷapanthaka then said to them,

“Are you all present, Sisters?”

“We’re all present, Venerable.” “Are you keeping the eight rules to be respected?”

“We are.”

After saying, “This is the instruction,” he spoke the same utterance again and again:

“For the heedful one possessed of the higher mind,
For the sage training on the path to sagacity,
There are no sorrows for such a one,
The peaceful one, who is always mindful.”

And the nuns said, “Didn’t we say that the instruction wouldn’t be effective, that Venerable Cūḷapanthaka would just be repeating the same utterance over and over?” But Cūḷapanthaka overheard that conversation between the nuns. He then rose up into the air, walked back and forth in space, and he stood, sat down, and lay down there. He emitted smoke and fire, and he disappeared, all the while speaking the same utterance and many other sayings by the Buddha. And the nuns said, “It’s astonishing and amazing! No previous instruction has been as effective as this one from Venerable Cūḷapanthaka!” And Cūḷapanthaka kept on instructing those nuns until the dark of night, and then dismissed them, saying, “Go, Sisters.”

But because the gates to the town were closed, those nuns stayed the night outside and entered in the morning. People complained and criticized them, “These nuns aren’t celibate. They spend the night in the monastery with the monks and only now do they enter the town.”

The monks heard the complaints of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized Cūḷapanthaka, “How can Venerable Cūḷapanthaka instruct the nuns after the sun has set?”… “Is it true, Cūḷapanthaka, that you did this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him, “… Cūḷapanthaka, how can you instruct the nuns after the sun has set? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘Even if he has been agreed upon, if a monk instructs the nuns after sunset, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

Definitions

Who has been agreed upon: who has been agreed upon through a procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements.

After sunset: after the sun has gone down.

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

Instructs: if he instructs in the eight rules to be respected or he gives any other teaching, he commits an offense entailing confession.

Permutations

If the sun has set, and he perceives that it has, and he instructs the nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If the sun has set, but he is unsure if it has, and he instructs the nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession. If the sun has set, but he perceives that it has not, and he instructs the nuns, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If he instructs a nun who is fully ordained only on one side, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If the sun has not set, but he perceives that it has, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If the sun has not set, but he is unsure of it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If the sun has not set, and he perceives that it has not, 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 second rule, the training rule on gone down, is finished.