The chapter on confession (pācittiya)

Monks’ Confession 26: the training rule on sewing robes

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time Venerable Udāyī had become skilled in making robes. Just then a certain nun approached Udāyī and said to him, “Venerable, would you please sew me a robe?”

He then sewed a robe for that nun, making it beautiful and nicely dyed, and he drew an imaginative picture in the middle of it. He then folded it and put it aside. Soon afterwards that nun went to Udāyī and said, “Venerable, where’s the robe?”

“Now, Sister, take this robe as it’s folded and put it aside. When the Order of nuns goes to the instruction, then put it on and follow right behind the other nuns.”

And that nun did just that. People complained and criticized her, “How wanton these nuns are, how brazen and shameless, in that they draw pictures on their robes.”

And the nuns asked her, “Who did this?”

“Venerable Udāyī.”

“This sort of work would not even make those who are wanton, brazen, and shameless look good, let alone Venerable Udāyī.”

The nuns told the monks, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Udāyī sew a robe for a nun?” … “Is it true, Udāyī, that you did this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

“Is she a relative of yours?”

“No, Master.”

“Foolish man, a man and a woman who are not related don’t know what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate in dealing with each other, what’s inspiring and what’s not. And still you sewed a robe for an unrelated nun. 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 sews a robe for an unrelated nun, or gets one sewn, 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 procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements that is unchallengeable and fit to stand— this sort of monk is meant in this case.

Unrelated: anyone who is not a descendant of one’s male ancestors going back seven generations, either on the mother’s side or on the father’s side.

A nun: she has been given the full ordination by both Orders.

A robe: one of the six kinds of robes.

Sews: if he sews it himself, then for each stitch he commits an offense entailing confession.

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

Permutations

If she is unrelated and he perceives her as unrelated, and he sews her a robe or gets one sewn, he commits an offense entailing confession. If she is unrelated, but he is unsure if she is, and he sews her a robe or gets one sewn, he commits an offense entailing confession. If she is unrelated, but he perceives her as related, and he sews her a robe or gets one sewn, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If he sews a robe, or gets one sewn, for a nun who is fully ordained only on one side, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If she is related, but he perceives her as unrelated, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If she is related, but he is unsure if she is, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If she is related and he perceives her as related, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if she is related; if he sews any requisite apart from a robe, or gets it sewn; if it is a trainee nun; if it is a novice nun; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The sixth rule, the training rule on sewing robes, is finished.