Theravāda Vinayapiṭaka

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 51

… touring for alms in the Cetiya country, set out for Bhaddavatikā. Cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers, travellers saw the lord coming from afar, and seeing him they spoke thus to the lord: “Do not, lord, let the lord go to Ambatittha; lord, in Ambatittha a serpent lives in a matted-haired ascetic’s hermitage; he has psychic potency, he is a terribly venomous snake; do not let him hurt the lord.” When they had spoken thus, the lord became silent. And a second time … And a third time cowherds, goatherds, yeomen farmers, travellers spoke thus to the lord:

“Do not, lord, let the lord go to Ambatittha; … do not let him hurt the lord.” And a third time the lord became silent. Then the lord, touring for alms, in the course of time arrived at Bhaddavatikā. The lord stayed there at Bhaddavatika. Then the venerable Sāgata approached the hermitage of the matted-hair ascetic of Ambatittha, and having approached, having entered the fire-room, having made ready the grass mat, he sat down cross-legged, the back erect, having caused mindfulness to be present in front of him. Then that serpent, seeing that the venerable Sāgata had entered, bad at heart, blew forth smoke. And the venerable Sāgata blew forth smoke. Then that serpent, not conquering anger, blazed up, and the venerable Sāgata, having attained to the condition of heat, blazed up. Then the venerable Sāgata, having mastered by heat that serpent’s heat, approached Bhaddavatika. Then the lord, having stayed at Bhaddavatikā for as long as he found suitable, departed on an alms-tour to Kosambī. Lay-followers of Kosambī heard:

“They say that master Sāgata came into conflict with the serpent of Ambatittha.”

Then the lord, touring for alms, in the course of time arrived at Kosambī.

Then the lay-followers of Kosambī, having met the lord, approached the venerable Sāgata; having approached, having greeted the venerable Sāgata, they stood at a respectful distance. As they were standing at a respectful distance, the lay-followers of Kosambī spoke thus to the venerable Sāgata:

“Honoured sir, what is hard for the masters to obtain, and liked (by them)? What may we give?”

When they had spoken thus, the group of six monks spoke thus to the lay-followers of Kosambī:

“There is, your reverences, a spirituous liquor called white spirits; it is hard for the monks to obtain, and liked (by them). Give that.”

Then the lay-followers of Kosambī having given the spirituous liquor, white spirits, in house after house, seeing that the venerable Sāgata had entered for alms-food, spoke thus to the venerable Sāgata:

“Honoured sir, let master Sāgata drink the spirituous liquor, white spirits; honoured sir, let master Sāgata drink the spirituous liquor, white spirits.”

Then the venerable Sagata, having drunk the spirituous liquor, white spirits, in house after house, as he was departing from the town fell down at the town-gate. Then the lord, departing from the town with a great company of monks, saw the venerable Sāgata fallen down at the town-gate; seeing him, he addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, take up Sāgata.”

“Yes, lord,” and these monks having answered the lord, having led the venerable Sāgata to the monastery, made him lie down with his head towards the lord. Then the venerable Sāgata, having turned round, went to sleep with his feet towards the lord. Then the lord addressed the monks, saying:

“Monks, formerly was not Sāgata respectful, deferential towards the Tathāgata?”

“Yes, lord.”

“But monks, is Sāgata respectful, deferential towards the Tathāgata now?”

“No, lord.”

“Monks, did not Sāgata come into conflict with the serpent of Ambatittha?”

“Yes, lord.”

“But, monks, is Sāgata able to come into conflict with the serpent of Ambatittha now?”

“No, lord.”

“But, monks, could he become unconscious, having drunk that which may be drunk?”

“No, lord.”

“Monks, it is not fitting for Sāgata, it is not becoming, it is not suitable, it is not worthy of a recluse, it is not allowable, it is not to be done. How, monks, can Sāgata drink strong drink? It is not, monks, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

In drinking fermented liquor and spirits there is an offence of expiation.”


Fermented liquor means: if it is fermented liquor from flour, fermented liquor from cakes, fermented liquor from cooked rice, if it is worked-up yeast, if it is mixed with ingredients.

Spirits means: if it is an extract from flowers, an extract from fruits, an extract from honey, an extract from sugar, if it is mixed with ingredients.

Should drink means: if he drinks even (as much as) with a blade of grass, there is an offence of expiation.


If he thinks that it is strong drink when it is strong drink, (and) drinks it, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is strong drink … If he thinks that it is not strong drink when it is strong drink, (and) drinks it, there is an offence of expiation. If he thinks that it is strong drink when it is not strong drink, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not strong drink, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not strong drink when it is not strong drink, there is no offence.


There is no offence if he drinks that which is not strong drink though it comes to be the colour of strong drink, the smell of strong drink, the taste of strong drink; if it is in a concoction of broth, in a concoction of meat, in a concoction of oil, in molasses and emblic myrobalam; if he drinks a distilled liquor that is not strong drink; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The First