Theravāda Vinayapiṭaka

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 65

… at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels’ feeding-place. Now at that time in Rājagaha a group of seventeen boys were friends; of these the youth Upāli was the chief. Then it occurred to Upāli’s parents: “By what means could Upāli, after our demise, live at ease and not be in want?” Then it occurred to Upāli’s parents: “If Upāli should learn writing, so would Upāli, after our demise, live at ease and not be in want.” Then it occurred to Upāli’s parents: “But if Upāli learns writing, his fingers will become painful. If Upāli should learn calculation, so would Upāli, after our demise, live at ease and not be in want.” Then it occurred to Upāli’s parents: “But if Upāli learns calculation, his breast will become painful. If Upāli should learn money-changing, so would Upāli, after our demise, live at ease and not be in want.” Then it occurred to Upāli’s parents: “But if Upāli learns money-changing, his eyes will become painful. Now there are these recluses, sons of the Sakyans, pleasant in habit, pleasant in conduct; having eaten good meals they lie down on beds sheltered from the wind. Now if Upāli should go forth among the recluses, the sons of the Sakyans, so would Upāli, after our demise, live at ease and not be in want.”

The boy Upāli heard this conversation of (his) parents. Then the boy Upāli approached those boys, and having approached he spoke thus to those boys: “Come, masters, we will go forth among the recluses, sons of the Sakyans.”

“If you, master, will go forth, we likewise will also go forth.”

Then these boys, having each approached (his) parents, spoke thus:

“Consent that I may go forth from home into homelessness.”

Then the parents of those boys consented, thinking: “All these boys desire the same thing, they are bent on what is good.” These, having approached monks, asked for the going forth. The monks let them go forth, they conferred the upasampadā ordination on them. Getting up in the night towards dawn, these cried out:

“Give conjey, give rice, give solid food.”

The monks spoke thus: “Wait, your reverences, until it turns light.” Should there be conjey, you shall drink it; should there be rice, you shall partake of it; should there be solid food, you shall eat it. But should there not be conjey or rice or solid food, having walked for alms, you shall eat.”

But those monks, being spoken to thus by the monks, cried out just the same: “Give conjey, give rice, give solid food,” and they soiled the bedding and made it wet.

The lord, getting up in the night towards the dawn, heard the noise of the boys, and hearing (it) he addressed the venerable Ānanda, saying:

“Why ever, Ānanda, is there this noise of boys?”

Then the venerable Ānanda told this matter to the lord. Then the lord, on this occasion, in this connection, having had the Order of monks convened, questioned the monks, saying:

“Is it true, as is said, monks, that monks knowingly conferred the upasampadā ordination on an individual under twenty years of age?”

“It is true, lord.”

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying: “How, monks, can these foolish men knowingly confer the upasampadā, ordination on an individual under twenty years of age? Monks, an individual under twenty years of age is not able to endure cold, heat, hunger, thirst, contact with gadflies, mosquitoes, wind and sun, creeping things, abusive hurtful language; he is not the kind (of person) who endures bodily feelings which, arising, are painful, acute, sharp, shooting, disagreeable, miserable, deadly. But, monks, an individual of twenty years of age is able to endure cold, heat … miserable, deadly. Monks, this is not for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk should knowingly confer the upasampadā ordination on an individual under twenty years of age, both that individual is not ordained and these monks are blameworthy; this is for him an offence of expiation.”


Whatever means: … monk is to be understood in this case.

He knows means: either he knows by himself or others tell him or (someone) tells (him).

Under twenty years of age means: not attained to twenty years of age.

If he thinks, “I will confer the upasampadā ordination,” (and) looks about for a group or for a teacher or for a bowl or for a robe, or if he determines a boundary, there is an offence of wrong-doing. As a result of the motion there is an offence of wrong-doing; as a result of two proclamations there are offences of wrong-doing. At the end of the proclamations, there is an offence of expiation for the preceptor, an offence of wrong-doing for the group and for the teacher.


If he thinks that he is under twenty years of age when he is under twenty years of age, (and) confers the upasampadā ordination (on him), there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether he is under twenty years of age, and confers the upasampadā ordination (on him), there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that he has completed twenty years of age when he is under twenty years of age, (and) confers the upasampadā ordination (on him), there is no offence. If he thinks that he is under twenty years of age when he has completed twenty years of age, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether he has completed twenty years of age there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that he has completed twenty years of age when he has completed twenty years of age, there is no offence.


There is no offence if he confers the upasampadā ordination on one under twenty years of age thinking that he has completed twenty years of age; if he confers the upasampadā ordination on one who has completed twenty years of age thinking that they are completed; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Fifth