The chapter on confession (pācittiya)

Monks’ Confession 7: the training rule on teaching

Origin story

First sub-story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time Venerable Udāyī was associating with and visiting a number of families in Sāvatthī. Then, after dressing one morning, he took his bowl and robe and went to a certain family. Just then the housewife was sitting at the entrance door and the daughter-in-law at the door to one of the rooms. Udāyī went up to the housewife and gave her a teaching, whispering in her ear. And the daughter-in-law thought, “Is this ascetic my mother-in-law’s lover, or is he speaking lewdly?”

After teaching the housewife in this way, Udāyī approached the daughter-in-law and gave her a teaching in the same way. Then the housewife thought, “Is this ascetic my daughter-in-law’s lover, or is he speaking lewdly?”

After giving a teaching in this way, Udāyī left. Then the housewife said to her daughter-in-law, “Hey, what did that ascetic say to you?”

“He gave me a teaching, Madam. But what did he say to you?”

“He gave me a teaching, too.”

And they complained and criticized him, “How can Venerable Udāyī give teachings by whispering in the ear? Should not teachings be given audibly and openly?”

The monks heard the complaints of those women, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized Udāyī, “How can Venerable Udāyī give teachings to women?”

After criticizing him in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, Udāyī, that you did this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him, “… Foolish man, how can you give teachings to women? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

First preliminary ruling

‘If a monk gives a teaching to a woman, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

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

Second sub-story

Soon afterwards some female lay followers saw some monks and said to them, “Venerables, please give a teaching.”

“It’s not allowable for us to teach women.”

“Please just teach five or six sentences. Even with that much it’s possible to understand the Teaching.”

“It’s not allowable for us to teach women.” And being afraid of wrongdoing, they did not teach them.

Then those female lay followers complained and criticized them, “How can they not teach us when asked?”

The monks heard the complaints of those female lay followers, and they informed the Master. Soon afterwards the Master gave a teaching and addressed the monks, “Monks, I allow you to teach five or six sentences to a woman. And so, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Second preliminary ruling

‘If a monk gives a teaching of more than five or six sentences to a woman, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

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

Third sub-story

When the monks from the group of six knew that the Master had made this allowance, they taught women more than five or six sentences in the presence of a man who did not understand. The monks of few desires … complained and criticized them, “How can the monks from the group of six teach women more than five or six sentences in the presence of a man who does not understand?”

After criticizing those monks in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, monks, that you do this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them, “… Foolish men, how can you teach women more than five or six sentences in the presence of a man who doesn’t understand? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And so, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk gives a teaching of more than five or six sentences to a woman, except in the presence of a man who understands, 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 formal procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements that is unchallengeable and fit to stand—this sort of monk is meant in this case.

A woman: a human female, not a female spirit, not a female ghost, not a female animal; one who understands and is capable of discerning bad speech and good speech, what is lewd and what is not lewd.

More than five or six sentences: in excess of five or six sentences.

A teaching: what has been spoken by the Buddha, what has been spoken by disciples, what has been spoken by sages, what has been spoken by gods, what is connected with what is beneficial, what is connected with the Teaching.

Gives: if he teaches by the line, then for every line he commits an offense entailing confession. If he teaches by the syllable, then for every syllable he commits an offense entailing confession.

Except in the presence of a man who understands: unless a man who understands is present. A man who understands: one who is capable of discerning bad speech and good speech, what is lewd and what is not lewd.

Permutations

If it is a woman, and he perceives her as a woman, and he teaches her more than five or six sentences, except in the presence of a man who understands, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is a woman, but he is unsure if it is, and he teaches her more than five or six sentences, except in the presence of a man who understands, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is a woman, but he does not perceive her as a woman, and he teaches her more than five or six sentences, except in the presence of a man who understands, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If he teaches more than five or six sentences to a female spirit, a female ghost, a sexual nonconformist, or a female animal in the form of a woman, except in the presence of a man who understands, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is not a woman, but he perceives it as a woman, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is not a woman, but he is unsure of it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is not a woman, and he does not perceive it as a woman, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if a man who understands is present; if he teaches five or six sentences; if he teaches less than five or six sentences; if he gets up and then sits down again and teaches; if the woman gets up and then sits down again, and he then teaches her; if he teaches another woman; if he asks a question; if he is asked a question and then speaks; if he is speaking for the benefit of someone else and a woman listens in; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The seventh rule, the training rule on teaching, is finished.