Theravāda Vinayapiṭaka

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Expiation (Pācittiya) 79

… at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the group of six monks, having indulged in bad habits, protested when a (formal) act was being carried out against each one. Now at that time the Order came to be convened on some business or other. The group of six monks, making robes, gave (their) consent to one. Then the Order, saying:

“Your reverences, this monk of the sixfold group is come alone; come, let us carry out a (formal) act against him,” carried out a (formal) act against him. Then that monk approached the group of six monks. The group of six monks spoke thus to that monk: “What did the Order do, your reverence?”

“The Order carried out a (formal) act against me, your reverences.”

“Your reverence, we did not give the consent for this, that it would carry out a (formal) act against you. If we had known that it would carry out a (formal) act against you, we should not have given the consent.”

Those who were modest monks … spread it about, saying: “How can the group of six monks, having given (their) consent for legitimate (formal) acts, afterwards engage in criticism?” …

“Is it true, as is said, that you, monks, having given (your) consent for legitimate (formal) acts, afterwards engage in criticism?”

“It is true, lord.”

The enlightened one, the lord, rebuked them, saying:

“How can you, foolish men, having given (your) consent … afterwards engage in criticism? It is not, foolish men, for pleasing those who are not (yet) pleased … And thus, monks, this rule of training should be set forth:

Whatever monk, having given (his) consent for legitimate (formal) acts, should afterwards engage in criticism, there is an offence of expiation.”


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

Legitimate (formal) act means: a (formal) act for which leave ought to be asked, a (formal) act at which a motion is put, a (formal) act at which a motion is put and followed by one proclamation, a (formal) act at which a motion is put and is followed by three proclamations; carried out according to rule, according to discipline, according to the teacher’s instruction, this is called a legitimate (formal) act.

Having given (his) consent, if he criticises, there is an offence of expiation.


If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act (and), having given (his) consent, criticises, there is an offence of expiation. If he is in doubt as to whether it is a legally valid act … offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is a legally valid act … no offence. If he thinks that it is a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he is in doubt as to whether it is not a legally valid act, there is an offence of wrong-doing. If he thinks that it is not a legally valid act when it is not a legally valid act, there is no offence.


There is no offence if he criticises, knowing, “The (formal) act was carried out according to what is not the rule or by an incomplete assembly or against one not suitable for a (formal) act”; if he is mad, if he is the first wrong-doer.

The Ninth