Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

Monks’ Suspension

11. The training rule on supporting a schism

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrel sanctuary. At that time Devadatta was pursuing schism in the monastic Order, a break in transmission. The monks were saying, “Devadatta doesn’t speak in accordance with the Teaching or the training. How can he pursue schism in the monastic Order?”

But Kokālika, Kaṭamodakatissaka, Khaṇḍadeviyā-putta, and Samuddadatta said to those monks, “Venerables, don’t say that. Devadatta does speak in accordance with the Teaching and the training. And he speaks with our consent and approval. He knows about us and speaks for us, and we agree to this.”

The monks of few desires … complained and criticized them, “How can these monks support Devadatta’s pursuit of schism in the monastic Order?”

They rebuked those monks in many ways and then informed the Master. … He said, “Is it true, monks, that some monks support Devadatta’s pursuit of schism in the Order?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha criticized them: “… Monks, how can those foolish men support Devadatta’s pursuit of schism in the Order? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘That monk may have one, two, or three monks who take his side and support him, and they may say, “Venerables, don’t correct this monk. He speaks in accordance with the Teaching and the training. And he speaks with our consent and approval. He knows about us and speaks for us, and we agree to this.” The monks should say to those monks, “Venerables, don’t say that. This monk does not speak in accordance with the Teaching or the training. Don’t consent to schism in the monastic Order. Stay with the Order, for a united Order—in concord, in harmony, having a joint recitation—lives in comfort.” If those monks still continue as before, the monks should admonish them up to three times to make them stop. If they then stop, that is good. If not, they incur an offense entailing suspension.’”

Definitions

That: that monk who is pursuing schism in the monastic Order.

May have […] monks: may have other monks.

Who take his side: they have the same view, the same belief, the same persuasion as he does.

Who […] support him: they take his side and are part of his group.

One, two, or three: There is one, or two, or three. They may say, “Venerables, don’t correct this monk. He speaks in accordance with the Teaching and the training. And he speaks with our consent and approval. He knows about us and speaks for us, and we agree to this.”

Those monks: those monks who take his side.

The monks:

Other monks, those who see it or hear about it. They should say, “Venerables, don’t say that. This monk does not speak in accordance with the Teaching or the training. Don’t consent to schism in the monastic Order. Stay with the Order, for a united Order—in concord, in harmony, having a joint recitation—lives in comfort.” And they should say this a second and a third time. If they stop, that is good. If they do not stop, they commit an offense of wrong conduct. If those who hear about it do not say anything, they commit an offense of wrong conduct.

Those monks, even if they have to be dragged into the middle of the Order, should be to spoken to thus: “Venerables, don’t say that. This monk does not speak in accordance with the Teaching or the training. Don’t consent to schism in the monastic Order. Stay with the Order, for a united Order—in concord, in harmony, having a joint recitation—lives in comfort.” They should say this a second and a third time. If they stop, that is good. If they do not stop, they commit an offense of wrong conduct.

Should admonish them:

“And, monks, they should be admonished in this way. A competent and capable monk should inform the Order:

‘Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monks so-and-so and so-and-so are taking sides with and supporting monk so-and-so who is pursuing schism in the monastic Order. They are not stopping that activity. If it seems appropriate to the Order, the Order should admonish them to make them stop. This is the motion.

Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monks so-and-so and so-and-so are taking sides with and supporting monk so-and-so who is pursuing schism in the monastic Order. They are not stopping that activity. The Order admonishes them to make them stop. Any monk who approves of admonishing them to make them stop should remain silent. Any monk who does not approve should say so.

A second time … A third time I speak on this matter: Venerables, let the Order listen to me. Monks so-and-so and so-and-so are taking sides with and supporting monk so-and-so who is pursuing schism in the monastic Order. They are not stopping that activity. The Order admonishes them to make them stop. Any monk who approves of admonishing them to make them stop should remain silent. Any monk who does not approve should say so.

The monks so-and-so and so-and-so have been admonished by the Order to make them stop that activity. The Order approves and is therefore silent. I will remember it thus.’”


After the motion, they commit an offense of wrong conduct. After each of the first two announcements, they commit a serious offense. When the last announcement is finished, they commit an offense entailing suspension. For those who commit the offense entailing suspension, the offense of wrong conduct and the serious offenses are annulled. Two or three can be admonished together, but not more than that.


They incur an offense entailing suspension: … Therefore, too, it is called “an offense entailing suspension.”

Permutations

If it is a legitimate procedure, and they perceive it as legitimate, but they do not stop, they commit an offense entailing suspension.

If it is a legitimate procedure, but they are unsure if it is, and they do not stop, they commit an offense entailing suspension.

If it is a legitimate procedure, but they perceive it as illegitimate, and they do not stop, they commit an offense entailing suspension.

If it is an illegitimate procedure, but they perceive it as legitimate, they commit an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is an illegitimate procedure, but they are unsure if it is, they commit an offense of wrong conduct.

If it is an illegitimate procedure, and they perceive it as illegitimate, they commit an offense of wrong conduct.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if they have not been admonished; if they stop; if they are insane; if they are deranged; if they are overwhelmed by pain; if they are the first offenders.

The eleventh rule, the training rule on supporting a schism, is finished.