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THE HEART of

Buddhism

ASSOCIATION FOR INSIGHT MEDITATION
3 Clifton Way • Alperton • Middlesex • HA0 4PQ Website: www.aimwell.org Email: pesala@aimwell.org

Printed for free Distribution by

Bhikkhu Pesala

THE HEART of

Buddhism

ASSOCIATION FOR INSIGHT MEDITATION
3 Clifton Way • Alperton • Middlesex • HA0 4PQ Website: www.aimwell.org Email: pesala@aimwell.org

Printed for free Distribution by

Bhikkhu Pesala

.

The offence comes from ownership of money. If a donor wishes to offer something to a monk. monks need to abandon their pride and attachment. The offending monk cannot use anything purchased with the forfeited money. and material things. and looks with fear on heedlessness.32 The Heart of Buddhism THE HEART OF BUDDHISM The Vinaya is the heart of Buddhism that keeps it alive and healthy. and the laity need the guidance of virtuous monks. The meaning of the word ‘Pæ¥imokkha’ given in the Visuddhimagga is: “Pæ¥imokkha is the virtue of the training precepts. so concealing money in an envelope or package is worse than offering it openly. food. even Arahants. Even if a person is of weak character. please ask him for whatever you need. A proper investigation must be made. men began to join the Sa³gha for less noble reasons. Any breach of that trust is therefore nothing to do . meditation. the innocent can sometimes be wrongly convicted. If he does that. though the other monks may. the money must be thrown away outside the monastery by a trustworthy monk. intent on higher thought — this is the teaching of the Buddhas. There is no esoteric teaching in Buddhism. renunciation. it sets him free (mocayati) from the pains of the states of loss. so they should reflect on this. Moderation in food. If a monk finds money in his own monastery he must pick it up. Even if a monk accepts money unknowingly. not from touching it. The guilty cannot escape from the results of their own kamma. groundlessly accusing an innocent monk as immoral will lead to hell. but does not know what he needs. They should have should be done with it.” (Dhp v 32) “Not insulting. “The bhikkhu who delights in heedfulness. etc. As the years went by. Do you like to stay alone. he should inform the donor. unless one retracts the accusation. and the accused must be judged and sentenced by those with a thorough knowledge of the law. or are you never happy without company? A refined Buddhist delights in solitude. saying. one should be careful when interpreting the Vinaya because the consequences of superficial knowledge can be dire. For example. which are indispensable to develop concentration and insight. learning Dhamma. he falls into an offence requiring expiation with forfeiture. anyone can study the Vinaya if they wish. restrained by the Pæ¥imokkha. In the early years of the Buddha’s dispensation the monks soon became Noble One’s. or only when the mood takes you? Is your conversation usually about politics. nuns. you have certainly been negligent. or is too busy to buy it for him.. it is allowable to give money to a trusted lay person. nor to the attendant. To criticise shamelessness and negligence is right. Such pure-hearted individuals instinctively knew what was suitable for a recluse. Monks now need more rules to protect themselves from the temptations of modern life. so be ready to admit it. he is not automatically guilty of all accusations that might be made against him. The attendant is acting as a Trustee for the donor. However. If you leave a mess for others to clean up. which is only for the diligent. It pumps the life-giving blood of selfdiscipline and awareness to every corner of the Buddhist community. a secluded abode. and novices. cannot make anything. and keep it in a safe place until the owner claims it. is not liable to fall. not less. and let others do what you should do yourself. Confess any offences immediately — a man who cannot make a mistake. for example: “Venerable sir. and silence. Most of the rules were made due to the shameless behaviour of the group of six monks. the situation has degenerated even further.” (Vism. and lynching an innocent person accused of a crime. he still falls into the same offence. If you have never practised mindfulness meditation intensively. and the above procedure should be followed. innocent only means that he is not guilty of an offence of defeat. In this context. Those who advocate relaxing the rules to suit modern times have not understood the purpose of the Vinaya.” If the attendant fails to provide what the monk asks for. but do not to get caught in your own net. He should not coerce the attendant into giving him what he wants. Although the Vinaya is meant for monks. that is why it is called Pæ¥imokkha. for it frees (mokkheti) him who protects (pæti) it and guards it. If no lay person is available. Even then. 1 newspapers and magazines? Do you meditate frequently. More than two thousand five hundred years since the Buddha’s demise. or is it mere gossip and idle chatter? It is better to remain silent than to make unwholesome kamma. The money does not belong to the monk. it concerns the whole Buddhist community as the Sa³gha cannot survive without lay support.” (Dhp v 185) 24 The Heart of Buddhism Expiation with Forfeiture (Nissaggiya Pæcittiya) 9 THE SKILFUL WAY TO RELAX Why are there so many rules? Because human beings have so many defilements. nor harming. and they neglected to practise meditation. It is like acting as judge and jury in criminal matters. Be mindful at all times. as they were intent on realising the various stages of the Path. the monks can say what would be useful. or you will drown in defilements. but still belongs to the donor. you have missed the right path. he is in the presence of nibbæna. 16) Instead of abandoning the rules. I have given ten pounds to your attendant. and own up to any wrong-doing to mitigate its effects.

I will begin by summarising the various grades of offences.v. through desire. Covet nothing that belongs to others. delusion. almsfood.” (Dhp v 121) . Some monks maintain that a bank’s employees are acting as the monk’s attendant when he signs cheques or uses a credit card. they are a danger to your happiness. which is the longest in the Pæ¥imokkha. what are you doing to rectify this appalling ignorance? Do you enjoy reading Dhamma books. or whatever people offer you from their own generosity. medicine. Finally. His fellow monks may admonish him if they think he is amenable to advice. pious. Conquer Hatred. Waste nothing.158) 23 with the monk. If donors offer what is not allowable. Protect yourself from them by practising forbearance and equanimity. If others lack these basic virtues. or like outlaws who are neither caught nor charged. Needs can easily be fulfilled. Wicked monks are like criminals who plead not guilty when charged with some offence. Eradicate Delusion. monks should refuse it. so they should know clearly what is allowable and what is not allowable. Live one day at a time. Cultivate Wisdom Know one thing: you don’t know anything until you are enlightened. or a lifelong invitation. but if you are overwhelmed by greed just once. and must inherit its results. Practise Renunciation Be content with what you have. It provides clear guidelines for monks to train themselves on the path to nibbæna. since they are heading towards suffering. Practise tolerance and patience to the highest possible extent. Avoid wicked individuals as far as possible. although they are guilty. so they are not minor offences. it is an offence entailing expiation. they will know how to deal with awkward situations without making unwholesome kamma or causing offence. defining which are lesser and minor offences. they deserve compassion. especially those concerning the offering of food and other requisites. or do you prefer 10 The Heart of Buddhism The Importance of the Pæ¥imokkha “A shameless monk is one who. a monk can accept an invitation for four months. Minor offences often lead to major offences. Relinquish Greed. Monks who knowingly transgress the rules due to human weakness. “Do not disregard evil. Revere and show due respect to the learned. I will quote a key passage from the Sutta Pi¥aka to show why the Vinaya is so vital to the health of Buddhism. purity and virtue prosper with openness. They are like good citizens who occasionally break the law. transgresses them and commits offences. and virtuous: without partiality or prejudice. The Buddha laid down most rules after complaints by lay people that the monks were “behaving just like lay people who indulge in sensual pleasures. Share anything you don’t need with others. Monks who obtain requisites improperly corrupt the donors and harm the reputation of the Sa³gha. If you are not yet attained right view. Donors will not want to make demerit by offering unallowable things to monks.” (Pariværa. This rule. but greed is insatiable. service. A donor can make a specific invitation to provide transport. he follows the four wrong courses of action (i. Having committed offences. and wicked monks pose a serious threat to the health and longevity of Buddhism. All beings are heirs of their own kamma. This is incorrect. but who remain at large. nor control over it is allowable for monks. Then I will outline a few Vinaya rules most likely to affect lay people. Ward off ill-will and selfishness by doing noble-minded deeds for the welfare of others.2 The Heart of Buddhism Becoming a Refined Buddhist 31 The Vinaya is a legal system for the administration of the Sa³gha. saying. ‘It will not affect me.’ Even a big water-jar is filled by the falling of drops.” Corruption and wrong-doing thrive in secrecy. Moreover. or fear). Monks who commit offences due to ignorance of the rules are not shameless. with knowledge of the Vinaya rules. ill-will. Scrupulous monks are totally dependent on charity that is freely given by devotees wishing for merit. the fool. etc. gathering little by little. he then conceals his actions. unless it is a repeated invitation. and reflect well on gratitude when using the gifts of faith. A monk can countersign a cheque to authorise a lay person to use such funds. The primary responsibility lies with each monk to train himself to the best of his ability. Mature lay people should study the Vinaya to help preserve the Dhamma for future generations. unless the account requires the signature of at least one lay person. If he accepts an invitation for longer than that. You won’t die if you go one day without food.e. fills himself with evil. Develop Loving-kindness Guard your mind well against anger. as the monk has legal control over the funds. A monk’s livelihood is defiled by offences requiring expiation with forfeiture. just negligent (new monks who don’t know the rules yet are not negligent). If lay people have a sound basic knowledge of the Vinaya. Vin. makes it crystal clear that neither ownership of money. are shameless only until they confess their offences. and explain the Vinaya rule unless there is a good reason not to. committing further crimes daily. I will explain how the minor rules and duties can help a monk or a lay person to become a refined and cultured Buddhist. it can destroy your life. Even if the offences are minor. In the case of an invitation to accept medicine. Likewise. stubbornness and shamelessness are obstructions to an individual’s spiritual development.

Defeat (Pæræjika) There are four offences of defeat: sexual intercourse. and respect the training. stealing. 7. Venerable Upæli asked the Blessed One: “Seeing how many benefits has the Blessed One laid down the training rules for his disciples. Alcohol. “meat that is not allowable. the Buddha said. The Vinaya is a guide to a virtuous life: showing one how to live without greed. weapons. A lay Buddhist who studies the Vinaya for the right reasons will gain more reverence for monks. loving-kindness. 2. . Giving such things is demeritorious. intentionally killing a human being. For the well-being of the Sa³gha.” Here. GRADES OF OFFENCES There are several grades of offence. For example. If it is given. 22 The Heart of Buddhism Demeritorious Giving (Adhammadæna) 11 Venerable Upæli approached the Blessed One. whatever he did. Upæli. almsfood should not be given at the wrong time. Whatever is not allowable for monks should not be given to them. If he was mad at the time. and the recital of the Pæ¥imokkha. and the recital of the Pæ¥imokkha?” “Seeing ten benefits. For the comfort of well-behaved bhikkhus. if he is not defeated. Prostitutes should not be given.’ So demerit is made even if a monk refuses what is offered. The most serious entail disrobing. even if a bhikkhu has spent the whole night alone with a woman. he is still a monk. To establish the true Dhamma. as many people may be doubtful about this.30 The Heart of Buddhism Defeat (Pæræjika) 3 without living things. There are two kinds of donation: dhammadæna and adhammadæna — righteous giving and unrighteous giving. Though some monks fall into many offences due to shamelessness. are shameless and wicked individuals. or delusion.’ which means ‘invite to accept. If he does not admit defeat. The meat of animals killed for the purpose of giving alms should not be given. To restrain present taints. he is not guilty of defeat. and there is no offence! BECOMING A REFINED BUDDHIST Every rule was laid down by the Buddha out of compassion for living beings. Animals for slaughter should not be given. In clearing undergrowth. the Tathægata has laid down the training rules for his disciples. If he makes a full recovery. How can giving result in demerit? If something corrupts the morality of others it should not be given. Foolish entertainments and pornography should not be given. one should avoid destroying nests or eggs. A monk who has committed any of these offences is defeated and no longer entitled to wear the robe. if they correct themselves. association with noble and energetic friends whose livelihood is pure. To support the Vinaya. The Vinaya defines a shameless monk as follows: Demeritorious Giving (Adhammadæna) Here. Though a monk may be guilty of many serious offences. he paid homage and sat at one side. which prevents the arising of greed. hatred. and egoism. Money should not be given. 3. 4. Even the minor rules help to expel defilements. Water containing living things must be filtered before using it. but a monk who strives for worldly aims is more heedless than a lay person. To prevent the arising of future taints. For the excellence of the Sa³gha. unless he had sexual intercourse. disparage those who respect it. To strengthen faith in those who have faith. realising how refined and demanding the monastic training is. To arouse faith in those who lack faith. Bribes should not be given. A lay person who strives hard to attain nibbæna is a recluse. they are not wicked. 6. the Buddha did not say. In the Jøvaka Sutta of the Majjhimanikæya. while the second is demeritorious. anger. he is not defeated. “Whoever offers to the Tathægata or to his disciples what is not allowable makes much demerit. The first is always meritorious. The Pæ¹i word used here for ‘offer’ is ‘æsædeti. I must digress to clarify how one can make demerit by giving. he cannot be made to disrobe on circumstantial evidence.” (Dhp v 375).” but just “what is not allowable. Many of the rules are a useful guide for a lay person who aspires to nibbæna. and wisdom. who may die from his injuries. Sitting there. contentment. and how to cultivate renunciation. restraint in the Pæ¥imokkha precepts. To control wicked individuals. The burden of responsibility lies with an individual bhikkhu to confess his offence. while the least serious just need to be acknowledged. and making a false claim to supramundane attainments. and neglect the recital of the Pæ¥imokkha. 10. A ‘recluse’ means one who sees fear in the cycle of rebirth caused by defilements. 1. he must disrobe and cannot ordain again.” (A v 70) Those monks who have no respect for the training. it results in demerit. 9. After confessing his offence. he may be a better warrior than before. 5. and poison should not be given. Music and entertainments should not be given. Having approached.” so we should take this as an inclusive statement. 8. He is like a warrior wounded in battle. To follow the training perfectly requires constant mindfulness. “This is the beginning for a wise bhikkhu: sense control. but he is not dead yet. each requiring a different punishment or remedy to purify it.

A monk found guilty of receiving stolen goods in a court of law might not be guilty of any offence according to the Vinaya. The Buddha recommended rice gruel for good digestion. but infatuated lay people who do not wish to abandon craving and ignorance are also blameworthy. speaks in praise of death. molasses. The seventy-third offence requiring expiation expects every bhikkhu to be familiar with all of the training rules included in the Pæ¥imokkha (in Pæ¹i). sit alone with them. The Pæ¥imokkha recital preserves the vitality of the Buddha’s teaching. The Vinaya is different to secular law. or psychic powers. milk. they become partial towards shameless monks who flatter them for their generosity and kindness. its Fruition. oil. Several rules concerning women are designed to preserve a monk’s chastity and good reputation. so lay supporters should maintain the monastery’s garden by cutting the grass. They can sweep leaves. It is like offering a bribe to an honest official. but only of deliberate lying. who inevitably become shameless in turn. Shameless preceptors cannot train their disciples properly. For centuries. and guilty of complicity. They can burn garden waste. Because the Buddha said. or to the holy life. then you should be able to appreciate that urging him to break his precepts is a demeritorious deed. Monks may not touch women. the Pæ¥imokkha may be recited in brief. shameless monks have neglected the bhikkhus’ training. Monks can help by cutting up severed branches. If no bhikkhu is able to recite it in full. No Buddhist should ever speak in praise of destroying life. to restrain their senses. a monk can answer in detail.g. though he has no such attainment. If he failed to get alms. he is also defeated. A monk is not permitted to damage plants or dig the earth. he may not be guilty of stealing. Human life is precious. M. and if that person dies or a woman has an abortion following his advice. Dhammadæyæda Sutta. and a just decision must be made. and rake up grass cuttings. or teach Dhamma to them at length unless a man is present who understands the meaning. Present-day Buddhists can no longer discern right from wrong. sand or gravel. Such actions fly in the face of the commands given by the Omniscient Buddha when he laid down the training rules for his ordained disciples. If there is a danger to life. If a monk tries to kill a human being. It is primarily the fault of those monks who refuse to follow the training rules laid down by the Omniscient Buddha. “I allow you. Even if a monk is unscrupulous. since it is a unique opportunity to gain profound insights by practising the Dhamma. If they do not have a suitable boundary (søma) they should consecrate one. Supporters of shameless monks also become shameless by association. without grounds for suspicion. As wise lay people will fully observe the five precepts. and fall into an offence of wrong-doing if they fail to recite it without good reason. and curds — would keep monks healthy and make them easy to support. or the bhikkhus should attend the recital in another monastery. etc. within four to six weeks of his ordination. which helps to reduce cholesterol. meat.113.i. wise monks will fully observe the 227 precepts. and to practise meditation diligently. otherwise it should be recited in full whenever four bhikkhus are present on the Uposatha day. The Upæli Sutta from the Gradual Sayings gives ten reasons why the Pæ¥imokkha should be recited. unless it is a through overestimation. S. However. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PÆ¿IMOKKHA Every fortnight the monks have a duty to recite the 227 training rules included in the Pæ¥imokkha. if a woman asks a question. Claiming ignorance of the rule as a defence requires expiation. One should weigh up all the facts very careful indeed before making such a serious accusation against a of meat and over-eating in general contribute to heartdisease. or recommends abortion. arrange to travel with them. fish. to recite the Pæ¥imokkha” the monks are obliged to recite it. nibbæna. he can travel with a woman. In the West one could use oat-porridge. monks. e. jhæna. sleep under the same roof as them. trimming hedges. Because they lack a thorough knowledge of the Dhamma-Vinaya. If someone else makes the arrangements. and must not be neglected. Frugal use of the luxurious foods — ghee. and look down on scrupulous monks who admonish them to talk less. . however painful and difficult it may be. If a monk falsely claims to have attained the Path. These four offences are the most serious that a monk can commit. Even recommending a swift execution or euthanasia can result in defeat for a monk.4 The Heart of Buddhism Rules That Lay People Need to Know 29 If a monk tells a deliberate lie to get something. Thus the true Dhamma has almost disappeared. honey. Each case must be judged on its merits by monks learned in the Vinaya. he is himself guilty of an offence requiring a formal meeting of the Sa³gha. but only in a place 12 The Heart of Buddhism The Importance of the Pæ¥imokkha 21 If you consider the awkward position that a scrupulous monk faces when offered unallowable things. condoning and supporting his shameless behaviour cannot be a meritorious deed. and they can dig earth without life. one bhikkhu should go to learn it. and he is also to be censured by the Sa³gha for his ignorance. and cf. butter. the Buddha happily went without food (see Pi¼ða Sutta. he is guilty of defeat. weeding flower-beds. but not alone with her.12). If a monk accuses another monk of one of these offences. He was lean and physically fit.i.

slandering. undertaking to restrain himself in future. since they themselves are not striving for it. the sanctity of the lesser and minor training rules is protected by a specific offence requiring expiation. he should refuse it. An Arahant went for alms to the house of a jeweller who was making an ornament for the king with a precious ruby. a bhikkhu can ask for these superior foods. Then he uttered the following verse: “Some are born in a womb. milk. A bhikkhu may not request these for his own use. If a bhikkhu sees. and so is worthy of special respect. The pious go to heaven. He should not overlook them. damaging vegetation. Medical advice is that excessive amounts bhikkhu. If he makes a sarcastic remark or tells a joke. he thought that the Arahant had stolen the ruby. Offences Requiring Expiation (Pæcittiya) To ‘expiate’ means to make amends. The seventy-second offence requiring expiation states: “While the Pæ¥imokkha is being recited. they cannot later be used as medicine. the Arahant told the jeweller that the heron had swallowed the ruby. are faults for lay people as well as for monks. Salt or ginger. if he teaches Dhamma while standing to one who is sitting. cannot be mixed with food. respect for the Sa³gha will diminish. a monk should approach another monk. and confess the offence. but the jeweller beat him to elicit a confession. Since his action endangers the life or property of lay people. If donors offer vegetarian food with essential proteins such as nuts or beans. temple attendants and nuns. and she was later reborn in heaven. When the jeweller returned with the almsfood. Having fallen into one of these offences. thus endangering lay supporters who bring it. and curds (yoghurt) — plus the five medicines are ‘superior’ or ‘luxurious’ foods. and drinking alcohol. having accepted them. such as killing. Four foods — fish. and begged for forgiveness. Lay people will not show due respect. if he talks with food in his mouth.” (Dhp v 126) 20 The Heart of Buddhism Offences Requiring Expiation (Pæcittiya) 13 requiring expiation. but once used as food. playing in the water. The Buddha refused to lay down a rule forbidding the eating of meat. and then use the rest as food. The jeweller cut open the heron and discovered the ruby. kept as lifetime medicine. so one need not worry about this offence.28 The Heart of Buddhism Defeat (Pæræjika) 5 The seven-day medicines may also be used as food. bother. Most. unless he is sick. are not faults for lay people.” (Dhp v 158) . He was distraught when he realised his mistake. These offences are contrary to the five or eight precepts observed by lay disciples. this offence cannot be regarded as minor either. While the jeweller was out of the room. In his rage. if any bhikkhu should say. What a monk can do. who has renounced sensual pleasures to strive for nibbæna. If a donor makes an open invitation to ask for whatever he wants. presumably because this might have prevented the Dhamma spreading to areas where meateating was widespread. or suspects that an animal has been killed to provide meat for the Sa³gha. and the monks will not be able to instruct them in the way to nibbæna. put his robe over one shoulder. a bhikkhu should be able to remain healthy. The Arahant denied it. and fret’ then in disparaging the training rules there is an offence requiring expiation. or might inhibit some from joining the Sa³gha. The pure attain nibbæna. These days.” If monks do not follow the training rules. pay respects (if the other monk is senior). The wicked are born in hell.” Thus. but nevertheless he fell into hell due to the wickedness of his actions. then only should one instruct another. and all but the poorest villagers will be able to offer alms without difficulty. lying. If a bhikkhu laughs loudly in town. Some offences. hears. nor dismiss them as trivial. a bhikkhu should confess his offence. is put aside a portion to use as medicine. If a bhikkhu who is staying in a remote area. as the following story from the Dhammapada commentary graphically illustrates. it is an offence of wrong speech. ‘Sick’ means that he cannot be comfortable without them. These offences should be avoided too. but they can rightly be called lesser and minor offences. These rules define the proper code of behaviour for one who is dependent on alms. Such a wise man will not be reproached. and undertake to restrain himself in the future. if he urinates while standing — these are offences of wrong-doing. meat. his pet heron swallowed the ruby. abusing. so they are also not minor offences. “One should first establish oneself in what is proper. such as digging the earth. The heron was reborn in the womb of the jeweller’s wife. the jeweller kicked the heron. The training rules were laid down by the Buddha after lay people complained about monks behaving “like householders who enjoy sensual pleasures. Having committed any of them. it is an offence requiring confession. sleeping under the same roof as a woman. in spite of urgent protests by his pious wife. This section of the Pæ¥imokkha contains ninety-two training rules. They are fundamental to the training. Ginger mixed with sugar can be used as seven-day medicine. After ensuring that the heron was already dead. meat and fish are bought from the supermarket. but not lifetime medicine. accepts almsfood in his own place. ‘Why are these lesser and minor training rules recited? They only lead to worry. which is considered dangerous due to wild beasts or robbers. The Buddha stated the destination of each on being told what had happened at the jeweller’s house.

shameless behaviour. groundlessly accusing a monk of defeat leads to rebirth in hell. and suspects he has committed an offence. and even conquer more territory. Venerable Nægasena concludes. Striving to create a schism. hits. The fourth applies to monks staying in remote places that might be dangerous for lay people to visit due to wild beasts or thieves. Some say that discarded food should not be used again. instruct. is an offence requiring a formal meeting of the Sa³gha. Medicine and fruit juice can be offered at any time. Everything taken by the mouth except water or tooth cleaners must be offered by a lay person or novice. since they deal with a bhikkhu’s correct means of livelihood. to use lewd speech. So offences requiring confession with forfeiture are not minor. or suspected to other monks. For a monk to sit alone with a woman is an offence requiring expiation. it must be forfeited to the Sa³gha.” “Let him advise. or threatens a bhikkhu. Donors will give gifts to gain praise and favour. at the right time. Indeterminate Offences (Aniyata) These two are not separate offences. If a lay supporter suspects that a serious offence has occurred. with lustful intent. it can be used at the right time by any bhikkhu. and dissuade one from evil. he can know that he is guilty of storing up food.6 The Heart of Buddhism Rules That Lay People Need to Know 27 Formal Meeting (Sa³ghædisesa) Thirteen offences require a formal meeting of the Sa³gha to impose a penance on the offending monk. it will be better. slanders. and to reinstate him after he has completed the penance to the satisfaction of the Sa³gha. two with striving to create schism. If he gets annoyed because someone else eats it or throws it away. he should be dealt with according to the rule. and so cannot be taken after midday. If a bhikkhu kills an animal. Truly pleasing is he to the good. such as an almsbowl. but soup can only be taken before midday. so they are not minor offences. ‘Offered’ means that the donor must come within armsreach and put it into something held in a monk’s hands. this means after dawn and before midday on the day that it is to be used. even if it is free from solids. Five deal with sexual offences. for him who associates with such a one. but a lot of food would be wasted due to the absence of beggars and others who eat leftovers. heard. which includes not accepting money. A third prohibits a monk from asking for things from lay disciples who are agreed upon by the Sa³gha as Noble Ones. and to act as a match-maker. points out faults and reproves. this offence requires a formal meeting of the Sa³gha. failure to observe them can have serious consequences. since bhikkhunøs no longer exist. require a formal meeting of the Sa³gha. it is better to use it up the next day rather than throwing it away. A novice must observe ten precepts. If discarded food is offered again. not worse. “The offences of wrong-doing are the lesser precepts. or to speak in praise of sex. A bhikkhu should be content to eat any allowable food that is good for his health. plate. and offences of wrong speech are the minor precepts. Causing a schism in the Sa³gha is heavy kamma that inevitably leads to rebirth in hell. or tray. let one associate with such a wise man. For food. taking no notice of where it falls. or eats after midday. drinks intoxicants. The money must be thrown away outside the monastery. these are offences . but legal procedures for dealing with accusations by a trustworthy female lay-disciple who has seen a monk alone with a woman.” I will now show why this is a wise decision. Confession (Pæ¥idesanøya) Two of these four offences no longer apply. until it has been discarded. when admonished by the Sa³gha to desist. However. and two with stubborn. For a monk. 14 The Heart of Buddhism The Lesser and Minor Training Rules 19 “Should one see a wise man who. Their can be taken at any time. Novices can eat food that is not formally offered. Ovaltine.” (Dhp vv 76-77) When the Vinaya is lost. Sexual interourse is an offence of defeat. and some donations of the faithful may go to waste. the Dhamma is also lost. The monks should investigate the matter. unless one admits the offence and apologises. Horlicks. so it rarely applies nowadays. and all other drinks containing food are also food. Clearly. so these offences are serious. abuses. and should be avoided. Milk is food. displeasing is he to the bad. If the accused monk admits an offence. Although these rules rarely apply nowadays. as if indicating a hidden treasure. If a bhikkhu accepts money. The Sa³gha must then give it to a lay person or appoint a bhikkhu to dispose of it. two with accusing bhikkhus of defeat. If he renounces the leftover food. two with dwellings. but a bhikkhu should not store food up to use the following day. Once food or medicine has been received by a bhikkhu. and they can cook food for monks. offences requiring a formal meeting of the Sa³gha are not minor offences. he or she should report what was seen. tells a deliberate lie. a monk should know the proper limit when accepting from pious devotees who offer more than they can afford. Reinstatement requires at least twenty bhikkhus. Monks will look for and favour wealthy donors. and question the accused monk closely to establish the truth. As already pointed out. To touch a woman. it may be used. and both monks and the laity will become corrupt.

Venerable Mahækassapa addressed the monks saying: “People will say. and leaves that are not used as food can be used as long as they last. and minor offences. so a bhikkhu should try to avoid touching women. A Vinaya master who used the toilet after him reminded him of his oversight. If he persists. Monks should train themselves to become serene and dignified.26 The Heart of Buddhism Grave Offences (Thullaccaya) 7 me. “You can let the border regions go after my death if you wish. He can be excommunicated from the Sa³gha for refusing to acknowledge an offence. but he thinks it is not. He may be free from immoral thoughts. it is a grave offence. If it is after midday. a monk who was a teacher of the Dhamma neglected to perform the duties when using the toilet. If there is no clock. or if he is doubtful. That was the decision made by the five hundred Arahants. but all food must be finished before midday. Another point should be considered here. taking the meal on their return to the monastery or at some suitable place outside the village. or if.” Others said. and all later Buddhist Councils.” Others said. it is an offence of expiation. you publicly declared in the Sa³gha of bhikkhus your unwillingness to follow the training. The ideal standard is to avoid all suspicion by avoiding all contact — even eye-contact! Grave Offences (Thullaccaya) These result from the incomplete commission of offences of defeat or those requiring formal meeting. but he thinks it is not. as a king on his deathbed might test his sons by saying. oil. but he can be accused of a serious offence. the rest are lesser and minor. a monk should confess an offence of expiation. with lustful intent. Thai bhikkhus use a receiving cloth when accepting gifts from women. RULES THAT LAY PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW The Vinaya defines what is food. Wrong-doing (Dukka¥a) Seventy-five training rules concern etiquette and decorum. and sugar — can be kept and used at any time for seven days. For each mouthful taken after midday. Most monks would have eaten about 9:00 am. If it is before midday. Thus the Dhamma teacher did not confess an offence. The Vinaya teacher told his pupils that the Dhamma teacher had fallen into an offence. It is a potentially dangerous situation for all concerned. “… and four offences requiring confession. honey. they may suspect him of lustful intent. A monk should check the time before eating. Nevertheless.i. he touches the hem of a woman’s clothing. However. what is medicine. Those who do not wish to follow the strict onesessioner’s practice can eat twice or more. medium. there is no offence. the rest are lesser and minor. not on what the lay supporter thinks that the bhikkhu did. If others see a monk smiling on touching a woman. Burmese monks receive offerings directly from women. “… and the thirty offences requiring expiation with forfeiture. he should not eat. to avoid accidental contact that might be a serious offence.437) Monks used to walk for alms soon after dawn. sometimes taking hold of their hands to do so. For example. so the monks of the present day must also train themselves in all of the training precepts. it is an offence of wrong-doing for each mouthful. he should be brought into the midst of the Sa³gha and reminded of his faults.” (M. he falls into a serious offence requiring a formal meeting of the Sa³gha. the rest are lesser and minor offences.” Thus the five hundred Arahants agreed not to abolish any training rules. seeds. and the dispute escalated out of all proportion. Roots. and when each can be used.” Others said. 18 The Heart of Buddhism Wrong Doing (Dukka¥a) 15 rest are lesser and minor. Not one of the later Councils abolished any training rules either.” Then the sons would surely make efforts to subdue the border regions. In the infamous dispute at Kosambø. to inspire faith in lay devotees. Sri Lankan monks tie Paritta threads around the wrists of women. or if he is doubtful. Fruit juice free from pulp can be used until before dawn of the day after accepting it. and makes himself difficult to admonish. adding that it was no offence if it was done through unmindfulness. but after his passing away they do not. butter. There is no legitimate reason to ignore a single one of them. these are not lesser nor minor offences. well before noon. The mind can change very quickly. Plain tea or herbal medicines decision depends on what the bhikkhu admits to. one should distinguish between serious. “… and the ninety-two offences requiring expiation. If a monk commits many offences. and before it started to get uncomfortably hot. but they are careful to avoid direct contact. In the Milinda Pañha the Arahant Nægasena says that the Buddha gave permission to abolish the lesser and minor rules to test his disciples. and he is doubtful about the time. The pupils quarrelled.” Since there were different opinions. until the Vinaya monks excommuni- . if a bhikkhu tries to kill a human being but fails.’ So we should continue to train ourselves in all of the precepts. if a monk shows disrespect to the training rule or to a monk who reminds him of the rule. Five ‘medicines’ — ghee. Clearly. If these rules are broken due to unmindfulness. ‘While the Buddha was alive the monks followed the training rules. in disrespect there is an offence requiring expiation. The Dhamma teacher told his pupils that the Vinaya teacher did not know what was an offence and what was not. The middle way practised by Burmese monks is sensible.

but there are different opinions regarding the other classes of offences. and it is hard to hold it out of the water when swimming. Nowadays. the remainder are lesser and minor. e. For three months the Buddha said nothing. when a training precept was being made known by 16 The Heart of Buddhism The Lesser and Minor Training Rules 17 cated the Dhamma teacher for not confessing his offence. Særiputta once told Ven.8 The Heart of Buddhism The Skilful Way to Relax 25 Expiation with Forfeiture (Nissaggiya Pæcittiya) Bhikkhus are entirely dependent on lay devotees to provide the necessities of life. or flattering them. There are procedures for the recitation of the Pæ¥imokkha rules. by preparing drinks for them. “I keep myself healthy by eating only one meal. Monks should suppress the ego and immerse themselves fully in the monastic discipline. teachers. The Buddha said to the monks.” D.” Others said.” Others said. and preliminary duties before the Uposatha Ceremony. the five hundred Arahants were also not unanimous about this matter. Monks should not act in a servile way towards lay people. A monk should train himself. they can give things to temple attendants and others who serve the Sa³gha. in that like a fool. who laid down the training rules for his disciples. but he admonished Venerable Bhaddæli severely at the end of the Rains Retreat: “Surely. (Ven. There are duties towards the monastery. At the first Buddhist Council. Poor swimmers are afraid to put their head into the water. and may support their parents if they are needy. Such ingratiating actions are wrong livelihood for a bhikkhu. Venerable Ænanda neglected to ask the Buddha which rules were the lesser and minor precepts. or expiation with forfeiture.154) However. novices. They then advised him to keep back a portion from the morning meal to eat later (i. to teach.) Money must be forfeited to the Sa³gha. Allowable requisities such as robes or almsfood can be returned to the offending monk. but he complained that even that was too hard. seeing danger in the slightest fault. and in the bathroom. soon after the Buddha’s demise. Non-allowable requisites such as money. but one should maintain a sense of proportion. or goods purchased with money. Requisites should be shared without miserliness. and look for another way to teach the Vinaya and preserve the true Dhamma. there are countless other rules for monks to follow. If a bhikkhu receives anything in an improper way. conveying messages for them. not to an individual bhikkhu. However. Monks should not give gifts to lay people to gain favours. he should avoid confrontation. They should be easily contented and must know the proper limit in accepting things. or nuns. must be disposed of. It is like the confidence needed when learning to swim. most monks do not fully follow the training rules. and visiting monks. he said to Venerable Ænanda. You should do the same. and most will agree that offences requiring a formal meeting of the Sa³gha are also serious. or to meditate. and about the maintenance of robes and buildings. They can use all of their strength to propel themselves along. a transgression overcame you.ii. the . Moggallæna to throw away some rice gruel obtained by a deity’s intervention. so they neglect or totally ignore the rules requiring expiation.g. without any fear of drowning. The Sa³gha should give it to a lay person if one is present. such as by exchanging goods with lay people. There are rules concerning the use and storage of medicines.” When the monks told Venerable Bhaddæli about this. “Apart from the four offences of defeat. Some Arahants said. thus they can relax in the water and float horizontally. but not with lay people. Bhikkhus may exchange things with bhikkhus. turning the mouth just enough to breathe. If the lay person asks what confidence in the wisdom of the Omniscient Buddha. in the dining-hall. and they blamed Venerable Ænanda for not asking about it. pupils. even when invited to accept whatever they want. though not indifferent. The Vinaya also specifies the procedure to be followed by the Sa³gha when shameless monks refuse to follow the training. “… and the two indeterminate offences. Refer to the Bhaddæli Sutta and other Suttas in the Bhikkhu Vagga. THE LESSER AND MINOR TRAINING RULES There is unanimous agreement that the offences of defeat are serious offences. but the head is heavy. There are duties towards preceptors. The usual excuse is that the Buddha gave the Sa³gha permission to abolish the lesser and minor training rules.e. Majjhimanikæya. Regulations specify how to establish a boundary (søma) within which all monks must gather for the Uposatha. the Sa³gha may abolish the lesser and minor training rules (khuddænukhuddakæni sikkhæpadæni. the rest are lesser and minor. Bhaddæli. Rules Outside of the Pæ¥imokkha Besides the 227 rules in the Pæ¥imokkha that come up for recitation every fortnight. “Apart from the four offences of defeat and the thirteen offences requiring formal meeting. before midday). If he thinks that admonishing others will cause disharmony. then they will be able to use all of their strength to study. Confident swimmers fully immerse the head in the water. but he should be tolerant and equanimous. it must be forfeited to another monk. he declared his inability to follow that practice. What we should learn from this is that even the minor rules are important. confused and blundering. “After my passing. Before the Buddha passed away.