Buddhist Monastic Code I: Chapter 9 Pāṭidesanīya by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
This term means "to be acknowledged." As a name for training rules, it means "entailing acknowledgement." The four training rules here are unique in that they mention, as part of the rule, the words to be used in acknowledging the violation; the second rule is especially unique in that it depicts the violators as acknowledging their offense as a group.
Should any bhikkhu chew or consume staple or non-staple food, having received it with his own hand from the hand of an unrelated bhikkhunī in an inhabited area, he is to acknowledge it: "Friends, I have committed a blameworthy, unsuitable act that ought to be acknowledged. I acknowledge it."
A long series of events led up to the formulation of this rule.
"At that time a certain woman whose husband was away from home was made pregnant by her lover. She, having caused an abortion, said to a bhikkhunī who was dependent on her family for alms, 'Come, lady, take this fetus away in your bowl.' So the bhikkhunī, having placed the fetus in her bowl and covering it up with her outer robe, went away. Now at that time a certain alms-going bhikkhu had made this vow: 'I won't eat from the first almsfood I receive without having given some of it to a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī.' Seeing the bhikkhunī, he said to her, 'Come, sister, accept alms.'
"'No thank you, master.' — "A second time... A third time... — "'No thank you, master.'
"'Look, sister, I have made this vow: "I won't eat from the first almsfood I receive without having given some of it to a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī." So come on, accept alms.'
"Then the bhikkhunī, being pressured by the bhikkhu, took out her bowl and showed it to him. 'You see, master: a fetus in the bowl. But don't tell anyone'...
"(Of course the bhikkhu couldn't help but tell his fellow bhikkhus, and word reached the Buddha, who formulated a double rule:) 'A bhikkhunī should not take a fetus in a bowl... I allow a bhikkhunī, when seeing a bhikkhu, to take out her bowl and show it to him.'
"Now at that time some group-of-six bhikkhunīs, on seeing a bhikkhu, would turn their bowls upside down and show him the bottom side... 'I allow a bhikkhunī, when seeing a bhikkhu, to show him her bowl right side up. And she is to offer him whatever food there is in the bowl.'" — Cv.X.13
Here is where the origin story for this rule begins:
"Now at that time a certain bhikkhunī, on the way back from going for alms in Sāvatthī, seeing a certain bhikkhu, said to him, 'Come, master, accept alms.'
"'Very well, sister.' And he took everything. As the time (for alms-going) was almost up, she was unable to go for alms and so was deprived of her meal.
"On the second day... the third day... he took everything... she was deprived of her meal.
"On the fourth day, she went staggering along the road. A financier, coming the opposite direction in a chariot, said to her, 'Get out of the way, lady.'
"Stepping down (from the road), she fell down right there.
"The financier asked her forgiveness, 'Forgive me, lady, for making you fall.'
"'It wasn't that you made me fall, householder. It's just that I myself am weak.'
"'But why are you weak?'
"And she told him what had happened. The financier, having taken her to his house and having fed her (§), criticized and complained and spread it about, 'How can their reverences take food from the hand of a bhikkhunī? It's difficult for women to come by things.'"
There are two factors for the full offense here.
1) Object: staple or non-staple food that a bhikkhu has accepted from the hand of a bhikkhunī — unrelated to him — while she is in a village area.
2) Effort: He eats the food.
Object. There are two elements to this factor: the food sub-factor and the bhikkhunī sub-factor. Under the food sub-factor: Staple food follows the standard definition given in the Food Chapter under the pācittiya rules. Non-staple food includes all edibles except juice drinks, tonics, and medicines. Staple and non-staple food are grounds for a pāṭidesanīya; juice drinks, tonics, and medicines taken as food, grounds for a dukkaṭa.
As for the bhikkhunī sub-factor: Bhikkhunī refers to one who has received the double ordination. A bhikkhunī who has received only her first ordination — in the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha — is grounds for a dukkaṭa. Unrelated means sharing no common ancestor back through seven generations. Perception as to whether the bhikkhunī is related is not a mitigating factor here. The permutations around the issue of perception here are similar to those under Pc 4, with the only difference that the three pācittiyas under that pattern are changed to three pāṭidesanīyas here. In other words, if she is unrelated, she is grounds for a pāṭidesanīya whether one perceives her as unrelated, related, or doubtful. If she is related, she is grounds for a dukkaṭa if one perceives her as unrelated or doubtful. If she is related and one perceives her as related, she is not grounds for an offense. This pattern with regard to perception is followed in all four pāṭidesanīya rules.
A village area is defined as a house or roadway in a village, town, or city.
Effort. There is a dukkaṭa in accepting staple or non-staple food with the purpose of eating it, and in accepting juice drinks, tonics, or medicine with the purpose of taking them as food; while there is a pāṭidesanīya for every mouthful of the staple or non-staple food one eats, and a dukkaṭa for every mouthful one takes of the juice drinks, tonics, or medicine for the sake of food.
Non-offenses. There is no offense if a bhikkhu accepts and eats food from a related bhikkhunī or from a female trainee or female novice, related or not. There is also no offense in the following situations even if the bhikkhunī is unrelated:
She gets someone else to give him the food.
She gives it by placing it near him (as in NP 18 and Pc 41).
She gives it to him in a monastery, nuns' quarters, a dwelling of members of other sects, or on the way back from such places.
She gives it to him after she has left the village.
She gives him juice drinks, tonics, or medicine, and he uses them as such, rather than as food.
The Commentary contains a fairly extensive explanation of the second exemption here. To begin with, the bhikkhunī cannot give the food simply by placing it down. She also has to state that she is giving the food, and the bhikkhu has to state his acceptance. In its discussion of Cv.X.15.1-2, the Commentary argues that food formally accepted by a bhikkhunī does not count as formally accepted for a bhikkhu, and vice versa. Thus, in the case of this exemption, even though the food has been given, the bhikkhu cannot take it until it has been formally offered. The Commentary states that the bhikkhunī can then formally offer it herself, but this would turn the exemption into a mere formality. What is more likely is that the food should be formally offered by someone else.
In all of these exemptions, the wise policy would be not to take so much of the bhikkhunī's food that she is deprived of a full meal.
Summary: Eating staple or non-staple food after having accepted it from the hand of an unrelated bhikkhunī in a village area is a pāṭidesanīya offense.
In case bhikkhus, being invited, are eating in family residences, and if a bhikkhunī is standing there as though giving directions, (saying,) "Give curry here, give rice here," then the bhikkhus are to dismiss her: "Go away, sister, while the bhikkhus are eating." If not one of the bhikkhus should speak to dismiss her, "Go away, sister, while the bhikkhus are eating," the bhikkhus are to acknowledge it: "Friends, we have committed a blameworthy, unsuitable act that ought to be acknowledged. We acknowledge it."
This rule refers to situations where lay donors invite bhikkhus to a meal, and a bhikkhunī stands giving orders, based on favoritism, as to which bhikkhus should get which food. The duty of the bhikkhus in such cases is to tell her to go away. If even just one of them does, they all are exempt from the offense here. If none of them does, and the following factors are fulfilled, they all incur the penalty and must acknowledge their offense as a group.
Object. As with the preceding rule, there are two objects here: the food and the bhikkhunī. Any one of the five staple foods received in the above situation would fulfill the food sub-factor. A bhikkhunī who has received double ordination would fulfill the bhikkhunī sub-factor. A bhikkhunī ordained only in the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha would be grounds for a dukkaṭa. If she has not been ordained, she is not grounds for an offense.
Perception as to whether she has been ordained is not a mitigating factor here (see Pd 1).
Effort. There is a dukkaṭa in accepting the staple food received under such circumstances, and a pāṭidesanīya for every mouthful one eats.
Non-offenses. There is no offense if —
the bhikkhunī gets others to give her food to the bhikkhus;
she herself gives the food of other people to the bhikkhus;
she gets the donors to give food they have forgotten to give;
she gets them to give to a bhikkhu they have passed over;
she gets them to give the food equally to all;
she gets them to give anything but the five staple foods; or
she is a female trainee or novice.
Summary: Eating staple food accepted at a meal to which one has been invited and where a bhikkhunī has given directions, based on favoritism, as to which bhikkhu should get which food, and none of the bhikkhus have dismissed her, is a pāṭidesanīya offense.
There are families designated as in training. Should any bhikkhu, not being ill, uninvited beforehand, chew or consume staple or non-staple food, having received it himself at the homes of families designated as in training, he is to acknowledge it: "Friends, I have committed a blameworthy, unsuitable act that ought to be acknowledged. I acknowledge it."
The term in training (sekha) is usually used to refer to anyone who has attained at least the first noble path but has yet to become an arahant. Here, though, the Vibhaṅga uses it to refer to any family whose faith is increasing but whose wealth is decreasing — i.e., a family whose faith is so strong that they become generous to the point of suffering financially. In cases such as these, the Community may, as a formal transaction, declare them as families in training so as to protect them with this rule from bhikkhus who might abuse their generosity.
The factors for the offense here are two.
1) Object: staple or non-staple food accepted at the residence of a family designated as in training when one is not ill and has not been invited by them beforehand.
2) Effort: One eats the food.
Object. Staple food follows the standard definition given in the Food Chapter under the pācittiya rules. Non-staple food includes all edibles except juice drinks, tonics, and medicines. Staple and non-staple food are grounds for a pāṭidesanīya; juice drinks, tonics, and medicines taken as food, grounds for a dukkaṭa.
Ill is defined as being unable to go for alms.
Invited means that one has been invited on that day or a previous day by a member of the family — or a messenger — standing outside of the residence or its yard/compound. If they invite one while they are inside the residence or its yard/compound, one is not exempt from the offense in accepting and eating their food.
Perception as to whether the family has been designated as "in training" is not a mitigating factor here (see Pd 1).
Effort. There is a dukkaṭa in accepting staple or non-staple food with the purpose of eating it, or in accepting juice drinks, tonics, or medicine with the purpose of taking them as food; a pāṭidesanīya for every mouthful of the staple or non-staple food one eats; and a dukkaṭa for every mouthful one takes of the juice drinks, tonics, or medicine for the sake of food.
Non-offenses. There is no offense in eating food that one has accepted from the house of a family in training if —
one is ill;
one was invited;
almsfood supplied by people other than the members of the family in training is set out in the residence or its yard (§);
the family has made an arrangement to provide meals by drawing lots, on a daily basis, or on a regular or rotating basis — such as on a particular day of the waxing or waning moon, the uposatha days, or day after the uposatha days (see Appendix III) — and one accepts food as part of that arrangement;
one eats the leftovers of one who received the food at their residence when he was invited or ill;
one accepts juice drinks, tonics, or medicine and uses them as such; or
the members of the family give the food outside of their residence or yard/compound. The Commentary quotes the Mahā Paccarī, one of the ancient commentaries, as saying that this last exemption holds regardless of whether they take the food out of the residence before or after seeing one approach.
Summary: Eating staple or non-staple food after accepting it — when one is neither ill nor invited — at the residence of a family formally designated as "in training" is a pāṭidesanīya offense.
There are wilderness lodgings that are considered dubious and risky. Should any bhikkhu, not being ill, living in such lodgings, chew or consume (a gift of) staple or non-staple food that was unannounced beforehand, having received it with his own hand in the lodging, he is to acknowledge it: "Friends, I have committed a blameworthy, unsuitable act that ought to be acknowledged. I acknowledge it."
"Now at that time the Sakyan slaves were rebelling. The Sakyan ladies wanted to present a meal (for the bhikkhus) in wilderness lodgings. The Sakyan slaves heard, 'The Sakyan ladies, they say, want to present a meal in the wilderness lodgings,' so they infested the way. The Sakyan ladies, carrying exquisite staple and non-staple foods, went to the wilderness lodgings. The Sakyan slaves, coming out, robbed them and raped them. The Sakyans, having come out and captured the thieves with the goods, criticized and complained and spread it about, 'How can their reverences not inform us that there are thieves living in the monastery?'"
Here again there are two factors for the full offense.
1) Object: an unannounced gift of staple or non-staple food that one has received, when not ill, in a dubious and risky wilderness lodging.
2) Effort: One eats the food.
Object. The Vibhaṅga defines a wilderness lodging as one at least 500 bow-lengths, or one kilometer, from the nearest village, measuring by the shortest walkable path between the two, and not as the crow flies. Such a lodging is considered dubious if signs of thieves — such as their eating, resting, sitting, or standing places — have been seen within it or its vicinity; it is considered risky if people are known to have been hurt or plundered by thieves there. As under the other rule dealing with dubious and risky wilderness lodgings — NP 29 — none of the texts here give a precise definition of how far the vicinity of the lodging extends for the purpose of this situation. As noted in the explanation to NP 29, given the risks inherent in such lodgings it was perhaps felt unwise to delimit the area too precisely. Thus, in the context of this rule, the "vicinity" of the lodging can be stretched to include any area where the presence of thieves leads to a common perception that the lodging is dangerous.
Staple food follows the standard definition given in the Food Chapter under the pācittiya rules. Non-staple food includes all edibles except juice drinks, tonics, and medicines.
Staple and non-staple food are grounds for a pāṭidesanīya; juice drinks, tonics, and medicines taken as food, grounds for a dukkaṭa.
The Vibhaṅga gives specific instructions for how the gift of food should be announced. The donor(s) or a messenger must come into the lodging compound if it is walled, or into its vicinity if it is not, and tell one of the inhabitants that a gift of food will be brought. The inhabitant must then tell the informant that the area is dubious and risky. If the informant says, "Never mind, the donor(s) will come anyway," then someone in the lodging must tell the thieves, "Go away. People are coming to serve food." This is unlikely to make the thieves go away but, as the Commentary explains, it absolves the bhikkhus from any responsibility if the thieves attack the donors.
Even if the informant specifies that only certain types of food will be brought, anything that comes along with those foods counts as announced (§). Here the Commentary adds that if other people learn of the intended donation and bring food to add to it, their food counts as announced as well. The Vibhaṅga also states that if the informant says a group of people is coming to bring food, the announcement covers anything brought by any member of the group.
The Vibhaṅga makes clear that the announcement is valid only if the informant makes it in the lodging or its vicinity/compound. Thus, for example, if the donors announce their intended donation to the bhikkhu while he is in the village for alms, the donation is still considered unannounced. And, for the same reason, such things as telephone calls, letters, and faxes would also not count.
The Commentary adds that if the donors send a bhikkhu or novice to the lodging to announce the donation, it does not count as announced. In other words, the messenger must be a lay person.
Perception as to whether the food has been properly announced is not a mitigating factor here (see Pd 1).
A bhikkhu counts as ill if he is unable to go for alms.
Effort. Under these circumstances, there is a dukkaṭa in accepting unannounced staple or non-staple food with the purpose of eating it, or in accepting unannounced juice drinks, tonics or medicine with the purpose of taking them as food; a pāṭidesanīya for every mouthful of the unannounced staple or non-staple food one eats; and a dukkaṭa for every mouthful one takes of the unannounced juice drinks, tonics, or medicine for the sake of food.
Non-offenses. There is no offense in eating food accepted in the lodging if one is ill or if the gift was announced. There is also no offense —
in using roots, bark, leaves, or flowers growing in the lodging (or, apparently, in its vicinity or compound);
in eating left-over announced food or food given to one who is ill;
in accepting food outside the lodging and eating it inside; or
in accepting and consuming juice drinks, tonics, and medicines as such and not as food.
The Commentary, in discussing these allowances, makes the following points: 1) If lay people take any of the fruits, roots, etc., growing in the lodging and cook them at home, they must announce the gift before bringing them back to the lodging. 2) If the donors, after announcing the gift, bring large amounts of food, some of it may be set aside — without presenting it to the bhikkhus — to be presented on a later day.
All of this causes no hardships in communities where everyone knows that they have to announce a gift of food before bringing it to the dangerous lodging, but there are bound to be cases where donors do not know that the lodging is dangerous or that they should announce their gifts before bringing them, and they are likely to show up at the lodging with unannounced gifts of food. In such cases, the Commentary recommends: 1) Either have the donor take the food outside the area of the lodging, come back in to announce it, and then go out to bring the food back in to present it; or 2) have the donor take the food outside and have a bhikkhu follow him/her out to accept it there.
In order to minimize the need for doing this, though, it would be a wise policy for a bhikkhu who finds himself living in such a lodging to announce to all his supporters beforehand — and ask them to spread the word — that if they want to bring him gifts of food, they have to come and announce the gifts in advance.
Summary: Eating an unannounced gift of staple or non-staple food after accepting it in a dangerous wilderness lodging when one is not ill is a pāṭidesanīya offense.
"Buddhist Monastic Code I: Chapter 9", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 23 April 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc1/bmc1.ch09.html . Retrieved on 14 November 2012.