Dharma Data: Vinaya Pitaka

The second of the three books that together make up the Tipitaka, the sacred scriptures of the ancient Buddhist schools. The Vinaya Pitaka contains the rules for monks and nuns, monastic jurisprudence and the early history of the Sangha. The Mahayana schools do not have their own Vinaya Pitaka but use that of the Saravastaradin school of early Buddhism which is nearly identical to the Theravadin Vinaya Pitaka. The 227 rules for monks (the number differs slightly in different schools) are divided according to the punishments imposed if they are infringed. The most important rules are the Parajika, the breaking of which are punishment by expulsion from the Sangha. The four Parajika are sexual intercourse, theft, murder and falsely claiming to have psychic powers or spiritual attainments. Other important rules are the 13 Sanghadisesa, which if infringed require confession and the Nissaggiya Pacittiya, 30 rules concerning property, which if infringed were punished by confiscation. Other rules govern etiquette, settlement of disputes and administration.

M. Wijayaratna, Buddhist Monastic Life. Cambridge, 1990.
C.S. Prebish, Buddhist Monastic Discipline. London, 1975.
B. Khantipalo, The Buddhist Monks Discipline. Kandy, 1984.