The Vinaya Pitaka
The Buddhist Canon is called the Tipitaka (literally ‘3 baskets’) and consists of three distinct collections of the teachings of the Buddha designated, respectively, Sutta Pitaka (SP), Vinaya Pitaka (VP) and the Abhidhamma Pitaka (ABP). The SP contains the discourses of the Buddha while ABP deals with the metaphysical aspects of Buddha’s teaching. VP embodies a comprehensive account of the rules of monastic discipline framed for the conduct and guidance of Bhikkus and Bhikkunis. Buddha personally supervised the Bhikkus and Bhikkunis for 20 years without any specific rules and framed rules only when the numbers increased and rules became necessary. Buddha at Parinibbana nominated no successor and directed that whatever Dhamma and Vinaya was preached by Him, that will be the Teacher. All the rules were recited with reference to their subject, background and application and codified as the Vinaya Pitaka at the 1st council. The VP is divided and sub-divided in the following manner : 1.
Maha Vibhanga (Bhikku Vibhanga)
Sutta Vibhanga contains the Pratimoksha Sutta (Principal rules of Discipline) which is the nucleus of the Vinaya. Rules are framed in the form of offences and failures to observe norms of conduct. Sikkhapada rules (220 for Bhikkus & 304 for Bhikkunis) are classified according to their seriousness under different categories in the following manner : Category
No. for Bhikkus
No. for Bhikkunis
(Disciplinary action procedures)
Parajika are the most grave offences and are inexcusable. The offending monk is expelled from the sasana. Sanghadisesa offender can be restored after he has undergone certain penalties and...
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