Vinaya Pitaka (Pali Canon)

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The Vinaya Pitaka is to one of the three pitakas (three "baskets") of the Pali Canon. This "basket" contains codes for monastic discipline.

About the Vinaya

The texts of the Vinaya "comprise the monastic code, its history, and commentaries on it. As well as detailing all the rules to be kept by monks, nuns, male and female novices, and male and female lay practitioners, they include a wealth of history, biography, and narrative recording the circumstances under which each rule was originally introduced by the Buddha."[1]

The Buddha called his teaching the "Dhamma-Vinaya", emphasizing both the philosophical teachings of Buddhism as well as the training in virtue that embodies that philosophy.

Three sections

The Pali Vinaya Pitaka has the following sections:

  • Suttavibhanga (-vibhaṅga): commentary on the Patimokkha, with much of its text embedded
    • Mahavibhanga (mahā-) dealing with monks
    • Bhikkhunivibhanga (bhikkhunī-) dealing with nuns
  • Khandhaka: 22 chapters on various topics
  • Parivara: analyses the rules from various points of view

The Pali version of the Patimokkha, the code of conduct that applies to Buddhist monastics, contains 227 rules for bhikkhus and 311 rules for bhikkhunis. The Vibhanga sections of Vinaya Pitaka constitute a commentary on these rules, giving detailed explanations of them along with the origin stories for each rule.

The Khandhaka/Skandhaka sections give numerous supplementary rules grouped by subject, again with origin stories.


For English translations of texts of the Pali Canon, see:

See also


External links