Vinaya Pitaka

What Is VINAYA Pitaka ?
- Disciplinary and Procedural Rules for the Sangha ( the holy community )

The Vinaya Pitaka is made up of rules of discipline laid down for regulating the conduct of the Buddha’s disciples who have been admitted as bhikkhus and bhikkhunis into the Order.

These rules embody authoritative injunctions of the Buddha on modes of conduct and restraints on both physical and verbal actions. They deal with transgressions of discipline, and with various categories of restraints and admonitions in accordance with the nature of the offense.

e.g. incurring penalty on the guilty bhikkhu, admission of bhikkhunis into the Order.

Knowing the Patimokkha ( Rules for the Sangha )

The Vinaya Pitaka is made up of five books :

Parajika Pali (Major Offences)

    gives an elaborate explanation of the important rules of discipline concerning major and minor offences.
    it provides a total of 49 offenses and penalties

Pacittiya Pali (Minor Offences)
    deals with the remaining 178 sets of rules for the Bhikkhus and the corresponding disciplinary rules for the bhikkhunis
Mahavagga Pali (Greater Section)
    gives an historical account of how the Buddha attained Supreme Enlightenment, how He discovered the famous law of Dependent Origination, how he gave his first sermon on the Four Noble Truths (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta ) and later the discourse on Non-self (Anattalakkhana Sutta)

    it also elaborate how He began to establish the Order of the Sangha and how His famous disciples became members of the Order.

    it further deals with procedures for an Uposatha meeting, the assembly of the Sangha where Patimokkha, a summary of the Vinaya rules, is recited.

    observing the rains retreat (vassa) and Kathina ceremony where annual making and offering of robes take place.

Culavagga Pali (Lesser Section)
    it continues to deal with more rules and procedures for institutional acts or functions e.g. rules for observance of penance, rules for reinstatement of a bhikkhus, duties of tutors and novices.
Parivara Pali ( Epitome of the Vinaya )
    it serves as a kind of manual and is compiled in the form of a catechism, enabling the reader to make an analytical survey of the Vinaya Pitaka. it also explains how rules of the Order are drawn up to regulate the conduct of the bhikkhus as well as the administrative affairs of the Order.