The Training Rules
The Buddhist Monk's Discipline: Some Points Explained for Laypeople, by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
As the bhikkhu's life generally gives many occasions for contact with lay-people (except for the bhikkhu engaged in meditation practice), and as erring bhikkhus were not absent from the Sangha even in the days of Lord Buddha, so there is quite a large body of legislation relating to just these occasions. Because of the wrong conduct of various bhikkhus, Lord Buddha had cause to lay down large numbers of training rules which if infringed would become offenses for the guilty bhikkhu. It sometimes happened that a rule had to be modified, and sometimes various allowances proved necessary to qualify the range of the original rule. In this way many of the training rules were tested in the light of experience until they became perfectly practical.
All these rules fall into seven classes according to the seriousness of the offense involved when they are broken. Briefly, these seven classes with some of their characteristics are as follows:
1. Defeat (parajika). The first four training rules of the Patimokkha, if broken, become offenses by which a bhikkhu is defeated, no longer able to live in communion with other bhikkhus, never able in the present life to be ordained bhikkhu again; and being no longer "a son of the Sakya" (or the Buddha), he should disrobe immediately. These four offenses are:
a. Sexual intercourse of any description;
b. Taking what is not given with intention to steal;
c. Depriving purposely a human being of life in any way;
d. Falsely claiming superhuman states of attainment.
2. Formal meeting (sanghadisesa). Thirteen "heavy offenses," the second group in the Patimokkha, for the commission of which there is a special disciplinary procedure designed to humble and purify the offender who must, however, first confess to being guilty (as with all other offenses). Of special interest to the laity are numbers two, three, four, and five, which concern:
a. Engaging in bodily contact with a woman with lustful intent;
b. Addressing a woman with lewd words;
c. Speaking to a woman in praise of sexual intercourse;
d. Acting as a go-between for a man or a woman.
In the more detailed considerations below, we shall return to some implications of the first and last of these.
3. Grave offenses (thullaccaya). These are numerous but not found in any one part of the Vinaya. Sometimes they are the types of offense resulting from partial commissions of acts which if completed would entail defeat or formal meeting. They may, in common with the other classes of offenses below, be cleared up by making a confession to another bhikkhu who has not committed the same offense.
4. Expiation (pacittiya). Ninety two in number and all found in the Patimokkha, these training rules cover a very wide range of subjects, some of which it is useful for lay-people to know.
5. To be confessed (patidesaniya). Only four rules in the Patimokkha, which find little application today.
6. Wrong doing (dukkata). A very numerous category, for the avoidance of breaking which, care is needed. The 75 trainings (sekhiya found in the Patimokkha and which contain numbers of points of interest to the layman, become when broken, offenses of wrong-doing.
7. Wrong speech (dubbhasita). This includes all unprofitable speech not found in the above classes, as for instance, the use of coarse words uttered in jest. While there are numbers of cases for offenses in the above classes, there is only one here.