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Manual of Vinaya - Reading Two: Outline of the Sutra on Discipline (Vinaya Sutra)

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The following is an outline of major points in The Wishing Jewel, a synopsis of Master Guna Prabha’s Sutra on Discipline (Vinaya Sutra) by Chone Drakpa Shedrup (1675-1748), author of the alternate textbook series of Sera Mey Monastic University.

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I. A Preliminary Overview (starts folio 2A)


A summary of how Lord Buddha became enlightened over a period in three stages of “countless” eons (2A).

The exact years at which Lord Buddha performed his major spiritual deeds (2B).

An explanation of why the teachings on discipline are the highest instruction of Lord Buddha (3A).

A summary of the canonical works on discipline, and their commentaries (3A).

II. Actual Explanation of Sections of the Root Text (3B)

A. Meaning of the name of the root text (3B)

B. Explanation of the translator’s obeisance (4A)

C. Commentary upon the root text (4A)

1. Details of the statement of purpose (4A)

Includes details on the subject matter, the vows of individual freedom, and the eleven topics concerning the vows

2. Actual commentary (7A)

a. How to go from not having vows to having them (7A)


A discussion of the original and later rites for conferring the vows

A detailed treatment of those who can confer the vows (the different kinds of “abbots” and “masters”) (9A)

An explanation of the different types of vows (10A)

Details on the measurement of days and months, necessary for properly dating an ordination; along with a brief presentation on Buddhist holidays (11A)

b. Once you have your vows, how to keep them from being damaged (15A)

1) Relying on an outer support, a monastic preceptor, to help keep your vows (15A) Includes:

Great detail on the qualifications of a monastic preceptor (15A)

Requirements of a proper candidate for ordination (18B)

Description of the ordination of nuns (20A)

2) Relying on inner support, your own pure intentions, to help keep your vows (21A)

3) Keeping your vows through a good understanding of the factors that work against them (21A)

Description of how vows can be lost (21B)

An explanation of the five groups of vows (22A):

a) Explanation of each individual group

i) General treatment

1) Divisions (22B)

2) Groupings (22B)

3) Definitions (24A)

4) Enumeration (24B)

5) Order (24B)

6) Literal meanings (24B)

7) Consequences of breaking (24B)

8) Person (25A)

9) Benefits of keeping (25B)

10) Problems of breaking (25B)

ii) Specific treatment

1) The “defeat” group of vows (25B)

2) The “remainder” group of vows (31A)

3) The “cause of downfall” group of vows (32A)

4) The “individual confession” group of vows (41A)

5) The “bad deed” group of vows (41B)

b) A more general explanation (43A) Includes:

Details on how vows are damaged (43A)

Reasons why, under certain conditions, the vows may not form properly (44A)

Description of the vows of a novice monk, novice nun, and intermediate nun (44B)

Analysis of a number of ethical questions (45A)

Discussion o f e x t e n u a t i n g circumstances, such as temporary insanity (46A)

4) Keeping your vows through mastering the monastic practices (46A)


A description of the seventeen foundations of monastic practice, grouped into the three broad categories of perfecting monastic practice (46B); the proper methods of sustenance (52B); and the performance of monastic rites (59B)

c) How to restore your vows, if they do happen to be damaged (62B) Covers both restoration of vows after a downfall, and the restoration of unity after disputes

3. Ancillary points Details on the painting of the Wheel of Life to be affixed to the entrance of temples, and its relation to the four noble truths (70B)

D. Concluding remarks

Notes on the composition of the commentary (71A)

See also