Vinaya books

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Vinaya refers to the ethical discipline, precepts, and rules of training for the monastic community and the texts explaining this. To contribute to the flourishing of the monastic community and the Dharma in the West, Venerable Thubten Chodron has edited numerous books for aspiring, novice, and fully ordained monastics. May these rare English resources be of benefit to Western monastics and those who are interested in learning more about ordination.

Please note: Some of these texts may only be read by those who are ordained as Buddhist monastics. Monastics who would like to access video teachings on the monastic precepts can write to livestream [dot] sravasti [at] gmail [dot] com with information on your level and length of ordination and the name of your preceptor.

For those exploring monastic life

Exploring Monastic Life

A collection of articles compiled by the Sravasti Abbey Community to provide guidance for those interested in exploring their spiritual aspirations more deeply.

This booklet speaks directly to attendees of the Abbey’s annual Exploring Monastic Life (EML) Program. However, anyone who aspires to become a monastic, newly ordained monastics, and laypersons with an interest in understanding more about monastic life will also find this material illuminating and inspiring.

Click here for more information and to download the book


Preparing for Ordination: Reflections for Westerners Considering Monastic Ordination in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

A collection of articles compiled by Venerable Thubten Chodron to support Westerners with the aspiration to ordain as a Buddhist monastic.

The decision to take monastic ordination is an important one, and to make it wisely, one needs information. In addition, one needs to reflect over a period of time on many diverse aspects of one’s life, habits, aspirations, and expectations. The better prepared one is before ordaining, the easier the transition from lay to monastic life will be, and the more comfortable and joyous one will be as a monastic. Read more…

Click here for more information and to download the book


Blossoms of the Dharma: Living as a Buddhist Nun

A compilation of talks given at the Life as a Western Buddhist Nun conference in Bodhgaya in 1996.

In recent years, Buddhist nuns from Asia and the West have come together to become more active in improving their status in the sangha. At “Life As A Buddhist Nun,” the 1996 conference in Bodhgaya, His Holiness the Dalai Lama supported this effort of Buddhist nuns to clarify their purpose in taking vows, widening their context, broadening community beyond their own abbeys, and supporting one another on their quest to achieve greater equality. Read more…

Click here for more information and to buy the book


Building Community: Living and Learning with the Sangha

A collection of discourses by Bhikshuni Master Wuyin Shih and essays by her students. Published by Sravasti Abbey in 2019.

With the spread of Buddhism worldwide, Buddhist communities have become established in new lands and continue to adapt to changing circumstances. Building Community offers practical perspectives on the Buddha’s guidelines on community life in relation to contemporary cultural situations.

Master Wuyin’s discourses together with the personal reflections of her students bring to life the joys and challenges of building, sustaining, and thriving in religious community and celebrate the collective endeavor of practicing the path to full awakening.

Click here for more information and to buy the book


For novice monastics

Pravrajyā and Śikṣamāṇā Ordination Rites

How does the Buddhist monastic community ordain a new monastic? This booklet contains the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya rites for ordaining female and male novice monastics (sramaneris and sramaneras), and training nuns (shiksamanas), including scores of the chants as they are done at Sravasti Abbey.

According to the Buddha’s Vinaya, only Buddhist monastics and candidates for Buddhist monastic ordination may read this text.

Buy a hard copy from TheBookPatch.com or the eBook from Amazon


Teachings and Rites for Śrāmaṇerī/as

This booklet contains Dharmaguptaka Vinaya rites commonly used by female and male novice Buddhist monastics (sramaneris and sramaneras), and two core texts for novice monastic education taught in the Chinese tradition: “The Essentials of the Sramaneri/a Precepts and Rules of Comportment” by Vinaya Master Zhuhong, and “Vinaya Essentials in Daily Life” by Vinaya Master Duti.

According to the Buddha’s Vinaya, this text may only be read by Buddhist monastics.

Buy a hard copy from TheBookPatch.com or the eBook from Amazon

Lehren und Riten für Śrāmaṇerīs und für Śrāmaṇeras, translated by Shide Buddhist Nunnery, Schneverdingen, Germany


Śikṣamāṇā Poṣadha and Other Rites

This booklet contains Dharmaguptaka Vinaya rites commonly used by Buddhist training nuns (shikshamanas), and the Shikshamana Precepts compiled by Vinaya Master Hongzan with his commentary.

According to the Buddha’s Vinaya, this text may only be read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics and shikshamanas.

Buy a hard copy from TheBookPatch.com or the eBook from Amazon


Varṣā, Pravāraṇā, and Kaṭhina Rites

The Buddha taught that if fully ordained monastics carry out the bi-monthly confession (posadha), rains retreat (varsa), and the invitation for feedback at the end of the rains retreat (pravarana), they would create the conditions for the Buddhadharma to flourish and remain in the world for a long time. This booklet contains the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya rites for the varsa, pravarana, and also the ceremony to receive the robe of merit (kathina) at the end of the varsa.

According to the Buddha’s Vinaya, only Buddhist monastics may read this text.

Buy a hard copy from TheBookPatch.com or the eBook from Amazon


For fully ordained monastics

Bhikṣuṇī Poṣadha and Rites to Establish the Territory

If the Pratimoksha Sutra remains long in the world, the Buddhadharma will be widespread, and because it is widespread, nirvana can be attained.
—Buddha Shakyamuni

Fully ordained Buddhist monastics gather on full and new moon days to renew their commitment to living in the ethical guidelines laid down by the Buddha, which is the foundation for developing concentration and wisdom, and which enables the Three Jewels to flourish in the world. This booklet contains the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya rite for the bi-monthly confession (posadha) for Buddhist monastics, the Pratimoksha Sutra for Bhikshunis, and other rites required for and related to conducting the posadha.

According to the Buddha’s Vinaya, this text may only be read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics.

Buy a hard copy from TheBookPatch.com or the eBook Amazon


Bhikṣu Poṣadha and Rites to Establish the Territory

“If the Pratimoksha Sutra remains long in the world, the Buddhadharma will be widespread, and because it is widespread, nirvana can be attained.”
—Buddha Shakyamuni

Fully ordained Buddhist monastics gather on full and new moon days to renew their commitment to living in the ethical guidelines laid down by the Buddha, which is the foundation for developing concentration and wisdom, and which enables the Three Jewels to flourish in the world. This booklet contains the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya rite for the bi-monthly confession (posadha) for Buddhist monastics, the Pratimoksha Sutra for Bhikshus, and other rites required for and related to conducting the posadha.

According to the Buddha’s Vinaya, this text may only be read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics.

Buy a hard copy from TheBookPatch.com or the eBook from Amazon


Choosing Simplicity: A commentary on the Bhikshuni Pratimoksha

A guide to the precepts and lifestyle of fully ordained nuns within the Buddhist tradition for all who wish to conduct their day-to-day lives more mindfully.

Over twenty-five hundred years ago, the Buddha’s stepmother, Mahaprajapati and five hundred women from the Shakya clan went through incredible difficulties to request bhikshuni ordination from the Buddha. In giving them permission to enter the order, the Buddha affirmed women’s ability to practice the Dharma, to liberate themselves from cyclic existence, and to become enlightened. Read more…

This text is best read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics.

Click here for more information and to buy the book


Karmans for the Creation of Virtue: The Prescriptive Precepts in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya

Teachings by Vinaya Master Bhikshu Benyin on the activities in which monastics should engage, in order to preserve the monastic lifestyle.

Nearly 26 centuries ago in India, our world had the extraordinary great fortune to have the appearance of a fully awakened Buddha who turned the wheel of Dharma. His teachings spread and flourished throughout Asia and, in the last century or two, have spread to Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Africa as well. Read more…

This text is best read by fully ordained Buddhist monastics.

Click here for more information and to buy the book


The story behind the books

Dharmaguptaka Vinaya Books Introduction 11-07-17

Venerable Thubten Chodron reads an excerpt

Dharmaguptaka Vinaya Books Reading from the Bhikshu/ni Posadha 11-07-17