Ascertaining the Vinaya: Upali’s Questions

From Rigpa Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ascertaining the Vinaya: Upali’s Questions (Skt. Vinayaviniścayopāliparipṛcchā; Tib. འདུལ་བ་རྣམ་པར་གཏན་ལ་དབབ་པ་ཉེ་བར་འཁོར་གྱིས་ཞུས་པ།, Wyl. ’dul ba rnam par gtan la dbab pa nye bar ’khor gyis zhus pa) is a sutra that explores the relationship between the pratimoksha vows and the conduct of a bodhisattva.

The sutra can be loosely divided into two parts: a first section for which the monk Shariputra is the main interlocutor, and which contains the pledge by numerous bodhisattvas to work for the benefit of beings, followed by a general discourse by the Buddha on the conduct of a bodhisattva. In the second section, Upali poses a series of questions that prompt a more in-depth discourse from the Buddha on the relationship between monastic codes of conduct and the commitments of a bodhisattva, with a focus on the views that guide the followers of the shravaka, pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva vehicles.

It’s a particularly valuable sutra for its inclusion of a special method for confessing misdeeds, the Sutra of the Three Heaps also known as Confession of Downfalls, making it one of the few sources to describe it at length.[1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the Heap of Jewels section of the Tibetan Dergé Kangyur, Toh 68


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.