The Four Standards

The four standards are placed in the Mahavagga chapter on medicines (Vin.1.251), but could have been placed anywhere in Vinaya. They were not established in relationship to medicines; they were established because worried monks wanted to know what was allowed or forbidden in ‘various situations’ (kismiñci kismiñci ṭhāne kukkuccaṃ uppajjati). The Buddha did not name them ‘the four standards’; they are named this by default. They are often confused with the “cattāro mahāpadesā”, the ‘four great endorsements’ (D.2.124-6). The Buddha’s reply to the worried monks was in terms of these four standards, which can be stated succinctly as follows:

“Whatever I have neither rejected (apaṭikkhittaṃ) as forbidden to you, nor permitted (ananuññātaṃ) as allowed:

  • if it is like what is forbidden (akappiyaṃ anulometi) and unlike what is allowed (kappiyaṃ paṭibāhati) it is forbidden;
  • if it is like what is allowed (kappiyaṃ anulometi) and unlike what is forbidden (akappiyaṃ paṭibāhati) it is allowed” (Vin.1.251).     |     © 2008, Bhante Varado     |     Install the Gentium font