74. Should any bhikkhu, angered and displeased, give a blow to (another) bhikkhu, it is to be confessed.
The factors for the full offense here are three.
* 1) Object: another bhikkhu.
* 2) Effort: One gives him a blow
* 3) Intention: out of anger.
Object. A bhikkhu is grounds for the full offense here; anyone unordained, grounds for a dukka?a. According to the Commentary, anyone unordained includes animals as well as human beings.
As under Pc 42, perception as to whether the person receiving the blow is ordained is irrelevant to the offense.
Effort. This factor is fulfilled whether one gives a blow —
* with one's own body (hitting with a fist, jabbing with an elbow, kicking with a foot);
* with something attached to the body (e.g., a stick, a knife); or
* with something that can be "thrown" (this includes such things as throwing a rock, shooting an arrow, or firing a gun). According to the Vibha?ga, this last category includes throwing "even a lotus leaf," which shows that the blow need not be painful in order to fulfill this factor.
Such actions as twisting the other person's arm behind his back or wringing his neck are not mentioned under this rule, but the act of grabbing his arm prior to twisting it or grabbing his neck prior to wringing it would fulfil the factor of effort here.
Intention. If one gives a blow for reasons other than anger, the action does not fall under this rule. Thus, for instance, if one thumps a fellow bhikkhu on the back to help dislodge something caught in his throat, there is no offense. And as the Commentary notes, if — impelled by lust — one gives a blow to a woman, one incurs the full penalty under Sg 2.
For some reason, the Commentary says that if one cuts off the nose or ear of a fellow bhikkhu in order to disfigure him, one incurs only a dukka?a. As the Vinaya-mukha points out, though, there is no basis in the Vibha?ga or in reason for this statement. It is hard to imagine anyone doing this unless impelled by anger, and the act of cutting another person would come under the factor of giving a blow with something connected with the body.
"Result" is not a factor here. Whether the other person is hurt — or how badly he/she is hurt — does not affect the offense. If one intends simply to hurt the other person, but he/she happens to die from one's blow, the case is treated under this rule, rather than under Pr 3. In other words, the penalty is a p?cittiya if the victim is a bhikkhu, and a dukka?a if not.
Non-offenses. According to the Vibha?ga, there is no offense for a bhikkhu who, trapped in a difficult situation, gives a blow "desiring freedom." The Commentary's discussion of this point shows that it includes what we at present would call self-defense; and the K/Commentary's analysis of the factors of the offense here shows that even if anger or displeasure arises in one's mind in cases like this, there is no penalty.
Summary: Giving a blow to another bhikkhu when impelled by anger — except in self-defense
— is a p?cittiya offense.
"Buddhist Monastic Code I: Chapter 8.8", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 8 July 2011, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... h08-8.html.