Patimokkha recital in practice

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Patimokkha recital in practice

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:21 am


I've just been doing some reading of the monastic practice of the Patimokka recital and have some questions about how it actually works in practice. Across the various Vinaya texts that evolved over time, there are two key requirements that appear to be somewhat at cross purposes. These are the requirements that:

- All monks are to engage in the fortnightly Patimokkha recital
- Only those monks who are pure of conduct can attend the Patimokkha recital

It appears that the second requirement may be managed through a private confession to another bhikkhu prior to the official ceremony, so that any misdemeanours are already confessed and remedied previously, prior to the formal session.

In summary that's how I understand it, but I have no doubt that it varies significantly between communities, let alone across countries, and that different communities will place different emphasis on different things, and place different emphasis on the "earlier" or "latter" developments (in relation to the two requirements stated above the first appears to be earlier than the second).

So... a couple of questions to anyone here who has participated in a Patimokkha ceremony...

- Were offenses confessed at, or prior to the formal Patimokkha recital?
- What has been your experience of Patimokkha recitals generally, and how have they differed amongst different communities?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and insights.


Retro. :)
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Re: Patimokkha recital in practice

Postby James the Giant » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:39 am

At the monastery I stayed at (Ajahn Chah Forest Tradition, in NZ) the monks had a confession/discussion session with each other in private in the afternoon, before reciting the patimokkha in the evening.
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Re: Patimokkha recital in practice

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:22 am

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Re: Patimokkha recital in practice

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:46 am

Offenses below Sanghadisesa are confessed prior to the formal Patimokkha recital (in Pali and not specifically). The recital normally lasts just under an hour. All monks sit within forearms length of each other with the reciting monk in the middle. One monk follows the reciter from text and prompts or corrects as needed. Normally some kind of talk or exhortation followed. Visiting Theravada monks from other groupings were usually excluded.

Ajahn Chah tradition

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Re: Patimokkha recital in practice

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:20 pm

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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