About reciting the Patimokkha

Can a monk recite the Patimokkha when he was dwell alone in the forest? :confused:

I know a Bhikkhūnī who will recite the patimokkha on her own. A single Bhikkhūnī is only required to say ‘this is my uposatha’ x3. I assume it’s the same for monks


You can’t recite it as a formal kamma, which requires a minimum of 4. But obviously it can be done to practice and memorize.


Is it mentioned whether lay people could be in attendance when the ‘rules’ were recited, as it happens two weekly it must have been a good opportunity to educate the layity about the monks Vinaya, the ‘contract’ they had with them and how best to help monks keep their Vinaya?

With metta

1 Like

Indeed, lay people should not be present in the assembly.

But the interpretation of this is a little unclear. Obviously lay people should not be sitting in the circle of the Sangha, where each monastic is within arms’ length.

But might it be allowable for lay people to sit inside the hall? And what of novices? Opinions differ on this.

However, the main point of the ceremony is to give the Sangha a space to reaffirm their common commitment to their code of conduct.


I think this Sutta can be a reference… :slight_smile:

I believe at Abhayagiri this is only done with the Sangha at least formally but that may include anagarikas and samaneras. I’ve seen video of a recitation of a newly ordained bhikkhu and it was quite impressive!

Yes, usually it’s only for the fully ordained; but I’ve heard that it’s not uncommon for lay people to attend in Bangkok. Not sure if that’s true though.

In an old recording of a vinaya class I listened to the other week this question came up. it said that people would be able to watch patimokka from the back of the hall. Ie Anagarikas and samanera/is.
The confessions were to be done privately


As a lay person, I would be very sad if the presence of laity caused any problem for the monastics, such as temptation for young monastics to be distracted or embarrassed or worried or posturing.

I do not see how the presence of lay persons would add or help any monastic, by attending this. I can imagine it might even harm… And I doubt any benefit to the lay people from it.

The benefit as usual is gained by direct experience… New ordination candidates, step on up.

1 Like

In all the pratimoksas we have in Chinese translation - from 5 different schools for the bhikkhunis, some more for the bhikkhus -, it is explicitly stated that not fully ordained persons have to leave before the recitation.


I suppose if a certain monastery decides to allow the layity in, it wouldn’t be a big issue. It’s not a big mystical ceremony and helps the perceived power imbalance.

With metta