Non-Theravadin Patimokkha Recitation

We often heard in Theravada tradition about Patimokkha recitation. Their monks recited Patimokkha every 2 weeks and we can look the process in many videos on YouTube or other websites. I also heard about Theravada nuns recitation, they also recited their Patimokkha every 2 weeks. But I’m rarely heard about Pratimoksa recitation on other sects like Dharmaguptaka or Mulasarvastivada. I used to search about Pratimoksa recitation on YouTube but I didn’t find anything. Did they didn’t recite Pratimoksa? :thinking:

From my brief time in the Tibetan tradition, I don’t ever remember hearing talk of Pratimoksha recitation being done by monks.

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It’s rare. In Thich Nhat Hanh’s Tradition they have a regular pratimoksha where rules are spoken in the vernacular (not pali/Sanskrit) and monastics actually can bring up issues for discussion, quite unlike the purely ritualized meetings of the modern Theravada. Iirc Abhayagiri (an Ajahn Chah monastery in California) has experimented with incorporating some of their innovations into their own Pātimokkha, but I haven’t lived at either place as a monastic so I don’t know too much about it.

A rumor I heard recently was that in medieval China, during one of the occasional periods of repressing Buddhism, it became quite dangerous for the monastics to gather and recite the Pātimokkha and this is why the tradition stopped in the Mahayana… but this is also in need of a proper citation


I see… That’s why it’s so rare to heard about Patimokkha recitation on non-Theravada sects. I hope this tradition still exist. :disappointed:

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This tradition exists in Taiwan Chinese Buddhism, though not in every Chinese Buddhist temple/institution.


Are you referring to the Dharma Drum lineage? Cause I didn’t hear anything about a Pātimokkha recitation at FoGuangShan

I am not entirely sure of Dharma Drum lineage or Fo Goang Shan now. But the recitation is certainly part of the Chinese Buddhist traditions for monks/nuns, though not in every Chinese Buddhist temple/institution.

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do you have a proof like video?

There is possibly no video for lay people or for the general public.


I’d be hard pressed to find much in Theravada as well. I’ve been on retreat at my local Wat when the Patimokkha was recited, but it’s not something advertised, and in fact I recall that there was a bit of discussion (in Thai) about whether the lay people should stay or not, but in the end we stayed, but at a polite distance.

And, I think at other times, the Abbot told me to not bother coming to the morning chanting, as they were doing Patimokkha recitation that day. The normal morning chanting I can participate in (apart from the specifically monastic sections), but there’s not a lot of point in me going to watch them speed through the Patimokkha. :rofl:

In principle lay people should not join in the recitation. The Patimokkha recitation is for monks only.

Yes. Of course we didn’t recite it, just like we don’t recite the monastic parts of the morning chant.

This is why I’m wary of reaching any conclusions about about Bhikshus reciting Patimokkha, just because they don’t discuss it with lay people.

I know of bhikshunis who recite the pratimoksha, but in the Mahayana tradition, they are often a lot more strict about not discussing vinaya matters with laypeople than Theravada. I would assume that the same is true for bhikshus.
Technically, you can’t recite patimokkha if laypeople are present, although it seems that different communities have different standards as to what “present” means. The places where I’ve stayed as a layperson didn’t allow anyone to be in the same room, and encouraged everyone to stay out of earshot if possible.
Most communities would therefore not share recordings of their patimokkha chanting online. It doesn’t mean that they don’t do the chanting, just that it’s not available for laypeople. I believe you also wouldn’t easily find the Theravada bhikkhuni chanting online.

Now at that time Devadatta recited the Pātimokkha before an assembly that contained laymen. They told this matter to the Lord. He said: “Monks, the Pātimokkha should not be recited before an assembly that contains laymen. Whoever should (so) recite it, there is an offence of wrong-doing.”


I know the recitation itself aren’t for layman. When I was a Samanera in Theravada monastic, some monks instructed us to leave them because they want to recite Patimokkha. But I didn’t find or heard about non-Theravada Pratimoksa recitation… :thinking:

Here are some Mahayana Tudong monks doing the pratimoksha ceremony.


Beautiful, thanks for sharing this Ayya… :grin::pray:

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Very well noted venerable.
It is also noteworthy that the historical snapshot found in the paracanonical text Milinda Pañha a supports the traditional reservation around the patimokkha rules (Mil.5.4.2)

The questions of king milinda-book #4: the solving of dilemmas, chapter 4# 5.4.2. On Secret Doctrine

A similar dilemma is found in the Chinese parallel (Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra) if memory does not fail me.



Oh, very interesting! I’m going to have to watch that later. When I was in China, and finally connected with some authentic Buddhist monasteries, I never heard about tudong monks.

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Ah that’s so wonderful to hear that many communities do uphold it!

As I said, my information was just a rumor so please don’t put much weight on it! Thanks for the video Ayya @vimalanyani ! Those patchwork robes! Wow! :heart_eyes:


The video is one episode of an 11-part series about those monks. If you open the video in youtube, you should see the entire playlist.