Pācittiya #4: Not to recite Pali Dhamma with laypeople

Hello Sutta Central

I read Pācittiya #4 is monks cannot recite together with laymen texts of dhamma in Pali language. I found the translation by Bhikkhu Brahmali of Pācittiya #4 at this webpage: SuttaCentral

This rule is not clear to me. I once attended a Buddhist meditation retreat where the laypeople participants were obligated to perform Pali chanting of various Pali verses. The chanting session was lead by monks.

Was this a breach of the Vinaya? If so or if not, please explain. Thank you. :neutral_face:

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Hi @GeeW,

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Regarding the question in the thread, please note that, at the bottom of the page you quote, there is the following specification:

2.3.1There is no offense: 2.3.2if they recite together; 2.3.3if they practice together; 2.3.4if he prompts one who is speaking a mostly familiar text; 2.3.5if he prompts one who is reciting; 2.3.6if he is insane; 2.3.7if he is the first offender.

With Metta,
On behalf of the moderators


Your question seems relevant to the Vinaya rule:

The Buddha does not allow Bhikkhus to recite Patimokkha with laypeople, non-Bhikkhus, according to all traditions of the Vinaya:

Always look at the non offenses of rules, such as the one you linked to - you’ll find the non offenses clauses at the bottom of the rule.

Here’s the non offenses for pc4:

2.3.1 There is no offense: 2.3.2 if they recite together; 2.3.3 if they practice together; 2.3.4 if he prompts one who is speaking a mostly familiar text; 2.3.5 if he prompts one who is reciting; 2.3.6if he is insane; 2.3.7 if he is the first offender.

Usually monks and nuns do not instruct lay people syllable by syllable, word by word or line by line but rather we recite together, practice together, which is not an offence.


@GeeW just a thought, an exception you might be referring to of at the beginning of a ceremony could be the giving of precepts, where often a monastic will recite the precepts and the lay people repeat afterwards but this is also not memorising in the sense of the rule.


Okey dokey. Thank you for the clarification… Kumbaya. :pray: