Vinaya question about the sima

Hello Bhante,

Is it legal to perform an uposatha with monks who have already heard the patimokkha apart from us but within the same sima ?

Technically, in normal times, it would be invalid. But if these monks apart from us have already heard the patimokkha, does our uposatha stay valid ?

I have never seen such condition from my readings of the Vinaya. Have you ?

My respects to you

@sujato @Brahmali

Is this the schism situation?

Anyway, I shall assume not. I take it that it’s monks from monasteries with different calender of uposatha, so they did theirs yesterday, and now visiting you guys today and also join in your uposatha today.

As far as I remember in Na Uyana Vinaya class, there is no issue. Your uposatha is still valid.

Hi Sikkhakāmo (are you a monk?),

I don’t think there would be any problem. In fact, there are examples in the Vinaya of monks doing the uposatha more than once, and it seems to be fine. For instance, see this passage.

Much metta,
Ajahn Brahmali

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Yes, I am.

Thank you for the link. But our situation is not this one because we have exactly the same day. I mean more when many monks have heard the patimokkha at 8 A.M at Wat Qwerty and, at 11 AM, they stay apart but within the same sima (say at Wat Abcdef) with another group who is doing its patimokkha.

Do you think that, in this case, where they have exactly the same official date for uposatha, the allowance would still apply ?

Are you talking about a sima that includes the entire monastery property? Having single buildings established as a sima usually solves these kinds of problems, doesn’t it?

If in doubt I do believe it’s fine for monks to participate more than once in the Patimokkha recitation.

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Yes. The Vinaya passage shows that monks may participate in more than one Pātimokkha recitation during the fortnight, and this is alright. I cannot see it would make any difference whether its on the same or on different days.

There is a rule, however, against the Pātimokkha being recited more than once within any particular monastery, that is, within the same sīmā. But I get the impression this is not what you are talking about.

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But Bhante the problem here is that the monks who have already heard the patimokkha stay inside the sima but outside of the hatthapasa. It’s not that they gather again with us within the same hatthapasa. They stay just outside of the hatthapasa.

Please forgive me Bhante if my explanations aren’t clear

I’m talking about an abadha-sima in the wilderness. So the gathering + 100 meters of perimeter around (Thai counting). And the monks are present within this abadha-sima but outside of the hatthapasa (if I’m correct 1.25m)

Are you concerned about a sangha kamma that already happened? I’m curious why you aren’t just following the senior monks.

Oh, need to convey consent and purity.

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Thank you very much. But the Ajaan made me recite the patimokkha while there was a big doubt that a monk (and actually it was several monks) were outside of the hatthapasa.

So: having heard the patimokkha doesn’t exempt you from the need to convey your purity and chanda right ?

Well, on a minor matter like this, it’s probably best if you do the same. It’s much more important to be harmonious and respectful that to be right.

By living in this monastery you have already made the decision to follow their ways.

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I see. They should either leave the sīmā or be within hatthapāsa. I am afraid that being inside the sīmā but outside of hatthapāsa invalidates the procedure. But it’s not a big deal. It means is that you will not have done the uposatha ceremony, but there is no penalty for this.

@Brahmali @Snowbird

Yes Venerables but we have to lie in order to proceed with the Sanghakamma. But maybe we can mispronounce the words and hope not to be caught by anyone about the spelling of the words.

@Brahmali

So, given the fact that having heard the Patimokkha doesn’t exempt one from sending his consent and purity, if we still proceed, we incur a pacittiya for lying about the fact that nobody is outside the hatthapasa.

But I wonder also, is it not a dukkata to knowingly perform a wrong uposatha ?

Well, first of all, sending one’s purity and consent is not meant for this kind of situation. Technically it may be correct, but it’s not really appropriate. Sending one’s purity is done when one has a valid reason for not being at the recitation. In this case, there is no such valid reason. If indeed it is an abaddha-sīma in the wilderness, it should be easy for those monk to leave the sīmā while the Pātimokkha is recited. If they don’t, the uposatha ceremony is simply invalid.

Yes, it may be that there are some minor offences involved with this. First, depending on the exact circumstances, it may be that you are doing the uposatha twice in one fortnight, which is not appropriate:

“You shouldn’t recite the Monastic Code three times per lunar half-month. If you do, you commit an offense of wrong conduct. You should recite the Monastic Code once every lunar half-month: on the fourteenth or the fifteenth day.”

Then there is the fact that the procedure is illegitimate, which, as you say, carries an offence of wrong conduct:

“You shouldn’t do illegitimate legal procedures. If you do, you commit an offense of wrong conduct.”

I agree with @Snowbird that it is important to preserve harmony. At the same time, if there is an opportunity to gently let them know that this is not in accordance with the Vinaya, it may be good to bring it up. It is our duty as monastic to uphold the Vinaya as laid down by the Buddha.

Many years ago, while visiting a forest monastery in Thailand, I was in a similar situation to the one you are in now, except I didn’t recite the Pātimokkha. I was staying at a Dhammayut monastery where they had a policy that they would not do the uposatha with Mahānikāya monks. And so they had me and my fellow monks sit within the sīmā but outside of hatthapāsa. I knew it was wrong, but since I was just a junior monk and didn’t know any Thai, it was impossible for me to say anything. It was a strange and uncomfortable situation.

The Dhammayut originally started their own Nikāya because they regarded the majority of the Thai Sangha (the Mahānikāya) as practicing incorrectly. Yet now I was observing Dhammayut monks performing an unallowable uposatha ceremony. Things just go in circles! We identify with a certain lineage because is used to be pure. Yet despite the fact that the purity is long gone, we hold on to the distinction in lineage. It’s absurd. It would be sensible and good for the Sangha to abolish these artificial differences and reunite simply as the one Sangha.

Anyway, best of luck!

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A junior foreign monk who tells a thai forest ajaan that what he does is not in accordance with the vinaya… That’s the recipe to get yourself into troubles.

The best is to be with monks who are more interested by the vinaya rather than the years they have worn the ochre robe or worn gray hair.

Thank you Venerable for your message and the time you took to write them.

I adress you my respects and all my good wishes

The statement is that there are no monks sitting outside hatthapāsa. You could change it into a truthful statement by requesting the monks outside hatthapāsa to stand up or lie down or go for a walk.
:upside_down_face:

However, since they’re unlikely to comply, you’ll need a backup plan. For example, you could try replacing nisinnānaṃ with some similar sounding genitive participle.

Original:

Chandāharaṇapārisuddhi āharaṇāni pana imissaṃ sīmāyaṃ hatthapāsaṃ vijahitvā nisinnānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ abhāvato natthi.

“There is no conveying of consent or purity because of the absence in this sīmā of monks who are sitting outside of hatthapāsa.”

Revised version:

Chandāharaṇapārisuddhi āharaṇāni pana imissaṃ sīmāyaṃ hatthapāsaṃ vijahitvā visiṇṇānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ abhāvato natthi.

“There is no conveying of consent or purity because of the absence in this sīmā of monks who are falling to pieces outside of hatthapāsa.”

Or you could use kissanānaṃ, which would mean that there are no monks growing thin outside of hatthapāsa.

Or you could change abhāvato natthi to bhāvopi ca nāhosi:

“There wasn’t any conveying of consent or purity despite the presence in this sīmā of monks who are sitting outside of hatthapāsa.”

The last is probably the most sensible way of wording it, though it has the drawback of being the modification most easily detected by the prompting monk.

I used to have this problem when I first started reciting the Pātimokkha back in the 1980s. I didn’t like to chant the line:

Bhikkhunīnamovādo pana idāni tāsaṃ natthitāya natthi.

“There is now no exhorting of bhikkhunīs on account of their non-existence.”

What it ought to have said is something to the effect that our non-exhorting of bhikkhunīs is not because of their non-existence but because the ones that did exist (i.e. back in 1987) were all Dharmaguptakas and therefore it wasn’t our business to exhort them. And so I composed the following replacement:

Amhehi bhikkhunīnamovādo pana idāni nānāsaṃvāsatāya natthi.

“There is now no exhorting of bhikkhunīs by us [Theravādins] on account of our belonging to different communions.”

Unfortunately this sounds so starkly different from the original that the prompting monks would catch me out nearly every time and insist that I do it “properly”.

In the end I settled for changing tāsaṃ natthitāya (“because of their non-existence…”) to tāsaṃ atthitāyāpi ca (“notwithstanding their existence…”). No prompter ever noticed the change.

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SBS allows us to chant the version we like, just can tell the one who’s checking which version it is.

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But this would not be true as this is not the true reason for the non-conveying.

I prefer this one but indeed that would be harder.

Or we can hide ourselves from the abadha-sima and wait for the patimokkha to be finished, but I think it might be a dukkata to do that.

Or we can create a skillful dispute in the community (of course not the point of schism) and endure it for the sake of Dhamma-Vinaya. Would that not be a skillful action ? @Brahmali @Dhammanando