CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Uposatha

In the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta (DN 16) the Buddha lists seven conditions that will help prevent the decline of the Community. The first two are these: “(1) As long as the bhikkhus meet often, meet a great deal, their growth can be expected, not their decline. (2) As long as the bhikkhus meet in unity, adjourn from their meetings in unity, and conduct Community business in unity, their growth can be expected, not their decline.” The uposatha observance was formulated to help meet these conditions. It provides an opportunity on a fortnightly basis for the bhikkhus to meet with their fellows in the vicinity, to update their membership rolls, to deal with any wayward members, and to reaffirm their common adherence to the rules of the Vinaya. The act of observing the uposatha together is what defines common affiliation in any given territory.

Cv.IX.1 tells that the Buddha participated in the uposatha observance until one night when a sham bhikkhu sat in the meeting and, even when warned by the Buddha, refused to leave until Ven. Mahā Moggallāna had grabbed him by the arm and forcibly thrown him out. From that point onward, the uposatha was conducted entirely by the disciples.

The importance of the uposatha observance in the Buddha’s eyes is shown in Mv.II.5.5. Ven. Mahā Kappina, staying on the outskirts of Rājagaha after having attained arahantship, reflects that whether he goes to the uposatha observance or not, he is still purified with the highest purification and so he feels disinclined to go. The Buddha, staying nearby on Vulture Peak, reads his mind and—disappearing from Vulture’s Peak—appears right in front of him to ask, “If you brahmans (meaning arahants) do not revere, respect, esteem, and honor the uposatha, who is there who will revere, respect, esteem, and honor it? Go to the uposatha. Do not not go. Go as well to Community transactions. Do not not go.” Thus even arahants are not exempt from Community obligations in general, and the uposatha in particular.

A passage in MN 108 indicates the importance of the uposatha meeting in the governance of the Community after the Buddha’s parinibbāna, given the fact that the Buddha never appointed a successor to take charge of the Community after he was gone. Ven. Ānanda is speaking to the brahman Gopaka Moggallāna after the Buddha’s passing away:

“It’s not the case, brahman, that we’re without an arbitrator. We have an arbitrator. The Dhamma is our arbitrator…. There is a training rule that has been laid down by the Blessed One—the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy and rightly self-awakened—a Pāṭimokkha that has been codified. On the uposatha day, all of us who live dependent on a single township gather together in one place. Having gathered together, we invite the one whose turn it is (to recite the Pāṭimokkha). If, while he is reciting, a bhikkhu remembers an offense or transgression, we deal with him in accordance with the Dhamma, in accordance with what has been instructed. We’re not the ones who deal with that venerable one. Rather, the Dhamma is what deals with us.”

Uposatha days

The term uposatha comes from the Vedic Sanskrit upavasatha, a day of preparation, usually involving special observances, for the Soma ritual. These preparation days were held on the days of the half-moon, full moon, and new moon—the eighth and (depending on the precise timing of the new and full moons) fourteenth or fifteenth days of the lunar fortnight. Non-Vedic sects, prior to Buddhism, used these days for observances of their own, usually meeting to teach their Dhamma. The Buddha adopted this practice, setting these days aside for bhikkhus to meet and teach the Dhamma as well. He also established a purely monastic uposatha observance, which he limited to the final day of the lunar fortnight. To enable the bhikkhus to determine the date of this observance, he relaxed the rule against their studying astrology (see Chapter 10), which in those days had not yet separated from astronomy, allowing them to learn as much astronomy as needed to calculate whether the full and new moons fell on the fourteenth or fifteenth of a particular fortnight. (“At that time people asked the bhikkhus as they were going for alms, ‘Which day of the fortnight is it, venerable sirs?’ The bhikkhus said, ‘We don’t know.’ The people criticized and complained and spread it about, ‘These Sakyan-son monks don’t even know enough to calculate the fortnight, so how will they know anything else that’s admirable?’”—Mv.II.18.1)

The monastic observance may be held in one of four ways, depending on the size of the Community in a particular territory: If four bhikkhus or more, they meet for a recitation of the Pāṭimokkha; if three, they declare their mutual purity to one another; if two, they declare their purity to each other; if one, he marks the day by determining it as his uposatha. In addition to these regular observance days, the Buddha gave permission for a Community to recite the Pāṭimokkha only on one other occasion: when unity has been reestablished in the Community. This, the Commentary says, refers only to occasions when a major dispute in the Community has been settled (such as a schism—see Chapter 21), and not to occasions when the uposatha has been suspended for minor reasons. Thus there are two occasions on which the bhikkhus are allowed to meet for the uposatha: the last day of the lunar fortnight and the day for reestablishing unity.

Location

In order to prevent confusion about where the uposatha will be held in an established monastery, only one building may be authorized as the uposatha hall within any given monastery. If the hall becomes unusable, the authorization may be revoked and another hall authorized. If the hall is too small for the number of bhikkhus who have gathered for the uposatha, they may sit outside around the hall as long as they are within earshot of the Pāṭimokkha recitation. If the Community wants to, it may also authorize an area in front of the uposatha hall, marked with boundary markers, specifically for this purpose, but this is an optional step. (The markers are to be determined in the same way as the markers for a territory. See Chapter 13. Also, see Appendix I for the statements used in the transactions for authorizing and revoking an uposatha hall, and for authorizing an area in front of it.)

If many monasteries share a common territory, all the bhikkhus residing in the monasteries must meet together for a common uposatha. The Canon states that this may (but does not have to) be at the monastery where the most senior bhikkhu in the territory is staying. The Commentary suggests meeting in the oldest monastery in the territory unless it is inconvenient (e.g., its uposatha hall is too small). As for the most senior bhikkhu, if the monastery where he is staying is convenient, the bhikkhus may meet there. If not, he should be invited to move to a more convenient one. If he refuses to move, the bhikkhus should take his consent and purity, and meet in a more convenient place (assuming, of course, that he cannot manage to get there himself).

If a full Community of bhikkhus is staying in a particular monastery but none of them know “the uposatha or the uposatha transaction, the Pāṭimokkha or the recital of the Pāṭimokkha,” then the Canon enjoins the senior bhikkhu to order one of the junior bhikkhus to go to a neighboring monastery immediately to master the Pāṭimokkha in brief (see below) or in full (for the sake of reciting it that very day, says the Commentary). If ordered in this way, and unless he is ill, the junior bhikkhu must go or else incur a dukkaṭa. If he manages to learn the Pāṭimokkha, either in brief or in full, well and good. If not, then all the bhikkhus should go to a monastery where the uposatha and Pāṭimokkha are known. Otherwise they all incur dukkaṭas.

Unity

As with all Community transactions, the uposatha observance must be held in unity. Unlike ordinary transactions, however, any bhikkhu residing in the territory who does not participate in the meeting must send his purity (together with his consent, if the bhikkhus are planning to conduct other business at the meeting as well). This will be discussed under the preliminary duties, below.

The Canon deals with three special cases that can interfere with the unity of the meeting: People seize one of the bhikkhus in the territory; bhikkhus arrive late to the meeting; and incoming bhikkhus arrive prior to the meeting. As these incidents are rare, and the procedures for dealing with them fairly complex, they will be discussed below in the section on special cases.

Excluded individuals

Because the act of performing uposatha together is what defines common affiliation in any given territory, the uposatha transaction is unusual among Community transactions in that only bhikkhus in good standing in the Community and in common affiliation are allowed to join in—i.e., sit within hatthapāsa of—the assembly. (The only other Community transaction with the same requirement is the Invitation.) Anyone who recites the Pāṭimokkha (this includes not only the reciter, but anyone who listens to the recitation) in an assembly that includes lay people, bhikkhunīs, female probationers, novices, female novices, ex-bhikkhus, paṇḍakas, or any other types of individuals absolutely forbidden from gaining full Acceptance, incurs a dukkaṭa. There is also a dukkaṭa for reciting the Pāṭimokkha in an assembly that includes a bhikkhu of a separate affiliation, although this penalty holds only if one knows that he is of a separate affiliation and the differences between the affiliations have not been resolved. Anyone who recites the Pāṭimokkha in an assembly that includes a suspended bhikkhu incurs a pācittiya under Pc 69.

Preliminaries

One of the duties of the senior bhikkhu in any monastery is to announce to the others that, “Today is the uposatha day.” The Canon recommends that he announce this in good time (very early in the morning, says the Commentary), but allows him to announce it whenever he remembers during the day (even in the evening, the Commentary says). At an agreed-on time, the Community should meet, with the senior-most bhikkhu coming first. If he doesn’t come first, the Commentary states that he incurs a dukkaṭa.

The Commentary divides the preliminary duties before the uposatha observance into two sets: pubba-karaṇa and pubba-kicca. Both terms mean “preliminary duty,” although the pubba-karaṇa are concerned with preparing the place for the meeting, whereas the pubba-kicca are activities that should be done first when the meeting has convened.

Pubba-karaṇa

The senior bhikkhu has the duty of supervising the other bhikkhus in sweeping the uposatha hall, preparing the seats for the bhikkhus, lighting lamps (if the meeting is held at night or in a dark place), and setting out drinking water and washing water. The senior bhikkhu may order junior bhikkhus to do these things. If, when ordered and not ill, they do not comply, they incur dukkaṭas. The Commentary recommends that the following bhikkhus not be ordered for any of these duties: those doing construction work, those helping with other work, Dhamma teachers, and expert chanters. Others, it says, should be ordered on a rotating roster.

Pubba-kicca

The bhikkhus, once they have met, should convey the consent and purity of any bhikkhus within the territory who have not joined the meeting. Then they should tell the season, count the number of bhikkhus, and arrange for the exhortation of the bhikkhunīs.

Conveying consent has already been discussed in Chapter 12. The rules for conveying purity are the same as those for conveying consent, with two differences: (1) The bhikkhu giving his purity says to the bhikkhu conveying it:

“Pārisuddhiṁ dammi. Pārisuddhiṁ me hara [haratha]. Pārisuddhiṁ me ārocehi [ārocetha]. (I give purity. Convey my purity (or: Convey purity for me). Report my purity (or: Report purity for me.)”

The Sub-commentary notes that a bhikkhu with any unconfessed offenses should first confess them before giving his purity in this way.

(2) The conveying of purity allows the assembly to conduct the uposatha observance, while the conveying of consent allows it to conduct other business. The Commentary notes that if a bhikkhu staying within the territory but not participating in the meeting sends his purity but not his consent, the assembly may perform the uposatha but may not conduct other Community transactions. If he sends his consent but not his purity, they may conduct all Community transactions including the uposatha; he, however, incurs a dukkaṭa for not participating in the uposatha. In other words, the Commentary assumes that while purity cannot take the place of consent in authorizing other communal business, consent can take the place of purity in allowing the Community to conduct the uposatha.

This, however, contradicts Mv.II.22.2, in which an uposatha where an absent bhikkhu has not sent his purity is said to be factional. More importantly, it misses the point of the uposatha, which is not merely to gain the Community’s consent but also to establish its purity. So a better interpretation would be that if the absent bhikkhu has sent his consent but not his purity, the Community may deal with other business but may not perform the uposatha. In the event that there are two or more bhikkhus within the territory who are too ill to give their purity/consent or even to be carried into the meeting, and they are too far apart from each other for the assembly to include them within its hatthapāsa and still have all the bhikkhus within earshot of the reciter, there is no need to conduct the uposatha on that day. Given that this situation could last a long time, preventing any Community transactions within the territory, this may have been one of the inspirations for the practice of designating small territories that do not cover an entire monastery.

The Canon contains an obscure rule stating that the uposatha should not be performed with a “stale” giving of purity unless the gathering has not gotten up from its seats. The Commentary gives two relevant examples of what this might mean: (1) The bhikkhus have met to recite the Pāṭimokkha, and while they wait for late arrivals, the dawn of the next day arrives. If they had planned to hold a 14th day uposatha, then they may go ahead and hold a 15th day uposatha. (If they had planned to hold a 15th day uposatha, then they shouldn’t hold the uposatha, as it is no longer an uposatha day.) (2) The bhikkhus meet, the purity of the bhikkhus not present is conveyed, the assembled bhikkhus change their mind about meeting that day, and then change their mind again. If this last decision comes before they get up from their seats, they may go ahead with the uposatha. If not, they shouldn’t perform the uposatha unless they send some of their members back to reobtain the purity of the bhikkhus not present.

The duty of telling the season is not mentioned in the Canon. The standard procedure is to state the season—hot, rainy, or cold—together with how many uposatha days have passed in the season and how many remain. Even in areas where there are four rather than three seasons, this is a useful way of reminding the bhikkhus of where they are in the lunar calendar so that they don’t lose track of such dates as the beginning of the Rains-residence or the ending of kaṭhina privileges.

The Canon does mention counting the bhikkhus in the assembly, allowing either that names be called or counting-slips be taken.

The exhortation of the bhikkhunīs is discussed in Chapter 23. As the discussion there makes clear, this is a duty preliminary to the Pāṭimokkha only in the sense that the bhikkhu who will exhort the bhikkhunīs is chosen or authorized before the Pāṭimokkha is recited. The actual exhortation takes place later, at a time and place that the exhorter announces to the bhikkhunīs.

Confession

Because a bhikkhu with an unconfessed offense is not allowed to listen to the Pāṭimokkha, the tradition has developed that bhikkhus confess their confessable offenses immediately prior to the meeting. The procedures for doing so, and for dealing with the situation in which all the bhikkhus present have fallen into the same offense, are discussed in BMC1, Appendix VII.

If, prior to listening to the Pāṭimokkha, a bhikkhu has doubt about an offense, he may say so to one of his fellow bhikkhus, promising that when his doubts are cleared up, and it turns out to be an actual offense, he will make amends. He may then listen to the Pāṭimokkha.

If, while listening to the Pāṭimokkha, a bhikkhu either recollects an unconfessed offense or has doubt about one, he should inform a neighboring bhikkhu. He may then continue listening to the Pāṭimokkha. The Commentary adds that if the neighboring bhikkhu is uncongenial, one may simply tell oneself, “When I leave here, I’ll make amends for the offense.”

If Bhikkhu X knows that Bhikkhu Y has an unconfessed offense, he may accuse him of the offense prior to the Pāṭimokkha or, during the motion, may cancel Y’s right to listen to the Pāṭimokkha. As this is a rare event, and the rules surrounding the procedure are complex, they will be discussed below in the section on special cases.

Reciting the Pāṭimokkha

An assembly of four or more bhikkhus observes the uposatha by listening to a recitation of the Pāṭimokkha. The recitation is the duty of the senior bhikkhu or of any junior bhikkhu he invites. A junior bhikkhu who recites the Pāṭimokkha uninvited incurs a dukkaṭa.

The transaction statement for the recitation is a motion that the reciter states at the beginning of the nidāna, the first section of the Pāṭimokkha. While reciting the Pāṭimokkha, the reciter must strive to the best of his ability to make himself heard. If he intentionally tries not to make himself heard, the penalty is a dukkaṭa.

The Canon allows five ways of reciting the Pāṭimokkha:

1) Having recited the nidāna, one may announce the remainder as “heard.”

2) Having recited the nidāna and the four pārājikas, one may announce the remainder as “heard.”

3) Having recited the nidāna, the four pārājikas, and the thirteen saṅghādisesas, one may announce the remainder as “heard.”

4) Having recited the nidāna, the four pārājikas, the thirteen saṅghādisesas, and the two aniyatas, one may announce the remainder as “heard.”

5) In full detail.

Normally, the Pāṭimokkha should be recited in full. However, if any of ten obstructions arise while the Pāṭimokkha is being recited, the remainder of the recitation may be given in brief. As the Commentary says, this means that if an obstruction arises in any of the parts covered by the second through the fourth modes of recitation, the recitation may be cut off in mid-section, with the section in question and all the remaining sections announced as “heard.” If the obstructions arise before the recitation, the Commentary says, the recitation should simply be delayed.

Note that neither the Canon nor the Commentary gives any allowance for breaking off the recitation in the middle of any rule sections from the nissaggiya pācittiya rules onwards.

The ten obstructions (with explanations from the Commentary in brackets) are:

1) a king obstruction [C: a king arrives],

2) a thief obstruction [C: thieves come],

3) a fire obstruction [C: a forest fire approaches from outside the monastery, or a fire breaks out in the monastery (at present, in a village or city monastery, a fire approaching from nearby buildings would also qualify)],

4) a water obstruction [C: heavy rain, a flood],

5) a human being obstruction [C: large numbers of people come],

6) a non-human being obstruction [C: a spirit possesses one of the bhikkhus],

7) a beast obstruction [C: a fierce beast, such as a tiger, comes],

8) a creeping-pest obstruction [C: snakes, etc., bite a bhikkhu],

9) a life obstruction [C: a bhikkhu falls ill or dies; hostile people with murderous intent grab hold of a bhikkhu],

10) a celibacy obstruction [C: people catch hold of one or more bhikkhus with the intent of making them fall from celibacy].

The Canon does not specify how a rule section is to be announced as “heard.” The Commentary recommends the following formula for each “heard” section, replacing “cattāro pārājikā” with the appropriate name and number of the relevant rules in each case:

Sutā kho pan’āyasmantehi (cattāro pārājikā) dhammā ….

One then ends with the usual conclusion: Ettakantassa bhagavato … avivādamānehi sikkhitabbaṁ.

The Vinaya-mukha, however, correctly notes that this formula would be more idiomatic if it followed the form of the standard conclusion to the Pāṭimokkha, as follows (giving the example of breaking off in the middle of the saṅghādisesa section):

Uddiṭṭhaṁ kho āyasmanto nidānam, uddiṭṭhā cattāro pārājikā dhammā, sutā terasa saṅghādisesā dhammā …. sutā sattādhikaraṇa-samathā dhammā. Ettakantassa … sikkhitabbaṁ.

Mutual purity

In a group of only three bhikkhus, the Pāṭimokkha may not be recited. Instead, the bhikkhus must declare their mutual purity. To do this, they meet in the uposatha hall, and one of the bhikkhus gives the motion:

Suṇantu me bhante [āvuso] āyasmantā, ajj’uposatho paṇṇaraso [cātuddaso], yad’āyasmantānaṁ pattakallaṁ, mayaṁ aññamaññaṁ pārisuddhi uposathaṁ kareyyāma.

This means: “May the venerable ones listen to me, sirs [friends]. Today is the uposatha of the fifteenth [fourteenth]. If the venerable ones are ready, we should perform our uposatha of mutual purity.”

Then the most senior bhikkhu, with his robe arranged over one shoulder, gets into the kneeling position and, with hands raised in añjali, says three times:

Pārisuddho ahaṁ āvuso. Pārisuddho’ti maṁ dhāretha.

This means: “I, friends, am pure. Remember me as pure.”

Then in descending order of seniority, the other two bhikkhus follow suit, saying (also three times):

Pārisuddho ahaṁ bhante. Pārisuddho’ti maṁ dhāretha.

This changes the “friends” to the more respectful “sirs.”

Purity

If there are only two bhikkhus in the group, they simply declare their purity to each other, without a motion. The more senior bhikkhu, with his robe arranged over one shoulder, gets into the kneeling position and, with hands raised in añjali, says three times:

Pārisuddho ahaṁ āvuso. Pārisuddho’ti maṁ dhārehi.

This means: “I, friend, am pure. Remember me as pure.”

The junior bhikkhu follows suit, with the difference that he says (again, three times):

Pārisuddho ahaṁ bhante. Pārisuddho’ti maṁ dhāretha.

This changes the “friend” to “sir,” and the verb ending to the more respectful plural form.

Determination

If there is only one bhikkhu, he should go to the place where the bhikkhus normally meet for the uposatha—the uposatha hall, a pavilion, or the root of a tree—should set out drinking water and washing water, should prepare a seat and light a lamp (if it is dark), and then sit down. If other bhikkhus happen to arrive, he should perform the uposatha with them. If not, he should make the following determination:

Ajja me uposatho (Today is my uposatha).

If he does not do this, he incurs a dukkaṭa. The Commentary notes that he may also add the word paṇṇaraso (the fifteenth) or cātuddaso (the fourteenth), as appropriate, to the end of the determination, but this is optional.

Borderline quorums

The Canon states that if there are four bhikkhus in the territory, the Pāṭimokkha is not to be recited by three after the purity of one has been conveyed. The Commentary to Mv.II.14.2 adds that the three should not perform a mutual purity uposatha. This leaves only one option: All four must gather—if necessary, in the dwelling of the bhikkhu who was planning to send his purity—and recite the Pāṭimokkha. Similarly, if there are two or three bhikkhus in the territory, all must attend the uposatha meeting; none of them may have their purity conveyed.

Traveling

On an uposatha day, bhikkhus are forbidden to travel to a place where there are no bhikkhus or where there are only bhikkhus of a separate affiliation. This is to prevent them from avoiding a more difficult form of the uposatha—e.g., reciting the Pāṭimokkha—in favor of an easier one. They are allowed, however, to go to such places if they go as a Community of four or more, or if there are obstructions in the place where they currently are—according to the Commentary, this is a reference to the ten obstructions listed above. The Canon also states that one may go from one monastery to another if the bhikkhus in the second monastery are of the same affiliation and one knows that one can arrive there within the day.

The Commentary states that the prohibitions against traveling do not apply after the uposatha observance has been held or if it has been canceled. However, if one is living alone in the forest and goes to a village for alms on the uposatha day, one should go straight back to one’s residence. If one stops off at another residence, one shouldn’t leave until one has performed the uposatha with the bhikkhus there.

Special cases: unity

As mentioned above, the Canon discusses three special cases that have a bearing on the unity of an uposatha meeting: what to do when a bhikkhu is seized in the territory; when resident bhikkhus arrive late; and when incoming, non-resident bhikkhus arrive prior to the recitation on the uposatha day. These cases will be discussed here.

When a bhikkhu is seized

If relatives, kings (government officials), robbers, mischief-makers, or opponents of the bhikkhus happen to seize a bhikkhu in the territory on the uposatha day, bhikkhus should ask them to release him at least long enough to participate in the uposatha. If they do, well and good. If not, the bhikkhus should ask them to release him long enough to give his purity. If they do, well and good. If not, the bhikkhus should ask them to take him outside the territory while the Community performs its uposatha. If they do, well and good. If not, the Community may not meet in that territory for the uposatha that day.

When bhikkhus arrive late

If bhikkhus, having assembled for the Pāṭimokkha, begin the recitation only to have others arrive while the recitation is in progress, then if the late-arriving group is larger than the initial group, the Pāṭimokkha should be recited again from the beginning. If the late-arriving group is the same size or smaller than the initial group, then what has been recited is well recited and all that needs to be recited to the full assembly is the remainder of the text.

If the late-arriving bhikkhus come after the Pāṭimokkha has been finished, then—regardless of whether the initial assembly has disbanded—if the late-arriving group is larger than the initial assembly, the bhikkhus should all hear the Pāṭimokkha again. If the late-arriving group is the same size or smaller than the initial group, then the late-arriving group should declare its purity in the presence of the initial group.

These rulings apply regardless of whether either group, initial or late-arriving, is composed of residents or incoming bhikkhus. In all of these cases, the recitation of the initial group is considered valid even though, according to Mv.IX.3.5, the transaction in many of these cases would technically be factional, given that there are other bhikkhus in the territory. However, the perception and intention of the initial group determine whether the bhikkhus in that group incur an offense. If they do not know that the other group is coming, they incur no offense. If they know, see, or hear that the other group is coming, is entering the territory, or has entered the territory, then if they go ahead with the recitation anyhow—perceiving that what they are doing is right even though factional, in doubt as to whether it is right, or with an uneasy conscience—they incur dukkaṭas. If, knowing of the other group, they go ahead with the recitation aiming at schism, they incur thullaccayas.

The fact that intention and perception play an explicit role here is unusual in Community transactions. There is some disagreement as to whether the allowance for these factors here should be read as a special case, applicable only to the recitation of the Pāṭimokkha (and to the Invitation, which follows the same pattern), or as an example of how the general rules concerning the validity of transactions should be interpreted across the board. In particular, it has been argued that, because the initial group’s transaction is valid and free of offense when conducted with no perception of late-arriving bhikkhus, other Community transactions performed with no perception of invalidating factors should be valid and free of offense even if, in fact, such invalidating factors exist.

This argument, however, misses the full implications of the allowances granted in this section. Here all the transactions are valid, even when the initial group knows of the late-arriving bhikkhus and begins the recitation with corrupt motives. If this pattern were applied to all validating factors connected with all Community transactions, there would be no such thing as an invalid transaction. The Canon’s detailed discussions of what invalidates a transaction would be for naught. Thus it seems preferable to regard the allowances here as special exemptions from Mv.IX.3.5 applicable only to the recitation of the Pāṭimokkha and to the Invitation, in recognition of the fact that these transactions are compulsory and take so long.

When non-resident bhikkhus arrive prior

When non-resident bhikkhus arrive prior to the recitation on the uposatha day, if it so happens that the resident bhikkhus and incoming bhikkhus calculate different dates for uposatha, then the proper course of action depends on whether one side sees the date calculated by the other as (1) the fourteenth or fifteenth of the fortnight or (2) as the first day of the next fortnight. In the first case, if the incoming group is larger than the resident group, the latter should accommodate themselves to the former; if not, the former should accommodate themselves to the latter. In the second case, if the resident group sees the date calculated by the incoming group as the first, then if they are smaller, they should either accommodate the incoming group or go outside the territory while the incoming group holds its own uposatha. If they are equal in number or larger than the incoming group, the incoming group should go outside the territory to hold its own uposatha. If, on the other hand, the incoming group sees the date calculated by the resident group as the first, then if they are equal in number or smaller than the resident group, they may either meet with the resident group or go outside the territory while the resident group meets. If they are larger, then the resident group should hold its own uposatha outside the territory.

If, on the uposatha day, incoming bhikkhus detect signs of resident bhikkhus (or vice versa), they are duty bound to search for them. If they don’t, and go ahead and hold their own uposatha, they incur a dukkaṭa. If they search but don’t find them, there is no offense in their holding their own uposatha. If they find them but go ahead and hold their own uposatha anyway, they incur a dukkaṭa. If they do so in order to create a schism, the penalty is a thullaccaya.

When incoming bhikkhus find resident bhikkhus of a separate affiliation but assume that they are of the same affiliation, this is another special case where perception plays a role: There is no offense in their performing the uposatha together. If they find out that the residents are of a separate affiliation and, without resolving their differences (see Chapter 21), perform the uposatha together, both sides incur dukkaṭas. If, without resolving their differences, they hold separate uposathas, there is no offense.

When incoming bhikkhus find resident bhikkhus of the same affiliation but assume that they are of separate affiliations, perception again plays a role: If they perform the uposatha together they incur dukkaṭas. If they resolve their apparent differences but go ahead and perform separate uposathas, they all incur dukkaṭas. If they resolve their differences and perform the uposatha together, there is no offense.

Special cases: accusations

If, when the Community has met for the uposatha, Bhikkhu X suspects Bhikkhu Y of having an unconfessed offense, he may bring up the issue before the Pāṭimokkha is recited. The usual pattern is first to make a formal motion, authorizing oneself or another bhikkhu to ask a question about the Vinaya in the assembly. Similarly, the bhikkhu answering the question must be authorized through a formal motion, made by himself or another bhikkhu. Before asking and answering the question, both the asker and the answerer should look over the assembly and assess the individuals present. Only if they sense no danger in speaking openly should they go ahead with their question. (In the origin story for this rule, some group-of-six bhikkhus took umbrage at the issue being discussed and threatened the other bhikkhus with harm.)

The motion to authorize oneself to ask questions about the Vinaya is:

Suṇātu me bhante saṅgho. Yadi saṅghassa pattakallaṁ ahaṁ Itthannāmaṁ vinayaṁ puccheyyaṁ.

Venerable sirs, may the Community listen to me. If the Community is ready, I would ask so-and-so about the Vinaya.

The motion to authorize another person to ask questions about the Vinaya is:

Suṇātu me bhante saṅgho. Yadi saṅghassa pattakallaṁ Itthannāmo Itthannāmaṁ vinayaṁ puccheyya.

Venerable sirs, may the Community listen to me. If the Community is ready, so-and-so would ask so-and-so about the Vinaya.

The motion to authorize oneself to answer the questions is:

Suṇātu me bhante saṅgho. Yadi saṅghassa pattakallaṁ ahaṁ Itthannāmena vinayaṁ puṭṭho vissajjeyyaṁ.

Venerable sirs, may the Community listen to me. If the Community is ready, I—asked about the Vinaya by so-and-so—would answer.

To authorize another person to answer the questions, say:

Suṇātu me bhante saṅgho. Yadi saṅghassa pattakallaṁ Itthannāmo Itthannāmena vinayaṁ puṭṭho vissajjeyya.

Venerable sirs, may the Community listen to me. If the Community is ready, so-and-so—asked about the Vinaya by so-and-so—would answer.

The purpose of asking and answering questions about the Vinaya in this context is fourfold: (1) The bhikkhu planning to make the accusation has a chance to make sure that his accusation is well-informed; (2) the rules in question can be discussed impartially, for no one as yet has been accused; (3) each bhikkhu is alerted to the fact that an accusation is in the air, has the chance to reflect on whether he has infringed the rules in question, and can make amends before an accusation is made; and (4) the entire Community becomes equally well-informed about the rules in question and can deal knowledgeably with the case. For instance, if the accused bhikkhu has actually broken a rule, admits to the act, but refuses to see it as an offense or to make amends, the Community is in a good position legitimately to suspend him from the Community at large.

After the Vinaya discussion has been brought to a conclusion, and Bhikkhu X still feels that Y has an unconfessed offense, he may either ask Y’s leave to make an accusation before the Pāṭimokkha begins, or—during the motion at the beginning of the recitation—cancel Y’s right to listen to the Pāṭimokkha (see below). (If X believes that Y is pure of an offense but asks leave anyhow, he incurs a dukkaṭa.)

The procedures for asking leave, making an accusation, and settling the issue are discussed in BMC1, under Sg 8 and in Chapter 11.

Special cases: canceling the Pāṭimokkha

To cancel the Pāṭimokkha for another bhikkhu, one must speak up during the motion at the beginning of the recitation and make a formal motion:

Suṇātu me bhante saṅgho. [Itthannāmo puggalo] sāpattiko. Tassa pāṭimokkhaṁ ṭhāpemi. Na tasmiṁ sammukhī-bhūte pāṭimokkhaṁ uddi-sitabbaṁ.

This means: ”May the Community listen to me, venerable sirs. [The individual named so-and-so] has an offense. I cancel his Pāṭimokkha (or: I put the Pāṭimokkha aside for him). The Pāṭimokkha is not to be recited when face-to-face with him.”

If, without grounds, one cancels the Pāṭimokkha for another bhikkhu, one incurs a dukkaṭa. The Canon contains long, extremely redundant lists of requirements that must be met for the cancelation of a bhikkhu’s Pāṭimokkha to be valid. Eliminating redundancies, the requirements come down to any one of the following:

1) One has grounds for suspecting that the bhikkhu has committed a pārājika offense, and the discussion of the relevant offense has been brought to a conclusion.

2) One has grounds for suspecting that the bhikkhu has renounced the training, and the discussion of what it means to renounce the training has been brought to a conclusion.

3) The bhikkhu has not gone along with a Community transaction that was united and in accordance with the Dhamma. According to the Commentary, this means that he didn’t come to the meeting, didn’t give his consent, or he raised an objection to spoil the transaction. Simply in doing this, it says, he incurs a dukkaṭa and his Pāṭimokkha is to be canceled.

4) The bhikkhu has raised an objection to a Community transaction that was united and in accordance with the Dhamma. (This, the Commentary says, means that he insists that the transaction should be done again; in so doing he incurs a pācittiya (under Pc 63) and his Pāṭimokkha is to be canceled.) Furthermore, the discussion of what it means to raise objections to a Community transaction that was united and in accordance with the Dhamma has been brought to a conclusion.

5) The bhikkhu is seen, heard, or suspected to have committed an offense, ranging from a saṅghādisesa to a dukkaṭa or dubbhāsita.

6) The bhikkhu is seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in view (see the discussion in the following chapter). This would be grounds not only for canceling his Pāṭimokkha, but also—if he actually holds such a view and refuses to relinquish it—for imposing a censure transaction on him. If the view is an evil one, as explained under Pc 68, and he refuses to relinquish it, it would be grounds for suspending him. (See Chapter 20.)

Once the Pāṭimokkha has been canceled for Bhikkhu Y, an accusation may be brought against him, and the Community must settle the issue. If the meeting is interrupted because of any of the ten obstructions listed above, one may bring up the matter again later, either there or in another Community in Y’s presence, to have the matter investigated and settled. As long as the matter hasn’t been settled, one may continue canceling the Pāṭimokkha for Y again until it is.

Rules

Uposatha Days

“I allow you, bhikkhus, to gather on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and eighth day of the half-month.”—Mv.II.1.4

“I allow you, bhikkhus, having gathered on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and eighth day of the half-month, to speak Dhamma.”—Mv.II.2.1

“I allow that the Pāṭimokkha be recited.”—Mv.II.3.2

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited daily. Whoever should recite it daily: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that the Pāṭimokkha be recited on the uposatha day.”—Mv.II.4.1

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited three times in the half-month. Whoever should recite it three times in the half-month: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that the Pāṭimokkha be recited once during the half-month, on the fourteenth or fifteenth day.”—Mv.II.4.2

“I allow that the calculation of the half-month be learned.”—Mv.II.18.1

“I allow that the calculation of the half-month be learned by all.”—Mv.II.18.2

“And the uposatha should not be performed on a non-uposatha day unless for Community-unification.”—Mv.II.36.4

Unity

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited by grouping, each with his own grouping. I allow an uposatha transaction for those who are united (§).”—Mv.II.5.1

“I allow that the extent of unity be to the extent of one residence (monastery).”—Mv.II.5.2

Location

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited anywhere on the premises without appointing a place. Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that the uposatha be held after having authorized an uposatha hall as the Community desires: a dwelling, a barrel-vaulted building, a multi-storied building, a gabled building, or a cell.”—Mv.II.8.1

Transaction statement—Mv.II.8.2

“Two uposatha halls should not be authorized in a single residence (monastery). Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that the uposatha be held in one place, the other having been revoked.”—Mv.II.8.3

Transaction statement for revoking—Mv.II.8.4

“When sitting in a place, regardless of whether it has been authorized, where one hears the Pāṭimokkha, one’s uposatha has been done.”—Mv.II.9.1

Transaction statement for authorizing an area in front of an uposatha hall (§)—Mv.II.9.2

“There is the case where many residences have a common territory. All having been gathered by the bhikkhus in a single place, the uposatha may be held. Or having gathered where the most senior bhikkhu is staying, the uposatha may be held there. But the uposatha should not be held by a faction of the Community. Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.11

Is the permission for residences permissible?

What is the permission for residences?

“It is permissible for various residences sharing the same territory to carry out separate uposathas.”

That is not permissible.

Where is it objected to?

In Rājagaha, in the Uposatha-saṁyutta (Mv.II.11 (§)).

What offense is committed?

A dukkaṭa for overstepping the discipline.—Cv.XII.2.8

“There is the case where many bhikkhus—inexperienced, incompetent—are staying in a certain residence on the uposatha day. They do not know the uposatha or the uposatha transaction, the Pāṭimokkha or the recital of the Pāṭimokkha .… One bhikkhu should be sent by the bhikkhus to a neighboring residence immediately: ‘Go, friend. Having mastered the Pāṭimokkha in brief or in detail, come back.’—Mv.II.17.3-5

“I allow the senior bhikkhu to order a junior bhikkhu” .… “One who is not ill and has been ordered by a senior bhikkhu should not not go. Whoever does not go: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.17.6

“There is the case where many bhikkhus—inexperienced, incompetent—are staying in a certain residence on the uposatha day. They do not know the uposatha or the uposatha transaction, the Pāṭimokkha or the recital of the Pāṭimokkha .… One bhikkhu should be sent by the bhikkhus to a neighboring residence immediately: ‘Go, friend. Having mastered the Pāṭimokkha in brief or in detail, come back.’ If he manages it, well and good. If not, then all the bhikkhus should go to a residence where they know the uposatha or the uposatha transaction, the Pāṭimokkha or the recital of the Pāṭimokkha. If they do not go: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.21.3

Excluded Individuals

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited in a gathering including lay people. Whoever should recite it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.16.8

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited with a bhikkhunī … a female probationer … a novice … a female novice … one who has renounced the training … one who has committed an extreme (pārājika) offense seated in the gathering. Whoever should recite it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.36.1

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited with one who has been suspended for not seeing an offense … for not making amends for an offense … for not relinquishing an evil view seated in the gathering. Whoever should recite it is to be dealt with in accordance with the rule (Pc 69).”—Mv.II.36.2

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited with a paṇḍaka … a person in affiliation through theft … a bhikkhu who has gone over to another religion … an animal … a matricide … a patricide … a murderer of an arahant … a molester of a bhikkhunī … a schismatic … one who has shed (a Tathāgata’s) blood … a hermaphrodite seated in the gathering. Whoever should recite it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.36.3

See also Mv.II.34.10, below.

Preliminaries

“I allow that it be announced, ‘Today is the uposatha day’” .… “I allow that the senior bhikkhu announce it in good time” .… “I allow that it be announced at the time of the meal” .… “I allow that it be announced at whatever time he remembers it.”—Mv.II.19

“I allow that on the uposatha day (the bhikkhus) gather with the most senior bhikkhus coming first (§).”—Mv.II.10

Pubba-karaṇa

“I allow that the uposatha hall be swept.”—Mv.II.20.1

“I allow the senior bhikkhu to order a junior bhikkhu” .… “One who is not ill and has been ordered by a senior bhikkhu should not not sweep. Whoever does not sweep: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.20.2

“I allow that seats be prepared in the uposatha hall.” “I allow the senior bhikkhu to order a junior bhikkhu” .… “One who is not ill and has been ordered by a senior bhikkhu should not not prepare a seat. Whoever does not prepare a seat: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.20.3

“I allow that a light be made in the uposatha hall.” “I allow the senior bhikkhu to order a junior bhikkhu” .… “One who is not ill and has been ordered by a senior bhikkhu should not not light a light. Whoever does not light a light: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.20.4

“I allow that drinking water and washing water be set out.”—Mv.II.20.5

“I allow the senior bhikkhu to order a junior bhikkhu” .… “One who is not ill and has been ordered by a senior bhikkhu should not not set out drinking water and washing water. Whoever does not set it out: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.20.6

Pubba-kicca

“I allow that an ill bhikkhu give his purity (§).”—Mv.II.22.1

How purity is given, what to do if an ill bhikkhu is too ill to give his purity, what to do if he is too ill to move. “Not even then should the uposatha transaction be performed by a faction of the Community. If it should perform it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.22.2

When purity has to be re-given (if the conveyor of purity goes away then and there, if he renounces the training, if he admits (§) to being a novice, to having renounced the training, to having committed an extreme offense, to being insane … possessed … delirious with pain … suspended for not seeing an offense … suspended for not making amends for an offense … suspended for not relinquishing an evil view … a paṇḍaka … one living in affiliation by theft, to having gone over to another religion, to being an animal, a matricide, a patricide, the murderer of an arahant, the molester of a bhikkhunī, a schismatic, one who has shed a Tathāgata’s blood, or a hermaphrodite).—Mv.II.22.3

When purity counts as conveyed and not conveyed (as with consent at Mv.II.23.3 (see Chapter 12)). “If the conveyor of purity, having been given (another bhikkhu’s) purity, on arriving in the Community intentionally does not announce it, the purity is conveyed but the conveyor of purity incurs an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.22.4

“I allow on the uposatha day, when purity is given, that consent be given as well, when the Community has something to be done (§).”—Mv.II.23.3

“The uposatha should not be performed with a ‘stale’ giving of purity (§) unless the gathering has not gotten up from its seats.”—Mv.II.36.4

“I allow that the bhikkhus be counted.”—Mv.II.18.3

“I allow that on the uposatha day names be counted (roll call be taken (§)) or that tickets be taken.”—Mv.II.18.4

Confession

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be heard by a bhikkhu with an offense.”—Cv.IX.2

“Just as, when questioned individually, one should answer, the same holds true when in this assembly the declaration (at the end of each section) is made three times. Should any bhikkhu, when the declaration is made three times, remember an existing offense but not reveal it, that is a deliberate lie.…What is a deliberate lie? A dukkaṭa offense.”—Mv.II.3.3; Mv.II.3.7

Procedure for confessing an offense—Mv.II.27.1

Procedures to follow when a bhikkhu has doubts about an offense committed on an uposatha day—Mv.II.27.2

Procedures to follow when a bhikkhu remembers an offense or becomes doubtful about an offense while the Pāṭimokkha is being recited—Mv.II.27.4-5

“An offense common to one another should not be confessed. Whoever should confess it: an offense of wrong doing” .… “An offense common to one another should not be acknowledged. Whoever should acknowledge it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.27.3

Procedures to follow when the Community has an offense in common—Mv.II.27.6-15 (See BMC1, Appendix VII.)

Recitation of the Pāṭimokkha

“I allow that the Pāṭimokkha be recited when there are four.”—Mv.II.26.1

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be recited in the midst of the Community by one who is uninvited. Whoever should recite it: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that the Pāṭimokkha be entrusted to the senior bhikkhu (reading therādheyyaṁ with the Sri Lankan edition).”—Mv.II.16.9

“I allow that the Pāṭimokkha be entrusted to any bhikkhu there who is experienced and competent.”—Mv.II.17.2

Motion—Mv.II.3.3

“One reciting the Pāṭimokkha should not intentionally not make himself be heard (§). Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.16.6

“I allow that one reciting the Pāṭimokkha make an effort—‘How may I make myself be heard?’ For one making an effort: no offense.”—Mv.II.16.7

Five ways of reciting the Pāṭimokkha:

1) Having recited the nidāna, the rest may be announced as ‘heard.’

2) Having recited the nidāna, having recited the four pārājikas, the rest may be announced as ‘heard.’

3) Having recited the nidāna, having recited the four pārājikas, having recited the thirteen saṅghadisesas, the rest may be announced as ‘heard.’

4) Having recited the nidāna, having recited the four pārājikas, having recited the thirteen saṅghadisesas, having recited the two aniyatas, the rest may be announced as ‘heard.’

5) In full detail.—Mv.II.15.1

“The Pāṭimokkha is not to be recited in brief. Whoever should recite it in brief: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.15.2

“I allow that, when there is an obstruction, the Pāṭimokkha be recited in brief.”—Mv.II.15.3

“When there is no obstruction, the Pāṭimokkha is not to be recited in brief. Whoever should recite it in brief: an offense of wrong doing. I allow that, when there is an obstruction, the Pāṭimokkha be recited in brief. These are the obstructions there: a king obstruction, a thief obstruction, a fire obstruction, a water obstruction, a human being obstruction, a non-human being obstruction, a beast obstruction, a creeping-pest obstruction, a life obstruction, a celibacy obstruction. I allow, when there are obstructions of this sort, that the Pāṭimokkha be recited in brief.”—Mv.II.15.4

Mutual Purity & Determination

“I allow that a purity-uposatha be performed when there are three.”—Mv.II.26.2

Procedure.—Mv.II.26.3-4

“I allow that a purity-uposatha be performed when there are two.”—Mv.II.26.5

Procedure.—Mv.II.26.6-7

“There is the case where a bhikkhu is staying alone in a residence when the uposatha day comes. Having swept the place where the bhikkhus gather—an attendance hall, a pavilion, or the root of a tree—having set out drinking water and washing water, having made seats ready, having lit a light, he should sit down. If other bhikkhus arrive, the uposatha should be performed together with them. If not, it should be determined: ‘Today is my uposatha.’ If it is not determined: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.26.9

“Where four bhikkhus are staying, the Pāṭimokkha is not to be recited by three after having brought the purity of one. If they should recite it: an offense of wrong doing. Where three bhikkhus are staying, the purity-uposatha is not to be performed by two after having brought the purity of one. If they should perform it: an offense of wrong doing. Where two bhikkhus are staying, (the uposatha) is not to be determined by one after having brought the purity of the other. If he should determine it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.26.10

“On an uposatha day, one should not go from a residence with bhikkhus to a residence without bhikkhus … to a non-residence without bhikkhus … to a residence or non-residence without bhikkhus, unless going with a Community, unless there are obstructions.”—Mv.II.35.1

“One should not go from a non-residence with bhikkhus .…”—Mv.II.35.2

“One should not go from a residence or non-residence with bhikkhus .…”—Mv.II.35.3

“One should not go from a residence with no bhikkhus to a residence with no bhikkhus .… (all permutations)”—Mv.II.35.3

“One should not go from a residence with bhikkhus to a residence with bhikkhus belonging to a separate affiliation, unless going with a Community, unless there are obstructions .… (all permutations)”—Mv.II.35.4

“On an uposatha day, one may go from a residence with bhikkhus … to a non-residence … to either a residence or a non-residence … from a non-residence … etc., to another residence with bhikkhus belonging to the same affiliation and one knows, ‘I can arrive within the day.’”—Mv.II.35.5

Unity (Special Cases)

“There is the case where relatives seize a bhikkhu on an uposatha day. They should be addressed by the bhikkhus, ‘Please, sirs, will you release this bhikkhu for a moment while he performs the uposatha?’ If this can be managed, well and good. If not, the relatives should be addressed by the bhikkhus, ‘Please, sirs, will you release this bhikkhu for a moment to one side while he gives his purity?’ If this can be managed, well and good. If not, the relatives should be addressed by the bhikkhus, ‘Please, sirs, will you take this bhikkhu outside the territory while the Community performs the uposatha?’ If this can be managed, well and good. If not, then not even then should a transaction be performed by a faction of the Community. If it should perform it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Mv.II.24.1-2

Bhikkhus are seized by kings … robbers … mischief-makers … opponents of the bhikkhus—Mv.II.24.3

What to do when other resident bhikkhus unexpectedly arrive while the Pāṭimokkha is being recited: The transaction is valid, and there is no offense.—Mv.II.28

When other resident bhikkhus are expected but initial bhikkhus recite the Pāṭimokkha anyway: The transaction is valid, but an offense of wrong doing.—Mv.II.29

When other resident bhikkhus are expected and the initial bhikkhus, while in doubt about what to do, recite the Pāṭimokkha anyway: The transaction is valid, but an offense of wrong doing.—Mv.II.30

When other resident bhikkhus are expected and the initial bhikkhus decide that it’s all right to recite the Pāṭimokkha anyway, but do so with an uneasy conscience (§): The transaction is valid, but an offense of wrong doing.—Mv.II.31

When other resident bhikkhus are expected and the initial bhikkhus, aiming at schism, recite the Pāṭimokkha anyway: The transaction is valid, but a grave offense.—Mv.II.32

Rulings in Mv.II.28-32 applied to cases where the initial resident bhikkhus know, see, or hear that other resident bhikkhus are entering or have entered the territory. Rulings in Mv.II.28 through the first part of Mv.II.33 applied to cases where the first group of bhikkhus are incoming and the second group are residents; the first are residents and the second are incoming; and the first are incoming and the second are incoming.—Mv.II.33

Resident bhikkhus and incoming bhikkhus calculate different dates for the uposatha.—Mv.II.34.1-4

“There is the case where incoming bhikkhus see signs of resident bhikkhus, and on seeing them become doubtful: ‘Are there resident bhikkhus or not?’ Being doubtful, they do not search for them. Not searching, they perform the uposatha: an offense of wrong doing.

“Being doubtful, they search for them. Searching for them, they do not see them. Not seeing them, they perform the uposatha: no offense.

“Being doubtful, they search for them. Searching for them, they see them. Seeing them, they perform the uposatha together with them: no offense.

“Being doubtful, they search for them. Searching for them, they see them. Seeing them, they perform the uposatha separately: an offense of wrong doing.

“Being doubtful, they search for them. Searching for them, they see them. Seeing them, thinking ‘They are expelled. They are destroyed. Who has need of them? (§)’ they perform the uposatha separately, aiming at schism: a grave offense.”—Mv.II.34.5-6

Incoming bhikkhus hear signs of resident bhikkhus.—Mv.II.34.7

Resident bhikkhus see signs of incoming bhikkhus.—Mv.II.34.8

Resident bhikkhus hear signs of incoming bhikkhus.—Mv.II.34.9

“There is the case where incoming bhikkhus see resident bhikkhus of a separate affiliation. They get the idea that they are of the same affiliation. Having gotten the idea that they are of the same affiliation, they don’t ask. Not having asked, they perform the uposatha together: no offense.

“They ask. Having asked, they don’t resolve their differences (§). Not having resolved their differences, they perform the uposatha together: an offense of wrong doing.

“They ask. Having asked, they don’t resolve their differences. Not having resolved their differences, they perform the uposatha separately: no offense.”—Mv.II.34.10

“There is the case where incoming bhikkhus see resident bhikkhus of the same affiliation. They get the idea that they are of a separate affiliation. Having gotten the idea that they are of a separate affiliation, they don’t ask. Not having asked, they perform the uposatha together: an offense of wrong doing.

“They ask. Having asked, they resolve their differences. Having resolved their differences, they perform the uposatha separately: an offense of wrong doing.

“They ask. Having asked, they resolve their differences. Having resolved their differences, they perform the uposatha together: no offense.”—Mv.II.34.11

“There is the case where resident bhikkhus see incoming bhikkhus of a separate affiliation. They get the idea that they are of the same affiliation .… ”—Mv.II.34.12

“There is the case where resident bhikkhus see incoming bhikkhus of the same affiliation. They get the idea that they are of a separate affiliation .… ”—Mv.II.34.13

Accusations

“Vinaya is not to be asked about in the midst of the Community by one who is unauthorized. I allow that Vinaya be asked about in the midst of the Community by one who has been authorized (by oneself or by another).”—Mv.II.15.6

“I allow that Vinaya be asked about in the midst of the Community by one who has been authorized after having looked over the assembly and having assessed the individuals.”—Mv.II.15.8

“Vinaya (questioning) is not to be answered in the midst of the Community by one who is unauthorized. I allow that Vinaya (questioning) be answered in the midst of the Community by one who has been authorized (by oneself or by another).”—Mv.II.15.9

“I allow that Vinaya (questioning) be answered in the midst of the Community by one who has been authorized after having looked over the assembly and having assessed the individuals.”—Mv.II.15.11

“A bhikkhu who has not given leave is not to be charged with an offense. Whoever should charge (him): an offense of wrong doing” .… “I allow you to charge a bhikkhu with an offense after having him give leave, ‘May the venerable one give leave. I want to speak with you’” .… (Some group-of-six bhikkhus, after having given leave, took umbrage when charged with an offense and threatened their accusers with harm) “I allow you, even when leave has been given, to charge the individual after having assessed him” .… “One should not—without ground, without reason—get pure bhikkhus without offenses to give leave. Whoever should get them to give leave: an offense of wrong doing. I allow you to give leave after having assessed the individual.” ((§)—reading kātuṁ with the Burmese edition; other editions read, “I allow you to make an individual give leave (kārāpetuṁ) after having assessed him.”)—Mv.II.16.1-3

Five questions to ask when one wants to take on an issue oneself (to involve oneself in an issue—attādānaṁ; according to the Commentary, atta here means both “self” and “taken up.”):

1)“Is it the right time or not?”

2) “Is it something that has actually happened (factual), or not?”

3) “Is it connected with the goal (or: the matter at hand) or not?”

4) “Will I gain as companions and associates bhikkhus who are partisans on the side of the Dhamma and Vinaya, or not?”

5) “Will there be from this source strife, quarrel, dispute, contention, a split in the Community, a crack in the Community, altercation in the Community, differences in the Community, or not?”—Cv.IX.4

Five questions to ask when one wants to level a charge against another:

1) “Am I pure in my bodily conduct, endowed with pure bodily conduct, flawless and without fault? Is this quality found in me or not?” (Otherwise, there will be those who will say to him: “Please, sir, train yourself in what pertains to the body.”)

2) “Am I pure in my verbal conduct, endowed with pure verbal conduct, flawless and without fault? Is this quality found in me or not?” (Otherwise, there will be those who will say to him: “Please, sir, train yourself in what pertains to speech.”)

3) “Have I established an attitude of good will, free of hatred, toward my fellows in the holy life? Is this quality found in me or not?” (Otherwise, there will be those who will say to him: “Please, sir, establish an attitude of good will toward your fellows in the holy life.”)

4) “Have I heard much, retained what I have heard, stored what I have heard? Those teachings that are admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end, that—in their meaning and expression—proclaim the holy life that is utterly complete, surpassingly pure: have I listened to them often, retained, discussed, accumulated, examined them with my mind, and well-penetrated them in terms of my views, or not?” (Otherwise, there will be those who will say to him: “Please, sir, master what has been handed down.”)

5) “Have both Pāṭimokkhas, in detail, been properly handed down to me, properly explicated; properly ‘revolved’ (in terms of the ‘wheels’); properly judged, clause by clause, letter by letter?” (Otherwise, there will be those who will say to him: “Please, sir, master the Vinaya.”)—Cv.IX.5.1

Five qualities to establish in oneself before leveling a charge:

1) “I will speak at the right time, not at the wrong time.” [C: “the right time” = one on one; “the wrong time” = e.g., in the midst of the Community, in the midst of a group, in a lottery hall, in a conjey hall, in a sitting hall, on an alms path, when supporters are giving an invitation to request requisites.]

2) “I will say what is factual, not what is not factual.”

3) “I will speak gently, and not harshly.”

4) “I will say what is connected with the goal (or: the matter at hand), not what is unconnected to the goal (the matter at hand).”

5) “I will speak with an attitude of good will, and not with inner aversion.”—Cv.IX.5.2

If one does not follow these considerations, one will have need for remorse for having leveled a charge not in accordance with the Dhamma, and the accused will have no need for remorse.—Cv.IX.5.3-4

If one does follow these considerations, one will have no need for remorse for having leveled a charge not in accordance with the Dhamma, whereas the accused will have need for remorse.—Cv.IX.5.5-6

Five qualities to attend to inwardly when leveling a charge: compassion, seeking (the other’s) welfare, sympathy, removal of offenses, esteem for the Vinaya.—Cv.IX.5.7

Two qualities to remain established in when being charged: the truth and unprovocabilty.—Cv.IX.5.7

Canceling the Pāṭimokkha

“The Pāṭimokkha should not be listened to by a bhikkhu with an offense. Whoever should listen to it (when with an offense): an offense of wrong doing. I allow that when (a bhikkhu) with an offense listens to the Pāṭimokkha that his Pāṭimokkha be canceled (or: that the Pāṭimokkha be canceled for him).” Procedure and transaction statement (motion). (The note in BD is mistaken here.)—Cv.IX.2

“The Pāṭimokkha is not to be canceled without grounds, without reason, for bhikkhus who are pure and without offense. Whoever should cancel it: an offense of wrong doing.”—Cv.IX.3.1

Lists of cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are and are not in accordance with the Dhamma. When eliminating redundancies, the following lists remain:

“Which seven cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha are not in accordance with the Dhamma? The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) pārājika. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) saṅghādisesa. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) thullaccaya. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) pācittiya. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) pāṭidesanīya. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) dukkaṭa. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of a) dubbhāsita. These are seven cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are not in accordance with the Dhamma.

“Which seven cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha are in accordance with the Dhamma? The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) pārājika. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) saṅghādisesa. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) thullaccaya. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) pācittiya. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) pāṭidesanīya. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) dukkaṭa. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of a) dubbhāsita. These are seven cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are in accordance with the Dhamma.

“Which eight cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha are not in accordance with the Dhamma? The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in virtue [a pārajika or saṅghādisesa offense—Mv.IV.16.12] that has not been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in virtue that has been done (by someone else). The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in conduct [a thullaccaya, a pācittiya, a pāṭidesanīya, a dukkaṭa, or a dubbhāsita offense—Mv.IV.16.12] that has not been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in conduct that has been done (by someone else). The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in view [a wrong view or a view holding to an extreme—Mv.IV.16.12] that has not been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in view that has been done (by someone else). The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in livelihood that has not been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on an unfounded (charge of) a defect in livelihood that has been done (by someone else). These are eight cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are not in accordance with the Dhamma.

“Which eight cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha are in accordance with the Dhamma? The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in virtue that has not (in fact) been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in virtue that has been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in conduct that has not (in fact) been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in conduct that has been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in view that has not (in fact) been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in view that has been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in livelihood that has not (in fact) been done. The Pāṭimokkha is canceled on a founded (charge of) a defect in livelihood that has been done. These are eight cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are in accordance with the Dhamma.

“Which ten cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha are not in accordance with the Dhamma?

1) One who has committed a pārājika is not sitting in that assembly.

2) Discussion of pārājika offenses has not been brought to a

conclusion.

3) One who has renounced the training is not sitting in that assembly.

4) Discussion of the renouncing of the training has not been brought to a conclusion.

5) He has gone along with (a transaction that is) in accordance with the Dhamma and united.

6) He has not raised an objection to (a transaction that is) in accordance with the Dhamma and united.

7) Discussion of raising objections to (a transaction that is) in accordance with the Dhamma and united has not been brought to a conclusion.

8) He is not seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in his virtue.

9) He is not seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in his conduct.

10) He is not seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in his views.

These are ten cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are not in accordance with the Dhamma.

“Which ten cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha are in accordance with the Dhamma?

1) One who has committed a pārājika is sitting in that assembly.

2) Discussion of pārājika offenses has been brought to a conclusion.

3) One who has renounced the training is sitting in that assembly.

4) Discussion of the renouncing of the training has been brought to a conclusion.

5) He has not gone along with (a transaction that is) in accordance with the Dhamma and united.

6) He has raised an objection to (a transaction that is) in accordance with the Dhamma and united.

7) Discussion of raising objections to (a transaction that is) in accordance with the Dhamma and united has been brought to a conclusion.

8) He is seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in his virtue.

9) He is seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in his conduct.

10) He is seen, heard, or suspected to be defective in his views.

These are ten cancelations of the Pāṭimokkha that are in accordance with the Dhamma.”—Cv.IX.3.3

An explanation of the above: For example, “one who has committed a pārājika is sitting in that assembly”—

Bhikkhu X either sees Bhikkhu Y acting in a way that looks like a pārājika; or someone else tells him that Y has committed a pārājika; or Y himself tells him that he (Y) has committed a pārājika. If X so desires, he may announce this fact in the midst of the assembly and cancel the Pāṭimokkha for Y. If for any of the ten obstructions the meeting is interrupted, then X may bring up the matter again, either there or in another Community in Y’s presence, to have the matter investigated. If he doesn’t succeed in having it investigated, he may cancel the Pāṭimokkha for Y again.—Cv.IX.3.4

Similarly for the rest of the ten reasons given above—Cv.IX.3.5-9