I've just been doing some reading of the monastic practice of the Patimokka recital and have some questions about how it actually works in practice. Across the various Vinaya texts that evolved over time, there are two key requirements that appear to be somewhat at cross purposes. These are the requirements that:
- All monks are to engage in the fortnightly Patimokkha recital
- Only those monks who are pure of conduct can attend the Patimokkha recital
It appears that the second requirement may be managed through a private confession to another bhikkhu prior to the official ceremony, so that any misdemeanours are already confessed and remedied previously, prior to the formal session.
In summary that's how I understand it, but I have no doubt that it varies significantly between communities, let alone across countries, and that different communities will place different emphasis on different things, and place different emphasis on the "earlier" or "latter" developments (in relation to the two requirements stated above the first appears to be earlier than the second).
So... a couple of questions to anyone here who has participated in a Patimokkha ceremony...
- Were offenses confessed at, or prior to the formal Patimokkha recital?
- What has been your experience of Patimokkha recitals generally, and how have they differed amongst different communities?
Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences and insights.