Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.
thomaslaw
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by thomaslaw »

Dear Dhamma friends,

Teaching the Vinaya obviously involves ‘recitation’ of the words/texts of the Patimokkha, which is the core content of the Vinaya. Should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s)? Or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?

Thanks
User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

There are no secrets in Theravada, no secrets about what bhikkhus do.
Why would anyone want to keep teachings secret from laypeople?
Laypeople are even allowed to listen to the monks doing their patimokka, as long as they're outside the sima boundary.
I put the question back to you Thomaslaw, why would you want to suppress the word of the Buddha?
User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 11957
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by DooDoot »

Since much of the Vinaya is about how the bhikkhus must behave towards the laity then naturally it should be known by the laity.

For example, if monks said to ladies "if you have sex with a monk like me you will be reborn in heaven", ladies without basic knowledge of Vinaya would not know this is wrong and would not know as soon as a monk has sex he is no longer a monk. Therefore, there can be no such thing as a monk having sex with a lady.

If laypeople did not know of Vinaya, it would end up like the sexual misconduct in Mahayana. :? :x :(
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati
dharmacorps
Posts: 1643
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by dharmacorps »

Kind of a moot point since the vinaya and patimokkha is already accessible to lay people and monks. Secrecy in spirituality invariably seems to lead to major problems. It is the wisdom of the Buddha that the dhamma is taught with open hand, not closed fist.
User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

thomaslaw wrote: Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:17 am ...Should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s)? Or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?
Thomas, I'm still interested in why you think it should be kept to monastics only?
SarathW
Posts: 16983
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by SarathW »

The secrets damage any establishment in long run.
It is better to bring problems to the surface and resolve as it comes, which make the establishment stronger.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
thomaslaw
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by thomaslaw »

According to the Uposathakkhandhaka (sections 16.8 and 36) in the Pali Vinaya, the Buddha, without giving any reasons, simply does not allow Bhikkhus to recite Patimokkha with laypeople, non-Bhikkhus. If not following this rule, the monk has committed a "dukkata" (wrong/evil action).

Also, only in the Uposatha day, Bhikkhus are allowed to recite Patimokkha. Both Patimokkha and Uposatha are closely connected in practice and in teaching. So, in this case, laypeople, non-Bhikkhus, are simply unable to know about Patimokkha (a core content of the Vinaya) before they being accepted as Bhikkhus in the Sangha.

In reality, no one is able to stop laity, non-Bhikkhus, to read or study the Vinaya Pitaka. Everyone can read and study the text. This is not the issue of education. The Theravada tradition is based mainly on the Pali, which is not their language at all. They certainly need to study the Pali text, not just recitation or chanting.

But in the Buddhist religious practice, as mentioned above, the Buddha, without giving any reasons, simply does not allow Bhikkhus to recite Patimokkha with laypeople, non-Bhikkhus. Only in the Uposatha day, Bhikkhus are allowed to recite Patimokkha.

It is clear that recitation of Patimokkha is not just ritual practice; it refers also to teaching and practicing the Patimokkha. When teaching the Patimokkha to laypeople, non-Bhikkhus, it naturally has to recite and explain the words/texts of the Patimokkha.

So, should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s)? Or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?
User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

thomaslaw wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:04 am According to the Uposathakkhandhaka (sections 16.8 and 36) in the Pali Vinaya, the Buddha, without giving any reasons, simply does not allow Bhikkhus to recite Patimokkha with laypeople, non-Bhikkhus. If not following this rule, the monk has committed a "dukkata" (wrong/evil action).
No, recite with means the bhikkhu and the laypeople say it at the same time, or the bhikkhu says it and the laypeople say it afterwards, call and respond. Teaching the suttas or patimokkha is fine, as long as the bhikkhu doesnt recite with. Otherwise all teaching of suttas would be forbidden. It's the same rule about not reciting together.
This is from my vinaya classes when I was a bhikkhu, and from the Buddhist Monastic Code by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Also, only in the Uposatha day, Bhikkhus are allowed to recite Patimokkha.
No, they can recite it any time they like, and do practise it, memorize it, rehearsing their speed and pronunciation for the uposatha when they do it with the community of monks. The rule saying it can only be recited at the uposatha refers to the offical, formal recitation at the sangha meeting.

Your understanding is slightly mistaken, you have done a lot of good reading, but not understood how the words are applied properly in monastic life.
thomaslaw
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by thomaslaw »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:38 am
thomaslaw wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:04 am According to the Uposathakkhandhaka (sections 16.8 and 36) in the Pali Vinaya, the Buddha, without giving any reasons, simply does not allow Bhikkhus to recite Patimokkha with laypeople, non-Bhikkhus. If not following this rule, the monk has committed a "dukkata" (wrong/evil action).
No, recite with means the bhikkhu and the laypeople say it at the same time, or the bhikkhu says it and the laypeople say it afterwards, call and respond. Teaching the suttas or patimokkha is fine, as long as the bhikkhu doesnt recite with. Otherwise all teaching of suttas would be forbidden. It's the same rule about not reciting together.
This is from my vinaya classes when I was a bhikkhu, and from the Buddhist Monastic Code by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Also, only in the Uposatha day, Bhikkhus are allowed to recite Patimokkha.
No, they can recite it any time they like, and do practise it, memorize it, rehearsing their speed and pronunciation for the uposatha when they do it with the community of monks. The rule saying it can only be recited at the uposatha refers to the offical, formal recitation at the sangha meeting.

Your understanding is slightly mistaken, you have done a lot of good reading, but not understood how the words are applied properly in monastic life.
So, should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s)?
Or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?
User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

thomaslaw wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:45 am
So, should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s)?
Or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?
In answer to your question: yes Vinaya can be taught to laypeople.
All rules are allowed to be taught openly to the laity. There are no secret rules.
My knowledge and experience of the vinaya comes from 6 years of weekly vinaya classes, and three years as an ordained monk.

If you meet any bhikkhu who says otherwise, then it's probably just their personal preference not to talk about or teach it. I've met one who was like that, I think he was embarrassed to talk about it, especially the rules about masturbation and sex.
SarathW
Posts: 16983
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by SarathW »

Do you read the whole Vinaya Pitaka on uposatha days?
How long it will take to read it?
Do you re-read all the 227 rules?
Is there a document that exactly they recite?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
thomaslaw
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by thomaslaw »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:00 am
thomaslaw wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:45 am
So, should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s)?
Or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?
In answer to your question: yes Vinaya can be taught to laypeople.
All rules are allowed to be taught openly to the laity. There are no secret rules.
Is this your personal view, or according to the traditional Theravada teaching?
User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

thomaslaw wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:11 am Is this your personal view, or according to the traditional Theravada teaching?
This is not my personal view, it is the position set forth in the vināya. The vināya is and must be the foundation of any Theravada bhikkhus behavior.
Ignorant or uneducated bhikkhus can unfortunately rely on hearsay and tradition, and this is the case in some village Wats in Thailand and Burma.
User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 1570
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

SarathW wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 2:10 am Do you read the whole Vinaya Pitaka on uposatha days?
No, that's hundreds of pages. Like a whole big book or more. Not including the ancient commentaries and explanations, which run to thousands of pages!
How long it will take to read it?
Here is full audio of a monk who does it in 34 minutes. That's fast! https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi ... a_Pali.ogg

Do you re-read all the 227 rules?
Is there a document that exactly they recite?
Fastest I've seen is a little less than an hour, slowest is about 2 hours. by a new reciter.
One monk with a good memory recites it all from memory, while another monk sits reading silently along and corrects the reciter if he misses a word or gets lost. The rest of us sit within arm's length, and listen and remember each rules as we go.
The document recited is attached, I'll attach the Bhikkhuni patimokkas. The bhikkhus have a little yellow book with it all there and nothing else, and I can't find that online. Any monastery should have it, if there's a bhikkhu who speaks ony english .
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B66vO0 ... p=drivesdk
thomaslaw
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

Re: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity?

Post by thomaslaw »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:24 am
thomaslaw wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:11 am Is this your personal view, or according to the traditional Theravada teaching?
This is not my personal view, it is the position set forth in the vināya. The vināya is and must be the foundation of any Theravada bhikkhus behavior.
Ignorant or uneducated bhikkhus can unfortunately rely on hearsay and tradition, and this is the case in some village Wats in Thailand and Burma.
Note: The position in the Vinaya (textual studies) and in the Theravada traditions (in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka etc.) is not always or necessarily the same position of interpretations or viewpoints.

E.g. in here you say the other side as: "... Ignorant or uneducated bhikkhus can unfortunately rely on hearsay and tradition, and this is the case in some village Wats in Thailand and Burma".

And my view on the Vinaya is obviously rejected by you.

I am interested in the traditional Theravada teaching regarding: Should the Vinaya (Patimokkha) be kept secret from the laity? Should the Vinaya be taught to lay people, non-Bhikkhus, by Bhikkhus/monastics, according to the Theravada tradition (s), or just only certain rules (?) are allowed to teach openly to the laity?
Post Reply