[Buddha-l] Origin of the confession ritual

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Mon Jun 15 09:42:03 MDT 2009

On Sun, Jun 14, 2009 at 4:01 AM, Jayarava<jayarava at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I recall reading that at the original full and half moon gatherings the monks and nuns just meditated, but that was boring for the lay people who expected some kind of spectacle from their ascetics, and so the Buddha instituted the patimokkha recitation. Is this just an urban legend or does it have a basis in fact? Is there a textual source for the story.

As I recall, it was not quite as you describe but very close. If my
(always unreliable but increasingly capricious as I age) memory serves
me well (which it doesn't at all), people from other organizations
made fun of the Buddhists for doing nothing on full moon and new moon
days. Always sensitive to how his community was perceived by
outsiders, the Buddha decided to have monks recite the patimokkha so
it would look as though they were doing something rather than just
sitting there.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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