The chapter on confession (pācittiya)

Monks’ Confession 4: the training rule on memorizing the Teaching

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time the monks from the group of six were instructing lay followers to memorize the Teaching. Those lay followers became disrespectful, undeferential, and rude towards the monks.

The monks of few desires … complained and criticized them, “How can the monks from the group of six instruct lay followers to memorize the Teaching, those lay followers becoming disrespectful, undeferential, and rude towards the monks?”

After criticizing those monks in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, monks, that you do this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them, “… Foolish men, how can you instruct lay followers to memorize the Teaching, those lay followers becoming disrespectful, undeferential, and rude towards the monks? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it or increase the confidence of those who have it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk instructs a person who is not fully ordained to memorize the Teaching, he commits an offense entailing confession.’”

Definitions

A: whoever … Monk: … The monk who has been given the full ordination by a complete Order through a formal procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements that is unchallengeable and fit to stand—this sort of monk is meant in this case.

A person who is not fully ordained: anyone except a fully ordained monk and a fully ordained nun.

To memorize: a line, the next line, syllable by syllable, the next phrase.

A line: they start together and finish together. The next line: one of them starts, but they finish together. Syllable by syllable: when ‘rūpaṃ aniccaṃ’ is being said, he prompts him, saying, ‘.’ The next phrase: when ‘rūpaṃ aniccaṃ,’ is being said, the other says, ‘vedanā aniccā.’

And whatever line there is, whatever next line, whatever syllable by syllable, whatever next phrase— this is all called “to memorize the Teaching.”

The Teaching: what has been spoken by the Buddha, what has been spoken by disciples, what has been spoken by sages, what has been spoken by gods, what is connected with what is beneficial, what is connected with the Teaching.

Instructs: if he instructs by the line, then for every line he commits an offense entailing confession. If he instructs by the syllable, then for every syllable he commits an offense entailing confession.

Permutations

If it is a person who is not fully ordained, and the monk perceives them as not fully ordained, and he instructs them to memorize the Teaching, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is a person who is not fully ordained, but the monk is unsure of it, and he instructs them to memorize the Teaching, he commits an offense entailing confession. If it is a person who is not fully ordained, but the monk perceives them as fully ordained, and he instructs them to memorize the Teaching, he commits an offense entailing confession.

If it is a person who is fully ordained, but the monk perceives them as not fully ordained, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a person who is fully ordained, but the monk is unsure if they are, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is a person who is fully ordained, and the monk perceives them as fully ordained, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if he causes a recitation together; if they practice together; if he prompts one who is speaking a mostly familiar text; if he prompts one who is reciting; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The fourth rule, the training rule on memorizing the Teaching, is finished.