Get Pr%C4%81timok%E1%B9%A3a essential facts below. View Videos or join the Pr%C4%81timok%E1%B9%A3a discussion. Add Pr%C4%81timok%E1%B9%A3a to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.

The Pratimok?a (Sanskrit: , romanizedpr?timok?a) is a list of rules (contained within the vinaya) governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics (monks or bhik?us and nuns or bhik?us). Prati means "towards" and mok?a means "liberation" from cyclic existence (sa?s?ra).

It became customary to recite these rules once a fortnight at a meeting of the sangha during which confession would traditionally take place. A number of pr?timok?a codes are extant, including those contained in the Therav?da, Mah?sghika, Mahsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Sarv?stiv?da and M?lasarv?stiv?da vinayas.[1] Pratimok?a texts may also circulate in separate pratimok?a s?tras, which are extracts from their respective vinayas.


The Pratimok?a belongs to the Vinaya of the Buddhist doctrine and is seen as the very basis of Buddhism. On the basis of the Pr?timok?a there exist in Mahayana Buddhism two additional set of vows: The Bodhisattva vows and the Vajrayana vows. If these two sets of vows are not broken, they are regarded as carrying over to future lives.


The Pratimok?a is traditionally a section of the Vinaya. The Theravada Vinaya is preserved in the P?li Canon in the Vinaya Pi?aka. The M?lasarv?stiv?da Vinaya is preserved in both the Tibetan Buddhist canon in the Kangyur, in a Chinese edition, and in an incomplete Sanskrit manuscript. Some other complete Vinaya texts are preserved in the Chinese Buddhist canon (see: Taish? Tripi?aka), and these include:

  • Mahsaka Vinaya (T. 1421)
  • Mah?sghika Vinaya (T. 1425)
  • Dharmaguptaka Vinaya (T. 1428)
  • Sarv?stiv?da Vinaya (T. 1435)
  • M?lasarv?stiv?da Vinaya (T. 1442)

Pratimok?a in Buddhist traditions

Indian Buddhism

The Dharmaguptaka sect are known to have rejected the authority of the Sarv?stiv?da pratimok?a rules on the grounds that the original teachings of the Buddha had been lost.[2]

Theravada Buddhism

The Patimokkha is the Pali equivalent of Pratimok?a (Sanskrit). It is being followed by the monks of the Theravada lineage (Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos). It consists of 227 rules for fully ordained monks (bhikkhus) and 311 for nuns (bhikkhunis). The Patimokkha is contained in the Suttavibhanga, a division of the Vinaya Pitaka.

East Asian Buddhism

Buddhist traditions in East Asia typically follow the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya lineage of the pratimok?a, and this is standard for the following Buddhist traditions:

Some traditions of Buddhism in Japan and Korea also carry out full monastic ordination, but most do not. Instead, these traditions have priests and monastics who take the Bodhisattva Precepts instead of the traditional pratimok?a vows.

Tibetan Buddhism

The pratimok?a of the Mulasarvastivada lineage followed in Tibetan Buddhism is taken for life unless one or more of the four root vows are broken. In Tibetan Buddhism, there are eight types of Pratimok?a vows:

Vows for laity

  • Fasting Vows (Upavasa, nyungne) — 8 vows
  • Layperson's Vows (skt. Up?saka and Up?sik?, genyen) — 5 vows

The lay pratimok?a consists of five vows that are also known as the Five las:

  1. To refrain from killing.
  2. To refrain from stealing.
  3. To refrain from false speech.
  4. To refrain from sexual misconduct.
  5. To refrain from using intoxicants.

One is not obliged to take all five vows. The commentaries describe seven types of lay followers:

  1. Promising to keep just one vow.
  2. Promising to keep certain vows.
  3. Promising to keep most of them.
  4. Promising to keep all five.
  5. Keeping all five and also promising to keep the pure conduct of avoiding sexual contact.
  6. Keeping all five, pure conduct, and wearing robes with the promise to behave like a monk or a nun.
  7. Lay follower of mere refuge. This person is unable to keep the vows but he promises to go for refuge to the triple gem until death.

Vows for monastics

  1. Novices' Vows (?r?ma?era getsul; ?r?ma?er?, getsulma) — 36 vows
  2. Full Nun's Vows (bhik?uni, gelongma) — 364 vows
  3. Full Monk's Vows (bhik?u, gelong) — 253 vows

Only full monks and full nuns are seen as full members of the Buddhist monastic order. A group of four fully ordained monastics is seen as a sangha. The pr?timok?a tells also how to purify faults, how to solve conflicts, and deal with various situations which can happen in the sangha.

See also


Indian Buddhism

  • Prebish, Charles S. (1996). Buddhist monastic discipline : the Sanskrit Pr?timoks? S?tras of the Mah?s?mg?hikas and M?lasarv?stiv?dins. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1339-1.

Tibetan Buddhism

  • Novice Vows: Lama Mipham's commentary to Nagarjunas "Stanzas for a Novice Monk" together with "Essence of the ocean of Vinaya" by Tsongkhapa ISBN 81-86470-15-8 (LTWA India)
  • Full Monk Vows: "Advice from Buddha Sahkyamuni" by HH the 14th Dalai Lama, ISBN 81-86470-07-7 (LTWA India)
  • Complete Explanation of the Pratimok?a, Bodhisattva and Vajrayana Vows: "Buddhist Ethics" (Treasury of Knowledge: Book Five), Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, ISBN 1-55939-191-X, Snow Lion Publications
  • Monastic Rites by Geshe Jampa Thegchok, Wisdom Books, ISBN 0-86171-237-4
  • Ngari Panchen: Perfect Conduct: Ascertaining the Three Vows, Wisdom Publication, ISBN 0-86171-083-5 (Commentary on the three sets of vows by Dudjom Rinpoche)


  1. ^ Keown, Damien. Dictionary of Buddhism. 2003. p. 220
  2. ^ Baruah, Bibhuti. Buddhist Sects and Sectarianism. 2008. p. 52

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes