inserted in its entirety into the first part of the Vinaya, the Vibhanga.
The Pâtimokkha — the meaning of the name will be discussed later on — seems to have owed its existence to the ancient Indian custom of holding sacred two periods in each month, the times of the Full Moon and of the New Moon.
The Vedic ceremonies of the Dar^apur;/amdsa sacrifice, and of the feast or sacred day (Upavasatha) connected with it, are known to have been very old, and the custom of celebrating these days would naturally be handed on from the Brdhmans to the different Samanas, and be modified and simplified (though, as it seems, sometimes increased in number) by them, in accordance with their creeds and their views of religious duty. According to Buddhist tradition — and we see no sufficient reason for doubting the correctness of the account — the monks of other, that is, of non-Buddhistic sects, used to meet together at the middle and at the close of every half-month, and were accustomed then to proclaim their new teaching in public. At such times the people would crowd together; and the different sects found an opportunity of increasing their numbers and their influence.
The Buddhists also adopted the custom of these periodical meetings, but confined themselves to meeting twice in each month. And the peculiarity which gave to these meetings among the Buddhists their distinguishing character seems to have been borrowed by them neither from the Brihmans nor from other dissenters, but to have been an original invention of the Buddhists themselves. The Brethren and Sisters made use of these half-monthly gatherings to confess to the assembled Order the sins and faults which each of them had committed; and to take upon himself, or herself, the penance which the transgressor had thereby incurred. It would be unnecessary to dwell here upon the details of these penitential meetings, as we can
- The opening sentence only is found in the Mahâvagga. See below, p. xv.
- Mahâvagga II, 1, 1.
- Ibid. II, 4, 2.