Buddha Himself first laid down the rules of monastic discipline
governing the Order. They were then recorded in the books of disciplinary
rules called the Vinaya. A disciplinary code called the
Patimokkha was also compiled in order to regulate the day-to-day
conduct of the members of the Order. This code listed various
offences and their penalties. The members of the Order recite
it today during their assemblies on the new moon and full moon
days of each month. This regular recitation of the code is to
remind them of the rules of discipline and to give each one an
opportunity to openly declare his breaking of any rule.
are more than two hundred and twenty-seven rules governing the
conduct of members of the Order. The first four rules are the
most important and they concern the refraining from:
(3) taking of a human life;
(4) false proclamation of miraculous powers.
any one of these rules will result in expulsion from the Order.
of the other rules concern the social conduct of the members of
the Order, both within the monastic community and towards the
lay community. Rules concerning the acquisition and use of basic
necessities such as dwelling places, food, clothing and medicine
are also included. These rules help members of the Order to avoid
harming others, to practise moderation and purify their minds,
thus creating conditions favourable for the practice of the Teaching.
For the members of the Order, moderation in eating, living in
a secluded dwelling and the practice of meditation are the most