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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE PRATIMOKSA (On the Basis of Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit and Pali Versions)

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE PRATIMOKSA (On the Basis of Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit and Pali Versions)
Item Code: IDC167
Author: W. PACHOW
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2000
ISBN: 8120815726
Pages: 256
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8" X 5.7"
About the Book:

The Pratimoksa is a code of Buddhist monastic disciplinary rules governing the daily conduct and decorum of bhiksus (monks). It was established by the Buddha on various occasions out of necessity. This work discusses the historical, cultural, religious and social issues in ancient India in relation to the rationale of formulating particular precepts. Depending on the special circumstances some of the rules may be enforced or suspended. On the basis of this code the Buddhist Sangha has the authority to impose punishment on the offender which ranges from expulsion to sanctions of probation, penance, forfeiture, repentance or confession. By effectively enforcing the code of Pratimoksa and observing the fortnightly recitation ceremony related to this text, the Sangha may attain the fruition of purity, harmony and spirutual liberation.

This study has made an extensive comparison of the various versions belonging to different Buddhist sects in Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese and Tibetan languages. As a sequel it reveals how in a period of several centuries this code had expanded from 218 rules of the Mahasanghikas to 263 of the Sarvastivadins. Viewing the text from the historical perspective one may better understand the significance of the legal, social and religious life of the Buddhist Sangha.

About the Author:

DR. W. PACHOW is Professor Emeritus of Asian Religious and Buddhist Studies at the University of lowa School of Religion, lowa City, lowa, U.S.A. Prior to this position he studied in China and India and taught at the Visvabharati University, Santiniketan, the University of Allahabad, India, and the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

Besides the present work on the Pratimoksa, he has the following publications to his credit:

  1. Comparative Studies in the Parinibbana Sutta and its Chinese Versions, Santiniketan, 1946;
  2. The Pratimoksa-Sutra of the Mahasanghikas, Allahabad, 1956;
  3. Chinese Buddhism: Aspects of Interaction and Reinterpretation, Washington, D.C., The University Press of America, 1980;
  4. An Anthology of Poetical Compositions from Tun-huang (in Chinese), Taiwan, 1965;
  5. The Best Short Stories of Tagore (in Chinese), Shanghai, 1946;
  6. A Translation of the Mahaparinibbana-Suttanta (in Chinese) Taipei, 1972;
  7. Pa- Chow Wen Tsun: The Collected Works of W. Pachow, Taipei, 1985;
  8. A Study of the Twenty-two Dialogues on Mahayana Buddhism (Enlarged edition), Taipei, 1992;
  9. A Study and Translation of the Milindapanha (in Chinese), Beijing, 1997.
In addition, he is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia of Britanica, Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, Dictionary of Ming Biography, Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions and many learned journals in Asia and America.



  1. The Meaning of Pratimoksa
  2. Number, date and authorship of the Pratimoksa Rules
  3. Pratimoksa and the Councils
  4. Text and the Schools
  5. Differences of Interpretation
  6. The Saiksa Dharmas
  7. Pratimoksa, its external influences and function
  8. Conclusion

Pratimoksa Sarvativada (Nidana)
  1. The Four Parajika Dharmas
  2. The Thirteen Samghavasesa Dharmas
  3. The Two Aniyata Dharmas
  4. The Thirty Nihsargika Patayantika Dharmas
  5. The Ninety Patayantika Dharmas
  6. The Four Pratidesaniya Dharmas
  7. The Sambahulah Saiksa Dharmas
  8. The Seven Adhikaranasamatha Dharmas
  9. Conclusion.

Appendix I: Classification of the Pratimoksa Rules of the Sarvastivadin School
Appendix II: Patayantika Rules not found in the Sv. but found in other Texts
Appendix III: Classification of the Saiksa Dharmas of the Sarvastivadin School
Appendix IV: Concordance Tables of the Pratimoksa Rules
Appendix V: The Pratimoksa and the Vinaya


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