Yesterday, I recited the 227 rules of the Pātimokkha for 110 bhikkhus at Pa-Auk Meditation Center in Pyin Oo Lwin. When a monk recites the Pātimokkha, traditionally he does so by memory and not by reading. My recitation was not the best quality, but it was not so bad considering I only started when I was 47, and I have only done this 5 times now. However, the recitations get better and better each time I do it and I hope improvement continues until perfection.
According to tradition, every monk should learn to memorize the Pātimokkha before he is five years old (in monk years). However, only a small percentage of monks are capable of doing this, especially from foreigner monks.
I have written several posts on performing or leaning the Pātimokkha as well as memorizing Pāḷi. In short, it takes an average person 3 months to learn the Pātimokkha by heart with 2 hours per day preparation. It took me a little longer than that, plus an extra month to be “fluent” for a public recitation. I also needed a lot of time for reviewing because I was out of practice. I’m not the sharpest knife in the kitchen, but I can make the cut.
To chant the entire catalog of 227 rules in the Pāḷi Language, it takes an average 45-55 minutes to complete with the full Pāḷi/English introduction (Pubbakaraṇa). Furthermore, one is chanting very very fast to do this in that time range. What does “very fast” sound like? It sounds similar to the speeds of the fine print being read at the end of car lease commercials. Samples are below:
Here is what 30 seconds looks like (with sound). You might need headphones to actually hear it.
The full text can be found here:
Below is the whole thing in audio. Feel free to jump around to different parts of the audio to understand what it is about. The first 4 minutes are both Pāḷi and English while the remainder is in Pāḷi only. If you have no social life, feel free to listen to the whole thing. If you like it, consider becoming a monk or nun 😊 :