How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

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How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby Tex » Fri May 01, 2009 6:48 pm

I'm curious how monks in countries without large lay Buddhist populations, like the U.S. or England, obtain their food, lodging, clothing, and medicine? I'm sure a lot is donated, but I would imagine daily alms rounds would be difficult?
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby gavesako » Fri May 01, 2009 6:55 pm

Here is a proof that (almost) daily almsround works in the West (Germany):

http://picasaweb.google.com/muttodaya/P ... mosengang#
http://picasaweb.google.com/muttodaya/E ... owNov2008#

Other food & requisites are brought to the monastery by laypeople on the weekends, there is usually a list of things that are needed.
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby pink_trike » Fri May 01, 2009 7:13 pm

Abhayagiri monastery monks walk alms rounds in Ukiah, California:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= ... N%26um%3D1
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 01, 2009 7:20 pm

At one of the temples here in Las Vegas, families 'sign-up' for certain days of the month. For example, one family might sign-up for the 5th of the month and then on the 5th of each month, that family will be responsible for providing the monks with the lunch dana.

But as it turns out with many women and men both with careers, some days are empty with no family signed up for lunch dana. On those days, the monks take their cash donations, go to the grocery store, purchase food items, return and cook the food themselves.
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby cooran » Fri May 01, 2009 8:48 pm

Hello David,

But as it turns out with many women and men both with careers, some days are empty with no family signed up for lunch dana. On those days, the monks take their cash donations, go to the grocery store, purchase food items, return and cook the food themselves.
:o Isn't this a breach of the Vinaya ... monks handling money, shopping and choosing food?

At Dhammagiri, Brisbane, we have a roster - and with only a small group of lay persons manage to cover the daily dana of a nutritious meal for our ordained. We are present for an Alms round on the monastery grounds - it is in the forest about 40 minutes drive from Brisbane. We have an emergency roster in case of sickness.
Once, when a new monk was travelling from Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in the U.K. to Dhammagiri, Queensland - his plane was held over in Dubai past the allowable time to eat - so he didn't. Missing one meal isn't a catastrophe.

metta
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby pink_trike » Fri May 01, 2009 8:54 pm

Chris wrote:Hello David,
Isn't this a breach of the Vinaya ... monks handling money, shopping and choosing food?

Better fed than dead.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 01, 2009 8:58 pm

Greetings,

Yes, it seems to be rostered or planned in advance at the Melbourne-based Sri Lankan vihara that I've been to before.

With this advance planning, they're even going to bring me food whilst I stay there for a few days later in May. :thumbsup:

Very beneficial for me of course, though the merits obtained by the donors based on the quality of the recipient might be a bit dubious 8-)

Metta,
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby appicchato » Fri May 01, 2009 9:00 pm

Chris wrote:...monks handling money, shopping and choosing food?

Although the quote alludes to this being the case, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is...
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 01, 2009 9:03 pm

Greetings bhante,

Do you mean if they have an assistant taking care of the actual transactions etc.?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 01, 2009 9:10 pm

Chris wrote:Isn't this a breach of the Vinaya ... monks handling money, shopping and choosing food?

It could be, but sometimes it is more than one day without a family on the roster, so . . . they have to eat.

Apparently it is quite common for monks to have money and some even have bank accounts. I agree it could be a violation of the Vinaya, but these are difficult times (when in a non-Buddhist country) and some concessions may be necessary for catching a bus or other small incidentals.

The Sri Lankan monks seem to be the most 'flexible' (for lack of a better term) and also store some food in the refrigerators. That way if there is no family on the roster for just one day, they might just eat the left-overs instead of purchasing and making new food.

Also, sometimes, a lay person will make the actual purchases or a lay person may even make the food, but store it in the refrigerator for re-heating at another day.
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby cooran » Fri May 01, 2009 9:30 pm

Hello all,

Most of the lay supporters at Dhammagiri are of Sri Lankan background. They are fastidious in assisting monks in their adherence to the Vinaya. All dana not eaten at the meal is taken home by the lay supporters. Ven. Dhammasiha, the Abbot, strictly observes the rules set down by the Buddha. Allowable drinks and medicines are kept at the Monastery. Breakfast cereals are stored by the lay people on the property, and someone is there to present these at 6.15 a.m. (approx) each day.

Actually fijinut lived there for some weeks, so he may be able to give an opinion and correct any inaccuracies in my understanding of the daily routines.

metta
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby appicchato » Sat May 02, 2009 8:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Do you mean if they have an assistant taking care of the actual transactions etc.?

Yes...a steward, or lay follower...
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby zavk » Sat May 02, 2009 9:45 am

appicchato wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Do you mean if they have an assistant taking care of the actual transactions etc.?

Yes...a steward, or lay follower...


Dear Bhante,

How common is this? I ask because in Thailand and Cambodia, I've seen many lay people give money to monks on the alms round. And I'm pretty sure I've seen them handling money too. As David mentions, I was under the impression that it is not uncommon for members of the Sangha to handle money these days, if only for bare necessities.

Thanks,
zavk

EDIT: Actually, I'm not sure if I've seen in it Thailand but I'm sure I've seen it in Cambodia.
Last edited by zavk on Sat May 02, 2009 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby gavesako » Sat May 02, 2009 9:54 am

What is allowed by Vinaya is something called "meal by ticket", so if someone gives a monk a meal voucher that they can use in a cafe or takeaway, that would be OK.
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby appicchato » Sat May 02, 2009 10:22 am

zavk wrote:How common is this? I ask because in Thailand and Cambodia, I've seen many lay people give money to monks on the alms round. And I'm pretty sure I've seen them handling money too. As David mentions, I was under the impression that it is not uncommon for members of the Sangha to handle money these days, if only for bare necessities.

Hi zavk,

In Thailand most monks, for good, or not, use money...lay people, on a regular basis, do give envelopes, with cash, to monks...and in some places, though not often, people put notes right on the rice in one's bowl...

As far as 'How common is this?', although I have been to many, but not every, wat (in excess of 30,000 I've heard) , I've yet to see a steward, though they must be out there somewhere...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby forestmat » Sat May 02, 2009 10:57 am

I think at a pinch, a novice (samanera) could do the cooking.

But the samanera can't pop down to the local shops to buy it, because of the 10th precept:

Jatarupa-rajata-patiggahana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from accepting gold and silver (money).

As regards fully ordained monks using money to buy food and then cooking it, IMHO I believe it would be considered as a breach of the vinaya.

Money and monks. How often have I heard this come up in a forum. :stirthepot:

And it usually results in someone trying to give a valid explanation as to why they think it is acceptable to bend the rules.

Anyway, Just my one baht's worth.

Metta

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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby Ben » Sat May 02, 2009 11:37 am

Hi Chris

So how is it going providing lunch dana to the monks at Dhammagiri? How is the cooking going?
Please let me know if you need any more recipes.
Metta

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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby gavesako » Sat May 02, 2009 11:51 am

Monks were allowed to store food indoors and cook it themselves during the time of famine. Later the allowance was rescinded again by the Buddha. Some people could argue that living in unfriendly non-Buddhist environments where almsfood is hard to obtain could count as "time of famine".
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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby forestmat » Sat May 02, 2009 12:05 pm

Monks were allowed to store food indoors and cook it themselves during the time of famine. Later the allowance was rescinded again by the Buddha.


Namassakarn Tahn Ajahn Gavesako,

May I respectfully ask where I might find this in the teachings. I have never come across it before.

With many thanks

Metta

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Re: How do monks in non-Buddhist countries obtain food, etc?

Postby Dhammanando » Sat May 02, 2009 12:36 pm

forestmat wrote:May I respectfully ask where I might find this in the teachings. I have never come across it before.


It's one of several special food allowances that apply in times of famine. They are all from the Mahavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka. Translations of the relevant passages can be found in Book II ch. 4 of Ven. Thanissaro's Monastic Code.

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