Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby David2 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:01 pm

Hello friends,

Are monks allowed to shower with warm water?
Or do they have to use cold water? I mean, showering with warm water is feeding your ego like sleeping in a very comfortable bed, isn't it? (Or at least has the tendency to do so?)

Maybe they are not allowed to shower at all, just to wash?
David2
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:09 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:18 pm

An interesting question.

I'm guessing that hot showers or even hot baths didn't exist over 2600 years ago, except possibly as an infrequent treat for the richest of royalty. I've seen some histories of tea that indicate that the use of tea may not have made it to India by the Buddha's time. I wonder if it had, if it would have been included among the intoxicants Buddhists try to avoid.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:33 pm

Hello all,

Buddha didn't encourage ascetic practices like cold baths in winter.
Hot baths have existed for many thousand years.

Read ch. 14 from No. 3 onwards:
VINAYA TEXTS translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe20/sbe20029.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7763
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:21 pm

Rahula wrote:I mean, showering with warm water is feeding your ego like sleeping in a very comfortable bed, isn't it? (Or at least has the tendency to do so?)


Why?

In a cold climate I'd say the shock of a cold shower has the potential to bring on sickness.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 2030
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby altar » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:37 pm

i think its a good question...
i think its discouraged to take indulgent showers, and probably counter to the path and striving to take hot showers everyday, but i think there comes a point when one stops wanting these things.
In my own experience, showering and waiting for desire to go away by itself while still enjoying the sensual heat drops doesn't work. It goes hand in hand with turning the heat down, I think, and one could speculate similarly about the duration of the shower itself. But sometimes its relaxing. I think its like a wise moderation kind of thing.
User avatar
altar
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:24 pm
Location: Monterey, MA

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby adeh » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:47 pm

57. Should any bhikkhu bathe at intervals of less than half a month, except at the proper occasions, it is to be confessed. Here the proper occasions are these: the last month and a half of the hot season, the first month of the rains, these two and a half months being a time of heat, a time of fever; (also) a time of illness; a time of work; a time of going on a journey; a time of wind or rain. These are the proper occasions here.
Patimokkha, chapter VIII:6

Bathing. Although Pc 57 forbids a bhikkhu from bathing at intervals of less than half a month, we noted in the discussion of that rule that it was apparently intended as a temporary disciplinary measure for bhikkhus who had inconvenienced King Bimbisāra when he wanted to bathe in the hot spring near Rājagaha. When the Buddha later added exemptions to the rule, he so relaxed it that he virtually rescinded it. In addition, Mv.V.13 explicitly rescinds the rule in all parts of the world outside of the central Ganges Valley.

In the time of the Buddha, bathing was done in a river, a bathing tank, a sauna, or a showering place. Instead of soap, people used an unscented powder called chunam, which was kneaded with water into a dough-like paste. Bhikkhus are explicitly allowed to use powdered dung, clay, or dye-dregs; according to the Commentary, ordinary chunam would come under "dye-dregs." A bhikkhu with an itching rash, a small boil, or a running sore, or whose body smells bad (in the words of the Commentary, "with a body odor like that of a horse") may use scented fragrant powders. At present, the Great Standards would allow soap under the allowance for clay, and scented soaps or deodorants under the allowance for scented powders for a bhikkhu with a strong body odor. Otherwise, the use of scents is listed among the bad habits prohibited by Cv.V.36 (see Chapter 10).

The etiquette when bathing in a group is that a junior bhikkhu should not bathe in front of an elder bhikkhu or, if bathing in a river, upstream from him. If one is able and willing (and, of course, if the elder bhikkhus are amenable), one may look after the needs of elder bhikkhus while they are bathing. An example of this, given in the Commentary, is scrubbing them. When scrubbing another or oneself, one may use one's hand or a rope or pad of cloth. Sponges, which apparently were not known in the time of the Buddha, would probably be included under pad of cloth.

One is not allowed to rub one's body with a wooden hand, a string of red powder beads — according to the Commentary, this means bathing powder mixed with powdered stone (cinnabar?) and formed into beads — or with a scrubber incised with a "dragon-teeth" pattern. A bhikkhu who is ill, however, may use an unincised scrubber. In the time of the Buddha, young men while bathing would rub their bodies against trees, against walls, against one another (this was called a "fully immersed massage"), or against rubbing posts (aṭṭhāna, which according to the Commentary, took their name from their being incised with a pattern like a chess board (aṭṭhapada)) in order to toughen their muscles. Bhikkhus are explicitly forbidden from rubbing their bodies in any of these ways. However, they are allowed to massage themselves and one another with their hands.

In another context — cleaning one's feet before entering a dwelling — one is allowed to step on foot wipers made of stone, stone fragments, and pumice ("sea-foam stone"), so it would seem reasonable that the use of pumice or other stones to scrub off stubborn dirt while bathing would also be permitted.

When leaving the water after bathing, one should make way for those entering the water.

One is allowed to dry oneself with a water wiper — which the non-offense clauses for Pc 86 say may be made of ivory, horn, or wood — or with a piece of cloth.
Source: Access to Insight.
User avatar
adeh
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Mexico City

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:11 am

I don't know. When I think of the attachments that cause the most misery in life or things that give people a big head, enjoying a daily shower usually doesn't make it on the list.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Are monks allowed to take a warm shower?

Postby adeh » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:07 am

Jhana4 wrote:I don't know. When I think of the attachments that cause the most misery in life or things that give people a big head, enjoying a daily shower usually doesn't make it on the list.

Agreed....it's not even really a matter of daily enjoyment...more a matter of personal hygiene ....
User avatar
adeh
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Mexico City


Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests