Q: Monks & Bank Accounts

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Q: Monks & Bank Accounts

Postby Piers72 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:33 pm

Perhaps a few members of the Sangha can comment here or give advice/corrections to the following:

1) Can't remember who told me (could have been a monk himself a few years back when I stayed at Amaravati) that for someone considering joining the order, it's advisable that they don't shut down all avenues from their laylife for 5 years. I am presuming that this is because most monastics who disrobe do so in the first few years of mendicant life. (I don't know whether this is 5 years from higher ordination, or 5 years after starting the process in the West ie, 1 year Anagarika minimum, 1 year Samanera minimum).

2) This brings up another question about what the Western Sangha monks do in general about pensions or other assets or inheritance etc. that may come their way. If there's no bank account, how do they pass on these assets either to another relative or to a trust supporting any particular community?

3) On a more personal note. I am married (for 12 years) and considering my options. Slightly late in life perhaps for a Westerner, I don't know... I'm 41. I heard that in England they won't accept you into the order over the age of 45, or in WPN, Thailand after age 50.
But supposing I did ordain (with wife's approval) and kept my bank account (albeir empty and not in use) purely because I would wish her to receive the benefit of future state and private pensions. Is this allowed?
(By the way, I already gave her power of attorney a few years ago, because I was spending some time in Asia, and didn't want her to have any complications if I fell sick/injured etc about accessing any funds).

Thanks to anyone out there who can shed some light on this!
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Re: Q: Monks & Bank Accounts

Postby appicchato » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:56 pm

Unable to comment on matters in the Occident...in Thailand many monks (if not most) have bank accounts...also, in Thailand, excluding Western oriented temples (only two that I'm familiar with), the over fifty part doesn't apply...hope this helps a little...
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Re: Q: Monks & Bank Accounts

Postby melancholy » Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:40 am

hi Piers72,

imo, renunciation is renunciation. you can't do it half, it will become a temporary ordination/renunciation. i remember reading a sutta where lord buddha said such ordination is weak, i think the name of the sutta is visakha sutta or uposatha sutta (anguttara 3.71) as it was delivered to lady visakha regarding the temporary ordination where the person don't renounce properly.

having said that, in these modern times people have different interpretations and ideas on dhamma :)
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Re: Q: Monks & Bank Accounts

Postby manas » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:25 am

"A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathagata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair and beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?'

"So after some time he abandons his mass of wealth, large or small; leaves his circle of relatives, large or small; shaves off his hair and beard, puts on the ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I'm not sure whether 'abandons' means permanently, or only the act of taking leave, but it is pretty clear here that while one is a monk (at least), one has broken one's connection with worldly wealth. And much respect to anyone who, having much wealth to let go of (I certainly don't), actually goes through with it.

Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Q: Monks & Bank Accounts

Postby melancholy » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:37 pm

the pali word pahāya means forsake, renounce, give up, refuse, desolate, quit, leave, abandon, desert.

the opposite would be conserve, guard, maintain, preserve, protect. i’m not sure how it can be a pahāya if someone maintains a bank account or any such unallowable wealth. i think the proper term for such a behaviour is “temporary disuse.”

in my previous post I wrote anguttara 3.71 as i was following the thai version. in ati it’s muluposatha sutta: the roots of the uposatha (anguttara 3.70) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.070.than.html.

who ever gave that advice to Piers72 (ist post) not speaking according to lord buddha’s words.

"On the Uposatha day, they get their disciple to undertake the following practice: 'Here, my good man. Having stripped off all your clothing, say this: "I am nothing by anything or of anything. Thus there is nothing by anything or of anything that is mine."' Yet in spite of that, his parents know of him that 'This is our child.' And he knows of them that 'These are my parents.' His wives & children know of him that 'This is our husband & father.' And he knows of them that 'These are my wives & children.' His workers & slaves know of him that 'This is our master.' And he knows of them that 'These are my workers & slaves.' Thus at a time when he should be persuaded to undertake truthfulness, he is persuaded to undertake falsehood. At the end of the night, he resumes the consumption of his belongings, even though they aren't given back to him. This counts as stealing, I tell you. Such is the Uposatha of the Jains, Visakha. When this Uposatha of the Jains is undertaken, it is not of great fruit or great benefit, not of great glory or great radiance.
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