When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

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When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:02 am

Greetings,

I've always wondered about the practicalities of what a bhikkhu does when they enter into the homeless life, with the intention of being committeed to it for life. (i.e. not a Thai teenager who is becoming a monk, knowing full well it's likely to be for a limited duration)

In sorting out their affairs, do they generally give their wealth and assets to their closest family members? To charity? To the monastery they are joining?

What kind of personal items can a bhikkhu keep from his lay-life and use in a Dhammic capacity? e.g. What about a laptop, used as a reference tool, to communicate with others. What about things like Dhamma books etc. which they may already own and have a practical use for? What about his toothbrush?!

Could they for example donate their superannuation to the monestary to help pay for things for the Sangha (e.g. dental care, doctor's bills, supplies, construction materials) and so on?

I realise it's a pretty broad-brush question... so feel free to reply in kind, or with whatever you think may be of interest to others.

To people ever leave things in safe-keeping with relatives or friends just on the off chance that things mightn't go to plan and they return to the household life?

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: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby pink_trike » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:28 am

Good questions. And what about health care insurance?
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Union is Great Bliss

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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby clw_uk » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:43 am

Good questions. And what about health care insurance?


This one depends on what country he is in i suppose, im not familliar with healthcare insurance procedure (healthcare is free here) so i dont know if different countries have different rules about healthcare insurance
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:43 am

pink_trike wrote:Good questions. And what about health care insurance?


Area specific, many countries provide free healthcare, in Burma Sitagu Sayadaw set up a hospital solely for monks, and I believe there are some wards, and hospitals in thailand which solely look after monks. I would imagine where insurance was needed the laity would donate the insurance, but I have a suspicion there is an insurance firm which has a special health care plan for monks but not 100% sure I saw or heard about one once?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby appicchato » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:24 am

Hi Paul,

The following is my experience only...in Thailand...

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I've always wondered about the practicalities of what a bhikkhu does when they enter into the homeless life, with the intention of being committeed to it for life. (i.e. not a Thai teenager who is becoming a monk, knowing full well it's likely to be for a limited duration)

In sorting out their affairs, do they generally give their wealth and assets to their closest family members? To charity? To the monastery they are joining?

All of the above...

What kind of personal items can a bhikkhu keep from his lay-life and use in a Dhammic capacity? e.g. What about a laptop, used as a reference tool, to communicate with others. What about things like Dhamma books etc. which they may already own and have a practical use for? What about his toothbrush?!

All of the above...and more...

Could they for example donate their superannuation to the monestary to help pay for things for the Sangha (e.g. dental care, doctor's bills, supplies, construction materials) and so on?

Yes

I realise it's a pretty broad-brush question... so feel free to reply in kind, or with whatever you think may be of interest to others.

To people ever leave things in safe-keeping with relatives or friends just on the off chance that things mightn't go to plan and they return to the household life?

Human nature being what it is...undoubtedly...

Metta,
Retro. :)


Haven't seen anyone (lay, or monastic) with health insurance...but that's just me... :smile:
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:27 pm

Greetings venerable Appicchato,

Thank you.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:35 pm

In the U.S. there is no national health insurance and most people are on their own if their employer does not pay for it.

The monks I know mostly go without health insurance because the cost is too high for the community / vihara.

Usually there is at least one member of the community who is a physician who will offer some basic services for the monks for dana, but if a monk needed major surgery, it would be difficult to obtain.
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:40 pm

Monks are allowed to keep the 8 Requisites, but I have heard that in practice, some monks have kept more than that. Certainly a laptop would be useful and used for spreading Dhamma, such as communicating here on Dhamma Wheel and other forums.
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:18 pm

TheDhamma wrote:Monks are allowed to keep the 8 Requisites, but I have heard that in practice, some monks have kept more than that. Certainly a laptop would be useful and used for spreading Dhamma, such as communicating here on Dhamma Wheel and other forums.
That is one that I am more conflicted about. I have no problem reducing it to a robe, bowl, toothbrush, razor and a sieve for water. If you would like to share a toothbrush you can keep it from then on. Thread, fingers and tongue will work for that. Health care is great but one is expected to settle for one's own urine if necessary and I can live with the consequences of that even given what we know medically at present. Sickness, old age and death are going to happen for sure and I think socially that we are in many ways overly obsessed with preventing them at any great cost for a very few as opposed to offering more basic or rudimentary forms of care to far more human beings along with far better health care guidance and policies overall.

It would be immensely useful to me but a laptop is not a requisite, plain and simple, as far as I can see. I can't see a justification for it at all, but I can see it being allowed. There has been a longstanding great respect for books at least since the Tipitaka was recorded as text. On the other hand there is an ambiguous ambivalence about the ownership of books, even the authorship of them so I can't see having to argue for it with anyone who takes a strict view about it. Even books and communications appear to be something limited by or to necessity for monastics and that makes complete sense to me. Then again, a laptop is the book and mode of communication of our present and emergent future, so where does that place it in terms of the right view of a noble disciple? In my observations monastics use these kinds of tools or facilities if they are made available in the same ways that anyone would in the context of all of the restrictions which do apply to their training but they make no effort to claim ownership of these things or defend the possession of them. Most of these things that I have seen at monasteries have belonged to the non-profit society that actually controls those assets. That seems acceptable to me so long as the board has a significant representation and legal voting involvement by both the lay and ordained members and all are well cognizant of and meeting their specific duties and responsibilities.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby appicchato » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:45 am

nathan wrote:Most of these things that I have seen at monasteries have belonged to the non-profit society that actually controls those assets. That seems acceptable to me so long as the board has a significant representation and legal voting involvement by both the lay and ordained members...

This scenario may seem equitable in the Occidental sense, but is not in the Oriental...again, monasteries(in Asia) are not democracies...
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby gavesako » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:15 am

In recent years, in the Western monasteries, I have seen an increase of new candidates arriving to become monks and bringing their laptops with them. Most of them also kept them after they were ordained. But in some stricter places they might be asked to "give it up" at least in the sense of not using it at certain times or simply making it available to all community members, i.e. offering it to the Sangha as a whole. Many monks these days own MP3 players or iPods, also in Thailand (usually gifts from relatives). This is meant to be used for listening to Dhamma talks or learning Pali chanting.
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Re: When a bhikkhu-to-be renounces worldly possessions

Postby nathan » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:13 am

appicchato wrote:
nathan wrote:Most of these things that I have seen at monasteries have belonged to the non-profit society that actually controls those assets. That seems acceptable to me so long as the board has a significant representation and legal voting involvement by both the lay and ordained members...

This scenario may seem equitable in the Occidental sense, but is not in the Oriental...again, monasteries(in Asia) are not democracies...
I think I can see how that would be so. I've long taken the pov that there is no point learning how to let go of my body and mind if I can't drop all the other junk at a moments notice. Thanks much for the perspectives. It is best to approach things with the appropriate respect and prudence. Short of being informed beforehand one is risking appearing or behaving inappropriately without intending so. That's the kinds of concerns for those who are setting out in a sincere pursuit of good results.

Honestly, what do I do if you have absolutely no desire to be anything but a humble quiet bhikkhu somewhere and I can't even do that? I don't mean this as a commentary but in the sense that I honestly hope to be able to shut up and listen for a long time before I have to say anything with any competence about any of this because there is soooooooooooo much to learn!

:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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