Thai Theravadin monks and money

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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:21 am

Bankei wrote:Touching money is not such an issue in my opinion, it is the becoming attached to it and the businessisation of monks that concerns me.i

If they were not attached to it, they would not accept it.

This section on rules entailing Expiation with Forfeiture explains what should be done with money if it is accepted by a monk.

It is a major issue in my opinion. There are other more serious offences, such as sexual misconduct of various kinds, but if lay people didn't offer money to monks, most corrupt individuals would soon leave the Saṅgha, as there would be no advantage in remaining. We get free meals, and free accommodation so that we can meditate, study, and teach the Dhamma. We do not need to be paid for the work that we do as our basic needs are provided by lay supporters.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby A fool from HK » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:35 am

Dear Bhikkhu Pesala,

I am a HK people who use to be a christian,Mahayana Buddhlist and finally become a theravada buddhlist.

Concerning the money issues, may I have your comments on the following cases?

I joined a Mahashi meditation workshop in April this year (held in Macau) which leaded by a bhikkhuni (who served as the English translator for Sayadaw U Pandita before). At the end of the workshop, she accepted the money we given to her.
Also, please see the link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O22KY1PHdk, the sangha seems to accept money (12:00 of the video, the money is in the red pocket as Chinese tradition).
Did both cases violate the rules? or it is ok as long as no one actually own the money?

Thanks.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:12 am

A fool from HK wrote:I joined a Mahasi meditation workshop in April this year (held in Macau) which leaded by a bhikkhuni (who served as the English translator for Sayadaw U Pandita before). At the end of the workshop, she accepted the money we given to her.

Thank you for the action movie :)

If she was a bhikkhuni, then she violated the Vinaya rule. However, if she was a Burmese trained nun in pink robes (a thilashin) then she would, I believe, be following just the eight precepts, so for her to accept money is no offence.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:31 am

Hi Friend from HK

When you become a monk you take 10 precepts.
The tenth precept is:
10.Refrain from accepting money.

As far as I know any monk who accept money break the Vinaya rules.
So it is important for the lay person to make sure that they take proper care of the monks.

See the following link for the difference between 8 and 10 precepts.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20550
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby thepea » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:34 am

How about laypeople giving a monk a credit card to use for monestary repairs?
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby A fool from HK » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:37 pm

SarathW wrote:Hi Friend from HK


So it is important for the lay person to make sure that they take proper care of the monks.



viewtopic.php?f=13&t=20550


Oops.....I have given money to monks directly.
How about giving money "indirectly" for example, put it into the box in monestary (there is theravada monestary near my home having this practice). Or placing in front of the monks, but finally collected by a lay person representatives?

thepea wrote:How about laypeople giving a monk a credit card to use for monestary repairs?

I have similar question, I just donated money the monestary for buying the ownership of a house(the monestary consists of 3 houses, the second one is own by other people, so lay people is now trying to buy this house for the monestary) a few days before. That day I give the money to a monk. He "phyiscally'' touched the money. But I believe he will give the money to someone else.

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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby culaavuso » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:22 pm

A fool from HK wrote:How about giving money "indirectly" for example, put it into the box in monestary (there is theravada monestary near my home having this practice). Or placing in front of the monks, but finally collected by a lay person representatives?


There is the Meṇḍaka Allowance, permitting the donation of money to a lay steward who will spend it for a bhikkhu's benefit at a later time.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:57 pm

There are monks who say that it's allowable to use a credit card because the bank is acting as the monks' steward. I disagree, but it might be allowable if the monk uses the lay supporter's credit card (with their permission of course), as the money still belongs to the lay person. Then, the monk is just informing the retailer what he needs.

It's not something I would like to do — if any money goes missing from the lay person's account then one might be suspected of stealing. Best is to let a lay person pay all the bills from a Trust account managed by lay people, over which the monk has no direct control.

If the lay person has authorised the monk to order goods, then the monk can send the bills to the lay person.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby thepea » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:10 am

While doing some flooring repairs to my local Vihara center, I ran out of a certain material. The previous materials I was using were purchased and delivered by a devotee who remained for a few days at my side to provide me with anything necessary. There was one day where he had personal business to tend to and I ran short of a few things. The abbot said he had a credit card at his disposal for emergencies, and he accompanied me to the hardware store and purchased the necessary items. I questioned him in regards to his handling what I considered money, he said he was the only monk who had access to this card, and that without this system the Vihara center could simply not function.

All in all it was a pleasant no-nonsense experience, it did not feel to me that he had done wrong in any way. He seems a very disciplined man from my encounters with him.

From my understanding the cards bill is paid monthly by a lay devotee, I suppose this is just a necessary part of running a meditation centre in this day and age in a non-Buddhist location.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby A fool from HK » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:43 am

Would there be any chances for the Theravada Sanghas from different locations of the world to organize a conference for discussion of this controversial issue?
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby cooran » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:59 am

I very much doubt it. I, personally, would not support a Bhikkhu who handled, or personally accepted money. Most monasteries have a Lay Committee with a treasurer who accepts financial donations, orders goods and work to be done, and who buys necessities and pays the bills. Lay people bring the food Dana offerings daily.

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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby appicchato » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:07 am

Would there be any chances for the Theravada Sanghas from different locations of the world to organize a conference for discussion of this controversial issue?


Slim to none...generally speaking everyone (to use a radio analogy) operates on different (and vastly spread out) frequencies...AM/FM/satellite/shortwave/CB/ham/etc....you name it (countries, cultures, races, sects, city/rural...right down to human nature, temperament, disposition, etc....what works in one locale just doesn't/won't fly in another...good on those where it does...

If asked, packing a credit card does not get a pass...
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:07 am

A fool from HK wrote:Would there be any chances for the Theravada Sanghas from different locations of the world to organize a conference for discussion of this controversial issue?

The monk that I disagreed with over this issue was a senior and learned monk, who was well disciplined and mindful.

The Buddhist Councils held over the centuries have been convened to collated and edit the texts, but interpretations of those texts will always vary, and there will be different views. There is no need for lay people to lose sleep over it. If you agree with me that monks should have nothing to do with money, then don't offer money to monks. Support them with alms food, or in other ways — which are clearly allowable — you will make merit by so doing and help them to preserve and propagate the Buddha's teaching.

It is a long time since the Buddha's passing away, so there are bound to be differences of opinion regarding what is allowable and what is not. The important thing is to develop generosity, morality, concentration, and wisdom.

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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby A fool from HK » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:19 am

Thanks. I will support them with food and try to do the Meṇḍaka Allowance when money is involved.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:28 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:There are monks who say that it's allowable to use a credit card because the bank is acting as the monks' steward. I disagree, but it might be allowable if the monk uses the lay supporter's credit card (with their permission of course), as the money still belongs to the lay person. Then, the monk is just informing the retailer what he needs.

It's not something I would like to do — if any money goes missing from the lay person's account then one might be suspected of stealing. Best is to let a lay person pay all the bills from a Trust account managed by lay people, over which the monk has no direct control.

If the lay person has authorised the monk to order goods, then the monk can send the bills to the lay person.



I agree

If Buddha was aware of credit cards then I feel confident that he would have prohibited their use by the monks and nuns. It seems the intent was to remove the monks and nuns from the transaction process, from business.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby thepea » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:10 am

clw_uk wrote: It seems the intent was to remove the monks and nuns from the transaction process, from business.


This is what I was getting at when asking the abbot about using the credit card, he was concerning himself with flooring repairs and the maintenance of the vihara.

As a layperson, and having involvement with the Goenka tradition this affords me the opportunity to experience life as a monk or nun and I'm taught the rules and guidelines are set up so one can live as the Buddha intended one to, in order to reach the final goal. I can progressively sign up for 10 days or twenty or thirty or forty-five day or sixty day courses but for the duration I am living in a very strict environment, in no way am I allowed, or have the need to spend money, or get involved with repairs to the centre other than mild cleaning of my room and dishes.

After the course is completed then I can sign up for service periods where I have been asked to shop, do repairs, etc...But the seated meditation practice during these times is no where near as intensive. I was under the impression that one would become a monk if they wanted to "get the job done" quicker, fully accepting that they were to live a reclusive life, dedicated to a meditative conducive lifestyle.

On the other hand I'm glad that the abbot is the way he is, and keeps up the centre, otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to learn from him.

Perhaps Buddhism is spreading itself thin, and loosing the essence of the practice?
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby SarathW » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:38 am

thepea wrote:While doing some flooring repairs to my local Vihara center, I ran out of a certain material. The previous materials I was using were purchased and delivered by a devotee who remained for a few days at my side to provide me with anything necessary. There was one day where he had personal business to tend to and I ran short of a few things. The abbot said he had a credit card at his disposal for emergencies, and he accompanied me to the hardware store and purchased the necessary items. I questioned him in regards to his handling what I considered money, he said he was the only monk who had access to this card, and that without this system the Vihara center could simply not function.

All in all it was a pleasant no-nonsense experience, it did not feel to me that he had done wrong in any way. He seems a very disciplined man from my encounters with him.

From my understanding the cards bill is paid monthly by a lay devotee, I suppose this is just a necessary part of running a meditation centre in this day and age in a non-Buddhist location.


I have no problem when monk handle money.

The problem is they break the tenth precept and hence break the fourth (lying) as well.
If I were the monk:
a)I would let the temple to take it's own course. I will live under a tree or find another temple.
b) I call the supporters and say that they are not doing their duties so I step down to a Anagarika

If monks find excuses to break the tenth they might find the way to break the others as well.

:shrug:
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:53 am

There are a wide variety of ways this plays out. Especially in Thailand. Spend some time there and you'll see some mindboggling variety...

In the West, various monks I've come across have been more or less strict in various aspects of vinanya. I don't dwell on it too much (I'm a lay person, I don't find it useful to be judgemental), and for me it's not the only yardstick for how skilful they are at commuicating Dhamma.

Quite apart from that, it is clear that for a large monastery to continue to function (whether it's ethinc Thai, or an Ahjan Chah affiliate) someone, and it's usually the abbot, has to take on a strong leadership role. These organisations don't just run themselves.

:anjali:
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby pilgrim » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:26 am

There are monastic schools and universities in Cambodia and Sri Lanka where students, including monks are expected to pay their fees. I'm familiar with one such university in Cambodia as I help raise funds to defray the costs of fees and living expenses for the monks studying at the university in the city. The funds are remitted to a Cambodian Buddhist NGO which then hands out the cash to them as monthly stipends.

In an ideal world, I'm sure the monks would be happy if someone takes care of all their financial needs. Unfortunately this is not the case and the current arrangement is one we live with. Most of these students are from poor rural backgrounds and without these scholarships, many promising students would not even bother to apply for entrance and just languish in the village wats. Not all monks are fortunate enough to have the circumstances to keep good vinaya.
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Re: Thai Theravadin monks and money

Postby SarathW » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:29 am

My real concern here is the prosperity of the Sasana (Sangha organisation)
In Sri Lanka many people do not respect monks.
Even if they pretend to respect the monks, they talk behind their back.
The reason is we know that many of the monks are not virtues.
Many monks break the third and the fifth precept.
So they naturally break the second and the fourth precepts.
I don't know any monk who broke the first precepts, except my village monk set fire to the forest and plant banana trees.
He must have killed lot of forest animals.
It is common for monks to eat at night. They have someone to cook for them

I am sure many of you must have read "Boken Buddha"
It is a cry for the help from a western monk.

West is pure land (New to Buddhism).
I like to see the monks in Western Countries to be an example to others.
Third world counties have the natural tendency to follow the west.
:cry:
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