Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
SarathW
Posts: 18727
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by SarathW »

Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

I think becoming a monk (especially the chief monk) in a village or a town could be a difficult task.
Monks have to deal with many difficult people sometimes which affects the order of running the place.
Can a monk indirectly address the followings with the lay people?
- The quality of the food
- Damage temple trees etc
- Bad behavior such as wearing perfume or inappropriately dressed up.

My question is how a monk should handle these problems especially since many lay people do not know the rules.

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
jinic
Posts: 741
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:50 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by jinic »

I think one can just teach the Dhamma, no need to criticize anybody and one should pick appropriate time.

For example one can tell that Buddha recommended eating mostly staple food where 1/4 is non-staple food.

For clothing one can give a talk on the virtue of modesty and other good qualities. There are some sutta i can think of which would leave people shook.

For perfume and one can give a talk about the uposatha, explaining the 8th precept.

For cutting trees one can give a talk on cutting down the forest of desire rather than real trees, one can tell stories about tree-dwelling devas and such.

If the lay people don't pick on the teachings, one can refuse certain foods if they bring what is disagreeable, refuse giving talks if one thinks people aren't dressed appropriately or just leave the place. They can then try figure out why the monk left...
I post here to discuss the texts. The views expressed are not necessarily right and i am not going to correct what i've expressed everytime i find mistakes.
Indañano Bhikkhu
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:34 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by Indañano Bhikkhu »

SarathW wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 6:58 am Can a monk indirectly address the followings with the lay people?
- The quality of the food
- Damage temple trees etc
- Bad behavior such as wearing perfume or inappropriately dressed up.

My question is how a monk should handle these problems especially since many lay people do not know the rules.
It’s difficult to give a general answer here, as it very much depends on the specific circumstances, and who you are dealing with.

It is usually inappropriate for monks to comment on the quality/quantity of food given to them. The only thing we can really comment on is if someone attempts to offer food items that aren’t allowable under the Vinaya; we have to refuse these, and politely explain the reasons.

If someone is found to wilfully damage monastery property, I would first very politely remind them that these items are donations by the faithful laity, and thus should be treated accordingly. If they persist in their behaviour, I would (again, politely) ask them to leave the monastery.

Most instances of inappropriate behaviour around dress code etc are usually because the person isn’t aware of the etiquette, not due to any malicious intent - so it’s a simple matter of respectfully explaining it to them. It’s fine for monks to do this, but again, it has to be done in a polite and respectful manner.
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 10882
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by Sam Vara »

Indañano Bhikkhu wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:59 am
SarathW wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 6:58 am Can a monk indirectly address the followings with the lay people?
- The quality of the food
- Damage temple trees etc
- Bad behavior such as wearing perfume or inappropriately dressed up.

My question is how a monk should handle these problems especially since many lay people do not know the rules.
It’s difficult to give a general answer here, as it very much depends on the specific circumstances, and who you are dealing with.

It is usually inappropriate for monks to comment on the quality/quantity of food given to them. The only thing we can really comment on is if someone attempts to offer food items that aren’t allowable under the Vinaya; we have to refuse these, and politely explain the reasons.

If someone is found to wilfully damage monastery property, I would first very politely remind them that these items are donations by the faithful laity, and thus should be treated accordingly. If they persist in their behaviour, I would (again, politely) ask them to leave the monastery.

Most instances of inappropriate behaviour around dress code etc are usually because the person isn’t aware of the etiquette, not due to any malicious intent - so it’s a simple matter of respectfully explaining it to them. It’s fine for monks to do this, but again, it has to be done in a polite and respectful manner.
Welcome to Dhamma Wheel, Bhante, and thanks for your summary. Would you mind saying where you are currently living? :anjali:
SarathW
Posts: 18727
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by SarathW »

Indañano Bhikkhu wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:59 am
SarathW wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 6:58 am Can a monk indirectly address the followings with the lay people?
- The quality of the food
- Damage temple trees etc
- Bad behavior such as wearing perfume or inappropriately dressed up.

My question is how a monk should handle these problems especially since many lay people do not know the rules.
It’s difficult to give a general answer here, as it very much depends on the specific circumstances, and who you are dealing with.

It is usually inappropriate for monks to comment on the quality/quantity of food given to them. The only thing we can really comment on is if someone attempts to offer food items that aren’t allowable under the Vinaya; we have to refuse these, and politely explain the reasons.

If someone is found to wilfully damage monastery property, I would first very politely remind them that these items are donations by the faithful laity, and thus should be treated accordingly. If they persist in their behaviour, I would (again, politely) ask them to leave the monastery.

Most instances of inappropriate behaviour around dress code etc are usually because the person isn’t aware of the etiquette, not due to any malicious intent - so it’s a simple matter of respectfully explaining it to them. It’s fine for monks to do this, but again, it has to be done in a polite and respectful manner.
Thank you, Bhante.
I give a regular Dana as a meal to a monk. He noticed that I take a lot of effort to do it and I make rich food with oil etc.
Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
BKh
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 12:43 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by BKh »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am I give a regular Dana as a meal to a monk. He noticed that I take a lot of effort to do it and I make rich food with oil etc.
Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
There may be a couple things happening. If this is taking place right now in Sri Lanka, he may be doing it out of compassion for your financial situation.

It could also be that he has a problem with oily food (which is very common among monks) and rather than talk about his medical conditions, he makes this suggestion.

Making suggestions for cheaper, lower quality things is not as harmful as suggestions for fancy things (which are sometimes explicitly prohibited).

Rather than spending so much time judging monks (which from your numerous posts seems to be something you are quite good at) why don't you spend some time developing compassion for the difficult and often precarious position monks are in. Even the suttas tell us that if we are constantly judging the monks, we will easily fall away from the Dhamma.
| One sutta per day to your inbox | ReadingFaithfully.org Support for reading the Suttas | Citation lookup helper | Instant sutta name lookup | Instant PED lookup | Instant DPPN lookup |
User avatar
Eko Care
Posts: 681
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:13 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by Eko Care »

Making suggestions for cheaper, lower quality things is not as harmful as suggestions for fancy things (which are sometimes explicitly prohibited).
Yes, this one is not harmful I think.
Indañano Bhikkhu
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:34 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by Indañano Bhikkhu »

Sam Vara wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:12 am. Would you mind saying where you are currently living? :anjali:
I’m currently in Australia, but I move around a lot between Europe and Australasia.
Indañano Bhikkhu
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2022 8:34 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by Indañano Bhikkhu »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
As others have pointed out, it depends on the intention behind why he makes the request. I thus can’t give you a straight answer, since I have no way of knowing all factors involved in this particular situation.

As a reflection though, I’d offer this - I myself have certain things I cannot eat, due to a health condition. I would get very sick if I ate those items on a regular basis. So, if I ever found myself in a situation where I have to rely on a single donor for food over long periods of time, I would have little choice but to explain the situation to my donor.
SarathW
Posts: 18727
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by SarathW »

BKh wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:04 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am I give a regular Dana as a meal to a monk. He noticed that I take a lot of effort to do it and I make rich food with oil etc.
Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
There may be a couple things happening. If this is taking place right now in Sri Lanka, he may be doing it out of compassion for your financial situation.

It could also be that he has a problem with oily food (which is very common among monks) and rather than talk about his medical conditions, he makes this suggestion.

Making suggestions for cheaper, lower quality things is not as harmful as suggestions for fancy things (which are sometimes explicitly prohibited).

Rather than spending so much time judging monks (which from your numerous posts seems to be something you are quite good at) why don't you spend some time developing compassion for the difficult and often precarious position monks are in. Even the suttas tell us that if we are constantly judging the monks, we will easily fall away from the Dhamma.
Bhante
If monks are sustained by the generosity of the lay people, they also expect them to live according to Vinaya.
This is a Vinaya question not a judgment of the monks.
Monks should aware of the difficulty of the people as well.
My posts are not overly critical of monks.
If anything I got blamed and questioned sometimes whether I am promoting a particular monk.

This is like politicians telling us you pay the tax and we will do as we pleased.
I think that type of world has ended.
Not knowing Vinaya for a monk is as bad as a layperson does not know the law.
Lay people expect monks to know the true Dhamma and teach them as well.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
bhante dhamma
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:59 pm
Location: Here and there

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by bhante dhamma »

With gratitude and mudita in mind this vassa alone I have been to a few invitations and pretty much every time almost all the gifts have been things don't really have much use for, sadly enough this discourse which addresses this issue see to rarely get mentioned now days.

Sapurisa dāna AN 8
Viceyya deti...giving (after investigation)
jinic
Posts: 741
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:50 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by jinic »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am
I give a regular Dana as a meal to a monk. He noticed that I take a lot of effort to do it and I make rich food with oil etc.
Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
I think it is inappropriate in many ways, and puts you in a difficult spot where you never did anything wrong.

The question i want to ask is whether the boiled potatoes remain allowable for him if you were to make it after the hinting.

I'll add that if i was to guess as to why the monk was prompted to say anything i think there are two circumstances
1. He might think staple food is good for his training
2. He might think it's less of a burden on the giver

I would guess that #1 holds most weight

Anyway, this is a trifle and doesn't make him 'a bad monk'. Id also encourage talking to him about it.
Last edited by jinic on Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
I post here to discuss the texts. The views expressed are not necessarily right and i am not going to correct what i've expressed everytime i find mistakes.
Joe.c
Posts: 578
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2021 5:01 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by Joe.c »

SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
Certainly can. Actually it is even better for you. You can prepare whatever they ask and add more. This means you satisfy their asking and provide more/extra.

But the main things is how about your thinking? Are you happy or grumpy or hoping to get something from this dana or not? 😅

If you or the monk/ sangha can purify the food donation, it is even better.
May you be relax, happy, comfortable and free of dukkhas from hearing true dhamma.
May you gain unshakable confidence in Buddha, Dhamma and (Ariya) Sangha.
Learn about Buddha/Dhamma Characters.
jinic
Posts: 741
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:50 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by jinic »

Joe.c wrote: Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:33 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
Certainly can. Actually it is even better for you. You can prepare whatever they ask and add more. This means you satisfy their asking and provide more/extra.
Draw this 'certainly can' out from the texts for me if you can do.

When Ven. Sariputta was ill and Ven. Maha Moggalana arranged special food for him, did Ven. Sariputta not turn over the bowl as soon as he learned that getting that food was no coincidence?

Find me any precedent in texts where anything remotely similar to what you say is certainly allowable occurs...
I post here to discuss the texts. The views expressed are not necessarily right and i am not going to correct what i've expressed everytime i find mistakes.
SarathW
Posts: 18727
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Can monks criticises the behavior of temple supporters?

Post by SarathW »

Joe.c wrote: Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:33 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:31 am Then he suggested to me that I can just boil the potatoes and veggies and give them to him.
Can a monk make a request or a suggestion?
Certainly can. Actually it is even better for you. You can prepare whatever they ask and add more. This means you satisfy their asking and provide more/extra.

But the main things is how about your thinking? Are you happy or grumpy or hoping to get something from this dana or not? 😅

If you or the monk/ sangha can purify the food donation, it is even better.
I was happy he asked me what he like and perhaps it was easy for me too.
Maybe the oil food is inappropriate for him as a lot of Dana is generally very rich.
I am also aware a lot of monks have trouble with food-related sicknesses.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Post Reply