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Friday, July 13, 2012

The Patimokha, The 227 Rules for a Bhikkhu and Buddhism in Thailand

People ask why I use a picture of a monk at an ATM machine in some of my posts about Buddhism in Thailand. Some people tell me that it is alright for monks to have money in Thailand. And many have told me it is not polite to post it.
It seems that there is a lot of confusion about Buddhism, superstition and the monastic code in Thailand. I have always found a number of references useful "TheBuddhistMonk'sDisciplineSome Points Explained for Laypeople by Bhikkhu Khantipalo" and in particular the discussion about money."For Laypeople: A lay-person should never offer money directly to a bhikkhu... even if it is placed inside an envelope or together with other requisites. They should either deposit the money with the monastery steward, put it in a donation-box or into the monastery bank account. They may then state their invitation to the bhikkhu(s) regarding the kind or amount of requisite(s). In Thailand, for example, knowledgeable lay-people would deposit money with the steward and offer to the bhikkhu(s) an invitation note mentioning the details of the offering." (HS ch.14)
In other words the monk does not touch or carry money, The donation can be used in the manner prescribed by the donor and the steward (layperson can go and purchase it for the bhikkhu.