My monk teacher refused almsfood and handles money?

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Re: My monk teacher refused almsfood and handles money?

Postby Vakkali » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:11 am

Is it possible that different Theravadin countries have developed slightly different dāna cultures? I wonder if Sri Lankans have a different attitude towards the perceived quality of food offerings than, say, Thai forest monks do.
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Re: My monk teacher refused almsfood and handles money?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:39 am

It is a result of the decline in the monastic traditions. Monks who accept and use money, and who are spoiled by donors, forget that their very life depends on the gifts of others. Some monks look down on vegetarian meals as being inferior, and expect a car to be sent to bring them to the house for alms, or they expect donors to bring almsfood to the temple every day. The almsbowl is rarely even used for taking meals in the monasteries that I have stayed at, except for the Thai Forest monasteries.

When I first stayed at the Burmese Vihāra in Wembley with Myaung Mya Sayādaw U Nyanika, we used to eat from the bowl with our hands, sitting on the floor. Nowadays, the monks sit at a dining table eating from plates, with cutlery, and guess who does the washing up?

Very few monks walk for alms in the West, but in Burma it is the duty of every young monk. The Buddha walked for alms even when he was 80 years of age.

The ordination procedure makes it clear what the four basic requisites are for monks: alms collected from door to door, rags collected from a rubbish heap, the root of a tree for shelter, and fermented cow's urine with gall nuts for medicine.

If donors offer luxurious meals in their home or in the Vihāra, it can be accepted, but it should not be expected.
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