Page 1 of 1

Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:25 pm
by sherubtse
Some time ago, my teacher (an ordained monk) gave me a friendly slap on the back. I returned the gesture. It then occurred to me that that was probably a mistake and a breach of some rule of etiquette.

So to what extent, if ever, does one touch a monk?

Thanks.

With metta,
Sherubtse

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:21 pm
by kc2dpt
At the temple I regularly visit, I've never seen anyone touch the monks nor vice versa. Not even handshakes. So I just figure it's not done. But it may just be a Sri Lanken thing. I don't really know.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:24 pm
by cooran
I go to a mainly Sri Lankan temple. Definitely no touching. Equals shake hands and/or pat each other on the back. We are not equal to the Sangha members.

Related to this:

In The Bhikkhus' Rules ~ A Guide for Laypeople
Intimacy — Touching
º The modern West has stories of sexual harassment, so the ways that the Buddha dealt with such matters should not seem so very strange.
If a bhikkhu touches a woman in a sexual way, he commits a very serious offence requiring formal meetings of the Community and probation (Sa"nghaadisesa). The scrupulous bhikkhu wants to remain above suspicion so, if he can, he will avoid all physical contact. (Hence his attitude to shaking hands. This also explains why in Thailand a receiving cloth is used to receive offerings from women. (See EN 85)
The rule was first set down by the Buddha after a brahman and his wife had gone to inspect Ven. Udaayin's fine dwelling. As Ven. Udaayin was showing them around, he came up behind the lady and "rubbed up against her limb by limb." After they had left, the husband praised Ven. Udaayin but the wife was critical and explained what had happened. The brahman then complained, "Isn't it even possible to take one's wife to a monastery without her being molested?" This rule was then set down:
"Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind, engage in bodily contact with a woman, or in holding her hand, holding a lock of her hair, or caressing any of her limbs, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community."(Sa"ngh. 2; BMC p.100)
To be at fault, the bhikkhu must usually do some action to bring contact with a woman while lust overcomes his mind.45 If he accidentally stumbles and bumps into a woman or vice-versa, or if he is accosted by a woman, as long as there is no intention to come into lustful contact there is no offence. However, the average bhikkhu's mind tends to be so quick and unruly — he is, after all, still in training and therefore unenlightened — that he may prefer to be super-cautious about such situations.
If a bhikkhu touches his mother out of affection, then this is still an offence but the lesser one of wrong-doing (dukka.ta). 46 While gratitude to parents was strongly emphasized by the Buddha, the bhikkhu having left the home-life and his family should not cling to worldly relationships. The only true way for him to fulfill his filial obligations is by gaining insight into Dhamma and then teaching his parents.
If a bhikkhu is acting with lustful intentions, he incurs a grave (thullaccaaya) offence for making bodily contact with a pa.n.daka ('sex- aberrant') and an offence of wrong-doing for contact with a male. (See BMC p.103)
º The previous rules dealt with the bhikkhu's physical actions, the next two rules are offences — again of the very serious category — that concern his wrong speech towards women.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... guide.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
Chris

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:48 pm
by Cittasanto
Hi
I don't think touching is not allowed in the vinaya unless it is the oposite sex, but he touched you first so showing the same gesture would be a mark of respect rather than disrespect.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:50 pm
by genkaku
Some time ago, my teacher (an ordained monk) gave me a friendly slap on the back. I returned the gesture. It then occurred to me that that was probably a mistake and a breach of some rule of etiquette.
If it was a breach of etquette, it sounds as if you both made the same breach ... and frankly, it sounds like a friendly moment ... one conducive to good teaching.

But I'm not up to speed on Theravada codes.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:57 pm
by mikenz66
The (Thai/Bangladeshi/American) monks I know do sometimes initiate physical contact (not with women of course). It's generally not a light-hearted "backslapping" sort of thing - more along the lines of a serious word-less communication - just squeezing my arm or something.

Mike

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:17 am
by DhammaDan
I recall a Sinhalese bhikkhu touching my shoulder after a friend introduced us. I do think intention is to be considered, and it was clearly a friendly gesture. Still, as a lay person I wouldn't risk initiating any sort of physical contact.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:35 am
by Individual
Any form of etiquette which serves no practical purpose should be abolished, or at least not taken too seriously.

Many people seem to think that western people should conform to some sort of monastic etiquette, often just Asian tradition, but then why shouldn't Asian monks conform with western etiquette? If a person tries to shake a monk's hand, for instance, and the monk refuses, is it not the monk who is being rude?

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:39 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings,
The scrupulous bhikkhu wants to remain above suspicion so, if he can, he will avoid all physical contact.
I can't think of any non-emergency reason why physical contact would be necessary, so I think this is good practice. Recognising this, we should do what we can to help bhikkhus keep their sila pure where we can.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:29 am
by jcsuperstar
one of my monk buddies likes to poke me in the tummy :rolleye:

but i'm pretty close with some monks so i dont think anything of it, i've never just seen a monk touch another person in public or in any weird way though.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:23 am
by Cittasanto
Individual wrote:Any form of etiquette which serves no practical purpose should be abolished, or at least not taken too seriously.

Many people seem to think that western people should conform to some sort of monastic etiquette, often just Asian tradition, but then why shouldn't Asian monks conform with western etiquette? If a person tries to shake a monk's hand, for instance, and the monk refuses, is it not the monk who is being rude?
I semi-agree here

I think eastern conventions are fine in the east but in the west these can cause some to get confused, I think the Dhamma-Vinaya should be looked at to see if the tradition of the country would lead the precepts away from the Holy life by conforming too much.

There is a western monk I know and have met that has gone on about westerners not showing propper respect, which in his view is the thai or asian forms, I personally think this is stupid and belittles western norms as a whole, and some westerners try so hard to be asian thinking that is propper buddhism forgetting that Buddhism adapts to where it isthe Dhamma doesn't change.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:37 am
by mikenz66
Manapa wrote: I think eastern conventions are fine in the east but in the west these can cause some to get confused, I think the Dhamma-Vinaya should be looked at to see if the tradition of the country would lead the precepts away from the Holy life by conforming too much.
As long as this meant "using a Western form of respect", and did not violate that Vinaya, this would be fine. However, if it were simply code for "everyone should just be be treated equally", then I would disagree.

Metta
Mike

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:40 am
by jcsuperstar
i kinda like the whole bowing/wai/gassho thing

the whole never being higher than a monk thing is annoying though, poor little bent over old ladies....

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:57 pm
by Cittasanto
mikenz66 wrote:
Manapa wrote: I think eastern conventions are fine in the east but in the west these can cause some to get confused, I think the Dhamma-Vinaya should be looked at to see if the tradition of the country would lead the precepts away from the Holy life by conforming too much.
As long as this meant "using a Western form of respect", and did not violate that Vinaya, this would be fine. However, if it were simply code for "everyone should just be be treated equally", then I would disagree.

Metta
Mike
Hi Mike,
we are on about respect not equality, here is my code for "everyone should just be treated equally"

We aren't equal, get use to it! (insert bitch slap owned emoticon here)

Equal oportunity BOLLOX pisses me off.

hi we have an equal oportunity policy what is your sex skin colour, nationality, ethnicity etc etc etc so we can make sure we employ the correct amout of useless gits to work in a field far more qualified and better abled aplicants should have, but they are of the wrong sex, ethnic group etc etc etc to be eligable for employment.

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:40 pm
by Bankei
Gee, there are some strange views out there!

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:36 am
by BlackBird
For me Anjali is easier, and conveys the same meaning in any case :anjali:
You could even say Anjali is Anjali-karaniyo

:anjali: :anjali: :anjali: to you all :)

Re: Hitting a Monk?

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:52 am
by Jechbi
Individual wrote:.. is it not the monk who is being rude?
The one who perceives rudeness is being rude.