Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Enirehtac
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Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Enirehtac »

Hi, I'm new here though I have been looking around the forums for quite a bit now but there's something I'd like to ask about/know your views/understand. I know about the basics of Buddhism and Theravada but I'd like to further my understanding.

Yesterday, I was out looking around the shops with my friends and I saw two Buddhist nuns in a shoe shop having a good look. My immediate thought was "Oh my goodness! How am I meant to behave? Should I talk to them? Should I acknowledge them?" etc etc. It's quite rare to see Buddhists, never mind monks or nuns, around here so I was quite surprised to see them in a shop. Then my thoughts turned to, "Why are they in a shop? I thought they weren't allowed to go out shopping or handle money?" They were of the Thervada..um..thingy sect, due to the colour of their robes which I recognised.

I'm probably missing something here. And I understand that it shouldn't all be strict and they can have a look now and again. I don't think they bought anything anyway so meh.

What are your views or understanding on this? And how should a person behave if they come across a monk or nun? Should you just act normal or acknowledge them if you're Buddhist?

Thank you :)

Individual
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Individual »

Avoid two extremes:

-Don't be rude.
-Don't be neurotically obsessed about saying the wrong thing or acting the right way.

You don't need to do a special dance to say hello and be friendly.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

I sometimes go to the local shops if I need something, just to check out what is easily available. If I find what I need, and someone has offered to buy something for me, then I can tell them what is suitable, and where to find it.

No problem, as long as the reasons for going to the shop is right. I am sure those nuns were in need of shoes for walking — I don't suppose they were interested in looking at shoes for fashion.
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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Phra Chuntawongso »

Are you sure that they were nuns?The term nun is often used when talking about Mae Chees'.A Mae Chee is an 8 preceptor and therefore is able to handle money.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Goofaholix »

Are you sure they weren't Mahayana Nuns? I think they all handle money. Most Theravada Nuns aren't full Nuns anyway so can handle money.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

If they were Theravāda nuns from the English Sangha Trust monasteries, then they observe ten precepts, and cannot handle money.
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Enirehtac
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Enirehtac »

Thanks for all the replies! I'm sure either way they knew what they were doing. I'm not sure about myself now with all these questions. They were wearing the dark-ish red robes with the golden bit and I thought it was Thervada but come to think of it I'm not really sure.

By the way, I'm not trying to make a fuss about it, I mean they are people too. I'm just curious cause I've never seen them before. :)

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Goofaholix
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Goofaholix »

Enirehtac wrote:They were wearing the dark-ish red robes with the golden bit and I thought it was Thervada but come to think of it I'm not really sure.
Sounds like they were Tibetan nuns then.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

Individual
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Individual »

Not far from my house there is a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Poolesville, Maryland, with a gift shop.

When I've been there, I believe I've seen an elderly nun running the till. Don't know if she's a "nun" in the sense of a bhikkuni, but her head is shaved and I've seen her with robes before.

Although they go against the Theravada tradition, I wouldn't necessarily judge these kinds of things negatively. Because the function of the rule to avoid money is to avoid touching greed, by avoiding touching an instrument of greed. But the rule can be followed and greed can still be touched, which makes the rule no longer serve any meaningful purpose.

"Money," is merely a medium of exchange, a symbolic instrument of value. If a monk has a layperson manage his temple's finances, telling the layperson, "I need this or that," the layperson is money in a sense. If the layperson doesn't question the monk when he requests odd things, then a monk asking, "I need this or that," of a layperson is essentially no different than pushing buttons on an ATM or swiping a credit card.

So, those who follow the rule are not necessarily superior to those that don't follow it.
Last edited by Individual on Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Monkey Mind
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Monkey Mind »

Similar question: I was traveling a couple of weeks ago, and had a few hours at Chicago airport. There was a bhikkhuni at the airport, talking to someone on the telephone. I thought about approaching her and asking if she needed anything, water, food, etc. The other part of me thought that maybe this would not be appropriate, bhikkhunis have as much right to privacy as I do. What would others do? [The question resolved itself, as she was on the phone for the 10+ minutes I was in that section of the airport, and I had to move on.]
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Sobeh
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Sobeh »

I'd simply approach, anjali, and ask how they were getting along.

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Annapurna
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Annapurna »

You're from Northern Ireland, and the weather is getting cold, Enirehthac. They need shoes on their feet... :thinking:

How does a monk or nun get robes and shoes? Which fit? :shrug:

Whatever they were doing there, I'd think it's ok, and as much my biz as Brangelina visiting my town...
;)

Sunrise
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Sunrise »

I have seen theravadhin monks in my country handling money, using cell phones and even talking to women alone. Some of them have their own private cells with modern TV sets and comfortable high seats. They have late night meals, sleep in the daytime etc etc. All these are contradictory to the Vinaya (precepts). But still there are some who don't follow it

For the record, most nuns are not fully ordained and thus have fewer precepts than monks. As far as I remember, the 10 precepts do not rule out using money. It says not to accept gold (or money in this day and age). But it certainly rules out luxurious indulgences, fashion, perfumes etc.

Sunrise
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by Sunrise »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If they were Theravāda nuns from the English Sangha Trust monasteries, then they observe ten precepts, and cannot handle money.
Do the 10 precepts state not to use money? I don't recall

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bodom
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Re: Buddhist Nuns out shopping? Behaviour?

Post by bodom »

Sunrise wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If they were Theravāda nuns from the English Sangha Trust monasteries, then they observe ten precepts, and cannot handle money.
Do the 10 precepts state not to use money? I don't recall
It is the tenth precept.
10. Jatarupa-rajata-patiggahana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from accepting gold and silver (money).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... asila.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasaka Keep Nanayon

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