Touching Money

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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mikenz66
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Re: Touching Money

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:20 am

pilgrim wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:09 am
Thanks Robert. Could you cite the sutta please? and would you know the Pali word translated as money here?
The references are here: https://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebsut018.htm

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Re: Touching Money

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:36 am

SarathW wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:27 am
One issue Id like to raise is that if Ven Jayasara, for example, needs to travel
Why monks have to travel by automobiles and planes?
Can't they walk like Jason the wondering monk?
There is a difference, i'm not a wandering monk ala tudong like this jason the wandering monk with no particular place to go or mission to do. I only travel when I have been invited to a place to share the dhamma, the people have paid for my transport(only rarely transporting me themselves, depending on the distance), and spent time and money to setup the various venues in which I will conduct a short retreat, talk, Q&A etc.

Most of my travels are at minimum 5 hour bus rides and my travel days tend to actually be about 12 hours. Even if I was not a nobody, and as well known as say my preceptor Bhante G ( who traveled the world teaching dhamma for decades, many times without a lay person always there) , or Ajahn Brahm, there is no guarantee I'd have some lay person able to travel all around with me.

When I asked Ajahn Brahm as to why he did not have retinue with him, he said he travels alone because its quite a burden for the people sponsoring him if they had to pay for extra tickets and the like. and here is a monk who when people invite him he has to globe hop, so the sponsors are less likely to be able to travel to pick him up and escort him, I'm just traveling in my own country.
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Re: Touching Money

Post by StormBorn » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:12 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:13 am
If a well-supported monastic expects to essentially have a servant to follow him around to allow him to avoid technically using money himself, then that seems to me to be against the spirit of the training....

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Mike
What you say is very true. Once a friend of mine took leave from his work, left home at 3 AM, and drove 3 hrs to pick a monk and another 2 hrs drive to a government office for the monk’s visa and payments, then a return journey of 5 hrs. All this because of the monk doesn’t use money. I appreciate monk’s dedication, but it looks odd practically. Buddha’s time, surely keeping a pot of gold coins with a monk may have cost his life, but these days, money is mostly a number stored in a computer. And then there are debit cards.

I think, in the end, it’s all about how one uses it. Monk’s even use Buddha’s Words to become famous, which is an abuse. So should we prohibit the Dhamma too? :shrug:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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samseva
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Re: Touching Money

Post by samseva » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:34 am

I understand the stance that monks using money only occasionally could save a lot of time and effort for people attending/helping monks. However, the issue is much more nuanced.

Regarding the precept and Vinaya rules having to do with money, if a monk takes on this important precept and rules, when he asks for help, it is because he truly needs what he is asking help for (medical care, visa-related issues, etc.). By not using money, and occasionally asking for help, it cancels out all of the circumstances where he could have used money out of convenience. Instead, he must find ways to break the dependence from those things (in modern times, not renewing your visa isn't one of those things, though). It also cancels out the possibility of monks amassing sums of money/fortunes (which is something much more common these days).

Furthermore, for the attendants who offer to help monks for important tasks, it not only gives them an opportunity for dāna, but they get to spend a considerable amount of time with a monk, one-on-one. People drive hours to remote monasteries just to ask a few quick questions to a monk—spending a few hours with a good monk (and helping out as well) is something that I'm sure many would be and are happy to do.

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Volovsky
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Re: Touching Money

Post by Volovsky » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:36 am

StormBorn wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:12 am
I think, in the end, it’s all about how one uses it. Monk’s even use Buddha’s Words to become famous, which is an abuse. So should we prohibit the Dhamma too? :shrug:
Buddha hadn't prohibited to use his words, but prohibited to use money. Using money cannot be purified by simple confession, but the monk should relinquish all his money in the presence of sangha, also all he bought on these money are not allowable for all sangha.

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StormBorn
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Re: Touching Money

Post by StormBorn » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:22 am

No doubt, money matter has been a complicated one for monks since the Buddha's time, and at modern times more. I heard that initially the Malaysian monk Ven. Dhammavuddo's helper stole monastery money and ran away which pushed the venerable to handle money indirectly (what ever that is)! :broke:

It's so easy for us laypeople to quote the rules but the situation the monk facing might be a hard case. If one needs a big support from laypeople then the situation might become like in Bodhyana, where I heard on the record their main supporters critically request monks/nuns to spend more time on laypeople!

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." :tongue:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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Volovsky
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Re: Touching Money

Post by Volovsky » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:37 am

StormBorn wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:22 am
It's so easy for us laypeople to quote the rules but the situation the monk facing might be a hard case.
That is true. But still I think simply start using money is not really a solution. May be possessing a credit card without using it (i.e. always asking a lay person to assist) would help foreign monks to overcome some of the difficulties. Although it is still somewhat hypocritical, but I would agree here with Ven. Thanissaro that possessing a credit card is not explicitly forbidden by Vinaya.

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Re: Touching Money

Post by DNS » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:42 am

Yes, it definitely appears to be a difficult issue, more so in modern times. Monks didn't travel by planes, trains, and automobiles in the time of the Buddha. And as shown in the posts above, it would be easier for the lay people and the monks if they just received the tickets from the lay people for that travel or some type of pre-paid card for the travel, rather than burdening the lay people with much longer travel arrangements.

Another modern issue might be the use of electronics. There were no computers, internet, printers, etc. at the time of the Buddha. Yet, monks can make good use of electronic equipment, for example in Dhamma propagation, creating websites, blogs, etc. But those things cost money. A monk could hint or request the need for those things, which is not money, per se, but of course requires money to purchase those things.

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Re: Touching Money

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:07 am

Like Stormborn said its easy to just quote the scripture and criticize monks who use money (over 90% in Thailand, Sri Lanka and probably a lot if not all other Buddhist countries). But you're just naive if you think the world hasn't changed significantly since 2600 years ago. the fact that people from all over the world are discussing this right now from our couches is proof the world has changed.

Also, while i don't think most monks that use money use it because they truly need to and do so more out of convenience, many do and thats something western Buddhists especially tend to not understand. Western English speaking Buddhists almost always attend either Asian temples of popular lineages or temples with White monks. BOTH of those types of temples are terrible examples of the kinds of temples where monks truly need to use money. If you attend a temple of a popular lineage or temples with white monks they are by far the most capable of surviving without using money (and even then many do use money) because they are well supported and have a large base of faithful laypeople.

I've visited tons of temples in Thailand that do not fall under those two categories. Many of these local temples have just a few monks, NO lay staff at all, and virtually no faithful supporters. The supporters they get are casual Buddhists who come every once in a while to light incense and drop a few bills into the donation boxes, not people willing to take out several hours of thier day to run an errand for the temple. For the monks that live in these many local Buddhist temples, its use money, starve, or disrobe.

While this is based off my visits to Thailand, Im sure other countries have this phenomenon also. Just because you think its possible at your temple to not use money doesn't mean its possible everywhere.
Last edited by TRobinson465 on Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Touching Money

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:30 am

I'd also like to point out that in Thailand, the minority Dhammayuttika Nikaya generally cannot handle money. Although this is probably also not a good comparison because Dhammayuttika Nikaya is under special Royal patronage.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Touching Money

Post by StormBorn » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:52 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:37 am
May be possessing a credit card without using it (i.e. always asking a lay person to assist) would help foreign monks to overcome some of the difficulties. Although it is still somewhat hypocritical, but I would agree here with Ven. Thanissaro that possessing a credit card is not explicitly forbidden by Vinaya.
That's an interesting idea. Thanks for mentioning.

Also wish to share one of my recent experience. I happen to be engaged in an online Dhammic exchange with one venerable who seems to be very knowledgeable in Early Buddhism and importantly practising it too. During the exchange I gave him a link to a Buddhist Studies Review article and asked his thoughts on some points in it. Later when I checked on him, the venerable said, the article isn't free, so later when the time comes he will ask someone. Then only I realised he's not handling money, but got curious about "when the time comes" and inquired. He said, he has few friends who did "invitations" (pavaarana) to him to ask for requisites, but once they offered some help to him, he gives several months interval before asking again from that same person--cost of living skyrocketing in Sri Lanka and this venerable doesn't want to burden his friends with extra requests. He didn't ask me as I wasn't in his "pavaarana list".

At a time we are constantly met with rich monks or monks with rich servants, this kind of monks are a blessing indeed! And the amount of patience... :namaste:

Perhaps, I should propose him Volovsky's credit card idea :smile:

I asked him, with his knowledge isn't it easy to make some supporters. His reply was that many people not interested in an Early Buddhism and only helps monks if monks do lots of blessings, endless rituals, etc. He doesn't do those, therefore, he's happy to be contented without hampering his freedom.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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Re: Touching Money

Post by Volovsky » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:04 am

StormBorn wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:52 pm
Perhaps, I should propose him Volovsky's credit card idea
Not my idea :smile:. Ven. Thanissaro's idea. Here is his reasoning for it:
At present, the term [namely "silver"] would include coins and paper currency, as well as money orders and cashiers checks not made out to a specific payee, as these meet all three requirements of a currency: (1) They are a generally accepted medium of exchange; (2) they are of standard recognized value; and (3) they are presentable by any bearer. The following items, because they do not fulfill all three of these requirements, would not count as “silver” under this rule: money orders and cashier’s checks made out to a specific payee; personal checks and travelers’ checks; credit cards and debit cards; gift cards, phone cards, frequent flyer miles; food stamps; and promissory notes.
[...]
As mentioned under NP 18, checks, credit cards, debit cards, and traveler’s checks do not count as gold or money. However, any trade arranged with them would come under this rule.
BMC-1

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StormBorn
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Re: Touching Money

Post by StormBorn » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:53 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:04 am
StormBorn wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:52 pm
Perhaps, I should propose him Volovsky's credit card idea
Not my idea :smile:. Ven. Thanissaro's idea. Here is his reasoning for it:
At present, the term [namely "silver"] would include coins and paper currency, as well as money orders and cashiers checks not made out to a specific payee, as these meet all three requirements of a currency: (1) They are a generally accepted medium of exchange; (2) they are of standard recognized value; and (3) they are presentable by any bearer. The following items, because they do not fulfill all three of these requirements, would not count as “silver” under this rule: money orders and cashier’s checks made out to a specific payee; personal checks and travelers’ checks; credit cards and debit cards; gift cards, phone cards, frequent flyer miles; food stamps; and promissory notes.
[...]
As mentioned under NP 18, checks, credit cards, debit cards, and traveler’s checks do not count as gold or money. However, any trade arranged with them would come under this rule.
BMC-1
Thank you. Well then, even one escapes the gold/money rule, still get caught in the trading rule.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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Re: Touching Money

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:49 pm

My experience with Cambodian Mahanika monks is that they handle money. In one wat I saw that individual monks had safes in their room. Sadly some people become monks for a short time just to make money. However, I noticed that the abbot never took money from me but wanted me to put it in the wat donation box.

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"Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,"

~ From the Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8)

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Volovsky
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Re: Touching Money

Post by Volovsky » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:49 pm

StormBorn wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:53 pm
Thank you. Well then, even one escapes the gold/money rule, still get caught in the trading rule.
As I understand, a monk can simply ask (in allowable by Vinaya way) a lay person to perform a transaction for him with this credit card. And it is much easier to find somebody who can press a few bottoms on computer, than somebody who is willing to spend his own money for a monk.

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