Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Polar Bear
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Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:46 am

Dumpster diving, commonly referred to in the UK and many parts of Europe as totting,[1] skipping,[2] skip diving or skip salvage,[3][4] is a popular form of modern salvaging of waste in large commercial, residential, industrial and construction containers to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but that may prove useful to the picker. It is not confined to dumpsters specifically, and may cover standard household waste containers, curb sides, landfills or small dumps. - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumpster_diving
I would imagine that where dumpster diving is legal, doing it for the purpose of obtaining cast off cloth for robes would be allowable. But I’m primarily interested in whether it is allowable for a monk to obtain food by dumpster diving as the freegans do. The only thing that comes close to this I’ve found in the suttas is where Ratthapala asks one of his former slaves not to throw away old food but give it to him. This after his father failed to give him alms.
Just then a slavewoman belonging to one of his relatives was about to throw away some old porridge. Seeing this, the venerable Raṭṭhapāla said to her: “Sister, if that stuff is to be thrown away, then pour it into my bowl here.”

https://suttacentral.net/mn82/en/bodhi
Of course, this isn’t dumpster diving but he does seem to break a rule by asking for food, but in the context of thinking it would go to waste otherwise.

So, is dumpster diving for food allowable according to the vinaya? What about for robes?

My hope is that Venerable Dhammanando or someone else savvy in the Vinaya will be able to answer. Thank you for your time.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:37 am

In my country, New Zealand, dumpster diving is stealing, as the waste in the dumpster is legally the property of either the shop, or the company who owns the dumpster.

So monks can't do it here, since it maybe either a disrobing offence, (parajika) or a forfeit-and-confess offence. (Nissagiya Pacittya).

You must also think of how it would look, for a monk to be seen rummaging around in a giant garbage bin in an alleyway. It's not something which would increase the faith of the laypeople!

I'm pretty sure the Buddha would have said something like "Oh fool of a monk! Is it appropriate for for a true contemplative, a true recluse, to pick through the trash of laypeople? Oh foolish monk, have restraint."
And the monk would be embarrassed and would meditate hard, and in no long time would attain to arahantship.

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Polar Bear
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Re: Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:53 am

Well yes, I’m asking whether it is allowable where it is legal. As for what the lay-people think, I’m not sure how much that should matter in this case. And it seems that it was normal to collect cloth from the ancient Indian equivalent of dumpsters back in the early days of the sangha.
Anyone who makes use of
Leftovers for food,
Putrid urine as medicine,
The root of a tree as lodging,
And rags from the rubbish-heap as robes,
Is at home in any direction.

https://suttacentral.net/thag18.1/en/sujato-walton
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:19 am

Polar Bear wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:53 am
...And rags from the rubbish-heap as robes...

https://suttacentral.net/thag18.1/en/sujato-walton
Good quote, that's pretty much dumpster diving exactly. Without the diving bit.
Very well, I stand corrected. :smile:

rightviewftw
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Re: Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:31 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:37 am
It's not something which would increase the faith of the laypeople!
i wonder what starving to death due to not getting anything on alms-round in the west would do to the faith of laypeople. Where i live if a monk was going alms-round and not getting anything i guess that he would probably perish lest someone raised awareness and the community took care of him but at that point he might just get locked up in a crazy house.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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Re: Is dumpster diving for food and/or robe cloth allowable according to the Vinaya?

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:41 am

This question was answered by Venerable Dhammanando over at the Sutta Central forum. His answer is posted below:
In the case of cloth, it would depend on what the law has to say in the country where the monk is living. If it makes it illegal, then dumpster-diving for cloth would be a dukkaṭa offence of non-conformity to the wishes of kings. If it makes the dumpster-owner the owner of the dumpster’s contents, then the bhikkhu might be risking the more serious offence of theft, unless he first sought and obtained the owner’s permission.

In the case of food, the same considerations apply, but also the 40th pācittiya rule:
Should any bhikkhu take into his mouth an edible that has not been given—except for water and tooth-cleaning sticks — it is to be confessed.
To count as “given” an edible must have been offered into a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī’s hand by an unordained person. In the case of dumpster-diving the taking of the edibles would be a dukkaṭa offence and the inserting of them into one’s mouth a pācittiya offence (unless what was taken was toothsticks or water, with the latter being extended by the commentary to include ice and hailstones).

The Food Chapter
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/is ... =polarbear

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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