Monks and following rules

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Digity
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Monks and following rules

Post by Digity » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:58 pm

I know a highly revered monk who radiates kindness and acceptance. He's someone I admire, but I notice that he can be flexible with rules. For instance, I saw him eating after noon time, since he was at an event where the lunch was served past noon. Also, he's told of stories where he'd shake hands with a women he'd met, which breaks a rule for monks. I don't think the woman understood that monks shouldn't do that, but he didn't want to put her in an awkward position.

Is any of this a big deal? My mind tends to gravitate towards criticism, so I was really caught up on the fact that I saw him eating after noon time, which bothered me. However, I wonder if I'm just being too strict/anal about rules, etc. I'm curious to have some input about how I should better relate to all this.

chownah
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by chownah » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:48 pm

Ask him about it.
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rightviewftw
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:48 pm

Well that depends on just how flexible he is with rules and why

questions that come to mind are
is he even more flexible with rules in private?
is he flexible with rules because he does not see danger in breaking them?
what are his current goals and aspirations?
is consummation in restraint something he strives for?

it is curious just how lax he really is of course

I think you can definitely ask him about it but it is more important that you decide how you live your life and your own relationship to precepts and discipline.

Either way even if a monk is a lax contemplative but you can learn some good things from him you should take the good and try not to be influenced by the bad traits.
He goes to Niraya, the one who asserts what didn't take place, as does the one who, having done, says, 'I didn't.' Both — low-acting people — there become equal: after death, in the world beyond.
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santa100
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by santa100 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:21 pm

Digity wrote:Is any of this a big deal? My mind tends to gravitate towards criticism, so I was really caught up on the fact that I saw him eating after noon time, which bothered me. However, I wonder if I'm just being too strict/anal about rules, etc. I'm curious to have some input about how I should better relate to all this.
Any attainment short of arahantship is, by definition, still has "work to be done". And the disciple is still, by definition, a sekkha (a learner, a trainee)

BKh
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by BKh » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:31 pm

chownah wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:48 pm
Ask him about it.
chownah
This is not a good idea, especially if the monk is from a culture that values indirectness. I can't imagine how you could ask the question indirectly. Is it worth embarrassing the monk? You have to decide.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some monks follow solar noon as the cutoff. Depending on their location in the time zone and if there is daylight savings time, solar noon could be as late as 1:30 ish.

Also, the sanghadisesa for touching a woman is only if the monk has lust in the mind. Most monks will just avoid contact out of simplicity.

Just pointing this out as a reminder that things are not always as black and white as they seem.
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Digity
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by Digity » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:15 am

That's a good point about the different time zones.

Yeah, I'd feel weird questioning the Bhante about him eating after noon time. Who the hell am I to be questioning him? I mean, I'm just a lay person...I'd feel so out of my place doing that.

There was never anything secretive. The monk was actually telling us the story during a talk about touching the woman and why he did it even though it broke one of the rules. I think he was trying to make a point about doing the kind and courteous thing vs. being a strict adherent to rules. Also he was having lunch in the wide open, it wasn't at all hidden, etc. So there's nothing about this teacher's behaviour that seems shifty to me. If anything he's an inspiration. I wish I radiated the same kindness.

chownah
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by chownah » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:25 am

Bhante, what do you think, is it better to be kind and courteous or is it better to strictly adhere to the rules?
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StormBorn
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Re: Monks and following rules

Post by StormBorn » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:41 am

Digity wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:58 pm
I know a highly revered monk who radiates kindness and acceptance. He's someone I admire, but I notice that he can be flexible with rules. For instance, I saw him eating after noon time, since he was at an event where the lunch was served past noon. Also, he's told of stories where he'd shake hands with a women he'd met, which breaks a rule for monks. I don't think the woman understood that monks shouldn't do that, but he didn't want to put her in an awkward position.

Is any of this a big deal? My mind tends to gravitate towards criticism, so I was really caught up on the fact that I saw him eating after noon time, which bothered me. However, I wonder if I'm just being too strict/anal about rules, etc. I'm curious to have some input about how I should better relate to all this.
Once my friend closely associated with a similar kind of a monk (I happened to met him several times too). All your descriptions matched my friends guru except he's no longer alive. The guru considered to be an ariya and had many Western disciples, many being females. By what we saw superficially, it's OK to say he inspired many and claimed to have guided many to the ariya level. However, once one of his devoted Western female student invited him to her country. There, not knowing the monk rules, out of devotion (!?) he offered the monk sex, and he accepted (the monk lost his monkhood during the act). However, only few get to know about this serious wrongdoing and the monk continued his monklife as nothing happened inspiring many till his death... When my friend asked the monk about the incident, his justification was that he was unable to turn down the generosity of such a devoted heart (on LSD? :jumping: )

As the rightviewftw said even if a monk is a lax contemplative but we can learn some good things from him and we can take the good and try not to be influenced by the bad traits. No doubt there's a danger associating with such a monk and also they might try to water down the teachings to suit/justify his bad behaviours.
One who is himself sinking in the mud should pull out another who is sinking in the mud is impossible; that one who is not himself sinking in the mud should pull out another who is sinking in the mud is possible.

"That one who is himself untamed, undisciplined, [with defilements] unextinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and help extinguish [his defilements] is impossible; that one who is himself tamed, disciplined, [with defilements] extinguished, should tame another, discipline him, and
help extinguish [his defilements] is possible."

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“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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