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 [Dhamma Talk]


Of Bhikkhus Handling Money

In [SN 4.42.10] The Buddha states in no uncertain terms that gold and silver, (or precious gems), that is money, is not to be sought for or accepted by the bhikkhus.


You may downright aver, headman,
of him to whom the taking of gold and silver is permitted
that he is not a recluse by nature,
not of the nature of the Sakyan's sons.

SN 4.42.10 - Woodward.

As far as the rules for bhikkhus go, this is an offence of expiation. [VIN. CULLAVAGGA XII; SUTTA VIBHAṄGA NISSAGGIYA PĀCITTIYA XVIII] The rule states: [Horner, transl.]: Whatever monk should take gold and silver, or should get another to take it (for him), or should consent to its being kept in deposit (for him), there is an offence of expiation involving forfeiture.

Today [Friday, June 26, 2015 12:33 PM] there are bhikkhus who accept money directly and there is a widespread practice of having some lay person accept money for a bhikkhu or for the sangha ... that is, being kept in deposit for him or them.

For such bhikkhus and abbots we must leave this to their own conscience and the scruples of their saŋghas. For the layman seeking to gain good kamma we need to consider the statement that such a one is not considered a recluse by nature, nor is he of the nature of the Sakyan's sons.

The idea is very simple: If there is money being accepted, what follows from that is at a level that is below that of the bhikkhu as a 'son of the sakkyan; that is, one who has the true spirit of the bhikkhu. Whatever flows from that money stains the life of the bhikkhu. Make up your own mind as to whether or not this is worth the doing, but don't fool yourself, or let yourself be fooled into thinking that you are making great piles of good kamma.

In giving to a layman for the sake of a bhikkhu or a sangha, the fine point is that you are not giving to the bhikkhu at all. A gift given through an intermediary is a gift given to the intermediary, not the bhikkhu. This is not the same thing as a group of people pooling their money to do some deed for a bhikkhu or the sangha. Its a matter of where the intent originates.




Of Related Interest:
He handles gold and silver

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