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A Guide for Laypeople

Wrongly Receiving Gifts

When a bhikkhu receives a general (i.e., non personal) gift, there are two rules to guard against his misdirecting it. (When a bhikkhu actually steals something it is an offence of Defeat. See Stealing.)

The first of these rules arose when a guild was preparing to make an offering of a meal and some cloth to the whole Community whereupon the group of six bhikkhus arrived and pressured the donors into giving the cloth to them instead:

"Should any bhikkhu knowingly divert to himself gains that had been intended for a Community, it is [an offence of Confession with Forfeiture.]"

(Nis. Paac. 30; BMC p.256)

"Gains here refers to robes, alms food, abodes and medicines... and other allowable things. [They are] gifts dedicated as offerings to the Sangha but not yet offered. A bhikkhu diverts such gifts to himself by asking directly for them or by roundabout speech so that the donor will give them to him."

(Nis. Paac. 30; Paat. 1969 Ed.; p159)

In the above rule the wrongly obtained gift must be forfeited to another bhikkhu(s). (However, money is a special case. See Valuables and Money.) The following rule complements the one above but is an offence of Confession:

"Persuading a donor to give to another individual a gift that he or she had planned to give to a Community — when one knows that it was intended for the Community — is [an offence of Confession.]"

(Paac. 82; BMC p.461)

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