The Bhikkhus Rules

A Guide for Laypeople

by Bhikkhu Ariyesako | 1998 | 50,970 words

The Theravadin Buddhist Monk's Rules compiled and explained by: Bhikkhu Ariyesako Discipline is for the sake of restraint, restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse, freedom from remorse for the sake of joy, joy for the sake of rapture, rapture for the sake of tranquillity, tranquillity for the sake of pleasure, pleasure for the sake of conce...

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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