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...

We have already mentioned the bhikkhus alms round and his dependence on receiving food from lay supporters. But how is the gift made and how is it properly received? This is accomplished in quite a formal way yet it can still be confusing to lay devotees for different monks receive an offering in slightly different ways.

The rule that explains about formally having to make an offering to bhikkhus arose when a certain bhikkhu lived in a charnel ground, wearing robes made from rags collected from there. He also subsisted on the food left for departed spirits by relatives of the dead person. The lay people criticized him, wrongly suspecting he might also be feeding on human flesh so the Buddha set down this rule:[1]

"Should a bhikkhu take into his mouth an edible that has not been given — except for water and tooth cleaning sticks — it is [an offence of Confession.]"

(Paac. 40; BMC p.370)

"A monk who puts in his mouth, any nutriment, which has not been proffered to him, commits [a Confession offence.]"

(Paac. 40; BBC p.127)


Footnotes and references:

1.

Note that the Buddha otherwise allowed and praised living in a charnel ground and wearing rag robes, for these are two of the dhuta"nga practices.