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A Guide for Laypeople

Socializing And Wrong Resort

Going out on the town is not appropriate for bhikkhus and is covered in several rules. The eighty fifth Confession Rule, describes how the group of six monks went to the village in the afternoon and sat around gossiping, so that lay people compared them to householders. Going outside the monastery (other than on the morning alms round) was therefore regulated with this rule:

"Entering a village, town, or city during the period after noon until the following dawn, without having taken leave of an available bhikkhu — unless there is an emergency — is [an offence of Confession.]

(Summary Paac. 85; BMC p.470)

Persons or places of wrong resort for a bhikkhu are divided into six sorts (EV,II,pp.178-180). These are spending too much time socializing with unmarried women — widows and spinsters (divorcees) or with bhikkhuniis. (See also the rules on speaking with women.) Wrong resort also includes keeping company with sex aberrants (pa.n.daka). with prostitutes, and going to taverns.

A bhikkhu is prohibited from going to see and hear dancing, singing, and music. (In modern circumstances this will also concern films, videos, TV, etc.) This is similar to the Eight and Ten Precepts [see End Note4]. (See EV,II,p.72)

"In the Buddhas time one could only hear music at a live performance — hence seeing singing and music. However, following the Great Standards, it would seem appropriate to include contemporary forms of entertainment such as dancing, singing and music on television, videos, radios, tape recorders and stereos. Most comprehensively, this applies to seeing or hearing any kind of entertainment like a pleasure enjoying householder. Listening or seeing for education is another matter."

(HS ch.17)

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