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Alms Needed For Monks To Survive, Deputy Abbot Says


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'Alms needed for monks to survive'

By The Nation

Phra Wichitthammakorn, deputy abbot of Saket Temple, said yesterday that monks couldn't propagate Buddhism if more people didn't give alms. A survey by Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University found that 26 per cent of Buddhists never gave alms, while 15 per cent never prayed.

Since many wrapped offerings during Buddhist holidays contained expired foodstuff, he advised worshippers to select practical items, such as soap or toothpaste, and assemble it themselves rather than buy a packed bucket.

Amnat Buasiri, deputy director of the National Buddhism Office, said damaging news about monks might have prompted some to donate to welfare centres or disaster victims, while prayers were deemed irrelevant by the public especially youths. The office would speak to the Education Ministry about reviving prayers during the morning flagraising ceremony at schools and promoting students' understanding of Pali chants, he said.

Saran Samantarat, another researcher, said his recent study on almstaking by boat showed that, while the practice was on a rapid decline, people still wanted to conserve the custom for community bonding, preserving Buddhism and conserving the environment.

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-- The Nation 2011-07-15

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I agree that some of the foodstuff/items offered are very poor in quality. Especially those from the 'orange buckets' made-up as cheaply as possible for the greatest profit by shops like Tesco and almost everywhere. They use the bulkiest items to make the buckets look full so that the customer thinks they are getting their moneys worth....and usually their own branded produce which makes them even more profit.

A bucket fills quickly with .....a bottle of water/toilet roll/soap dish/water scoop/small box of OMO/long box (containing 3 small incense sticks & 2 small candles)/large packet of potato chip kind of things blown up like a pillow with air..... etc.

All basically useless stuff of poor quality. Just how many soap dishes and water scoops and buckets can a monk use anyway?????....and the water sitting next to soap/washing powder for ages is undrinkable anyway.

I would imagine that the people who make up and sell these things are not practicing Buddhists since they are virtually breaking the stealing precept by cheating people being interested only in profit.

Anyone who wants to make up their own offering can do so with decent stuff and pack it themselves....of course it isn't so convenient...one has to use time and energy...but that is what making merit is all about anyway isn't it?

Useful containers such as the big plastic boxes which can be used to store bedding or robes etc. from damp are always good.

Only rarely, after consulting the abbot or monk should any kind of robes be offered. Most temples are overflowing with robes and a monk can only really use two sets anyway. Far better to give good quality cotton robes (not so easy to find now) than many sets of poor acrylic ones which are too hot in this climate.

Food which can be kept for a long time and perhaps eventually donated to the needy are best.....tinned fish/instant noodles/milk...etc. and make sure they are well sealed and cannot easily be entered by ants or other insects.

just my own observations and hints.

I heard the other day that ChiangRai province has 400+ and ChiangMai province 300+ temples without any monks in residence.

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I heard the other day that ChiangRai province has 400+ and ChiangMai province 300+ temples without any monks in residence.

Wow. When I was traveling around the area a few months ago I came across many temples with no monks in evidence, and some locked up. But temples with a famous Buddha image, footprint or relics will never close.

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^^ thanks, some good thoughts there

My partner is a from a rural area, offerings there tend to be far more practical/home-grown, rice from their own farm, eggs etc, and items for bathroom/laundry. She dismissed my idea of giving shampoo/conditioner though. No junk food.

And handed over in a box, just what could they do with all those orange plastic buckets?

Her assessment of the pre-pack buckets: 'rubbish', and maintains that some temples re-sell them to the original vendor, a perpetual cycle - don't know if this has any factual basis.

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"......and maintains that some temples re-sell them to the original vendor, a perpetual cycle - don't know if this has any factual basis. "

probably happens in some places...quite wrong though. I heard of some that sell the robes back to vendors too...also bad... but what can be done with them all?

Our temple, on big days like yesterday have teams of lay-women helping to sort through the offerings and put some of the more perishable stuff like fruit and the little sticky-rice snacks which are home-made and bread rolls and cakes etc. into sacks which are sold very cheaply to the hill-tribes people who come to buy them. They go away happy so they must get a bargain....better than wastage.

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The whole 'dana' issue has gotten out of hand. Far removed from the Buddha's teachings.

These days the there is a whole industry with financial interests in promoting gifts to monks. Firstly we have the monks themselves who preach that the only way for a person to make merit is to give to the sangha (ie to them!). Then we have the merchants who promote the gifting of useless buckets contain useless things that will never be used. On the monring almsrounds laity donate so much food, and in particular rice, that most of it goes to waste.

When I was a monk I needed an alms bowel, a bag, a plastic bag and a helper to help me carry the food collected. Every other monk got the same amount. Sometimes we had to recruit people to help drive the food back. The monks ate a little bit and some was given to lay people at the temple. Then rest was fed to the dogs and cats of the temple and the rest thrown out. Huge amounts of rice was thrown out each day.

The lay people think they can be bad and then just gift to the monks to make all this kamma disappear. Buddhism in Thailand has been changed into a new religion of ritualised gift giving to priests.

I urge people not to give to monks. They have enough as it is and they don't deserve or need anymore.

Bankei

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

Alms round isn't about what you get but giving the people the opportunity to make merit.

The fine opportunities to make merit here by being surrounded by monks and temples is one of the great things Thai people have. In the UK the few monks at the few temples cannot go on alms round because the local community is Christian.

Having wrong view is damaging for oneself, but teaching others to have wrong view is very strong karma.

Despite the numbers of bad monks here the lay people generally get what they deserve. Standards have slipped in the last 50 years as Thailand has modernised and it is also the lay people who have allowed it to happen.

If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

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If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

I was thinking the same thing. I believe it's a tradition that you don't select any individual monk to give alms to, and you give alms to the Sangha as a whole rather than a specific monk. I guess in some cases one can choose a particular temple to give to. When my company sponsored a kathin ceremony each year, they usually made sure it was a poor temple upcountry.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

Alms round isn't about what you get but giving the people the opportunity to make merit.

The fine opportunities to make merit here by being surrounded by monks and temples is one of the great things Thai people have. In the UK the few monks at the few temples cannot go on alms round because the local community is Christian.

Having wrong view is damaging for oneself, but teaching others to have wrong view is very strong karma.

Despite the numbers of bad monks here the lay people generally get what they deserve. Standards have slipped in the last 50 years as Thailand has modernised and it is also the lay people who have allowed it to happen.

Doesn't this depend on Bankei's intention & motivation Fred?

Bankei's motivation was his concern that:

  • The whole process resulted in huge daily wastage of food, much of which is thrown away.
  • Lay people thinking they can redeem poor behavior and action simply by giving alms.
  • The spawning of a whole industry promoting useless gifts, for financial gain.
  • The practice of many Monks teaching lay people that making alms gifts to Monks is either the only way and/or principal way to make merit.

I understand that accumulation of khamma depends very much on the motivation & intention rather than the action itself.

If the intention is wholesome or well meaning then the khamma is positive or neutral.

If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

Perhaps not Fred.

In my vision I can see great reform coming out of such action.

For example, if lay people stopped making alms offerings then the following might occur:

  • Less food wastage with surplus going to the needy.
  • Monks could become self sufficient whilst practicing mindfulness by tending to vegetable hothouses, and hydroponic gardens.
  • It would stop conceivably unwholesome practice of redemption through alms giving (motivation/intention is selfish) and drive people to think before performing bad deeds
  • It could break the superstitious side of Buddhism as it is currently practiced as Monks would no longer need to tell the people what they wanted to hear for fear of losing food donations.
  • It would shake out many Monks who tend to be passengers along for the ride for free board and food.

I'm not against the practice of alms rounds and have a soft heart for the lay people who give generously to help Monks travel that long road towards enlightenment.

These people have admirable intention and motivation, but l also believe that giving to anyone in need, whether it be food, assistance, or support is very wholesome.

Edited by rockyysdt
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This may be a little off, but not enough to be bounced off of this topic, I hope.

How does a woman give to the monks? I know that I can't give them anything directly. If there is no one else around who is male to give it to them, what is the procedure then? Would it be to just put it on the ground (if it is money, this is against les majeste laws!) or wherever and then let the monk take it himself?

Thank you.

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If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

I was thinking the same thing. I believe it's a tradition that you don't select any individual monk to give alms to, and you give alms to the Sangha as a whole rather than a specific monk. I guess in some cases one can choose a particular temple to give to. When my company sponsored a kathin ceremony each year, they usually made sure it was a poor temple upcountry.

Couldn't one talk with the head monk of the Sangha and ask what is most needed and then give them that when almsgiving? I would not feel right to know that what I give them would go into the trash. This would be wasteful of my money, their work and their time. It would be bad all around. Has anyone ever done this? If so, did it work out for you? I know that being a woman makes it a bit tougher but getting this information would seem to be a good thing for everyone. Why not have a free ad in the local press that would state what is really needed at that time that they can change whenever the needs change? This is not begging to me; instead, it would give assurance to those who give that they are giving what will be useful and needed.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

Alms round isn't about what you get but giving the people the opportunity to make merit.

The fine opportunities to make merit here by being surrounded by monks and temples is one of the great things Thai people have. In the UK the few monks at the few temples cannot go on alms round because the local community is Christian.

Having wrong view is damaging for oneself, but teaching others to have wrong view is very strong karma.

Despite the numbers of bad monks here the lay people generally get what they deserve. Standards have slipped in the last 50 years as Thailand has modernised and it is also the lay people who have allowed it to happen.

If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

I am not suggesting people stop giving. I beleive giving is good. I suggest people give to those most deserving.

Bankei

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This may be a little off, but not enough to be bounced off of this topic, I hope.

How does a woman give to the monks? I know that I can't give them anything directly. If there is no one else around who is male to give it to them, what is the procedure then? Would it be to just put it on the ground (if it is money, this is against les majeste laws!) or wherever and then let the monk take it himself?

Thank you.

Anyse,

Women can and do give directly to the monk by putting items in the almsbowl. In Thailand, although there is not rule against this, Thai monks won't want to take anything directly from the hands of a woman. They will often use a cloth which they hand on to while the woman places the item on it. But on almsround the monk simply opens the lid of the bowl and you put things in the bowl.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

That's alright Fred.

I will go out and cancel this bad karma by donating rice to a lazy monk (who probably has more money in a bank account than me). He probably won't need or eat the rice, but that doesn't matter as it is the ritual act that is important.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

That's alright Fred.

I will go out and cancel this bad karma by donating rice to a lazy monk (who probably has more money in a bank account than me). He probably won't need or eat the rice, but that doesn't matter as it is the ritual act that is important.

Karma cannot be cancelled out. It is not like a bank account which is either in the red or black but not both at the same time. it is like a seperate account for good and bad karmas and they cannot be wiped out....only used up.

You only make merit (good karma) from an act which is done with the correct intention. You giving to a monk, when you see the monk as a useless beggar, would get you almost no merit at all, and if done with contempt perhaps only get you bad karma.

How come you were ordained and never learned anything during that time. How long were you ordained and where? Was it done out of custom or to please others or did you ordain out of the real desire to improve yourself?

As we can see, the ritual act is pretty useless if only done as a meaningless ritual and without the proper intention.....so it is only important in the eyes of those who are ignorant of the truth.

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Perhaps Bankei only saw what went on in his own temple and assumes it is the same everywhere.

In our temple there is very little wasted since several old people who perhaps live alone, some local drunks, the temple cleaning lady, and many local kids often ask for and get any surplus. Another man collects unwanted rice to prepare meals for the temple stray dogs. Another comes looking for feed for his pigs.

We do get a lot, but that is because there are many lay-followers who want to give, not a few giving alot.

Merit is also gained when people give to the needy, but karma created not only depends upon the giver but also the receiver. Thai people flock to make merit with a famous monk who is suspected of having attainments and perhaps having reached the goal of Arahant because more merit can be expected when done with such a person.

Giving alms to a Buddha would naturally gain far more merit than the same act to an ordinary monk because Buddhas are so rare and prescious. Many Thais prefer to give to fully ordained monks than Novices because the monks are trying to keep 227 precepts which is far more difficult than the 10 a novice has to keep.

Equally, negative karma created with a good person is far worse than the same done with a bad person, and horrific if done with a truly holy person.

The Christian saying "all men are born equal..." is just not true since we are all unique and a product of our past karma and past lives.

Those people who are devout Buddhists will enjoy gaining merit from donations to the Sangha, and perhaps they also help other too....we have no way of knowing.

Theravada monks are not allowed to grow their own food or do any kind of gardening but are expected to go out on alms-round to make their presence known to the lay community. Cutting themselves off from the outside world is a certain quick way to end all support and cause the demise of the Sangha and therefore the opportunity for people to hear the teachings and gain merit.

Remember than only a few people on this planet have the opportunity to play on the internet.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

Alms round isn't about what you get but giving the people the opportunity to make merit.

The fine opportunities to make merit here by being surrounded by monks and temples is one of the great things Thai people have. In the UK the few monks at the few temples cannot go on alms round because the local community is Christian.

Having wrong view is damaging for oneself, but teaching others to have wrong view is very strong karma.

Despite the numbers of bad monks here the lay people generally get what they deserve. Standards have slipped in the last 50 years as Thailand has modernised and it is also the lay people who have allowed it to happen.

If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

I am not suggesting people stop giving. I beleive giving is good. I suggest people give to those most deserving.

Bankei

Perhaps you met some bad monks when you ordained, but it is wrong to assume all are like that.....unless you have the gift of mind reading or are able to see others karma..???

You are trying to decide who is the more deserving....that is OK...but don't push your views on other people if all you are doing is making assumptions.

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Hi Fred.

I pose these questions to learn and increase my knowledge of Buddhism.

Thai people flock to make merit with a famous monk who is suspected of having attainments and perhaps having reached the goal of Arahant because more merit can be expected when done with such a person.

I understood that one of the "merit" making benefits of giving food (alms) to a Monk is that you are aiding his progress towards enlightenment.

If by the benefit yours and others donations, a benefactor reached such a pinnacle then your act has yielded a great result.

Why is there great merit in giving alms to an Arahant who has already reached the summit?

Theravada monks are not allowed to grow their own food or do any kind of gardening but are expected to go out on alms-round to make their presence known to the lay community. Cutting themselves off from the outside world is a certain quick way to end all support and cause the demise of the Sangha and therefore the opportunity for people to hear the teachings and gain merit.

I understand the custom has been not to work, instead collecting food through alms since the beginning, but isn't the primary reason to allow Monks to devote their time to practice?

Hasn't farming productivity improved exponentially since the Buddhas time, allowing Monks to be self sufficient with little effort and much to gain through non sitting mindful practice/experience?

Monks could still mingle with the people and perform all their other roles, including the teaching of the eight fold path.

Remember than only a few people on this planet have the opportunity to play on the internet.

I'm not sure what you meant by this sentence?

Edited by rockyysdt
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Hi Fred.

I pose these questions to learn and increase my knowledge of Buddhism.

Thai people flock to make merit with a famous monk who is suspected of having attainments and perhaps having reached the goal of Arahant because more merit can be expected when done with such a person.

I understood that one of the "merit" making benefits of giving food (alms) to a Monk is that you are aiding his progress towards enlightenment.

If by the benefit yours and others donations, a benefactor reached such a pinnacle then your act has yielded a great result.

Why is there great merit in giving alms to an Arahant who has already reached the summit?

Theravada monks are not allowed to grow their own food or do any kind of gardening but are expected to go out on alms-round to make their presence known to the lay community. Cutting themselves off from the outside world is a certain quick way to end all support and cause the demise of the Sangha and therefore the opportunity for people to hear the teachings and gain merit.

I understand the custom has been not to work, instead collecting food through alms since the beginning, but isn't the primary reason to allow Monks to devote their time to practice?

Hasn't farming productivity improved exponentially since the Buddhas time, allowing Monks to be self sufficient with little effort and much to gain through non sitting mindful practice/experience?

Monks could still mingle with the people and perform all their other roles, including the teaching of the eight fold path.

Remember than only a few people on this planet have the opportunity to play on the internet.

I'm not sure what you meant by this sentence?

It is against the Vinaya for a monk to dig the soil or break a living plant, so any kind of agricultural activity is out. This is to force him to get his necessities from the lay people, and they do so out of faith that he is trying his best to practice the Dhamma. If he is cheating them by not doing his duty then he is also acquiring much bad karma and would be better off disrobing.

Monks need food and requisites to live....if we provide these then we get merit. If the monk is doing his best to reach Nibbanna by practicing meditation, especially Vipassana and is intent upon the goal then we get even more merit. One who has reached the goal is a great example and spur to the rest of us to practice and can even pass on his knowledge, the real thing gained by practice, not simply book study. Should we then not feed him and let him die???

Equally, bad karma got by speaking or thinking ill of such a one is also very heavy. We must therefore tread very carefully around those who might be practicing and have made progress upon the path, since those who have attainments do not have a sign on their foreheads, and we could easily do ourselves no good by acting without mindfulness.

Just because we do not intend to do something, does not mean that the karma is negated, just lighter than if we had intended....

Most Thai people are not very well off at all. They are struggling to get by, and putting on a good face. They come out of very poor accomodation dressed as well as they can and meeting them on the street we might not suspect their real situation.

Despite this they are generally content, especially the older generation, and very generous with the little they have to spare, especially when it comes to merit-making. We should not despise them for it. But around the world there are only a relative few who have the time or money to play with the latest toys the (comparatively) wealthy West enjoys.

The poorer people tend to be more generous than the wealthy. Very easy to see here in Asia.

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I have observed and led to believe by other more learned than me, "that a healthy body leads to the making of a healthy mind" The conservations I have had with novices and monks would indicate that physical exercise is not a part of the process at many of the temples.

The small temples with 1 or 2 monks and novices there for education or what ever reason, did seem to incorporate exercise into the daily routine. Just an observation from my limited experience. , as a observer/conversationalist.

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Fred, you did a great job answering all the questions here. I know how difficult it was. Like the old saying, you can please all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can't please all the people all the time. Again, great job. I personally understood everything you said and have no questions about any of it.

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Thanks for your answer Fred.

I've been getting my mind around the word Karma and have now learned that it's a verb ("action" or "doing") and not the punishment or consequence which l previously thought.

It's been described to me as a seed.

The seed can sprout soon after an intent/action or lie dormant until such time that conditions are right, and will germinate bearing karmic fruit.

I understand the karmic fruit is called phala and can arise at anytime.

The best way to reduce the effects of phala is to practice mindfulness (vippassana) to create the awareness to stop generating further karma and to be able to recognize karmic fruit and deal with it without reacting inappropriately.

Most Thai people are not very well off at all. They are struggling to get by, and putting on a good face. They come out of very poor accomodation dressed as well as they can and meeting them on the street we might not suspect their real situation.

Despite this they are generally content, especially the older generation, and very generous with the little they have to spare, especially when it comes to merit-making. We should not despise them for it. But around the world there are only a relative few who have the time or money to play with the latest toys the (comparatively) wealthy West enjoys.

The poorer people tend to be more generous than the wealthy. Very easy to see here in Asia.

My travels to Thailand have considerably increased my awareness of the criminal wastefulness of resources in the West and the lack of empathy for those who suffer.

Edited by rockyysdt
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I have observed and led to believe by other more learned than me, "that a healthy body leads to the making of a healthy mind" The conservations I have had with novices and monks would indicate that physical exercise is not a part of the process at many of the temples.

The small temples with 1 or 2 monks and novices there for education or what ever reason, did seem to incorporate exercise into the daily routine. Just an observation from my limited experience. , as a observer/conversationalist.

Alms-round is good exercise...my own lasts for about 80 minutes a day....and chanting is good exercise for the lungs.

Open displays of monks doing yoga and Tai-Chi are frowned upon for some reason here...but one can practice quietly in one's own guti....and both are excellent ways to continue one's vipassana practice.

Thank you Venerable Khaowong1 for your support.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

That's alright Fred.

I will go out and cancel this bad karma by donating rice to a lazy monk (who probably has more money in a bank account than me). He probably won't need or eat the rice, but that doesn't matter as it is the ritual act that is important.

Karma cannot be cancelled out. It is not like a bank account which is either in the red or black but not both at the same time. it is like a seperate account for good and bad karmas and they cannot be wiped out....only used up.

You only make merit (good karma) from an act which is done with the correct intention. You giving to a monk, when you see the monk as a useless beggar, would get you almost no merit at all, and if done with contempt perhaps only get you bad karma.

How come you were ordained and never learned anything during that time. How long were you ordained and where? Was it done out of custom or to please others or did you ordain out of the real desire to improve yourself?

As we can see, the ritual act is pretty useless if only done as a meaningless ritual and without the proper intention.....so it is only important in the eyes of those who are ignorant of the truth.

And you know this how? And don't tell me a monk told you. You claim things to be true and certain. How do you know this is the case?

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Perhaps Bankei only saw what went on in his own temple and assumes it is the same everywhere.

In our temple there is very little wasted since several old people who perhaps live alone, some local drunks, the temple cleaning lady, and many local kids often ask for and get any surplus. Another man collects unwanted rice to prepare meals for the temple stray dogs. Another comes looking for feed for his pigs.

We do get a lot, but that is because there are many lay-followers who want to give, not a few giving alot.

Merit is also gained when people give to the needy, but karma created not only depends upon the giver but also the receiver. Thai people flock to make merit with a famous monk who is suspected of having attainments and perhaps having reached the goal of Arahant because more merit can be expected when done with such a person.

Giving alms to a Buddha would naturally gain far more merit than the same act to an ordinary monk because Buddhas are so rare and prescious. Many Thais prefer to give to fully ordained monks than Novices because the monks are trying to keep 227 precepts which is far more difficult than the 10 a novice has to keep.

Equally, negative karma created with a good person is far worse than the same done with a bad person, and horrific if done with a truly holy person.

The Christian saying "all men are born equal..." is just not true since we are all unique and a product of our past karma and past lives.

Those people who are devout Buddhists will enjoy gaining merit from donations to the Sangha, and perhaps they also help other too....we have no way of knowing.

Theravada monks are not allowed to grow their own food or do any kind of gardening but are expected to go out on alms-round to make their presence known to the lay community. Cutting themselves off from the outside world is a certain quick way to end all support and cause the demise of the Sangha and therefore the opportunity for people to hear the teachings and gain merit.

Remember than only a few people on this planet have the opportunity to play on the internet.

This is a load of complete and utter BS and jibberish! You try to tell people that you as monks, are superior in your thinking compared to "laypeople". It is prejudiced eliticed and despicable. And your quoting "all men are born equal" as a Christian saying is incorrect. Where does it say that in their Bible? You have misused a quote from the American Declaration of Independence saying "all men are created equal". And you claim the right to judge that this is not true. Who gave you this right?

All this and you, as monks in Thailand and everywhere else, are nothing but parasites on society. Some of you even claim you are forbidden to work or do anything useful, only pray and "enlighten" yourselves. Talk about being lazy bums. If you had any kharma, you'd be ashamed of yourselves.

Edited by Tanaka
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Perhaps Bankei only saw what went on in his own temple and assumes it is the same everywhere.

In our temple there is very little wasted since several old people who perhaps live alone, some local drunks, the temple cleaning lady, and many local kids often ask for and get any surplus. Another man collects unwanted rice to prepare meals for the temple stray dogs. Another comes looking for feed for his pigs.

We do get a lot, but that is because there are many lay-followers who want to give, not a few giving alot.

Merit is also gained when people give to the needy, but karma created not only depends upon the giver but also the receiver. Thai people flock to make merit with a famous monk who is suspected of having attainments and perhaps having reached the goal of Arahant because more merit can be expected when done with such a person.

Giving alms to a Buddha would naturally gain far more merit than the same act to an ordinary monk because Buddhas are so rare and prescious. Many Thais prefer to give to fully ordained monks than Novices because the monks are trying to keep 227 precepts which is far more difficult than the 10 a novice has to keep.

Equally, negative karma created with a good person is far worse than the same done with a bad person, and horrific if done with a truly holy person.

The Christian saying "all men are born equal..." is just not true since we are all unique and a product of our past karma and past lives.

Those people who are devout Buddhists will enjoy gaining merit from donations to the Sangha, and perhaps they also help other too....we have no way of knowing.

Theravada monks are not allowed to grow their own food or do any kind of gardening but are expected to go out on alms-round to make their presence known to the lay community. Cutting themselves off from the outside world is a certain quick way to end all support and cause the demise of the Sangha and therefore the opportunity for people to hear the teachings and gain merit.

Remember than only a few people on this planet have the opportunity to play on the internet.

This is a load of complete and utter BS and jibberish! You try to tell people that you as monks, are superior in your thinking compared to "laypeople". It is prejudiced eliticed and despicable. And your quoting "all men are born equal" as a Christian saying is incorrect. Where does it say that in their Bible? You have misused a quote from the American Declaration of Independence saying "all men are created equal". And you claim the right to judge that this is not true. Who gave you this right?

All this and you, as monks in Thailand and everywhere else, are nothing but parasites on society. Some of you even claim you are forbidden to work or do anything useful, only pray and "enlighten" yourselves. Talk about being lazy bums. If you had any kharma, you'd be ashamed of yourselves.

Obviously this last post adds nothing to what was an interesting thread. I thought it was a violation of ThaiVisa rules to post such a flame. I hope FabianFred and you others won't be discouraged from contributing on this account. I know I appreciate it.

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Obviously this last post adds nothing to what was an interesting thread. I thought it was a violation of ThaiVisa rules to post such a flame. I hope FabianFred and you others won't be discouraged from contributing on this account. I know I appreciate it.

It was useful to some extent as an observation of attachment to aversion.

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I'm not always in favour of the market but in this case it seems reasonably appropriate. You've got a group of sellers and a group of purchasers and if the product doesn't appeal, then it ain't no good and, frankly, in this case, that's a cause for celebration.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

That's alright Fred.

I will go out and cancel this bad karma by donating rice to a lazy monk (who probably has more money in a bank account than me). He probably won't need or eat the rice, but that doesn't matter as it is the ritual act that is important.

Karma cannot be cancelled out. It is not like a bank account which is either in the red or black but not both at the same time. it is like a seperate account for good and bad karmas and they cannot be wiped out....only used up.

You only make merit (good karma) from an act which is done with the correct intention. You giving to a monk, when you see the monk as a useless beggar, would get you almost no merit at all, and if done with contempt perhaps only get you bad karma.

How come you were ordained and never learned anything during that time. How long were you ordained and where? Was it done out of custom or to please others or did you ordain out of the real desire to improve yourself?

As we can see, the ritual act is pretty useless if only done as a meaningless ritual and without the proper intention.....so it is only important in the eyes of those who are ignorant of the truth.

Hi Fred

I was only having a go at you (jokingly of course). I know the Buddhist theory of Karma, but the Thais have their own theories and treat their version of merit as a way to defeat bad Karma. Of course this is just a generalisation. There may be a few people who hold the 'correct' view. Rituals can be important too, even hollow ones.

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Encouraging others to stop making merit by giving is creating very bad karma for you Bankei....and especially shocking since you were ordained once!

Alms round isn't about what you get but giving the people the opportunity to make merit.

The fine opportunities to make merit here by being surrounded by monks and temples is one of the great things Thai people have. In the UK the few monks at the few temples cannot go on alms round because the local community is Christian.

Having wrong view is damaging for oneself, but teaching others to have wrong view is very strong karma.

Despite the numbers of bad monks here the lay people generally get what they deserve. Standards have slipped in the last 50 years as Thailand has modernised and it is also the lay people who have allowed it to happen.

If they stop supporting all monks the few good ones cannot survive either and Buddhism will soon disappear from Thailand.

I am not suggesting people stop giving. I beleive giving is good. I suggest people give to those most deserving.

Bankei

Perhaps you met some bad monks when you ordained, but it is wrong to assume all are like that.....unless you have the gift of mind reading or are able to see others karma..???

You are trying to decide who is the more deserving....that is OK...but don't push your views on other people if all you are doing is making assumptions.

I did see some bad monks. Senior ones too. Yes wrong to assume all are like that. But i have travelled throughout thailand and stayed at many temples, including many famous temples with famous monks. I have been impressed by a few, usually the mid range monk (in terms of vassa). I have met some famous 'forest' monks, but did not feel impressed.

I am not trying to push my views on to others, but wonder if it was really the intention of the Buddha to create a system of ritual giving to monks (like ritualised priests) to obtain merit. I call this religion "Thaam bunism" to distinguish it from Buddhism.

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