Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Sangha: Rules of Conduct and Routines

There are much more numerous rules and regulations for a fully-fledged monk. Most important are the 227 rules of Patimokkha in Vinaya Pitaka. Of these 227 rules of conduct, the four parajikas are the most serious. The transgression of these four results in permanent expulsion from the Sangha. The remainders are considered redeemable. The four parajikas are: 

[1] Not to have sexual intercourse. 
[2] Not to steal. 
[3] Not to commit murder. 
[4] Not to claim attainments of stages of pure mental concentration that have not been achieved. 

The community of Sangha is not ones who are making time waste. They are the virtuous and venerable ones because they devote their life not only in social welfare but also in performing self-sacrifice. Thus almost everyone is living with a good deed all the times. 

Most monks have to get up early in the morning. They devote their time to meditation, chanting, and Buddhist studies at the pre-dawn hours. At daybreak, the monks walk the streets on alms round to receive food offered by the religious devotees. 

According to the Vinaya, monks may eat only between daybreak and midday, not before or after that. The mealtime is limited. Some monks eat only one meal a day. Others take breakfast and lunch, however, all finish their last meal before midday. 

The monastic chores are to sweep the compounds; to clean up the chapel area; to draw water from the well; to take care of the temple, the gardens and the elders; to teach for posterity; to visit the sick and so on. They are also invited to perform ceremonies at homes, offices or communities. 

Some brainy monks write books and make the Buddha images. Some also give Dhamma talks and lectures. Normally they take the regular services of worship every day. Therefore the monks are always busy throughout the year. But, they never spend their time in idle gossip, though the life of monk is simple. 

In the first establishment of Buddhism, all disciples of the Buddha were only Arahants. This is the first community of Sangha, all Arahants. They spent the first Buddhist Lent (Vassa) with the Buddha.

Posted by Nyan U.

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