Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

18. The training rule on money

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrel sanctuary. At that time Venerable Upananda was associating with a family from which he received a regular meal. Whenever that family obtained food, they put aside a portion for Upananda. And that’s what they did when one evening they obtained some meat.

The following morning one of their children got up and cried, “Give me meat!” The man said to his wife, “Give the Venerable’s portion to the child. We’ll buy something else for the Venerable.”

On the same morning, Upananda dressed, took his bowl and robe, and went to that family, where he sat down on the prepared seat. The man of the house approached Upananda, bowed down to him, sat down to one side, and said, “Yesterday evening, Venerable, we obtained some meat, and we put aside a portion for you. But then in the morning our child got up and cried, ‘Give me meat!’, and we gave your portion to the child. What can we get you for the sum of a kahāpaṇa?”

“Are you giving up a kahāpaṇa coin for me?”

“Yes, Venerable.”

“Then just give me that kahāpaṇa.”

After giving a kahāpaṇa to Upananda, that man grumbled and complained, “Just as we accept money, so do the Sakyan ascetics.”

Monks heard the complaints of that man, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized him,” “How can Venerable Upananda receive money?

After criticizing him in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, Upananda, that you did this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked him: “… Foolish man, how can you receive money? This will not give rise to confidence in those without it … And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:

Final ruling

‘If a monk takes, gets someone else to take, or consents to gold and silver being deposited for him, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.’”

Definitions

A: whoever … Monk: … The monk who has been given the full ordination by a complete Order through a formal procedure consisting of one motion and three announcements that is unchallengeable and fit to stand— this sort of monk is meant in this case.

Gold: the color of the Teacher is what is meant.

Silver: a kahāpaṇa coin, a copper māsaka coin, a wooden māsaka coin, a resin māsaka coin; whatever is used in commerce.

Takes: if he takes it himself, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

Gets someone else to take: if he gets another to take it, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

Consents to […] being deposited for him: if someone says, “Let this be for you,” and he consents to it being deposited for him, it becomes subject to relinquishment.


It should be relinquished in the midst of the Order. “And, monks, it should be relinquished in this way. After approaching the Order, that monk should put his upper robe over one shoulder and pay respect at the feet of the senior monks. He should then squat on his heels, put the palms of his hands together, and say, ‘Venerables, I have received money. It is to be relinquished. I relinquish it to the Order.’ ” After relinquishing it, he is to acknowledge the offense. The acknowledgment should be received by a competent and capable monk.

If a monastery attendant or a lay follower is available, you should tell him, “Look into this.” If he says, “What can I get you with this?”, you should not say, “Get this or that;” you should point out what is allowable: ghee, oil, honey, or sugar. If he makes a purchase and brings back what is allowable, everyone may enjoy it except the one who received the money.

If this is what happens, that is good. If not, you should tell him, “Discard this.” If he discards it, that is good. If he does not, a monk who has five qualities should be appointed as the money-discarder: one who is not swayed by desire, ill will, confusion, or fear, and who knows the meaning of discarding and not discarding.

“And, monks, this is how he should be appointed. First the monk should be asked and then a competent and capable monk should inform the Order:

‘Venerables, let the Order listen to me. If it seems appropriate to the Order, it should appoint monk so-and-so as the money-discarder. This is the motion.

Venerables, let the Order listen to me. The Order appoints monk so-and-so as the money-discarder. Any monk who agrees to appointing monk so-and-so as the money-discarder should remain silent. Any monk who does not agree should say so.

The Order has appointed monk so-and-so as the money-discarder. The Order approves and is therefore silent. I will remember it thus.’”

The appointed monk should drop it without taking note of the location. If he takes note of where he drops it, he commits an offense of wrong conduct.

Permutations

If it is money, and he perceives it as money, and he receives it, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is money, but he is unsure if it is, and he receives it, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is money, but he does not perceive it as money, and he receives it, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If it is not money, but he perceives it as money, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is not money, but he is unsure if it is, he commits an offense of wrong conduct. If it is not money, and he does not perceive it as money, there is no offense.

Non-offenses

There is no offense: if, within a monastery or a house, he takes it or gets someone to take it, and then puts it aside with the thought, “Whoever this belongs to will fetch it;” if he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The eighth rule, the training rule on money, is finished.