Theravāda Collection on Monastic Law

Monks’ rules and their analysis

The chapter on relinquishment

Monks’ Relinquishment

19. The training rule on trading with money

Origin story

At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. At that time monks from the group of six traded with money in various ways. People grumbled and complained, “How can the Sakyan ascetics trade with money in various ways, just like householders who indulge in sensual pleasures?”

Monks heard the complaints of those people, and the monks of few desires … complained and criticized those monks, “How can those monks from the group of six act in this way?”

After criticizing those monks in many ways, they informed the Master. … “Is it true, monks, that you do this?”

“It’s true, Master.”

The Buddha rebuked them: “… Foolish men, how can you trade with money in various ways? 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 trades with money in various ways, 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.

Various ways: what is shaped, what is not shaped, and what is both shaped and not shaped. What is shaped: what is meant for the head, what is meant for the neck, what is meant for the hands, what is meant for the feet, what is meant for the waist. What is not shaped: what is shaped in a lump is what is meant. What is both shaped and not shaped: both of them.

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

Trades:

if he exchanges what is shaped with what is shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he exchanges what is not shaped with what is shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he exchanges what is both shaped and not shaped with what is shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he exchanges what is shaped with what is not shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he exchanges what is not shaped with what is not shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he exchanges what is both shaped and not shaped with what is not shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If he exchanges what is shaped with what is both shaped and not shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he exchanges what is not shaped with what is both shaped and not shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If he exchanges what is both shaped and not shaped with what is both shaped and not shaped, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.


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 traded with money in various ways. This 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 did the exchange into 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 exchanges it into money, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is money, but he is unsure if it is, and he exchanges it into money, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is money, but he does not perceive it as money, and he exchanges it into money, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession.

If it is not money, but he perceives it as money, and he exchanges it into money, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not money, but he is unsure if it is, and he exchanges it into money, he commits an offense entailing relinquishment and confession. If it is not money, and he does not perceive it as money, but he exchanges it into money, 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 he is insane; if he is the first offender.


The ninth rule, the training rule on trading with money, is finished.