Fighting Anger With Loving-Kindness and No Money

  Recently, I ran into a very angry man who came out of his house yelling at me and coming closer and closer.  Eventually, I won the fight with my two big weapons, loving-kindness and my commitment of being free from money for all these years.  I have been going for alms in this neighborhood for a little over a year now, and while I did have two girls yell at me, they did not leave their property boundary.  Later, I switched to a new street in the same neighborhood as I explained in my last story.  However, things were […]

Vinaya Comparison of Monastery Allowances

Below is a chart comparing special allowances by tradition which is useful for making a decision on where to ordain.  If you need an explanation, read further.. Dhammayut Wat Pah Pong Wat Khao Sanamachai (Hua Hin) Pa-Auk Cigarettes Allowed No Smoking No Smoking No Smoking Betel Nut Allowed No Betel Chewing allowed No Betel Chewing allowed No Betel Chewing allowed Cheese 7 Day (medicine) Cheese 7 Day (medicine) Cheese allowed before Noon Cheese allowed before Noon Dark Chocolate 7 Day Dark Chocolate 7 Day Chocolate allowed  before Noon Chocolate allowed before Noon Bottled Juice 7 Day Bottled Juice 7 Day […]

Why Are Monk Bowls Black?

Monk bowls are black because they are fired with sesame oil 5 times to protect it from rusting.  There are two types of bowls allowed; Iron and Clay.  Iron bowls need to be fired 5 times and clay bowls only need firing twice.  Obviously, the clay bowls do not need to be black in color but are rare to find because they are fragile and very very heavy.  Iron bowls are black from the baked-on sesame oil.  The oil is also treated or burnt beforehand too. Today, we have stainless steel bowls, and since steel is made from iron, it […]

Why do monks have one shoulder exposed sometimes and both shoulders covered other times?

Why do monks have one shoulder exposed sometimes and both shoulders covered other times? There is a very small rule about having the robes fully covered when we are in a populated areas (sekhiyā 3). Although it is a very small rule, it can say a great deal about the monk and his respect for the monastic code, especially in the afternoons or evenings. “Populated areas” refers to when we are outside of the monastery and outside of the forest. Buddhist Shrines in a city like Shwedagon Pagoda can be considered a “monastery” and it is OK and sometimes culturally […]

Buddhist Monks’ Robes Information

Robe Information Few people realize that the Theravāda monk’s robes are actually a piece of rectangular cloth with no sleeves. If you see a Theravāda monk wearing his robes in different styles, then rest assured it is due to the art of “tying the robes” or “rolling the robes” or what I call “robe origami.” In general, the robe should cover both shoulders and arms (up to the wrists) during the time when the monk is outside his monastery or living area.  This is called “wearing full robes.”  While you might see monks in South East Asian Countries not wearing “full robes” […]

Is Collecting Alms (Piṇḍapāta) Legal?

Collecting alms, also known as piṇḍapāta by Theravāda Buddhists, is a legal activity in the USA. There are some restrictions though. I spoke with a lawyer who seemed to know civil liberties quite well, but there are no guarantees with what I say. However, this information should make sense and seem legal to you. It is legal to ring the doorbell of any house and preach to them or talk to them about politics under the freedom of speech rights. One can even ask them to support, give money to a cause. One can sell them vacuum cleaners too. However, […]

Vegetarianism and Theravada Buddhism

Vegetarianism and Theravada Buddhism I have been asked to write a little something on vegetarianism and Theravāda Buddhism. I am qualified to be quite objective, and to see both sides of the issue because I was a vegetarian for a total of ten years as a lay person and I had vegetarian eyes. That meant that when I looked at meat, cooked or not, I saw a dead animal in front of me. Now that I am a monk, I am no longer a vegetarian although I have lived at vegetarian monasteries for many years, so I know both sides […]

Traveling Without a Helper

  When Ven. Devananda and I traveled to Kauai in 2015, we did not have a Kappiya (helper) to buy us food or even pay for our luggage.  One can live without helpers, but it does take some pre-planning.     We had a ticket from Yangon to Honolulu that was dirt cheap at only $854 for a round trip fare.  However, it came with 12 hour and 6 hour layovers in China.  I think the whole trip was over 40 hours.  All meals would be provided on the plane that were within our eating times.  We did OK with […]