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 […]

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” […]

Kauai Update Part 2

Aloha! It has been a little over a month since I have been on the island of Kauai.  Things have been going well although my situation is still the same. I am still in a tent at Anini, but I have a new tent in Anini with a better view of the pristine Kauai shore!  Things are dryer than the record rains we had last month.. and I guess if it were wetter than before a new record would be set. I have made somewhat of a schedule and I try to update my schedule on my phone calendar which […]

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 […]

I Finally Did It!

I Finally Did It! This Rainy Season (Vassa) I was able to learn the Pātimokkha (227 Rules) by heart. It is the first round and it takes me a long time to do it, and there are mistakes. Never the less, it is considered “learned” and “memorized” at this stage. I will hopefully recite the Pātimokkha for the full moon November 3rd if all goes well. I need to get my 2+ hours of recitation down to at least 1:15 minutes. Most people do the recitation in 45 minutes or less. Some can do it in 25 minutes! It is […]

Donation to Sangha or Individuals?

  When should you give to Saṅgha? When should you give to individual monks? This is a question that is not addressed very often and it can cause lots of trouble for monks knowingly and unknowingly. Quite often, many monks blindly prompt donors to recite a line of pāḷi before they offer anything to them. “Bhikkhu Saṅghassa demi.” There are some variations, but that is the generic formula. It means, “I give to the community of monks.” This is done to give the donor more merit. He makes more merit when he gives to a community instead of one single […]