A way to know which of us here are monks or lay people?

I am treading lightly here, and ask this only as a matter of curiosity. And I am not really sure if my question matters. But I am curious if there is a way to know which of our members are monks and which are lay people? This is only relevant in terms of our cultural frames of reference, and nothing else.

Good question or irrelevant?
Asked with Loving Kindness for all. Thank you.


A similar question came up, once. There doesn’t seem to have been any resolution.

Aside from info on their public page, like photo and user name, I don’t think we can know without asking individually.

How do you mean “only relevant in terms of our cultural frames of reference”?


Good Day or Morning? Thanks for asking cause in these sensitive politically correct times I suppose my motivation for asking that could be misconstrued. I think that knowing where a person might live, and operate as a Buddhist particular milieu lends itself to my ability to ‘feel’ them in their appropriate setting. If that is to vague perhaps I ask because I am a writer and a die hard romantic who lives vicariously through my own imaginings of what sort of exotic locales from which others speak.

Like if I knew some was a forest monk I could smell the essence of the earth and the trees etc. Or if a person was from India…or Spain. Information regarding an environment might reflect our particular learning. It’s my love of diversity, and nothing more.

1 Like

It may be good to observe this at least as an informal norm. Clearly pretending to a status that one doesn’t hold would be blameworthy, and one also wouldn’t want to give a false impression even by accident. I’ve updated my profile to claim my real-world status, which is that of a layman. I’ve never even met any renunciates in person yet, though it’s been inspiring to meet so many of them here.


Hi Gus, and thanks for your agreement on this most incidental aspect of our character. Indeed I have often examined the causes of provincial prejudices toward those born of a particular time and space beyond our control. We are all ‘victims’ of time and space rendering this material reality a veritable crapshoot of sex, race, nationality etc.

Yet I persist in my perception of diversity as nature’s supremely unique brush of infinite diversity.

Same here. Thanks! W/metta

A much better title for my question. I tend to be a tad too cryptic for many people including my soulmate. It is a technique leftover from my days in radio as a copywriter when employing what is called a ‘soft lead’ meant to draw the audience’s attention deeper into a given sales pitch. Didn’t work that well with her either:

Me Walking may be a problem!"
Her “Huh?”
Me “You might have to do the laundry today!”
Her “What ARE you talking about?”
Me “Stubbed my toe!”
Her “You could have just said that!”
Me “Sure, but this is more fun”.
Her “Do the laundry!”

Simple direct…and boring! Thanks :roll_eyes::thinking:

That’s quite sensible. Perhaps one would like to know how much of the Vinaya is followed by a poster so that one might gauge the effect of such Vinaya-following on the equanimity and wisdom of their posts. :joy:

But the funny thing here is that many lay posters have gone way beyond the first precepts. Therefore, your question is broader. The Buddha actually spoke to this in AN4.54 Living Together:

there are four ways of living together…

Basically, you’re wondering which of us are … zombies? :rofl:

Hey Karl, I’m sure that even zombies, maybe especially zombies suffer greatly inview of the dessicated skin and desultory shuffle.

Thank you as this is now next on my list!:upside_down_face:


I’ve been questioning whether this really matters too.
Positive identification is often possible, via webpages and videos online, and some of the monastic members are known to other members in RL. Debunking of possible hoax IDs is probably not possible tho: if a fake ID posts carefully how would we know they are fake!

When I first joined the site I really wanted to know about everyone. Then I found that my discomfort about not knowing the backgrounds of many forum members was causing me to reflect a lot on this form of attachment I hadn’t realised I have: a sort of personality view, where I was using my sense (correct or incorrect) of the person I imagined behind an utterance actually influenced how I valued the utterance. Perhaps it is better to examine what people say more dispassionately, in terms of whether it helps me understand Dhamma better, and just let go of what doesn’t.

I become increasing aware of all the mental games I deploy to create a sense of who “Gillian” is, rather than accept the reality of not-self, not-Gillian. Now I begin to see that I grasp after knowing other people and understanding them; in fact using similar games to create images of other people that I use to bolster my self-important sense of self.

… Does any of it really matter? Not-self = not-theirself as well as not-myself?


Yes, that is a valuable insight. And that thought crossed my mind as well…so thanks for saying the thing I was thinking. And now that you mention it, perhaps my subconscious motivation was to pre-determine-or ‘rank’ the poster’s comments based on their degree of inclusion or commitment to the Dhamma. Yet I continue to wonder if, based on the commitment of monks and/or nuns, that their knowledge of the Dhamma might be more extensive or accurate. And while I think it might be relevant to wonder about all of this, I do recognize the value of wisdom regardless of its source.
Thanks for ‘enlightening’ me!

1 Like

That is pretty funny for two reasons, well maybe curious is a better word. First, there were really zombies in Buddha’s time on the planet? I mean they obviously could NOT have been referring to the glut of programming now available on mass media. So, to what kind of being did that refer?

And the second thing is an addendum based on a necessary revision to the four ways of living together by suggesting that a fifth way might describe my situation?

#5. A goddess living with a goddess

Revised here at the risk of incurring the wrath of Mara:
"And how does a goddess live with a goddess? It’s when the wife … is ethical, of good character … And the wife is also … ethical, of good character … That’s how a goddess lives with a goddess. These are the five ways of living together.” …

Please? With Metta for all five ways.

1 Like

I love finding these terms in Bhante Sujato’s translations. He is being both precise and humorous. When we look around at all the chasing and grasping, it does feel a bit like seeing zombies. When a sleepy driver cuts us off, that was a zombie. When the police arrest a drunk driver passed out in a self-driving Tesla on the highway, that’s a zombie passing careless through life, pouring stuff down his throat. That is suffering.

And perhaps #6 as well? :slight_smile:

What’s also interesting is that monastics, the Noble Ones, are none of the above, because the above are defined by:


1 Like

Ah yes, if there is a fifth there must be a sixth!
So a Zombie is basically asleep?

1 Like

And there is more than being a god or a goddess.

1 Like

Obsessive SmartPhone users? :yum: