I have this question which has been the sole reason why I made an account finally at this discourse section of suttacentral. I am a frequent visitor of the website but never actually had a reason to put my views here.
However, this question is something for which I found no answer anywhere over the net.
“Are Monks allowed to bathe with Hot water?” (that is water is specifically heated for the bath)
for This question, I wish if someone who is well versed with monastic discipline as handed down by Buddha can explain me.
The reason for this question is I wish to know whether this is considered sense pleasing or moderation. In other words, Whether its considered the middle path to bathe in hot water during winters/rainy seasons/early mornings or one should avoid it by contemplating the sensations and discarding it as not self.
I believe monasteries in temperate weather areas may have hot water systems installed and available for use of residing bhikkhus or bhikkhunis.
My limited exposure to monastic settings in Thailand taught me that due to the usually (very) warm weather hot water systems are usually not found. And, when found, tend to be made available only to more senior and physically weak members of the monastic community.
Last but not least, note that a key factor for restrictions around hot water systems may relate to the usual economic cost of those.
In other words, by making use of water heated with gas or electricity bhikkhus or bhikkhunis may drive up utilities costs incurred by the entities behind monasteries.
That would in turn add up to the effort the lay community would have to put up to keep up with the provision of the requisite of dwelling to the members of the Sangha.
By this way, having this in mind, those heading the monastic communities may choose or be instructed to restrict access to hot water systems for purposes of bathing/showering.
It looks like @Gabriel_L has largely cleared this up, but I’ll just briefly add a couple of comments.
There are no rules against bathing in hot water for monastics. The only rules about bathing concern frequency and playing in water. In fact, there are a few examples in the monastic Vinaya where monks are specifically said to bathe in hot water. There is no indication that this was considered a problem. And as Gabriel says, saunas seem to have been quite coming from the earliest times.
And , yes, monastics do indeed shower in hot water in the present day, especially in non-tropical countries like Australia.
According to the sekhiya rules of the pātimokkha, you have to be well covered in inhabited areas, which means the entire body from the neck to below the knees. In a monastery or uninhabited areas, however, you can be dressed as you like.