Child care centers in temples!

Bhante Sujato is talking about something I am not familiar with.
It appears there was some sort of child minding facilities in certain temples.
It appears there are Vinaya rules in regard to minding children in the temple.
Can someone provide the link to Vinaya rules.
Please share your own experience and thought about this tradition.

If you tag bhante @sujato to the topic he may be able to answer your doubt himself! :slight_smile:


In several ancient texts, especially the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya if my memory serves me well, there is reference to children being left for periods of time in monasteries. It’s not found in the Pali text, and appears to be a regional development in the Mathura area. I speculate that it may be related to the modern practice of temporary ordination of children; the Buddhism of the Mathura region was evidently influential in the areas where child ordination is practiced today, namely Myanmar and Thailand.


@Timothy, if you ever get a chance to visit Phra Khru Bah, it’s a great experience. I visited his Goldern Horse Temple for the first time when I was a samanera, and a group of us went for some teachings. After that I started to go back to Chiang Rai every year, and have tried to help in small ways; I started a nonprofit to help ( ) . One year, I brought some kid sized Muay Thai gear, as I saw that the Muay Thai stadium at the Golden Horse did not have belly pads, gloves, and head and leg gear.

He’s such an interesting monk, and someone to know if you’re ever in northern Thailand, Chiang Rai region. He’s rescued and raised a number of at risk kids living in the drug trade path in the area of his wat. He’s the only monk I’ve ever seen go on alms round on horseback.

Facebook @Humanitarianchaingrai for the Golden Horse Temple

A photo taken later of the gear I brought actually being used!


It sounds like the consequence of some previous issue.

I would welcome creshe facilities by a well monitored child care agency at peak times at least , as the number 1. hindrance to working parents who want to attend temple being unable to attend temple programs (at least in my case!). Obviously there wouldn’t be an expectation on the monks to be suckling young children but it is something for the lay folk to organise among themselves. Sometimes there are informal arrangements when a parent will volunteer to look after the kids from a few families until the rest of the parents finish their period sitting. There are child protection issues with monks and creshe staff as well that arise then and they will need to have proper clearance. I think the latter should apply for any situation that allows child ordination as those children are extremely vulnerable.

With metta

Wow! Thanks for the information, @AnagarikaMichael! I was deeply touched and inspired by this movie! It’s great to hear from someone else who is actively involved! Hopefully I’ll be able to visit, but in the mean time, I’ll use the links you provided to give what help I can!


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Timothy thanks for your kind remarks. But please don’t see my post as a request for any kind of donation. I’m always very reticent to mention any of this because I don’t want to use our DD forum for any kind of perceived solicitation at all. Maybe the next time I travel to Chiang Rai I’ll touch base with you PM and we could talk about it then. Your kindness is immeasurable but again I didn’t want to post something and have anyone feel like a donation was being requested. I won’t ever use Sutta Central this way. With Metta. PS anyone that’s in the mood for a donation I’ll use this as a reminder that Bhante Sujato’s sponsor on the island has an account that anyone can help support Bhante’s work through.

Apologies for spelling mistakes as I’m dictating this into a phone

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Oh no, don’t worry! I would have donated after the first time I saw the movie, but I just didn’t know how, and wasn’t in a position to research ways to help, so I am very grateful for the links so I can finally contribute! I did not see it as a solicitation at all, merely a chance to practice Dana for a really good and worthwhile cause!


It’s like vacation bible school for buddhists. Vacation Tipitaka School.

Kind of, yes. In mean, these days, it is pretty much like a summer school for the kids. If you get a good monastery, it can be a great experience.

One of the rather interesting things I discovered about what I think the roots of the practice is, it began as a form of child sacrifice to a devouring goddess of smallpox.

It seems that a number of local deities of the more ferocious type were in the habit of eating children, which were offered to them as sacrifice; probably for a number of reasons, but defense against smallpox seems to be a recurring theme. Several names are mentioned, but a certain Kuntī is prominent among them.

Luckily for the kids, she became converted to Buddhism and gave up her cannibalistic ways. The monks gave her a home in the temple, where the mothers would come and worship. Since they were used to sacrificing children to the goddess, they asked the monks if they could instead leave the children in the temple for a short time as a substitute. The monks agreed.

But kids aren’t used to monasteries, so, well, they did what kids do. So the monks had to figure out a whole series of Vinaya rules to deal with them, preparing meals in the evening and so on. Hilariously, the text is much more interested in that stuff than in the whole “child-sacrificing monster (former!) lives in monastery” angle.


That’s interesting, and maybe it was good it happened that way. Some sanghas are so strict on the vinaya rules that they may not have allowed kids to have that experience if rules for it hadn’t been written down.

I just hoped there was another parajika or two, to address child abuse, pedophilia, and sadism, just to balance that vinaya liberality which you mention, and which allows monastics who know nothing about child development and protection, to care for and educate both well off and marginalised and vulnerable children.


…and impart that knowledge to the parents as well. Some adults have little understanding of how dangerous it is and think it is less harmful than rape. It actually ruins entire lifetimes.

With metta


Great documentary.
Thank you for posting it.
Great to see that the Buddhism is practiced in many different levels.

I create a new post in DW regarding this topic.