Gold and silver is not money?

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Paccitiya 18. Rūpiya­-sikkhā­pada

Rūpiya1 (nt.) [cp. Sk. rūpya, lit. of splendid appearance, cp. name for gold jātarūpa] silver Vin iii.239

AND WHY AGAIN . we dare change the translation into “MONEY”.


Again, do you think gold here do not include money and money is allowed for monks?


Gold jewellery is not money , money made from gold is considered money . Nowadays , I have seen many different traditions monks/nuns handling money . Or they assigned a " kapiya " to handle for them .
Controversial topic .


I heard they confessed it when they recite Patimokha. Bhante @brahmali may help with this.


There’s a few rules here:

Regarding picking up precious treasures

Regarding taking or consenting to take gold or silver’
It is to be forfeited and confessed

Regarding trading
It is to be forfeited and confessed


So, do u think the Buddha allowed Monks to using money?


In the Vinaya there is something normally called the Mendaka allowance. This is an allowance for lay people to hold a fund on behalf of a donor. If a monk or nun needs something, they can approach that lay person and say they have need for any kind of requisite for which the fund was established. But they cannot tell the lay person to get it, only hint. In other words, the money is not considered as owned by the monastic, and therefore they cannot control it by ordering anyone.


I think there are some monks in Sri Lanka who are trying to spread rumours about monks being able to handle money, but not gold and silver, so that they can go about their businesses. High earning temples must find ways to justify themselves handling money. Some monks don’t let the dayaka sabha (donor committee) manage the finances, but control it themselves.

with metta


Yes, this is pretty common.


The problem is the donor committee squander the money.


Sometimes, yes, and sometimes it is the monks who steal the money and squander it. I don’t know what’s like in Sri Lanka, but in Thailand the misappropriation of temple offerings is a huge problem. There’s basically no oversight or accountability.


We’ve got some accountability I believe via the charities commission. However if there is a will to cheat, there is a way, I suppose:

with metta


Yes, in Australia the charities law is also pretty strict, and I don’t think there is much corruption. Anyway, most monasteries hardly have any money.


It is an interesting subject how it differs according to local laws and customs. I can’t speak definitively but in the States, mostly what happens in monasteries is a board of lay people form a non-profit organization (not directly legally affiliated with the monastery) that handles donations, and a monk or two (usually the abbot) will sit on the board and speak about the needs of the monastery and monks-- perhaps this is the “hinting” phase :slight_smile:
This way it is a collaboration between lay people and ordained. The monks never have to handle money, and there is no incentive or even need for them to do so to get their needs met as best as possible. I know Abhayagiri has the Sanghapala foundation which acts as its benefactor in this way. The lay people involved can contribute their “worldly” skills (finance, business, real estate, law) to the material well being of the sangha. Feels like a good system.


Yes. Money is not alcohol and is not gold and is not silver. Bad monk with or with no money is still a bad monk. Good monk with money can do many things for Dhamma. Bad or goood monks will both look ridiculous if wearing Rupiya (form of Gold and Silver) such gold bracelet,
gold necklace , etc.

500 years ago Buddhism dissapeared in our country, Indonesia, because of the betrayal of a moslem son to his Father, a Buddhism King, in Majapahit Kingdom, Indonesia. After 500 years, our first monk was good monk. He did many things with the money people donated to him. Buddhism awakened in our countries. Lay people can stop donation, even food, not only money if they see nay bad monk spending money unwisely. But, if you have a heart to donate, just donate. Even donate to a animal we can get 100 good kamma as return. So, why not donate money to the monk? If monk does spend money unwisely, that see what disiplines that he offense. Simple.

If you go to toilet everyday, do you ever think where your shit flows? To south or to north. It is the same to donation. Donate with heart, and forget the flow of spending made by the monk. Everybody bears his own kamma. Bad monk and good monk have their own kamma they do.

Just stop hatred in the name of Dhamma and donation, and one will step further from his practice of precepts.

Besides, the comittee of Sangha in each countries can decide who monks that is not a real monk any longer. We must not change the Buddha words. Buddha words and teaching no need to alter. Each modern age will become ancient, anicca, so that Dhamma should not be changed just to fit to an age that you called it modern.

Leave the Dhamma that is already perfect. No need alteration, just believe and practice it. Kahapanna is not like a coin in modern age, Kahapanna is Rupiya, and Rupiya is “a form of gold and silver.”. Dhanam is standing for “money”. So, don’t alter the original Buddha word by adding new intrepration. You can put a not below the Vinaya and leave everybody learns the original translation.

What happend if everybody do the same as you and change the translation to his own interpratation.? Where can we learn the original one? a counterfeit of the true Dhamma arises and people cannot distinguish which is the original words spoken by Buddha.


I don’t know about Vinaya translations but we mustn’t also hide behind words. There is a clear sutta somewhere saying the problem with money for monastics (or any form of ‘value currency’) is that it allows buying (and selling) of the five strands of sensual pleasure whereas the monastic environment is intentionally organised so as to minimise this, and maximise the development of wholesome qualities.

Gold and silver could equally be used for the same purpose. However if a good monk uses money for good things, say for example printing Dhamma books, he cannot be censured for this. Building the temple would be another example. Equally a bad monk might use it for buying alcohol- or a 50" HD TV for personal use. However we must be careful that it isn’t alcohol used in medicinal concoctions, and not the TV used in the hall used for Dhamma sermons for projecting the Dhamma to a large group of people, which again would be acceptable. Checks and balances, reasonably utilized, can be beneficial, bearing in mind TV didn’t exist 2600 years ago and isn’t in the Vinaya. One could say that if the monks are enjoying pleasures more than the average lay person, it will lead to malcontent on the long run. I’m just stating my opinion, if guidelines are to be reviewed for circumstances of a modern temple.

with metta


Sadhu! Well said.

And thus a major strand of the “renunciant” life continues, in this world, to decay. Oh what a slippery slidy slope…but yes, obviously the “best” of the decay hovers around at the top of gradient, with the very worst headed down at a perilous pace.

If one has ever seen a truly renunciant Sangha at work - as it were - one would seek to find a way of supporting the best of those who do currently handle money, to become like the best of those who don’t; so that they can find ways of doing dana, and helping their lay and monastic communities without engaging in the craving generated through having the power to choose. Otherwise contentment dies. The Sangha decays…as it is doing already.


Of course- lay people must safeguard the sangha, who are essentially their brothers and sisters, etc., against this. Committees are good way of making needs felt, good ideas tested, etc. IMO.

On a different note, from a psychological point of view -hiding away from something is not the best way to learn how to overcome desire (or aversion) towards it- so for example if someone is afraid of spiders, if they wish to overcome this fear, they need gentle gradual exposure to this. The Buddha let his bhikkhus go on Pindaptha thereby allowing them to come face to face with pleasurable sights in the villages’ houses, they visited. Even if not, while doing ashubha meditation on a decaying corpse one monk was overcome with passion and the other with letting go. I think it is ok to let bhikkhus look at decaying corpses of women for their meditations. Otherwise the ‘grass will always be greener on the other side’ and the drawbacks of money will never become apparent to bhikkhus. Use it, and the value disappears!

I am also reminded that for monks to engage in total renunciation, someone has to work (and handle money). Its a bit like when someone said that civilization, requires slaves to exist -to do the work, so other people can be ‘civilized’. Civilisation has brought great many advantages and hopefully the issue with work will be taken over by robots, computers and artificial intelligence, but this issue has similar parallels, IMO. We just need to find a rational and thought through way forward; nothing’s pure black and white, more stripes of black and white.

with metta


And then printing the books happens to require more money. Building the temple requires more money. So he strives to acquire more money. More money instills a sense of greed in him, just a little more money then I’ll stop. This is a cycle. For one whose goal is renunciation, money is a dangerous thing.


Indonesian does have a slang word of perak (silver) which mean money, since several decades ago money coins were made from silver. People would say tiga perak which mean three rupiahs. So this could be a similar situation where money was made from gold and silver in the period of the Sakyamuni Buddha.