Gold and silver is not money?

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Simple saja, YA atau TIDAK?


Hey Jhindra…:slight_smile: I googled the words and I think you’re saying:

Simple, only, yes or no?

But I’m not sure…so can we please stick to English…? :slight_smile:

With metta


Money is not a requisite for a monk. Many monks can live without money nowadays.
Money is impermanent, suffering and not self; therefore, it is not proper for one who is on the path to end all sufferings to take it as “my, mine”.
When we have money, we possessed it. However, the goal of a monk is to end all possessions if his goal is to end all sufferings.

When we have money, we will need to deal with it. It may get lost, stolen,… Someone may come to us and ask for money, someone may ask us to spend our money for this or that against our will, someone may trick us and take our money, we are desirable subjects for robbers, con artists…In other word, we will need to deal with all the new “births” that money created. However, the goal of a monk is to end “birth”, not to create more births!

When we possess money, we need to keep it. When we keep it, fear arises. May no one take my money!

Seeing the drawback, the danger of money, one develops dispassion with it and cuts off craving for money. One is on the right path to end all sufferings. Of course, lay persons are not ready to end all sufferings, so they still need money for their livelihood. However, monks are the ones who suppose to commit to the path to end all sufferings (unless they have different goals!)


Okay… :slight_smile: Just simply answer, YES or NO?


I think it is not easy for a monk to live without handling money nowadays.
Nowadays the majority of monk uses the money.
Perhaps Bhante @sujato, @brahmali, and @Subharo may share their experience with us.

Monks handling money


Monks incur an NP (see pg. 202 of BMC 1, NP 18) for accepting gold and silver. Interestingly, a monk could own a gold watch if and only if he already owned it at the time of his Bhikkhu ordination (“Grandfathering” it in). So we can’t give a definite yes or no, due to this quirky Grandfathering exception (which very rarely comes up).

So the next time you meet a Tibetan monk wearing a gold wristwatch, ask him if he owned that exact gold wristwatch from before when he ordained.

Not so fast, @SarathW1. Bitcoin has an interesting feature where you can, in theory, programmatically lock a certain amount of bitcoin to be spent at a certain store. This, in theory, would work like a “gift card.” Interestingly, monks can own giftcards.

Myself, I plead guilty to owning a Starbucks gift card. I know, dreadfully politically incorrect. But Vinaya-legal. I use it to eat the very occasional disgustingly-greasy meal, while in an airport on layover (and that’s the only chance to eat a meal other than to empty my Sanghati out my alms bowl and try to do an alms round in the airport, while dragging a carry-on suitcase behind me). Yes, I have a carry-on suitcase as well, which I’ve been living out of for years now, in addition to my yam and bowl. Vinaya-legal. No shame in my game.

I have no personally-assigned kuti anywhere, nor an army of fawning dayakas to open their wallets or purses at the slightest hint.

For those who think that the carry-on is excessive, please let me know how many years on end you’ve been personally living with just a bowl and yam (as a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni), with no home monastery to support your every need at the drop of a hat.

Note: I’m personally aware of a few such monks, but I don’t think they’re on this forum (and I salute them).


Maybe I am wrong. I thought that many Theravadan monks can live without handling money nowadays. Moreover, I only know 4 requisites allowed for a monk, and money is not in them. If I were a monk, I prefer not to deal with it no matter if it is allowed or not.


You are using CAPITALS a lot. That is usually regarded as “shouting” on internet forums. Bold and italics are less abrasive.

I don’t think anyone is here to slander the Buddha. All the presumably Westerner Westerners here seem to me to be acting like a bunch of normal Westerners act. And I say it’s well and good that these Westerners are Buddhist.

They bring their diverse and (hopefully) well-reasoned views to the table, and I think they make Buddhism more well-rounded, challenging long-standing assumptions that don’t stand up when scrutinized with critical thinking (which Westerners tend to be pretty good at, if not downright great, what with the whole Scientific revolution thing to our credit, as you type on that Westerner-invented gadget of yours, and surf the Westerner-invented internet).

I would also like to acknowledge and thank the Westerners Ajahn Thanissaro (who wrote the BMC 1, which I just conveniently linked to above), and John Bullit, the Westerner mastermind behind, where the BMC 1 is hosted.

I mention this all to help you appreciate the value that Westerners are bringing to the table here.

So please simmer down. :slight_smile:

Myself, if I eat too many chilis, I get grouchy. Especially at breakfast.


Hi Bhante

Is it Vinaya legal?



According to BMC 1 (which is where I was taught from), yes. See bottom of page 203, starting at the “Object” paragraph, following my BMC 1 link above. Gift cards are explicitly mentioned near top of page 204.

Ajahn Thanissaro’s summary of NP 18 (on page 208) bears mentioning here:

Summary: Accepting gold or money, having someone else accept it, or consenting to its being placed down as a gift for oneself is a nissaggiya pacittiya offense.


What do you mean by legal?


“Legal” means “is not a confessional offense”.


Hi Bhante

So credit cards/debit cards are also okay? Is this the general consensus within the grouping of your ordination?

Doesn’t taking part in a financial transaction for food go against the spirit of the alms mendicant?



Please read the whole NP 18 rule for yourself, conveniently linked to above, starting on page 202. No, credit cards and debit cards are not allowed.

If you’d like to feed me at the airport, that would be cool.

Seriously though, the Vinaya explains that the financial transaction technically occurred at the time the Starbucks card was originally purchased (by a lay donor), not when I merely redeem the stored credit at the Starbucks till.


So, Gift cards ok but not credit cards?


Actually, this is not a bad proposition.
If I see a monk in the airport and if they do not accompany a lay person I offer them a drink or food. In Sri Lanka, if you see a monk in the road at lunchtime some lay people offer them some food.


Hi Bhante
I did read it

The following items, because they do not fulfill all three of these requirements, would not count as “silver” under this rule: money orders and cashier’s checks made out to a specific payee; personal checks and travelers’ checks; credit cards and debit cards; gift cards, phone cards, frequent flyer miles; food stamps; and promissory notes. BMC1

Maybe a gift card could fall into this catorgorie? :slightly_smiling_face:

Thus if a bhikkhu receives gold or money, even if he perceives it as something else—as when accepting a closed envelope not knowing that it contains money, or consenting to a bolt of cloth’s being placed near him, unaware that money has been placed inside it—he commits the full offense all the same. BMC1

[quote=“Subharo, post:56, topic:7744, full:true”]
If you’d like to feed me at the airport, that would be cool.

In the past I have assisted monastics with their travels and if I were to see an unaccompanied monastic at the airport and had the time I would offer assistance.


P.S admins. Why is the second quote of Subharo not working? :thinking:


I do not think this interpretation is right.
This seems like someone is trying to bend the rule.
I have no problem with monks using the money but do not try to justify this as correct.
My standing on this is the same as the consumption of alcohol.
I have not a problem with people who consume alcohol but do not try to justify with all other excuses.




Isn’t this storing of food?
Which is not allowable to a monk.