How to handle a homeless person who want to stay in your temple?

As a monk how would you handle a homeless person who wants to stay in your temple?
If you are not a monk just give the hypothetical answer based on your present knowledge assuming you are a monk.

This happens quite a lot, and generally speaking we try to give them some support.

At Santi a few years ago, some homeless people were breaking into the kitchen to steal food at night. The nuns tried to let them know, just come in the morning and we’ll give you a cooked meal!

As long as people don’t disturb the community it’s not a problem in the short term. Of course it’s nice to be able to offer people support, and for them to do some chores and help out in return.

The problem is that homeless people are usually not interested in following monastic precepts, so it becomes awkward. If they are interested, great, they might even end up ordaining. Otherwise, it will usually be a short term shelter before they move on.


Bhikkhus are not expected to share a dwelling with laypeople or novices for too long.

In Thailand we often see lay disciples moving in to the monastery grounds. But they are there mostly after retirement and to strengthen their practice and support the Sangha.

Homeless people are welcome unless they are really interested in Dhamma, what would make them strong candidates for monkhood. But as Bhante said above, it is usually not the case.

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This refers to sleeping in the same room, not to accommodations in the same monastery.


Yes bhante, it is very specific and it does not apply when you have more than a room in the same dwelling.

Isn’t this like the Christians who will help people only if they want to become Christians? In Sri Lanka it is a wide spread practice that poor people are converted to Christians by means of bribing.

It’s not a matter of belief, but behavior. If they are happy to keep the monastery rules there is usually not a problem. We can make allowances, but there are limits.


Well, in Thailand where over 90% of the population at least knows of someone called Buddha it is not that much of a problem! :smile:

Are monks allowed to share their food with a beggar?

Leftovers yes.
The only specific restriction I know of relates to a bhikkhu sharing with his own hand almsfood with naked ascetics (Jains, Ajivakas). See this:

“Whatever monk should give with his own hand solid food or soft food to a naked ascetic or to a wanderer or to a female wanderer, there is an offence of expiation.”

@SarathW1, if you want to get a nice understanding of the Bhikkhu Vinaya it may be a good idea for you to check this link:


I posted the same question in,
Dhamma Wheel:

Stack Exchange:

Isn’t this a very harsh treatment of your opposition. It appears Naked ascetics are worse than your enemy! What is the reason?

If you read the link you will understand. :wink:

Also, you would have read that:

There is no offence if he gets someone to give, (but) does not (himself) give; if he gives depositing (it) near;

Before we judge the rules we better make an effort to understand their origin stories and all of its aspects. :slight_smile:

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