In this ideal scenario, what would the order of monastics be?

Hello folks! I was wondering, half for fun, half for curiosity: let’s say there was a big Buddhist occassion (like Vesak at a place like Bodhgaya, or the Tripitaka Chanting? IDK) and all the Buddhist bhikkhus/bhiksus, bhikkhunis/bhiksunis, samaneras and samaneris, priests, upasakas and upasikas of all Buddhist flavors were all together.

All upasakas and upasikas are on the 8 or 10 precepts, so are the Zen priests–which (I think for some for some folks, and for the purpose of this exercise) make them worthy of receiving alms afaik?

What would the order of the line to receive alms be? Would it be:

  1. The most senior to the most junior of bhikkhus, then bhikkhunis, then samaneras, then samaneris, then upasakas, then upasikas within the Theravada Vinaya; then the most senior to the most junior of the same for the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya, then the same for those adhering to the Mulasarvastivada Vinaya;

  2. Or would it be the most senior to the most junior of all bhikkhus/bhiksus, then for bhikkunis/bhiksunis, then samaneras, samaneris etc, regardless of Vinaya?

  3. For either situation, would the Zen priests who are under 8 or 10 precepts go before the upasakas/upasikas, divided by the most senior, by gender?

  4. Some other order I’m not thinking about?


First come first serve. That’s the easiest in a situation like this.

Another solution is multiple lines.

Depending on the group and country, it might just go by absolute seniority regardless of sex.


At Bodhinyana we (finally) walk by seniority regardless of gender.
Previously the most senior Bhikkhuni would walk behind the most junior Bhikkhu. Then samanera then Samaneri.
I’ve seen two lines done at Californian Bhikkhuni ordinations


Ahhhh, yeah this’ll just make it easy for everyone lol. But I guess if one was being formal, multiple lines + seniority would be really useful!

Ahhh this is heartwarming to hear! The two line idea seems to be pretty solid if one was going to be formal huh!

  1. Whatever the organisers arrange.

Re: Vesak in Bodh Gaya hypothetical.

Most people in Bodh Gaya have never seen a Theravada bhikkhuni, sikkhamana or even samaneri before.

Most likely Bodh Gaya outcome for bhikkhunis/sikkhamanas/samaneris not travelling with a larger group is getting lumped with the thilashins, of which there are many (60,000 total in Myanmar, I saw loads in India). Most thilashins and lay supporters have no idea how to react to a Theravada bhikkhuni. Hence the “chair game” begins (i.e. when as a bhikkhuni, you can never predict where you will be seated on a given day, or if it will be the same as yesterday).

It might be better if the organiser has a long history with bhikkhunis, like the Mahabodhi Society.

Source: I have been to Bodh Gaya as a bhikkhuni. I spent most of the time either being addressed as mae chee or being mistaken for an effeminate monk. But we didn’t go looking for Theravada bhikkhunis in particular.


The idea of having a strict order only really works in a community of a few well-established types of people (monks, nuns, layfolk, etc.). In big events it just gets ignored, or at most, the Sangha is invited first and we go first come first served. Probably also best to let the folks who are not eating in the afternoon go first.


The ones that most need to eat at the front, the ones that least need to eat at the back. Damn my socialist leanings :wink:

If they were Christian they could just pass around a few loaves and fishes - my favourite Christian foodie story because it shows what generosity can achieve.