I would imagine that where dumpster diving is legal, doing it for the purpose of obtaining cast off cloth for robes would be allowable. But I’m primarily interested in whether it is allowable for a monk to obtain food by dumpster diving as the Freegans do. The only thing that comes at all close to this that I’ve found in the suttas is where Ratthapala asks one of his former servants not to throw away old food but give it to him. This after his father failed to give him alms.
And at his own father’s house Raṭṭhapāla received neither alms nor a polite refusal, but only abuse. Now at that time a family bondservant wanted to throw away last night’s porridge. So Raṭṭhapāla said to her: “If that’s to be thrown away, sister, pour it here in my bowl.”- MN82
Of course, this isn’t dumpster diving but he does seem to break a rule by asking for food, but in the context of thinking it would go to waste otherwise.
So, is dumpster diving for food allowable according to the vinaya? What about for robes?
My hope is that Venerable @Brahmali or someone else savvy in the Vinaya will be able to answer. Thank you for your time.
Anyone who makes use of
Leftovers for food,
Putrid urine as medicine,
The root of a tree as lodging,
And rags from the rubbish-heap as robes,
Is at home in any direction.