Monks wearing Corona 19 Face masks

I am a Theravada Buddhist monk living in Thailand. Am I breaching the Vinaya by wearing a Covid 19 face mask when I go out from my temple? The Vinaya states:**

23 [24]. I will not go [sit] with my head covered in inhabited areas: a training to be observed.**

Covered,* here, means covered with a robe, a scarf, or other similar piece of cloth. Rule #24 does not apply when one is sitting in one’s residence in an inhabited area. The allowance for “one who is ill” under both rules means that one may cover one’s head when the weather is unbearably cold or the sun unbearably hot.**

With metta and blessings


It doesn’t break that rule.

As a matter of fact, the Thai ecclesiastical administration issued a memo requesting that all monks in Thailand wear masks when out and about.

Cheers! :mask: :pray:


Greetings venerable! I trust you are well, and looking forward to the coming vassa.

No, face-masks in a time of pandemic are not against the Vinaya.

For a start, it is debatable whether a face mask would be included as a head covering. Still, one might argue that a face mask is also inappropriate under normal circumstances.

Regardless, all the sekhiya rules have exceptions for medical reasons, which definitely applies here. These are not normal times. Be safe, and help others be safe!

Note that the rule explanations that you have given are opinions from some commentary. The rule itself refers only to using the upper robe to cover the head. The offence, as with all sekhiya rules, falls if you do it out of disrespect from Dhamma and Vinaya, so if your motive is to help protect others and yourself, you are good.

Looking this up, I realize that because of some error, we don’t have translations of the sekhiyas on SuttaCentral. That’s bad! Don’t worry, they will be there soon.

Really? Good on them.


Thank and bless you Bhante.

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Just to be mischievous … :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Snp3.4 Parallel sutta SN7.9
At one time the Radiant One was dwelling among the Kosalans. At that time the brahmin Sundarika-Bhāradvāja performed on the bank of the Sundarika river the fire sacrifice and offered the fire-ritual. Having completed the sacrifice and ritual the brahmin rose from his seat and surveyed the four directions, thinking, “Who will partake of the remains of this sacrifice?” It happened then that the brahmin saw the Radiant One seated at the foot of a tree not far away, but with his head covered. Seeing him, the brahmin grasped the sacrificial remains in his left hand and a water-vessel in his right and approached the Radiant One who, hearing his approach, uncovered his head. Then the brahmin thought:

This venerable one is shaven-headed, a mere shaveling” and desired to turn back. But it occurred to him: “Though shaven-headed there are some brahmins here like this. It would be good to inquire about his ‘birth’.”

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Okay, but he’s not in a village here, so the rule doesn’t apply. But this passage does show that the Buddha had a flair for the dramatic. It’s a big “shaven-head reveal”, it would have worked well on TikTok!