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Sat 26 Jul 2014
227 Rules for Monks
Written by Richard Barrow   
Monday, 09 May 2005 01:26

Tomorrow I am planning on going to visit Phra Nattawud at the temple where he has been a monk for the past three weeks. I think I have told you before that monks have to keep 227 precepts in their every day life. So, today I thought I would take a look at some of these rules in order to help understand what it is like for Phra Nattawud at the temple.

These rules were laid dwon by the Buddha himself. So, you might find some of the rules a bit strange in a modern society. According to the Buddha, there are seven kinds of offences. In the following list, pacittiya is not so serious and all a monk has to do is confess his fault to the abbot or at least two or three other monks.

1) If a monk drinks intoxicating liquors, it is a pacittiya.
2) If a monk tickles another monk, it is a pacittiya.
3) If a monk swims in the water for pleasure, it is a pacittiya.
4) If a monk displays a stubborn attitude in regard to the vinaya, it is a pacittiya.
5) If a monk frightens another monk, making him scared of ghosts, it is a pacittiya.
6) If a monk, who does not have a fever, lights a fire himself or gets someone else to light it for the purpose of warming himself, it is a pacittiya. If it is lit for other purposes there is no offence.
7) If a monk is living in the middle provinces of India, he may wash himself once every fifteen days. If he does so within fifteen days, except at times as it is necessary, it is a pacittiya. In border countries such as Siam, it is not an offense to wash at any time.
8) If a monk has obtained a new cloth, he must mark it with one of three kinds of colour before using it. These are blue, mud coloured or dark brown. If he does not mark it before using it, it is a pacittiya.
9) If a monk, having shared a robe with another monk, uses it without the other party having relinquished his part-ownership, or given permission for its use, it is a pacittiya.
10) If a monk hides any of the possessions of another monk, these being the bowl, robes, sitting-cloth, needle case and belt, even as a joke, it is a pacittiya.

Here are some rules for when monks go out into inhabited areas:

1) I will cover my body properly.
2) I will properly restrain the movements of hands and feet
3) I will keep my eyes looking down.
4) I will not hitch up my robes.
5) I will not laugh loudly.
6) I will not speak loudly.
7) I will not sway my body about.
8) I will not swing my arms about.
9) I will not shake my head about.
10) I will not put my arms akimbo.
11) I will not cover my head with a cloth.
12) I will not walk on tiptoe.
13) I will not sit clasping my knees.

The monks have certain rules when teaching Dhamma to lay people.

I will not teach Dhamma to someone who is not sick and...
1) ... who has an umbrella in his hand.
2) ... who has a wooden stick in his hands.
3) ... who has a sharp-edged weapon in his hand.
4) ... who has a weapon in his hand.
5) ... who is wearing wooden-soled sandals.
6) ... who is wearing shoes.
7) ... who is in a vehicle.
8) ... who is on a bed or couch.
9) ... who is sitting clasping the knees.
10) ... who has a head wrapping.
11) ... whose head is covered.
12) ... who is sitting on a seat while I am sitting on the ground.
13) ... who is sitting on a high seat while I am sitting on a low seat.
14) ... who is sitting while I am standing.
15) ... who is walking in front of me while I am walking behind him.
16) ... who is walking on a pathway while I am walking beside the pathway.

I wonder how many of the 227 precepts Phra Nattawud has broken already? I wonder how many he is aware of? Come back tomorrow to find out what life is like in a Thai temple.