A LIFE FREE FROM MONEY – PART 4. FORFEITURE AND CONFESSION
If a bhikkhu has accepted gold, silver, or money then, according to the rules of Vinaya, he must forfeit those unallowable things in the midst of a sangha of bhikkhus first, and then confess that offense. If he has bought anything with that gold, silver, or money then those articles that have been bought must also be forfeited and then the offense is confessed. If at the time of forfeiture a layperson is present then it is allowable to explain to him what has happened. If that layman takes that money and asks, `What should I get with this?´ Then he can be told, `Such and such is allowable (ghee, butter, etc.) He cannot be told, `Buy such and such.´ Then if that layperson buys something and offers it to the sangha then all the bhikkhus, except the one who accepted that money, can make use of it. If there is no layperson present then the sangha can appoint a bhikkhu to take the money and throw it away.
The Buddha has shown no method by which a bhikkhu who has accepted money or bought things with it can derive benefit. But if the money is forfeited in accordance with Vinaya rules then the rest of the sangha may derive benefit. If the articles and money are not forfeited then no bhikkhu or samanera may use those things.
If a bhikkhu does not forfeit or throw away the money or things bought with it then no matter how many times he confesses he is said to still have that offense. Then if he listens to the recitation of the Patimokkha or declares his purity then he will also commit an offense of conscious lying. The Patimokkha states:
`Whatever bhikkhu who being questioned up to three times knowing that he has committed an offense and yet does not reveal it is one who has told a conscious lie. Venerable Sirs, consciously lying has been declared to be an obstacle to attainment by the Blessed One.´
Part 5. Modern Methods
There are many methods that monks use at present to accumulate and use large funds of money. If you are a monk you will come across different ways in different monasteries. Most of these methods do not follow the procedures laid down in the texts. It is best to avoid these practices which are questionable and doubtful and practise according to the procedures given in the texts.
For example the texts do not instruct a monk to teach a person at the time they try to offer money how to offer allowable requisites. The texts instruct that if the money is brought with the impure intention of giving it to the monk then the monk cannot point out a kappiya. (See earlier part.) There is no way to make the offering of money allowable. Money can never belong to a monk. He can never say what to do with money in a fund for requisites, but can only ask for requisites. These points are subtle and most monks do not understand them either through lack of study, tradition, or the subtle influence of desire for a fund.
Then how can a monk who does not accept money obtain allowable requisites? There are several ways allowed by the Buddha to obtain requisites. The easiest way is to ask from someone who is a relative or who has given an invitation to ask for requisites. Normally a bhikkhu cannot ask for requisites from someone who has not given invitation and is not a relative. To do so is wrong livelihood. However if a bhikkhu is ill he can ask for medicine or food from anyone. Also if his robes or bowl have been stolen, or destroyed he can ask from anyone (see Nissaggiya Pacittiya 6 & 21). A bhikkhu can also ask for labour, or borrow tools. He can ask for someone to bring water from a public source such as a river or dam, but he cannot ask for privately owned water to drink from a person´s house. A monk can also take wood, stones, or building materials from unclaimed wilderness where this is permitted by law.
Before his ordination as a novice or monk, a man can arrange a fund of money to supply requisites for when he becomes a monk or novice. Such a fund can be left with a relative or friend and they should be instructed to offer requisites to him after he has been ordained. The newly ordained monk or novice can ask for requisites from the person holding the fund if he is a blood relative, but the monk or novice needs to be given an invitation first before he can ask from a friend. This should be explained to the friend before ordination.
When a man has been ordained, if he still has money in the bank from the time when he was a layman, then he cannot undertake any arrangement of that money for his own benefit. He can leave that money in the bank until he disrobes and not use it while he is ordained. Alternatively, he can give that money away to his parents, relatives, or friends to use, but it cannot be given to any monk, novice, or monastery.
The acceptance and use of a pension while one is ordained is also unallowable. People who wish to retire into the Sangha should make suitable arrangements concerning their pension before taking robes.
The rules concerning money are complex to explain but not difficult to practise; all a bhikkhu needs to do is to refuse to accept money. For those who do keep the rules sincerely they will gain a deeper understanding of Dhamma. They will be able to realize the fruits of the Vinaya which are not found within the letter of the rules, but within the hearts of those who practise it.
Ovada Patimokkha Dhammaceti
Patience is the highest practice,
The Buddhas say Nibbana is the highest dhamma,
He is not really one gone forth who kills another,
He is not really a Samana who harms others.
Not to do any evil actions,
To develop those qualities which are good,
To purify ones own mind,
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
Not abusing, insulting, or harming others,
Being restrained according to the rules of the Patimokkha,
Being moderate in eating,
Residing in a secluded spot,
And making effort to produce concentration,
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas.