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Are monks allowed to touch their mothers? - Dhamma Wheel

Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
fgimelli
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Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby fgimelli » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:25 pm

This might seem like a silly question, but I have been curious about this for some time. I noticed that Sanghadisesa rule 2 states that "Should any bhikkhu, overcome by lust, with altered mind, engage in bodily contact with a woman, or in holding her hand, holding a lock of her hair, or caressing any of her limbs, it entails initial and subsequent meetings of the Community."

Since the rule clearly states that lustful intention is necessary, I wondered why it is that monks in countries like Thailand do not touch any women. I could see the benefit of avoiding any possibility of a situation in which lust arises, or which might be misconstrued by a third party, but then I wondered: what if the woman was your mother or your sister?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, in his 'Buddhist Monastic Code' states that "The Vinita-vatthu contains cases of a bhikkhu who caresses his mother out of filial affection, one who caresses his daughter out of fatherly affection, and one who caresses his sister out of brotherly affection. In each case the penalty is a dukkaṭa."

So, I wonder...is it OK for a monk to let's say hug his mother, if that is culturally appropriate and a sign of respect and greeting? Or would this be an offense?

Looking forward to any responses!

With metta,
Francesco

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pilgrim
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby pilgrim » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:49 pm

I think that monks are not only allowed to touch their mothers, but all other women, on the proviso there is no lust. The Vinaya rule is quite clear.

I believe that in Thailand, cultural development has taken the observation of this rule to an unnecessary extreme. A woman is not even allowed to give something directly to a monk's hands but has to place it on an offering cloth. I hope that western descendants of the Thai Forest tradition drop this cultural baggage.

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Adrien
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Adrien » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:49 pm

Please don't hesitate to correct my english if you feel to

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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:39 am

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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Fede » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:45 am

While I accept that HH the DL is from a different tradition entirely, I believe the rule applies in some Tibetan traditions, also, but I have seen him, personally, with my own eyes, hug a woman.

Context plays a huge part.
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Ben
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:47 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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Euclid
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Euclid » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:08 am

I seem to recall an anecdote of Bhikku Pesala's, of him shaking the Queen's hand in some ceremony of one another (apologies if my memory is incorrect.) In the telling of the anecdote he explained that cultural context outweighs arbitrary rules in some circumstances.

fabianfred
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby fabianfred » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:22 am

The problem with 'lustful intent' is that nobody can know your mind unless they can read minds....so to avoid suspicion it is better simply to avoid contact. In situations where we know there is nobody who is looking for trouble or to find fault then perhaps it is OK. In any audience of the Buddha's when he was teaching the Dhamma, there were those intent upon listening, just along with their friends, and those looking to find fault. Nowadays there are plenty of the latter so we must be careful.

In a similar vein....monks do not raise their hands to 'Wai' laypeople....although they do to other and more senior monks...a matter of showing respect. There is a heirachy to the precepts... 5,8 10 227. But it is OK for a monk to show respect to his parents. They are held in great regard by Buddhism since without them we wouldn't have got this precious human birth....and in Thailand are often referred to as the Arahants at home...being on a par with Arahants in respect to the henious karmic result of killing a parent or Arahant being equally severe.

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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Pacific » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:21 am

In Bhante Kovida's book The World is Myself, in an early chapter he addresses this issue. He thinks its cultural bagagge and can be very damaging:


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mikenz66
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:12 am

As some have indicated, there are some things that Bhikkhus tend to do, or not do, in different countries, that are additional to the Vinaya. However, one of my (American) teachers (who trained mostly in Thailand) sometimes said that his mother was the only woman he was allowed to touch, so perhaps such customs also vary across Thailand, or the Siff-Upper-Lip Bhikkhu is just making it up to suit himself. As for monks not shaking hands, that would seem to me to be be a particularly odd thing. Touching (of men) by Thai, American, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi monks seems very common in my experience.

:anjali:
Mike

fgimelli
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby fgimelli » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:06 am


shjohnk
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby shjohnk » Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:34 am

This also begs the question of monks who identified as homosexual in their lay-life; i personally
know one gay Buddhist who is seeking ordination. It therefore seems that discretion is the key; there is touching and there is 'touching', regardless of the gender involved.

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clw_uk
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:59 am

So can monks touch their own mothers?
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Dhammanando
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:14 am


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Kumara
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Kumara » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:50 am

I'm not just a monk. I'm a human being. — Sayadaw U Jotika

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gavesako
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby gavesako » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:37 am

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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clw_uk
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:24 pm

What about personal visits from parents, without touching?

I've wanted to ordain for a long time but i know it would upset my parents if they weren't able to keep in contact with me.


Also can you live as an anagarika at a monastery for years without requesting formal ordination?
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Dhammanando
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:55 am


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Kumara
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Kumara » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:48 am

I'm not just a monk. I'm a human being. — Sayadaw U Jotika

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Dhammanando
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Re: Are monks allowed to touch their mothers?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:51 am



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