Подношения монашеской общине

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Offerings to the Sangha

Both men and women can make offerings (most commonly food items when offering a meal) to monks or nuns by placing them directly into their alms bowl. As an alternative, they may receive an offering directly into their hands. However, it is a common practice to avoid receiving anything directly into the hands of someone of the opposite sex. This is on account of the practice of strict celibacy as outlined in the monks’ and nuns’ training rules.

A monk will receive such things from a woman on a ‘receiving cloth’ or directly into his bowl.

Any offering from a man to a nun has to be offered ‘by body, speech or arrangement.’ The donor must make his intentions quite clear by saying something like ‘this is for you, sister’ before placing the offering close to the nun or directly into her alms bowl.

Once an offering has been received by a monk or nun, a lay person should not touch it again; otherwise it must be re-offered. Even in a private house, once some food, drink or any article has been offered and received, it should not then be touched. This is why, on any traditional festival day when food is being offered to a considerable number of the Sangha, several monks may be required to unobtrusively ensure that once the food has been offered, then no-one will touch or move the dishes, however helpful that intention may have been.

Receiving or Handling Money

In this tradition, monks and nuns are not permitted to handle money in any form, although the use of telephone cards, travel warrants and bus passes is permitted. The novices (anagarikas), however, are allowed to use money on behalf of the monks and nuns, so if someone actually gives money at one of the festivals such as the Kaṭhina, they may leave it where novices or lay ‘officers’ may readily see it and take care of it for the Sangha.

Visitors or guests wishing to donate cash or a cheque for the monastery may leave it in a donation box where it is dealt with by a novice or lay person.

Monks and nuns on their alms-round in nearby towns are frequently approached by generous members of the public who offer to put money into their alms bowl; this has to be politely refused and an explanation given so that no-one is offended.

Tradition, Form, and Relationships

In any culture there are unspoken rules, customs, traditions and taboos which have evolved as a means to bring about harmony in that society. These will facilitate relationships in families, in the social order, in the maintenance of law and order and in financial transactions or bartering. Traditions bring about an understanding, a common ground, or an acquiescence with the norm which naturally fosters co-operation, and avoids conflict.

However, it is not uncommon for people to become over-awed by ritual and protocol. They follow the dictates of the local establishment as a routine rather than with any warmth of personal expression or respect for that particular idiom or format. It is far better to relax and express oneself in an unaffected but clearly conscious way, than to clumsily falter in trying to conform to unfamiliar patterns of conduct.

Our behaviour is only an expression of social conditioning and national culture, so it is ill advised to expect the mannerisms of one culture to be adopted and flawlessly used by another. Furthermore, social norms are themselves changing all the time, some aspects being gradually lost whilst new patterns emerge over time. As can be seen in Britain and elsewhere, the monastic conventions adapt to their respective cultures.

Role of Samaṇas

The role of a samaṇa (monk or nun) is not that of a priest; they cannot perform a marriage. Similarly, no monk or nun can act as a go-between for two parties, introducing couples or awakening interest in one party for another. However, they can offer a supporting role in the form of ceremony and blessing. They may also offer blessings for the dead, or help to consecrate other significant rites of passage; this is outlined in the next section.

Monks and nuns cannot practise as doctors; it is not their role to assume responsibility in that particular context. Any mistake, however much care was taken, would be associated inevitably with blame, and if they were successful healers, people would start to come to the monastery for healing rather than Dhamma. It follows too that monks and nuns cannot be expected to tell horoscopes, nor practise herbal medicine.

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Редакция перевода от 25.01.2020 13:45