Specific Items of Consult

The monk’s conduct

Update: 27/02/2016
King Milinda asked Venerable Nàgasena: - Venerable Nàgasena! Once, I had chance to talk to Venerable Àyupala and knew that both the laymen and the monk are able to attain Nirvana and the Buddha himself also mentioned about that. I have doubt about this matter.

The monk’s conduct


- O king, keep speaking!

- Venerable!

The laymen live at home, enjoy the pleasure of the senses as satisfied love and desire, craving growth and decorating themselves with ornaments, ect. By this way, hey enjoy five desires from the material world.

Meanwhile, the monks have to shave hair, wear bad clothes and have to keep the two hundred and twenty seven rules, the thirteen principles for strictly ascetic practice. They also need to keep hard vows and follow a destitute life.

-  Yes, it is. Then What do you have in doubt?

-   At first, if the Noble Fruit (nirvana) can be attained by any person who practices hard then why should a person join the monkhood instead of living at home and making pleasure for desires?

Venerable Nàgasena said:

-  Yes, it is true! But the laymen apply with more difficulties than the monk. How can a layman attain the Noble Fruit while enjoying the five desires and being always covered with the greed, hatred and delusion?

- Oh, that why!

- For monks, due to confinement themselves in the rules and the Buddha’s teaching, and they follow the ascetic’s thirteen principles, purify the six sense organs, they keep themselves separated and far away from men; then they have less chance to be attracted to desires and three poison roots than the laymen; and therefore it is easier for them to attain realize Nirvana. Yes, Venerable!

-  However, if the monk neglect in practice and unrestrain themselves; then how can he see the truth?

-  Yes, Venerable!

-  Therefore, the conduct of a monk or a layman is decided by practice or non-practice. - Venerable I got it! It is clear that the monks are still nobler than the laymen anyhow. But I can’t imagine how much noble value it is.

- No one can give the valuation for the Mani gem, so can the conduct of the monk’s thought.

- Is the meaning of “the monk’s virtue can compare to the ocean” that the Bhikkhu normally preaches to the laymen?

- There are. Because people can’t measure how deep and wide the ocean is; then the noble virtue of the monk is in the same way, unfelt and unmeasured.

- Then Venerable, from what degree does such noble conduct reach?

Venerable Nàgasena said:

- From where I think you already got it

- Venerable!

Does it come from the ascetic and moral life?

-   Yes it is. Such noble conduct due to the non-attachment of the monks, such as:

-   Less desire,

-   Enough satisfaction,

-   Prefer the isolate place,

-   Non-accumulation, non-attachment,

-   Maintain the homeless,

-   Complete virtue,

-   Comprehend clearly the benefit and value of following the ascetic principles, etc.



Once the monks properly follow those things, very soon they will reap the noble fruit… just like a person jumps in the river and rubs his body easily.

Very good, Venerable Nàgasena, the teaching of the Buddha I got it

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