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Monks and priests

To: talk.religion.buddhism
From: Joe verville 
Subject: Re: Monks and priests
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 15:35:26 -0600

Kocks Mika I wrote:
> 
>         Oops, should have made my question a bit clearer.  I'm not so
> concerned about the differences between monks and priests.  I just want
> to know what they are.  For example, is a monk somebody who's taken vows
> to save all sentient beings?  Someone who isolates himself in a
> monastery?  What?
> 
>         Your answers will be much appreciated!
> 
>                 Mika

In Theravada, a Monk (Bhikkhu) is "one who has gone forth" from the home life 
into homelessness.  He takes upon himself the vinaya rules (over 200) as 
dictated by the Blessed One for his training.  Total celibacy and a strict 
moral code are observed to better realize the Buddha's teachings and therby 
put an end to suffering (Nibbana).  I will reiterate from a previous post 
that there are no priests in Theravada Buddhism.  This concept is totally 
foreign.  Monks can be Dhamma teachers, or Pali scholars, they can also 
specialize in meditation and be complete hermits.  It is a very respected and 
admired way of life.  It has always been the special duty of the Sangha 
(monks) to preserve the Buddha Sasana and see that it is passed on to future 
generations for their help and benefit.

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