The Importance of Vinaya and Monastic Code: Answer for Secular Reproaches in Thailand

Dr. Niraj Ruangsan

Abstract


Today, Buddhism in Thailand is widely criticized in social media; in many cases, the root causes of the problems related to unawareness of the Vinaya importance and a lack of austereness in the monastic code (Pāṭimokkha). The suggested solution for the problem seen today is to retrain members of the Sangha, both the Vinaya and the monastic conducts ‘what the monks ought to do or ought not to do’ in order to maintain excellence of the monastic community. This work has its focus on the importance of the Vinaya and monastic code in solving the current crisis of Buddhism in Thailand. Its aims are to describe the importance of the key terms as found in the para-canonical, canonical and non-canonical Vinaya literature; and to address how the Pāṭimokkha shapes the life of the Bhikkhu (monks) and Bhikkhunī (nuns) and why it is important as the solution for the problem mentioned. The findings suggest that the Vinaya is a significant doctrine that supports and complements the monastic life and the excellence of the Sangha community. It can be used as a major tool in achieving the goals of Buddhism. Also, it provides monks with the ethical criteria for monastic actions and speech to maintain the peace and prevent disputes within the community while ensuring that it remains beyond the reproach of the secular community; and raising the equanimity of the mind, beneficial to mental practice. The Pāṭimokkha is the most important monastic code for fulfilling the monastic life of the monks, governs the actions and speech, and acts like the national laws that govern countries. The Pāṭimokkha provides a clear definition of offenses as well as their punishments. The way the monastic code shapes monastic life corresponds to the Karmavācanā is to form the foundations of monastic culture and the ceremonies that constitute Buddhist monastic life. In order to solve the crisis of Buddhism in Thailand today, the one of the best solutions is to re-install the Sangha way of life in the old day, endowed with austereness on the Vinaya and monastic code.

Keywords


Vinaya, importance, monastic code

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