Yes, in this information age, computer is like essential part in normal people life. But for monks, does it apply same way like that? Or computer can make harm than good to a monk?

Does a book is better than electronic book on computer (in term of donation and uses by monk)?

Typewriter (or more basic pen and book) is more distract-free than a computer?

In this cruel world of advertisement, it is almost impossible a monk can avoid some explicit content while browsing internet. And internet and computer can be a great deal of wasting precious time of a monk if improperly used. Monks are not allowed to use/manipulate money but money is required to use a computer (buying softwares/applications/electronic books etc). Piracy is another serious potential issue for a monk who uses computer (it could lead to end of monk's life if stealing is involved).

So is it better not to offer a computer to a monk or is there any chance that computer cannot make any harm to donor and monk both? If there are more harm than good, why do we need to care to offer a computer to a monk?

If you are a monk and using computer but you are almost free from the harms that I described above, please let me know how this can be achieved? Please include do and don't if possible. It is expected that practices are Vinaya-complied uses of computer.

  • Are you asking everyone's opinion? Good answers are usually based on references, or on personal experience. What kind of personal experience would someone need to answer this question? Are you looking for opinions from everyone who has ever used a computer? Or only from monks (who, if they are users on this site, are presumably using a computer in some way)?
    – ChrisW
    Oct 16, 2016 at 17:03
  • Isn't it a bit rude to say that it's impossible for a monk to avoid advertisements for pornography while browsing the internet? And, as well as rude, I think it's untrue: the sites I browse (including this one) don't advertise pornography. So may I delete that sentence from the question? Saying "it is almost impossible a monk can avoid" says that any monk with internet access will not avoid pornography.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 16, 2016 at 17:07
  • 1
    I really, REALLY WISH people would not use the term "Buddhism" when they mean a very particular FLAVOR of Buddhism. Vajrayana and to some extent Mahayana Buddhists, including Zen, would consider this a silly question, as it doesn't relate to their path, and they don't even have the idea of 'sin', which is another word I never think should be used in any sentence containing the word "Buddhism".
    – T. B.
    Oct 17, 2016 at 21:10
  • You start off asking about computers but then move on to using the internet. I do not see using a computer meaning that one is using the internet. Maybe this should be changed to ask about internet usage rather than computer use, since computer use does not imply internet usage.
    – Thien
    Oct 18, 2016 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


In western monasteries isn't not uncommon for monks to use computers to teach the dhamma online or write books. However, a monk wont own the computer, you'll be giving the computer to the sangha.

You shouldn't have to worry about whether a pen or a computer is more of a distraction, the monk should be able to handle his own mind and distraction. If he knows that a computer is too distracting for himself then he will use a pen.

As for the Vinaya, you may want to search for terms "piracy" and "pornography" in Thannisaro Bhikkhu's book The Buddhist Monastic code I.

Piracy isn't against the vinaya but if a monk wanted to avoid piracy then unintentional stealing is not against the Vinaya. Accidentally seeing pornography isn't against the Vinaya but staring lustfully at a woman's parts (without intending on emitting semen) earns the lowest punishment- a dukhata.

  • I understand your answer indicates offering computer to Sanga instead of individual monk and proper administration on computer usage of monks.
    – Francesco
    Oct 16, 2016 at 17:50

[Note: This is/was a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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