I have seen different answers to that question, so I assume it varies from school to school, is it right?

I am not talking about donations to the Sangha as a whole, like a fund, but giving cash to a monk.

  • 1
    10th precept to non touch money. The means of funding a full time Buddhist life vary dramatically overtime and place, from begging, to state support, to self sufficient farming to the paid speaking circuit, writing books to sell & leading two week retreats for fee. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 1:30
  • I know a place where you can give money inside an envelope, so theoretically they are not touching the bills... but it sounds strange to me...
    – konrad01
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 11:26

4 Answers 4


According to the Monk's Sila, they can not accept money, since money is related to sensual pleasures. Therefore when monks have to deal with money, it's better to take help of a lay follower. In Sri Lanka, in the past and even nowadays in some places, there's a lay follower called "abittiya" is residing in the temple or the monastery to intervene in actions like dealing with money in order to help monks. In some occasions the chief donater of the temple too engage in such activities to help monks. So it's better if someone can help monks in such actions because it's a great help and also a meritorious act since it help a monk to protect his Sila.


At least in the West some monks and nuns do have credit cards and some assets because getting credit for an one-monastic temple or even a sangha isn't easy. They still live a life with the tiniest amount of personal belongs but they travel, own real estate, own & rent cars and shop online. They consider their assets as belonging to a sangha and manage it that way even when technically there isn't one. In some circles (at least mine) it takes six monastics to make a proper sangha.

So in that case I guess by saying "for the sangha" they can take it and they're really getting the money.

I speak as laity that assists a nunnery in such matters. Technically a thư ký.


From my understanding, a monk still can receive money but he should not be holding it. A good practice is that when you make donation to a monk, always treated like donation to the Sangha as a whole as you mentioned.

Please read great explanation from BHIKKHUS AND WEALTH

and it's also good to know about A BHIKKHU'S STEWARD


Householder Konrad, interested,

NO, he is also not allowed to order or ask to use money, not allowed to own, possess, means of trade and exchange.

Lay people may organice fonds for requisites give the look over to someone assisting the monks. Monks may accept such allowed, if wishing so. Nevertheless the monk would not be allowed to hold power over them. In cases the requisite might not be received later on, he may inform the original doner that his gift was not received.

There are ways how a monk would be allowed to let a helper known a lack indirectly.

A good and firm faithful essay on this matter, now sadly a means of certain trade already is "The Use of Money by Monks", by late Venerable Bodhesako.

To be clear, it's also impossible, while respecting the tradition of the Noble Ones, to control and hold bank accounts, credit cards, cheques, insurance founds... further, what ever trade with lay people is not allowed as well as asking lat people for fonds, one benefits from, as well.

Not causing others to use money on ones account (telling, signs) includes of course ALL money donation calls, even if not for ones own sake. A very common misdeed, btw. Getting involves in things like installing a "donation-box", for what ever purpose, fit here as well as an improper conduct.

Those who do, having not enough faith or other objectives, one does right to regard them as poor and they are actually poor in all regards, living with signs of householders in the robes of the Arahats.

Faithful lay people provide joyfull all of what is required for the holly life and there is no need of money or controll at all.

What one feeds, inwardly and outwardly grows for one. That's always important to consider. And good monks are only near to wise and generous, attentive observing ones. That is where one can change ones current conditions to a better and make the most benefical of ones sacrifices.

Vinaya leaves enough "holes" for those still holding on possessions and control via mind and one does not even need to attain Noblehood to respect Vinaya. Those who have really abound the householders way are less, very less, so gifted if meeting or perceive one as such.

In regard of not-knownly receiving: even here are given ways. Should if happen that a monk accidently accepted money or means of exchange - say he received a bag and it contained money hidden in it - he needs to confess it and abound it, attended by fellow, behind the monastery boundary. (Something possible problematic in relation to certain laws, so good if not bringing monks in "troubles" by such.)

...giving cash to a monk

Giving is never wrong if not harmfull. Whether a monks receives, accept, is allowed..., that's the monks part. Even if not receiving something, one should not forget that intention is kamma. If one knows that monks are not given by the Buddha to accept, hold, use money, one does of course harm, harm in three ways: first oneself, because feeding lack of faith, secound the individual monk (who might be not strong enough or bad informed), third the reputation of the Sangha at large. So good, after having read all here, proved and understood, to simply abstain from such if used to do.

It's not wrong at all to ask a monk whether he has someone who could take care of a fund for him or the Sangha and to inform about such after then.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks, entertainment and akusala deeds, but as a share of merits and to continue such for release)

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