I often read about monks have little free time in their schedules but aside from teaching other monks I am not sure what they do with all their time. I have seen monks in Tibet working in an orphanage and monks in Thailand giving public talks. Aside from this what involvement with the community do monks have (excluding dana)?
Householder Hugh, interested
the Duties of the monks who are the disciples of the Buddha, and follow his Dhamma-Vinaya faithfull, in what ever country, past, present and in the future, are equal.
Aside of practicing (meditation or involving in discussions, learning, repeating the Dhamma), carry the heritage proper and strive for being worthy for gifts by going after paths, fruits and highest liberation, Bhikkhus have serial duties in regard of their community of monks and teacher, student relations within there. Outside of this, there are NO duties at all, neither teach Dhamma nor others toward lay people and society. (if doing such, for the most, especially if social engaged, it's not seldom related with wrong livelihood and corrupting families, grave wrong doings) When good monks are teaching, then such is always an act of compassion, not even allowed to receive alms in return.
A set of duties of Bhikkhus generally in their community can be found here:
There are countless other duties, related to their requisits, their rules and practice, and to learn all of them, one of the first, starting with ordination.
Lay-people, following the Tripple Gems, are open to give what ever inspired into the great field of merits, the heritage carries of the Bhikkhu Sangha, by their lovable deeds, by lovable words, by lovable thoughts, by keeping open house to them, by supplying their material needs. If they are after much success and eager to stay close in practice and refuge, there are duties given by the Buddha as success for such.
Monks are excpected to stay (SN 16.3: Candūpama Sutta —) Comparable to the Moon at the two times in touch with laypeople, and if not able not getting engaged in any business outside their internal duties, should not leave their community and training.
In fulfillment of ones duties, the Buddha-Parisata (assembly of Sangha and lay follower) do not only to the best for their own, but work also for next generations, that this steam of goodness, deriving from the Buddha, will for many being happiness and as a way beyond, stay long time alive and accessible in this world. May nobody misses to take such seldom gained touch as a precious possibility joining and take part, where ever one is.
(Note: this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainment, but only as means to escape this binding wheel)
They try to fulfill "Muni vrutha" - Muni's=Saga's, vrutha=Duty.
refer - Nalaka sutta.
[Nalaka:] I ask you, Gotama, you who have gone to the beyond of all things. I'm intent on the homeless life; I long for the almsround. Tell me sage, when I ask you, the utmost state of sagacity.
I'll explain to you a sagacity hard to do, hard to endure.
Come now, I'll tell you.
Be steadfast. Be firm.
Practice even-mindedness, for in a village there's praise & abuse.
Ward off any flaw in the heart. Go about calmed & not haughty.
High & low things will come up like fire-flames in a forest.
Women seduce a sage. May they not seduce you.
Abstaining from sexual intercourse,……..