A theravada monk would like to stay in my house for one night. I live with my parents, but we don't have special room for guest. Should I suggest him to stay in monastery near my house?

  • 2
    If there is a monastery near your house, he should be easily welcomed there as a brother monk
    – ruben2020
    Jun 20 '15 at 8:22
  • 1
    I do not know if this rule applies but in the the Pācittiya Pāli in the Vinaya Piṭaka there is this rule: "A bhikkhu who sleeps under the same roof and within the walls along with a woman commits a Pācittiya offence."
    – user2424
    Jun 20 '15 at 11:43
  • @Lanka See my answer - that isn't a literal translation, though it seems accurate from the POV of the commentary. Jun 20 '15 at 16:45
  • @Bhante. Thanks for the elaboration on the rule. I understand "sahaseyya" in two ways, i.e. a strict and mild way. Strict as in sharing a place to sleep inside the same dwelling and the entire dwelling being off-limit if there is a woman in it. Mild as in sharing a place to sleep in the same room where only the room is off limit but not the rest of the dwelling.
    – user2424
    Jun 21 '15 at 9:30

Sankha's answer is technically right from an orthodox point of view, but may not be a correct interpretation of the texts. The word the Buddha used is "sahaseyya", which means "sharing a place to sleep", so the rules quoted about roofs and walls are not literal translations, they are extrapolations based on the commentary.

The origin story is what makes me think this rule should be considered less strict; in it, Anuruddha goes to stay in a rest house (āvasathāgāra) and is invited by the owner to sleep in a "bed that is within" (mañcakaṃ abbhantaraṃ). Now, I understand that the commentary gets into an explanation of how even a seven-story palace is considered "sahaseyya", but following the story, it seems likely that the point is not to stay in the same bedroom as the woman. The room where Anuruddha stayed, by the language used, seems to have been an inner room in the rest house that belonged to the owner herself; when he spent the night with her there (teaching her the dhamma, no less), he caused controversy, and instigated the rule - though it seems clear he never laid down, which would be necessary to break the rule.

If Anuruddha had stayed in the outer room, he ostensibly would not have instigated the rule (provided there were no women staying there).

There are other reasons, however, for not staying in a lay person's house, especially that of a person of the opposite gender, and the strict interpretation of the rule is probably for the best - to keep monks in line and to keep lay people from becoming too intimate with the monks, leading to problems on both sides.

My reason for giving this answer is to reassure you about the monk's intentions - many Theravada monks have no problem with staying in the same building as a lay woman, as long as they are not in the same room. I don't personally think it is a good idea, but I'm not convinced that it is breaking any rule, especially in modern times, where our lives are lived inside single buildings that can even house multiple families.

  • The reference which Sankha quoted says, "There are complications concerning how this rule should be applied to modern conditions etc."
    – ChrisW
    Jun 20 '15 at 17:05
  • Anumodana Bhante :)
    – sherly
    Jun 21 '15 at 9:39

He would be committing an offence, if he spends the night under the same roof.

"If a bhikkhu sleeps in a place where there is a surrounding wall and under the same roof with a woman, even for one night, it is [an offence of Confession.]" (Paac. 6; Nv p.14)

"A monk who lies down with a female in the same building under the same roof and within walls, which are complete or almost complete, commits [a Confession Offence.]" (Paac. 6; BBC p.120)

"Lying down at the same time in the same lodging with a woman is [an offence of Confession.]" (Paac. 6; BMC p.280)

I've encountered this situation last year when venerable Yuttadhammo visited Sri Lanka. A wealthy lay family asked me through a mutual friend to arrange his accommodation at their house. But I had to refuse as it wasn't proper.

  • You are welcome, but I agree with venerable Yuththadhammo's answer Jun 21 '15 at 13:24

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