Buddhist Monk Garden

I visited a Buddhist monk’s garden yesterday, I’m not sure if it qualified for that because it is huge, and he has it in 2 to 3 different locations but within a walking distance. Sometimes I wonder why people do what they do, this is more than a hobby, but I guess like most of us that we do what we do best. I love garden, and would love to go back when everything is ready for harvest.

What I love best are the persimmon trees, he has over 200 trees and the fruits are ready to be picked in mid to late September in our area, but he said that the birds usually are the first to eat them. I have one tree at home, but I’m not sure if it’d bear any fruit, if not, I know where to go where there are plentiful.

the persimmon trees

the persimmon trees persimmons

Above is one garden, whilst walking to another garden, I passed this Sala, I believe it is a place where the monks meditate, or might be just a resting place while working in the garden, I should have asked the monk.

The second and third garden.

Then he has this area that he chopped firewood.

I aked him why he planted so much, he said that he can’t sit still, just like today, he is having a celebration at his Wat (temple) for Visakha Puja, which is a Buddhist holiday that celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death, and after the ceremony, you can find him in his garden tilling the planting bed, and for those that love garden as much as I do, it is a sight, absolutely beautiful.

9 comments

  1. […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI visited a Buddhist monk’s garden yesterday, I’m not sure if it qualified for that because it is huge, and he has it in 2 to 3 different locations but within a walking distance. Sometimes I wonder why people do what they do, … […]

  2. Dallas, I don’t know about other monks, but Buddhist monks are forbid to pump iron to build muscle because this would mean to make themselves looking good or attractive, but it’s acceptable for them for do manual work, such as garden because it’s considered yarn work.

  3. Not sure if these rules apply to Lao Theravada Buddhist monk but I assume they apply to all Buddhist monk of various school.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc1/bmc1.intro.html

    Buddhist Monastic Code I, Chapter 8.1, Pacittiya: The Lie Chapter.

    Rule 10: Should any bhikkhu dig soil or have it dug, it is to be confessed.
    This is an offense with four factors: object, effort, perception, and intention.

    Buddhist Monastic Code I, Chapter 8.2, Pacittiya: The Living Plant Chapter.

    Rule # 11: The damaging of a living plant is to be confessed. Intentionally cutting, burning, or killing a living plant is a pacittiya offense.

  4. I’m not sure Dallas, but this monk is about 58 years old, and has been a monk since he was a teenager, I would assume that he knew better. I asked my dad and he said that its okay, and I heard Darly mentioned that the Monks at her uncle’s Wat in Laos, they do all the construction work of the Wat themselves. I asked him why he does so much and he said to keep himself busy and to prevent him from thinking too much. I would think that planting vegetables and fruit trees is a good thing.

    >>…it is to be confessed.<<<
    Dallas, maybe he did confessed, if he did, then would it make it okay?

  5. I think it should be OK for Buddhist monks to garden or tend to the temple. Gardening can be very relaxing and creates a more serene environment too. I’ve never heard otherwise about Buddhist monks forbidden to garden.

    There is an article from The Lowell Sun newspaper archived at The Buddhist Channel that mention the Buddhas and their garden: “After rising early, engaging in chants and eating breakfast together, the monks have been spending much of their time since moving to town in renovating the property — and taking care of the string beans, tomatoes, chili peppers and herbs in their vegetable garden.”

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=2,1909,0,0,1,0

    I love persimmons and always try to purchase them around harvest time. What happens to all the ripe and fallen fruits? Maybe the Wat could do a fundraiser with all the fruits. They can have school children or temple members gather the fruits and sell them at the Farmers’ Market. Or just donate it to the local Food Bank 🙂

  6. Hi Kamb, thanks for the article, interesting to see that other monks also have garden. I did ask him about the persimmon fruits and he said a lot of times it’s the birds and wild animals that get to them first. He always tells us to take the vegetables from his garden, and we’d offer payment in the form of donation. I’m going back in September when it’s ready for harvest. I’m not sure if he has someone that sell them at the store or Farmers’ Market, I didn’t dare ask.

  7. According to some Theravada branch of Buddhism is closest to the original teaching of The Buddha. The monks (Bhikkhu) follow the Dhamma (thruth) and Vinaya (disciplines) as taught by the Buddha himself.

    The Buddhist Monastic Code as pass down by the Buddha is something Bhikkhu should follow. Because this monk or that monk been doing something for a long time and because someone think it is acceptable it does not mean it is what Buddha had taught or it is acceptable. (IMO….I think monks should be able to tend a garden too but that is not acceptable according to the monastic code).
    If we continuing down this path then monk will have mansion, car, farm, and other luxury items. If monk going to have all that then it destroy the purpose of ordaining to become a monk in the first place.

  8. Dallas wrote: (IMO….I think monks should be able to tend a garden too but

    that is not acceptable according to the monastic code). If we continuing down this path then monk will have mansion, car, farm, and other luxury items. If monk going to have all that then it destroy the purpose of ordaining to become a monk in the first place.

    Dallas, apparently there are different codes out there, but we must not forget that Buddhism is a religion which teaches people to “live and let live.”, “Middle Way,” or “the balanced way of life,” As Buddha was very understanding, even his advice regarding traditions, he never had a set guide line of how things should be done because he felt that we’re a reasonable being that can think for ourselves, a religious of free thinker you may say. I want to share this with you and see what you think, this is based on “Buddhism For The Future, “by Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda.

    “The Buddha’s advice regarding traditions and customs was neither to accept nor to reject anything without first considering whether such practices are meaningful and useful. Less emphasis is places on these methods once a person has learned the Dhamma to lead a meaningful Buddhist life. The Buddha says that whatever methods we use to train the mind, our attitude should be like a man who used a raft to get across a river. After having crossed the river, he did not cling on to the raft, but left it on the riverbank to continue his journey. Similarly, cultural practices should be regarded merely as an aid to gain inspiration and not as an end in themselves.

    Buddhist cultural practices vary from country to country. When performing these traditional practices, we must be careful not to categories Buddhism as belonging to any one of them. For example, we should not think in terms of Chinese Buddhism, Sinhalese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, Thai Buddhism, Lao Buddhism, Burmese Buddhism, or Tibetan Buddhism. This only creates disharmony, discrimination, and misunderstanding. We should also be aware of certain so-called Buddhist leaders who try to reinforce their own Buddhist labels by incorporating many forms of charms, divine powers, mystical and supernatural practices and concepts to hoodwink the masses. Such unscrupulous actions are done with a total disregard to what the Buddha has said about such practices.”

    I can understand if you get upset if it’s the issue of monks accumulating luxury car, mansions, or luxury items, but this is a simple gardening that I’ve seen ever since I was little, and as a Buddhist myself, I would ask if such action of gardening brings shame to the religion and in what way?

    You keep referring to “monastic code” which made me think of Kung Fu monks, but I often look at the actions and practices, Buddha was very understanding when it comes to practical way of doing things, for monks to do simple task of gardening is not the same as accumulating wealth, which I agreed that monks accumulating wealth is against Buddha’s teaching, because his teaching is the “Middle Way,” or “the balanced way of life.” Perhaps I’m too much “an out of the box thinker” here.

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