Buddhist Protocols

  1. When greeting any robed, ordained Buddhist monks or nuns of any tradition, it is sufficient to give a half bow from the waist with palms together and a smile.
  2. Be aware that some Buddhist monks in Australia may not be fluent English speakers, so be sensitive to other non-verbal signals.
  3. Best for lay people to wear modest clothes rather than tight or revealing clothing.
  4. It is considered rude to point your feet at Buddha images or in the direction of any person
  5. Religious books and artefacts should never be put on the floor, nor should you step over any books, people or food on the floor.
  6. A Monk is called Bhikkhu (Pali) or Bhiksu (Sanskrit). A Nun is called Bhikkhuni (Pali) Bhiksuni (Sanskrit).
  7. The three main traditions are called Theravada (Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia), Mahayana (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam) and Vajrayana (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan).
  8. Robes of ordained monastics can be yellow/orange/brown, red/maroon, black/grey. novices who may be training for full ordination may be dressed in white.
  9. You can address all monks and nuns as Venerable (although there are many titles within traditions like Ajarn, Bhante, Rinpoche, Dharma Master, Roshi, Ayya, Sunim, and Ani)
  10. While some ordained monastics allow touching with lay people, it is safer to not physically contact ordained monastics of the opposite sex
  11. Some ordained monastics may not touch money, so if this is given, it may be given to an attendant (Kappiya) who will handle the money.
  12. Theravada monks normally eat their main meal before 12 noon. Mahayana and Vajrayana monks do not have this restriction.

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