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Ajahn Chah’s Sangha Regulations

Ajahn Chah Rules for Living at the Temple

Pra Farang Thai Primer 1st-Edition – click to download PDF.

Buddhist monk's food bowl, robe, and satchel in Thailand.
A study guide for monks coming to Wat Pah Nanachat or Wat Nong Pah Pong in Thailand’s Warin Chamrap district of Ubon Ratchathani. Free download PDF.

Ajahn Chah had this simple set of guidelines for monks at his Wat Nong Pah Pong forest monastery, and other temples associated with it. There are, of course, more rules monks must follow, but these are some of the general rules to be kept for all forest temples under Ajahn Chah’s leadership.

Monks and novices may only make requests from blood relatives or people who have made an invitation to ask for things.

The rules below were copied from “Pra Farang Thai Primer,” a publication put together by monks at the temples of Aj. Chah and published as a PDF document for free download. You can get yours by clicking the link above. This PDF is basically a Thai Language helper filled with common phrases a monk should learn.

Sangha Rules for Ajahn Chah’s Branch Temples

1.) A monk should not give lucky numbers, make holy water, distribute medicines, tell fortunes, make or distribute various kinds of auspicious items (e.g. amulets), nor should he engage in the study of such topics.

2.) Except in cases of emergency or with the permission of his teacher, a monk of less than 5 rains may only go traveling when accompanied by a monk of more than 5 rains.

3.) A monk should always consult the Sangha or the senior monk before embarking on a personal project.

4.) A monk should keep his hut clean and well-swept. He should also sweep the path leading to his hut. A monk should cultivate contentment with the hut allotted to him.

5.) When there is work for the Sangha to do, all the monks should work together, starting together and ending together.

6.) A monk should not be a burden to the community by avoiding duties, making excuses, or behaving deceitfully.

7.) A monk should do his work wholeheartedly and not chat with others while: setting-up the eating hall, eating alms food, washing the bowl, storing the bowl, sweeping the monastery, drawing water, bathing, dying robes, or listening to a Dhamma talk.

8.) After the meal monks should sweep and tidy-up the eating hall together and then quietly take their requisites back to their huts.

9.) A monk should be one who is composed with persistence aroused, content with eating little, sleeping little, and speaking little.

10.) A monk should look after sick monks and novices with kindness.

11.) A monk should not accept money, gold, silver, or have others keep it for him.

12.) A monk should not buy, sell, trade, or exchange goods.

13.) When offerings are given to the Sangha, they are to be kept in the Sangha stores. When a monk needs a requisite, he can request it from the Sangha-appointed official and should be content with whatever he is given.

14.) Monks should not gather in groups for socializing and needless chatter at anytime
either in public areas of the monastery or individual monks’ huts.

15.) A monk should not store coffee, tea, or sugar in his hut unless he has permission from
the Abbot.

16.) All smoking or drug use is strictly prohibited.

17.) Sending letters, parcels, or making phone calls requires permission from the Abbot or senior monk.

18.) Visiting monks and novices may stay for a period not exceeding 3 nights unless there is a necessary reason.

19.) Visiting monks and novices must have a letter of recommendation from their preceptor or teacher and show their monk’s identification (Bai-suddhi) to the Abbot upon arrival.

If anyone disobeys these Sangha regulations, the Sangha has full authority to deal with the matter.

These regulations were established by Ajahn Chah for all branch monasteries of Wat Nong Pah Pong.

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