Śrāmaṇera

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Śrāmaṇeras in Thailand
Śrāmaṇeras from the tradition of Korean Buddhism

A śrāmaṇera (Sanskrit; Pali: sāmaṇera; traditional Chinese: 沙彌; pinyin: Shāmí; Korean: 사미; Burmese: ရှင်သာမဏေ shin thamanei, Thai: สามเณร samanen, Khmer: សាមណេរ "samaner") is a novice monk in a Buddhist context.

Etymology[edit]

The literal meaning of śrāmaṇera is "small śramaṇa," that is, small renunciate, where "small" has the meaning of boy or girl.

History[edit]

The account is that when Gautama Buddha's son Rāhula was seven years old, he followed the Buddha, saying "Give me my inheritance." The Buddha called Venerable Sariputta and asked him to ordain little Rāhula who became the first śrāmaṇera.

"The King (Suddhodana), discovering that now his grandson and a number of young men in the royal family had requested ordination, asked the Buddha only to ordain a minor with the consent of his parents or guardian. The Buddha assented. This rule was expanded to include the spouses of those intending to join the Order of monks and nuns".[1]

Overview[edit]

In the Vinaya monastic discipline, a man under the age of 20 cannot ordain as a bhikṣu, but can ordain as a śrāmaṇera. The female counterpart of the śrāmaṇera is the śrāmaṇerī. Śrāmaṇeras and śrāmaṇerīs keep the Ten Precepts as their code of behaviour, and are devoted to the Buddhist religious life during a break from secular schooling, or in conjunction with it if devoted to formal ordination.

The Ten Precepts upheld by śrāmaṇeras are:

  1. Refrain from killing living things.
  2. Refrain from stealing.
  3. Refrain from unchastity (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
  4. Refrain from lying.
  5. Refrain from taking intoxicants.
  6. Refrain from taking food at inappropriate times (after noon).
  7. Refrain from singing, dancing, playing music or attending entertainment programs (performances).
  8. Refrain from wearing perfume, cosmetics and garland (decorative accessories).
  9. Refrain from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious, soft beds.
  10. Refrain from accepting money.

Ordination differs between śrāmaṇeras and śrāmaṇerīs.

Transition to full ordination[edit]

After a year or at the age of 20, a śrāmaṇera will be considered for the higher bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī ordination. Some monasteries will require people who want to ordain as a monk to be a novice for a set period of time, as a period of preparation and familiarization. Adults would normally wear the white robes of a Brahmin, as do mae ji, who do not seek ordination.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wall paintings ·· coming home, see section Buddha's son". buddhamind.info. Retrieved 2013-11-06.