What is the Etiquette of Lay Buddhists towards Monks and Nuns?

Publish Date:2021-11-30

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In the southern countries, when a lay Buddhist enters a monastery or a monk’s room he should take off his shoes before worshipping bhikkhus. At the bhikkhus’s request to sit down, he should take a lower seat or sit on the ground, and he must not sit on the bhikkhus’s bed. He should not eat together with the bhikkhus at the table. If a bhikkhu comes to a layman’s home, the host should place a piece of clean cloth over the chair, and invite the former to sit down before salutation. Even if a son becomes a bhikkhu, his own parents should salute him like wise. According to the southern Buddhist customs, whatever the occasion, when a lay Buddhist comes to visit or enters the meeting hall, the bhikkhus never stand up, nor do they return the greetings, or sometimes they merely say “good luck”. When offerings are given to them, they do the same. Likewise, senior bhikkhus do not return the greetings from junior bhikkhus and samaneras. In China, bhikkhus may return the greetings from lay Buddhists or junior bhikkhus and samaneras by bring their palms together in courtecy, and ranking of seats is strictly observed, except during formal religious ceremonies. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

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