Should One Worship Shameless and Immoral Monks?

“Should a person, knowing a monk to be shameless or immoral, pay respect and show deference by greeting, bowing, etc? Does he or she get the blessing of reverence (gārava maṅgala), which says that one should pay respect to the worthy? Does this behaviour agree with the teaching that one should pay respect only to those who possess good conduct? The text referred to is in the Kosala Saṃyutta. By worshipping shameless and immoral monks does one accomplish a reliable refuge? Kindly give evidence or case histories to prove one way or the other the act of honouring bad monks.”

The methods for distinguishing shameless and immoral monks have already been given. In the matter of showing reverence, the case is the same as the act of honouring the worthy ones. So the fifth question is the same as the fourth.

However, some clarification will be given here in connection with the text in the Kosala Saṃyutta (Dahara Sutta, S.i.170).

“Bhujaṅgamaṃ pāvakañca, khattiyañca yassasinaṃ;
Bhikkhuñca sīlasampannaṃ sammadeva samācare.”

The above text means that to avoid disadvantages now and in the future, one must show due respect towards four types of persons. One must avoid disrespect to live safely. This kind of skilled behaviour is called “sammadeva samācare — civilised manners.”

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