Sangha at Ba Vang Pagoda
Ba Vang Pagoda is not only a sacred, magnificent and large construction but also a Buddhism center with strict practice complying with stringent regulations. These regulations have become a part of daily life and become a main attraction of the Sangha at Ba Vang pagoda. With the wish to build a Holy Order like the time while Buddha was alive. Thay has applied these 3 principles to build the Holy Order: Health, Self-cultivation and Sixfold rules of conduct.
First, Ba Vang pagoda's monks and nuns must sincerely respect and keep the commandments.
For novice practitioners, from the time writing an ordination letter, they have to undergo a one-year of practice before being approved for ordination. After taking ordination they have to go through a probationary period of 6 months practicing the 5 precepts so as to officially join the Sangha. After that, they must keep the Ten Precepts as their code of behavior. In the end, if they are qualified enough to be ordained, fully-ordained monks (Bhikkhu) must observe 250 precepts and fully ordained nuns (Bhikkhuni) must observe 348 precepts of the Vinaya (*Vinaya is a collection of Buddhist scriptures that explains the rules of discipline for monks and nuns.)
Secondly, the Sangha must periodically go to the forest to practice loneliness, renounce the noise, meditate and have to sleep at night in the forest to practice forbearance.
This is how the Sangha practice hardship and patience to gain their willpower: they can endure extremely hot, bitterly cold or stormy weather; fear of darkness, snakes, mosquitoes, sickness, lack of supplies and even practice to be hungry and thirsty … Practitioners must not sleep for more than 3 nights under a tree to give up the mind of affection. Furthermore, in the middle of the night, practitioners have to wake up to practice walking meditation to eliminate sleepiness and laziness … The monks have to wear triple robes all day and use one bowl to eat . Particularly for monks, they are allowed to only eat one meal before noon (except for those who go to work as Buddhists or suffer from sickness).
Third, the Sangha only has strength when the all monks and nuns lives in harmony with each other.
The Order of Ba Vang pagoda take six points of reverent harmony of Buddhist teachings as a foundation to apply in daily life to build the monastic community. The Sixfold rules of conduct include:
1. Precept concord: Always observing precepts together; A monk who, in public and in private, keeps persistently, unbroken and unaltered those rules of conduct that are spotless, leading to liberation, praised by the wise, unstained and conducive to concentration.
2. Living concord: Always living together in peace; A monk who, in public and in private, shows loving-kindness to their fellows in acts of body.
3. Idea concord: Always discussing and obsorbing the Dharma together; A monk who, in public and in private, continues in that noble view that leads to liberation, to the utter destruction of suffering.
4. Beneficial concord: Economic unity in community of goods, deeds, studies or charity; They share with their virtuous fellows whatever they receive as a rightful gift, including the contents of their alms-bowls, which they do not keep to themselves.
5. Speech concord: Never arguing; A monk who, in public and in private, shows loving-kindness to their fellows in acts of speech.
6. Thinking concord: Always being happy.; A monk who, in public or in private, shows loving-kindness to their fellows in acts of thought.