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bhikṣu (P. bhikkhu; T. dge slong དགེ་སློང་; C. biqiu 比丘), commonly translated as "monk," has at least three possible meanings:
- (1) someone who begs;
- (2) someone who has taken the highest level of Buddhist ordination; and
- (3) someone who has destroyed mental afflictions.
Bhikṣu who have taken the highest level of Buddhist ordination are commonly referred to as "fully-ordained monks"; these monks observe the highest type among the eight types prātimokṣa vows. They are distinguished from novice monks (śrāmaṇera), who observe a more limited set of vows.
A fully-ordained female monastic is called a bhikṣuṇī (P. bhikkhuni).
The Dhammapada states:
- A shaven head
- doesn't mean a contemplative.
- The liar observing no duties,
- filled with greed & desire:
- what kind of contemplative's he?
- But whoever tunes out
- the dissonance
- of his evil qualities
- — large or small —
- in every way
- by bringing evil to consonance:
- he's called a contemplative.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 དགེ་སློང་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
- ↑ Dhp XIX: The Judge, Dhammatalks.org
- Inwood, Kristiaan. Bhikkhu, Disciple of the Buddha. Bangkok, Thailand: Thai Watana Panich, 1981. Revised edition. Bangkok: Orchid Press, 2005. ISBN 978-974-524-059-9.
- Buswell, Robert E., ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Macmillan Reference USA. s.v. "Monasticism," "Monks".