The Buddhist Monk's Discipline: Some Points Explained for Laypeople, by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
In a Buddhist country, when a bhikkhu has cause to go to some place where there is no vihara (monastic dwelling), he will probably stay in a house with laypeople. If they are reasonably wealthy, a small room will have been set aside by them as a family shrine and in this, the bhikkhu will be invited to stay, study, meditate, and sleep. It is customary that only bhikkhus are invited to sleep in a shrine-room, no member of the family doing so, that room being reserved at other times for puja and meditation.
If Buddhists in other lands are able to set aside such a room for their own special devotion and practice, it may prove very useful when they are able to welcome a bhikkhu. Its position in the house must of course be decided by circumstances, but relative quietness is a consideration and it is preferable to have it upon an upper floor. In houses where gardens contain a small detached outbuilding, this will be even more suitable.
There are some offenses into which a bhikkhus may fall regarding his place of lodging. The first is that he cannot sleep in the same room with one who is not fully ordained as a bhikkhu, except for a limited period of three nights; while a second training rule states "should any bhikkhu sleep along with a woman, this entails expiation." The commentary takes this to mean "under the same roof" but as this will cause much inconvenience, it should rather be taken that he should have a room to himself away from one in which a woman sleeps.12 There is here the consideration seen in many places in the Vinaya that not only should a bhikkhu be able to maintain his special mode of life with ease, but also that his repute, the reputation of the Sangha as a whole, and of course the good name of the Dhamma, should in no way suffer, not even from those who might invent and spread malicious gossip. For these reasons, strict bhikkhus are most circumspect in their meetings with women (as the Vinaya leads them to be), while well-informed women in Buddhist lands help a bhikkhu, by their modest and careful behavior, to keep to his code of discipline.
In the handling of certain things, there are offenses for a bhikkhu; these, therefore need not be left about in his place of residence. In this list there are both animate and inanimate. Thus women and girls, however small,13 are included here, it being an offense for him to touch one, even though his mind is quite free from sensual intentions. Thus women keep their distance from the bhikkhu and avoid actions which could lead him to come into contact with them. It may be emphasized once again, that this is simply for the good of the bhikkhu concerned, who since arahants are not easily met with, is still capable of experiencing lust. Lord Buddha's teachings, as one soon sees, are always realistic. Women's clothes and articles of jewelry and cosmetics also cannot be touched by him. Neither can female animals, dolls, or money.