Disrobing

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Disrobing

Postby thornbush » Tue May 26, 2009 3:13 am

This thread is seeking answers to:
1. When a man disrobes (not for expulsion offences) to return back to lay life, how many more times can he be re-ordained in one lifetime?
2. The source link to answer no.1
3. What about for a woman? Any difference? (Where the Bhikkhuni Order is available)
4. The source link to answer no.3

Many thanks for your kind reply.
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Re: Disrobing

Postby Individual » Tue May 26, 2009 5:11 am

I honestly don't really know the answer to your question. There's probably a rule written down somewhere about it, either none, or once, or two times, or three times at most. It might depend on the abbot.

But it ultimately depends on the person's mind.

Dhammapada 1:9-10

He who is stained (with defilements) without self-control and truthfulness, is not worthy of wearing the yellow robes.

He who is purged of all stain, is well-established in morals and endowed with self-control and truthfulness, is indeed worthy of the yellow robe.

And there is no limit to how many times a person can establish themselves morally and then falter.

But unless you're an all-knowing Buddha, you have to practically draw the line somewhere. A strict person might refuse to ever allow anybody to re-ordain, while a liberal-minded person might allow them to re-ordain up to three times.

Anyway, I know you're just talking about monastic disrobing... But about disrobing in general, Mark Twain once said:
"The clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

That last part isn't helpful at all, but I thought it was funny.
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Re: Disrobing

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue May 26, 2009 6:33 am

i think it's 8 or 9 times, some odd number like that.. maybe 14? i have no idea why, i just remember it being a wierd number
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Disrobing

Postby Dhammanando » Tue May 26, 2009 7:21 am

thornbush wrote:This thread is seeking answers to:
1. When a man disrobes (not for expulsion offences) to return back to lay life, how many more times can he be re-ordained in one lifetime?


There is no limit.

2. The source link to answer no.1


The Vinaya Piṭaka (i.e. the absence of any ruling on the number of times a man may ordain).

3. What about for a woman?


A disrobed bhikkhunī can't re-ordain in that life.

4. The source link to answer no.3


The Vinaya Piṭaka's Cullavagga (Vin. ii. 279)

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Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
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Re: Disrobing

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue May 26, 2009 8:30 am

i wonder what i'm thinking of.... :thinking:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Disrobing

Postby thornbush » Tue May 26, 2009 9:09 am

Thank you very much everybody, especially to Bhante Dhammanando.
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Re: Disrobing

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:20 am

Greetings JC,

jcsuperstar wrote:i wonder what i'm thinking of.... :thinking:


I've heard something too, so I know you're not making it up! I thought it was somewhere in the order of 10-12.

Perhaps it was a political and vihara-specific policy that was introduced somewhere to complement the Vinaya? Who knows.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Disrobing

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:I've heard something too, so I know you're not making it up! I thought it was somewhere in the order of 10-12.

Perhaps it was a political and vihara-specific policy that was introduced somewhere to complement the Vinaya? Who knows.


Possibly. Though there's no limit in theory, in practice if a man were to make a habit of ordaining and disrobing then it's likely that many abbots would end up rejecting his request once they came to know of his past history. In colloquial Thai there's an expression, "ordained five times," which is applied to men with a reputation for fickleness and unreliability.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Disrobing

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:56 pm

well one would have to wonder why one would ordain to disrobe over and over again... outside of maybe modern thailand(where farang may ordain to stay in thailand or thais may use the robes as a way to improve their situation) i cant see this comming up as a problem. the monk life didnt seem to be all that fun in the buddha's time so there probably wernt enough flaky indians to warant a rule.


* in cases like yours ajahn (i've seen the documentary) i see no problem in disrobing to ordain again, and in fact i have a feeling youre a much better, and wiser monk for it. :heart:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Disrobing

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:49 pm

I too have read that withen the Thai Sangha there's a general rule of thumb that one shouldn't disrobe and ordain more than a certain number of times. This information I'm fairly sure I read in Peter Robinson's book 'Phra Farang.'

Can't be sure though.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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