Ordaining at Bodhinyana Monastery - arranging things

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

Ordaining at Bodhinyana Monastery - arranging things

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:07 pm

Hello all :) Since I didn't feel like spamming the introductions forum with a separate message; I'm a Dutch guy, waiting to ordain at Bodhinyana next year. Thought I'd sign up here since every time I google questions about my decision I end up on this forum :)

So here's the situation. I've contacted Bodhinyana monastery via e-mail, asking if I could ordain in october 2014. I've been put on the waiting list and "there is a good chance I can come straight away (but I can't be given an absolute guarantee)" since my application is all nice and early. This is good enough for me at this point :) I just want to go there, I have no thoughts on how long I want to stay there, how/why/when/if I want to achieve enlightenment etc, I just want to try out that life since I think it is very close to the life I am already living, and it doesn't involve the stress of work and study that feel meaningless to me.

It's curious though; I read James the Giant's thread (congratulations by the way) and it sort of came off as if you really need to "qualify" for this.. strange, since I'm put on the list with no questions asked. (James qualifies better than me, I'm a terrible driver and I'd hate to crash Ajahn Brahm into something since I don't think he'll be reborn :tongue: ) But maybe we're both admitted but James is just allowed to come earlier because of his positive assessment? Well, I guess it will be ok. I have no chance to visit Bodhinyana beforehand, unfortunately.

Anyway, my main question I guess: Do any of you happen to have any info/experience/tips on things I will need to arrange by then? Since I'm terrible with the bureaucracy of samsara. (I could ask them again, but I don't want to disrupt their peace and all :meditate: ) Visas, for example. The website says: "According to Australian visa regulations Bodhinyana Monastery must give precedence to Australian candidates. Moreover, the visa regulations are themselves quite onerous, and it is impossible to know beforehand whether any particular application will be successful." Should I be super-worried now? (don't think any of you good Buddhists will advice worry, but you get the point ;) )

I also don't have the full picture on Bodhinyana's approach to different levels of ordination (I read about it for other monasteries but not them), whether I should ask to become (and remain!) a monk, a novice, an anigarika, a guest, or what have you. For example: If I'd be a monk I wouldn't be allowed to handle money, but could I have back-up possessions back at home, as a life raft for laylife? Are there other things I need to take into consideration?

I apologise for the messy topic and the absence of a clear question, but I'm just trying to find out how to handle all of this, while there is no time pressure yet :) I hope you sort of get my situation and maybe some of you will be able to share some helpful hints. Thanks in advance. With metta :hello:
Dennenappelmoes
 
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Re: Ordaining at Bodhinyana Monastery - arranging things

Postby James the Giant » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:04 am

Awesome, It'll great to meet you! I hope I will still be there, and have not been overcome by some hindrance and run away!
Dennenappelmoes wrote:It's curious though; I read James the Giant's thread (congratulations by the way) and it sort of came off as if you really need to "qualify" for this.. strange, since I'm put on the list with no questions asked. (James qualifies better than me, I'm a terrible driver and I'd hate to crash Ajahn Brahm into something since I don't think he'll be reborn :tongue: ) But maybe we're both admitted but James is just allowed to come earlier because of his positive assessment? Well, I guess it will be ok. I have no chance to visit Bodhinyana beforehand, unfortunately.

I don't think it was a matter of "qualifying", because there are other guys there who can't drive or cook, and they're anagarikas. In fact, I think only one of the three anagarikas can drive.
I think I was allowed to come quickly because I lived just an hour away, and the rule about Australian visa regulations, and because I had visited the monastery fairly often, and because I knew some of the monks.
Plus they also knew I'd lived in monasteries and meditation centres in the past.
Moreover, the visa regulations are themselves quite onerous, and it is impossible to know beforehand whether any particular application will be successful." Should I be super-worried now?

Don't worry, but you should definitely contact the Australian embassy in Holland and see what you need to qualify for long term residence in Australia. If you like, I will ask some of the monks and anagarikas what visas they are on, and get back to you in a couple of weeks.

I also don't have the full picture on Bodhinyana's approach to different levels of ordination (I read about it for other monasteries but not them), whether I should ask to become (and remain!) a monk, a novice, an anigarika, a guest, or what have you.

It's basically the same as this, the sister monastery near Sydney;
http://santifm.org/santi/wp-content/upl ... tSanti.pdf
You start at the beginning, but I think you'd be joining the process at the Long Term Lay Guest stage, since you are coming all the way from Holland.

For example: If I'd be a monk I wouldn't be allowed to handle money, but could I have back-up possessions back at home, as a life raft for laylife? Are there other things I need to take into consideration?

Well, I know monks who have their old stuff at their parent's house... but you need to let it all go when you actually take up the bhikkhu's robes. Some of the bhikkhus on here might be able to advise you on this.

I'm not sure it's completely good advice, but Ajahn Vajiro once said to a group of laypeople and me, "Burn your bridges. Make it difficult to go home. That way you will be more likely to stay a bhikkhu because it's easier to stay than leave."

As for your other questions, hmmm, I recommend that between now and when you come, you go stay for a few weeks in one of the very good European monasteries in this tradition.... there is one in Italy, one in Switzerland, several in the UK. And I'm sure there are more not listed on this list: http://forestsangha.org/monasteries/
They'll be able to answer your questions, plus you can get a taste of the life.
Oh, if you are interested especially in Australia, there is a monastery associated with Bodhnyana over near Sydney that is now looking for laypeople and anagarikas. They have been small until recently, but now they are growing... it's http://www.wbd.org.au Wat Buddha Dhamma.
One of the monks at Bodhinyana suggested I go stay there until I was offered a place at Bodhinyana, and that would have been a good option.

Best of luck, and I hope someone else can answer you too.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Ordaining at Bodhinyana Monastery - arranging things

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:43 am

Hi James! Thanks alot for your thorough reply. Yes, let's hope both of us manage to stay on track, and we'll see each other there! :toast: (replace beer by fruit juice)

I guess it's what Ajahn Brahmali meant when he wrote they give priority to people they know, which makes sense. He also said they'd be expanding in 1-2 years time so there'll be place for more monks. I'll contact the Australian embassy and find out about staying in Australia. And yes, if it's not too much trouble for you, I'd really appreciate if you could find out a little bit about the monks visas at some point, thanks! :)

Actually I'm visiting the UK this summer or next, excellent idea to combine that with a stay at a monastery in the tradition (thanks for the list). I was already planning on getting more active in my sangha attending the retreats to gradually ramp things up a bit. Though overall I should be pretty well adapted to a monk's life (which is maybe another way of saying I don't do much), meditation is still quite a weak point for me. But I've also noticed it gets better if I don't have so many things to worry about, so I'm carefully optimistic that in formal settings, where I can be more detached from the issues of daily life, my "performance" will improve quite a bit. I guess my way of burning my bridges is by going to he other side of the world, which is also one of the reasons why I chose Bodhinyana. I guess before I go I will pack up everything that is useful to keep and have my parents store it. I'm confident that my only motivation to keep my belongings is to enable me to survive laylife should i return, and not because there is anything I own that I am attached to.

Wat Buddha Dhamma looks good, but I'm a little reluctant to go to a smaller monastery, not because I doubt the monks or the quality of their approach in any way, but just because I know it helps with my own focus and peace of mind if I'm part of a larger group dedicated to the same goal. But I hadn't yet thought of staying at another monastery in Australia until Bodhinyana can receive me, which is a nice option to consider, should there be any delays at Bodhinyana.


Metta :hello:
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