The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

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

The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:18 am

So as some know I've been "preparing" to move towards renouncing for a few years. About two years ago I set May 2014 as goal because I would be totally free of debt. The only debt I had left was my car payment and I paid it off early. I have officially put in my application to Bhavana Society as a resident with intent to renounce. It was interesting to see how much identifying information they require of you and how much background checking they will do, including my references, one of which had to be my boss, who I'm sure this will be a first time experience for, getting a call from a monastery lol. The process can take many months they say so hopefully if I'm accepted whenever it happens I'm ready to go.

So March 1st Bhavana comes out of resident retreat and the application will begin to be vetted around that time. I have been going to the monastery for two years including retreats and taking the 8 lifetime precepts with bhante G, so all the monastics and residents know me and I hope to be accepted but it's funny how the mind works now that the application is in I have more fears of not being accepted then I did before. From what I know of the Vinaya and rules I don't see any health issues, responsibilities, or anything else that should keep me from being able to renounce. Of course at Bhavana it is a two year process. the first six months you stay as a resident, then an anigarika for six months, then a samanera for a year before final ordination.

It's kind of funny but I feel a connection with the one monastic in the stories who felt he would rather die then live the lay life if he could not be a monk.. I don't think it's because i'm trying to escape. Even though I have a good job with great benefits and a pension and have a pretty good "mundane" life in general with friends and plenty of female attention, I have an intuition and a pull saying that renouncing is for me. I cannot know if it WILL be right for me until I take the jump. I feel at this point that even if I don't become a monk or I disrobe eventually, I would regret not trying. I will post again when I find out if I'm accepted or not.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby rowboat » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:45 am

That is excellent news! May you overcome every obstacle...

:anjali:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:47 am

:twothumbsup:
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby cooran » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:04 am

Amunodana with your kusala cetana!! :smile:

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Mkoll » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:47 am

Well done. I hope all goes well for you!

:anjali:
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby LinLin64 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:09 pm

Mudita!!!
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Sokehi » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:43 pm

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!

I have payed of all of my debt as well as you so I understand how wonderful it is finally be able to get things done. May you be well and reach Nibbana in this very lifetime :anjali:
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:15 pm

News update. My application has been accepted!

So now im going to work with my boss to see how long they need to transition someone into my position and im out.

Once i get there i still need to get through a 3 week and 3 month probation periods, but the first step is complete.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Viscid » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:20 pm

Congrats. You seem level-headed and committed enough. Keep us updated (or write a blog!) it's always fascinating to read about people's experiences in becoming a monastic.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:22 pm

:thumbsup: which will soon be changed to: :bow:
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:54 pm

Viscid wrote:Congrats. You seem level-headed and committed enough. Keep us updated (or write a blog!) it's always fascinating to read about e's experiences in becoming a monastic.


i started a dhamma blog a while back on tumblr. Its mostly dhamma postings with a few personal insights occasionally but it will be a way for family and friends to keep track of my journey once i start. I have found much benefit in the personal experiences of some monastics and samaneras i know so its a good way to pay it forward.

Jayantha.tumblr.com
Last edited by Jayantha-NJ on Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Anagarika » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:19 pm

Jayantha-NJ wrote:
Viscid wrote:Congrats. You seem level-headed and committed enough. Keep us updated (or write a blog!) it's always fascinating to read about e's experiences in becoming a monastic.


i started a dhamma blog a while back on tumblr. Its mostly dhamma postings with a few personal insights occasionally but it will be a way for family and friends to keep track of my journey once i start. I have found much benefit in the personal experiences of some monastics and samaneras i know so its a good way to pay it forward.

Jayantha.tumbler.com


Jayantha, just found your most interesting blog. Correct the url to Jayantha.tumblr.com ie take out the "e" in tumbler. I mention this so others can find your blog.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:42 pm

Ah thanks for the clarification!
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:54 am

So I just wanted to post an update, i'm about a month or so from going into the monastery full time to move towards ordination. I wanted to post a little blog update I made about an experience I had during a 9 day Jhana retreat I just got home from. It was a real eye opener for me and although hasn't changed my mind, it really made me realize how nonchalantly I took the concept of leaving everything behind and gave me even more respect for monastics:

Doing a meditation retreat is never an easy thing, being alone with your mind, free of distractions and ways of escape like tv/pc can bring you to amazing places... But sometimes also to the recesses of your darkest fears and worries. You have to be brave enough to look into your mind and accept what comes.

I entered that place Friday afternoon and im still feeling the effects. I had a mind state arise in me full of doubt, fear, loss, and loneliness complete with a breakdown ive had only one other time in my life a few weeks before my wife died near 10 years ago.

Normally when you've reached a certain point in you're meditation you become detached to your mindstates and don't get taken along for a ride, this one latched on and I couldn't shake it. Its like all at once my mind hit me with every possible fear about my decision to try and become a monk, everything from as silly as not being able to see my favorite movie again and having to give up driving to feelings of leaving my family and my nephew and a good job with great benefits . Also an overwhelming feeling about being trapped and so many little things I'm use to that I'd be giving up as a monk, kind of seeing the totality of exactly what I'd be giving up. At one point i just let it all out and balled.

The next day in the midst of this mindstate, i ended up through determination having one of the most deeply concentrated and peaceful meditations i ever had.

You can never fight or try to push these mindstates out of you, only accept them, observe, and be mindful, sometimes they come so strong that its hard to do even for experienced meditators, but its how to do it in a positive manner.

Im still in the tail end of this mindstate but it showed me that i think in the past I've been too nonchalant about how hard this is going to be.... I knew it would be hard leaving behind my family and the good life i have, but i dont think i fully understand the gravity of just how hard, which makes me respect monks even more.

Its made me question my decision but it hasn't changed... Im going to give this a shot, because i know if i dont ill always regret it. If it doesn't work out i come back and move forward, if it does ill live a life few dare to try.


It's funny how for 7 days I lived in so much peace, I felt happy and looking forward to my residency, enjoying the Jhana retreat, Bhavana felt peaceful as always.. then with this mindstate I felt trapped and extremely lonley, the air felt dense, I had trouble breathing and even got to really what was a mini panic attack, i was able to observe how my frantic mindstate controlled my breathing. At one point I had the thought to get in my car and drive the five hours home, this was about 9pm... I was dieing for some sort of distraction for my mind, radio, music, videos whatever, some form of escape. I could of went 100 yards to my car and turned on my phone, but I was bolstered by remembering stories of monks like Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Chah and I just stayed with the mindstate, it was a brutal experience that I'm still kind of feeling now, but I think it needed to happen.

I spoke to one of the other monastics there, he has been at Bhavana for 2 years and was just fully ordained back in May. He seemed to confirm that he went through something pretty similar. I spoke to another who stated that this will not be the first time I go through such an experience on my path if I tred it all the way, and that even Bhante G went through periods of crippling self doubt and fear. If any current monastics on the board would like to weigh in it would be appreciated as well.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:45 am

Thanks for posting, Jayantha. Very edifying.
Peace,
James
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Anagarika » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:08 pm

Jayantha, I have heard other accomplished Bhikkhus talk about how important it was to visualize their teachers during moments of doubt, one mentioning that he would think of Ajahn Chah when he would have fears and doubts about remaining in robes. You alluded to this in your post, and it may be that fears and anxieties are based on just that...fears, which are often not fact based. The fact of the existence of men like Ajahn Chah ( and we can all think of others we know now in robes who are living example of life in robes) can be that pillar of strength when the mind send you to thoughts of "what have I done?" My own feeling is that if one thinks of what one has given up, there can be a sense of longing and pain. If you think in terms of what you are gaining, then there is a sense of confidence. If a life in robes were not something that for you represented an advancement, a noble commitment, then taking this path might be fraught with doubt. But if you visualize Ven. Gunaratana, or any other contemporary monk or nun, and see the life they have lived and are living, then for you it is possible, too. And what wonderful and positive possibilities await you, is yet for you to find out.

My brother once told me in reference to his vocation, "if it was easy, everyone would do it." Sounds to me like you have the right stuff. Rather than let fear guide, you, take each day one day at a time, and once you settle into the life, you may find that things like the stable job, the movies and other entertainments, are worth giving up. Many monks and nuns have regular contact with their families, and perhaps your nephew will be inspired and benefit by seeing his uncle pursuing something so positive and noble. Read up a bit on Ajahn Chah's life..he was apparently a popular young man in his village and very close to his mother. He left a lot behind, and may have had moments of anxiety over leaving, too.
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Sokehi » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:38 pm

Dear Jayanta, I feel with you and know exactly what you are going through.

This too will pass. "Let the tears run dry" and then you wonder "where did this doubt come from?". :heart:
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

https://www.youtube.com/user/Repeataarrr
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Sokehi » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:24 pm

Anagarika wrote:Jayantha, I have heard other accomplished Bhikkhus talk about how important it was to visualize their teachers during moments of doubt, one mentioning that he would think of Ajahn Chah when he would have fears and doubts about remaining in robes. You alluded to this in your post, and it may be that fears and anxieties are based on just that...fears, which are often not fact based. The fact of the existence of men like Ajahn Chah ( and we can all think of others we know now in robes who are living example of life in robes) can be that pillar of strength when the mind send you to thoughts of "what have I done?" My own feeling is that if one thinks of what one has given up, there can be a sense of longing and pain. If you think in terms of what you are gaining, then there is a sense of confidence. If a life in robes were not something that for you represented an advancement, a noble commitment, then taking this path might be fraught with doubt. But if you visualize Ven. Gunaratana, or any other contemporary monk or nun, and see the life they have lived and are living, then for you it is possible, too. And what wonderful and positive possibilities await you, is yet for you to find out.

My brother once told me in reference to his vocation, "if it was easy, everyone would do it." Sounds to me like you have the right stuff. Rather than let fear guide, you, take each day one day at a time, and once you settle into the life, you may find that things like the stable job, the movies and other entertainments, are worth giving up. Many monks and nuns have regular contact with their families, and perhaps your nephew will be inspired and benefit by seeing his uncle pursuing something so positive and noble. Read up a bit on Ajahn Chah's life..he was apparently a popular young man in his village and very close to his mother. He left a lot behind, and may have had moments of anxiety over leaving, too.


I like your advice, very helpful. You'd like to share this in the "how not to disrobe"-thread, friend? :heart:
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

https://www.youtube.com/user/Repeataarrr
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Viscid » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:21 pm

Your experience reminds me of a talk Ajahn Brahm gives about Ajahn Chah, who asks his monastics "Have you come here to die?"

I have no experience with ordination myself, but from what I've read from others:

The panic you feel is a confrontation with death. You're giving up everything, so the mind revolts: it wants to remain attached, to return to old habits and ways of thinking. You've now cut off the mind from the past, and it frantically scratches at the door like a trapped rodent. Your old self is dying, and there's acute anxiety associated with that process.

Eventually monastics begin to deeply appreciate the monastic life, and the inherent joy and freedom that it brings. The process takes a long time, though [potentially years, I've heard] and there will be recurring bouts of great fear and doubt. From what I observe, the monastics that survive are those with the strongest faith.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: The First Step is Taken: Application is in.

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:53 pm

Viscid wrote:Your experience reminds me of a talk Ajahn Brahm gives about Ajahn Chah, who asks his monastics "Have you come here to die?"

I have no experience with ordination myself, but from what I've read from others:

The panic you feel is a confrontation with death. You're giving up everything, so the mind revolts: it wants to remain attached, to return to old habits and ways of thinking. You've now cut off the mind from the past, and it frantically scratches at the door like a trapped rodent. Your old self is dying, and there's acute anxiety associated with that process.

Eventually monastics begin to deeply appreciate the monastic life, and the inherent joy and freedom that it brings. The process takes a long time, though [potentially years, I've heard] and there will be recurring bouts of great fear and doubt. From what I observe, the monastics that survive are those with the strongest faith.



Ajahn Brahm is amazing once more.. Its funny when I think about dieing to everything, there is only one thing in life my mind really rejects to allowing me to die, and that is my nephew who ive lived together with since he was 1 years old(hes almost 10) and ive been a father figure and best friend to. Although ive told him and prepared him for my leaving and i view my leaving as a good lesson in loss for him, getting a glypse as to what me leaving will do fills me with sadness, funny how i never had much of an issue about it until this weekend, but i suppose the reality of the ssituation never hit on all of us until now. He is not my son, and he is not financially dependant on me, but its going to be probably the only thing thay really gives me any pause in leaving.
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