After experiencing a substantial and continuous intensification of samvega over the last year, I decided last week to finally book a ticket to Sri Lanka to visit a few monasteries as potential places to ordain at. The plan is to visit Meetirigala, Pothgulgala and possibly Na Uyana for 3 weeks total to find out what monastic life in Asia is like and see if this path is really right for me, come back to England, and then possibly return next year with the goal of ordaining. Then after visiting Amaravati (near London) last weekend, I thought that perhaps Thailand, specifically Wat Pah Nanachat, ought to also be considered as an option. Is anybody familiar with the differences with regard to monastic life between the two countries? As far as I found out online, in Sri Lanka there is more emphasis on study, one cannot re-ordain, and there seems to be more austerity than in Thailand. Are there other significant differences? Would it in your opinion be enough to visit a few monasteries in Sri Lanka only rather than to "shop around" various countries? Specifically, I am concerned about getting by as someone who doesn't speak the local language, how stable the monastic systems are in the two countries (i.e. resiliency to political instability), and how the ordination procedures and rules & daily schedules compare.
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)