I want to ordain..but....debt

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I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby fabianfred » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:39 pm

I have been living here in Thailand for the last 18 years and have been a Buddhist for thirty years. I married 12 years ago and we have two children of 12 and 9 years. I have been getting one year permissions to stay renewed each year using my Army pension as proof of living expenses. This year the Pound is very low against the baht and i doubt if I will be able to qualify for renewal of permission to stay.
My wife suggested that i ordain as a monk.
She knows i am very immersed in buddhism here.
She knows I would be happy to ordain when my family duties are over.
I am 58.
She doesn't want to see me forced to return home to the UK to live in a very poor way, away from the family.
The only thing preventing my ordination is debt.
I have a bank loan running with six years left before paid up, and a credit card debt.
She says that my pension is gradually paying off the debt, and would continue to do so if I was ordained.
But I say that I would be telling a lie during ordination if I said I was free from debt, when I wasn't.
I know she doesn't think it is a serious matter...but i'm not convinced.
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Annapurna » Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:44 pm

Hey, that is a lot of stuff.

Of course you can't say you are not indebted, when you are. That's fraudulous.

I'm also not sure if I understand you correctly.

Are you living off your pension, without going to work?

Then the solution for a family father with wife and kids would be that you go get a job, and work, if you wash dishes in a hotel, it doesn't matter. You're only 58, there must be something you could find. There is a lot of tourism in Thailand, perhaps you could work as a tourist guide. Or be a stay at home Dad, and your wife finds a job, after all she is a native speaker. No job is too low, if it gets you out of debt.

And to be frank, I find the suggestion of your wife a bit weird.

No loving wife wants her husband to become a monk, unless she wouldn't mind if he is not around anymore.When I put myself into your situation, I would feel like he is trying to get rid of me while using my pension.

Far worse, your children need a father.

I may be wrong, and I don't want to cause you pain, but this is what I thought.

Also, how come you have credit cards debts?

Who caused those?

Your wife or you?

Another point. I don't think money and stay problems are the right motivation for ordination.

But who knows, perhaps they accept you, and it is all you want to do from now on.

Talk to the monks there, perhaps. You must be absolutely open.
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:07 pm

The purpose of the rule is that someone can't escape paying off their debt by becoming a monk, isn't it?

You would be setting up your finances so that your pension continues to pay off your debt would you not? So you debt will continue to be paid off.

I think that would be fine but best to talk about it with your potential preceptor, as long as you tell the truth it's his call.

As Annapurna already mentioned your reasons for ordaining sound pretty odd, but as I'm sure it's something you've been wanting to do for a while it's not just the circumstances that are dictating it.

Your wife does realise that a monk visa is only valid while you are a monk? You can't disrobe and use up the rest of your visa in lay life. There is also a bit of misinformation going around Thais that a foreign monk can gain citizenship, does she realise this isn't true?
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:43 pm

Hopefully one of our already ordained members would like to comment on this aspect in a better detail than us lay people can, but I would also echo your concern here, and if I was in the situation you describe would possibly see ordination as the easy route, given that your pension would continue to pay these off!

you may wish to speak to a monk you know and trust, they obviously cant give financial advice, but they can advise about the ordination in this regard.

although if it isn't a problem to ordain, this period maybe a good tester for you to sample the life, and a good time for you to work on your practice.
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby fabianfred » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:36 pm

I hope that i am not giving the impression that i wish to ordain simply in order to be able to stay in thailand, or to try and avoid family responsibilities. My pension would still go into my bank account and would be available to my wife. She is still young, 25 years less than me, but knows how much i like the dhamma. We have both gone on meditation retreats together and seperately to Wat Rampoeng, Chiangmai. I go to the temple every day to teach the dhamma to the foreign guests of MonkforaMonth project.
I realised that when i got married my life had come to a fork and if I hadn't married would probably of ordained in the future. I took temporary ordination for a week four years ago when they had a mass ordination here in Fang. My wife was not ready to let me stay longer....at that time.
For those who do not know, it is very difficult to work here, legally, for a foreigner.
The bank loan was to build our new house here four years ago...(started construction when i was ordained then....though it would be auspicious).... the credit card got hit later the same year when my mother became sick and later died, which entailed two trips home and on the second trip to the funeral i took my wife for her first visit to england.
We visited a forest monastery there in sussex, which i had visited several times before during my trips home. perhaps if I had to return home i could stay there as a lay helper.
I don't think my wife is trying to get rid of me....just that she'd rather I was ordained and living in a temple close to home than far away in england.
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Annapurna » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:35 pm

I'm sorry to hear your mother passed away....and believe you your wife would rather have you nearby. Don't you automatically have a right to stay if you are married to a Native and have children? I find that hard to believe.
It's that way in Europe and the USA, not so in Thailand?

i doubt if I will be able to qualify for renewal of permission to stay.


Well, that's speculative.
If it is so hard for you to find work, how about your wife seeking a job? I'm sure she can get something as a waitress.

Could you work as a tutor for English?

Or start an internet shop with something? Or handcraft something and sell it? Or your wife? Car wash? Just for a while?
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:57 pm

fabianfred wrote:I hope that i am not giving the impression that i wish to ordain simply in order to be able to stay in thailand, or to try and avoid family responsibilities.


not at all, I understnd you have certain needs and wants which means thailand is where you need to be, whether the government sees that you should stay is the problem here and ordination may be a dual oportunity for you rather than a cop-out of something (which is clearly not the case here, from what you said)
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:05 am

Annapurna wrote:Could you work as a tutor for English?

Or start an internet shop with something? Or handcraft something and sell it? Or your wife? Car wash? Just for a while?


As Fred mentioned it's very difficult to work in Thailand legally as a foreigner.

To work legally as an english tutor he needs a degree. To open an internet shop he needs to compete with the hundreds open already. To do crafts or car wash he'd need to be happy living on $1 a day as he'd be competing with the poorest of the poor.

Fred, there are other Visa options that don't require a bank balance, aren't there? have you asked your question on Thaivisa? Perhaps your volunteer work for monforamonth will help you qualify for a different kind of visa if you get a letter from your abbott.

I think it's not right you should find yourself in this position after living there for 18 years and having married a local.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:38 am

Annapurna wrote:I
It's that way in Europe and the USA, not so in Thailand?
?


thats not true for americans unless youre military. trust me, i just finished going through this on my birthday 2/2. it was a long and stressful path to get my wife a green card and still in 2 years she has to go through more of the process. it's also costly.

and as for work in thailand, it's illegal for foreigners to do most jobs, you can teach english if you have a degree and a certificate and you can own a business but cant actually work there or something too. it's rather complicated, set up so we dont come over there and steal low paying jobs. so if he worked it'd most likely be illegally. the only upside to which is you get to see how it is for foreigners who have to come to the west...

to fred:
you could sell stuff on ebay, thai stuff, amulets, statues, books, crafts. it wont make you a lot of cash however there seems to be a few ebay stores that have been doing it for a bit. you'd want to find what those guys dont offer and offer it, or offer the more popular items at a lower cost. you could tutor english as well. but youre in a somewhat rural place aren't you? probably not too much extra cash even going around..
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Virgo » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:55 am

Goofaholix wrote:Fred, there are other Visa options that don't require a bank balance, aren't there? have you asked your question on Thaivisa? Perhaps your volunteer work for monforamonth will help you qualify for a different kind of visa if you get a letter from your abbott.

I think it's not right you should find yourself in this position after living there for 18 years and having married a local.

Dear Fred,

I agree with this. Try to get a letter from the Abbot of the Wat. You might be able to get a religious visa with the letter. Also ask around on Thaivisa.com.

jcsuperstar wrote:to fred:
you could sell stuff on ebay, thai stuff, amulets, statues, books, crafts. it wont make you a lot of cash however there seems to be a few ebay stores that have been doing it for a bit. you'd want to find what those guys dont offer and offer it, or offer the more popular items at a lower cost...


JC,

Them amulets aint even part of the Buddha's teaching, so why do that?

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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:18 am

tiny bits of clay or metal in the shape of buddhas are of no harm to anyone, it is the mind that sees them as holding some sort of salvation that is dangerous. :buddha1:

"After 2,600 years, Buddhism has accumulated a whole lot of impediments. Extraneous clutter that never was taught by the Buddha. Rites and rituals, prayer beads, holy threads, mandalas and mantras, holy footprints, and all kinds of superstitious beliefs. If you know them for what they are you can use them in your practice, but if you mistake the inessential for what is essential your practice will lead nowhere." - bhikkhu pesala


but that is besides the point here. the point is theyre easy to get in thailand, harder to get in the west and people like them so that by it's very nature sets up an opportunity. it just depends on how well one is able to use this opportunity.
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:36 am

jcsuperstar wrote:tiny bits of clay or metal in the shape of buddhas are of no harm to anyone, it is the mind that sees them as holding some sort of salvation that is dangerous. :buddha1:


A little bit of cocaine or heroin are of no harm to anyone, it's the mind that sees them as an opportunity for escape from reality that is dangerous.

I'm surprised a dhamma practitioner would suggest somebody should try and make money with such an obvious corruption of the teaching and an obvious cause of attachment.

It may not be listed under wrong livelihood but probably should be.

jcsuperstar wrote:but that is besides the point here. the point is theyre easy to get in thailand, harder to get in the west and people like them so that by it's very nature sets up an opportunity. it just depends on how well one is able to use this opportunity.


Thai people keep giving them to me and I have a couple dozen in a shoebox, if you send me an SAE they're yours.
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"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:42 am

so youre saying that every buddha image is wrong? that they should be taken out of all temples etc? that theyre no different than heroin? seems absurd
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:15 am

jcsuperstar wrote:so youre saying that every buddha image is wrong? that they should be taken out of all temples etc? that theyre no different than heroin? seems absurd


You referred to tiny bits of clay or metal, as proper Buddha images aren't tiny I assumed you were talking about amulets. Which are usually bought sold and traded for the their superstitious good luck charm supposed value.

No they are not like heroin, the point was that the attitude that one is only supplying that are in demand and it's the buyers problem what they do with them is much the same as that of a drug dealer.

However this has gone far enough off topic.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby fabianfred » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:13 am

Thanks for your interest guys...
I am the worlds worst businessman so have never been successful at making money. I am rich already....in the dhamma...just poor in wordly things...the better way to be in my opinion. My wife already works too to supplement the family income....and for her own interest....she is a cook....but we had a small photo studio for five years here. I taught her and it was her business, but I kept her company and surfed the web.... I taught her about photography and using a computer...skills she still has and she could already type in Thai and English.
I was hoping for a bit more info about the way debt is recognised for the ordination ceremony.

I took photos of an ordination ceremony today....it is that time of year...summer holiday...short term monks. Why is it that the 227 rules of a monk forbid the handling of money, but the first alms round after ordination is always cash, cash ,cash!!!
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Annapurna » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:15 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Annapurna wrote:Could you work as a tutor for English?

Or start an internet shop with something? Or handcraft something and sell it? Or your wife? Car wash? Just for a while?


As Fred mentioned it's very difficult to work in Thailand legally as a foreigner.

To work legally as an english tutor he needs a degree. To open an internet shop he needs to compete with the hundreds open already. To do crafts or car wash he'd need to be happy living on $1 a day as he'd be competing with the poorest of the poor.

Fred, there are other Visa options that don't require a bank balance, aren't there? have you asked your question on Thaivisa? Perhaps your volunteer work for monforamonth will help you qualify for a different kind of visa if you get a letter from your abbott.

I think it's not right you should find yourself in this position after living there for 18 years and having married a local.



To work legally as an english tutor he needs a degree.



Really? Here any pupil can tutor another.

To open an internet shop he needs to compete with the hundreds open already.


Sure but you have to compete everywhwere, If you're good and work hard, you'll make it.

To do crafts or car wash he'd need to be happy living on $1 a day as he'd be competing with the poorest of the poor.


I believe you if you say so.

Perhaps your volunteer work for monforamonth will help you qualify for a different kind of visa if you get a letter from your abbott.


That's very good idea, by all means try that, Fred.
Last edited by Annapurna on Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Annapurna » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:23 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:
to fred:
you could sell stuff on ebay, thai stuff, amulets, statues, books, crafts. it wont make you a lot of cash however there seems to be a few ebay stores that have been doing it for a bit. you'd want to find what those guys dont offer and offer it, or offer the more popular items at a lower cost.
.


Well, exactly, that is what I meant. A shop is a shop, whether it's hosted on ebay, Etsy or elsewhere.

you could tutor english as well.


Huh? :shock: Isn't that what I just suggested and was told it's illegal? :thinking:

I'm not talking about a TEACHER - at school-, I am talking about giving private lessons after school, to kids who have bad grades! Parents are always willing to invest something in the education of their children...

Perhaps?
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby appicchato » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:05 pm

Basically none of this pertains to the OP's question...but to see what he's contending with check out Fang, Thailand on google earth...
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby Annapurna » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:10 pm

I looked at it, not sure what I'm supposed to look for? Bäh, I don't get it. :embarassed:
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Re: I want to ordain..but....debt

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:35 pm

fabianfred wrote:I took photos of an ordination ceremony today....it is that time of year...summer holiday...short term monks. Why is it that the 227 rules of a monk forbid the handling of money, but the first alms round after ordination is always cash, cash ,cash!!!

Don't know. Same thing happens down here.

We had six boys ordain as novices here yesterday. Several of them have come from Bangkok to stay for six weeks. They probably got a bit of a shock having their heads shaved on a cool NZ morning...

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