Seeking some advice

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

Re: Seeking some advice

Postby brother.peace » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 am

Dear Brother,

I found myself in a similar position to you about 7years ago.

I do have some advice, but I ask you to simply look very carefully and clearly at the decisions you make. Take your time and do not rush into anything. I'm not sure of the exact time you have been in the Vipassana practice but you will see that, in the Theavada the basis is the same. The Satipattana and Anapanasati Suttas as well as the teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. You will have do some study in order to deepen your understanding of the Buddha's path, and I think you will eventually see that it is very beneficial as long as you are able to balance it with the actual practice. There are many who get caught in the intellectual approach to study, but this is simply an extension of the mundane if it is not balanced with sincere practice. I think study and exposure to the teachings is an essential part of the practice.

There are some very good monasteries in the US. I would check out what is in your local area before you make a trip to another country. You may find what you need is in your backyard. As you have access to a computer, look them up and pay a visit to them. Take your time to visit, and visit as many before committing yourself to a specific center. Get to good feel of the teacher and the practice of the Sangha. It is difficult to practice in a center that has an excellent teacher but an undisciplined sangha. My experience of the practice in SN Goenka's centers has been very good, but when you visit a monastery remember that these monks are not just there for just 10days of intense training, they are there for life so you may see some things that are a bit different. So also be flexible.

In my experience I went like a burning flame into ordination and I went to the first place that accepted me. Because of this I changed my meditation technique for about 4-5 years and even my lineage, I went from a Theravada basis to the Mahayana, before I came back to the Satipatana as my basis for meditation practice. I would say do not change your technique unless you see it stemming from the sutta's or you have some very clear experiences.

I hate to digress, but I think that SN Goenka may practice better than many who are ordained. And so even spending more time as a lay follower of his traditions may be the most suitable until clarity arise in regards to your aspiration. I would say he practices better that I do :smile: I personally see no obstacles to a monk following him. I follow his example and am still learning from my time in his practice. It is quite possible that Goenka has refrained from ordination out of compassion for the masses but is, in actuality, living the life of a celibate monk. I love my robes and I love my precepts, but have no superiority nor inferiority in relation to anything.

This is quite long and I apologize. I hope there is something that is helpful for you.
Be well, be solid, and contact me if you need to.

With love and support
-Brother Peace
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby pilgrim » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:35 pm

I remember reading the bio of Ven Jotipalo that he practised in the Goenka tradition before deciding to ordain in the Wat Pah Pong Sangha at Amaravati, USA. He is presently staying at Vimutti monastery in New Zealand http://www.vimutti.org.nz/

Also monastic teachers appointed to AT in the Goenka system is not uncommon. If you read their newsletters you would come across this every now and then. I don't see any issues with that. They are just teaching a system developed by Goenka. They don't bow to him and Goenka himself visits monasteries to offer dana.
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