Why not ordain?

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

Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Future Bhikkhu » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:25 am

My responsibility to my family. Let me just say here that the lay-life is by no means 'second rate'.


I never claimed it to be second rate. It is just an alternative path. All I wish to hear is why you did not or do not choose the option of becoming a Bhikkhu or Bhikkuni.

With metta

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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:27 am

That's cool looking but I think they bite and are poisonous aren't they? Wow living in a Kuti's gotta be cool. By the way where was it again Tilt? I don't remember if you mentioned it already where you lived in that time.

I had a friend with a defanged Chilean Rose haired one who tried to see if he could scare me with it. He was surprised.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:29 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:That's cool looking but I think they bite and are poisonous aren't they?
Only mildly so, as I found out years later.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Euclid » Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:37 am

Future Bhikkhu wrote:I just wanted all to know that I hope it is hard.


Be careful what you wish for :stirthepot:
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:02 am

Future Bhikkhu wrote:
My responsibility to my family. Let me just say here that the lay-life is by no means 'second rate'.


I never claimed it to be second rate.

I didn't suggest that you did. I only mention it as it is an underlying assumption by many (but not all) lay Buddhists.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:08 am

From my experience the mind is very skilful at playing the grass is greener on the other side games.

I've gone to monasteries with the intention of ordaining at least three times, one time I did though it was only intended to be for three months before getting married.

Mostly I really liked it, I didn't mind the lack of sense pleasures at all, the hardships weren't a big deal. However the mind would always come up with the things that I hadn't done yet and maybe I should do and maybe they'd make me happy. After a couple of years back in laylife I'd be frazzled at the edges again but then after a few months in monasteries or retreat centres my outlook was much more positive and I was thinking about all the things I could do again.

The other issue for me was I didn't feel I could buy into the asian ritualistic superstitious thing that monks have to be a part of.

Also not wanting to disappoint the parents.

Lastly not having had a long term relationship yet I still clung to the world view of this being a potential ticket to happiness and fulfilment, now I know better.

I don't know the statistics but I'm guessing a high proportion of westerners who rock up to a monastery wanting to ordain for life don't, and of those that do not many stay for life.

Anyway if you practise well it gets to the stage when the mind is calm and clear that the suffering in life doesn't seem so overwhelming anymore and you feel rightly or wrongly that you can make practise work in any situation.

At your young age not having so much life experience behind you when doubts about the monastic life arise your mind might be fertile ground. I think an important part of gaining freedom from the samsaric world is knowing that you've tried everything of interest to you and found nothing gave lasting satisfaction, and I include monastic life in that everything.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:28 am

Goofaholix wrote:The other issue for me was I didn't feel I could buy into the asian ritualistic superstitious thing that monks have to be a part of.


What ritualistic things are you talking about specifically for reference? The majority of Vinaya training rules are pretty straightforward from what I remember, and they're also not very superstitious at all. Each rule has a very reasonable origin story.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Future Bhikkhu » Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:50 am

I think that I will give it try because it can't do any damage. Although I don't have much experience in life I do have a drive to rid of suffering. The youngest person to become enlightened in the time of the Buddha was only seven. Whether that be true or not I don't know, but I do know that I'm old enough to have suffered many time before. Being young doesn't exclude me from the worst of suffering. Anyway, I will strive to become ordained whilst continuing to get good grades at school and I will experience it for myself. At the moment I do not think of the ordained life as good or bad, merely something which assists in an end to suffering.

With metta

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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby grasshopper » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:13 am

Future Bhikkhu wrote:I was interested in hearing why you do not ordain. I know that many of you are well versed and practiced but if you know that life is full of suffering, why do you not strive to end that suffering with the most effective way possible? All opinons are valid.

With metta,

:anjali:


What a thread!

I have gone from being a casual Buddhist to a dyed-in-the-wool Buddhist (i.e. studying and practising Buddhism to the best of my ability for 10 long years with strong ordaining intentions) to a completely non-Buddhist agnostic who meditates; dunno know where to next though, lol.

The ritualistic stuff is something I can tolerate though I am not a fan...but I can not tolerate office-politics in monasteries carried out by monks and anagarikas. I have seen it first-hand in Asian and Western monasteries both, to the point that, unfortunately, no special reverance arises in me towards these institutions and the people in them as a whole anymore (individually, yes). This is in stark contrast to what my mind felt towards these places and people before (no offense intended if you are a nice monk or a nun). One day when I woke up, I realised that I am no longer in love with Buddhism - the sparks and the magic, simply gone out of the window. How can I marry myself to monkhood when I am not in love with Buddhism? But the Buddhism-less life has become so very freeing for me - like a rock lifted off my head - and my meditation is better and I am more content.

In case you wonder, then what am I doing in a Buddhist Forum? I am attracted spiritualism.... I have always been.....and even though this Forum says it is a Buddhist one I have noted there are secret agents of spiritualism here who drop beautiful gems of spiritual wisdom attributed to no organised religion; and I love collecting them!
Last edited by grasshopper on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:30 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby grasshopper » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:21 am

BlackBird wrote:
In order for one to see just how addicted one is to sensual pleasures, you first have to remove them. Forest monasteries in Sri Lanka do a bloody good job of this.


ROFLMAO :rofl:

And thanks for writing a brief description about your Sri lankan experience. I have always wondered whatever happened and your subsequent return to dunners etc. Best wishes mate...
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby adosa » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:05 pm

Jack,

Thanks for the synopsis. Not that it matters but you still have my highest respect for giving it a whirl. Well done, IMO..

Future Bhikkhu,

For me the challenge of practicing sila, dana, and tolerance is enough. If insight arises, then it arises. One step at a time and until I can master the basics, ordaining is not in the cards. My faith is not always strong as I tend to be materialistic in view. So, I strive to practice the basics of living a good life and test the dhamma from there.

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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby appicchato » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:25 pm

It is almost like people are saying that I shouldn't become ordained because they don't like the idea.

Go for what you know friend...follow your heart...most of all pay no attention whatsoever to what some total stranger (or strangers) has (have) to say negatively regarding your desire to ordain...all the best...
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Cessation » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:28 pm

Buddha said that even a blade of grass can hurt you if not handle right, so if someone ordains and lives on with the laity for support then misuses the requisites by being careless or a bad bhikkhu then that will lead to his suffering in this life and in the life to come. That is why I'm not ordained yet, I don't think I'm quit ready.
So, take heed of the warnings from everyone, and much luck with your good intentions.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:50 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:What ritualistic things are you talking about specifically for reference? The majority of Vinaya training rules are pretty straightforward from what I remember, and they're also not very superstitious at all. Each rule has a very reasonable origin story.


These are expectations that come from asian lay people, not from the vinaya. Things like house blessings, lottery numbers, fortune telling, praying to give extra merit to passed away loved ones, good luck prayers/blessings, money trees, expecting more merit the more senior the monk you feed and the more you can feed him, good luck charms, relics, amulets etc etc.

To be fair forest and meditation monks usually don't get involved in most of these except the most benign ones.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby gingercatni » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:04 pm

plwk wrote:Parents....
1. Never mind being staunch evangelicals, they expect me to carry on the family lineage tradition...which I have resisted thus far
2. They have made it clear that I will never have their blessing nor consent for Ordination
3. So, I guess I will just have to keep supporting them until old age and wait for their passing and meanwhile continue my Dhamma journey as an Upasaka...

:sage:


Theres nothing wrong about being a lay follower, it takes a lot to ordain. For one thing you have to close bank accounts part with property its all very complicated and if you don't intend to stay a monk for life then it will only create suffering for you later. What you can do as a lay person is start a Buddhist group in your area, get people involved meet new people and develop your practice together.

peace

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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:11 pm

Goofaholix wrote:At your young age not having so much life experience behind you when doubts about the monastic life arise your mind might be fertile ground. I think an important part of gaining freedom from the samsaric world is knowing that you've tried everything of interest to you and found nothing gave lasting satisfaction, and I include monastic life in that everything.


If one believes in rebirth, then it basically means that ALL of us in the countless lives have experienced almost everything short of Awakening (maggaphala), and Pure Abodes (accessible only for some aryans).


This basically means that there is nothing new to experience in the world. So why experience it, if one has enough wisdom to see that it is all anicca/dukkha/anatta?

I wonder: is worldly experience in this present life a requirement for becoming a monastic?

Can one be turned down because "you don't have enough worldly experience, you are just escaping the world"?
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:50 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:I wonder: is worldly experience in this present life a requirement for becoming a monastic?

Can one be turned down because "you don't have enough worldly experience, you are just escaping the world"?


No, but as I explained it can be a source of restlessness, it was for me.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:28 am

What ritualistic things are you talking about specifically for reference? The majority of Vinaya training rules are pretty straightforward from what I remember, and they're also not very superstitious at all. Each rule has a very reasonable origin story.[/quote]
Here in Thailand,monks can be asked to give house blessings,funeral chantings etc.While this does fall into the classification of rites and rituals I find myself taking part in some of these things.
While I do not see it as necessary I do understand that I am taking part in things that often were around before Buddhism even came to this country.However the people who ask us to take part in these ceremonies are the same people who every day wait at the side of the road,with the sun starting to rise and place alms into my bowl.These are the people who built our temple,who take care of its up keep and pay for the water and electricity that we use.They built my kuti,supplied my robes etc.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:40 am

Phra Chuntawongso wrote:What ritualistic things are you talking about specifically for reference? The majority of Vinaya training rules are pretty straightforward from what I remember, and they're also not very superstitious at all. Each rule has a very reasonable origin story.

Here in Thailand,monks can be asked to give house blessings,funeral chantings etc.While this does fall into the classification of rites and rituals I find myself taking part in some of these things.

While I do not see it as necessary I do understand that I am taking part in things that often were around before Buddhism even came to this country.However the people who ask us to take part in these ceremonies are the same people who every day wait at the side of the road,with the sun starting to rise and place alms into my bowl.These are the people who built our temple,who take care of its up keep and pay for the water and electricity that we use.They built my kuti,supplied my robes etc.


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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:02 am

Greetings bhante,

Phra Chuntawongso wrote:While this does fall into the classification of rites and rituals I find myself taking part in some of these things.

In saying that though, I think it's worth making clear what is being meant by "rites and rituals".

In terms of the fetter of "rites and rituals" (sīlabbata-parāmāso) which is to be broken, I believe this relates not to partaking in certain "rites and rituals" but a belief in their efficacy.

Which isn't to say for example that chanting isn't beneficial, if done with a pure mind and such (therefore being wholesome), but there's no belief that the words or tones have some kind of magical potency.

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