Phra Chuntawongso wrote:
phil wrote:I would guess your friend is around 50? Is it common for men that age to ordain for life, or at retirement age? Almost unheard of here in Japan, as far as I know...
For some men here in Thailand,this is a time when they can ordain long term.The children have finished school and the financial needs of the family are not so great.
What is the usual ordination age in Japan,and is it true that a Japanese buddhist priest can marry after a number of years and have a family?Can they have a job while they are priests,like some(many?)monks in the Tibetan tradition do?This may explain some of the cultural differences in buddhism in different countries.
Thanks for your information, and inquiry re Japan. I find the idea of men retiring into ordainment very inspiring. To avoid making uncharitable comments, I should refrain from saying too much about Japanese Buddhism, because I don't know as much as I should, but what I do know is very...uninspiring. I'm afraid that after living in Japan for 15 years, I have only met three Japanese people (and I have met hundreds and hundreds through my work) who are passionate about Buddhism, and their sects are modern sects started in this century by charismatic leaders and are in my opinion more like cults. Almost all the Japanese people I have talked to about Buddhism seem completely dissinterested, it's all about money, they say. You would be very, very hard pressed to find Japanese people who know what the precepts are, for example. In most brnaches of Buddhism I believe priests do marry and drink alcohol and often drive Mercedes Benz and whatnot, living in luxury. I beleive there are some branches of Zen and others that are purer. But I have never met nor heard of a man retiring into ordination, though I'm sure it must happen and certainly did historically, and women becoming nuns. There is a very popular and beloved nun who was a scandalous novelist in her youth before ordaining in middle age and now is one of the best and most inpsiring speakers on Buddhism.
This is just my viewpoint, may be inaccurate. I do love Japan deeply, but to enrich my life as a Buddhist, I am planning to retire in Thailand in about 5 years. I know there are corruptions of Dhamma there too, but this video reminded me how much closer the people are to the Dhamma. Thank you again to the Englishman in Bangkok for providing it...
Thank you again Bhante.