Why not ordain?

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

Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:01 pm

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.


I enjoy meditation very much and I enjoy reading the suttas very much. I don't think I would become a monk because:

- I'm strongly agnostic about it being possible for someone to actually be an arahant

- I don't believe is some significant parts of Buddhism: rebirth, kamma ( beyond cause and effect ), etc

- I don't want to give up having romantic and sexual relationships with women

- I don't want to give up my independence in being able to earn my own money,take care of myself and make some of my own choices in regards to lifestyle.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby flux » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:07 am

Jhana4 wrote:
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.


I enjoy meditation very much and I enjoy reading the suttas very much. I don't think I would become a monk because:

- I'm strongly agnostic about it being possible for someone to actually be an arahant

- I don't believe is some significant parts of Buddhism: rebirth, kamma ( beyond cause and effect ), etc

- I don't want to give up having romantic and sexual relationships with women

- I don't want to give up my independence in being able to earn my own money,take care of myself and make some of my own choices in regards to lifestyle.


It is great to be established in meditation, and to penetrate the truths in the suttas, and it's perfectly understandable where you are with regards to becoming a monk.

Skepticism about becoming an arahant and doubts about rebirth & Kamma(both concepts which often can be easily misunderstood and colored?) are still doubts, and among the 5 hindrances, doubt and lust(sexually) are but 2 of them.
Not that I am advocating blind faith, but more so, I hope that you will find a mentor that will be able to guide you to penetrate those truths, experience them yourself, and remove those doubts as part of 'progress' on the path of Dhamma.

With arahants, there are quite a few distinctions between each of their attainment fruits, and ways of attaining Nibbana. Most common thing they share among all of them thou is their attainment, which is termed the nibbana element with a residue remaining(due to still being alive with 5 aggregates still active).

As with Kamma, there really is not anything more than cause and effect I think. It is more important to observe how our whole 'reality' and world system function in accordance to the cycle of cause and effect.

Could passion be one of the strongest attachment and craving in the sense desire world? From my understanding, 3 realms of existence too, sense desire world, form world, formless worlds. The latter two each corresponding to development in meditation.

Independence or interdependence? =D Contemplate identity view, and Anatta(non-self?)? To choose to ordain is to choose a lifestyle, as you have already chosen yours too. No right or wrong, as to live is to walk the Dhamma path, only 'difference' is walking it more or less consciously?
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:16 pm

Flux;

Thanks for the non-judgmental and supportive post.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:23 pm

Anyone considering such a dramatic move as ordaining as a Buddhist monk and asking themselves the questions "Why not ordain?" should read the related thread about the book called "The Broken Buddha" by the Venerable S. Dhammika. This link goes to that thread ( which has links in it to the PDF version of the book ) rather than the book.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Alex123 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:30 pm

Jhana4 wrote:Anyone considering such a dramatic move as ordaining as a Buddhist monk and asking themselves the questions "Why not ordain?" should read the related thread about the book called "The Broken Buddha" by the Venerable S. Dhammika. This link goes to that thread ( which has links in it to the PDF version of the book ) rather than the book.



I remember reading it. In any case, I think that there are good and not so good monasteries. I don't think that every monastery is like the Ven. Dhammika has described. I understand that some people are not ready, and some may ordain for less than perfect reasons.

But I do hope that a diligent practitioner can quietly practice without getting into the politics and so on.

I may need to read that article again as the issue of ordination weighs heavily on my mind (I hope eventually to ordain and be a good bhikkhu).
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:18 pm

Its not an article, it is a book ( 66 pages ), but one well worth reading even with the understanding that Ven Dhammika's experiences described there are a decade old and that they might not reflect every experience that could be had.

The reasons for getting ordained would be to have your basic needs met while getting support for

- meditating at least 4 hours a day during prime hours
- support for very long retreats
- support for studying the suttas
- support for living in an ethical way, by your own ethics in addition to the sanghas
- being around meditation teachers and people striving for the same things you are

A single person could probably manage their commitments to work a job, get 2 hours of meditation in a day during the week, more on the weekend and a 1-2 retreats a year. So, if someone isn't getting the list of things above from a Sangha it probably wouldn't be worth it to become a monk.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Basileaux » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:22 pm

I ordained for about a year in NE Thailand. I was 20 and immature. The hardest part, and I think this is crucial, was that I lacked the ability to really navigate my way through my problems. An example of this is when one meditates for a long period of time, a sense of loneliness can arise making one think, "Is this all my life's going to be? Just walking back and forth of this meditation path here?" Well, when I was younger, I was unable to really reflect on whether this was a valid feeling or not. So I'd go back to the "fun" of the monastery- the conversations and cheese, and feel the resulting discordance from that. I'd go days meditating, but I would always be pulled off track by my feelings of social obligations etc... Without a practice to live for, I ended up disrobing.

So I've spent the past 5 years learning to reflect on these things. I always had in mind the idea that I just need some time before I can ordain again. I think that time is close.

So anyways, great to find this forum, Sadhu to the community here who strives to follow the Buddhist teachings. May you all develop quickly and gain solid ground on the path!
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:37 pm

Basileaux wrote:I ordained for about a year in NE Thailand. I was 20 and immature. The hardest part, and I think this is crucial, was that I lacked the ability to really navigate my way through my problems. An example of this is when one meditates for a long period of time, a sense of loneliness can arise making one think, "Is this all my life's going to be? Just walking back and forth of this meditation path here?" Well, when I was younger, I was unable to really reflect on whether this was a valid feeling or not. So I'd go back to the "fun" of the monastery- the conversations and cheese, and feel the resulting discordance from that. I'd go days meditating, but I would always be pulled off track by my feelings of social obligations etc... Without a practice to live for, I ended up disrobing.

So I've spent the past 5 years learning to reflect on these things. I always had in mind the idea that I just need some time before I can ordain again. I think that time is close.

So anyways, great to find this forum, Sadhu to the community here who strives to follow the Buddhist teachings. May you all develop quickly and gain solid ground on the path!


Basileaux;

I thought you showed a lot of advanced judgment. 20 is a young age to turn away from life. The only life we are certain about is this one. All else is religion.

The whole point in ordaining would be to meditate a lot more and get more support for it. Those things weren't happening so your decision to disrobe was a smart one.


Welcome to the forum and thank you for your interesting account.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby ground » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:51 am

Jhana4 wrote:The only life we are certain about is this one. All else is religion.

This one is the only life to cling to right now. And for those who feel aversion when the thought "religion" arises "religion" may be an appropriate term to do away with much that is disliked (i.e. there is an uncomfortable feeling involved).

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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:30 pm

Jhana4 wrote:20 is a young age to turn away from life.

I don't see it as turning away from life, but embracing life in a different and simpler way. If you're inclined to a monastic life: the sooner you do it, the better imho. There is a much bigger chance in reaching nibbana if you start early in your life than if you start late. Most people also don't have other responsibilities yet.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:37 pm

Ytrog wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:20 is a young age to turn away from life.

I don't see it as turning away from life, but embracing life in a different and simpler way. If you're inclined to a monastic life: the sooner you do it, the better imho. There is a much bigger chance in reaching nibbana if you start early in your life than if you start late. Most people also don't have other responsibilities yet.


This is correct.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:25 pm

Ytrog wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:20 is a young age to turn away from life.

I don't see it as turning away from life, but embracing life in a different and simpler way. If you're inclined to a monastic life: the sooner you do it, the better imho. There is a much bigger chance in reaching nibbana if you start early in your life than if you start late. Most people also don't have other responsibilities yet.


I don't think a person could fully understand the dhamma, without an understanding about what s/he left behind and I think experience is necessary for that kind of understanding.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:55 am

Jhana4 wrote:
Ytrog wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:20 is a young age to turn away from life.

I don't see it as turning away from life, but embracing life in a different and simpler way. If you're inclined to a monastic life: the sooner you do it, the better imho. There is a much bigger chance in reaching nibbana if you start early in your life than if you start late. Most people also don't have other responsibilities yet.


I don't think a person could fully understand the dhamma, without an understanding about what s/he left behind and I think experience is necessary for that kind of understanding.


I don't want to put you on the spot, but what do you think of Ven. Gunaratana?

:anjali:
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:29 am

I only met him once. I think he is an extraordinarily intelligent man with good character. I have no idea what his internal life is or has been.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Why not ordain?

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:34 am

Jhana4 wrote:I don't think a person could fully understand the dhamma, without an understanding about what s/he left behind and I think experience is necessary for that kind of understanding.


A smart man learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from others. :smile:

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:37 am

Some things you have to learn for yourself. Plenty of quotes in the Canon about learning with the intellect not being enough to move through the dhamma.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:03 am

Jhana4 wrote:Some things you have to learn for yourself. Plenty of quotes in the Canon about learning with the intellect not being enough to move through the dhamma.


Could you provide a source from the canon that supports this view of yours:

I don't think a person could fully understand the dhamma, without an understanding about what s/he left behind and I think experience is necessary for that kind of understanding.


Or is this from your own experience of having ordained in the past?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:36 am

jhana4 wrote:I don't think a person could fully understand the dhamma, without an understanding about what s/he left behind and I think experience is necessary for that kind of understanding.


And please consider the words of Ajahn Chah, who while never having a family of his own, seen the dangers inherent in the household life, ordained, and was able to fully realize the Dhamma:

Now I'm just talking because I've never had a family before. Why haven't I had a family? Just looking at this word "household",I knew what it was all about. What is a "household"? This is a "hold": If somebody were to get some rope and tie us up while we were sitting here, what would that be like? That's called "being held." Whatever that's like, "being held" is like that. There is a circle of confinement. The man lives within his circle of confinement, and the woman lives within her circle of confinement.

When I read this word "household"... this is a heavy one. This word is no trifling matter, it's a real killer. The word "hold" is a symbol of suffering. You can't go anywhere, you've got to stay within your circle of confinement.

Now we come to the word "house." This means "that which hassles." Have you ever toasted chilies? The whole house chokes and sneezes. This word "household" spells confusion, it's not worth the trouble. Because of this word I was able to ordain and not disrobe. "Household" is frightening. You're stuck and can't go anywhere. Problems with the children, with money and all the rest. But where can you go? You're tied down. There are sons and daughters, arguments in profusion until your dying day, and there's nowhere else to go to no matter how much suffering it is. The tears pour out and they keep pouring. The tears will never be finished with his "household," you know. If there's no household you might be able to finish with the tears but not otherwise.

Consider this matter. If you haven't come across it yet you may later on. Some people have experienced it already to a certain extent. Some are already at the end of their tether..."Will I stay or will I go?" At Wat Ba Pong there are about seventy or eighty huts (kuti). when they're almost full I tell the monk in charge to keep a few empty, just in case somebody has an argument with their spouse... Sure enough, in no long time a lady will arrive with her bags..."I'm fed up with the world, Luang Por." "Whoa! Don't say that. Those words are really heavy." Then the husband comes and says he's fed up too. After two or three days in the monastery their world-weariness disappears.

They say they're fed up but they're just fooling themselves. When they go off to a kuti and sit in the quiet by themselves, after a while the thoughts come..."When's the wife going to come and ask me to go home?" They don't really know what's going on. What is this "world-weariness" of theirs? They get upset over something and come running to the monastery. At home everything looked wrong... the husband was wrong, the wife was wrong... after three days' quiet thinking..."Hmmm, the wife was right after all, it was I who was wrong." "Hubby was right, I shouldn't have got so upset." They change sides. This is how it is, that's why I don't take the world too seriously. I know its ins and outs already, that's why I've chosen to live as a monk.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... .html#fn-4

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:24 pm

beeblebrox wrote:I don't want to put you on the spot, but what do you think of Ven. Gunaratana?

:anjali:


Ordained at the age of 12 and now has 72 years in robes! Amazing! What a wealth of wisdom Venerable Bhante Gunaratatana is.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:28 pm

bodom wrote:
jhana4 wrote:I don't think a person could fully understand the dhamma, without an understanding about what s/he left behind and I think experience is necessary for that kind of understanding.


And please consider the words of Ajahn Chah, who while never having a family of his own, seen the dangers inherent in the household life, ordained, and was able to fully realize the Dhamma:



I think it is less likely for someone in robes to speak against someone very young being put into robes, especially if that is the culture they come from.

My opinion isn't just about having a family or being a householder. It is about being part of the world before renouncing it. As far as that goes I think some ages are just too young, regardless of exceptions that have done well.

No disrespect.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
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