Disrobing

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

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:05 am

I would like to know the reasons why monks disrobe. Have you disrobed and if so why? No judgments here- just trying to understand. Thanks.

with metta

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Re: Disorbing

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:07 am

Greetings,

And should it pertain to anyone's situation, I would be interested to hear of anyone's subsequent reasons for re-robing!

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Disorbing

Postby pegembara » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:02 pm

Anyone seen the movie Samsara?
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: Disorbing

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:26 pm

Ven. Dhammika, in one of his articles estimates that (of those who disrobe) 70% disrobe over issues with lust and cravings. The other 30% disrobe due to boredom.

The successful ones who are able to stick with it, have gone beyond or mostly beyond the issues over cravings and keep themselves occupied with meditation, writing, gardening, and teaching.

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Zom » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:05 pm

:goodpost:

I would add a little bit:

Buddha said in SN that monks, who don't restrain themselves in the area of 6 senses, don't practise moderate eating, don't practise meditation - have a possibility to disrobe. But those who do all that - they have no such possibility.

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:25 pm

Zom wrote::goodpost:

I would add a little bit:

Buddha said in SN that monks, who don't restrain themselves in the area of 6 senses, don't practice moderate eating, don't practice meditation - have a possibility to disrobe. But those who do all that - they have no such possibility.


That makes sense, being able to devote most of your time to those things are what being a monk has to offer, uniquely. If a person isn't applying themselves to those things then they are depriving themselves pointlessly.
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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: Disorbing

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:39 pm

rowyourboat wrote:I would like to know the reasons why monks disrobe. Have you disrobed and if so why? No judgments here- just trying to understand. Thanks.

with metta

Matheesha


I disorbed, and am no longer an orb.

Seriously though my ordination was planned to be only for 3 months and prior to getting married as is common in Thailand.

In SE Asia (sri lanka possibly an exception being a monk is not considered a lifetime vocation for most, an extended retreat instead perhaps, i don't think this is a good thing).

If my wife to be had changed her mind I'd have quite happily stayed on though.
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Re: Disorbing

Postby Gena1480 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:39 pm

this teaching should not be available to lay people

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:03 pm

Gena1480 wrote:this teaching should not be available to lay people

There is no esoteric teaching in Buddhism — at least not in the Theravāða. The Vinaya is open for lay people to study if they wish to.

Should Lay Persons Learn the Vinaya?
This section explains the meaning of the Mangala Dhamma “well-trained in discipline” in relation to a lay person’s Vinaya. Lay people have a natural discipline called “Good conduct” (sucarita vinaya), and “Virtuous conduct” (ācāra vinaya), which they should try to maintain in full with faith and diligence. This ethical conduct was prescribed for the laity by the Buddha, so they do not need to learn the Vinaya for monks.

However, wise lay persons who want to promote the Buddha’s teachings, and are well versed in their own discipline, do need to learn the monks’ Vinaya. Why? Those who are well-trained in the householder’s discipline become truly good people, so their minds and motives are good. If they are well controlled by the lay person’s discipline, after learning the monks’ Vinaya, they will not use their knowledge unwisely. They will not defile themselves with impure physical, vocal, and mental actions. They will not accumulate evil motives and evil kammas because of this new knowledge. In the commentary it is mentioned that a wise, learned brahmin, after listening to the monks’ Vinaya rules in detail, developed a clear mind and strong faith in the Sangha. He appreciated the power and significance of the monks’ Vinaya as clear understanding had revealed its profundity.

One day a devoted brahmin heard the monks reciting their Vinaya rules. Appreciating the benefits of these numerous rules he entered the Sangha. Thus one’s own attitude and motive are crucial to evaluate the knowledge of Vinaya rules and the diverse conduct of monks.

The way for a lay person to study the Vinaya is first to learn and practise the lay person’s Vinaya, which gives culture, wisdom, and knowledge. A lay person must be dedicated to observing lay ethics with perfect integrity. If integrity is lacking, a lay person, though learned in ethics, becomes a hypocrite with sham morality. He or she becomes a bad person. This type of lay person, who learns the monks’ Vinaya, will develop a fault-finding attitude. Seeing only the offences and weaknesses of monks, he or she will blame, slander, and abuse them. So there is no benefit for such a lay person in learning the monks’ Vinaya. Since he or she fails to learn and practise the lay person’s Vinaya well, he or she lacks fundamental virtues and a skilful mental attitude. So it is futile to learn the monks’ Vinaya, since he or she will criticise the conduct of wayward monks, interfering in the affairs of others. Such a person who quotes the Vinaya texts and blames the monks, makes evil kamma because he or she lacks the virtues of a good and moral person. Due to these defects he or she takes a superior stance, uttering words of condemnation and slander. Thus, grave evil kammas result from his or her learning.
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Re: Disorbing

Postby theravada_guy » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:15 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Gena1480 wrote:this teaching should not be available to lay people

There is no esoteric teaching in Buddhism — at least not in the Theravāða. The Vinaya is open for lay people to study if they wish to.


Thankfully it is open to the laity to study because I really enjoy studying the ways of the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.

And, I agree with Goofaholix. I don't like the idea of Going Forth with the intention that it is only temporary, either. I can understand someone who takes ordination, but then realizes it's not for him/her, but not the whole temporary ordination thing.
With metta,

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:11 am

Temporary ordination is more productive than going to college to join a fraternity.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Gena1480 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:43 am

it is matter of right speech
the teaching are available
go ahead and study then
it should be no concern to laity for reason of disrobing
since they did not put the robes on.

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Re: Disorbing

Postby theravada_guy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:17 am

Buckwheat wrote:Temporary ordination is more productive than going to college to join a fraternity.


I also agree with this, Buckwheat. Maybe it's not so much of a bad thing after all. I never really thought about it in terms like that. I know in the suttas there is the case of the bhikkhu who kept disrobing and re-robing, and finally the Buddha put a limit on as to how much a person could ordain in one lifetime. I forget which sutta though.
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Re: Disorbing

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:28 am

theravada_guy wrote:And, I agree with Goofaholix. I don't like the idea of Going Forth with the intention that it is only temporary, either. I can understand someone who takes ordination, but then realizes it's not for him/her, but not the whole temporary ordination thing.
As with all things, it depends very much on the intention.
  • Right at the bottom of the scale there are those who ordain just to collect money
  • Then there are those who ordain to gain respect in society or make merit
  • And there are those who ordain to practice meditation seriously while they still have the opportunity, knowing that after marriage it won't be feasible. There are even those who are married who take temporary ordination to practice meditation for a few weeks only. Even so, they may gain significant insights or better if they are wise and practice seriously.
No one should ever discourage even temporary ordination as to do so would be to make obstructive kamma for oneself. The only caveat is that it should be done for the right reasons. Ordaining for ignoble reasons may result in more demerit than merit.

Ultimately, we monks are all ordained only temporarily — just for a bit longer than most. We can disrobe at any time if the mind changes, or we may have to if we fall into an offence of defeat. Though that is not our wish or intention, such things can happen depending on circumstances.

The real difference between individuals, whether lay persons, “temporary” monks, or “permanent” monks, lies in their determination to attain the Path in this very life, and whether or not they have genuine spiritual urgency (samvega) about the dangers of samsāra.

AFAIK there is no limit to the number of times a bhikkhu may disrobe and be re-ordained. The monk in question ordained seven times and disrobed six times. Finally, he attained Arahantship.
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Re: Disorbing

Postby theravada_guy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:51 am

Thank you, Bhante, for that post. It changed my mind on temporary ordination. I can see your point that all monks are technically only temporarily ordained. Even if they never disrobe, death can come at any moment.

That monk that disrobed so many times and attained Arahantship, I guess I read somewhere where that set the limit that you could only take on the robes a total of seven times, but I could be wrong. Maybe the Buddha never explicitly mentioned that. I'm not sure.
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Justin

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:56 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Temporary ordination is more productive than going to college to join a fraternity.


There's no comparision.

A more relevant question would be is temporary ordination more productive than an extended meditation retreat as a lay person over the same period of time, I think not.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
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"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:11 pm

Goofaholix wrote:A more relevant question would be is temporary ordination more productive than an extended meditation retreat as a lay person over the same period of time, I think not.

Sorry, my post was hyperbole. I did not mean to get off topic to the ethics of temporary ordination. The OP was:

rowyourboat wrote:I would like to know the reasons why monks disrobe. Have you disrobed and if so why? No judgments here- just trying to understand.
Last edited by Buckwheat on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Disorbing

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:16 pm

Gena1480 wrote:it should be no concern to laity for reason of disrobing
since they did not put the robes on.

What if a lay person is giving some serious consideration to putting the robes on? I, for one, am doing just such a thing, but I do not want to end up realizing three months from now (or ten years) "Oh, crap!! This ain't for me." So I would very much like to know what causes a monk to disrobe, and I think it serves a skillful purpose.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Disorbing

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:50 pm

My anecdote is that most seem to disrobe during the 30-45-year-old period, on account of a wish to start a family - at least, they all end up having families.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Disorbing

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:10 pm

I'm not sure if it does serve any useful purpose, though there's no harm in asking. Maybe someone who has disrobed will offer a personal perspective.

In simple terms, greed, hatred, and delusion are the reasons why monks disrobe. Of those monks I have known who disrobed, the number one cause was lust. Most got into a relationship with a woman.

However, that doesn't really answer the question very well. All monks who are not Non-returners still have lust, but they don't all disrobe — they find ways to overcome those feelings. There are other factors at play such as discontent that lead them to get involved with a woman in the first place.

Its a very personal decision, and knowing one monk's reasons is not likely to help someone else. If one asked instead, “Why did you get divorced?” one would get the same kind of answers. Desire for another woman, discontent with the current marriage, but would it help anyone contemplating getting married? It depends on so many different conditions that it is hard to predict what will happen in ten years from now.

Check out the community that you plan to ordain in, stay for an extended period before ordaining, then make your decision. Ten years spent as a monk may not help your career prospects, but its never a waste of time. You will definitely learn a lot about yourself that will benefit you later in life — things that you would probably never learn as a lay person. Think of it as doing a ten-year retreat instead of a 10-day retreat. Someone who disrobes in their thirties after ten years as a monk is more likely to ordain again at sixty-five than someone who has never ordained before.
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