Errors in the ordination ceremony

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

Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby chownah » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:36 pm

What kinds of errors in an ordination ceremony would render it invalid or void in terms of the candidate not having fulfilled the requirements to enter the monk hood and require that the ceremony be repeated for entry into monkhood?
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby cooran » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:58 pm

Hello chownah,

This article by Ajahn Brahms contains information on invalid ordinations:

VINAYA The Ordination Ceremony of a Monk by Ajahn Brahmavamso
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebsut020.htm

with metta
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby James the Giant » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:57 am

I heard that bad pronunciation of the pali, or missing out even one word, is enough to invalidate the ordination. But I just heard it, got no sources.
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:28 am

cooran wrote:Hello chownah,

This article by Ajahn Brahms contains information on invalid ordinations:

VINAYA The Ordination Ceremony of a Monk by Ajahn Brahmavamso
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebsut020.htm

with metta
Chris

cooran,
Thanks for the great reference. Unfortunately it doesn't provide what I'm looking for. I'm wondering if for instance an ordination ceremony was conducted without the proper number of monks present would it be invalid?....or if the monks sat too far apart?....or if some of what was supposed to be said was omitted?....or?...or?....or I don't know what exactly....
Thanks again for providing the reference....maybe you can find something along the lines of what I've described?
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Moth » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:41 am

What if you get cold sores? Can you not ordain? Those are infectious.
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:39 am

Moth wrote:What if you get cold sores? Can you not ordain? Those are infectious.


According to the article in question, the ordination would still be valid.

There are others still who should not be ordained, although if they are ordained by mistake their ordination is valid. These include: one with infectious diseases, a slave, one escaped from jail, one known to be wanted by the police, one with unpaid debts, one in the 'King's Service' (e.g. a soldier), one maimed, deformed, disabled or very old (meaning to the extent that it is impractical to perform the duties of monastic life). One also needs the permission of one's parents.


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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Moth » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:36 pm

The ordination is valid but the preceptor is at fault
That is why I want to know if cold sores are part of the infectious diseases category (specifically under 'lepracy') in the vinaya. I want to ordain but have this :cry:
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:06 pm

Moth,

I don't think cold sores should count against you but I would speak with a monk. You can always contact Thanissaro Bhikkhu at Wat Metta as he is an expert in Vinaya. I'll check the Vinaya tomes I have at home for you to see if I can find anything. Mettaya and anumodana!
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Moth » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:56 pm

Thank you, Khalil Bodhi. I am very concerned about this. I will try to call Thanissaro Bhikku today.
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Ytrog » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:50 pm

Interesting.
Would having a perpetual cold (allergies perhaps?) also count as a disease that prevents you from ordaining?
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Bankei » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:10 am

Many years ago there was a debate (written) between an ex-monk Sangharakshita and a current monk called Ajahn Brahm.

Sangharakshita was ordained as a Theravada monk in India. Unbeknown to him at the time many of the monks that presided in his ordination ceremony, in around 1950, were monks that had commited parajika offences and therefore were not monks. His upajjaya had a wife and child living with him at his temple etc. Sangharakhsita only came to know this many years later and wrote that he because of this his ordination was invalid and he had never actually been a monk. He then used this to justify his own engagement in sexual practices including with his male students.

Brahm wrote an article saying Sangharakshita was wrong and that he had been ordained, validly, despite one or 2 monks being invalid monks.

Sangharakshita then wrote another little booklet, "was the Buddha a Bhikkhu?", criticising this view and the general view of some Theravadins that they are too concerned with the minute details of obscure rules etc and miss the spirit of the teachings.

The great ex monk Laurence Mills (Khantipalo), a former student of Sangharakshita briefly in India, then wrote a little article in the Buddhist Studies Review about this little debate.

Most these materials are now online freely downloadable.

It is a fascinating topic and worth reading.

Keep in mind that Sangharakshita is critical of Theravadin hard heads and then concept that they are orthodox Buddhists.

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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Bankei » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:22 am

Other aspects of ordination disputes often involve Siima boundaries.

When a sanghakamma (procedural events?) is done such as an ordination ceremony all the monks present must agree on it. This means that a limit had to be set up so as to know who the monks present were so as to ascertain if they agreed. Rules developed and it appears these have evolved to become very complex. The general situation is that, in Thailand anyway, 9 boundary stones are set up around the ordination hall, Boht, and this marks the boundary. These stones have to be installed properly and Pali stanzas recited etc when this is done. I am not sure of all the details, but know that some monks, such as King Mongkut, believed that many of the existing siima in Thailand were invalid.

If a siima is invalid then the ordination could be invalid. Afterall you don't know if all the monks in the area agree to the ordination. The temple may contain many monks who are there but not present at the ceremony.

There are also many other types of simma such as a wilderness siima and a water siima. Water siima are often used when a proper siima isn't set up. Often a small island or a raft is used in the middle of a river. IN Sri Lanka a split emerged in the Siyam Nikaya involving ordinations within a water siima. The ordinations were done on a small 'island' surrounded by water. But a plank was used for the monks to walk across. This wasn't removed and some argued that this invalided the siima because the island was physically connected to the land. This lead to two factions developing - the Kalyani and the Malvatta chapters from memory.

Over the years there have been many splits and there are now around 30 sub sects within the Siyam Nikaya. Many of these arose because of ordination disputes. And many of these groups dispute the validity of the other groups.

Interesting stuff

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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby chownah » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:34 am

Bankei,
Great posting! These two are exactly the kind of things I am looking for.
Thanks,
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby appicchato » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:32 am

The Buddha said 'Ehi Pasiko'...'come and see'...what's happening today is rite and ritual...some might say it's a lot of wasted effort and energy mulling over these things...a certain number of stones has to be laid out just right, or one is not a monk...please...
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby Bankei » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:41 am

appicchato wrote:The Buddha said 'Ehi Pasiko'...'come and see'...what's happening today is rite and ritual...some might say it's a lot of wasted effort and energy mulling over these things...a certain number of stones has to be laid out just right, or one is not a monk...please...


I and many others agree. But try holding an ordination ceremony in a place without a siima and see what happens. Also modern Thai practice overrides the vinaya too. If a monk has not been appointed an official preceptor then they won't be allowed to act in this role. The vinaya requirement is any monk with 10 years in robes. The Thai requirement is to pass a test and be appointed. Remember the trouble with Ajahn Brahm, the Wat pa pong monks tried to have his preceptor certificate cancelled!!
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby appicchato » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:28 pm

No argument with anything here Bankei...I was just voicing my sentiments on the matter...

Be well...and happy holidays...
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby pilgrim » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:10 pm

It's a slippery slope isn't it? Just how many rules can one loosen before the ordination becomes invalid?
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby chownah » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:28 am

pilgrim,
Can you define what you mean by "invalid"? Can you define what it means for an ordination to be "valid"?
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby chownah » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:14 am

chownah wrote:pilgrim,
Can you define what you mean by "invalid"? Can you define what it means for an ordination to be "valid"?
chownah

Maybe I have not phrased my question propoerly....Let's look at one aspect of becoming a monk.....it seems that going forth into homelessness is an essential concept describing what it means to become a monk......can loosening a rule somehow make someone's going forth into homelessness invalid......can one go forth invalidly into homelessness or go forth into an invalid homelessness?
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Re: Errors in the ordination ceremony

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:56 am

Greetings bhante,

appicchato wrote:The Buddha said 'Ehi Pasiko'...'come and see'...what's happening today is rite and ritual...some might say it's a lot of wasted effort and energy mulling over these things...a certain number of stones has to be laid out just right, or one is not a monk...please...

Yes, it's kinda missing the point, isn't it? Who would be more likely to be praised by Buddha?...

- Monk A whose ordination was valid, but handled money, sleazed off with women etc. and made no effort towards liberation.
- Monk B whose ordination was invalid based on some technicality inconsequential to the holy life, yet who earnestly followed the Noble Eightfold Path.

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