A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Ytrog
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A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Ytrog » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:18 pm

I know that a lot has been said about the procedures and what should be done. I even googled this forum for it and re-read the posts I found. I have, however still a question: how do you prepare yourself for becoming an anagarika (as a first step and in the West, not in Asia) and how do you work toward that step? I mean what to do in the years working toward it and what are the do's and dont's.

What is also still not clear to me is how does an anagarika support itself without a job. He hasn't given up all money yet and isn't as far as I know supported by the community as the samaneras and monks are. So do you have to save beforehand to support yourself and be able to give dana to the monastery as guests do?

I know that I've been talking about these kind of desires since I joined Dhammawheel and I'm still very much a lay person (with it's own problems at that), so my apologies if this evokes a "here we go again" feeling. I've already stayed in a monastery for a week as a first step and I very much want to go back (I even have a certain feeling of being "homesick" toward it for some time now.
What is the best way to prepare yourself however?
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mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby reflection » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:19 am

Hi,

Coming from someone in about the same position as you are, so no monastic background:

The best way to work towards it, is to follow the path, I guess. To me there aren't really any solid do's and don'ts; everyone's life is different, so you need to figure out for yourself if there are things you should work on or change. You're talking about years of preperation, maybe that's a little bit much, I don't think you need to be enlightened to become an anagarika. :tongue: It's somewhat supposed to be a test period in which you will learn.

As far as I know, although they are not fully ordained, anagarika's are also supported by the laity. Their tasks in the monastry may or may not have to do with money, but they do not need to take care of their own food and join the monks in the meal. I guess this also goes for other supplies, like soaps. (this may be different in some monastries? I don't know.)

No need to apologize, I for one totally understand your draw towards monastic life; I have the same. I am also from the Netherlands by the way and only know one or two persons with these ideas, so maybe it is nice to talk about it? If you're interested, sent me a PM.

With metta,
Reflection

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Ytrog » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:40 am

Thanks Reflection. That about food and supplies I knew as I saw that first hand in Chithurst. I also saw that they bought some items themselves. I got a can of coke there from someone who had been an anagarika for 5-6 years and was in the progress of becoming a lay person again. He bought it himself. I believe his name was Trevor.

For guests they say that it is customary (though not mandatory) to give something for the expenses. I wondered if it was expected from anagarikas as well.
What is expected in terms of capabilities when you become an anagarika? How well do you need to be able to meditate already and how much do you need to know about all the customs. When i went to Chithurst it was a first for me in many of the customs and I sometimes felt a bit ashamed when I didn't know something that for a lot of the people visiting there was completely self-evident.
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: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby reflection » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:25 am

Hi Ytrog,

Ok I see. I don't know about these expenses or if they are a custom. But if you can not afford them, I think (guess) something could be arranged.

I don't think there are any special capabilities you need to have. At first, these things can not be measured and second and most important, you come there to practice. _If_ any monastry would require some sort of 'level' of practice to become anagarika or ordain, I would seriously doubt that monastry. The Buddha also did not have such requirements when he ordained people.

As for not knowing the customs, the same reasoning goes. If it would make you more comfortable, you could of course also consider to stay as a lay person for a longer time to get used to those customs.

With metta,
Reflection

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Clarence » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:16 am

Where do you guys practice in the Netherlands?

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby chownah » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:41 am

I don't know much about anagariking in the west....I guess you will be at one particular temple...if this is correct then to prepare I suggest going there every month for the special "Buddha day" (that's what the Thai people call it, i don't know the Pali or English terms for it) and wear white and follow the 8 precepts and help out with whatever they do on that special day.......while doing this you could mention that you are considering anagariking there and are wondering how it works.....you should be able to get your questions answered and get a small taste of what life would be like....
Coming from another direction entirely I think it would be good to read, study, and contemplate the Ariya-vamsa Sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 4.28 PTS: A ii 27
Ariya-vamsa Sutta: The Discourse on the Traditions of the Noble Ones
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Buddha declared that he was of the lineage of the noble ones and that he followed the tradition of the noble ones.....this sutta say that there are "These four traditions of the Noble Ones — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives and priests. Which four?"

And to summarize the four:
1. Any old robe at all will do.
2. Any old almsfood at all will do.
3. Any old lodging at all will do.
4.Finding pleasure and delight in developing (skillful mental qualities), finding pleasure and delight in abandoning (unskillful mental qualities).

I think internalizing these four will be your best preparation for either anagariking or even for just remaining in the lay world.
chownah

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Zom » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:44 am

I know that a lot has been said about the procedures and what should be done. I even googled this forum for it and re-read the posts I found. I have, however still a question: how do you prepare yourself for becoming an anagarika (as a first step and in the West, not in Asia) and how do you work toward that step? I mean what to do in the years working toward it and what are the do's and dont's.

What is also still not clear to me is how does an anagarika support itself without a job. He hasn't given up all money yet and isn't as far as I know supported by the community as the samaneras and monks are. So do you have to save beforehand to support yourself and be able to give dana to the monastery as guests do?


The problem here is not a support (you will find one), but your personal ability to keep constantly all 8 precepts.
You can check how long can you keep them while living at home ,)

If this is difficult for you - that means you are not yet ready and you need to practise Dhamma deeper while still living at home. For example, 2-3 years ago it was almost impossible for me to eat only one time a day - just because of my craving for food. Now this is no longer a problem, because my practice has deepened and brought some results since then. The most difficult of 8 precepts for me at the present time is to totally avoid entertainments (like watching movies for example). I was very surprised when I realized that this precept is much harder to keep up for me than to avoid sexual activity.

:juggling:

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Mr Man » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:26 am

I think you'll find keeping the eight precepts within a monastic environment is much easier than keeping them as a lay person living at home. Not sure if things have changed but I was an anagarika in the 1980's and at that time everything I needed was provided for by the community. There really wasn't any need for personal funds. I would say the best thing to do is to write to one of the monastery where you would like to stay and say that you would like to visit for an extended stay with the possibility of becoming an anagarika.

:smile:

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Zom » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:38 am

I think you'll find keeping the eight precepts within a monastic environment is much easier than keeping them as a lay person living at home.


That is true, but to some extent only. Because you can't diminish craving just because you have changed environment .) What I mean is that its power remains the same, but there can appear an illusion, that you have diminished it. A time will come, it will strike back, and if your practice is still weak, you will drop 8 precepts. Same thing happens with disrobing monks. I personally know several cases.

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Mr Man » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:25 am

The object of cravings are certainly conditioned by your environment.

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Zom » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:08 pm

Yes, object - not craving itself ,)

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Ytrog » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:02 pm

Clarence wrote:Where do you guys practice in the Netherlands?

At home. I have no vihara nearby.

chownah wrote:I don't know much about anagariking in the west....I guess you will be at one particular temple...if this is correct then to prepare I suggest going there every month for the special "Buddha day" (that's what the Thai people call it, i don't know the Pali or English terms for it) and wear white and follow the 8 precepts and help out with whatever they do on that special day.......while doing this you could mention that you are considering anagariking there and are wondering how it works.....you should be able to get your questions answered and get a small taste of what life would be like....
Coming from another direction entirely I think it would be good to read, study, and contemplate the Ariya-vamsa Sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 4.28 PTS: A ii 27
Ariya-vamsa Sutta: The Discourse on the Traditions of the Noble Ones
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Buddha declared that he was of the lineage of the noble ones and that he followed the tradition of the noble ones.....this sutta say that there are "These four traditions of the Noble Ones — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives and priests. Which four?"

And to summarize the four:
1. Any old robe at all will do.
2. Any old almsfood at all will do.
3. Any old lodging at all will do.
4.Finding pleasure and delight in developing (skillful mental qualities), finding pleasure and delight in abandoning (unskillful mental qualities).

I think internalizing these four will be your best preparation for either anagariking or even for just remaining in the lay world.
chownah

Thank you for the sutta :anjali:

As for going to the monastery every month: This would mean taking a plane to the UK every month ;)
As for other monasteries: maybe going to Waalwijk once a month isn't that bad. It's still a 1.5 hour drive though.

Mr. Man wrote:I think you'll find keeping the eight precepts within a monastic environment is much easier than keeping them as a lay person living at home. Not sure if things have changed but I was an anagarika in the 1980's and at that time everything I needed was provided for by the community. There really wasn't any need for personal funds. I would say the best thing to do is to write to one of the monastery where you would like to stay and say that you would like to visit for an extended stay with the possibility of becoming an anagarika.

I'm inclined to agree with your statement about a monastic environment. This seemed true for me although it was only for a week, which is far too short to tell really. I try to follow the five precepts quite strictly in addition to my intention to further simplify my life. As for the 8 precepts the fourth (in terms of being very chatty), the seventh and the eight seem the hardest to me in my current household setting. It was once suggested to me by someone else who was going to become an anagarika (and was already staying at the monastery on a permanent basis for that) that you should gradually distance yourself from your friends. What is your take on this?
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: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Clarence » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:18 pm

Ytrog wrote:At home. I have no vihara nearby.


Thanks. Ik vroeg me al af of ik er een gemist had. Where do you guys go for retreats? Or do you just practice alone and do retreat at home?

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Ytrog » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:04 pm

Clarence wrote:
Ytrog wrote:At home. I have no vihara nearby.


Thanks. Ik vroeg me al af of ik er een gemist had. Where do you guys go for retreats? Or do you just practice alone and do retreat at home?

No, you haven't missed anything. ;)
Btw, I went on a retreat in Chithurst, UK: http://cittaviveka.org/
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: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Mr Man » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:10 pm

Ytrog wrote: It was once suggested to me by someone else who was going to become an anagarika (and was already staying at the monastery on a permanent basis for that) that you should gradually distance yourself from your friends. What is your take on this?


If you do become an anagarika and move to the UK I imagine that many friendships will ebb naturally.

:smile:

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Ytrog » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:45 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Ytrog wrote: It was once suggested to me by someone else who was going to become an anagarika (and was already staying at the monastery on a permanent basis for that) that you should gradually distance yourself from your friends. What is your take on this?


If you do become an anagarika and move to the UK I imagine that many friendships will ebb naturally.

:smile:

In the meantime I got the advice of not explicitly cutting of friendships. It will be possible to stay in contact to some degree, so there is no need. I don't think it's appropriate to quote PM's, so I don't.
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: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby James the Giant » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:36 am

If you go to Thailand to become an anagarika, you have to pay for trips to the border to get a new visa every three months, plus the fees involved in that. You can't get the bhikkhu visa, which lasts a year and is renewable for ten years or so, until you are actually ordained as a bhikkhu.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Ytrog » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:18 pm

James the Giant wrote:If you go to Thailand to become an anagarika, you have to pay for trips to the border to get a new visa every three months, plus the fees involved in that. You can't get the bhikkhu visa, which lasts a year and is renewable for ten years or so, until you are actually ordained as a bhikkhu.

Thanks. :) Visa problems is one of the reasons I want to go to a country that accepts EU citizens as residents. There are a few countries that match this criteria and have forest monasteries, such as Germany, Italy and the UK. I don't speak German or Italian, so my no. 1 option is the UK.
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: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby Anagarika » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:44 pm

Is it a requirement that to take anagarika ordination that one reside at the Wat, or even live in the area?

I am interested in taking anagarika ordination ( I was a samanera in Thailand for a short time, now a householder in the US who would like to formally commit myself to my Wat), but am unsure if there is any flexibility in this role.

I want to observe the 8 precepts formally, and have the formal intent to practice as an anagarika for some time, until I may seek to ordain after my vocational obligations cease.

Does anyone here have any experience or thoughts regarding the flexibility (or lack of same) in formally taking anagarika precepts from a Wat?

Thanks in advance for all thoughts.

Mike

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Re: A proper preparation for becoming an anagarika

Postby James the Giant » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:29 am

BuddhaSoup wrote:Is it a requirement that to take anagarika ordination that one reside at the Wat, or even live in the area?


I think in your case taking vows as an Upasaka would be more appropriate.
[url]www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upāsaka_and_Upāsikā[/url]
I seem to remember the pali for anagarika means Homeless One, so if you are still working or have family responsibilities or whatever, you can't really be a homeless one.
Seems to me, anyway.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11


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