Ordination despite of child

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

Ordination despite of child

Postby Nehemia83 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:39 pm

Hi everybody,

would it be possible to ordain as a monk if one has a little child to leave or would he be required to fulfill his duty as a responsible father and give up his dream of ordination??

Thanks for your opinions..
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:50 pm

Nehemia83 wrote:would it be possible to ordain as a monk if one has a little child to leave or would he be required to fulfill his duty as a responsible father and give up his dream of ordination??


Having a child isn't a barrier to ordination, i know of monks who do, as long as there is a responsible caregiver to take care of the child and as long as they won't be left financially in need because of your lifestyle choice it should be possible.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Viscid » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:54 pm

And leave mom to raise a child by herself because you want to escape the burden? That seems like a fairly cowardly thing to do.
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Nehemia83 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:03 pm

i can assure you that it has nothing at all to do with escaping any burden! What should one do if he has this strong feeling inside that he should go for a spiritual life because he knows that living a normal material life would never satisfy him or make him happy?
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby santa100 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:25 pm

One option is to wait until the child reaches 18. While waiting, you can still practice the Dhamma as a lay follower. Consider this the trial period to practice virtues of patience and contentment, which are very important for both lay and monastic lives..
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby manas » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:27 pm

Nehemia83 wrote:i can assure you that it has nothing at all to do with escaping any burden! What should one do if he has this strong feeling inside that he should go for a spiritual life because he knows that living a normal material life would never satisfy him or make him happy?


Unless you are a Bodhisatta in his final birth, about to rediscover the Noble Path to the end of suffering for the benefit of all beings, I would kindly suggest you remain with the mother of your child, and practise as the best layman you can be, as so many countless others have. If I may be blunt here, but you kind of already chose your path when you had sex with your wife / partner and got her pregnant. Now there are two vulnerable people who depend on you. Taking care of them can be part of your practice, especially if your wife / partner is ok with you practising meditation every day, etc. Personally, my two wise little children are a source of love and inspiration to me, and I would feel very self-centred indeed if I just up and left now, while they are still young and emotionally dependent on me (not to mention materially!).

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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Fede » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:29 pm

Viscid wrote:And leave mom to raise a child by herself because you want to escape the burden? That seems like a fairly cowardly thing to do.


ever hear of a guy called Siddharta Gautama?
I think he did much the same thing a few years back..... ;)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

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Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:59 pm

Nehemia83 wrote:i can assure you that it has nothing at all to do with escaping any burden! What should one do if he has this strong feeling inside that he should go for a spiritual life because he knows that living a normal material life would never satisfy him or make him happy?


Striong feelings are just feelings, they are just something to be aware of and not evidence of a higher calling.

Generally unless your family fully supports what you are doing and will be well taken care of in your absence I'd say that's a very selfish act and it's unlikely if based on a selfish act that ordination will bear the fruit you desire because of that.

If there is any doubt then better to wait until your child is of age
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby manas » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:35 pm

Fede wrote:
Viscid wrote:And leave mom to raise a child by herself because you want to escape the burden? That seems like a fairly cowardly thing to do.


ever hear of a guy called Siddharta Gautama?
I think he did much the same thing a few years back..... ;)


Fede,

1. Different time, place and culture

2. Different depth of motivation and purity of intention

3. Different long-term outcome! I seriously doubt that the OP's 'renunciation' is going to have the same Universe-altering consequences.

with metta.
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Fede » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:44 pm

manasikara wrote:
Fede wrote:
Viscid wrote:And leave mom to raise a child by herself because you want to escape the burden? That seems like a fairly cowardly thing to do.


ever hear of a guy called Siddharta Gautama?
I think he did much the same thing a few years back..... ;)


Fede,

1. Different time, place and culture

2. Different depth of motivation and purity of intention

3. Different long-term outcome! I seriously doubt that the OP's 'renunciation' is going to have the same Universe-altering consequences.

with metta.


Yes perhaps so... who knows....?
But I think it might be worth knowing a little more background... the OP's motivation....

He speaks of his child, but what of his wife?
How long has he felt like this?
Did he feel this way when he first married and decided to start a family?
Have feelings intensified?

Would his life really be so improved by such a decision?

A very good film, called 'samsara' deals with the topic on similar lines...
a monk, becomes a layperson, lives a full life with a wife and family.... then wants to return to ordained life....

Dilemmas, dilemmas...
Last edited by Fede on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Zom » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:50 pm

Unless you are a Bodhisatta in his final birth, about to rediscover the Noble Path to the end of suffering for the benefit of all beings, I would kindly suggest you remain with the mother of your child, and practise as the best layman you can be, as so many countless others have. If I may be blunt here, but you kind of already chose your path when you had sex with your wife / partner and got her pregnant. Now there are two vulnerable people who depend on you. Taking care of them can be part of your practice, especially if your wife / partner is ok with you practising meditation every day, etc. Personally, my two wise little children are a source of love and inspiration to me, and I would feel very self-centred indeed if I just up and left now, while they are still young and emotionally dependent on me (not to mention materially!).


Sharing same feelings ,)

However, I think I could ordain, if there happends to be that both my wife and daughter will allow me to do that naturally.
Though, at the present moment, I see that my practice deepens, my defilements get weaker, and so I'm not standing on the same place. This means that "the tree of Path keeps growing". And, as it is known, you can't force it to grow faster ,)
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:53 pm

manasikara wrote:[b]If I may be blunt here, but you kind of already chose your path when you had sex with your wife / partner and got her pregnant.[/b

I couldn't agree more that the person's highest responsibility is to take care of that family, but under the right circumstances, ordination could be the best thing for the family. Unfortunately, those circumstances are probably not very common:

a) material needs would have to be met, either through a large sum of money saved up, a commitment from a caretaker, or commitment from the monastery to help support the child. This would be hard to achieve and probably rules out ordination.

b) emotional needs would have to be met, so the monastery would have to be close to the child, with the other parent/caretaker in agreement that:
1 - They will bring the child to the monastery nearly every day for love and affection
2 - The spouse/caretaker would have to be excited about this, so that you are not hitting them with undue burden

c) If it harms the child's education or social development in any way, that would not be acceptable

So, these conditions would be very hard to meet, but if they were.... Can you image a better way to be there emotionally for your child than have them visit you at the monastery after a day of Metta Meditation, setting the example of devotion to virtue, concentration, and wisdom? Yes, the Buddha bailed on Rahula, but I believe he more or less met these conditions.

Finally, I'm kind of winging this outline, so it's certainly not gospel ;)
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:35 pm

Greetings,

Goofaholix wrote:Having a child isn't a barrier to ordination, i know of monks who do, as long as there is a responsible caregiver to take care of the child and as long as they won't be left financially in need because of your lifestyle choice it should be possible.

I agree with Goof here... therefore it's hard to give an appropriate recommendation without knowing this. Likewise, if it's a result of a break-up with a partner (and whose decision it was), that would be relevant information too.

Nehemia83, do you care to comment? You don't have to if you don't want to.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Dan74 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:51 pm

Nehemia83 wrote:i can assure you that it has nothing at all to do with escaping any burden! What should one do if he has this strong feeling inside that he should go for a spiritual life because he knows that living a normal material life would never satisfy him or make him happy?


One thing to keep in mind is that there are householders who do live spiritual lives and practice very strongly.

One person I know meditated 6 hours every day while having a family and a great deal of responsibility at work. 4am start to the day helps ;)

I think one way to test one's commitment to a spiritual life is to see if one is already doing all one can to be the best husband, father and whatever else one does and make the most of all opportunities to practice.

It is easy to think that given an environment of a monastery one will suddenly be transformed into a 100% committed monastic working hard towards liberation. More likely, however, that one will bring the same problems along and will be hankering for all that one was in such a hurry to leave behind.

Of course I don't know if any of the above applies to you or whether you are already practicing hard and doing all you can, so then ordaining is just a natural next step for you.

But it is something worth thinking about perhaps.
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:27 am

Dan74 wrote:I think one way to test one's commitment to a spiritual life is to see if one is already doing all one can to be the best husband, father and whatever else one does and make the most of all opportunities to practice.

It is easy to think that given an environment of a monastery one will suddenly be transformed into a 100% committed monastic working hard towards liberation. More likely, however, that one will bring the same problems along and will be hankering for all that one was in such a hurry to leave behind.


Good call!
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby bodom » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:44 am

Nehemia83 wrote:Hi everybody,

would it be possible to ordain as a monk if one has a little child to leave or would he be required to fulfill his duty as a responsible father and give up his dream of ordination??

Thanks for your opinions..


How regularly are you keeping the eight precepts? I recommend seeing how well you are able to maintain these eight precepts daily for a year or so before seriously considering ordaining.

: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: Ordination despite of child

Postby Nehemia83 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:00 am

Well the situation is that i am not married to my partner (actually never considered married life fitting for me) and i have a lovely little daughter (three years of age). I would never just pack my stuff and leave her, although the child wasn´t really planned she´s the queen of my heart. But on the other hand i have recognized that this "normal" life isn´t and probably will never really work for me. I am more of a spiritual person and i am on a search for meaning and happiness since i am 14 (now 29). I am a regular meditator also..

I know that becoming a monk would be the right thing for me but on the other hand leaving my daughter behind isn´t an option at all!

So you see this creates suffering..

But i have the responsibility as a father to be there for my child at least until she reaches a age where she probably can continue her walk of life without her father right by her side..

I guess i have to practice patience and wait..
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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:29 am

Nehemia83 wrote:I guess i have to practice patience and wait..

A very good idea. And don't forget engage in bhavana day-in-day-out.
kind regards,

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Re: Ordination despite of child

Postby manas » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:53 am

Nehemia83 wrote:Well the situation is that i am not married to my partner (actually never considered married life fitting for me) and i have a lovely little daughter (three years of age). I would never just pack my stuff and leave her, although the child wasn´t really planned she´s the queen of my heart. But on the other hand i have recognized that this "normal" life isn´t and probably will never really work for me. I am more of a spiritual person and i am on a search for meaning and happiness since i am 14 (now 29). I am a regular meditator also..

I know that becoming a monk would be the right thing for me but on the other hand leaving my daughter behind isn´t an option at all!

So you see this creates suffering..

But i have the responsibility as a father to be there for my child at least until she reaches a age where she probably can continue her walk of life without her father right by her side..

I guess i have to practice patience and wait..


'Not planned' huh...well I can relate to that, too ;) I just spent a wonderful day with my youngest daughter, believe me the love you feel does not just grow, it also becomes refined. You eventually learn what love is really about. You realize that, "Wow, so this love I feel for my child - warm, tender, protective - is how the Buddha advises us to feel (ultimately) towards all beings in the Universe?" It's not a bad journey to take, my friend. I apologize if my earlier posts sounded judgemental in any way. May you, and your dear one(s) be well, and grow in the Dhamma.

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