hello Dhamma friends!
As I've stated in my introduction thread, renouncing the household life is something that has felt like a calling of mine for a few years now and as the years go by I feel even more strongly in favor of doing so.
I rarely in life ever jump into a decision without knowing in my gut that it is the right thing to do, and this is especially true with life changing decisions such as this. I have spoken with a variety of monastics on the topic and have received some good advice. At this point I honestly feel that the only thing I would even come close to missing of the household life is being with my family and helping my nephew turn into a good upstanding person as I have acted as his father figure since birth pretty much. I feel I've always had a sense of dissatisfaction with what is considered "normal" in life, I've always had a feeling I was meant for something more important and these days I feel it is all coming together towards myself becoming a bhikhu.
In speaking with Venerable Dhammajiva, when he visited the states from Sri Lanka for a retreat I attended, he stated that " when not becoming a monk, and becoming a monk are the same in your mind, then this is the time to become a monk". At the same retreat I spoke with a young monk(he was a bit younger then me at 28, I'm 33) and he suggested that I first become involved in the daily life of a monastery and to see how the monks live and to help them out and this should help my decision. This has been very hard for me since the nearest Theravadan monastery is an hour away from me.
as for " when not becoming a monk, and becoming a monk are the same in your mind, then this is the time to become a monk". I've come to think this probably fits me in that I see that I would be giving up a lot but I also see how much I'd gain and I feel it will be the right decision in the end, anyone else have their own guess/explanation as to what the venerable meant?
Finally I attended a meditation retreat with Bhante Gunaratana at Bhavana Society over Thanksgiving and in my meditation interviews I spoke with Bhante G about becoming a monk. At first he sort of took my questions very lightly as apparently there are westerners in droves who think they want to become a monk, come for a few months, and leave, this, and a few other incidents with westerners, has lead to there being an age limit of 36 to ordaining. I think however towards the end of our talks Bhante G saw that I was pretty serious about it and I had a desire to spread the dhamma to westerners like myself who are searching for something, and he told me that the age limit is not a hard and fast thing and if I was serious and showed my dedication they would work with me through my one year as a resident, then one year as a novice monk and hopefully towards ordination.
I was raised catholic but never felt that it fit my world view, i always felt weird and out of place in terms of how I viewed things and my beliefs, it was not until I found Theravada Buddhism that I could say " yes, this is me". I feel that spreading the dhamma and showing that yes, westerners can be monks too, is a big part in helping others find their path as well, although admittedly I would probably be more of a loner monastic in the woods if I could rather then a preacher monastic If I had my choice, my ultimate goal in life has always been truth, and you can't get much more truthful then seeing things as they truly are.
I have read most of this book recommended by Ven. Yutta in one of his videos - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el027.html
and I'm continuously searching for more advice on the subject. As I said my main concern, if any, is knowing that I am making the right decision for myself and I sure as heck do not want to be one of those guys who thinks, oh yeah I'm gonna be a monk!" then after 4 months they go back to the modern world lol.
I consider myself a bit of a survivalist so I'm use to being alone in the forest, I prefer being alone actually and I am comfortable with myself, I feel that I could do well as a monastic but I also feel that it is not something i'm going to rush into RIGHT now, as I still have some things to work on, like getting rid of a little more debt( I have under 1000 in old credit card debt and 2 years of car payments left, otherwise debt free). I am not married(widowed, wife died 6 years ago of cancer) and no kids. I feel at this point it's more a question of when then if and I do feel in my gut that it is the right thing to do for me.
so any advice would be helpful, thank you all !
oh and P.S. I would be ordaining and staying in the states if I had the choice, I feel no desire to stay in Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand. It's kind of funny actually when Bhante G told me about the age limit I asked if there was an age limit in Sri Lanka he said I would not want to go to Sri Lanka because they become monks and sit in the temple doing nothing lol.. I guess when Buddhism becomes a culture you can get unskillful things like that but as I said I feel I am needed in my own country for those with " little dust in their eyes" who are searching for dhamma and don't even know it, like I was.