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To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question. - Dhamma Wheel

To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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Ferox
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To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ferox » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:26 pm

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.
Last edited by Ferox on Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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retrofuturist
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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:31 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:42 pm

Sadhu! Anumodana Ferox! I wish you all the best and, were it not for my wife and kids, I would be in the same boat.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:56 pm


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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:09 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:17 pm

Thank you Retro. What would you do with your worldly possessions?
With superannuation you mean pension fund? That just stops when unemployed here.

The "What will you do if they do not accept you for full ordination" question is a hard one for everyone who wants to ordain I imagine. It is not an option you really want to consider.

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:20 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ferox » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:24 pm

I wouldn't even know what a superannuation was if not for watching far too many Ajahn Brahm dhamma talks! lol.. Thanks for everyone's reply so far and no worries about hijacking the thread, most of us appear to be in the same boat so I want to hear from everyone's perspective.

- What to do with your worldly possessions?
- Selecting the right monestary/teacher for you, by what criteria?
- How you will get to your new monastery (particularly relevant if it's overseas)?
- What will you do if they do not accept you for full ordination?
- What if you change your mind part way through and decide it's not for you?
- What about your taxation, superannuation?
- What about your utilities, bills, contracts etc.?
- (Not relevant specifically to Ferox but...) Child-support obligations etc.

I've actually been "lightening" my worldly possession load lately, throwing away what I don't need and giving a lot to my nephew. What I own currently can pretty much fit into one room so there wouldn't be too much to give away and most would go to my nephew. I am also renting so no real worries about mortgages and bills related to a house. The changing my mind part weighs heavily on me but I try not to think too much about " what ifs". I know that if I came back to the household life I have family that could help me for a brief period while I got back on my feet, I have my college education and photography skills that would not disappear if I became a monk. My photography equipment and probably my car, if I was fully paid off on it by the time I went in, I would probably just donate to the monastery, those are two things I'm sure every Monastery can use.

I'd prefer if at all possible to be in a forest monastery as I feel that is most conducive to the practice and I admittedly am a bad Buddhist in PREFERRING nature and mountains and forests to cities. Im not to familiar with any other forest monastery besides Bhavana Society , on the east coast anyways.
Last edited by Ferox on Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:26 pm


santa100
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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby santa100 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:29 pm

How about the most obvious question: What's the name of some good Therevada institutions in the US which accept Theravadin novices?

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:32 pm

Good advice above. Some other things to consider, if you have not already done so, include following the 8 precepts as much as possible; for example, not eating after 12 noon (when possible with work constraints), not watching movies or much tv shows, cutting back on some of the worldly hobbies and seeing how you do with the renunciation.
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Ferox
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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ferox » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:42 pm

-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:57 pm

"If not being a monk and being a monk seems to be the same for you, then that's a good time to be a monk," seems like a good answer to me. :anjali:

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:03 am

_/|\_

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Ferox
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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ferox » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:17 am

-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:19 am


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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:25 am

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Ferox » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:28 am

-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-

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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:32 am


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Re: To renounce or not to renounce.. that is the question.

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:32 am

_/|\_


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