Has anyone actually done it...

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

Has anyone actually done it...

Postby Hickersonia » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:31 pm

So I'm a 30 year old man with a family (2 young children) and, in spite of my love for my family, I find the desire to "get serious," and eventually ordain, a major pull in my daily life.

Has anyone actually done this? Left their family and ordained? I keep thinking that if I get too wrapped up in the idea that I'll basically be focusing on something that is far in the future, to such a degree that the idea itself could become a hindrance, but I guess I also just want to make sure I have realistic motivations and expectations.

I'm not looking to make any drastic changes soon. I am content with things; I'm just trying to make sure that I'm moving in the right direction. Or in another way of speaking, I want to make sure that I create the right conditions so as that I might be able to pursue this course later in life. I figure I have obligations in the family and, quite frankly, I'm in no hurry to run from that (nor am I ashamed or depressed about it). I'm happy at home, but I'm reminded occasionally by the Dhammapada that one should be willing to forsake a lesser happiness for a greater, more lasting one.

No pressure, friends. Just looking for a little long-term advice. :) Thank you.
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:35 pm

I've met two monks who ordained after their children grew up and moved out, and they seemed to be doing great!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby befriend » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:03 pm

i thought you had to wait till your kids grew up before you ordained, is that right?
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:53 pm

You love your family and everything appears to be fine you just want to get more serious. You can get very serious with your practice and still be a lay person. You can go on retreats for your vacation time from work and you can attend regular temple events as a lay person. And of course you can do daily practice with regular household responsibilities.

As your kids get older and on their own you could re-think the idea of ordaining, but if you are still happily married, you can still continue to get serious as a lay person. After the kids are grown-up you will most likely have more free time even as a lay person, for retreats and deeper practice. If your wife practices with you there is even the possibility of becoming an 8 precept married couple (in your older years) which is very close to being ordained anyway. An 8 precept lay person can still have household duties, handle money and would just refrain from sexual activity, eating beyond noon, singing, dancing, listening to music, entertainment shows. As you progress in the Dhamma, those things tend to lose their allure anyway.
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:08 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:You love your family and everything appears to be fine you just want to get more serious. You can get very serious with your practice and still be a lay person. You can go on retreats for your vacation time from work and you can attend regular temple events as a lay person. And of course you can do daily practice with regular household responsibilities.

As your kids get older and on their own you could re-think the idea of ordaining, but if you are still happily married, you can still continue to get serious as a lay person. After the kids are grown-up you will most likely have more free time even as a lay person, for retreats and deeper practice. If your wife practices with you there is even the possibility of becoming an 8 precept married couple (in your older years) which is very close to being ordained anyway. An 8 precept lay person can still have household duties, handle money and would just refrain from sexual activity, eating beyond noon, singing, dancing, listening to music, entertainment shows. As you progress in the Dhamma, those things tend to lose their allure anyway.

As you get older, those things tend to lose their allure anyway, too.

:thinking:
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:13 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:As you progress in the Dhamma, those things tend to lose their allure anyway.

As you get older, those things tend to lose their allure anyway, too.

As you progress in the Dhamma, and get older, this loss of allure can be quite surprising.

I still eat dinner though.
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:25 pm

Greetings Hickersonia,

Hickersonia wrote:I'm not looking to make any drastic changes soon. I am content with things; I'm just trying to make sure that I'm moving in the right direction. Or in another way of speaking, I want to make sure that I create the right conditions so as that I might be able to pursue this course later in life. I figure I have obligations in the family and, quite frankly, I'm in no hurry to run from that (nor am I ashamed or depressed about it). I'm happy at home, but I'm reminded occasionally by the Dhammapada that one should be willing to forsake a lesser happiness for a greater, more lasting one.

Any good activities you do in support of your family are meritorious deeds, which will support your practice of the Noble Eightfold Path now and in the future.

If/when the time is right for ordination, you'll have laid a sound base for it.

Until then...

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:10 am

From the replies so far, it looks like I'm doing everything just right.

And since befriend mentioned it, I do intend to wait until my children are at least 18 before making any major moves on the idea of trying to ordain. I definitely see this as a long-term thing, and even then, my age might be a dominant concern. Of course, this all resting on the uncertain but not entirely improbable odds that the heart within my chest keeps beating that long.

I greatly appreciate the replies, friends. :)
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:15 am

David N. Snyder wrote:If your wife practices with you there is even the possibility of becoming an 8 precept married couple (in your older years) which is very close to being ordained anyway.

I've considered this as a serious option, but I don't think my wife would tolerate it very long. She's tolerant of my practicing Buddhism but not at all on board with it. She finds my adherence to the 8 precepts on Uposatha days amusing, but I'm not altogether certain how she'll respond to the idea of my taking the 8 precepts permanently.

Of course, her tolerance (or intolerance) of such things may dictate the final path I take... but I won't be making any terribly rash decisions regardless.
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"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby James the Giant » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:21 am

befriend wrote:i thought you had to wait till your kids grew up before you ordained, is that right?

No. You don't have to wait.

But it is common sense to make sure they are provided for and secure before you do.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:39 pm

Hickersonia,

Lay life is not second rate. There is great opportunity for you to continue to practice and make strides on the path as a lay person.
Don't undervalue the opportunity you have available to you now.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Has anyone actually done it...

Postby reflection » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:38 pm

I'm planning to become a monk. This idea has been in my head for quite a while. While I don't have any kids or children, I think I can give you a piece of advice anyway: Don't think you can't really practice as a lay person. The situation may be less ideal, but certainly a lot of progress can be made. Appreciate what you have now, for encountering the dhamma in the first place. I found that when I get dragged along with the idea of ordaining, I'm less peaceful in general. Better to create contentment with the situation as it is now. I found that I can still plan & think about ordaining, while not letting it disrupt my peace as much.

Also, better not to have too high expectations. I know by now that the grass always looks greener at the other side. Becoming a monk seems very peaceful, but once you're a monk, you might want to become a lay person again.. who knows what the mind does.

Maybe this can help you. Enjoy what you have, share your kindness and compassion with your kids and your family.

Metta!
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