After having done ten days, two weeks, and recently one week in a monastic setting, I've decided to take the next step seek a month-long residence at Santi Forest Monastery in Australia. I've done ten days, two weeks, and then a week in a monastic setting, and each time seemed easier and easier. I think a month is the next best step. I've spoken with a woman from the monastery and she's stated that, if I so choose, I can extend my stay upon review after the original month.
I will be going in January, which is when my lease is over. I plan on moving away from my current town upon return anyway, but I've decided that I am going to at least make long-term ordination at Santi a possibility. I have decided to load up my possessions into my parents' house (they live in the next town over) and move my life towards a point where I could, if both the monks and nuns and I felt it was appropriate, never return from Santi and simply move straight towards ordination. This possibility excites me but I am trying to go in with no expectations, just taking it a day at a time for the first month in order to see exactly how the experience affects me.
I chose Santi because of the heavy emphasis on Bhikkhuni ordination, which I very much support, and their protracted ordination procedure. I feel I am not currently ready to be a monk in any way, but I think I am ready to start down that path. If, upon review, I do stay at the monastery, I would enter into a period of long-term residence, followed by an Anagarika stage, then Samanera, then full ordination over the course of about a year and a half. I feel this schedule would give me ample time to decide if the life was for me. I have spoken with the nun who arranges these things and they have voiced their full support for my attempt at full ordination, at least in theory. This gives me hope.
I would love to know what members of this community would recommend, caution against, or otherwise add to the conversation. I'm trying to get into "preparation mode" as we speak and I hope others can recommend a regimen or otherwise give advice for how to prepare for a month-long stay, or perhaps a full-on ordination attempt later on.
Thank you so much!
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