Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

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

Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Maarten » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:59 am

I am interested in ordaining in the future and I like the Thai forrest tradition. I remember Ajahn Brahm saying he had a waiting list of people who wanted to ordain at his monastery. Is this true for the UK monasteries as well? Will they ordain you easily or is it difficult?
And am I correct in assuming that it is easy to get ordained in Thailand?

Many specific questions, I hope someone here knows more!

Metta! :)
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Aloka » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:17 am

Hi Maarten,

Why not find out directly ? These are the contact details of Amaravati Monastery - which is one of the Thai Theravada Forest tradition monasteries in the UK.

http://www.amaravati.org/about_us/contact_us/

with kind regards

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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby James the Giant » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:11 pm

I have talked to several people who were at the UK monasteries, and also the very popular Abhayagiri in the USA, and they say the interest is very high, and it may take a while for a place to become available.
For example, there may be a wait of a few month to become a Long Term Lay Guest. And then after that, if you are accepted to be an Anagarika, one guy I know was told he would be gladly accepted as an anagarika, and he should come back to begin in 8 months, when someone else was scheduled to leave thus freeing accommodation.
Once you're an anagarika, you're on track for ordination, and there wouldn't be any more trouble with waiting lists and accommodation.

For ordaining in Thailand the process can be very different. There are monasteries which will ordain you on the spot, pretty much. Well, with only a few weeks of staying at the monastery. Just enough time to get you a sponsor and organise your bowl and robes and ceremony!
Or just go for the Rains Retreat, when they ordain tens of thousands of guys for three months, and don't disrobe at the end when 99% of the other people do.
However, the best monasteries for westerners (many english-speaking monks, english dhamma-talks and instruction, etc) tend to have the anagarika process too. Although it may be easier to be accepted quickly, as the monasteries there are large, established, and have a good amount of accommodation.

This is from Amaravati Monastery, and outlines the process:
For lay men on their first visit a maximum stay of a few days is allowed. For overseas visitors this may be
impractical so, for them, a longer visit of up to three to four weeks can be arranged. ...

It may be that your main interest in coming to Amaravati is to become an anagarika. This is a noble aspiration
and we encourage your interest in the spiritual path. However, joining the community is a gradual process that
takes time and may extend over several visits, and, until a late stage, we make no promise that you will eventually
be accepted as a candidate for anagarika ordination. For this reason it is very important that you come with
provisions (money, alternative plans, etc.) in case it does not work out.
THE PROCESS FOR ACCEPTANCE FOR ANAGARIKA TRAINING IS AS FOLLOWS:
a) After having stayed for one month you may discuss the possibility of extending your stay as a guest.
This would be up to a maximum of three months.
b) After several months—during which you will have had a chance to see how our community works and
we will be beginning to get to know you— if you still think that the anagarika training would be
supportive for your practice, and are both willing and able to live with the community, you may
approach the Bhikkhu Sangha formally to ask permission to be considered as a candidate to be an
anagarika.
c) At this point we will discuss with you whether we think that you will fit in to the community and benefit
from this form and training. You will receive one of three replies - "Yes", "No", or "Maybe". The
process will vary from individual to individual. Sometimes we will ask candidates to go away for a
period, perhaps a few weeks or months, to consider whether or not they want to proceed, and to come
back and stay longer as a lay guest, or we may ask you to spend time at one of our sister monasteries.

if YES:
MAKE A ONE YEAR COMMITMENT (from the time of taking anagarika precepts)
During this year it is important to leave aside outside responsibilities and interests, in order to place
yourself under the spiritual guidance and direction of the abbot and senior monks. After this year, if you
feel more inclined to practise in lay life, you are of course free to do so. If on the other hand, you find that
the life is nourishing to your practice you may ask to continue your training as an anagarika. After about
one year as an anagarika it may be possible to take up the intermediate stage of training as a samanera. In
this training one wears the ochre robes like the bhikkhus but only has ten precepts including not handling
money. After at least a year as a samanera it may be possible to ask to be accepted for the bhikkhu
training.

Here's the full pdf here, with more info.
http://www.stefan.gr/buddhism/books/ordination/angarikas-uk-eu.pdf

There's this nice graph from Santi Forest Monastery
http://santifm.org/santi/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/OrdinationProcedureatSanti.pdf
Image
Ordination process by Santi Forest Monastery, on Flickr


For me, I am going to do it the slow way, in the west. Long term guest, anagarika, samanera, bhikkhu.
I will probably do it at either Bodhivana near Melbourne (lots of room, no need to wait for a place)
or Bodhinyana with Ajahn Brahm near Perth, although they are really full there and being on a waiting list is likely.
But I am also going to Thailand and Sri Lanka next year, for three months each, to see what it's like at Wat Pah Nanachat and other monasteries.
Two monks who know me well have suggested I ordain in the west, as they think I will be discouraged by the superstition and cultural trappings of monastery life in Thailand. They said I should do three or four years getting established as a bhikkhu in the west, before going to Thailand for some years.

Well, that's all. Hope that helps. And I hope somebody can correct me if I have said anything incorrect here.
Good luck and here's some metta. Mmmmm...
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby gavesako » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:56 pm

That sounds like a good plan to me, wish you good luck :anjali:
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Maarten » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:13 pm

Thank you, This is very helpful information to me! :namaste:
If it goes wrong for me in the UK I can always get a quick ordination in thailand. :P
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Ytrog » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:25 pm

Hmm, I don't know about the waiting list. Last year I stayed at Cittaviveka with a few other guests. They wanted to become Anagarika's and two of them still are. So my estimation is that the chances are quite high provided you are reasonably healthy in body and mind. I also noticed on the list of residents that some left, so it is indeed not for all.

I hope to give it a try myself someday btw. I have a longer stay this year than last year and when I have some things in order I hope to be able to try it in the next few years. Of course you have to work out some alternatives too.

Good luck with your efforts :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby James the Giant » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:42 am

Ytrog wrote:Hmm, I don't know about the waiting list.

Yeah, the waiting list is the worst case scenario. I don't think it's usually too bad.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:37 am

If you go to the forest sangha website and look through the list of community members, it would appear that some monasteries (like the one New Zealand) is quite empty.

Edit" I'm quite inspired and perhaps a little envious at the number of ppl here intending to ordain. For the growth of the Sasana, we should expand the monasteries or build new ones! Sadhu !
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Maarten » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:40 pm

Ytrog wrote:Hmm, I don't know about the waiting list. Last year I stayed at Cittaviveka with a few other guests. They wanted to become Anagarika's and two of them still are. So my estimation is that the chances are quite high provided you are reasonably healthy in body and mind. I also noticed on the list of residents that some left, so it is indeed not for all.

I hope to give it a try myself someday btw. I have a longer stay this year than last year and when I have some things in order I hope to be able to try it in the next few years. Of course you have to work out some alternatives too.

Good luck with your efforts :anjali:


Thank you, I would be happy just to get as far as you and visit one of those monasteries as I tend to be very passive! :smile:
How was your stay, did you enjoy?
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Ytrog » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:54 pm

Maarten wrote:How was your stay, did you enjoy?

Yes, very much. I'll be there again in three weeks and will stay for three weeks this time :D

Btw, your name suggests you are Dutch. Am I right?
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Maarten » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:43 pm

Ytrog wrote:Btw, your name suggests you are Dutch. Am I right?


I am guilty, but only in the conceptual universe! :P

Have a happy time at Cittaviveka!
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:21 am

Namo Sangassa


You should select a type of bhikkhu that you want to be.

1. Mahayana Bhikkhu - China

2. New Generation of Theravada Bhikkhu - Mahanikaya of thailand, many nikaya in Burma except Shwegyin Nikaya, all nikaya in cylon except raman nikaya.

3. New Generation of Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu - Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in Thailand.

4. Old Generation of Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu - Dhammayutta Nikaya, Wat Pah Nanachat (International Temple) of Cha Bhikkhu (Bhodhin-a Bhikkhu), etc.

5. Tipitaka style Theravada Bhikkhu without Older Bhikkhu Tradition - No specify Nikaya (a new Thailand tradition group that is a derivative of Shwegyin Nikaya )
Buddhaparisad Raksa Dhammavinaya Network (Vinaya and Abhidhamma) + P.A.Payutto bhikkhu (Sutta and Pan-n-a) -- don't separate them for a good work.

6. Tipitaka style Theravada Bhikkhu with Older Bhikkhu Tradition - Shwegyin Nikaya, Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, U Acinna, Bhikkhu Revata Pa-Auk Meditation Centre., etc.


In my experience, Sixth is the best patipada and completely like bikkhu in Theravada Tipitaka. Fifth is lower but better than another thai mongs, when compare between Thailand mong.

If I must be coexist with another I will choose from this ranking...

Pa-Auk Sayadaw > Bhikkhu Revata > Leader of Ramanna Nikaya in Cylon > Other group of Shwegyin Nikaya (that don't get money) > Buddhaparisad Raksa Dhammavinaya Network > P.A.Payutto bhikkhu (Sutta and Pan-n-a) + Bhodhin-a Bhikkhu group -- that don't get any money.


I don't select these I always will be upasaka forever...

Other Nikaya of Burma except Shwegyin Nikaya > Other Thailand Dhammayuttanikaya and Another nikaya that get money > 3 > 2 > 1

("Get money" is only a example of the bad habits, don't be live under the vinaya of buddha, that I choose to explain this case.)

I'm talkative, sorry.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby James the Giant » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:46 am

UhBaUnTaUh wrote:Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu

What's that like? What do they do?
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you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Ytrog » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:49 pm

James the Giant wrote:
UhBaUnTaUh wrote:Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu

What's that like? What do they do?

I wonder about that as well :thinking:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


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If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:28 pm

"Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu"

I meant to Bhikkus who don't wanna hard observe their Sila by Vinaya Pitaka (most of Thai Bikkhus).

PS. I have written about my reason that determined me to think "Bikkhu should hard observe Sila by Vinaya". I thinking about the effect of that article till it made me late to reply. I will post it when it is necessary.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby James the Giant » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:14 pm

UhBaUnTaUh wrote:"Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu"
I meant to Bhikkus who don't wanna hard observe their Sila by Vinaya Pitaka

UhBaUnTaUh wrote:Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu - Dhammayutta Nikaya, Wat Pah Nanachat (International Temple) of Cha Bhikkhu (Bhodhin-a Bhikkhu), etc.

Gosh! Why do you say bhikkhus at Wat Pah Nanachat don't have very good sila/vinaya? My experience is very different; of the bhikkhus I have met, those who have lived at Wat Pah Nanachat have been the most strict in vinaya observance.
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you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:25 am

James the Giant wrote:Gosh! Why do you say bhikkhus at Wat Pah Nanachat don't have very good sila/vinaya? My experience is very different; of the bhikkhus I have met, those who have lived at Wat Pah Nanachat have been the most strict in vinaya observance.


I agree, I've been in many monasteries in Thailand, Burma, and the west,Wat Pah Nanachat is definately the strictest both in vinaya and etiquette.
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"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby UhBaUnTaUh » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:33 am

^

Our Sila and Vinaya standard agreements are difference.


My standards...


Reference Standard.

a. Vinaya and Parisuddhisila the First defined up to Vinaya Pitaka.

b. Samadhi and the other Parisuddhisilas defined up to Suttanta Pitaka.

c. Panna and Pativedha defined up to Abhidhamma Pitaka.


Especially, my Bikkhus try to do "everything" like Vinaya Tipitaka Enforced, simile population should strict on constitution neither they agree nor disagree on it.


Tendency Standard...

Pass - When someone develop themselves on/over the lowest agreement of Reference Standard. In graph view, it seem to be lower than X Axis.

Fail - When someone develop themselves substandard than the lowest agreement of Reference Standard. In graph view, it seem to be plot fit on/upper than X Axis.

UhBaUnTaUh wrote:
1. Mahayana Bhikkhu - China

2. New Generation of Theravada Bhikkhu - Mahanikaya of thailand, many nikaya in Burma except Shwegyin Nikaya, all nikaya in cylon except raman nikaya.

3. New Generation of Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu - Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in Thailand.

4. Old Generation of Zen Style Theravada Bhikkhu - Dhammayutta Nikaya, Wat Pah Nanachat (International Temple) of Cha Bhikkhu (Bhodhin-a Bhikkhu), etc.

5. Tipitaka style Theravada Bhikkhu without Older Bhikkhu Tradition - No specify Nikaya (a new Thailand tradition group that is a derivative of Shwegyin Nikaya )
Buddhaparisad Raksa Dhammavinaya Network (Vinaya and Abhidhamma) + P.A.Payutto bhikkhu (Sutta and Pan-n-a) -- don't separate them for a good work.

6. Tipitaka style Theravada Bhikkhu with Older Bhikkhu Tradition - Shwegyin Nikaya, Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw, U Acinna, Bhikkhu Revata Pa-Auk Meditation Centre., etc.


1 and 2 are fail at all -- a, b, c, such as 3 but 3 get closer, to the standard, than 1 and 2.

4 get closer than 3,especially get more pass in b than 5, in a lot of part of modern life relationship. But tendency of 4 is bearish.

5 get pass in a, fit to standard. But tendency of 4 is bullish.

Overall image of 1-5 is lower than the standard, however 5 working up and down near the standard and their performance tendency is bullish.

6 pass at all--a, b, c. They are bullish in meditation. But in my opinion their expandation method (teaching, media using, etc.) is lower than the Buddha and Theras planned in Tipitaka.


Note. Pity me, please. I have very tried to give less reason as much as I can do, to avoid to jumble you by my datas. I think that it will be better to anwser in some point (refference, reason, detail, etc.) that someone debt than I ramble on my opinion.

---------------------------------------------

edit : barlish -> bearish
Last edited by UhBaUnTaUh on Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is it hard to get ordained in the UK monasteries?

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:10 am

But in my opinion their expandation method (teaching, media using, etc.) is lower than the Buddha and Theras planned in Tipitaka.

Was/is there a plan beside the Vinaya? (But maybe better in a new tread as a little offtopic. If you like to tell us more, it would be great I guess)
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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