Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

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Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby puppha » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:35 pm

I probably need to elaborate a bit on this one!
Suppose the following scenario: a man starts working in his 20s, and he gets a pension from his employer. He contributes to his pension, and his employer too. Now for some reason, 10 years later, he wants to leave the lay life and become a monk.
Now, he can sell his house, close his bank accounts, etc. so he can get rid of anything... except his pension. It is an asset than stays "dormant" until retirement age, at which date it kicks in and pays him a regular income.

Is it allowable for him to become a monk in this situation? I would tend to think this is actually a very common situation...

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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:53 pm

when there is a yet to be recieved pension?
I don't see why not. it could be provided to the monastery or another arrangement made for it to be dealt with
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:32 pm

It is allowable for a monk to have money, it's just not allowable for him to handle it himself so he needs to appoint a layperson as steward to handle his affairs for him.

So in the case of a pension this could just keep building up until the monk needed a plane ticket for example, then the steward would need to make the withdrawal and buy the ticket.
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby puppha » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:28 am

Thanks Cittasanto & Goofaholix for your comments. I would also tend to think that it shouldn't be a problem. Any Bhikkhu(ni) would be welcome to comment on that point too!

I also just realised that my question also applies to state pension as well... So that makes it even more universal!
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Sambojjhanga » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Since pretty much every American who has held a job during their lifetime (unless the Republicans get their way) will receive at least some social security pension when they reach retirement age, it seems that no American could ever become a monk if this were the case. Since there are many American monks, it stands to reason that this shouldn't be an issue.

I , too, would be very interested in hearing from an American monk (preferably of social security benefit age) as to how this is handled.

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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Mr Man » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:26 pm

Sambojjhanga wrote:Since pretty much every American who has held a job during their lifetime (unless the Republicans get their way) will receive at least some social security pension when they reach retirement age, it seems that no American could ever become a monk if this were the case. Since there are many American monks, it stands to reason that this shouldn't be an issue.


:anjali:


For a monk to receive a state pension, in my opinion, is against the spirit of the life of a renunciant.
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:03 pm

Mr Man wrote:For a monk to receive a state pension, in my opinion, is against the spirit of the life of a renunciant.


"Life" is a key word there, with the south east asian model there is no expectation that a monk will ordain for life and most return to lay life eventually. If they do decide to stay for life then yes I guess they'll need to work out what to do with the pension gathering dust in their bank account all that time.
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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: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:37 pm

Mr Man wrote:For a monk to receive a state pension, in my opinion, is against the spirit of the life of a renunciant.

A renunciant lives on charity. If state charity makes him/her less of a burden on private supporters, I don't see a problem. When I donate money here I can claim a tax credit, so 1/3 of the cash donations I make actually come from my government.

The point is, someone(s) does actually pay for the support of a renunciant (unless he's subsisting in the wilderness with no human contact). Gifts (including Dhamma) may be "freely given", but they are not "free" in the sense of costing nothing...

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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Mr Man » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:06 pm

Goofaholix wrote:"Life" is a key word there, with the south east asian model there is no expectation that a monk will ordain for life.

We are using the word "life" in a slightly different ways there.

I think there is a difference between a personal pension and a state pension. Receiving a state pension is not obligatory but with personal finance I think arrangements need be made.
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Mr Man » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:11 pm

mikenz66 wrote:A renunciant lives on charity. If state charity makes him/her less of a burden on private supporters, I don't see a problem. When I donate money here I can claim a tax credit, so 1/3 of the cash donations I make actually come from my government.



In my opinion a renunciant should live suported by those with faith or at least in a more direct fashion.
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Sambojjhanga » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:47 pm

Remember that social security payments, again, despite the propaganda to the contrary by the Republican Party, is the recipients own money! People pay into the plan from the day they start working until they day they stop.

All in all, I'm not interested in theory or what should or should not be done. I'd really like to hear from a monk who is actually in this position. Surely there are American monks of social security age out there, or at least that are known by people on this forum?

What is the actual practice? I, for one, don't think that a monk SHOULD receive any money directly when they are in robes. But OTOH, I don't think that a person's money which they have contributed to for their working life should simply go to the state.

As others have stated, SOMEONE is paying for the monk's life. Unless he's in the woods either collecting berries, someone is paying.

Just curious what really happens in practice.

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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:22 pm

Mr Man wrote:In my opinion a renunciant should live suported by those with faith or at least in a more direct fashion.


There's nothing to stop him doing living day to day on the generosity of those with faith, but does that mean money he spent most of his lifetime gaining an entitlement to should be gifted to the state rather than kept aside in case he chooses to disrobe later?
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Mr Man » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:57 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Mr Man wrote:In my opinion a renunciant should live suported by those with faith or at least in a more direct fashion.


There's nothing to stop him doing living day to day on the generosity of those with faith, but does that mean money he spent most of his lifetime gaining an entitlement to should be gifted to the state rather than kept aside in case he chooses to disrobe later?


In the UK the state pension is an entilement if you have made National Insurance contributions over a period of time but it is not your money as such. It's not like you have been paying into a specific pension pot. If one were to disrobe at a later date the state pension could then be claimed.
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Re: Can you become a monk if you have a pension?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:26 pm

puppha wrote:Thanks Cittasanto & Goofaholix for your comments. I would also tend to think that it shouldn't be a problem. Any Bhikkhu(ni) would be welcome to comment on that point too!

I also just realised that my question also applies to state pension as well... So that makes it even more universal!

you know there are several British monks in Britain who are of an age that they are about to receive the pension if not are of that age.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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