How to know if you are suitable?

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

Re: How to know if you are suitable?

Postby Coyote » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:50 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:Coyote:

My thought was that there seem to be many opportunities to go forth that may not involve the hardships that Bhikkhus like Ajahn Brahm and others endured. I've spent some time at Wat Metta in San Diego, and have observed that the young monks there are very smart, very engaging, studious and serious, but not enduring hardships or illnesses like malaria. Ven. Thanissaro seems to me a strict abbot, but I have also seen him in moments when he is sitting with the young monks and discussing in a friendly and engaged way world issues, Dhamma, and Dhamma as it develops in the west. I've not visited Amaravati ( http://www.amaravati.org/about_us/C9 ) but as you are from the UK, this seems a very positive and solid monastic community and could be a very good choice. Again, little chance of boiled frogs and malaria there.

As for the Pali question, yes, of course you will learn Pali. You will chant Pali. Your ordination will be in Pali. Even I, an absolute idiot abroad farang had to learn enough Pali to convince my Preceptor that I should be allowed to ordain. I studied the Pali before leaving for Thailand for months, and even with a lot of prep by my Bhikkhu friends/teachers I stumbled through my ordination, and at one point thought my preceptor would wave me off and send me back to Disneyland.... yes, you will learn Pali and have a lot of chances for study and scholarship if you're so inclined.


I knew that they learnt Pali, but wasn't sure if it was necessary. It is good to know though, as I love languages. I would want to learn even if I didn't have to.
As for the other issue. I think what you say is right. It is part of the reason why I don't want to go outside of the country - beside the travel expenses and being in a strange culture. The Ajahn Chah branch monasteries in the UK are vinaya-observant, good meditators, as well as knowledgeable about the tipitaka. It seems like a no-brainer to me, if they will accept me. As well as that, I think they have a good relationship with the local community.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: How to know if you are suitable?

Postby Coyote » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:55 pm

Zom: Thank you for the sutta and your thoughts.
This has been my way of thinking too. That is not to say we shouldn't meditate, I do, but that it should be supported by strong understanding and sila before we expect too much. Meditation is only 2/8ths of the path.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: How to know if you are suitable?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:45 pm

There is another thing that keeps people in the robes, and that's samvega. From what I've heard about and from other monks, it takes a healthy revulsion towards lay life to compel someone through the rough spots of a monastic career. If you ordain not because you want to be a monk but solely because getting a job, having 2.5 kids, and dying sounds shitty, then I doubt you'll get far; however, ordaining without at least some distaste for the alternative probably makes it quite a bit easier to fall back to lay life.

The Buddha spoke of lay life in pretty rough terms sometimes, and I think a lot of Western monks don't really think in those terms. A big part of the reason I'm ordaining is because I want to get out of lay life nearly as much as I want to get in to the monastic order, and it seems like there aren't many around me who feel the same way. Perhaps that has something to do with it?
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: How to know if you are suitable?

Postby Coyote » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:21 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:There is another thing that keeps people in the robes, and that's samvega. From what I've heard about and from other monks, it takes a healthy revulsion towards lay life to compel someone through the rough spots of a monastic career. If you ordain not because you want to be a monk but solely because getting a job, having 2.5 kids, and dying sounds shitty, then I doubt you'll get far; however, ordaining without at least some distaste for the alternative probably makes it quite a bit easier to fall back to lay life.

The Buddha spoke of lay life in pretty rough terms sometimes, and I think a lot of Western monks don't really think in those terms. A big part of the reason I'm ordaining is because I want to get out of lay life nearly as much as I want to get in to the monastic order, and it seems like there aren't many around me who feel the same way. Perhaps that has something to do with it?


I definitely think so Lonesome. If I might ask and you don't mind saying, what is it specifically that has you wanting to escape the lay life?

:anjali:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: How to know if you are suitable?

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:05 am

BuddhaSoup wrote:Coyote:

My thought was that there seem to be many opportunities to go forth that may not involve the hardships that Bhikkhus like Ajahn Brahm and others endured. I've spent some time at Wat Metta in San Diego, and have observed that the young monks there are very smart, very engaging, studious and serious, but not enduring hardships or illnesses like malaria. Ven. Thanissaro seems to me a strict abbot, but I have also seen him in moments when he is sitting with the young monks and discussing in a friendly and engaged way world issues, Dhamma, and Dhamma as it develops in the west. I've not visited Amaravati ( http://www.amaravati.org/about_us/C9 ) but as you are from the UK, this seems a very positive and solid monastic community and could be a very good choice. Again, little chance of boiled frogs and malaria there. :)

As for the Pali question, yes, of course you will learn Pali. You will chant Pali. Your ordination will be in Pali. Even I, an absolute idiot abroad farang had to learn enough Pali to convince my Preceptor that I should be allowed to ordain. I studied the Pali before leaving for Thailand for months, and even with a lot of prep by my Bhikkhu friends/teachers I stumbled through my ordination, and at one point thought my preceptor would wave me off and send me back to Disneyland.... yes, you will learn Pali and have a lot of chances for study and scholarship if you're so inclined.


good to know. i imagine the hard ship enduring was a necessity in order to learn authentic theravada buddhism since it wasn't big in the west. hopefully now one can learn it in more comfortable places and it will still be authentic.
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Re: How to know if you are suitable?

Postby makarasilapin » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:44 pm

Zom wrote:
It is interesting to hear about the "burnout" phase. I wonder if anyone knows of any sutta's that are on this topic, or if there are any Bhikkhu's reading if they could give their advice about this.


This is because most people do not understand the right way of practice. Everybody today thinks that "practice" is just sitting as much as you can, doing anapanasati and the stuff. But if we look deeply into the suttas, we will see, that Buddha never spoke that one should start practice with meditation. On the contrary - there are some very important stages that are to be fulfiled before you put an effort into retreats and so on. And those stages are to be practised for many many years - they aren't an easy ones to fulfil.

Read it carefully and, may be, you will understand - MN 107: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html

Many people rush into the last stages while they haven't accomplished previous ones at all. That is why their meditation "fails" and they "burn out", fall into depression or doubt and drop either monkhood or Buddhism at all .)

That's why the "first stage" - is to read very carefully as many suttas as possible, so to understand things correctly. And even this first stage can take up several years.


+1 :goodpost:
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