Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

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Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:17 pm

Hi All,

I'm planning on booking an interview with Ven Ajahn Sumedho at Amaravati Monastery sometime within the next two months. I am a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and therefore not sure of the procedure when I go into the room to speak to him because I am not familiar with Theravada protocol.
If it was a lama, I would bow with palms together and then present him/her with a khata (white scarf) and a small gift or a money offering in an envelope. (The Khata is accepted and then the lama gives it back by placing it around one's own neck)
I would then sit down on an indicated seat near to the lama in order to have a conversation. Next I would get up, say thank you with palms together, bow, and leave the room.

Obviously the procedure will be different and I'd be really grateful if anyone could advise me please.

Many thanks and with kind wishes to everyone,

Dazzle :anjali:
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:46 pm

have a look on their web site it should have the conventions there, but A2I also has a guide in the lay buddhist practice I think it is?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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"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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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:08 pm

Hi Manapa,

I don't think there's anything about interview procedure on the website, but I'll have another look at it. I visited the monastery recently and asked the secretary if I'd be able to get an interview - but forgot to ask about actual procedure in the room. I know I have to have a chaperone. Maybe I'll just phone up and ask nearer the time. It was quite difficult getting someone on the phone when I phoned there before my first visit.

Excuse my ignorance What's A21? Is that something I can find on the Access to Insight website? There's info about Lay Buddhist practice there.

Thanks,

Dazzle :anjali:
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:39 pm

it might be best to mail the monestary?

let us know if you do and what the reply is!

Dazzlebling wrote:Hi Manapa,

I don't think there's anything about interview procedure on the website, but I'll have another look at it. I visited the monastery recently and asked the secretary if I'd be able to get an interview - but forgot to ask about actual procedure in the room. I know I have to have a chaperone. Maybe I'll just phone up and ask nearer the time. It was quite difficult getting someone on the phone when I phoned there before my first visit.

Excuse my ignorance What's A21? Is that something I can find on the Access to Insight website? There's info about Lay Buddhist practice there.

Thanks,

Dazzle :anjali:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:32 pm

I dont think offering money is a good idea, isnt it against the Vinaya for monks to receive money?
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:36 pm

Dazzlebling wrote:I am ... not sure of the procedure when I go into the room to speak to him because I am not familiar with Theravada protocol.

As far as I know there is no Theravada procedure nor protocol. I have heard some cultures have a custom of not pointing the souls of one's feet at a monastic; some cultures have a custom of not sitting higher than a monastic; some cultures have a custom of not touching a monastic. But these are all cultural and a monk with a lot of experience dealing with visitors from other cultures will be used to the visitor not knowing the customs and will not be offended by you not knowing them. Just try to show respect and you'll do fine.

If it was a lama, I would bow with palms together.... I would then sit down on an indicated seat near to the lama in order to have a conversation. Next I would get up, say thank you with palms together, bow, and leave the room.

That looks fine to me. There's no white scarfs in Theravada but bowing is a fairly common way to show respect in many cultures. Don't offer money in an envelope. There will probably be a donation box somewhere near the door. Put money in there if you want to donate.
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:42 pm

clw_uk wrote:I dont think offering money is a good idea, isnt it against the Vinaya for monks to receive money?


some monks do recieve money in envelopes which is for a specific purpose I don't think there is a specific procedure in the vinaya for this as it is a modern thing, but I believe it is treated as robe cloth outside of the offering period.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:52 pm

Hi All,

Thank you for your replies. There is a donation box near the office at the monastery in which one can put money offerings - but I just wondered if it was usual to give a personal offering of any kind to the abbott at an interview.

I'll just put the offering in the other box if its wrong to give him anything.

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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:36 am

Hey Dazzlebling.

Luang Por Sumedho is held in very high esteem within the Thai Sangha.

Here's are a couple of tips I would suggest:

- Don't point the soles of your feet at any of the Monks, or well - anyone there if you can help it. This is Thai custom and not a Western, nor Buddhist custom, but 'when in rome.'
- If you would like to show your respect towards the Ajahn, a triple bow is good.
- You could maybe offer the Ven. Ajahn a pottle of honey, or a book? Handing an Ajahn a non-monetary & allowable gift in person is good from beginning to end!
- Just be respectful, smile, be courtious and everything will be sweet as :)
- Monks of the Ajahn Chah lineage aren't judgemental, and generally have a great sense of humor.
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:49 am

Hey Blackbird,

Thank you very much for your advice - it is greatly appreciated.


Dazzle

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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:11 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Triple Bow

:anjali:


.

Thank you very much for the link,Ngawang Drolma. I received this shrine-room bowing information several months ago from a Theravada practitioner online - and I have already meditated in the shrine room in the Amaravati temple. I also placed palms together,and bowed my head slightly when monks passed by me at the monastery.

As far as I'm aware, I think the procedure in the link applies to the shrine room/temple but not actually in an interview room. I don't think I will be expected to kneel (or do prostrations) to Ven Sumedho before I speak to him.

My enquiry was for confirmation of the correct procedure before, during and after a private conversation with him. I think this seems to be respectful bows with palms together (while standing), both before and after the interview and giving him an offering of some nice honey by placing it on a table or wherever he indicates to me to place it.

Thanks to all for the input.

:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:29 am

Hello Dazzlebling, you dont say whether you are a boy duck or a girl duck.. :smile:
I guess from your reference to an escort you are a woman.
If so then you need to take particular care not to offer to put any gift into the Ajahn's hands directly, as you say, he will indicate where to put things.
Just to add that Luang Por Sumedho is indeed a bit special. May your visit be of great benefit.


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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:37 am

Hi Sanghamitta,

I am a female duck - quack quackie!

Thank you for your kind words.

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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:59 am

Sanghamitta wrote:I guess from your reference to an escort you are a woman.
If so then you need to take particular care not to offer to put any gift into the Ajahn's hands directly, as you say, he will indicate where to put things.

Yes, that's the Thai convention . Monks will generally spread out a cloth to receive things from women. This is not a Vinaya rule, and is not used by Sri Lankan monks.

Having observed this stuff for a few years, my impression is that the monks go along with such cultural conventions for the benefit of the lay people, so don't be too worried about "getting something wrong". No monk worthy of respect will get upset about protocol errors. [Of course, that's not an excuse to be rude!]. Several times I've observed one of my teachers calmly explain that he's not supposed to touch (or be touched by) women (once with an argumentative woman who was so annoying I had to seriously restrain myself...).

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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:47 pm

Just to be clear, I think a monk not touching or being touched by a woman is in the Vinaya. The bit not in the Vinaya is the cloth bit.
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:03 pm

Peter wrote:Just to be clear, I think a monk not touching or being touched by a woman is in the Vinaya. The bit not in the Vinaya is the cloth bit.


Yeah I remember this being discussed here I think it was, but also Ven Sujato talks about this in a vid
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby gavesako » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:21 pm

Ajahn Sumedho likes good coffee.

And he is very easy-going, don't worry about asian protocol too much... :smile:
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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:58 pm

gavesako wrote:Ajahn Sumedho likes good coffee.

And he is very easy-going, don't worry about asian protocol too much... :smile:



Thank you very much, Gavesako !

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Re: Advice re. Ven Ajahn Sumedho, please.

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:48 pm

Peter wrote:Just to be clear, I think a monk not touching or being touched by a woman is in the Vinaya. The bit not in the Vinaya is the cloth bit.

Yes, sorry if that wasn't clear.

I recall a talk by some western monk (but can't remember which one) who recounted the difficulties of interacting with a mixed group of Thai and Sri Lankan women. The Thai women were offended if he didn't extend a cloth to receive things and the Sri Lankan women were offended if he did....

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