Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

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Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby brandwach » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:57 am

Do most westerners, once ordained, stay in them?
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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby manas » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:55 am

brandwach wrote:Do most westerners, once ordained, stay in them?
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I don't have any statistics regarding numbers, but a very senior western monk, in response to my interest at the time, once said, "oh, it's very easy to ordain; it's just difficult to stay". My guess would be that this maxim would apply to anyone who really applied themselves to the monastic life, though. Not just us pampered western folk.

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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby gavesako » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:03 pm

Someone once made a statistic and the survival rate in each generation of monastics is not big. There are some who disrobe in the first couple of years, then some more disrobe after the first five years due to disillusionment, then others after about 10 years when they are not sure how to be a senior monk, and still others disrobe after 20-30 years due to the strains of having been a senior monk.
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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:46 pm

gavesako wrote:Someone once made a statistic and the survival rate in each generation of monastics is not big. There are some who disrobe in the first couple of years, then some more disrobe after the first five years due to disillusionment, then others after about 10 years when they are not sure how to be a senior monk, and still others disrobe after 20-30 years due to the strains of having been a senior monk.

That must be true of a percentage of non-westerner monks, too.

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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby gavesako » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:41 am

Yes, but the statistic would look different due to other social pressures: most young boys and men in Thailand will ordain just temporarily to make merit for their parents, and they may stay on in robes longer as long as it suits them, but when they face some problems they can easily disrobe. Then there are those who become monks mainly just to study and get a degree. Some of them will later become Dhammaduta missionary monks going abroad, which presents its own challenges and many temptations to lead them out of the robes. Those who become senior monks and abbots will be encouraged to stay on due to the prestige and social recognition that such a role brings.
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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby Sokehi » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:24 pm

would you bhante guess out of your own experience in western monasteries that those temptations for senior monks you've mentioned (prestige etc.) are lower here ("the west") than they are in the classic theravadin countries? Thinking about that the sangha as being established in the west now could become a cleansing force for the sangha as a whole so to speak to samsaric temptations and power games / scandals that recently came to our knowledge especially within the thai sangha?
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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby appicchato » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:21 pm

Mmmm...not really, samsaric temptations and power games are human traits, and will continue to be...in addition, the Orient, generally speaking, in relation to Buddhism, only disdainfully tolerates the Occident, that's about the extent of their participation...
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Re: Do most westerners that ordain stay in Robes?

Postby gavesako » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:18 pm

For one thing, senior western monks living in the West seem to receive more criticism than praise from people in the society around them. There is no long-established tradition to fall back on, one's own family might not be particularly supportive, and even other western monks are usually more critically-minded rather than devotional as is the case in Asia. This makes the abbot's role a rather unpopular one despite some sort of status that it brings. So I would not see this as a problem.
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