Ordination in Thailand

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

Ordination in Thailand

Postby 5Khandas » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:34 pm

There was a lot of useful information in E-Sangha about the ordination procedure in Thailand. As E-Sangha forum is down now, I think it would be great to collect all that information into this topic.

Note: See this post for a transcript of the E-Sangha thread.

e.g. monasteries for westerners (if I’m right Ven. Dhammanando wrote a very good list in E-Sangha, it would be good to put that to here), information about the visa, and generally the ordination procedure; the length of the anagarika period in different monasteries and so on.

(I too would like to ordain in Thailand sometime.)

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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby adosa » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:59 pm

Hi 5Khandas,

I'd like to see this thread develop too. Maybe it can be made a sticky. I recall the thread on E-Sangha had a wealth of information for those wanting to pursue ordination in Thailand. Personally, I don't have a lot of information for you other than what I can remember off the top of my head. So take it with a grain of salt. Hopefully, one of the Bhantes will weigh in here.

I believe the temple that the Venerable Dhammanando most recommended was Wat Tha Ma O in Lampang. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any contact information on the net. Also, I was recommended the following temple from Venerable Kendrup (spelling) near Khon Kaen. I don't know if he visits this site but if he sees this thread maybe he can weigh in. He suggested this temple to me as the abbott was very amenable to teaching western students. Here's the link:

http://www.rightview.org/Kanjanabhisek/index.htm



I also recall the Venerable Appicchato was a good source on the visa information as it is seemingly always changing in Thailand. Another good source to look through on the visa issue is:

http://www.thaivisa.com



A year ago I traveled around the area by bicycle and was able to meet many nice, English speaking Thais who went out of their way to befriend me. I still keep in contact with a number of them and if at any time I wanted to pursue ordination they would be more than willing to help me with language issues, traveling to immigration offices, putting me up in their homes during the exploratory phase, etc. So along that line of thought, have you visited Thailand? I know you can get a 60 day tourist visa easily. Maybe you could develop some contacts through this thread, plan a trip, get your feet on the ground, develop some friendships with the local Thais, and then take a look around. Maybe something will come up that way. Just a thought.

One other thought. Have you considered visiting Sri Lanka. Ken and Visakha Kawasaki run the relief organization Buddhist Relief. Maybe you could send them an e-mail and run your situation through them. I think they would be a good contact for ordaining in Sri Lanka.

http://www.brelief.org/



Good luck and let us know if you come up with anything concrete or any other ideas.


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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby 5Khandas » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:12 pm

Thank you for your tips Adosa!

Unfortunately it's not so easy for me to frequently go to Thailand, I rather want to have some concrete information about the whens and wheres and so on.

To say the truth I don't know much about Sri Lanka, I've heard so many good things about Thailand, so I concentrated on this topic. Anyway I take a search in Google, and I'll see.

I’m still waiting for further information…

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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby puthujjana » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:39 pm

Bhikkhu Nyanatusita wrote a paper about monasteries in Sri Lanka:

http://bps.lk/other_library/information ... 08_jan.pdf

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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby Lampang » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:58 pm

I can't help much - at all, if truth be told - with ordination but the website for Wat Tamma Oh is at http://www.wattamaoh.com/home/index.php

As someone suggested, for visas, have a look at http://www.thaivisa.com/forum Most of the sub-forums can safely be ignored but you can find useful stuff in the visa sub-forum. It also has a Buddhist sub-forum which might have something. The regulations for a monastic visa can be seen at http://www.mfa.go.th/web/2482.php?id=2489 though it's a pretty uninformative site. Visas are a pain and the rules change often but as I understand it - and that doesn't necessarily mean much - your options are (i) Get a tourist visa (easy) which can be renewed for up to 90 days (or maybe longer, depending on how things are) (ii) Get a non-immigrant visa in your home country. As long as you meet the requirements for this you can extend it within the country but getting hold of the necessary paperwork from Thailand could be tricky (iii) Get a tourist visa, come to Thailand, get the paperwork for your non-immigrant visa, go to neighbouring country to get your non-immigrant visa and come back again. But as I've never had to do this, take what I said with a pinch/bucket of salt.
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby 5Khandas » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:18 am

Thanks for the replays.

As I'm reading the topic about E-Sangha, it seems it won't come back again. All the information is lost from there.
So I thing it'd be really good to collect those information here. Everything about the ordination or just about the staying as a guest in thai monasteries.

Not just for me, but for everybody who wants to go to Thailand.

Metta. :anjali:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:03 pm

Greetings,

This topic is so large that it would be difficult (for me) to start expounding on any particular aspect...so, if, perhaps, our 'mods' could pin this thread, or a variation thereof, we can slowly build up some content to refer to...in the interim I would be happy to answer any specific questions anyone might have...or at least try to point in the right direction... :thumbsup:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:34 am

I guess that's not flying...anyone is welcome to send me a PM... :smile:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:34 am

Hello Bhante, here's something I remember from my Childhood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfHptym_hXE

I'm not so fond of the fishing part, but otherwise it's got some good dhamma potential.

metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:25 pm

Right you are Jack...perhaps I was a might premature...

Although I could have done without eyeing the beautiful cheese and crackers at the end (it's pushing eight in the evening!)... :smile:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:12 pm

Oops, sorry Bhante :embarassed:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:45 pm

No, no...that was (an attempt) at humor... :pig:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:49 pm

:)

Oh, but I suppose we better get :focus: anyway

metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby 5Khandas » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:59 am

Hi all!

It's good to see this new sub-forum!

Meditation in Southeast Asia:
http://www.retreat-infos.de/Download/Retreats_in_Asia_Oct07.pdf

In this document there are a lot of information about some monasteries in Thailand (and also in Myanmar and Sri Lanka).

I hope this will be useful to someone.

Metta. :anjali:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby quincy_edgar_despres » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:45 am

This relevant to Thailand forest monks...
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethi ... onks/5472/

Powerful multinational interests are murdering the monastics and often illegally destroying the forests in Thailand putting pressure on the forest tradition and the livelihoods of rural villagers.
These developments have been happening for a while, and Thailand will likely not be able to produce another genuine forest movement after the current one subsides. Without forests in which monks can dwell in solitude and reinvigorate the tradition, the spiritual authenticity of Buddhism in Thailand will gradually subside and the world will lose one of the repositories of living religion.

Presumably the same thing will happen to Burma after the government is deposed and multinationals begin operations there in earnest. It was prophesied that the age of the Buddha Shakyamuni will last for another 2500 years, but at the rate of destruction of traditional culture in southeast Asia, it may end much sooner. Certainly a global modern industrial society is not conducive to spirituality.
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby 5Khandas » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:36 am

Greetings,

I found an interesting quote in the thaivisa forum. It's from the late E-Sangha, written by Dhammanando Bhikkhu about the ordination possibilities in Thailand.

Hello all,

I have lately been getting quite a few PM's enquiring about the practical details of ordaining as a bhikkhu in Thailand. Rather than replying to each separately I will just post to this thread and henceforth direct enquirers to it.

It used to be the case that foreigners could get ordained in Thailand very easily, indeed almost at the drop of a hat, but owing to abuse of the system (e.g., hippies getting ordained just so that they could get a long-term visa) new regulations were introduced that made bhikkhu ordination somewhat more difficult.

A non-Thai who wishes to ordain in Thailand and stay here long-term now needs to enter the country with a special "monk-to-be" visa. Strictly speaking, abbots are prohibited to ordain a foreigner who does not have one of these visas. In practice a lot of abbots outside Bangkok and the larger cities are ignorant of this rule (or else they know about it, but don't give a ######!) and will ordain foreigners who don't have it. However, if you ordain in this way it's likely that you'll run into problems when you apply for a visa extension. Therefore it's best to do things by the book.

To be eligible for a monk-to-be visa you will need to obtain a letter from an abbot in Thailand certifying that he is willing to ordain you. You will also need a letter of sponsorship from a Thai layman. (At some embassies it is sufficient to give the layman's name and address). This person will be making quite a big commitment, for he will be responsible for your behaviour and for repatriating you if you go insane, commit a crime or whatever.

So, given these new regulations, there are two ways that one can proceed. The better course, imo, is to come out to Thailand on a normal visa and spend a few months travelling about, visiting temples, going on retreats, questioning ajahns, making acquaintances etc., until you find some place or teacher that clicks with you. Then notify the abbot of your wish to ordain and follow whatever procedures are in place there. These will vary a lot; some abbots may write you a letter and find a lay sponsor for you straight away; if that happens then you just need to go to Laos or Malaysia, get the special visa, re-enter Thailand and you might be a bhikkhu by the end of the week. Other abbots will expect you to go through some kind of program, e.g., spending so many months as an 8-precept layman, then so many months as a samanera, before being eligible for bhikkhu ordination. If that's the case then you might need to enter and leave the country several times during your training, as the normal visas only last for 2-3 months.

Another way to proceed is to start attending a Thai temple in your home country and befriending the monks there. If they like you and trust that you're sincere they may be willing to arrange for an abbot in Thailand to issue a letter and find you a sponsor. I wouldn't myself recommend this procedure, however, for it has the drawback that you'll be committing yourself in advance to ordaining at a temple and with an abbot that you know nothing about. (Bear in mind that once ordained, your preceptor can insist that you stay with him for five years, so you really ought to select the man with some care). On the other hand, if you are only planning for a temporary ordination this might be the better way to go.

Once you have been ordained as a bhikkhu you will be eligible to apply for a one-year visa. This can be extended every year without needing to leave the country.

Regarding the best place to ordain for foreigners, this is a matter on which opinions will differ (and sometimes heatedly!). Obviously if you already have some faith in one or another of the Theravada sub-traditions (e.g., Mahasi-style vipassana, the forest tradition of Ajahn Mun or its off-shoot, the Ajahn Chah tradition, or Ajahn Buddhadasa, or Ajahn Naeb or whatever) then the choice will be dictated by that. For example, to train with Ajahn Maha Boowa you'll need to be ordained in the Dhammayuttika Nikaya; to be a monk in the Ajahn Chah tradition you'll probably need to start at Wat Pa Nanachat, etc. On the other hand, if you don't have any such prior commitment, then my own suggestion is that you start off at some place where you'll be trained properly in Vinaya. As far as I know this really cuts down the choices to three:

1) A Dhammayuttika Nikaya temple. In general the Vinaya observance is stricter in this Nikaya than in the Mahanikaya. The drawbacks, however, are that as a Dhammayutt monk you'll miss out on much of the richness of Thai Buddhism, you'll only be able to stay at about 5% of the temples in Thailand, Dhammayutt Abhidhamma scholarship is poor, and the one and only practice tradition is that of Ajahn Mun, with its eternalist doctrine of the "citta that lives for ever." Also the Vinaya observance tends in some respects to be pharisaical rather than virtuous; e.g., the Dhammayutts take pride in not using money, but in fact most of them do have bank accounts, even including some of the Ajahn Mun forest monks. They differ from money-using Mahanikaya monks only in that they don't physically handle the money.

2) Wat Pa Nanchat. This is Ajahn Cha's branch wat for training western monks. The Vinaya training in this wat is quite thorough and not so prone to Dhammayutt-style hypocrisy. The drawback is that you're not likely to learn very much Dhamma or to get competent guidance in meditation. Also, I don't think it's very healthy to be living with other western monks during one's formative years of training; too much time gets wasted on gossiping and squabbling.

3) Wat Tha Ma O; this is the Burmese monastery in Lampang of my own Pali teacher Sayadaw Dhammananda. Though the wat is primarily a Pali and Abhidhamma study centre, the sayadaw is also a meditation master and he gives his monks at least as good a Vinaya training as they'd get at Wat Pa Nanachat, but with much else besides. This is nowadays the only place in Thailand that I can wholeheartedly recommend for a western would-be bhikkhu.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. If you have any questions on this matter I'd prefer that they were posted here rather than sent by PM, unless they concern a matter that really needs to be kept private.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


I hope this will be useful for somebody (at least for me it was useful).

Metta :anjali:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby Faranglaos » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:02 pm

On 29th May 2010 i will be ordained at Wat Bhu Kra San, my Thai wifes home village. As with others on this forum this is to make merit for my wife and mother in law, and in line with Thai Culture for all males this will be for a period of approx 1 week only. The temple, being in Isaan, is of the Dhammayut Sect and i am desperately trying to find a copy of the odination ceremony in romanised Pali, english translation not vital but would also be appreciated. I am finding this very difficult as whilst there are several sites with the Mahanikaya version the Dhammayut is proving impossible to find. I am now extremely worried about the ceremony and feel that it will be impossible, even with prompts, to go through with this without first learning the Pali. As you can imagine, this is of great importance not only to myself but to my wife and her family.
I would be greatly appreciative if someone could possibly provide me with what i require or point me towards a website which may help.
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:25 pm

Hi & welcome!

I don't know of any resourses for you sorry, the only one that may help in other chanting I know of is http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... nting.html

Good Luck :anjali:
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby Bankei » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:41 pm

Faranglaos wrote:On 29th May 2010 i will be ordained at Wat Bhu Kra San, my Thai wifes home village. As with others on this forum this is to make merit for my wife and mother in law, and in line with Thai Culture for all males this will be for a period of approx 1 week only. The temple, being in Isaan, is of the Dhammayut Sect and i am desperately trying to find a copy of the odination ceremony in romanised Pali, english translation not vital but would also be appreciated. I am finding this very difficult as whilst there are several sites with the Mahanikaya version the Dhammayut is proving impossible to find. I am now extremely worried about the ceremony and feel that it will be impossible, even with prompts, to go through with this without first learning the Pali. As you can imagine, this is of great importance not only to myself but to my wife and her family.
I would be greatly appreciative if someone could possibly provide me with what i require or point me towards a website which may help.
Thank You


You can pick up a hard copy from the bookshop opposite Wat Boworn in Bangkok. The book is called "ordination procedure".

The differences between the two versions are only minor, most of it would be the same I think. BTW, even in Isaan Dhammayut temples are fewer than the Mahanikaya.
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Re: Ordination in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:59 am

Here is a video promoting young novice ordination in Thailand for the purpose of study:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Cgp3I0eJg4

(There is a Western monk teaching them English, too. The school is in Loei province.)
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