Temporary Ordination

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

Temporary Ordination

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:59 pm

Greetings all,

Did the Buddha sanction temporary ordination? If He did not, what purpose does it serve?
With metta,

Justin
User avatar
theravada_guy
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:39 pm

it's a cultural thing
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:09 pm

jcsuperstar,

That's what I kinda figured. Thanks. :anjali:
With metta,

Justin
User avatar
theravada_guy
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:11 pm

All conditioned things are temporary. :juggling:
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1921
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:43 pm

he didn't prohibit it either! nor would it be a new thing, or completely cultural. there is an origin story to the rule about the maximum number of times someone can ordain where the man ordained 6 times, and disrobed then ordained again on the seventh they initially refused until they went to the Buddha to see what to do, and he set the rule of no more than seven ordinations, the common practice will be cultural, but not the taking of ordination for a temporary period of time whether planned, or not.
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5686
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby theravada_guy » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:19 am

Manapa,

Thanks! Despite my own thought that it was a cultural thing, you answered my question and corrected me. :anjali:
With metta,

Justin
User avatar
theravada_guy
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:06 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby appicchato » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:20 am

Manapa wrote:he didn't prohibit it either! nor would it be a new thing, or completely cultural. there is an origin story to the rule about the maximum number of times someone can ordain where the man ordained 6 times, and disrobed then ordained again on the seventh they initially refused until they went to the Buddha to see what to do, and he set the rule of no more than seven ordinations, the common practice will be cultural, but not the taking of ordination for a temporary period of time whether planned, or not.


Excuse me, but this is another case of apples and oranges...with reference to temporary ordination this is totally unrelated...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:30 am

appicchato wrote:
Manapa wrote:he didn't prohibit it either! nor would it be a new thing, or completely cultural. there is an origin story to the rule about the maximum number of times someone can ordain where the man ordained 6 times, and disrobed then ordained again on the seventh they initially refused until they went to the Buddha to see what to do, and he set the rule of no more than seven ordinations, the common practice will be cultural, but not the taking of ordination for a temporary period of time whether planned, or not.


Excuse me, but this is another case of apples and oranges...with reference to temporary ordination this is totally unrelated...


I have underlined the main points.
the story was to show that there is evidence of periods when someone could ordain and disrobe without being banned from ordaining in the future.
classing temporary ordination as only one certain cultural thing seams weak, so does classing everyone who disrobes as temporarily ordained.
I know some people and if I remember Ajahn Sumedho has also expressed this was his initial intention, that they wanted to ordain for a certain period of time then disrobe, and I know one former monk who was satisfied with the progress they had made, and felt the time was right to go back to lay life, never setting a time frame.

This would neither be cultural or ordaining only to disrobe because of disliking the life of a monastic. If the intention was to temporarily ordain then at the disrobing the circle is completed to cause it to be temporary ordination.
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5686
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby appicchato » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:02 am

Context, semantics, and probably a few other things thrown in as well...the gist of the OP's idea was (I think) that of ordaining for only a specific amount of time, calculated before ordaining...just offering one person's alternative view...it's all good... :smile:
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:46 am

appicchato wrote:Context, semantics, and probably a few other things thrown in as well...the gist of the OP's idea was (I think) that of ordaining for only a specific amount of time, calculated before ordaining...just offering one person's alternative view...it's all good... :smile:

temporary ordination is temporary ordination why narrow it to one aspect, when no specifics are identifiable.

although I do agree the op was probably referring to the cultural aspect, it seamed probable to me that there was an unawareness of the wider scope of it which isn't cultural, but a personal option that is possible, and something that happens, possibly being more noticeable with westerners, than the Eastern counterparts.
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."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5686
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:07 pm

There are many possibilities:
  • Someone ordains with the intention to remain for life, but his intention changes after a short time or a long time, and so he disrobes. Then he changes his mind and ordains again. There is no limit to the number of times someone can be ordained. As long as he did not commit an offence of defeat, and is still eligible for ordination due to being free from debt, etc., he can ordain again.
  • Someone ordains with the intention to disrobe after a fixed time limit, whether one day, one week, or one year. While a monk, his intention changes, and he decides to stay a little longer. Time goes by, and he eventually stays for life.
  • Someone ordains without any notion of how long he will remain, but just on a trial basis: as long as he is content with the monk's life he remains.
Some say that temporary ordination is worthless, and so discourage a potential candidate by saying, “If you cannot remain a monk for life, it is better not to ordain. If you disrobe after a few years it will be harder to get a wife, job, etc.” Such words are the unwholesome obstructive kamma of discouraging the wholesome deed of renunciation. Who knows what someone can achieve? Though their resolve may be weak, later they may realise the benefits of the monk's life and the disadvantages of household life, and their resolve will strengthen.

The Burmese idea behind temporary ordination is generally this: “I have family commitments and am deeply immersed in samsāra. Although I cannot renounce for the entire life, I can manage for one week or one month. This wholesome deed of renunciation leads to the accumulation of potential (pāramī). If my circumstances permit in the future, I will ordain again, or perhaps ordain permanently.” Then if that man's wife wants a divorce, or if she dies, or when the children are grown up, it is much easier for him to become a monk since he has already friends in the Sangha and among faithful lay supporters who would support his ordination.

The Buddha knew beforehand what Devadatta would do, so why did he sanction his ordination? If he knew that Devadatta would create a schism in the Sangha, which only a bhikkhu can do, thus ensuring his rebirth in hell after death, why did he permit Devadatta to go forth? The Buddha realised that by practising as a monk for some years, gaining jhānas and psychic powers, that Devadatta would accumulate sufficient perfections to set a limit to his suffering in samsāra.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 1921
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby suanck » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:12 pm

I understand that Temporary Ordination is popular in Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, but this practice is not popular in Sri Lanka. Is it correct ?

Suan
suanck
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:51 am

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby MJH » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:09 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The Burmese idea behind temporary ordination is generally this: “I have family commitments and am deeply immersed in samsāra. Although I cannot renounce for the entire life, I can manage for one week or one month. This wholesome deed of renunciation leads to the accumulation of potential (pāramī). If my circumstances permit in the future, I will ordain again, or perhaps ordain permanently.” Then if that man's wife wants a divorce, or if she dies, or when the children are grown up, it is much easier for him to become a monk since he has already friends in the Sangha and among faithful lay supporters who would support his ordination.


This is a very interesting thought. Ordination is something that I have never truly thought feasible given my responsibilities at this time. But after looking at this I'm seeing new possibilities. So a few thoughts pop up... Is this worth it? Knowing that you will return to lay life after a set amount of time.
MJH
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby appicchato » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:55 pm

MJH wrote:Is this worth it?


I believe that's a question only you can answer...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1558
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:02 pm

MJH wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The Burmese idea behind temporary ordination is generally this: “I have family commitments and am deeply immersed in samsāra. Although I cannot renounce for the entire life, I can manage for one week or one month. This wholesome deed of renunciation leads to the accumulation of potential (pāramī). If my circumstances permit in the future, I will ordain again, or perhaps ordain permanently.” Then if that man's wife wants a divorce, or if she dies, or when the children are grown up, it is much easier for him to become a monk since he has already friends in the Sangha and among faithful lay supporters who would support his ordination.


This is a very interesting thought. Ordination is something that I have never truly thought feasible given my responsibilities at this time. But after looking at this I'm seeing new possibilities. So a few thoughts pop up... Is this worth it? Knowing that you will return to lay life after a set amount of time.


Have you been to any centers or done any retreats yet? I would think that such things would be in order first. Also remember there are other options like longer retreats or a residency.

If the opportunity came up for me (time off, ability to travel) I wouldn't hesitate.

-M
meindzai
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:06 am

i had planed, for years, to ordain for life, worked on saving up to pay off all my debts had a pretty meager existence for quite sometime, then as i was living in a temple here on the verge of leaving i met a thai girl who started helping me with my thai and well now we're married so unless she dies or dies first i have no plans to ordain for life, however i will ordain temporarily (maybe 3 months to a year) since 1. i want to, and 2. shes thai and her parents have no sons so i would be making merit for her family and be becoming more a part of thai culture. i'm looking forward to it, i think it will do wonders for my practice, my attitude, my patience etc, i've had nothing but great experiences with my extended stays in temples and i'm quite sure this longer stay will be of great benefit not only to me but my married life as well.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Temporary Ordination

Postby LauraJ » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:46 am

I know there must be a simple answer to this :)
Who do people take temporary ordination? Does it benefit one's later lay practice? Is it done for reasons of virtue?

Thanks!
Laura
Dharma Wheel
Buddha Blog

Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth. -The Dhammapada
User avatar
LauraJ
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:38 pm

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:05 am

I think it could be like an extended retreat. While on retreat it is sort of like being monastic, temporarily.

jcsuperstar has a great answer here:

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=3359&p=49476#p49476
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7912
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:01 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:There are many possibilities:
....

:goodpost:
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Temporary Ordination

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:39 am

Temporary ordination is when one ordains with the intention of it being for a specific period of time or at least with the idea that this is something you're going to do before going on to something else.

Of course everything is impermanent and sometimes things don't work out for someone who intended to go forth for life, but to me that's different, the intention wasn't that it be temporary.

I, and I think most westerners, struggle to believe that temporary ordination is anything close to the ideal of going forth from home to homelessness, and in a world where retreat centres are readily available I don't really see the point other than cultural.

Despite this I did ordain for 3 months before getting married for much the same reasons as outlined by jcsuperstar as my wife is thai and it seemed like the best way for me to get a good long retreat before getting married.

I was lucky to get into a very good forest wat and it was a really good experience but even so I think I probably would have gained more from doing something like the 3 month retreat at IMS.

I do think temporary ordination cheapens the ideal of monkhood and it would be better if people did retreats instead like we do in the West unless they want to make a long commitment, but it was a matter of fitting in with the culture I was marrying into and making a compromise that benefited everyone.
"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
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1828
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Next

Return to Ordination and Monastic Life

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest