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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

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

Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:19 am

Hello all,

I have read the sad stories of western monks ordained in Thailand who weren't able to follow strict meditation practice. I wonder, can a westerner ordain in other countries such as Burma and Sri Lanka?

Are there good monasteries where one can get quickly ordained and become a meditating monk? If in Thailand it is very hard to be a meditating monk, what about in other countries like Burma or Sri Lanka?


Thanks,


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:38 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,

I have read the sad stories of western monks ordained in Thailand who weren't able to follow strict meditation practice. I wonder, can a westerner ordain in other countries such as Burma and Sri Lanka?

Are there good monasteries where one can get quickly ordained and become a meditating monk? If in Thailand it is very hard to be a meditating monk, what about in other countries like Burma or Sri Lanka?


Yes, and yes.

Where did you come across these sad stories?
"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
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:47 am

Goofaholix wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Hello all,

I have read the sad stories of western monks ordained in Thailand who weren't able to follow strict meditation practice. I wonder, can a westerner ordain in other countries such as Burma and Sri Lanka?

Are there good monasteries where one can get quickly ordained and become a meditating monk? If in Thailand it is very hard to be a meditating monk, what about in other countries like Burma or Sri Lanka?


Yes, and yes.

Where did you come across these sad stories?



I've read sad stories in:
Food for thought: the Occidental monk in Thailand...
viewtopic.php?f=30&t=3593

Also Ven, Dhammika's file on "Broken Buddha" and some things about what a western anagarika may get into.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby appicchato » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:04 am

One needs to look at the big picture, and not necessarily only the views of a disgruntled few...a monk in Thailand can meditate all he wants to...generally speaking a monk, in a temple, has no more than three or four hours a day of monastic duties...i.e. alms round, morning and evening chanting, and the occasional ceremony...additionally, a temple isn't a prison...one doesn't have to reside in one...
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:49 am

appicchato wrote:One needs to look at the big picture, and not necessarily only the views of a disgruntled few...a monk in Thailand can meditate all he wants to...generally speaking a monk, in a temple, has no more than three or four hours a day of monastic duties...i.e. alms round, morning and evening chanting, and the occasional ceremony...additionally, a temple isn't a prison...one doesn't have to reside in one...

thank you ajahn! i wanted to post something earlier about my experiences with this as well but you did a great job.
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
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby BlackBird » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:20 am

Alex123 wrote:Are there good monasteries where one can get quickly ordained


What's the hurry?
"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 Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby gavesako » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:54 pm

If you ordain just in order to "meditate" all the time, then you might be frustrated because this is not all the monks' life is about. Better stay a layperson in that case. But if you want to use the whole monk's lifestyle for awakening, then you will find it quite supportive.
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:15 am

BlackBird wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Are there good monasteries where one can get quickly ordained


What's the hurry?


I am certain of a lifestyle that I want to lead: monastic, reclusive and meditative. I have been thinking about ordaining for quite some time now. So this just didn't pop into my head and it wasn't always welcomed. (At first the idea seemed like sheer drop off).

I do not want to go through the trial period where I will be a servant boy. That is not what monasticism (dedicated to Awakening) is about. Furthermore my health isn't perfect yet (it is the major block for me, right now. But I will find a way out. That is the major reason why I am not ordained yet).

And the hurry is, our time is too precious. Death can occur any moment. No amount of sensual pleasure is worth it, but Holy Life is. Also as general rule, with age, health just goes down. And health (or lack of it) can be an obstacle. So the earlier I get to ordained, the longer I will be able to develop the Holy Life.


With metta,

Alex
Last edited by Alex123 on Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:17 am

Dear Bhante,

gavesako wrote:If you ordain just in order to "meditate" all the time, then you might be frustrated because this is not all the monks' life is about. Better stay a layperson in that case. But if you want to use the whole monk's lifestyle for awakening, then you will find it quite supportive.



I am sure that ordinary life with full time job (and all the responsibilites) is much harder for meditation practice.


It doesn't seem for me to make much sense to ordain just to change one full time job with another. IMHO.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby BlackBird » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:59 am

Alex123 wrote:I am certain of a lifestyle that I want to lead: monastic, reclusive and meditative.


You're certain now, but what about in the future? Are you sure you'll always be certain? What about impermanence, do you think your certainty is not subject to impermanence? Is it somehow an exception to the universal law of impermanence?

Alex123 wrote:I do not want to go through the trial period where I will be a servant boy. That is not what monasticism (dedicated to Awakening) is about.).


From my experience "trial periods" serve a more pragmatic purpose, it allows the Sangha to get to know you as a person before they accept you into the fold. The monastic environment attracts a wide variety of individuals, not all of whom are suited to the lifestyle. Most good monasteries will have a trial period, if you don't have the patience to last that out, chances are you won't have the patience for the real thing.

What's wrong with being a servant boy anyway? Do you think you're too good to serve others?

Alex123 wrote:So the earlier I get to ordained, the longer I will be able to develop the Holy Life.


What about Upasikas, Anagarikas and Samaneras - Are they not able to develop the holy life?

I get the feeling you're at the stage where you think at least a portion of your troubles will go away if you get to ordain. Having gone through that, I can tell you it just leads to disappointment. This is because our troubles are inherent in the way our mind works, not in the external world.


Coming back to this:

Alex123 wrote:I do not want to go through the trial period where I will be a servant boy. That is not what monasticism (dedicated to Awakening) is about.).


Well, to a great extent the monastic life is about giving up what you want, so how do you expect to do this if you can't wait out a trial period?

I'm not trying to put you off, but I am trying to encourage in you a little introspection. I realize I have been kind of sharp, but I have not been sharp out of malice or ill will, but out of a desire to help. What I see here is pretty much how I thought a year ago. I think if I had been given the chance to ordain then, I would have disrobed by now. Perhaps you will say something about individualism and everybody being different but history is rich with examples of people who have joined quickly and left quickly - Just ask some of the venerable Bhikkhus who post here.

metta
Jack
"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 Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby appicchato » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:58 am

Alex...follow your heart...(and not necessarily you head)...and you should be fine...

Wishing you the best in your endeavor... :smile:
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:46 am

I have heard this before!

are you who I think you are??
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:57 am

BlackBird wrote:You're certain now, but what about in the future? Are you sure you'll always be certain? What about impermanence, do you think your certainty is not subject to impermanence? Is it somehow an exception to the universal law of impermanence?


I've considered other options as well. My heart just ain't in the lay life.

BlackBird wrote:From my experience "trial periods" serve a more pragmatic purpose, it allows the Sangha to get to know you as a person before they accept you into the fold. The monastic environment attracts a wide variety of individuals, not all of whom are suited to the lifestyle. Most good monasteries will have a trial period, if you don't have the patience to last that out, chances are you won't have the patience for the real thing.

I get the feeling you're at the stage where you think at least a portion of your troubles will go away if you get to ordain. Having gone through that, I can tell you it just leads to disappointment. This is because our troubles are inherent in the way our mind works, not in the external world.

Well, to a great extent the monastic life is about giving up what you want, so how do you expect to do this if you can't wait out a trial period?


Good comments. But in any case, the distractions (like duties and responcibilites) are distractions.

In one of the suttas Fondness for activity (Kammārāmataṃ) & fondness for talk are obstacles.

Fondness for activity (Kammārāmataṃ), fondness for talk (bhassārāmataṃ), fondness for sleep (niddārāmataṃ), fondness for company (saṅgaṇikārāmataṃ), non-control in the mental faculties (indriyesu aguttadvārataṃ) and not knowing the right amount to eat (bhojane amattaññutaṃ). PTS AN 3.449



BlackBird wrote:What's wrong with being a servant boy anyway? Do you think you're too good to serve others?


I can help others better by awakening first and then behaving from that.

Sn 1.3 quotes
For a sociable person there are allurements; on the heels of allurement, this pain. Seeing allurement's drawback, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
As a deer in the wilds, unfettered, goes for forage wherever it wants: the wise person, valuing freedom, wanders alone like a rhinoceros.

People follow & associate for a motive. Friends without a motive these days are rare. They're shrewd for their own ends, & impure. Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.03.than.html




BlackBird wrote:What about Upasikas, Anagarikas and Samaneras - Are they not able to develop the holy life?


They and lay people can (or could) as well. It just seems to me that reclusive monks has an easier & quicker progress - if done right.


BlackBird wrote:I'm not trying to put you off, but I am trying to encourage in you a little introspection. I realize I have been kind of sharp, but I have not been sharp out of malice or ill will, but out of a desire to help. What I see here is pretty much how I thought a year ago. I think if I had been given the chance to ordain then, I would have disrobed by now. Perhaps you will say something about individualism and everybody being different but history is rich with examples of people who have joined quickly and left quickly - Just ask some of the venerable Bhikkhus who post here.

metta
Jack
[/quote]


As I've said, this idea was present for a long while. I am not the kind of a person who just woke up with the idea to ordain, and went to ordain. In fact it may have been too long.


Thank you very much for your post, it was very helpful.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Bankei » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:29 pm

Alex123 wrote:I do not want to go through the trial period where I will be a servant boy. That is not what monasticism (dedicated to Awakening) is about.
Alex


No, monasticism about being served maybe :rolleye:
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby alan » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:23 pm

Your age and health problems are relevant, would you care to share that information?
Maybe you could also tell us what prevents you from arranging your life in such a way that you have many hours a day to devote to practice...?
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:49 pm

alan wrote:Your age and health problems are relevant, would you care to share that information?
Maybe you could also tell us what prevents you from arranging your life in such a way that you have many hours a day to devote to practice...?


26 y.
After daily chores I am usually too tired to have clear meditation sittings (often I fall into drowsy state). So I try to put more emphasis on sitting morning sessions, and mindfulness in daily activities. But even with "mindfulness in daily activities" it doesn't work well when you have to think about task that you are doing.

As to health: Very low energy levels & muscle pain. Unexplained pain in both ankles (I have to take painkillers day and night, to be able to walk). Some skin conditions, (this is the easier part to get rid off, eventually).

I know, I have lots of hurdles to clear. Dukkha is part of samsara and life is inseparable from suffering...
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:23 pm

Alex123 wrote: But even with "mindfulness in daily activities" it doesn't work well when you have to think about task that you are doing.


what do you think mindfulness is?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:44 pm

Manapa wrote:
Alex123 wrote: But even with "mindfulness in daily activities" it doesn't work well when you have to think about task that you are doing.


what do you think mindfulness is?


IMHO,

Being aware of the cognitive process happening now and not forgeting that body is just the body, feeling is just a feeling, mind is just the mind, thus not fashioning storylines that produce lust and hatred .

But when, lets say, I have to listen and type something, I get too involved in conventional stuff and forget about mindfulness at that time. When things (lets say in the kitchen) are moving fast, it is hard to remain an observer of the process and things like "hardness, softeness, temperature, motion), etc.

I am working on it, however.
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Re: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:17 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Manapa wrote:
Alex123 wrote: But even with "mindfulness in daily activities" it doesn't work well when you have to think about task that you are doing.


what do you think mindfulness is?


Being aware of the cognitive process happening now.

But when, lets say, I have to listen and type something, I get too involved in conventional stuff and forget about mindfulness at that time. When things (lets say in the kitchen) are moving fast, it is hard to remain an observer of the process and things like "hardness, softeness, temperature, motion), etc.

I am working on it, however.


as I work in a kitchen now and as a chef for a few years, I know it is or can be difficult when there are 200+ covers a day, but it isn't the speed we are moving that is important but the knowing what we are doing, accidents and hospital visits happen when this lapses, speed not much to do with it.

so why not practice what needs to be practiced, developed, cultivated, instead of what can be done?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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: Ordination in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand,

Postby Virgo » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:24 am

Alex123 wrote:
Manapa wrote:
Alex123 wrote: But even with "mindfulness in daily activities" it doesn't work well when you have to think about task that you are doing.


what do you think mindfulness is?


IMHO,

Being aware of the cognitive process happening now and not forgeting that body is just the body, feeling is just a feeling, mind is just the mind, thus not fashioning storylines that produce lust and hatred .

But when, lets say, I have to listen and type something, I get too involved in conventional stuff and forget about mindfulness at that time. When things (lets say in the kitchen) are moving fast, it is hard to remain an observer of the process and things like "hardness, softeness, temperature, motion), etc.

I am working on it, however.

I like this post Alex. It is good to hear you understand to some degree.

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