Age limit for entering monastic life?

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

Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:03 pm

It's pretty common in Thailand for ordination to be seen as a retirement programme, after all there is no superannuation in Thailand, the village Wats often contain a lot of of men and women of retirement age.

For forest Wats the lifestyle is physically demanding and they are unlikely to ordain someone they didn't think was physically up to it.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:01 pm

PhiloDhamma wrote:So, there is a cut-off age in at least one Canadian monastery. That seems to be a broader limitation across much or all of the West. There is no cut-off age in Thailand or Sri Lanka.


See my post earlier in this thread. There have been at least two men who have ordained at the age of 85 or greater at a temple in Los Angeles.

At the same time my present circumstances are pretty good, and I could move ahead as an 8 precept upasika with fairly generous--for lay life--opportunities for daily and extended practice.

Aya Khema ordained at 54. But she returned to the West eventually. It seems that most do, doesn't it? Does anyone know of others who have ordained so late in life?


You mentioned 'upasika' and Ayya Khema, so I assume you are a woman? Excellent, I admire the courage and discipline. I assume you also know about some of the controversy where there are some monastics and lay people (mostly men) who are opposed to bhikkhuni ordination and you will face many tests of your perseverance in that regard?

You can obtain sameneri (novice 10 precept) ordination in the West, but you may have to go to Sri Lanka for the full ordination after two years (for bhikkhuni ordination).
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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Postby PhiloDhamma » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:25 pm

Actually I am a man; I mentioned Aya Khema only because that is one example I know of where a person my age ordained in Sri Lanka. I know it is possible, that I would be accepted in SE Asia. For me it is mostly a question of the practicality of ordaining late in life. Aya Khema returned to the west before long. It seems like most of the Bhikkus from the West either disrobe or at least return to the West eventually. I wonder that so few seem to stay, and it makes me wonder if the life there is very harsh, which begs the question: perhaps 53 is pushing it a bit.

I'm studying Singhala now, to try to increase the odds that I can integrate.

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Re: Age limit for entering monastic life?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:24 pm

PhiloDhamma wrote:Actually I am a man;
It seems like most of the Bhikkus from the West either disrobe or at least return to the West eventually. I wonder that so few seem to stay, and it makes me wonder if the life there is very harsh, which begs the question: perhaps 53 is pushing it a bit.


Hi PhiloDhamma,

I think it is just a matter of choice for the monks and also that they normally stay at least 5 years with their preceptor. Some stay, some return to the West. Ven. Appicchato, who regularly posts here has remained in Thailand for about 30 years or so.

Phra Khru Baitika, Ph.D. "Phra Bart" ordained late in life and also lives in Thailand. Here is his bio:
edit: link not working, but can be found by going here and clicking on Phra Khru Baitika, Ph.D.
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... ry:Bhantes
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