I'm 21 and live in London.
For a long time, I felt dissatisfaction with experiences that seemed to satisfy shortly and yet never fulfill. My studies into philosophy, sociology and psychology bred in me a vision of the delusion and control in modern society. It was by sheer coincidence that I stumbled across the Dhamma, and I knew that I had seen the beginnings of it through my own realisation, but now I had a structure and a tradition to guide that dissatisfaction and those spontaneous observations into genuine insights.
I feel like ordination is the answer for me. It fulfills all the questions I have had about what to do with my future, my livelihood - feeling like I had to go along with society's norms and my parents' desires for worldly success for me. It's not what I want. I always wanted to find a way of life that had spirituality at it's center (and even now, the closest I've got is my job at an occult bookstore/learning center in London - and while I have studied that stuff on and off for a decade, it's no longer the direction I want to go in spiritually as it's selfish, ego-driven and leads to nothing helpful for anyone else but yourself).
I have been attending Amaravati Monastery in Hemel Hempstead, UK, which I'm sure you guys know is a Thai Forest monastery. There are western monks there and it would be a decent place to ordain - however what I am wondering is whether there is much emphasis on studying actual Buddhist doctrine, because Ajahn Chah seems to me to be less about Theravada doctrine and more about generic meditation practice which may eventually inspire people into looking into the doctrine. Is this right, or what?
Part of me moreso wants to ordain in one of the Theravadin countries, away from western culture but not necessarily away from western monks (I'd feel a bit alienated at first otherwise) - perhaps Wat Pa Nanachat, but again I'm concerned about the possible lack of study in that particular place, I'm not sure. I am very interested in Pali and the Canon. I really enjoy what Bhikkhu Bodhi does and of sorts I would like to follow in his footsteps in that regard.
I've read some of the posts here but I'm still somewhat confused as to how to go about ordaining in a foreign country, let alone picking which one.
Can anybody help me out? Here's hoping that I've given you enough information to get a good idea of how to advise me. I'm saving up money, I'm preparing for the time I go forth. I just need to work out the whats and wheres.
Thanks everyone. Metta.