Seeking some advice

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

Seeking some advice

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:25 am

Its been few years I have been practicing Vipassana meditation as taught by SN Goenka, and i am planning to become a monk after few years from now. But i do not know any monasteries, teacher who follow the same technique here in United States and focus mainly on mediation rather then books. I like to follow the same technique i have been practicing. I don't know if it is good to switch to different technique. so can anyone give me some advice on good place, teachers for me.
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:03 am

Hi maverick

When I was at Dhammagiri 20 years ago a number of students approached SN Goenka with regard to ordination and I know that it was a fairly common occurance for some of his serious 'old' students to discuss ordination aspirations with him. When pressed, he would recommend some monasteries in Sri Lanka and a co-meditator friend of mine went to ordain as a bhikkhuni in Sri Lanka in 1990. I also understand that in recent years there is/has been at least one bhikkhu, in Burma, who is an assistant teacher within the SN Goenka 'tradition'. My recommendation to you is to make contact with the head teacher within your country and discuss your aspirations with him and/or her. I'm sure they would be able to give you some advice with regards to where you could ordain and still continnue your practice.
All the very best with your plans!
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:35 am

Ben wrote:Hi maverick

When I was at Dhammagiri 20 years ago a number of students approached SN Goenka with regard to ordination and I know that it was a fairly common occurance for some of his serious 'old' students to discuss ordination aspirations with him. When pressed, he would recommend some monasteries in Sri Lanka and a co-meditator friend of mine went to ordain as a bhikkhuni in Sri Lanka in 1990. I also understand that in recent years there is/has been at least one bhikkhu, in Burma, who is an assistant teacher within the SN Goenka 'tradition'. My recommendation to you is to make contact with the head teacher within your country and discuss your aspirations with him and/or her. I'm sure they would be able to give you some advice with regards to where you could ordain and still continnue your practice.
All the very best with your plans!
metta

Ben


Hi Ben

I know this does not help the OP, but my jaw dropped when I read your post. Is there really an ordained Bhikkhu who holds an ASSISTANT TEACHERS post in the SN GOENKA tradition. He would presumably be subordinate to Mr Goenka, who has a heirarchy of teaching positions up to Acharya's and then himself. My real consternation is that an ordained monk should place himself in an inferior position (spiritually) to a layperson within a structured organisation/group/sangha.

:smile:
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Kenshou » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:42 am

A good monk wouldn't care, I think.
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:42 am

Brizzy wrote:I know this does not help the OP, but my jaw dropped when I read your post. Is there really an ordained Bhikkhu who holds an ASSISTANT TEACHERS post in the SN GOENKA tradition. He would presumably be subordinate to Mr Goenka, who has a heirarchy of teaching positions up to Acharya's and then himself. My real consternation is that an ordained monk should place himself in an inferior position (spiritually) to a layperson within a structured organisation/group/sangha.

:smile:


I understand It's not so uncommon for monks to attend his retreats as students.

Do you think a robe automatically endows a superior teaching ability?
Last edited by Goofaholix on Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:49 am

maverick wrote:Its been few years I have been practicing Vipassana meditation as taught by SN Goenka, and i am planning to become a monk after few years from now. But i do not know any monasteries, teacher who follow the same technique here in United States and focus mainly on mediation rather then books. I like to follow the same technique i have been practicing. I don't know if it is good to switch to different technique. so can anyone give me some advice on good place, teachers for me.


The technique taught by Goenka's lineage is mostly taught within a lay movement. I've never heard of a monastery specialising in his technique, so if Ben's advice doesn't bear fruit I'd look at ordaining in the Ajahn Chah lineage. They are very flexible as far as meditation technique is concerned and many will have practiced Goenka style body sweeping, so you should be able to practice what you want to find someone who can give you advice.
"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: Seeking some advice

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:04 am

Hi Brizzy,
Brizzy wrote:I know this does not help the OP, but my jaw dropped when I read your post.

I sometimes have that effect on people!
(joke)

Is there really an ordained Bhikkhu who holds an ASSISTANT TEACHERS post in the SN GOENKA tradition.

If my information is correct. It was a few years ago when I was communicating with an old student at Dhamma Aloka in Victoria who was making plans to ordain. He told me of a Bhikkhu AT in Burma. I've heard of others but I never sustained the interest to find out the details from AT friends.

He would presumably be subordinate to Mr Goenka,

To be honest, I am not sure. I have noticed a protocol when bhikkhus and anagarikas join courses but I'm not au fait with the details or the nature of the relationship is.

My real consternation is that an ordained monk should place himself in an inferior position (spiritually) to a layperson within a structured organisation/group/sangha.

As I said, I'm not sure what the relationship is and whether a bhikkhu AT is infact subordinate to Mr Goenka. What I've noticed is Goenkaji's deep respect for the ordained sangha and of the sangha's respect for him. What i imagine is that an ordained member of the sangha would utilise the centre facilities, instructions and discourses in the same way as lay assistant teachers do.

You might be surprised to know that the organisation is less structured than you might imagine. Mr Goenka retired from teaching some years ago. While I can't comment on the governance of Dhammagiri, I know that local centres are managed by a trust consisting of serious 'old students' appointed for a fixed term of one or two years and nominated by assitant teachers and existing trust members. ATs cannot become trust members and the provision of instruction is separate from centre management and development.
Anyway, this is all tangential to the OP.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Ben » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:10 am

Goofaholix wrote:
maverick wrote:Its been few years I have been practicing Vipassana meditation as taught by SN Goenka, and i am planning to become a monk after few years from now. But i do not know any monasteries, teacher who follow the same technique here in United States and focus mainly on mediation rather then books. I like to follow the same technique i have been practicing. I don't know if it is good to switch to different technique. so can anyone give me some advice on good place, teachers for me.


The technique taught by Goenka's lineage is mostly taught within a lay movement. I've never heard of a monastery specialising in his technique, so if Ben's advice doesn't bear fruit I'd look at ordaining in the Ajahn Chah lineage. They are very flexible as far as meditation technique is concerned and many will have practiced Goenka style body sweeping, so you should be able to practice what you want to find someone who can give you advice.


That's a good point, Goof! Actually, Bhikkhu Appichatto might be someone of interest to contact. My understanding is that Bhikkhu Appichatto's practice is informed from the works of Bhikkhu Nyanaponika and others and I think his individual meditative practice is independent of the monastery where he resides. Perhaps I am wrong - but I do recommend sending Bhante a pm if he doesn't contribute to this thread.
metta

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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:32 am

Hi Ben,
How could i contact Bhikkhu Appichatto & Bhikkhu Nyanaponika, do you have email address ?
From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, enough to be RELEASED.

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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:49 am

maverick wrote:Hi Ben,
How could i contact Bhikkhu Appichatto & Bhikkhu Nyanaponika, do you have email address ?
A seance would be required for contact with Ven Nyanaponika (unless there is another I did not know about). Bhikkhu Appichatto can be PM'd here: memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=63
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:53 am

Hi Maverick

Nyanaponika Thera died years ago but his teachings are available in books. His classic "Heart of Buddhist Meditation": http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Buddhist-Me ... 0877280738 is very worthwhile.

Bhikkhu Appichatto is a member of this forum, you can send him a pm via his profile page: memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=63
kind regards

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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Sekha » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:43 am

Ben wrote: I also understand that in recent years there is/has been at least one bhikkhu, in Burma, who is an assistant teacher within the SN Goenka 'tradition'.

In case it would be helpful, I heard a similar story, plus I was given a name and adress:

Sayadaw Pyinyazawta

Thephyu Tawya Dhamma Yeiktha
Thephyu village
Hmawby district

I am also interested about this. I did not look further as I googled the name "Pyinyazawta" and didn't like what I found, although it could have been someone else entirely. So I thought maybe this monk had separated from Goenka's lineage to teach his own way, in which case I was not interested. As I see Ben says he would still be in Goenka's organization, I will dig deeper on the issue and then make you know what I find.

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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:08 am

monks learning from lay people is not as uncommon as you'd think, especially in Thailand where there have been some prominent female teachers. also i believe there are suttas where lay people have taught dhamma to monks as well.
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Shonin » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:24 am

Being a monk or a layperson is matter of life situation, not a matter of rank nor necessarily a matter of attainment. There are many highly realised lay teachers who may or may not have spent time as a monk or nun.
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:27 am

Hi Dukkhanirodha

I'll try and find out from my contacts as well.

Hi JC

monks learning from lay people is not as uncommon as you'd think,

Apparently Ledi Sayadaw when he was on his death-bed told his disciple monks to continue to take meditation instruction from his lay-disciple, Saya Thetgyi, a farmer.
kind regards

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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Brizzy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:39 am

Shonin wrote:Being a monk or a layperson is matter of life situation, not a matter of rank nor necessarily a matter of attainment. There are many highly realised lay teachers who may or may not have spent time as a monk or nun.


I agree. In the Buddha's time there were charlatan monks and highly realised laypeople.

However the Buddha would have looked askance at any monk who bowed down to a layman or served in a laymans organisation (junior member at that). The sangha stands apart as a the highest "spiritual group" not as individuals. I would bow down to the most degenerate monk (if he was still in the sangha), not because of who he is but because of what he represents.

:smile:

BTW One question that has always interested me is............If a layperson ordains and then leaves the sangha, is it reasonable to assume that they had not attained one of the paths? I have never come across this in the suttas (I should imagine if it were to be found it would be in the vinaya). Has anyone come across this in the sutta/vinaya?

:smile:
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:02 am

Brizzy wrote:
However the Buddha would have looked askance at any monk who bowed down to a layman or served in a laymans organisation (

:smile:

i dont know, i cant claim to know the mind of the Buddha

BTW One question that has always interested me is............If a layperson ordains and then leaves the sangha, is it reasonable to assume that they had not attained one of the paths? I have never come across this in the suttas (I should imagine if it were to be found it would be in the vinaya). Has anyone come across this in the sutta/vinaya?

:smile:

i suppose it would depend on why they disrobe
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Brizzy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:19 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:
Brizzy wrote:
However the Buddha would have looked askance at any monk who bowed down to a layman or served in a laymans organisation (

:smile:

i dont know, i cant claim to know the mind of the Buddha



I don't claim to know the Buddha's mind, I only read the suttas and the message they convey. You have to make your own mind up "What would the Buddha say".

:smile:
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:56 pm

Actually i like to get contact address of any monetarist, monks, who follow the same meditation technique as taught by SN Goenka,
I have send PM to Bhikku Appicchato, regarding my question and i am waiting his reply.
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Re: Seeking some advice

Postby Seaker » Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:11 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:
Ben wrote: I also understand that in recent years there is/has been at least one bhikkhu, in Burma, who is an assistant teacher within the SN Goenka 'tradition'.

In case it would be helpful, I heard a similar story, plus I was given a name and adress:

Sayadaw Pyinyazawta

Thephyu Tawya Dhamma Yeiktha
Thephyu village
Hmawby district

I am also interested about this. I did not look further as I googled the name "Pyinyazawta" and didn't like what I found, although it could have been someone else entirely. So I thought maybe this monk had separated from Goenka's lineage to teach his own way, in which case I was not interested. As I see Ben says he would still be in Goenka's organization, I will dig deeper on the issue and then make you know what I find.

:anjali:

They are obviously different Pyinyazawtas ! I've googled that name and the picture that comes out (with a monk and people related to the movie Burma VJ - what's to be disliked there by the way ?) is not the picture of the Sayadaw Pyinyazawta who is the teacher and abbot at Thephyu Meditation Center (and a former Goenka assistant - but his teaching style has moved on, and might be closer to Pa-Auk now... to be checked).
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