deepak chopra ordains in thailand

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deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:25 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/a-monk_b_651921.html

pretty interesting!

Over the last two decades I have occasionally taken a week of silence to renew my spirit. A few years ago, I found out that there was a tradition in Thailand where some CEOs of major businesses and politicians would take a week or two of silent retreat as ordained Buddhist monks. This was to remind them to be humble in spirit and anchor themselves in sobriety. When I recently met Joy Sopitpongstorn who is a friend from Thailand, I asked her if it was possible for a "foreigner" to "ordain." Joy is a long time friend of mine who has attended my courses in India. After making some inquiries, Joy informed me that she had obtained permission for me to come on a "monk's journey" for two weeks.

So off I went to Thailand on June 26th
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: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:19 am

Well...
I'm no fan of Deepak Chopra, but I do hope he gets genuine benefit from the experience.
Thanks for the newsbreak JC!

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:29 am

i thought it was interesting at the very least. at least now he can say he's practiced Buddhism instead of just writing what he thinks about it. :tongue:
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: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby appicchato » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:41 am

Found it reeeally tough to get all the way through the Huffpost article...
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:48 am

appicchato wrote:Found it reeeally tough to get all the way through the Huffpost article...
Indeed. He is a bit of a blowhard.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:
appicchato wrote:Found it reeeally tough to get all the way through the Huffpost article...
Indeed. He is a bit of a blowhard.

What is scary is that this guy is supposed to be some sort of spiritual guru. But his account has less depth than I'd expect from one of our members making their first trip to Asia...

Mike
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:29 pm

We must hope that his experience in the robe might change him...
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby appicchato » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:08 pm

We must hope that his experience in the robe might change him...


A few days?...
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:18 pm

I remember being surprised some years back when he was mentioned as assisting with the script for the big budget Buddha movie... The project was put on the shelf but seems to have been revived again. Chopra may be preparing to assist once again.

In 2004 he came with no creditials. Since then he wrote a book and graphic novel on the Buddha. Now he can say he "was ordained as a Buddhist monk for two weeks."

Cough, cough.

:thumbsup:

P.S. Auditions are still on for the role of Buddha, if anyone's interested.

http://www.buddha-movie.com/actors/register
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:51 pm

appicchato wrote:
We must hope that his experience in the robe might change him...


A few days?...

Maybe he is a quick learner... ;)
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby christopher::: » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:51 pm

If this marks the beginning of a deeper exploration of the dhamma for Chopra, then great, my hats off to him. On the other hand, if its just some Buddhist notches he wanted on his belt, for his career as a "spiritual authority" i can understand feelings of distaste. Kind of like someone marrying your sister for 2 weeks so that he could sleep with her, knowing beforehand that he had no intention of sticking around and building a relationship.

:thinking:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby adeh » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:08 pm

I wonder if his photographer ordained too.
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:49 pm

adeh wrote:I wonder if his photographer ordained too.
Yes, we must a have a photographer to document how humble we are. His little journey would have been believable had he not had a photographer following him arouund, but when you are a famous blowhard what are you going to do?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:02 am

After a few days of this hardship, I moved to the Forest Monastery, Chiang Khong, where I was to be officially ordained. Joy's brother Jate, a young man of 36 years, decided at the last moment that he would ordain with me. The second monastery, which was under the guidance of the Venerable Abbott Arjarn Ekachai, was more comfortable then the previous one in that we had running water.

The ordainment ceremony required us to memorize some of the teachings of Buddha and chant them in Pali. Pali is a Sanskrit derivative language and was indeed the language spoken at the time of the Buddha. Surprisingly, I did not find it difficult to memorize the verses that I was asked to recite for the ordainment. The ordainment ceremony began at 6:00 AM in the morning at the Forest Monastery, Chiang Kong. About 1,000 villagers from 13 neighboring villages showed up to witness it.

After a lot of chanting and instructions by Venerable Arjarn Ekachai and another senior monk on the responsibilities of an ordained monk, including following the five precepts, understanding the Four Noble Truths, and the Eight-fold Path to Enlightenment, we also had to undergo a head shaving ceremony. I did not realize that the shaving would include my eyebrows. But by this time, I had let go of all attachments for the time being and decided to surrender to the whole process. My son Gotham was there to witness and film the ceremony as I and Jate went through the process.

After the head shaving ceremony, the villagers lined up one by one to tie threads around our wrists. This was symbolic and meant that the villagers and monks had embraced us as their family. This part of the ceremony took two hours, and Jate and I sat cross-legged on the floor for it.

After the "thread ceremony," all the villagers were fed food that had been cooked by volunteers. All this took us to about noon, after which Jate and I mounted two elephants as part of a parade to the Buddhist Temple, where the ordainment and wearing of the monks robes was to take place. The parade was very festive, with drumming and chanting, and the villagers were all dressed in colorful celebratory outfits.

We dismounted our elephants upon reaching the temple where the actual ordainment ceremony began. This lasted five hours with me and Jate reciting our Buddhist chants to prove that we had done our "homework."

Finally, we were asked to give up our clothes and exchange them for the monk's robes. As Jate and I walked out of the temple at about 5:30 PM in the evening with our begging bowls and in monk robes, all of the villagers prostrated themselves at our feet with reverence, made offerings, and filled up our begging bowls. We were now ordained.

Back in the monastery the Venerable Arjarn Ekachai instructed us on our routine, which was to be similar to the one at the previous monastery. Over the next week, we maintained silence and kept the routine as instructed.

My only challenge was walking barefoot through the villages. The country paths were at times rocky and at times full of bristles and thorns, but we marched through it despite the pain. The Venerable Arjarn Ekachai would meet with us in the afternoon and late evening where he would go over our practice of mindfulness.

Because there were no mirrors, we did not know what we looked like to ourselves. The others treated us with great respect and reverence and the villagers were very generous in the giving of alms, which mostly included rice, vegetables, fruit, boiled eggs, and sometimes even a bar of chocolate.

It was amazing to see to see the generosity and love and the reverence in the eyes of the peasants as they offered food to us. We ate once a day as in the previous monastery.

By and by, I started to feel that I was losing my sense of my previous identity. Physically, I was without hair on my scalp or my eyebrows. I walked barefoot. I wore the robe of monks. I practiced mindful awareness day and night, in addition to meditating on impermanence and on my own physical death. The Venerable Arjarn Ekachai explained that being in this mindful state and shedding our previous identity allowed divine qualities to emerge -- lovingkindness, compassion to all beings, happiness at the happiness of others, and equanimity. Indeed I felt the truth of all this in my experience. I realized that holding on to anything is really like holding on to your breath. You begin to feel suffocation. It was freeing to let go.

Before we went to the closing ceremony, we took our hair and packed it in palm leaves and went to the Mekong River, which runs between Thailand and Laos. We boarded a boat and went toward a shrine along the river banks, where we offered our hair to the river and it floated away. This was symbolic of letting go of our habitual certainties and attachments and creating the space for new and better and more spiritual things in our lives. The hair, which is part of our body and came from the elements, was returned to the elements.

After a full week, Jate and I returned to Bangkok once again wearing our regular clothes. But, when I looked into the mirror, I could not recognize myself and burst out laughing.


"did our homework" "for the time being" "reverence in the eyes of the peasants".....

Does sound a bit spooky if you re-read carefully. Chopra didn't just do a 2 week vipassana retreat, he ordained as a monk in a deeply meaningful public ceremony, with about a thousand witnesses. I can appreciate how bhante appicchato and others (who take ordination very very seriously) might feel a bit sick or queasy...

:toilet:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby Goedert » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:38 am

If he is in robes he is deserved and must be respect as such.

:anjali:
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:41 am

Greetings Goedert,

Goedert wrote:If he is in robes he is deserved and must be respect as such.

I don't know... it would seem a pre-cursor to that would be him having respect for the robes. Is a fortnightly period of ordination with no intention of persisting beyond that time actually respect for the robes?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:28 am

Temporary ordination is the norm in Thailand and could hardly be seen as disrespecting the robe if taken seriously. A number of members here have been ordained.

As I said, what bothers me is that DC sounds like a complete novice. Those are the sort of thoughts I've had in Thailand when doing things such as accompanying my teacher on alms round (to carry the offerings, which soon get too heavy if you do an alms round in Bangkok...). What he says about how touching that sort of experience is is correct (and I wasn't even the one receiving them directly).

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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:45 am

Goedert wrote:If he is in robes he is deserved and must be respect as such.

:anjali:
He is no longer in the robes and a bhikkhu, just because because he is wearing robes, is not above criticism, ever.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby phil » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:03 am

I think it's great, I read his books before I came across the Dhamma, and I left them behind, but they helped at the time. I have no concern about the Dhamma being diluted or corrupted because it already is. If what he writes/says about his experiences brings more people into a big wide gate that vaguely leads in the direction of "Buddhism", more people will eventually make it through the narrow gate into Theravada, I say. :smile:
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: deepak chopra ordains in thailand

Postby phil » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:52 am

phil wrote:I think it's great, I read his books before I came across the Dhamma, and I left them behind, but they helped at the time. I have no concern about the Dhamma being diluted or corrupted because it already is. If what he writes/says about his experiences brings more people into a big wide gate that vaguely leads in the direction of "Buddhism", more people will eventually make it through the narrow gate into Theravada, I say. :smile:


Hi again

Kind of related to what I wrote above, I found this from a member TG3(?) in the "Dhamma and my Marriage" thread in the Personal Experience corner. I think it is a good example of how people can be brought to the Buddha's teaching in many different ways.

"May I go off topic for a moment on my own thread? I came across Buddhism in a rather odd way, never imagining the important role it would one day play in my life. Several years ago I saw a news article on a website about the Taliban in Afghanistan destroying a large Buddhist statue carved into the side of a mountain. Having heard about Buddhism through the many years of my life but never having investigated it (I was "areligious," if I may coin my own word), I was curious about the statue and why the Taliban thought it so important to destroy it. I have since surmised the latter but it was in following the links to the former that I began to learn just what Buddhism was all about. I researched it from time to time for a while and about a little over a year ago, I became in my own estimation, "a Buddhist." "


I'm sure Deepak Chopra's writing about his experiences with ordination will lead to even more people discovering the Buddha's teaching than the Taliban blowing up those statues. Well, here's hoping...

And thanks for letting me post your comment out of context TG3.

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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