What is holding you back from ordaining?

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

Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:39 am

Viscid wrote:Okay, so what does "May all heavenly beings protect you." mean? Doesn't that imply that there are external, real heavenly beings which choose to protect some people and not others? Do you believe that? This doesn't raise any red flags?

If I ever even think of ordaining, the doubt which accompanies beliefs such as this immediately stops me in my tracks.


That may be one of the reasons why "doubt" is the 5th hindrance.

The monk can have sceptical doubt, but he is advised to note it mindfully without clining to it.

"When sceptical doubt is present in him, the monk knows, "There is sceptical doubt in me," or when sceptical doubt is absent he knows, "There is no sceptical doubt in me." He knows how the arising of non-arisen sceptical doubt comes to be; he knows how the rejection of the arisen sceptical doubt comes to be; and he knows how the non-arising in the future of the rejected sceptical doubt comes to be."
— MN 10 (Satipatthana Sutta)

Sceptical Doubt
A man traveling through a desert, aware that travelers may be plundered or killed by robbers, will, at the mere sound of a twig or a bird, become anxious and fearful, thinking: "The robbers have come!" He will go a few steps, and then out of fear, he will stop, and continue in such a manner all the way; or he may even turn back. Stopping more frequently than walking, only with toil and difficulty will he reach a place of safety, or he may not even reach it.

It is similar with one in whom doubt has arisen in regard to one of the eight objects of doubt. Doubting whether the Master is an Enlightened One or not, he cannot accept it in confidence, as a matter of trust. Unable to do so, he does not attain to the paths and fruits of sanctity. Thus, as the traveler in the desert is uncertain whether robbers are there or not, he produces in his mind, again and again, a state of wavering and vacillation, a lack of decision, a state of anxiety; and thus he creates in himself an obstacle for reaching the safe ground of sanctity (ariya-bhumi). In that way, sceptical doubt is like traveling in a desert.
- Thanissaro "The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest "
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/wheel026.html
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:05 am

Can we please come back to my original question?


Which lifestyle fits better, the monastic (with its imperfections). Sure there may be many ceremonies, but is it that bad? Can one abstain from office-politics and remain a monk (reject being an abbot) and don't aspire to climb a monastic ladder?

Or

Holding a full time job, worrying about taxes, bosses, coworkers, providing necessities, paying bills, etc?


With best wishes,

Alex
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:18 am

From my observation you won't be free of various conflicts as a monk. Anyone who thinks so probably hasn't spent any time in a monastery...

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:37 am

mikenz66 wrote:From my observation you won't be free of various conflicts as a monk. Anyone who thinks so probably hasn't spent any time in a monastery...

Mike



But are they less than those one would find in lay life? Are those monastic conflicts (of course there will be some) less distracting from Dhamma than lay one's?

Or to ask directly:

Which path is quicker and better for progress toward maggaphala?


With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:21 am

Alex123 wrote:Which path is quicker and better for progress toward maggaphala?


To have a reliable and trustful answer to this question, we should only question real maggaphalas. We need equal number of subjects coming from both paths, lay and monastic, then we have to compare how fast and easily they have reached the status of maggaphala.

;)
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby grasshopper » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:23 am

Alex123 wrote:
I have a question. What exactly do you mean by "ugly office politics?" . Is it possible for a simple monk to avoid it? Don't climb the ladder, don't become an abott. Aren't there just as much, if not more, politics in the lay life when it comes to bosses coworkers, the government tax agencies (IRS, CCRA, etc)?


What I mean by office-politics is its literal meaning. Even though monasteries are not offices and are mostly run by monks - who are suppose to be very nice - and even if one does not wish to climb the ladder and be an abbot, you, still, will, unfortunately, find back-biting, back-scratching amongst monks and anagarikas too. Merely changing one's costumes in to a robe and shaving the head does NOT dispel the not-so-nice human qualities that plague men and women. It is not uncommon for a senior monk to pick on a junior monk if the former is having a bad day. It is not uncommon, even between abbots of Western monasteries to hold grudges and b!tch against each other. When I first got to know of such unhealthy practises in monasteries, I literally felt dizzy and shattered because I held the robes in high veneration. One would not get to know these things until one has a chance to get closely associated with a monastery and see how things run. May be this is why monks like Ajahn Mun would simply disappear from his own monastery. Even though humans are social animals, the moment they come together and do stuff together it has the potential for it all to turn to custard and monks are no exceptions. Of course there are good monks, worthy of veneration, who are very nice human beings, but in this day and age, that is the exception and not the rule.

I think Ajahn Gavesako, who frequents this Forum often, once said pretty succintly that monkhood is a package. If you want to become a monk you will have to accept the WHOLE package rather than the serenity and niceties that is so commonly associated with meditation.

Alex123 wrote:
grasshopper wrote:To me, now, it seems like the best place to practise is living like a lay person but then it has it's problems of having to get qualifications and/or work to get the money to provide prerequisites for oneself (and one's immediate family members etc.) which has the potential to attenuate one's effort and blur the focus.


Again, where are less distractions and engagements? In lay life or in monastic life?


Sorry, I meant an unmarried, single lay life seems more condusive to me. This gives me more power to regulate the amount of distraction I am willing to let in as opposed to being in a married life or a monk life. I may be wrong, and/or my thinking might change in the future... who knows.... but this is how I feel and practise now.

IMHO, I do not think there is one answer to which Path - lay life vs monk life - is faster even though Buddha is known to have said that monk life is faster. Monasteries are not amazing, serene places they once used to be. In Buddha's time too there were monks who were nut cases and not worthy of veneration and there were lay men and women who lived regular working lives, payed taxes, reproduced and looked after kids, but still went on to become Stream enterers. So it depends on what you make out the Path one chooses to be, rather than what costume one wishes to be in that matters. I do not mean to curb your enthusiasm for monasticism in anywhich way : )
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:09 am

grasshopper wrote:What I mean by office-politics is its literal meaning. Even though monasteries are not offices and are mostly run by monks - who are suppose to be very nice - and even if one does not wish to climb the ladder and be an abbot, you, still, will, unfortunately, find back-biting, back-scratching amongst monks and anagarikas too. ...

Yes, that's exactly what I was alluding to. It's quite clear if you spend a little time at monasteries. As you say, you need to take the whole package as a training.

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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby KonstantKarma » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
grasshopper wrote:What I mean by office-politics is its literal meaning. Even though monasteries are not offices and are mostly run by monks - who are suppose to be very nice - and even if one does not wish to climb the ladder and be an abbot, you, still, will, unfortunately, find back-biting, back-scratching amongst monks and anagarikas too. ...

Yes, that's exactly what I was alluding to. It's quite clear if you spend a little time at monasteries. As you say, you need to take the whole package as a training.

Mike


That is unfortunate. I found this in 'enlightened' churches, as well, which really darkened my idealistic view of them.

In my Dhammapada & notes there is an essay on "What is to be gained by becoming a monk?" Being, of course, more opportunities for meditation and study. One part that lept out at me was "And let us remember, while stream-winners may be laypeople, the Buddha himself advocated becoming a monk in order to reach Nibbana. If it was not useful or a better way, he wouldn't have advocated it so."

So I guess I would wager ordainment is a valid way to advance Nibbana :reading: but one should not go in expecting an idealistic arrangement.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:57 pm

suriyopama wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Which path is quicker and better for progress toward maggaphala?


To have a reliable and trustful answer to this question, we should only question real maggaphalas. We need equal number of subjects coming from both paths, lay and monastic, then we have to compare how fast and easily they have reached the status of maggaphala.

;)



Well the suttas do talk about advantages of monasticism. Of course times have changed in 2500 years. Just how far? Which state is more helpful for progress?

Of course monasticism isn't an endless meditation retreat, sure. But maybe it is still better than lay life? That was my question.

To add another question:

Except for those who have to (due to culture, etc)

Why would a person chose to ordain today?
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:34 pm

the Buddha himself advocated becoming a monk in order to reach Nibbana. If it was not useful or a better way, he wouldn't have advocated it so."
So I guess I would wager ordainment is a valid way to advance Nibbana but one should not go in expecting an idealistic arrangement.


Problem questions are... will this be good if you disrobe in some years after being in robes ("fall from training" as suttas say)? Is this good kamma ("I tried it as a monk"), or will this be a kammic obstacle later in future lives (though I had a possibility I made intentional decision to return to lay life)..?
And second... how will you manage your lay life after missing it for some (or even many) years? This is not a problem for thai monks - but this is a problem for a westerner.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby KonstantKarma » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:45 pm

Zom wrote:
the Buddha himself advocated becoming a monk in order to reach Nibbana. If it was not useful or a better way, he wouldn't have advocated it so."
So I guess I would wager ordainment is a valid way to advance Nibbana but one should not go in expecting an idealistic arrangement.


Problem questions are... will this be good if you disrobe in some years after being in robes ("fall from training" as suttas say)? Is this good kamma ("I tried it as a monk"), or will this be a kammic obstacle later in future lives (though I had a possibility I made intentional decision to return to lay life)..?
And second... how will you manage your lay life after missing it for some (or even many) years? This is not a problem for thai monks - but this is a problem for a westerner.


Good questions and perspective, Zom!

Do all/most western monks disrobe? I don't know much about it. The temporary ordination for westerners sounds interesting - sort of like an extended retreat, then you wouldn't be breaking vows once it was over. Though I guess that's 'cheating'? Not sure. Interesting questions about whether it's good or bad kamma. Would love to see other's input on it.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby grasshopper » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:28 am

Zom wrote:Problem questions are... will this be good if you disrobe in some years after being in robes ("fall from training" as suttas say)? Is this good kamma ("I tried it as a monk"), or will this be a kammic obstacle later in future lives (though I had a possibility I made intentional decision to return to lay life)..?
And second... how will you manage your lay life after missing it for some (or even many) years? This is not a problem for thai monks - but this is a problem for a westerner.


As far as I know, no where does it say that disrobing per se would cause bad vipaka. It is better to disrobe than become a bad monk. Besides, we have to treat this on a case-by-case basis. In Western countries, if one disrobes, you still have the government to provide you with a stipend to live if there is no other option and you still can go on to further upskill yourself by joining a polytechnic or a university. One can take a student loan for this. Such things are luxuries one does not get in an Asian developing country; there if you miss the "education boat" when you are in your teens then that's it - no such thing as a mature student. Also, in Asia you get a lot of social stigma if you disrobe esp. in Sri Lanka - where temporary ordination is still in it's infancy - dissed at you by unempathetic and/or unwise clergy and lay people alike. You, are more or less viewed as a loser! You get less of this in the West and there is ample opportunity to turn the tide and start afresh and move on.
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Sunrise » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:52 am

Wind wrote: Have you thought about ordaining?


Yes

Wind wrote: What is holding you back?


My mother, who needs me to take care of her
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:09 am

As far as I know, no where does it say that disrobing per se would cause bad vipaka.


I didn't say "bad vipaka". I said kammic obstacle. That is ... may be in some future life you will have no possibility to ordain at all - because you decided to drop training. Or something like that..

By the way, as far as I know, some lay people in buddhist countries make dana and wish they can become a monk in some future time (because now they can't), and that is the seed of future possibility to become a monk.

One can take a student loan for this. Such things are luxuries one does not get in an Asian developing country;


Ow, this is a luxury for Russia too (and I guess for a number of European countries as well). So, if you have no job (or support from parents), you will just die out -)
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Re: What is holding you back from ordaining?

Postby sonictravels » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:47 pm

The one thing holding me back from ordaining is my parent's.

My question is whether a Bhikkhu would be allowed to take care of his elderly parents when the time comes that they need it? This would play easier on mother's heart as well as mine.
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