How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

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How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Viriya » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:59 am

Some of you have been there, done that. How did you tell you parents you were going to become a monk/nun, how did they take it, and what would you do differently if you had another chance? How did you request their 'permission'? How did you reassure/convince your parents?

With much gratefulness,
Viriya
I'm not very good at right speech, although I try, so please guide and correct me if necessary so I don't make bad kamma for myself and cause others to be annoyed. (=
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Ytrog » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:38 pm

Well, I had told them once that I was thinking about doing that one day. They thought I had lost it and that I had issues with myself. They would respect it though and support the choice if I made it.

I do still think about it. Even having a job/career now, It seems such a pointless life and I will not do this forever. I want to do something that means something. Not that the things I'm doing are not fun, but they seem just so pointless. I mean be born, go to school, get a career and then die is not the kind of life that I would want. Well, I hope I have the guts to do it someday.

I sincerely hope an actual monk is going to answer your question, because my experience is probably not much to go with. :anjali:

:offtopic: I do wonder though: I saw some members that are monks here. Where do they get the time for participating a forum? :o
I know monasteries (in the UK no less) that are only reachable by mail and do not have internet (other than their site).

:focus:

I'm curious about what people will reply as well. Interesting topic, although I guess the title doesn't match the question. There can't be only unsupportive parents out there.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Viriya » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:47 am

Thankyou so much Ytrog! You've done a lot to steady my nerves. I also hope you do have the intestinal fortitude to go forth one day. I suppose my parents have always felt I was their loopy child, and I've told them outright since I was eleven that I want to be a nun, so it shouldn't be too much of a shock...Oh well, I suppose the hard part (telling them) should all be over by the end of the month. :smile:

Wish me luck!
I'm not very good at right speech, although I try, so please guide and correct me if necessary so I don't make bad kamma for myself and cause others to be annoyed. (=
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:13 am

Hi Virya.Thankyou for your kind wishes.
I told my folks a few months ago of my desire to enrobe and that I would need their permission to do so.
My dads reaction was"thats an interesting move".My mom was a little more reticent but then decided it could have been worse,I could have become a christian :quote:
Wishing you all the best when you speak to your folks and all the best with your plans.
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Viscid » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:55 pm

Viriya wrote: I also hope you do have the intestinal fortitude to go forth one day.

:jumping:

Viriya wrote: Oh well, I suppose the hard part (telling them) should all be over by the end of the month. :smile:

Wish me luck!


Keep us updated. Very interested in hearing how this goes!
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Azhija » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:30 am

I am afraid this may come a bit too late, but seeing that I have strong Christian parents, whom are very un-supportive, I felt I should at least make mention of my own experience. I knew I was not going to get an approving release, but I wanted to inform my parents of my interests, and felt I should prepare them for a possible monk for a son. I am currently seeking to become an Anagerika, so I have a few years to work on this issue.

A very wise Bhikkhu explained to me, that there were some "better" circumstances, in which I could communicate to my parents my interest in ordination. He suggested that the best way might be for me to compose a letter: explaining the sincerity of my interest; my length of time thoughtfully considering my choice; focusing on the study and training rather than the "religious" aspects (chanting, statues, bowing, etc.); and most importantly, keeping the focus on - NOT what I didn't like about their religion or their values (perceived as a personal attack), but on what I found in similarities to values in Buddhism (HH Dalai Lama likes to speak, in regarding to all religions, being focused on compassion). Focusing on the values of compassion, loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, and equanimity are valuable points. Writing a letter gives you time to compose your thoughts, be less emotionally charged, and lets them read, think and ponder your decision. You can even read them the letter if you wanted to speak to them in person.

He suggested that if I spoke to them in person, it may/may not be best to do it at home. As you have to consider a "cooling off" period, where you both may have to go to separate rooms or separate places or some space to regroup. He suggested that writing a letter and/or speaking to them in person would be best to show my sincerity, earnest attempt at providing understanding and investment of time. He suggested NOT emailing or calling, where it might seem insensitive or easily dismissive (i.e. "click"...dial tone). As my parents were always the "under my roof you will/will not..." kind, I thought writing a letter would be best.

I spent 3 weeks writing and refining my letter, until my parents called and (having not seen me in 3 years) offered to fly me home. :roll: Flying home, I brought the letter with me and I spoke to them in person. I paraphrased my letter, and gave them time to ask questions and get emotional. By the end, my mother wanted to have my letter, gave me the "you're 40-something, you're gonna do, what you're gonna do" and my dad could only say he was disappointed. Not exactly the Vinya prescribed approval/release from fiduciary responsibilities.

As I have other brothers and sisters, I've been told, their reluctant "[go]...you're gonna do it regardless" was enough in it's neutrality to release me. Others have said, they are non-Buddhists ("holders of wrong views"), so they can't understand the importance of Dhamma, thus I can be released (which Dhammanando Bhikkhu points out may not be the (case). As I have a few years until I am formally requested, regarding my parents approval, I am hoping the supreme teaching, which is Dhamma, will cool their heated hearts.

My last resort, would be, as Dhammanando Bhikkhu further points out :

But there are also quite a number of exceptions given in the Vinaya Atthakathā (Samantapāsādikā. v. 1011-12)
... (12) Then, [one saying] "I shall jump from a tree," has climbed up and is about to let go with his hands and feet. It is suitable to let him go forth.


I'm hoping it doesn't have to come to that.... Good Luck with your own conversation!
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:37 am

Great post, Azhija!
Sorry to hear of your family woes. I hope your parents hearts soften when the time comes.
kind regards

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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Viriya » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:15 am

Thankyou very much, Azhija, and best wishes for your eventual ordination, may your parents see the benefit of it, and may they also be well and happy. Interruptions in circumstances have delayed my departure from the home-life, so your words of wisdom haven't come too late. Please don't do any jumping from trees. It doesn't sound particularly skillful...

I'm very thankful that the requisite period as an 8 precept/10 precept nun in the monastery I have in mind means I can enter a monastic setting without obtaining formal parental permission. I hope two years will be long enough for them to warm to the idea. If not...being a life-long 10 precept nun isn't such a bad idea. A letter sounds like a excellent idea, except for that one of my parents is inevitably going to read it before the other. I'd much rather they both heard at exactly the same time, even if that means sacrificing the more considered and articulate approach a letter offers. I'll take good note of your suggestions in bold. :anjali:
I'm not very good at right speech, although I try, so please guide and correct me if necessary so I don't make bad kamma for myself and cause others to be annoyed. (=
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:00 pm

Still :offtopic: Hi Ytrog. The reason I can find time to be online and joining in these discussion is because I am cutting into my sleeping time.Don't be fooled by the posting time on my reply.It is about 23:00 hours here in Malaysia,so after this I must sleep.Gotta get up a 3:00am.The temple where I am at is paying for my internet connection.True though,some places will only allow snail mail.
For me personally,I like the chance to hear differing opinions and maybe occasionally I might be able to post something that may speak to some ones heart.
It is really nice to spend some time with all you dudes and dudesses out there in cyber space.
With metta and good night to everyone.
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:22 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:26 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:43 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Ytrog » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:02 pm

Nanadhaja wrote:Still :offtopic: Hi Ytrog. The reason I can find time to be online and joining in these discussion is because I am cutting into my sleeping time.Don't be fooled by the posting time on my reply.It is about 23:00 hours here in Malaysia,so after this I must sleep.Gotta get up a 3:00am.The temple where I am at is paying for my internet connection.True though,some places will only allow snail mail.
For me personally,I like the chance to hear differing opinions and maybe occasionally I might be able to post something that may speak to some ones heart.
It is really nice to spend some time with all you dudes and dudesses out there in cyber space.
With metta and good night to everyone.


I was just curious. I was surprised when I got here to actually see monks online. It's nice to have you and all the other monks online here. :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:21 pm

Hi Ytrog.I agree,it is nice to see the participation of monks and the lay people.Some of the comments that get posted really get are quite refreshing to read.
The other nice thing is that not all the threads require you to be serious.You can share a good laugh with each other.
I hope to be able to continue to to share the experiences,the ups and downs the laughter and the occasional ranting of you all.
This is a nice place to learn as we grow in the Lord Buddhas teachings. :coffee:
With metta
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Viriya » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:39 am

Hanzze wrote:
No need to get permission.


Under the Vinaya, formal parental permission is required for both monks and nuns to ordain. Ordaining a candidate without parental permission is an offense for the preceptor, and will cause the ordination to be invalid. (Except maybe in a handful of very exceptional circumstances already discussed on this forum.)
I'm not very good at right speech, although I try, so please guide and correct me if necessary so I don't make bad kamma for myself and cause others to be annoyed. (=
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Hanzze » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:41 am

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:52 am

Viriya wrote:Some of you have been there, done that. How did you tell you parents you were going to become a monk/nun, how did they take it, and what would you do differently if you had another chance? How did you request their 'permission'? How did you reassure/convince your parents?

With much gratefulness,
Viriya


Just speak from the heart. There is no other way.

All the best! :anjali:
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:49 am

I wonder if Ven Sudinna's tactic would still work?
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:16 pm

Sylvester wrote:I wonder if Ven Sudinna's tactic would still work?


Whether it does or not, you only get one opportunity to find out!
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Re: How do you/did you tell unsupportive parents?

Postby Hanzze » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:32 am

_/\_

To honor, Respect, support And Attend On Parents Is Most Blissful.

Ministering to parents is one of the sterling qualities of man. The Lord laid particular stress on the practice of this virtue on many occasions. In the observance of ministering by the bhikkhus, to laymen is permitted, yet in the case of ministering to parents, the Lord Buddha not only encouraged it, but made it a necessity to attend to the needs of their parents. From this instance, we can gather how pressing is the attention of parents, that it becomes the immediate duty of man and woman to render all the assistance to their parents. They are not to fail in the duty bound by their birth to the parents who in their love are watchful over the safety and well being of their children, and rear them through the passage of their young and carefree days; with what care, love and sacrifice they throw their all. No poverty or wealth is any deterrent to the love and sacrifice of a mother over her tender one. She is the potent guardian seeking no gain or honour but so pure and noble in her love, that she gives her life for the sole protection of her frail little child. This display of strong maternal love is also evident among the animals.

How, then, could it be justified for any one to be in absolute neglect in the discharge of their duty towards their parents at time when they are so dependent on the care and support of their children. It is the time that they seriously reflect on the foregoing obligation that as age and care have their hold on their parents, it is primarly their part to lend the helping hand that was once given them.

May all those who look well after their parents, continue their good mission, gathering strength from day to day, and thus bring about their noblest virtue by ministering to their parents.

Illustration.

Venerable Sariputta Thera, the chief disciple of The Lord Buddha, knew his time was near; his mortal life drew close to its journey’s end and the vision of the state of Pari-Nibbana become manifested to him. It was on this point of his reflection that it devolved upon him his final duty to repay the many debt of gratitude he owed to his mother.

Lady Sari was a very fortunate woman to be the mother of seven Arahats, the greatest among whom was the Ven. Sariputta. Her belief was the worship of Brahma, and to this end she spared her entrie devotion to the utter neglect, to seek the real refuge in the Triple Gem. It was also Ven. Sariputta’s desire to win her faith in the Triple Gem, that made him seek that very place, wherin his Pari-Nibbana may be gained. Ven. Sariputta made his last request to the Lord Buddha about his Pari-Nibbana at the house of his mother as the last homage to be accorded to her. It was a great hour, when the chief disciple in deep reverence, paid his last respects to the Lord Buddha and taking his leave, accompanied by his five hundred followers, he walked slowly away.

Jetevana Temple was alive with a large crowd of devotees and people who came to see the Ven. Sariputta Thera. It was a scene heavy with the free offering of flowers and food, they paid their last respect to him, and cried in grief that with the departure of their beloved teacher the Ven. Sariputta, all was ended for him.
Like bleating lambs after their mother sheep, this huge congregation of men followed their teacher for a long distance, until the Ven. Sariputta gave them his final blessing and advised them to be heedful and diligent in their conduct. He then turned to go on his journey homeward together with his five hundred followers.

On the way thousands of men and woman were fortunate enough to hear the deliverance of the Dhamma by the Ven. Sariputta. On the seventh day, he reached the city and rested under the cool shade of a bunyan tree. Here he was met by his nephew Uparevata who paid him due respect. Ven. Sariputta requested his nephew that his mother be informed of his coming, and that arrangements be made for the accommodation of his five hundred followers.

When the news came to Lady Sari, she received it with mixed feeling of joy and surprise, and with her motherly love, she thought of her son who, perhaps with age advanced, considered it necessary to disrobe himself. So hastily she sent people to extend her welcome to his homecoming. Having set food in his mother’s house, Ven. Sariputta proceeded straight to the room where he was born, and was soon laid up in bed suffering from acute diarrhea and the Ven. Cunda Thera was in attendance all the time.

The mother greatly alarmed at her son’s sudden illness, came near to the room where her son was, to see what assistance she could render. A strange vision met her wondering eyes. She saw four figures with shining light radiating their whole personalities going in and out of the room. A short while after the first apparition, there appeared another figure brilliantly lit about his whole person, standing before The Ven. Sariputta and then moved away again. His place was taken by another figure of great bearing and with a greater array of light in glowing brilliance issued forth from his body. He also stood for some time and left.

Still wondering on the perplexity of the strange vision she had seen, she enquired of the Ven. Cunda about the visitors and their strange mission. Ven. Cunda went near to the great Thera and informed him about the presence of his mother. The Ven. Sariputta knew the time was opportune to have his mother realise the truth about the Lord’s Dhamma and calmly the Great Thera spoke to lady Sari:-
“What has brought you here at this hour of night?” Lady Sari, her mind fixed on the wellbeing of her noble son and kindled still with that affection and love of a great mother, said softly:-
Dear son, the only joy to warm my heart is to see you well and happy. Tell me. O! son what ails you, and what is your present state of health. Tell me too O! son the mission of your four noble guest, whose glowing light lit up the room you slept.”

The Ven. Sariputta replied, “It accounts for the presence of the four chief devas of the Caturmaharajika Heaven who came to pay their homage.

“O dear son great is the respect they accord thee. Art thou higher in thy virtue whereby these devas pay their humble homage?”

O Upasika, the four personalities thou glorify are the four guardians who with their drawn swords kept gracious guard over the Lord, The Buddha, from the very day of his confinement in His mother’s womb.”

Then, dear son, who is the one who appeared next after them?”

“O Upasika, he is Sakka, the king of devas.”

“O dear son, do thou in thy loftiness stand higher than this Sakka, the king of devas?”
“O Upasika, Sakka in thy esteem is like a Samanera (precept holder of lower ordination) whose glowing tribute is his attendance on a Bhikkhu. He was in attendance to our Lord, carrying his robes when He descended from the Tavatimsa Heaven.”

“Then O son, who is the great shining personality, the brilliance of whose light radiating forth, is greater than the moonbeams that cast upon this room?”

“O! Upasika, He is your blessed teacher Maha Brahma whom in thy devotion made most sincere.”

“Oh! dear son, do thou in thy excellence outshine the grandeur of my blessed teacher Maha Brahma?”

“Oh! Upasika, Maha Brahma great in thy exhaltation, is no other than the one who with outspread net received our Lord Buddha when He was born.”

There was silence. Lady Sari beamed with immense joy that she knew not how, what is her son’s supreme attainment that surpassed the greatness of her most blessed teacher, the Maha Brahma. Then Ven. Sariputta knew that her time was near to bring home the truth of the Lord’s doctrine.

“O Upasika, what is it that weighs in your mind now that this silence brings?”

“Oh dear son, I have known no greater joy than this realisation brings that, if my son strived for that great enlightenment with wondrous achievement, it places me in deep wonder, what greater exhaltation could his teacher dispose to.”

“Oh! Upasika, there is no comparison to bring forth the greatness of the most Exalted One, our Lord The Buddha, for this great earth tremored and quaked with tremendous force to herald the time of His birth; His great renunciation; His supreme Enlightenment and His first deliverance of the sermon, Turning the wheel of Law.

Throughout the expanse of the whole universe, no greater one ever lived, who can be likened unto Him, that in so far they become matchless in which He excelled in virtue, compassion and wisdom; a gateway to eternal bliss free from the bondage of lust, hate and ignorance.”

Lady Sari saw the new vision of truth on the nobility of Buddha Ratna (Gem of Buddha) and she attained the fruits of the first Path, Sotapatti. She exclaimed, “O! Dear son, Upatissa, why have I waited so long yet now only taste the bliss of truth, whereby I gain the complete freedom that is eternal.”

Another dawn of day broke the eastern sky, a day so young yet pregnant and full, waiting the passing away of the Great Aharant. All the five hundred followers assembled in the early hour, many with sorrowing hearts and the time came fast to a close. The last parting words rang out once more, the humbleness of the Great Thera, Sariputta, soliciting their forgiveness, any failing of his, that occurred to them throughout their fortyfour years of loyal service to him, and lying on his right side, the Great Arahant, the chief disciple of Lord Buddha, attained Pari-Nibbana.
Last edited by Hanzze on Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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