Monk for a Month?

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

Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Bankei » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:41 am

My ordination cost around 20,000B all up. I didn't realise at the time until I added it all up.

But there is no reason to buy robes and bowls etc. Most temples have a storeroom full on them - left over from those disrobing.

I think the best cost is the donation to the upatcha and the monks - which is optional although virtually compulsory.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Ruwan » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:33 pm

I just thought to reply for this discussion.

Clearly monkhood can be a easy way to hell if not practiced correctly(accroding to what load buddha told to do and what not to do). Nowadays the world is full of marketing and all sort of things. Its easy for one to be misundertand and think something as correct buddhism. Even a small thing can lead to serious sin in next life as a monk. I can refer many examples from the tripitaka. Rather typing all those things in here I would like to refer you to a one sutta in tripitaka. Please refer Aggikandopama sutta. I canot easctly remember where it is but you can find your self.This is a very serious sutta for a monk .

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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby yuttadhammo » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:50 pm

It might be instructive when examining this "novel" idea, to look at the effect emphasis on temporary ordination in Thai society has had on the quality of the Sangha. I don't know that any formal research has been done on the subject, but given the amount of time, energy and money involved, it doesn't seem difficult to draw an inverse correlation between emphasis on short-term ordination and overall dedication to practicing the Buddha's teaching. Short-term ordination has long been an important source of quick money, fame and respect for monasteries in Thailand, which I dare say has brought with it:

1) a misunderstanding of the role of a monk (placing as it does more importance on social work than enlightenment),

2) a diminished interest in long-term ordination (try convincing a Thai monk to give up the wife and job waiting for him to continue on after his monk "graduation" or even explaining to him that ordination is for the purpose of attaining enlightenment), and

3) an obsession among the monastic sangha with things like money, fame and respect, all of which we know are armies of mara.

Maybe I'm wrong here but if I'm right, it doesn't say much for this project or others like it. If one's intention is to ordain temporarily, wouldn't it be better to follow the orthodox paths for temporary ordination, viz. five or eight precepts? This seems like little more than using the monkhood as a gimmick to attract spiritual tourists; heck, I probably would have gone for it if it had been there when I first went to Thailand, and I guarantee that says little in support for it. We are responsible by our portrayal of Buddhism for the impression it makes on newcomers to the path - just because temporary ordination is attractive, doesn't mean it will promote a true understanding of what the Buddha taught.

I think the counterargument to all of this is that short-term ordination allows a wider audience to "experience" the teachings first-hand. There are two problems that I can see with this commonly cited virtue of short-term ordination:

1) it seems more likely to impress people as a glorified cultural ritual than true spiritual practice, especially given it is obviously men-only and therefore not intrinsic to the path anyway.
2) I guarantee that the strain put on the long-term sangha more than nullifies any benefit gleaned by the high-turnover "temps" - from simple things like spending all your time teaching noobies how to keep their skirts from falling down to more complicated problems like how to divvy up the spoils after they're gone.

</twocents>

Not sure if this is out of line, but here's a verse as food for thought, just because it mentions accepting money (not because I think so badly of monk-for-a-month):

"rāgadosaparikkiṭṭhā, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā.
avijjānivutā posā, piyarūpābhinandino.

"suraṃ pivanti merayaṃ, paṭisevanti methunaṃ.
rajataṃ jātarūpañca, sādiyanti aviddasū.
micchājīvena jīvanti, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā.

"ete upakkilesā vuttā, buddhenādiccabandhunā.
yehi upakkilesehi , eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā.
na tapanti na bhāsanti, asuddhā sarajā magā.

"andhakārena onaddhā, taṇhādāsā sanettikā.
vaḍḍhenti kaṭasiṃ ghoraṃ, ādiyanti punabbhava"nti.

-- AN 4.1.5.10 upakkilesasuttaṃ


Stained by lust and anger are certain priests and contemplatives,
men enveloped by ignorance, delighting in endearing forms.

Alcohol they drink and liquor too, partake in sexuality,
to money and precious metals do they consent - unwise ones,
by wrong livelihood live certain priests and contemplatives.

Obstructions are these called by the Awakened One, kinsman of the Sun.
Due to these obstructions certain priests and contemplatives
glow not, nor shine; impure, stained beasts.

By darkness bound, as slaves to craving led ever onward they,
expand the grotesque cemeteries and ever take up further becoming.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:46 am

The month for a monk programme is now free.
Fabianfred can give more details if you ask him.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby yuttadhammo » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:15 am

Nanadhaja wrote:The month for a monk programme is now free.

Does that mean the preceptor and quorum monks will stop taking money for the ordination as well? :)
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Dhammakid » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:45 am

Hi all,
I've admired this program for a while now after hearing about it on facebook, although I do find the many drawbacks discussed here are really good points to consider.

Anyway, I would love to do it if I can muster up enough money to make a reasonable donation.

Does anyone know if a male wishing to participate in the novice ordination stay with the program has to be debt-free and receive parental permission?

Thanks.

:anjali:
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:16 am

Dhammakid wrote:Hi all,
I've admired this program for a while now after hearing about it on facebook, although I do find the many drawbacks discussed here are really good points to consider.

Anyway, I would love to do it if I can muster up enough money to make a reasonable donation.

Does anyone know if a male wishing to participate in the novice ordination stay with the program has to be debt-free and receive parental permission?

Thanks.

:anjali:
Dhammakid

Hi DK.
The temple where Monk for a month is,is in the Maha Nikaya tradition so these questions probably do not arise for the samanera ordination.It is definately asked in the Dhammayuttika Order.
If you were to go onto higher ordination the answer to your questions would be yes.
You might try emailing them.They are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
With metta
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Lost in time
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Dhammakid » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:04 pm

Nanadhaja wrote:
Dhammakid wrote:Hi all,
I've admired this program for a while now after hearing about it on facebook, although I do find the many drawbacks discussed here are really good points to consider.

Anyway, I would love to do it if I can muster up enough money to make a reasonable donation.

Does anyone know if a male wishing to participate in the novice ordination stay with the program has to be debt-free and receive parental permission?

Thanks.

:anjali:
Dhammakid

Hi DK.
The temple where Monk for a month is,is in the Maha Nikaya tradition so these questions probably do not arise for the samanera ordination.It is definately asked in the Dhammayuttika Order.
If you were to go onto higher ordination the answer to your questions would be yes.
You might try emailing them.They are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
With metta


Thank you Venerable.

:anjali:
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Hanzze » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:45 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:59 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: Monk for a Month?

Postby fabianfred » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:58 pm

yuttadhammo wrote:
Nanadhaja wrote:The month for a monk programme is now free.

Does that mean the preceptor and quorum monks will stop taking money for the ordination as well? :)


The quorum of monks is only for full ordination...not to novice.
The fact that the 'gift' of money in an envelope is given to the attending monks AFTER the ceremony has been performed would mean to me that any amount of money is appropriate.
If they are disatisfied with it, then they cannot call it null and void, and are just showing their greed. Of course, a Thai family would do their best not to lose 'face'...but foreigners are not troubled by such stupidity... which is ego based and is supposed to be reduced by annatta I believe....
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby yuttadhammo » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:14 pm

fabianfred wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:
Nanadhaja wrote:The month for a monk programme is now free.

Does that mean the preceptor and quorum monks will stop taking money for the ordination as well? :)


The quorum of monks is only for full ordination...not to novice.
The fact that the 'gift' of money in an envelope is given to the attending monks AFTER the ceremony has been performed would mean to me that any amount of money is appropriate.
If they are disatisfied with it, then they cannot call it null and void, and are just showing their greed. Of course, a Thai family would do their best not to lose 'face'...but foreigners are not troubled by such stupidity... which is ego based and is supposed to be reduced by annatta I believe....

Ah, sorry, I forgot... it's not actually monk ordination. Just a misplaced quip on my part, please forgive.

I don't quite understand the references to stupidity and ego, but just to be clear, I wasn't attacking "Monk for a month", so much as arguing against short ordinations, samanera or bhikkhu, in general as detracting from the sincerity and purity of the sangha, something I think is verifiable in modern Buddhist society.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby fabianfred » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:12 pm

The stupidity was directed at those who are concerned about 'face'...which is just our ego trying to assert itself. Since Buddhists should be trying to diminish the ego by realising the truth of Annatta then they should have no problems with the 'face' issue.
A major hinderance for many Asians I'm afraid.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby fabianfred » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:17 pm

The short-term ordination of foreigners as novices for a week or two offered by Monk4aMonth is different from the ususal 'buat gair bon'...ordaining to keep mum happy... by normal Thai boys.
The foreigners are interested in learning about the religion and getting practical experience, rather than just reading books about it sat comfortably at home.
Relatively wealthy Farang going on alms-round and enjoying the generousity of the relatively poor local people is something which has to be experienced, and the M4aM guests are always moved by it.
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:23 pm

fabianfred wrote:The short-term ordination of foreigners as novices for a week or two offered by Monk4aMonth is different from the ususal 'buat gair bon'...ordaining to keep mum happy... by normal Thai boys.
The foreigners are interested in learning about the religion and getting practical experience, rather than just reading books about it sat comfortably at home.
Relatively wealthy Farang going on alms-round and enjoying the generousity of the relatively poor local people is something which has to be experienced, and the M4aM guests are always moved by it.

Hello Bhante.I really understand the feeling that you express in your last sentence.Pindapata continues to move me each time I do it.
With metta
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby fabianfred » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:33 am

My favourite time of day...and good for practicing mindfulness too...
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Re: Monk for a Month?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:40 pm

_/\_
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: Monk for a Month?

Postby fabianfred » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:32 pm

The MonkforaMonth project has now finished. The Blood Foundation which started it had personal problems with myself and the other foreign monk here at our temple, Phra Chuntawongso. Since it changed to a free, donation based thing the Blood Foundation were not making any funding from it but still had it as a major draw for guests to join their other activities.

The program itself of having visitors stay at the temple and be taught the Dhamma and Vipassana meditation, whilst living in the community, is still active, and the possibility to ordain as a novice for a short time is also available.

Phra Chuntawongso's blog here... http://watsriboenruang.wordpress.com/about-3/

a guests blog on his stay... http://soundmagus.co.uk/vipassana/

We have had enquiries about monk ordination which hasn't happened yet, but would require a long stay of several months before we could assess the suitability and determination of the applicant.

Both Phra Chuntawongso and myself are also on Facebook... https://www.facebook.com/fabian.blandford
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